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Indo-European Languages

Indo-European Languages

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The Indo-European languages are a family of related languages that today are widely spoken in the Americas, Europe, and also Western and Southern Asia. Just as languages such as Spanish, French, Portuguese and Italian are all descended from Latin, Indo-European languages are believed to derive from a hypothetical language known as Proto-Indo-European, which is no longer spoken.

It is highly probable that the earliest speakers of this language originally lived around Ukraine and neighbouring regions in the Caucasus and Southern Russia, then spread to most of the rest of Europe and later down into India. The earliest possible end of Proto-Indo-European linguistic unity is believed to be around 3400 BCE.

Since the speakers of the Proto-Indo-European language did not develop a writing system, we have no physical evidence of it. The science of linguistics has been trying to reconstruct the Proto-Indo-European language using several methods and, although an accurate reconstruction of it seems impossible, we have today a general picture of what Proto-Indo-European speakers had in common, both linguistically and culturally. In addition to the use of comparative methods, there are studies based on the comparison of myths, laws, and social institutions.

The ancients came up with the explanation that the Latin language was a descendant of the Greek language.

Branches of Indo-European Languages

The Indo-European languages have a large number of branches: Anatolian, Indo-Iranian, Greek, Italic, Celtic, Germanic, Armenian, Tocharian, Balto-Slavic and Albanian.


This branch of languages was predominant in the Asian portion of Turkey and some areas in northern Syria. The most famous of these languages is Hittite. In 1906 CE, a large amount of Hittite finds were made on the site of Hattusas, the capital of the Hittite Kingdom, where about 10,000 cuneiform tablets and various other fragments were found in the remains of a royal archive. These texts date back to the mid to late second millennium BCE. Luvian, Palaic, Lycian, and Lydian are other examples of families belonging to this group.

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All languages of this branch are currently extinct. This branch has the oldest surviving evidence of an Indo-European language, dated about 1800 BCE.


This branch includes two sub-branches: Indic and Iranian. Today these languages are predominant in India, Pakistan, Iran, and its vicinity and also in areas from the Black Sea to western China.

Sanskrit, which belongs to the Indic sub-branch, is the best known among the early languages of this branch; its oldest variety, Vedic Sanskrit, is preserved in the Vedas, a collection of hymns and other religious texts of ancient India. Indic speakers entered into the Indian subcontinent, coming from central Asia around 1500 BCE: In the Rig-Veda, the hymn 1.131 speaks about a legendary journey that may be considered a distant memory of this migration.

Avestan is a language that forms part of the Iranian group. Old Avestan (sometimes called Gathic Avestan) is the oldest preserved language of the Iranian sub-branch, the “sister” of Sanskrit, which is the language used in the early Zoroastrian religious texts. Another important language of the Iranian sub-branch is Old Persian, which is the language found in the royal inscriptions of the Achaemenid dynasty, starting in the late 6th century BCE. The earliest datable evidence of this branch dates back to about 1300 BCE.

Today, many Indic languages are spoken in India and Pakistan, such as Hindi-Urdu, Punjabi, and Bengali. Iranian languages such as Farsi (modern Persian), Pashto, and Kurdish are spoken in Iraq, Iran, Afghanistan, and Tajikistan.


Rather than a branch of languages, Greek is a group of dialects: During more than 3000 years of written history, Greek dialects never evolved into mutually incomprehensible languages. Greek was predominant in the southern end of the Balkans, the Peloponnese peninsula, and the Aegean Sea and its vicinity. The earliest surviving written evidence of a Greek language is Mycenaean, the dialect of the Mycenaean civilization, mainly found on clay tablets and ceramic vessels on the isle of Crete. Mycenaean did not have an alphabetic written system, rather it had a syllabic script known as the Linear B script.

The first alphabetic inscriptions have been dated back to the early 8th century BCE, which is probably the time when the Homeric epics, the Iliad and the Odyssey, reached their present form. There were many Greek dialects in ancient times, but because of Athens cultural supremacy in the 5th century BCE, it was the Athens dialect, called Attic, the one that became the standard literary language during the Classical period (480-323 BCE). Therefore, the most famous Greek poetry and prose written in Classical times were written in Attic: Aristophanes, Aristotle, Euripides, and Plato are just a few examples of authors who wrote in Attic.


This branch was predominant in the Italian peninsula. The Italic people were not natives of Italy; they entered Italy crossing the Alps around 1000 BCE and gradually moved southward. Latin, the most famous language in this group, was originally a relatively small local language spoken by pastoral tribes living in small agricultural settlements in the centre of the Italian peninsula. The first inscriptions in Latin appeared in the 7th century BCE and by the 6th century BCE it had spread significantly.

Rome was responsible for the growth of Latin in ancient times. Classical Latin is the form of Latin used by the most famous works of Roman authors like Ovid, Cicero, Seneca, Pliny, and Marcus Aurelius. Other languages of this branch are: Faliscan, Sabellic, Umbrian, South Picene, and Oscan, all of them extinct.

Today Romance languages are the only surviving descendants of the Italic branch.


This branch contains two sub-branches: Continental Celtic and Insular Celtic. By about 600 BCE, Celtic-speaking tribes had spread from what today are southern Germany, Austria, and Western Czech Republic in almost all directions, to France, Belgium, Spain, and the British Isles, then by 400 BCE, they also moved southward into northern Italy and southeast into the Balkans and even beyond. During the early 1st century BCE, Celtic-speaking tribes dominated a very significant portion of Europe. On 50 BCE, Julius Caesar conquered Gaul (ancient France) and Britain was also conquered about a century later by the emperor Claudius. As a result, this large Celtic-speaking area was absorbed by Rome, Latin became the dominant language, and the Continental Celtic languages eventually died out. The chief Continental language was Gaulish.

Insular Celtic developed in the British Isles after Celtic-speaking tribes entered around the 6th century BCE. In Ireland, Insular Celtic flourished, aided by the geographical isolation which kept Ireland relatively safe from the Roman and Anglo-Saxon invasion.

The only Celtic languages still spoken today (Irish Gaelic, Scottish Gaelic, Welsh and Breton) all come from Insular Celtic.


The Germanic branch is divided in three sub-branches: East Germanic, currently extinct; North Germanic, containing Old Norse, the ancestor of all modern Scandinavian languages; and West Germanic, containing Old English, Old Saxon, and Old High German.

The earliest evidence of Germanic-speaking people dates back to first half of the 1st millennium BCE, and they lived in an area stretching from southern Scandinavia to the coast of the North Baltic Sea. During prehistoric times, the Germanic speaking tribes came into contact with Finnic speakers in the north and also with Balto-Slavic tribes in the east. As a result of this interaction, the Germanic language borrowed several terms from Finnish and Balto-Slavic.

Several varieties of Old Norse were spoken by most Vikings. Native Nordic pre-Christian Germanic mythology and folklore has been also preserved in Old Norse, in a dialect named Old Icelandic.

