The Info List - Indo-European Languages

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Pontic Steppe

Domestication of the horse Kurgan Kurgan
culture Steppe cultures

Bug-Dniester Sredny Stog Dnieper-Donets Samara Khvalynsk Yamna

Mikhaylovka culture





Eastern Europe

Usatovo Cernavodă Cucuteni

Northern Europe

Corded ware

Baden Middle Dnieper

Bronze Age

Pontic Steppe

Chariot Yamna Catacomb Multi-cordoned ware Poltavka Srubna

Northern/Eastern Steppe

Abashevo culture Andronovo Sintashta


Globular Amphora Corded ware Beaker Unetice Trzciniec Nordic Bronze Age Terramare Tumulus Urnfield Lusatian


BMAC Yaz Gandhara grave

Iron Age




Thraco-Cimmerian Hallstatt Jastorf




Painted Grey Ware Northern Black Polished Ware

Peoples and societies

Bronze Age

Anatolians Armenians Mycenaean Greeks Indo-Iranians

Iron Age





Scythians Persians Medes



Gauls Celtiberians Insular Celts

Hellenic peoples Italic peoples Germanic peoples Paleo-Balkans/Anatolia:

Thracians Dacians Illyrians Phrygians

Middle Ages




Balts Slavs Albanians Medieval Europe


Medieval India


Greater Persia

Religion and mythology


Proto-Indo-European religion Proto-Indo-Iranian religion






Buddhism Jainism





Yazidism Yarsanism






Paleo-Balkans Greek Roman Celtic

Irish Scottish Breton Welsh Cornish


Anglo-Saxon Continental Norse


Latvian Lithuanian

Slavic Albanian


Fire-sacrifice Horse sacrifice Sati Winter solstice/Yule

Indo-European studies


Marija Gimbutas J.P. Mallory


Copenhagen Studies in Indo-European


Encyclopedia of Indo-European Culture The Horse, the Wheel and Language Journal of Indo-European Studies Indogermanisches etymologisches Wörterbuch Indo-European Etymological Dictionary

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The Indo-European languages
Indo-European languages
are a language family of several hundred related languages and dialects.[2] There are about 445 living Indo-European languages, according to the estimate by Ethnologue, with over two thirds (313) of them belonging to the Indo-Iranian branch.[3] The most widely spoken Indo-European languages by native speakers are Spanish, English, Hindustani (Hindi-Urdu), Portuguese, Bengali, Punjabi, and Russian, each with over 100 million speakers, with German, French, Marathi, Italian, and Persian also having significant numbers. Today, about 46% of the human population speaks an Indo-European language as a first language, by far the highest of any language family. The Indo-European family includes most of the modern languages of Europe; exceptions include Hungarian, Finnish, Estonian, several minor Uralic languages, Turkish (a Turkic language), Basque (a language isolate), and Maltese (a Semitic language). The Indo-European family is also represented in Asia
with the exception of East and Southeast Asia. It was predominant in ancient Anatolia
(present-day Turkey), the ancient Tarim Basin
Tarim Basin
(present-day Northwest China) and most of Central Asia
until the medieval Turkic and Mongol invasions. With written evidence appearing since the Bronze Age
Bronze Age
in the form of the Anatolian languages and Mycenaean Greek, the Indo-European family is significant to the field of historical linguistics as possessing the second-longest recorded history, after the Afroasiatic family, although certain language isolates, such as Sumerian, Elamite, Hurrian, Hattian, and Kassite are recorded earlier. All Indo-European languages
Indo-European languages
are descendants of a single prehistoric language, reconstructed as Proto-Indo-European, spoken sometime in the Neolithic
era. Although no written records remain, aspects of the culture and religion of the Proto-Indo-European people
Proto-Indo-European people
can also be reconstructed from the related cultures of ancient and modern Indo-European speakers who continue to live in areas to where the Proto-Indo-Europeans
migrated from their original homeland.[citation needed] Several disputed proposals link Indo-European to other major language families.


1 History of Indo-European linguistics 2 Classification

2.1 Grouping 2.2 Tree versus wave model 2.3 Proposed subgroupings 2.4 Satem
and centum languages 2.5 Suggested macrofamilies

3 Evolution

3.1 Proto-Indo-European 3.2 Diversification 3.3 Important languages for reconstruction 3.4 Sound changes 3.5 Comparison of conjugations