Dutch, English, Frisian, and Yiddish are some examples of modern survivors of the West Germanic sub-branch, while Danish, Faroese, Icelandic, Norwegian, and Swedish are survivors of the North Germanic branch.


The origins of the Armenian-speaking people is a topic still unresolved. It is probable that the Armenians and the Phrygians belonged to the same migratory wave that entered Anatolia, coming from the Balkans around the late 2nd millennium BCE. The Armenians settled in an area around Lake Van, currently Turkey; this region belonged to the state of Urartu during the early 1st millennium BCE. In the 8th century BCE, Urartu came under Assyrian control and in the 7th century BCE, the Armenians took over the region. The Medes absorbed the region soon after and Armenia became a vassal state. During the time of the Achaemenid Empire, the region turned into a Persian satrap. The Persian domination had a strong linguistic impact on Armenian, which mislead many scholars in the past to believe that Armenian actually belonged to the Iranian group.


The history of the Tocharian-speaking people is still surrounded by mystery. We know that they lived in the Taklamakan Desert, located in western China. Most of the Tocharian texts left are translations from well-known Buddhist works, and all of these texts have been dated between the 6th and the 8th centuries CE. None of these texts speak about the Tocharians themselves. Two different languages belong to this branch: Tocharian A and Tocharian B. Remains of the Tocharian A language have only been found in places where Tocharian B documents have also been found, which would suggest that Tocharian A was already extinct, kept alive only as a religious or poetic language, while Tocharian B was the living language used for administrative purposes.

Many well-preserved mummies with Caucasoid features such as tall stature, red, blonde, and brown hair, have been discovered in the Taklamakan Desert, dating between 1800 BCE to 200 CE. The weaving style and patterns of their clothes is similar to the Hallstatt culture in central Europe. Physical analysis and genetic evidence have revealed resemblances with the inhabitants of western Eurasia.

This branch is completely extinct. Among all ancient Indo-European languages, Tocharian was spoken farthest to the east.


This branch contains two sub-branches: Baltic and Slavic.

During the late Bronze Age, the Balts' territory may have stretched from around western Poland all the way across to the Ural Mountains. Afterwards, the Balts occupied a small region along the Baltic Sea. Those in the northern part of the territory occupied by the Balts were in close contact with Finnic tribes, whose language was not part of the Indo-European language family: Finnic speakers borrowed a considerable amount of Baltic words, which suggests that the Balts had an important cultural prestige in that area. Under the pressure of Gothic and Slavic migrations, the territory of the Balts was reduced towards the 5th century CE.

Archaeological evidence shows that from 1500 BCE, either the Slavs or their ancestors occupied an area stretching from near the western Polish borders towards the Dnieper River in Belarus. During the 6th century CE, the Slav-speaking tribes expanded their territory, migrating into Greece and the Balkans: this is when they are mentioned for the first time, in Byzantine records referring to this large migration. Either some or all of the Slavs were once located further to the east, in or around Iranian territory, since many Iranian words were borrowed into pre-Slavic at an early stage. Later on, as they moved westward, they came into contact with German tribes and again borrowed several additional terms.

Only two Baltic languages survive today: Latvian and Lithuanian. A large number of Slavic languages survive today, such as Bulgarian, Czech, Croatian, Polish, Serbian, Slovak, Russian, and many others.


Albanian is the last branch of Indo-European languages to appear in written form. There are two hypotheses on the origin of Albanian. The first one says that Albanian is a modern descendant of Illyrian, a language which was widely spoken in the region during classical times. Since we know very little about Illyrian, this assertion can be neither denied nor confirmed from a linguistic standpoint. From a historical and geographical perspective, however, this assertion makes sense. Another hypotheses says that Albanian is a descendant of Thracian, another lost language that was spoken farther east than Illyrian.

Today Albanian is spoken in Albania as the official language, in several other areas in of the former Yugoslavia and also in small enclaves in southern Italy, Greece and the Republic of Macedonia.

Unaffiliated Languages

All languages in this group are either extinct or they are a former stage of a modern language. Examples of this groups of languages are Phrygian, Thracian, Ancient Macedonian (not to be confused with Macedonian, a language currently spoken in the Republic of Macedonia, part of the Slavic branch), Illyrian, Venetic, Messapic, and Lusitanian.

Indo-European Historical Linguistics

In ancient times it was noticed that some languages presented striking similarities: Greek and Latin are a well-known example. During classical antiquity it was noted, for example, that Greek héks “six” and heptá “seven” were similar to the Latin sex and septem. Furthermore, the regular correspondence of the initial h- in Greek to the initial s- in Latin was pointed out.

The explanation that the ancients came up with was that the Latin language was a descendant of Greek language. Centuries later, during and after the Renaissance, the close similarities between more languages were also noted, and it was understood that certain groups of languages were related, such as Icelandic and English, and also the Romance languages. Despite all of these observations, the science of linguistics did not develop much further until the 18th century CE.

During the British colonial expansion into India, a British orientalist and jurist named Sir William Jones became familiar with the Sanskrit language. Jones was also knowledgeable in Greek and Latin and was surprised by the similarities between these three languages. During a lecture on February 2, 1786 CE, Sir William Jones expressed his new ideas:

The Sanskrit language, whatever be its antiquity, is of a wonderful structure; more perfect than the Greek, more copious than the Latin, and more exquisitely refined than either, yet bearing to both of them a stronger affinity, both in the roots of verbs and the forms of grammar, than could possibly have been produced by accident; so strong indeed, that no philologer could examine them all three, without believing them to have sprung from some common source, which, perhaps, no longer exists; there is a similar reason, though not quite so forcible, for supposing that both the Gothic and the Celtic, though blended with a very different idiom, had the same origin with the Sanskrit; and the old Persian might be added to the same family, if this were the place for discussing any question concerning the antiquity of Persia. (Fortson, p. 9)

The idea that Greek, Latin, Sanskrit, and Persian were derived from a common source was revolutionary at that time. This was a turning point in the history of linguistics. Rather than the “daughter” of Greek, Latin was for the first time understood as the “sister” of Greek. By becoming familiar with Sanskrit, a language geographically far removed from Greek and Latin, and realizing that chance was an insufficient explanation for the similarities between these languages, Sir William Jones presented a new insight which triggered the development of modern linguistics.

Indo-European languages

The Indo-Iranian branch of the Indo-European family is the largest language group in the subcontinent, with nearly three-fourths of the population speaking a language of that family as a mother tongue. It can be further split into three subfamilies: Indo-Aryan, Dardic, and Iranian. The numerous languages of the family all derive from Sanskrit, the language of the ancient Aryans. Sanskrit, the classic language of India, underwent a process of systematization and grammatical refinement at an early date, rendering it unique among Indo-Aryan languages in its degree of linguistic cultivation. Subsequently, the Prakrit languages developed from local vernaculars but later were refined into literary tongues. The modern Indian languages were derived from the Prakrit languages.

By far the most widely spoken Indo-Iranian language is Hindi, which is used in one form or another by some two-thirds of the population. Hindi has a large number of dialects, generally divided into Eastern and Western Hindi, some of which are mutually unintelligible. Apart from its nationally preeminent position, Hindi has been adopted as the official language by each of a large contiguous bloc of northern states—Bihar, Chhattisgarh, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Jharkhand, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Uttarakhand, and Uttar Pradesh—as well as by the national capital territory of Delhi.

Other Indo-European languages with official status in individual states are Assamese, in Assam Bengali, in West Bengal and Tripura Gujarati, in Gujarat Kashmiri, in Jammu and Kashmir Konkani, in Goa Marathi, in Maharashtra Nepali, in portions of northern West Bengal Oriya, in Odisha and Punjabi, in Punjab. Urdu, the official language of Pakistan, is also the language of most Muslims of northern and peninsular India as far south as Chennai (Madras). Sindhi is spoken mainly by inhabitants of the Kachchh district of Gujarat, which borders the Pakistani province of Sindh, as well as in other areas by immigrants (and their descendants) who fled Sindh after the 1947 partition of the subcontinent.

Indo-European Languages

Languages evolve over time. Initially, a language diverges into varying dialects , which are mutually intelligible (e.g. American English and British English). Eventually, dialects become distinct languages , which are not mutually intelligible (e.g. French and Spanish).

Languages can therefore be organized into family trees. French and Spanish, for instance, both evolved from Latin in this instance, Latin is the parent language, while French and Spanish are both child languages of Latin. The oldest ancestor of a language family (i.e. the language at the very top of the family tree) is known as the family's proto-language.


Most European languages belong to the Indo-European language family. The proto-language of this family (known as "Proto-Indo-European" or simply "Indo-European") emerged in far eastern Europe, from where it spread westward across Europe and eastward into Asia. This great Indo-European expansion occurred primarily during the period ca. 2000-1000 BC. 1


The Indo-European language family has four main living branches: Indo-Iranian, Balto-Slavic, Germanic, and Italic. In the family tree provided below, the languages in the bottom boxes are the largest member language(s) of their respective branches.

Of these four branches, the only one that lies outside Europe is Indo-Iranian . The Indo-Iranian language, which emerged in Central Asia, fractured into speakers of Iranian (who expanded into Iran) and Indic (who migrated to South Asia). 22

The Germanic family has been traced to a homeland of southern Scandinavia/northern Germany. 4 The Germanic language fractured into North Germanic , West Germanic , and East Germanic (extinct). 5 Historically, North Germanic speakers are known as the Norsemen, while East and West Germanic speakers comprise the various Germanic tribes.

The Balto-Slavic family, which has been traced to a vague homeland in Eastern Europe (perhaps Belarus), diverged into Baltic and Slavic . 1 The Balts settled lands to the north, along the Baltic coast. The Slavs experienced a great medieval expansion, fracturing into three main branches: East Slavic (far eastern Europe), West Slavic (near eastern Europe), and South Slavic (Balkans).

The Italic language family originated in Italy. Various branches of Italic languages were spoken throughout the peninsula until the rise of Rome, when all were replaced by Latin. 11 With the expansion of the Roman Empire, Latin became the common tongue across large areas of Europe. The descendent languages of Latin are known as the "Latin languages" or "Romance languages".

Two other branches of Indo-European should be noted. Greek , a single-language branch, has been traced to a homeland somewhere north of Greece. 1,21 The Celtic branch has been traced to a homeland of Austria/southern Germany its chief surviving language is Welsh. 31,34

Uralic Languages

The other principal language family in Europe is Uralic . Again, in the family tree provided below, the languages in the bottom boxes are the largest member language(s) of their respective branches.

The Uralic homeland lies in Russia, among the Urals (the mountain range that divides Europe and Asia). 12,15 Its chief descendant language was Finno-Ugric , which later broke into Finnic and Ugric . Some of the Finnic people migrated westward to Finland and Estonia, while some of the Ugric people migrated southward to the Steppe, where their language evolved into Hungarian the Hungarians then migrated westward to Hungary. 15

Modern Europe

In the course of European history, the Celtic, Italic, Germanic, and Slavic families all experienced massive expansions. With the exception of Celtic (which was overwhelmed by the Italic and Germanic expansions), this is reflected in a linguistic map of present-day Europe.

The Migrations and The Homeland

By now the reader may have concluded that the spread of these languages across the globe had something to do with European Colonization. And whilst this is certainly true for the last 500 years, since the discovery of the Americas by Christopher Columbus, the initial spread of Proto-Indo-European dialects, the ancestral language to all Indo-European languages, across Eurasia, precedes this by several millennia and probably began in the Pontic-Caspian steppes north of the Black and Caspian Seas and the Caucasus mountains. This area is now considered to be the Indo-European homeland by most scholars.

The Indo-European homeland and adjacent cultures. CC BY-SA 3.0,

From there it spread like wildfire across the Eurasian continent, encountering different cultures on the way, which ultimately led to the development of new languages. Despite the fact the these languages obviously changed through contact with other peoples, they remained very similar at their core, both in terms of vocabulary and in terms of grammar. These characteristics led scholars in the 18th and 19th centuries to the conclusion, that there must be an underlying connection and different theories for a Proto-language, based on comparing the oldest attested languages belonging to the language family (Sanskrit, Latin and Greek) were put forward. This method came to be known as the linguistic comparative method and has since not only been able to reconstruct much of the original Proto-Indo-European language but has also enabled us to find out about the way of life of its speakers, including social hierarchy, customs, family relations, subsistence work, culture and mythology.


The Indo-European language family is descended from Proto-Indo-European, which is believed to have been spoken thousands of years ago. Early speakers of Indo-European daughter languages most likely expanded into Europe with the incipient Bronze Age, around 4,000 years ago (Bell-Beaker culture).

Romance Edit

The Romance languages evolved from varieties of Vulgar Latin spoken in the various parts of the Roman Empire in Late Antiquity. Latin was itself part of the (otherwise extinct) Italic branch of Indo-European. Romance languages are divided phylogenetically into Italo-Western, Eastern Romance (including Romanian) and Sardinian. The Romance-speaking area of Europe is occasionally referred to as Latin Europe. [2]

We can further break down Italo-Western into the Italo-Dalmatian languages (sometimes grouped with Eastern Romance), including the Tuscan-derived Italian and numerous local Romance languages in Italy as well as Dalmatian, and the Western Romance languages. The Western Romance languages in turn separate into the Gallo-Romance languages, including French and its varieties (Langues d'oïl), the Rhaeto-Romance languages and the Gallo-Italic languages the Occitano-Romance languages, grouped with either Gallo-Romance or East Iberian, including Occitan, Catalan and Aragonese and finally the West Iberian languages (Spanish-Portuguese), including the Astur-Leonese languages, Galician-Portuguese, and Castilian.