4 Comparison of cognates 5 Present distribution 6 See also 7 References 8 Sources 9 Further reading 10 External links

10.1 Databases 10.2 Lexica

History of Indo-European linguistics[edit] Main article: Indo-European studies Although ancient Greek and Roman grammarians noticed similarities between their languages, as well as with surrounding Celtic and Germanic speakers, the sheer ubiquity of Indo-European languages around them led them to the assumption that all human languages were related.[citation needed] This assumption would continue among many grammarians into the early 19th century, the grammatical similarities among Indo-European languages
Indo-European languages
sometimes being seen as evidence of the Tower of Babel
Tower of Babel
until the establishment of the study of Indo-European linguistics proper and the study of non-Indo-European language families.[4][not in citation given][non-primary source needed] In the 16th century, European visitors to the Indian subcontinent began to notice similarities among Indo-Aryan, Iranian, and European languages. In 1583, English Jesuit
missionary and Konkani
scholar Thomas Stephens wrote a letter from Goa
to his brother (not published until the 20th century)[5] in which he noted similarities between Indian languages and Greek and Latin. Another account was made by Filippo Sassetti, a merchant born in Florence
in 1540, who travelled to the Indian subcontinent. Writing in 1585, he noted some word similarities between Sanskrit
and Italian (these included devaḥ/dio "God", sarpaḥ/serpe "serpent", sapta/sette "seven", aṣṭa/otto "eight", and nava/nove "nine").[5] However, neither Stephens' nor Sassetti's observations led to further scholarly inquiry.[5] In 1647, Dutch linguist and scholar Marcus Zuerius van Boxhorn
Marcus Zuerius van Boxhorn
noted the similarity among certain Asian and European languages and theorized that they were derived from a primitive common language which he called Scythian.[citation needed] He included in his hypothesis Dutch, Albanian, Greek, Latin, Persian, and German, later adding Slavic, Celtic, and Baltic languages. However, Van Boxhorn's suggestions did not become widely known and did not stimulate further research.

Franz Bopp, pioneer in the field of comparative linguistic studies.

Ottoman Turkish traveler Evliya Çelebi
Evliya Çelebi
visited Vienna in 1665–1666 as part of a diplomatic mission and noted a few similarities between words in German and in Persian. Gaston Coeurdoux and others made observations of the same type. Coeurdoux made a thorough comparison of Sanskrit, Latin
and Greek conjugations in the late 1760s to suggest a relationship among them. Meanwhile, Mikhail Lomonosov
Mikhail Lomonosov
compared different language groups, including Slavic, Baltic ("Kurlandic"), Iranian ("Medic"), Finnish, Chinese, "Hottentot", and others, noting that related languages (including Latin, Greek, German and Russian) must have separated in antiquity from common ancestors.[6] The hypothesis reappeared in 1786 when Sir William Jones first lectured on the striking similarities among three of the oldest languages known in his time: Latin, Greek, and Sanskrit, to which he tentatively added Gothic, Celtic, and Persian,[7] though his classification contained some inaccuracies and omissions.[8] Thomas Young first used the term Indo-European in 1813, deriving from the geographical extremes of the language family: from Western Europe to North India.[9][10] A synonym is Indo-Germanic (Idg. or IdG.), specifying the family's southeasternmost and northwesternmost branches. This first appeared in French (indo-germanique) in 1810 in the work of Conrad Malte-Brun; in most languages this term is now dated or less common than Indo-European, although in German indogermanisch remains the standard scientific term. A number of other synonymous terms have also been used. Franz Bopp wrote in 1816 On the conjugational system of the Sanskrit language compared with that of Greek, Latin, Persian and Germanic[11] and between 1833 and 1852 he wrote Comparative Grammar. This marks the beginning of Indo-European studies
Indo-European studies
as an academic discipline. The classical phase of Indo-European comparative linguistics leads from this work to August Schleicher's 1861 Compendium and up to Karl Brugmann's Grundriss, published in the 1880s. Brugmann's neogrammarian reevaluation of the field and Ferdinand de Saussure's development of the laryngeal theory may be considered[by whom?] the beginning of "modern" Indo-European studies. The generation of Indo-Europeanists active in the last third of the 20th century (such as Calvert Watkins, Jochem Schindler, and Helmut Rix) developed a better understanding of morphology and of ablaut in the wake of Kuryłowicz's 1956 Apophony in Indo-European, who in 1927 pointed out the existence of the Hittite consonant ḫ.[12] Kuryłowicz's discovery supported Ferdinand de Saussure's 1879 proposal of the existence of coefficients sonantiques, elements de Saussure reconstructed to account for vowel length alternations in Indo-European languages. This led to the so-called laryngeal theory, a major step forward in Indo-European linguistics and a confirmation of de Saussure's theory.[citation needed] Classification[edit] See also: Indo-European migrations
Indo-European migrations
and List of languages by first written accounts The various subgroups of the Indo-European language family include ten major branches, listed below in alphabetical order

Albanian, attested from the 13th century AD;[13] Proto-Albanian has evolved from an ancient Paleo-Balkan language, traditionally thought to be Illyrian,[14] however, the evidence supporting this is still insufficient.[15] Anatolian, extinct by Late Antiquity, spoken in Asia
Minor, attested in isolated terms in Luwian/Hittite mentioned in Semitic Old Assyrian texts from the 20th and 19th centuries BC, Hittite texts from about 1650 BC.[16][17] Armenian, attested from the early 5th century AD. Balto-Slavic, believed by most Indo-Europeanists[18] to form a phylogenetic unit, while a minority ascribes similarities to prolonged language-contact.

Slavic (from Proto-Slavic), attested from the 9th century AD (possibly earlier), earliest texts in Old Church Slavonic. Slavic languages include Bulgarian, Russian, Polish, Czech, Slovak, Montenegrin, Macedonian, Bosnian, Croatian, Serbian, Slovenian, Ukrainian, Belarusian, and Rusyn. Baltic, attested from the 14th century AD; for languages first attested that recently, they retain unusually many archaic features attributed to Proto-Indo-European (PIE). Living examples are Lithuanian and Latvian.

Celtic (from Proto-Celtic), attested since the 6th century BC; Lepontic inscriptions date as early as the 6th century BC; Celtiberian from the 2nd century BC; Primitive Irish
Primitive Irish
Ogham inscriptions from the 4th or 5th century AD, earliest inscriptions in Old Welsh from the 7th century AD. Modern Celtic languages
Celtic languages
include Welsh, Cornish, Breton, Scots Gaelic, Irish Gaelic
Irish Gaelic
and Manx. Germanic (from Proto-Germanic), earliest attestations in runic inscriptions from around the 2nd century AD, earliest coherent texts in Gothic, 4th century AD. Old English
Old English
manuscript tradition from about the 8th century AD. Includes English, Frisian, German, Dutch, Danish, Swedish, Norwegian, Afrikaans, Yiddish, Low German, Icelandic and Faroese. Hellenic and Greek (from Proto-Greek, see also History of Greek); fragmentary records in Mycenaean Greek
Mycenaean Greek
from between 1450 and 1350 BC have been found.[19] Homeric texts date to the 8th century BC. Indo-Iranian, attested circa 1400 BC, descended from Proto-Indo-Iranian (dated to the late 3rd millennium BC).

Indo-Aryan (including Dardic), attested from around 1400 BC in Hittite texts from Asia
Minor, showing traces of Indo-Aryan words.[20][21] Epigraphically from the 3rd century BC in the form of Prakrit
(Edicts of Ashoka). The Rigveda
is assumed to preserve intact records via oral tradition dating from about the mid-second millennium BC in the form of Vedic Sanskrit. Includes a wide range of modern languages from Northern India, Pakistan
and Bangladesh
including Hindustani, Bengali, Assamese, Punjabi, Kashmiri, Gujarati, Marathi, Odia and Nepali as well as Sinhalese of Sri Lanka. Iranian or Iranic, attested from roughly 1000 BC in the form of Avestan. Epigraphically from 520 BC in the form of Old Persian (Behistun inscription). Includes Persian, Ossetian and Kurdish Nuristani

Italic (from Proto-Italic), attested from the 7th century BC. Includes the ancient Osco- Umbrian
languages, Faliscan, as well as Latin
and its descendants (the Romance languages). Tocharian, with proposed links to the Afanasevo culture
Afanasevo culture
of Southern Siberia.[22] Extant in two dialects (Turfanian and Kuchean, or Tocharian A and B), attested from roughly the 6th to the 9th century AD. Marginalized by the Old Turkic Uyghur Khaganate
Uyghur Khaganate
and probably extinct by the 10th century.

In addition to the classical ten branches listed above, several extinct and little-known languages and language-groups have existed:

Illyrian: possibly related to Albanian, Messapian, or both Venetic: shares several similarities with Latin
and the Italic languages, but also has some affinities with other IE languages, especially Germanic and Celtic.[23][24] Liburnian: doubtful affiliation, features shared with Venetic, Illyrian, and Indo-Hittite, significant transition of the Pre-Indo-European elements Messapian: not conclusively deciphered Phrygian: language of the ancient Phrygians Paionian: extinct language once spoken north of Macedon Thracian: possibly including Dacian Dacian: possibly very close to Thracian Ancient Macedonian: proposed relationship to Greek. Ligurian – possibly close to or part of Celtic.[25] Sicel: an ancient language spoken by the Sicels (Greek Sikeloi, Latin Siculi), one of the three indigenous (i.e. pre-Greek and pre-Punic) tribes of Sicily. Proposed relationship to Latin
or proto-Illyrian (Pre-Indo-European) at an earlier stage.[26] Lusitanian: possibly related to (or part of) Celtic, Ligurian, or Italic Cimmerian: possibly Iranic, Thracian, or Celtic