Germanic Edit

The Germanic languages make up the predominant language family in Western, Northern and Central Europe. An estimated 210 million Europeans are native speakers of Germanic languages, the largest groups being German (c. 95 million), English (c. 70 million), Dutch (c. 24 million), Swedish (c. 10 million), Danish (c. 6 million), and Norwegian (c. 5 million).

There are two extant major sub-divisions: West Germanic and North Germanic. A third group, East Germanic, is now extinct the only known surviving East Germanic texts are written in the Gothic language. West Germanic is divided into Anglo-Frisian (including English), Low German, and Low Franconian (including Dutch) and High German (including Standard German).

German Edit

German is spoken throughout Germany, Austria, Liechtenstein, much of Switzerland (including the northeast areas bordering on Germany and Austria), northern Italy (South Tyrol), Luxembourg, and the East Cantons of Belgium.

There are several groups of German dialects:

    includes several dialect families: dialects, spoken in central Germany and including Luxembourgish , a family of transitional dialects between Central and Upper High German , including Austro-Bavarian and Swiss German is a Jewish language developed in Germany and shares many features of High German dialects and Hebrew.

Low German (including Low Saxon) is spoken in various regions throughout Northern Germany and the northern and eastern parts of the Netherlands. It is an official language in Germany. It may be separated into Low Saxon (West Low German) and East Low German.

Dutch Edit

Dutch is spoken throughout the Netherlands, the northern half of Belgium, as well as the Nord-Pas de Calais region of France. The traditional dialects of the Lower Rhine region of Germany, are linguistically more closely related to Dutch than to modern German. In Belgian and French contexts, Dutch is sometimes referred to as Flemish. Dutch dialects are varied and cut across national borders.

Anglo-Frisian Edit

The Anglo-Frisian language family is now mostly represented by English (Anglic), descended from the Old English language spoken by the Anglo-Saxons:

    , the main language of the United Kingdom, also used in English-speaking Europe , spoken in Scotland and Ulster, recognized by some as a language and by others as a dialect of English.

The Frisian languages are spoken by about 500,000 Frisians, who live on the southern coast of the North Sea in the Netherlands and Germany. These languages include West Frisian, Saterlandic, and North Frisian.

North Germanic (Scandinavian) Edit

English has a long history of contact with Scandinavian languages, given the immigration of Scandinavians early in the history of Britain, and shares various features with the Scandinavian languages. [3] Even so, especially Swedish, but also Danish and Norwegian, have strong vocabulary connections to the German language.

Slavic Edit

Slavic languages are spoken in large areas of Southern, Central and Eastern Europe. An estimated 250 million Europeans are native speakers of Slavic languages, the largest groups being Russian (c. 110 million in European Russia and adjacent parts of Eastern Europe, Russian forming the largest linguistic community in Europe), Polish (c. 45 million), Ukrainian (c. 40 million), Serbo-Croatian (c. 21 million), Czech (c. 11 million), Bulgarian (c. 9 million), Slovak (c. 5 million) Belarusian and Slovene (c. 3 million each) and Macedonian (c. 2 million).

Phylogenetically, Slavic is divided into three subgroups:

  • West Slavic includes Polish, Czech, Slovak, Lower Sorbian, Upper Sorbian and Kashubian.
  • East Slavic includes Russian, Ukrainian, Belarusian, and Rusyn.
  • South Slavic is divided into Southeast Slavic and Southwest Slavic groups: Southwest Slavic languages include Serbo-Croatian and Slovene, each with numerous distinctive dialects. Serbo-Croatian boasts four distinct national standards, Bosnian, Croatian, Montenegrin and Serbian, all based on the Eastern Herzegovinian dialect Southeast Slavic languages include Bulgarian, Macedonian and Old Church Slavonic (a liturgical language).

Other Edit

    (c. 13 million) is the official language of Greece and Cyprus, and there are Greek-speaking enclaves in Albania, Bulgaria, Italy, North Macedonia, Romania, Georgia, Ukraine, Lebanon, Egypt, Israel, Jordan, and Turkey, and in Greek communities around the world. Dialects of modern Greek that originate from Attic Greek (through Koine and then Medieval Greek) are Cappadocian, Pontic, Cretan, Cypriot, Katharevousa, and Yevanic.
      is, debatably, a Doric dialect of Greek. It is spoken in southern Italy only, in the southern Calabria region (as Grecanic) [4][5][6][7][8] and in the Salento region (as Griko). It was studied by the German linguist Gerhard Rohlfs during the 1930s and 1950s. is a Doric dialect of the Greek language spoken in the lower Arcadia region of the Peloponnese around the village of Leonidio
    • The Baltic languages are spoken in Lithuania (Lithuanian (c. 3 million), Samogitian) and Latvia (Latvian (c. 2 million), Latgalian). Samogitian and Latgalian are usually considered to be dialects of Lithuanian and Latvian respectively.
      • There are also several extinct Baltic languages, including: Galindian, Curonian, Old Prussian, Selonian, Semigallian and Sudovian.
        : Welsh (Wales, c. 700,000), Cornish (Cornwall, c. 500) and Breton (Brittany, c. 200,000) : Irish (Ireland, c. 2,000,000), Scottish Gaelic (Scotland, c. 50,000), and Manx (Isle of Man, 1,800)
      • The Indo-Aryan languages have one major representation: Romani (c. 1.5 million speakers), introduced in Europe during the late medieval period. Lacking a nation state, Romani is spoken as a minority language throughout Europe.
      • The Iranian languages in Europe are natively represented in the North Caucasus, notably with Ossetian (c. 600,000).

      Uralic Edit

      The Samoyedic Nenets language is spoken in Nenets Autonomous Okrug of Russia, located in the far northeastern corner of Europe (as delimited by the Ural Mountains).

      Turkic Edit

        in Europe include Turkish, spoken in East Thrace and by immigrant communities Azerbaijani is spoken in Northeast Azerbaijan and parts of Southern Russia and Gagauz is spoken in Gagauzia. in Europe include Crimean Tatar, which is spoken in Crimea Tatar, which is spoken in Tatarstan Bashkir, which is spoken in Bashkortostan Karachay-Balkar, which is spoken in the North Caucasus, and Kazakh, which is spoken in Northwest Kazakhstan. were historically indigenous to much of Eastern Europe however, most of them are extinct today, with the exception of Chuvash, which is spoken in Chuvashia.

      Other Edit

      • The Basque language (or Euskara, c. 750,000) is a language isolate and the ancestral language of the Basque people who inhabit the Basque Country, a region in the western Pyrenees mountains mostly in northeastern Spain and partly in southwestern France of about 3 million inhabitants, where it is spoken fluently by about 750,000 and understood by more than 1.5 million people. Basque is directly related to ancient Aquitanian, and it is likely that an early form of the Basque language was present in Western Europe before the arrival of the Indo-European languages in the area in the Bronze Age. is a geographical blanket term for two unrelated language families spoken chiefly in the north Caucasus and Turkey—the Northwest Caucasian family (including Abkhaz and Circassian) and the Northeast Caucasian family, spoken mainly in the border area of the southern Russian Federation (including Dagestan, Chechnya, and Ingushetia). is a Mongolic language, spoken in the Republic of Kalmykia, part of the Russian Federation. Its speakers entered the Volga region in the early 17th century. (c. 500,000) is a Semitic language with Romance and Germanic influences, spoken in Malta. [9][10][11][12] It is based on Sicilian Arabic, with influences from Sicilian, Italian, French and, more recently, English. It is unique in that it is the only Semitic language whose standard form is written in Latin script. It is also the second smallest official language of the EU in terms of speakers, and the only official Semitic language within the EU. (also known as Cypriot Arabic) is a variety of Arabic spoken by Maronites in Cyprus. Most speakers live in Nicosia, but others are in the communities of Kormakiti and Lemesos. Brought to the island by Maronites fleeing Lebanon over 700 years ago, this variety of Arabic has been influenced by Greek in both phonology and vocabulary, while retaining certain unusually archaic features in other respects.

      Sign languages Edit

      Several dozen manual languages exist across Europe, with the most widespread sign language family being the Francosign languages, with its languages found in countries from Iberia to the Balkans and the Baltics. Accurate historical information of sign and tactile languages is difficult to come by, with folk histories noting the existence signing communities across Europe hundreds of years ago. British Sign Language (BSL) and French Sign Language (LSF) are probably the oldest confirmed, continuously-spoken sign languages. Alongside German Sign Language (DGS) according to Ethnologue, these three have the most numbers of signers, though very few institutions take appropriate statistics on contemporary signing populations, making legitimate data hard to find.

      Notably, few European sign languages have overt connections with the local majority/oral languages, aside from standard language contact and borrowing, meaning grammatically the sign languages and the oral languages of Europe are quite distinct from one another. Due to (visual/aural) modality differences, most sign languages are named for the larger ethnic nation in which they are spoken, plus the words "sign language", rendering what is spoken across much of France, Wallonia and Romandy as French Sign Language or LSF for: langue des signes française.

      Recognition of non-oral languages varies widely from region to region. [13] Some countries afford legal recognition, even to official on a state level, whereas others continue to be actively suppressed. [14]

      The major sign linguistic families are:

        languages, such as LSF, Irish SL, Austrian Sign Language (ÖGS), Eesti Viipekeel, and probably both Catalan and Valencian Sign Languages.
          languages, such as DTS, Icelandic Taknmal, Faroese Taknmal, and NTS. -Hungarian Sign descendants, including the sub-families descended from both (separately) the Yugoslav Sign Language and Russian Sign Language, such as Macedonian Sign Language and HZJ, or LGK and Ukrainian Sign Language (USL).
          family, such as SSL, Viittomakieli, FinnSSL, and Portuguese Sign Language (LGP), all of which may be descended from Old BSL.

        Language and identity, standardization processes Edit

        In the Middle Ages the two most important defining elements of Europe were Christianitas and Latinitas.

        The earliest dictionaries were glossaries: more or less structured lists of lexical pairs (in alphabetical order or according to conceptual fields). The Latin-German (Latin-Bavarian) Abrogans was among the first. A new wave of lexicography can be seen from the late 15th century onwards (after the introduction of the printing press, with the growing interest in standardisation of languages).

        The concept of the nation state began to emerge in the early modern period. Nations adopted particular dialects as their national language. This, together with improved communications, led to official efforts to standardise the national language, and a number of language academies were established: 1582 Accademia della Crusca in Florence, 1617 Fruchtbringende Gesellschaft in Weimar, 1635 Académie française in Paris, 1713 Real Academia Española in Madrid. Language became increasingly linked to nation as opposed to culture, and was also used to promote religious and ethnic identity: e.g. different Bible translations in the same language for Catholics and Protestants.

        The first languages whose standardisation was promoted included Italian (questione della lingua: Modern Tuscan/Florentine vs. Old Tuscan/Florentine vs. Venetian → Modern Florentine + archaic Tuscan + Upper Italian), French (the standard is based on Parisian), English (the standard is based on the London dialect) and (High) German (based on the dialects of the chancellery of Meissen in Saxony, Middle German, and the chancellery of Prague in Bohemia ("Common German")). But several other nations also began to develop a standard variety in the 16th century.

        Lingua franca Edit

        Europe has had a number of languages that were considered linguae francae over some ranges for some periods according to some historians. Typically in the rise of a national language the new language becomes a lingua franca to peoples in the range of the future nation until the consolidation and unification phases. If the nation becomes internationally influential, its language may become a lingua franca among nations that speak their own national languages. Europe has had no lingua franca ranging over its entire territory spoken by all or most of its populations during any historical period. Some linguae francae of past and present over some of its regions for some of its populations are:

          and then Koine Greek in the Mediterranean Basin from the Athenian Empire to the Eastern Roman Empire, being replaced by Modern Greek. and Modern Greek, in the Eastern Roman or Byzantine Empire and other parts of the Balkans south of the Jireček Line. [15] and Late Latin among the uneducated and educated populations respectively of the Roman Empire and the states that followed it in the same range no later than 900 AD Medieval Latin and Renaissance Latin among the educated populations of western, northern, central and part of eastern Europe until the rise of the national languages in that range, beginning with the first language academy in Italy in 1582/83 new Latin written only in scholarly and scientific contexts by a small minority of the educated population at scattered locations over all of Europe ecclesiastical Latin, in spoken and written contexts of liturgy and church administration only, over the range of the Roman Catholic Church. or Sabir, the original of the name, an Italian-based pidgin language of mixed origins used by maritime commercial interests around the Mediterranean in the Middle Ages and early Modern Age. [16] in continental western European countries and in the Crusader states. [17] , mainly during the reign of Holy Roman EmperorCharles IV (14th century) but also during other periods of Bohemian control over the Holy Roman Empire. , around the 14th–16th century, during the heyday of the Hanseatic League, mainly in Northeastern Europe across the Baltic Sea. as Castilian in Spain and New Spain from the times of the Catholic Monarchs and Columbus, c. 1492 that is, after the Reconquista, until established as a national language in the times of Louis XIV, c. 1648 subsequently multinational in all nations in or formerly in the Spanish Empire. [18] , due to the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth (16th–18th centuries). due to the Renaissance, the opera, the Italian Empire, the fashion industry and the influence of the Roman Catholic church. [19] from the golden age under Cardinal Richelieu and Louis XIV c. 1648 i.e., after the Thirty Years' War, in France and the French colonial empire, until established as the national language during the French Revolution of 1789 and subsequently multinational in all nations in or formerly in the various French Empires. [17] in Northern, Central, and Eastern Europe. [20] in Great Britain until its consolidation as a national language in the Renaissance and the rise of Modern English subsequently internationally under the various states in or formerly in the British Empire globally since the victories of the predominantly English speaking countries (United States, United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, and others) and their allies in the two world wars ending in 1918 (World War I) and 1945 (World War II) and the subsequent rise of the United States as a superpower and major cultural influence. in the former Soviet Union and Russian Empire including Northern and Central Asia.