Grouping[edit] Further information: Language families

Indo-European family tree in order of first attestation

Membership of languages in the Indo-European language family is determined by genealogical relationships, meaning that all members are presumed descendants of a common ancestor, Proto-Indo-European. Membership in the various branches, groups and subgroups of Indo-European is also genealogical, but here the defining factors are shared innovations among various languages, suggesting a common ancestor that split off from other Indo-European groups. For example, what makes the Germanic languages
Germanic languages
a branch of Indo-European is that much of their structure and phonology can be stated in rules that apply to all of them. Many of their common features are presumed innovations that took place in Proto-Germanic, the source of all the Germanic languages. Tree versus wave model[edit] See also: Language change The "tree model" is considered an appropriate representation of the genealogical history of a language family if communities do not remain in contact after their languages have started to diverge. In this case, subgroups defined by shared innovations form a nested pattern. The tree model is not appropriate in cases where languages remain in contact as they diversify; in such cases subgroups may overlap, and the "wave model" is a more accurate representation.[27] Most approaches to Indo-European subgrouping to date have assumed that the tree model is by-and-large valid for Indo-European;[28] however, there is also a long tradition of wave-model approaches.[29][30][31] In addition to genealogical changes, many of the early changes in Indo-European languages
Indo-European languages
can be attributed to language contact. It has been asserted, for example, that many of the more striking features shared by Italic languages
Italic languages
(Latin, Oscan, Umbrian, etc.) might well be areal features. More certainly, very similar-looking alterations in the systems of long vowels in the West Germanic languages
Germanic languages
greatly postdate any possible notion of a proto-language innovation (and cannot readily be regarded as "areal", either, because English and continental West Germanic were not a linguistic area). In a similar vein, there are many similar innovations in Germanic and Balto-Slavic that are far more likely areal features than traceable to a common proto-language, such as the uniform development of a high vowel (*u in the case of Germanic, *i/u in the case of Baltic and Slavic) before the PIE syllabic resonants *ṛ,* ḷ, *ṃ, *ṇ, unique to these two groups among IE languages, which is in agreement with the wave model. The Balkan sprachbund
Balkan sprachbund
even features areal convergence among members of very different branches. Using an extension to the Ringe-Warnow model of language evolution, early IE was confirmed to have featured limited contact between distinct lineages, whereas only the Germanic subfamily exhibited a less treelike behaviour as it acquired some characteristics from neighbours early in its evolution rather than from its direct ancestors. The internal diversification of especially West Germanic is cited to have been radically non-treelike.[32] Proposed subgroupings[edit]

Hypothetical Indo-European phylogenetic clades


Daco-Thracian Graeco-Armenian Graeco-Aryan Graeco-Phrygian Hellenic Thraco-Illyrian


Italo-Celtic Indo-Hittite Indo-Uralic

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Specialists have postulated the existence of higher-order subgroups such as Italo-Celtic, Graeco-Armenian, Graeco-Aryan
or Graeco-Armeno-Aryan, and Balto-Slavo-Germanic. However, unlike the ten traditional branches, these are all controversial to a greater or lesser degree.[33] The Italo-Celtic
subgroup was at one point uncontroversial, considered by Antoine Meillet
Antoine Meillet
to be even better established than Balto-Slavic.[34] The main lines of evidence included the genitive suffix -ī; the superlative suffix -m̥mo; the change of /p/ to /kʷ/ before another /kʷ/ in the same word (as in penkʷe > *kʷenkʷe > Latin
quīnque, Old Irish cóic); and the subjunctive morpheme -ā-.[35] This evidence was prominently challenged by Calvert Watkins;[36] while Michael Weiss has argued for the subgroup.[37] Evidence for a relationship between Greek and Armenian includes the regular change of the second laryngeal to a at the beginnings of words, as well as terms for "woman" and "sheep".[38] Greek and Indo-Iranian share innovations mainly in verbal morphology and patterns of nominal derivation.[39] Relations have also been proposed between Phrygian and Greek,[40] and between Thracian and Armenian.[41][42] Some fundamental shared features, like the aorist (a verb form denoting action without reference to duration or completion) having the perfect active particle -s fixed to the stem, link this group closer to Anatolian languages[43] and Tocharian. Shared features with Balto-Slavic languages, on the other hand (especially present and preterit formations), might be due to later contacts.[44] The Indo-Hittite hypothesis proposes that the Indo-European language family consists of two main branches: one represented by the Anatolian languages and another branch encompassing all other Indo-European languages. Features that separate Anatolian from all other branches of Indo-European (such as the gender or the verb system) have been interpreted alternately as archaic debris or as innovations due to prolonged isolation. Points proffered in favour of the Indo-Hittite hypothesis are the (non-universal) Indo-European agricultural terminology in Anatolia[45] and the preservation of laryngeals.[46] However, in general this hypothesis is considered to attribute too much weight to the Anatolian evidence. According to another view, the Anatolian subgroup left the Indo-European parent language comparatively late, approximately at the same time as Indo-Iranian and later than the Greek or Armenian divisions. A third view, especially prevalent in the so-called French school of Indo-European studies, holds that extant similarities in non-satem languages in general—including Anatolian—might be due to their peripheral location in the Indo-European language-area and to early separation, rather than indicating a special ancestral relationship.[47] Hans J. Holm, based on lexical calculations, arrives at a picture roughly replicating the general scholarly opinion and refuting the Indo-Hittite hypothesis.[48] Satem
and centum languages[edit]

Some significant isoglosses in Indo-European daughter languages at around 500 BC.   Blue: centum languages   Red: satem languages   Orange: languages with augment   Green: languages with PIE *-tt- > -ss-   Tan: languages with PIE *-tt- > -st-   Pink: languages with instrumental, dative and ablative plural endings (and some others) in *-m- rather than *-bh-