        Linguistic minorities Edit

        Historical attitudes towards linguistic diversity are illustrated by two French laws: the Ordonnance de Villers-Cotterêts (1539), which said that every document in France should be written in French (neither in Latin nor in Occitan) and the Loi Toubon (1994), which aimed to eliminate anglicisms from official documents. States and populations within a state have often resorted to war to settle their differences. There have been attempts to prevent such hostilities: two such initiatives were promoted by the Council of Europe, founded in 1949, which affirms the right of minority language speakers to use their language fully and freely. [21] The Council of Europe is committed to protecting linguistic diversity. Currently all European countries except France, Andorra and Turkey have signed the Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities, while Greece, Iceland and Luxembourg have signed it, but have not ratified it this framework entered into force in 1998. Another European treaty, the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages, was adopted in 1992 under the auspices of the Council of Europe: it entered into force in 1998, and while it is legally binding for 24 countries, France, Iceland, Italy, North Macedonia, Moldova and Russia have chosen to sign without ratifying the convention.

        Scripts Edit

        The main scripts used in Europe today are the Latin and Cyrillic.

        The Greek alphabet was derived from the Phoenician alphabet, and Latin was derived from the Greek via the Old Italic alphabet. In the Early Middle Ages, Ogham was used in Ireland and runes (derived from Old Italic script) in Scandinavia. Both were replaced in general use by the Latin alphabet by the Late Middle Ages. The Cyrillic script was derived from the Greek with the first texts appearing around 940 AD.

        Around 1900 there were mainly two typeface variants of the Latin alphabet used in Europe: Antiqua and Fraktur. Fraktur was used most for German, Estonian, Latvian, Norwegian and Danish whereas Antiqua was used for Italian, Spanish, French, Polish, Portuguese, English, Romanian, Swedish and Finnish. The Fraktur variant was banned by Hitler in 1941, having been described as "Schwabacher Jewish letters". [22] Other scripts have historically been in use in Europe, including Phoenician, from which modern Latin letters descend, Ancient Egyptian hieroglyphs on Egyptian artefacts traded during Antiquity, various runic systems used in Northern Europe preceding Christianisation, and Arabic during the era of the Ottoman Empire.

        Hungarian rovás was used by the Hungarian people in the early Middle Ages, but it was gradually replaced with the Latin-based Hungarian alphabet when Hungary became a kingdom, though it was revived in the 20th century and has certain marginal, but growing area of usage since then.

        European Union Edit

        The European Union (as of 2016) had 28 member states accounting for a population of 510 million, or about 69% of the population of Europe.

        The European Union has designated by agreement with the member states 24 languages as "official and working": Bulgarian, Croatian, Czech, Danish, Dutch, English, Estonian, Finnish, French, German, Greek, Hungarian, Irish, Italian, Latvian, Lithuanian, Maltese, Polish, Portuguese, Romanian, Slovak, Slovenian, Spanish and Swedish. [23] This designation provides member states with two "entitlements": the member state may communicate with the EU in any of the designated languages, and view "EU regulations and other legislative documents" in that language. [24]

        The European Union and the Council of Europe have been collaborating in education of member populations in languages for "the promotion of plurilingualism" among EU member states. [25] The joint document, "Common European Framework of Reference for Languages: Learning, Teaching, Assessment (CEFR)", is an educational standard defining "the competencies necessary for communication" and related knowledge for the benefit of educators in setting up educational programs. In a 2005 independent survey requested by the EU's Directorate-General for Education and Culture regarding the extent to which major European languages were spoken in member states. The results were published in a 2006 document, "Europeans and Their Languages", or "Eurobarometer 243". In this study, statistically relevant [ clarification needed ] [ Do you mean "significant"? ] samples of the population in each country were asked to fill out a survey form concerning the languages that they spoke with sufficient competency "to be able to have a conversation". [26]

        The following is a table of European languages. The number of speakers as a first or second language (L1 and L2 speakers) listed are speakers in Europe only [nb 1] see list of languages by number of native speakers and list of languages by total number of speakers for global estimates on numbers of speakers.

        The list is intended to include any language variety with an ISO 639 code. However, it omits sign languages. Because the ISO-639-2 and ISO-639-3 codes have different definitions, this means that some communities of speakers may be listed more than once. For instance, speakers of Austro-Bavarian are listed both under "Bavarian" (ISO-639-3 code bar) as well as under "German" (ISO-639-2 code de).

        Languages spoken in Turkey, Cyprus, Armenia, Azerbaijan and Georgia Edit

        There are various definitions of Europe, which may or may not include all or parts of Turkey, Cyprus, Armenia, Azerbaijan, and Georgia. For convenience, the languages and associated statistics for all five of these countries are grouped together on this page, as they are usually presented at a national, rather than subnational, level.

        Name ISO-
        Classification Speakers in expanded geopolitical Europe Official status
        L1 L1+L2 National [nb 6] Regional
        Abkhaz ab Northwest Caucasian, Abazgi Abkhazia/Georgia: [169] 191,000 [170]
        Turkey: 44,000 [171]
        Abkhazia Abkhazia
        Adyghe (West Circassian) ady Northwest Caucasian, Circassian Turkey: 316,000 [171]
        Albanian sq Indo-European, Albanian Turkey: 66,000 (Tosk) [171]
        Arabic ar Afro-Asiatic, Semitic, West Turkey: 2,437,000 Not counting post-2014 Syrian refugees [171]
        Armenian hy Indo-European, Armenian Armenia: 3 million [172]
        Artsakh/Azerbaijan: [173] 145,000 [ citation needed ]
        Georgia: around 0.2 million ethnic Armenians (Abkhazia: 44,870 [174] )
        Turkey: 61,000 [171]
        Cyprus: 668 [175] : 3
        Azerbaijani az Turkic, Oghuz Azerbaijan 9 million [ citation needed ] [176]
        Turkey: 540,000 [171]
        Georgia 0.2 million
        Batsbi bbl Northeast Caucasian, Nakh Georgia: 500 [177] [ needs update ]
        Bulgarian bg Indo-European, Slavic, South Turkey: 351,000 [171]
        Crimean crh Turkic, Kipchak Turkey: 100,000 [171]
        Georgian ka Kartvelian, Karto-Zan Georgia: 3,224,696 [178]
        Turkey: 151,000 [171]
        Azerbaijan: 9,192 ethnic Georgians [179]
        Greek el Indo-European, Hellenic Cyprus: 679,883 [180] : 2.2
        Turkey: 3,600 [171]
        Juhuri jdt Indo-European, Indo-Iranian, Iranian, Southwest Azerbaijan: 24,000 (1989) [181] [ needs update ]
        Kurdish kur Indo-European, Indo-Iranian, Iranian, Northwest Turkey: 15 million [182]
        Armenia: 33,509 [183]
        Georgia: 14,000 [ citation needed ]
        Azerbaijan: 9,000 [ citation needed ]
        Laz lzz Kartvelian, Karto-Zan, Zan Turkey: 20,000 [184]
        Georgia: 2,000 [184]
        Megleno-Romanian ruq Indo-European, Italic, Romance, East Turkey: 4–5,000 [185]
        Mingrelian xmf Kartvelian, Karto-Zan, Zan Georgia (including Abkhazia): 344,000 [186]
        Pontic Greek pnt Indo-European, Hellenic Turkey: greater than 5,000 [187]
        Armenia: 900 ethnic Caucasus Greeks [188]
        Georgia: 5,689 Caucasus Greeks [178]
        Romani language and Domari language rom, dmt Indo-European, Indo-Iranian, Indic Turkey: 500,000 [171]
        Russian ru Indo-European, Balto-Slavic, Slavic Armenia: 15,000 [189]
        Azerbaijan: 250,000 [189]
        Georgia: 130,000 [189]
        Armenia: about 0.9 million [190]
        Azerbaijan: about 2.6 million [190]
        Georgia: about 1 million [190]
        Cyprus: 20,984 [191]
        South Ossetia
        Svan sva Kartvelian, Svan Georgia (incl. Abkhazia): 30,000 [192]
        Tat ttt Indo-European, Indo-Aryan, Iranian, Southwest Azerbaijan: 10,000 [193] [ needs update ]
        Turkish tr Turkic, Oghuz Turkey: 66,850,000 [171]
        Cyprus: 1,405 [194] + 265,100 in the North [195]
        Northern Cyprus

        Recent (post–1945) immigration to Europe introduced substantial communities of speakers of non-European languages. [196]

        The largest such communities include Arabic speakers (see Arabs in Europe) and Turkish speakers (beyond European Turkey and the historical sphere of influence of the Ottoman Empire, see Turks in Europe). [197] Armenians, Berbers, and Kurds have diaspora communities of c. 1–2,000,000 each. The various languages of Africa and languages of India form numerous smaller diaspora communities.

        Romanian History and Culture

        PIE. Indo-Europeans. Indo-Iranians and their Language

        PIE. Indo-Europeans. Indo-Iranians and their Language 

        Principal archaeological sites and cultures mentioned in text. Sites: A, Mikhailovka B, Petrovka C, Arkhaim D, Sintashta E, Botai F, Namazga G, Gonur H, Togolok I, Dashly Oasis J, Sapelli K, Djarkutan L, Hissar M, Shahr-i-Sokhta N, Sibri O, Shahdad P, Yahya Q, Susa.

         Cultures: 1, Cucuteni (NWM)-Tripolye 2, Pit Grave/Catacomb3, Sintashta/Arkhaim 4, Abashevo 5, Afanasievo 6, Andronovo 7, Bactrian Margiana archaeological complex 8, Indus 9, Akkadian 10, Hurrian 11, Hittite

        Table of Contents-Cuprins:  

        Archaeology and Language. The Indo-Iranians by C. C. Lamberg-Karlovsky

        Archaeology and Language. The Indo-Iranians

        by C. C. Lamberg-Karlovsky

        Current Anthropology Volume 43, Number 1, February 2002
         by The Wenner-Gren Foundation for Anthropological Research.

        Lexicon and culture

        Much less is known about the parent language’s vocabulary than about its phonology and grammar. Sounds and grammatical categories do not easily disappear or undergo radical change in so many daughter languages that their former existence can no longer be detected. It is relatively easy, however, for an individual word to disappear or shift meaning in so many daughter languages that its existence or meaning in the parent language cannot be confidently inferred. Hence, from the linguistic evidence alone, scholars can never say that Proto-Indo-European lacked a word for any particular concept they can only state the probability that certain items did exist and from these items make inferences about the culture and location in time and space of the speakers of Proto-Indo-European.

        Thus is it supposed that the Proto-Indo-European community knew and talked about dogs (*ḱwón-), horses (*H1éḱwo-), sheep (*H3éwi-), and almost certainly cows (*g w ów-) and pigs (*súH-). Probably all these animals were domesticated. At least one cereal grain was known (*yéwo-), and at least one metal (*H2éyos). There were vehicles (*wóǵho-) with wheels (*k w ék w lo-), pulled by teams joined by yokes (*yugó-). Honey was known, and it probably formed the basis of an alcoholic drink (*mélit-, *médhu) related to the English mead. Numerals up through 100 (*ḱm̥tóm) were in use. All this suggests a people with a well-developed Neolithic (characterized by simple agriculture and polished stone tools) or even Chalcolithic (copper- or bronze-using) technology.

        Nominal inflection

        The inflectional categories of the noun were case, number, and gender. Eight cases can be reconstructed: nominative, for the subject of a verb accusative, for the direct object genitive, for the relations expressed by English of dative, corresponding to the English preposition to, as in “give a prize to the winner” locative, corresponding to at, in ablative, from instrumental, with and vocative, used for the person being addressed. For examples of some of these, see Table 2. Besides singular and plural number, there was a dual number for referring to two items. Each noun belonged to one of three genders: masculine, to which belonged most nouns designating male creatures feminine, to which belonged most names of female creatures and neuter, to which belonged only a few words for individual adult living creatures. The gender of nouns not designating living creatures was only partly predictable from their meaning.

        Adjectives were nounlike words that varied in gender according to the gender of another noun with which they were in agreement, or, if used by themselves, according to the sex of the entity to which they referred thus, Latin bonus sermō ‘good speech’ (masculine), bona aetās ‘good age’ (feminine), bonum cor ‘good heart’ (neuter), or bonus ‘a good man,’ bona ‘a good woman,’ bonum ‘a good thing.’ The neuter of an adjective was often identical with the masculine except for having different endings in the nominative and accusative cases. Feminine gender was either completely identical with the masculine or derived from it by means of a suffix, the two commonest being *-eH2- and *-iH2- (*-yeH2-).

        Demonstrative, interrogative, relative, and indefinite pronouns were inflected like adjectives, with some special endings. Personal pronouns were inflected very differently. They lacked the category of gender, and they marked number and case (in part) not by endings but by different stems, as is still seen in English singular nominative “I,” but oblique “my,” “me” plural nominative “we,” but plural oblique “our,” “us.” (The oblique is any case other than nominative or vocative.)

        Where and When did Indo-European Languages Originate

        Indo-European Language Family has the highest number of speakers in the world today. There are various views regarding where the Proto Indo-European speakers lived, what they looked like, which genetic markers should be associated with them, what is the relationship of Indo-European Languages with other languages and language families, when they began to disperse, and whether they spread their language(s) peacefully or violently.

        I am no expert in history, linguistics, genetics, or anthropology - however, I think this topic is an interesting one.