Main article: Centum
and satem languages The division of the Indo-European languages
Indo-European languages
into satem and centum groups was put forward by Peter von Bradke in 1890, although Karl Brugmann had proposed a similar type of division in 1886. In the satem languages, which include the Balto-Slavic and Indo-Iranian branches, as well as (in most respects) Albanian and Armenian, the reconstructed Proto-Indo-European palatovelars remained distinct and were fricativized, while the labiovelars merged with the "plain velars". In the centum languages, the palatovelars merged with the plain velars, while the labiovelars remained distinct. The results of these alternative developments are exemplified by the words for "hundred" in Avestan (satem) and Latin
(centum)—the initial palatovelar developed into a fricative [s] in the former, but became an ordinary velar [k] in the latter. Rather than being a genealogical separation, the centum–satem division is commonly seen as resulting from innovative changes that spread across PIE dialect-branches over a particular geographical area; the centum–satem isogloss intersects a number of other isoglosses that mark distinctions between features in the early IE branches. It may be that the centum branches in fact reflect the original state of affairs in PIE, and only the satem branches shared a set of innovations, which affected all but the peripheral areas of the PIE dialect continuum.[49] Kortlandt proposes that the ancestors of Balts
and Slavs
took part in satemization before being drawn later into the western Indo-European sphere.[50] Suggested macrofamilies[edit] See also: Origin of language Some linguists propose that Indo-European languages
Indo-European languages
form part of one of several hypothetical macrofamilies. However, these theories remain highly controversial, not being accepted by most linguists in the field. Some of the smaller proposed macrofamilies include:

Pontic, postulated by John Colarusso, which joins Indo-European with Northwest Caucasian Indo-Uralic, joining Indo-European with Uralic

Other, greater proposed families including Indo-European languages, include:

Eurasiatic, a theory championed by Joseph Greenberg Nostratic, comprising all or some of the Eurasiatic languages, as well as the Kartvelian, Uralic, Dravidian (or even the Elamo-Dravidian macrofamily), Altaic, and Afroasiatic language families

Objections to such groupings are not based on any theoretical claim about the likely historical existence or non-existence of such macrofamilies; it is entirely reasonable to suppose that they might have existed. The serious difficulty lies in identifying the details of actual relationships between language families, because it is very hard to find concrete evidence that transcends chance resemblance, or is not equally likely explained as being due to borrowing (including Wanderwörter, which can travel very long distances). Because the signal-to-noise ratio in historical linguistics declines steadily over time, at great enough time-depths it becomes open to reasonable doubt that one can even distinguish between signal and noise. Evolution[edit] Proto-Indo-European[edit] Main article: Proto-Indo-European language

Scheme of Indo-European migrations
Indo-European migrations
from ca. 4000 to 1000 BC according to the Kurgan

The proposed Proto-Indo-European language
Proto-Indo-European language
(PIE) is the hypothetical common ancestor of the Indo-European languages, spoken by the Proto-Indo-Europeans. From the 1960s, knowledge of Anatolian became certain enough to establish its relationship to PIE. Using the method of internal reconstruction an earlier stage, called Pre-Proto-Indo-European, has been proposed. PIE was an inflected language, in which the grammatical relationships between words were signaled through inflectional morphemes (usually endings). The roots of PIE are basic morphemes carrying a lexical meaning. By addition of suffixes, they form stems, and by addition of endings, these form grammatically inflected words (nouns or verbs). The hypothetical Indo-European verb
Indo-European verb
system is complex and, like the noun, exhibits a system of ablaut. Diversification[edit] See also: Indo-European migrations

Expansion of Indo-European languages

IE languages c. 4000 BC 

IE languages c. 3000 BC 

IE languages c. 2000 BC 

IE languages c. 500 BC 

Expansion of Indo-European languages
Indo-European languages
(alternative view)

IE languages c. 3500 BC 

IE languages c. 2500 BC 

IE languages c. 1500 BC 

IE languages c. 500 AD 

The diversification of the parent language into the attested branches of daughter languages is historically unattested. The timeline of the evolution of the various daughter languages, on the other hand, is mostly undisputed, quite regardless of the question of Indo-European origins. Using a mathematical analysis borrowed from evolutionary biology, Don Ringe and Tandy Warnow propose the following evolutionary tree of Indo-European branches:[51]

Pre-Anatolian (before 3500 BC) Pre-Tocharian Pre-Italic and Pre-Celtic (before 2500 BC) Pre-Armenian and Pre-Greek (after 2500 BC) Proto-Indo-Iranian (2000 BC) Pre-Germanic and Pre-Balto-Slavic;[51] proto-Germanic c. 500 BC[52]

David Anthony proposes the following sequence:[53]

Pre-Anatolian (4200 BC) Pre-Tocharian (3700 BC) Pre-Germanic (3300 BC) Pre-Italic and Pre-Celtic (3000 BC) Pre-Armenian (2800 BC) Pre-Balto-Slavic (2800 BC) Pre-Greek (2500 BC) Proto-Indo-Iranian (2200 BC); split between Iranian and Old Indic 1800 BC

From 1500 BC the following sequence may be given:

1500 BC–1000 BC: The Nordic Bronze Age
Bronze Age
develops pre-Proto-Germanic, and the (pre)- Proto-Celtic Urnfield
and Hallstatt cultures emerge in Central Europe, introducing the Iron Age. Migration of the Proto-Italic speakers into the Italian peninsula (Bagnolo stele). Redaction of the Rigveda
and rise of the Vedic civilization
Vedic civilization
in the Punjab. The Mycenaean civilization
Mycenaean civilization
gives way to the Greek Dark Ages. Hittite goes extinct. 1000 BC–500 BC: The Celtic languages
Celtic languages
spread over Central and Western Europe. Baltic languages
Baltic languages
are spoken in a huge area from present-day Poland to the Ural Mountains.[54] Proto Germanic. Homer
and the beginning of Classical Antiquity. The Vedic Civilization gives way to the Mahajanapadas. Siddhartha Gautama
Siddhartha Gautama
preaches Buddhism. Zoroaster composes the Gathas, rise of the Achaemenid Empire, replacing the Elamites
and Babylonia. Separation of Proto-Italic into Osco-Umbrian and Latin-Faliscan. Genesis of the Greek and Old Italic alphabets. A variety of Paleo-Balkan languages
Paleo-Balkan languages
are spoken in Southern Europe. 500 BC–1 BC/AD: Classical Antiquity: spread of Greek and Latin throughout the Mediterranean and, during the Hellenistic period (Indo-Greeks), to Central Asia
and the Hindukush. Kushan Empire, Mauryan Empire. Proto-Germanic. 1 BC/ AD 500: Late Antiquity, Gupta period; attestation of Armenian. Proto-Slavic. The Roman Empire
Roman Empire
and then the Migration period marginalize the Celtic languages
Celtic languages
to the British Isles. Sogdian, an Eastern Iranian language, becomes the lingua franca of the Silk Road in Central Asia
leading to China, due to the proliferation of Sogdian merchants there. The last of the Anatolian languages
Anatolian languages
are extinct. 500–1000: Early Middle Ages. The Viking Age
Viking Age
forms an Old Norse
Old Norse
koine spanning Scandinavia, the British Isles and Iceland. The Islamic conquest and the Turkic expansion
Turkic expansion
results in the Arabization
and Turkification
of significant areas where Indo-European languages
Indo-European languages
were spoken. Tocharian is extinct in the course of the Turkic expansion while Northeastern Iranian (Scytho-Sarmatian) is reduced to small refugia. Slavic languages
Slavic languages
spread over wide areas in central, eastern and southeastern Europe, largely replacing Romance in the Balkans (with the exception of Romanian) and whatever was left of the paleo-Balkan languages with the exception of Albanian. 1000–1500: Late Middle Ages: Attestation of Albanian and Baltic. 1500–2000: Early Modern period to present: Colonialism
results in the spread of Indo-European languages
Indo-European languages
to every continent, most notably Romance (North, Central and South America, North and Sub-Saharan Africa, West Asia), West Germanic (English in North America, Sub-Saharan Africa, East Asia
and Australia; to a lesser extent Dutch and German), and Russian to Central Asia
and North Asia.

Important languages for reconstruction[edit] In reconstructing the history of the Indo-European languages
Indo-European languages
and the form of the Proto-Indo-European language, some languages have been of particular importance. These generally include the ancient Indo-European languages
Indo-European languages
that are both well-attested and documented at an early date, although some languages from later periods are important if they are particularly linguistically conservative (most notably, Lithuanian). Early poetry is of special significance because of the rigid poetic meter normally employed, which makes it possible to reconstruct a number of features (e.g. vowel length) that were either unwritten or corrupted in the process of transmission down to the earliest extant written manuscripts. Most noticeable[citation needed] of all:

Vedic Sanskrit
(c. 1500 – 500 BC). This language is unique in that its source documents were all composed orally, and were passed down through oral tradition (shakha schools) for c. 2,000 years before ever being written down. The oldest documents are all in poetic form; oldest and most important of all is the Rig Veda
Rig Veda
(c. 1500 BC). Mycenaean Greek
Mycenaean Greek
(c. 1450 BC)[55] and Ancient Greek
Ancient Greek
(c. 750 – 400 BC). Mycenaean Greek
Mycenaean Greek
is the oldest recorded form, but its value is lessened by the limited material, restricted subject matter, and highly ambiguous writing system. More important is Ancient Greek, documented extensively beginning with the two Homeric poems
Homeric poems
(the Iliad and the Odyssey, c. 750 BC). Hittite (c. 1700 – 1200 BC). This is the earliest-recorded of all Indo-European languages, and highly divergent from the others due to the early separation of the Anatolian languages
Anatolian languages
from the remainder. It possesses some highly archaic features found only fragmentarily, if at all, in other languages. At the same time, however, it appears to have undergone a large number of early phonological and grammatical changes which, combined with the ambiguities of its writing system, hinder its usefulness somewhat.

Other primary sources:

Latin, attested in a huge amount of poetic and prose material in the Classical period (c. 200 BC – 100 AD) and limited older material from as early as c. 600 BC. Gothic (the most archaic well-documented Germanic language, c. 350 AD), along with the combined witness of the other old Germanic languages: most importantly, Old English
Old English
(c. 800 – 1000 AD), Old High German (c. 750 – 1000 AD) and Old Norse
Old Norse
(c. 1100 – 1300 AD, with limited earlier sources dating all the way back to c. 200 AD). Old Avestan
Old Avestan
(c. 1700 – 1200 BC) and Younger Avestan (c. 900 BC). Documentation is sparse, but nonetheless quite important due to its highly archaic nature. Modern Lithuanian, with limited records in Old Lithuanian
Old Lithuanian
(c. 1500 – 1700 AD). Old Church Slavonic
Old Church Slavonic
(c. 900 – 1000 AD).