        IMO, the origin of Indo-European languages is a mystery.
        The theory that it originates around the black sea-caspian sea region is supported through 'linguistic center of gravity' idea.
        The idea is this:
        The origin area of a language would have the oldest type of the said language and also the most diverse dialects and related languages in the immediate vicinity due to the differentiation of a language over time.
        Ie, if Mandarin originates in North-West china, it is because this region shows the oldest stratum of Mandarin language as well as the most dialectical and linguistic variety in the Sino-Tibetan language tree.

        This idea is fine by itself but IMO it is highly flawed because it overlooks political history: A nomadic group like many of the Indo-European tribes or the Turkic tribes would make this invalid,since linguistic stratum and dialectial differentiation requires a settled civilization evolving linguistically for a long period.
        It also overlooks political dynamics- whether a region has been united for a long period of time as an empire with an official language or not, which would again, skew the concept.
        So IMO, the origin point of Indo-European languages is a bit of a mystery.


        Sanskrit is the oldest attested Indo-European language. Uninformed people jump to the conclusion that all other attested IE languages evolved from Sanskrit however, the consensus of linguists is that Sanskrit and the others all came from a proto-IE language, Sanskrit itself having evolved from a proto-Indo-Iranian stem of PIE. I find it very interesting that of all European languages Lithuanian is considered closest to Sanskrit (least diverged from common origin).

        Since the origins of Indo-European language apparently must be traced to the prehistory of end of the last Ice Age, much is necessarily left to linguistic inferrences and associative archaeological evidence.


        I favour the Anatolian Hypothesis, it help me a lot understanding a lot of historical procces. In fact, i prefer the Indo-Anatolian hypothesis.

        The most conservative branch of the indoeuropean languages is the Anatolian one, Hitite, Luwite and a lot more languages now lost. I think the born place was central-southern Anatolia, because east from these regions it seem that hurrian languages are older certainly minoan Crete and the pelasgians from Greece spoke languages of the anatolian branch, they were very close related to other people of that peninsula. People from Anatolia spreaded to the northwest and colonized the Balkans all along the Danube and afluents, this is the second borning place, with almost all the indoeuropean branch spreading from some point around this region. Germanic, Celtic, Illyrian, Italian all they should born in a relativelly small region along the lower and central Danube. The western regions of Europe was the last to be reached. Indo-Iranians, or their ancestors, should be people influenced by the spread of the neolithic from the Balkans to the northern shore of the Black Sea, from there they colonized the eurasian steppe and then entered India.

        In this sense, i support the Indo-Anatolian hypothesis, which split the older Anatolian languages to one side, and to the other side the new languages developed time after in the Balkans, the true indoeuropean languages.

        Achaeans greeks should be a group of Balkan people closely related to traco-illyrians, who migrated to Greece and who settled over the original anatolian peoples there.
        Laterly other people related with they, frigians-armenians migrated into Anatolia from the Balkans.
        Etruscans were an anatolian people who migrated to Italy by that time.

        Indo European languages movement and origins

        I learned that tge English language along with most western languages in Europe are Indo European in origins. The british discovered this during their time in India, that so many Latin words were similar to Hindi. Do we know how the languages moved from the East to west? Was it during ancient times and not during relative recent conquests from the East by Arabs, Turks genghus Kahn, or Alexander the great who reached india?

        Another thing which could provide the answer. I recall a discussion I had with an Indian colleague who looked like a Tamil and was very dark. He explained his people were the original inhabitants and the people from the North and Pakistan came from East europe, Bulgaria Rumania. I always thought he was pulling my leg or engaging in community banter. That was untill where I live in East London west essex area, there is a large community of East european migrants from the said countries. What struck me was that some look like 'ethnic Asians' ie from India or Pakistan but they have a totally different language, accent culture/ religion, they are mainly Christian.

        So if their ancestors migrated/invaded into what is now India , did they bring the language with them or learned Hindi/sankrit in india? Were those languages indigenous to the area spoken by the earliest inhabitants? Were they Tamil ancestors? So how did they get to Westen Europe into Latin, Germanic languages (inc English) and even russian?


        It happened in the Bronze Age. Most migrations happened in the 2nd millennium BCE. Greeks and Indians who had no familiarity with each other in 500 BCE, spoke languages of the same family and worshipped similar deities. And no, Turks, Arabs etc. are not Indo-Europeans, they have nothing to with it.

        They brought old Indo-Aryan and its various dialects with them. Over time, it evolved into what we call today as Hindi and Marathi etc.


        Tamils are part of a larger grouping called Dravidian. The term "Dravidian" is comparable to the term "Slavic" or "Germanic" in Europe, insofar as it refers to an grouping of related ethno-linguistic groups. The largest such grouping in India is Indo-Aryan, which includes almost all people from the Indus river to the Brahmaputra, and from the Himalayas to Maharashtra and Orissa. It is the Indo-Aryans who speak languages descended from Old Indo-Aryan (OIA), which in turn is descended from Proto-Indo-European (PIE), which is also the common ancestor of the Germanic, Slavic, Iranian, etc. language families. However, this does not mean that all Indo-Aryans are racially descended from steppe migrants or invaders on the contrary, the vast majority of North Indians are probably descendants of native, pre-Aryan populations who underwent a linguistic shift following Indo-Aryan (IA) migrations/invasions.

        As for Dravidians, their origins are extremely obscure and difficult to trace, because Dravidian is an isolated language family with no relatives anywhere outside of the Indian subcontinent (some scholars postulate that Dravidian languages shared a distant common ancestor with Elamite, an indigenous language of southwestern Iran, but this is very controversial and evidence is too scant to make this connection with confidence). This means it is impossible to reconstruct Dravidian migrations in the same way that we can reconstruct Indo-European movements. However, there are still certain things that we can say about Dravidians and their origins. For example, is almost certain that Dravidian languages were once spoken throughout Maharashtra, Gujarat, and probably Sindh. We know this based on the survival of Dravidian place-names in these regions, and the influences of Dravidian languages on Western Indian languages like Marathi and Gujarati. In contrast, there is no evidence that Dravidians ever lived in the Indo-Gangetic plains, or in much of North or East India. This suggests that either (a) Proto-Dravidian or PDr emerged in Western India in the neighborhood of Sindh/Gujarat and then spread southward into the Deccan, or (b) PDr emerged somewhere in West Asia and entered the Indian subcontinent through Sindh via the Makran coast, and then spread south into the Deccan. In either scenario, the spread of Dravidian languages much have taken place in a Northwest --> Southeast movement from Sindh/Gujarat into Maharashtra and Telangana. From linguistics, we know that Telugu belongs to a separate sub-family of Dravidian languages from Kannada and Tamil that diverged earlier from PDr, and this further supports the idea that Dravidian languages first reached Maharashtra and Telangana before Karnataka or Tamil Nadu, as Karnataka and Tamil Nadu seemed to have been Dravidianzed by a branch that was distinct from the Pre-Telugu branch.

        Watch the video: Proto-Indo-European Culture (May 2022).