Other secondary sources, of lesser value due to poor attestation:

Luwian, Lycian, Lydian and other Anatolian languages
Anatolian languages
(c. 1400 – 400 BC). Oscan, Umbrian
and other Old Italic languages
Italic languages
(c. 600 – 200 BC). Old Persian
Old Persian
(c. 500 BC). Old Prussian
Old Prussian
(c. 1350 – 1600 AD); even more archaic than Lithuanian.

Other secondary sources, of lesser value[citation needed] due to extensive phonological changes and relatively limited attestation:

Old Irish (c. 700 – 850 AD). Tocharian (c. 500 – 800 AD), underwent large phonetic shifts and mergers in the proto-language, and has an almost entirely reworked declension system. Classical Armenian
Classical Armenian
(c. 400 – 1100 AD). Albanian (c. 1450 – current time).

Sound changes[edit] Main article: Indo-European sound laws As the Proto-Indo-European (PIE) language broke up, its sound system diverged as well, changing according to various sound laws evidenced in the daughter languages. PIE is normally reconstructed with a complex system of 15 stop consonants, including an unusual three-way phonation (voicing) distinction between voiceless, voiced and "voiced aspirated" (i.e. breathy voiced) stops, and a three-way distinction among velar consonants (k-type sounds) between "palatal" ḱ ǵ ǵh, "plain velar" k g gh and labiovelar kʷ gʷ gʷh. (The correctness of the terms palatal and plain velar is disputed; see Proto-Indo-European phonology.) All daughter languages have reduced the number of distinctions among these sounds, often in divergent ways. As an example, in English, one of the Germanic languages, the following are some of the major changes that happened:

As in other centum languages, the "plain velar" and "palatal" stops merged, reducing the number of stops from 15 to 12. As in the other Germanic languages, the Germanic sound shift changed the realization of all stop consonants, with each consonant shifting to a different one:

bʰ → b → p → f dʰ → d → t → θ gʰ → g → k → x (Later initial x →h) gʷʰ → gʷ → kʷ → xʷ (Later initial xʷ →hʷ)

Each original consonant shifted one position to the right. For example, original dʰ became d, while original d became t and original t became θ (written th in English). This is the original source of the English sounds written f, th, h and wh. Examples, comparing English with Latin, where the sounds largely remain unshifted:

For PIE p: piscis vs. fish; pēs, pēdis vs. foot; pluvium "rain" vs. flow; pater vs. father For PIE t: trēs vs. three; māter vs. mother For PIE d: decem vs. ten; pēdis vs. foot; quid vs. what For PIE k: centum vs. hund(red); capere "to take" vs. have For PIE kʷ: quid vs. what; quandō vs. when

Various further changes affected consonants in the middle or end of a word:

The voiced stops resulting from the sound shift were softened to voiced fricatives (or perhaps the sound shift directly generated fricatives in these positions). Verner's law also turned some of the voiceless fricatives resulting from the sound shift into voiced fricatives or stops. This is why the t in Latin
centum ends up as d in hund(red) rather than the expected th. Most remaining h sounds disappeared, while remaining f and th became voiced. For example, Latin
decem ends up as ten with no h in the middle (but note taíhun "ten" in Gothic, an archaic Germanic language). Similarly, the words seven and have have a voiced v (compare Latin
septem, capere), while father and mother have a voiced th, although not spelled differently (compare Latin
pater, māter).

None of the daughter-language families (except possibly Anatolian, particularly Luvian) reflect the plain velar stops differently from the other two series, and there is even a certain amount of dispute whether this series existed at all in PIE. The major distinction between centum and satem languages corresponds to the outcome of the PIE plain velars:

The "central" satem languages (Indo-Iranian, Balto-Slavic, Albanian, and Armenian) reflect both "plain velar" and labiovelar stops as plain velars, often with secondary palatalization before a front vowel (e i ē ī). The "palatal" stops are palatalized and often appear as sibilants (usually but not always distinct from the secondarily palatalized stops). The "peripheral" centum languages (Germanic, Italic, Celtic, Greek, Anatolian and Tocharian) reflect both "palatal" and "plain velar" stops as plain velars, while the labiovelars continue unchanged, often with later reduction into plain labial or velar consonants.

The three-way PIE distinction between voiceless, voiced and voiced aspirated stops is considered extremely unusual from the perspective of linguistic typology—particularly in the existence of voiced aspirated stops without a corresponding series of voiceless aspirated stops. None of the various daughter-language families continue it unchanged, with numerous "solutions" to the apparently unstable PIE situation:

The Indo-Aryan languages
Indo-Aryan languages
preserve the three series unchanged but have evolved a fourth series of voiceless aspirated consonants. The Iranian languages
Iranian languages
probably passed through the same stage, subsequently changing the aspirated stops into fricatives. Greek converted the voiced aspirates into voiceless aspirates. Italic probably passed through the same stage, but reflects the voiced aspirates as voiceless fricatives, especially f (or sometimes plain voiced stops in Latin). Celtic, Balto-Slavic, Anatolian, and Albanian merge the voiced aspirated into plain voiced stops. Germanic and Armenian change all three series in a chain shift (e.g. with bh b p becoming b p f (known as Grimm's law in Germanic).

Among the other notable changes affecting consonants are:

The Ruki sound law (s becomes /ʃ/ before r, u, k, i) in the satem languages. Loss of prevocalic p in Proto-Celtic. Development of prevocalic s to h in Proto-Greek, with later loss of h between vowels. Verner's law in Proto-Germanic. Grassmann's law (dissimilation of aspirates) independently in Proto-Greek
and Proto-Indo-Iranian.

The following table shows the basic outcomes of PIE consonants in some of the most important daughter languages for the purposes of reconstruction. For a fuller table, see Indo-European sound laws.

Proto-Indo-European consonants and their reflexes in selected Indo-European daughter languages

PIE Skr. O.C.S. Lith. Greek Latin Old Irish Gothic English Examples

PIE Eng. Skr. Gk. Lat. Lith. etc. Prs.

*p p; phH p Ø; chT [x] f; `-b- [β] f; -v/f- *pṓds ~ *ped- foot pád- poús (podós) pēs (pedis) pãdas Piáde

*t t; thH t t; -th- [θ] þ [θ]; `-d- [ð]; tT- th; `-d-; tT- *tréyes three tráyas treĩs trēs trỹs thri (old persian)

*ḱ ś [ɕ] s š [ʃ] k c [k] c [k]; -ch- [x] h; `-g- [ɣ] h; -Ø-; `-y- *ḱm̥tóm hund(red) śatám he-katón centum šimtas sad

*k k; cE [tʃ]; khH k; čE [tʃ]; cE' [ts] k *kreuh₂ "raw meat" OE hrēaw raw kravíṣ- kréas cruor kraûjas xoreš

*kʷ p; tE; k(u) qu [kʷ]; c(O) [k] ƕ [ʍ]; `-gw/w- wh; `-w- *kʷid, kʷod what kím tí quid, quod kas, kad ce, ci

*kʷekʷlom wheel cakrá- kúklos

kãklas carx

*b b; bhH b b [b]; -[β]- p

*d d; dhH d d [d]; -[ð]- t *déḱm̥(t) ten, Goth. taíhun dáśa déka decem dẽšimt dah

*ǵ j [dʒ]; hH [ɦ] z ž [ʒ] g g [ɡ]; -[ɣ]- k c / k; chE' *ǵénu, *ǵnéu- OE cnēo knee jā́nu gónu genu


*g g; jE [dʒ]; ghH; hH,E [ɦ] g; žE [ʒ]; dzE' g *yugóm yoke yugám zugón iugum jùngas yugh

*gʷ b; de; g(u) u [w > v]; gun− [ɡʷ] b [b]; -[β]- q [kʷ] qu *gʷīw- quick "alive" jīvá- bíos, bíotos vīvus gývas ze-

*bʰ bh; b..Ch b ph; p..Ch f-; b b [b]; -[β]-; -f b; -v/f-(rl) *bʰerō bear "carry" bhar- phérō ferō OCS berǫ bar-

*dʰ dh; d..Ch d th; t..Ch f-; d; b(r),l,u- d [d]; -[ð]- d [d]; -[ð]-; -þ d *dʰwer-, dʰur- door dhvā́raḥ thurā́ forēs dùrys dar

*ǵʰ h [ɦ]; j..Ch z ž [ʒ] kh; k..Ch h; h/gR g [ɡ]; -[ɣ]- g; -g- [ɣ]; -g [x] g; -y/w-(rl) *ǵʰans- goose, OHG gans haṁsáḥ khḗn (h)ānser žąsìs gház

*gʰ gh; hE [ɦ]; g..Ch; jE..Ch g; žE [ʒ]; dzE' g

*gʷʰ ph; thE; kh(u); p..Ch; tE..Ch; k(u)..Ch f-; g / -u- [w]; ngu [ɡʷ] g; b-; -w-; ngw g; b-; -w- *sneigʷʰ- snow sneha- nípha nivis sniẽgas barf

*gʷʰerm- ??warm gharmáḥ thermós formus Latv. gar̂me garm

*s s h-; -s; s(T); -Ø-; [¯](R) s; -r- s [s]; -[h]- s; `-z- s; `-r- *septḿ̥ seven saptá heptá septem septynì haft

ṣruki- [ʂ] xruki- [x] šruki- [ʃ] *h₂eusōs "dawn" east uṣā́ḥ āṓs aurōra aušra báxtar

*m m m [m]; -[w̃]- m *mūs mouse mū́ṣ- mũs mūs OCS myšĭ muš

*-m -m -˛ [˜] -n -m -n -Ø *ḱm̥tóm hund(red) śatám (he)katón centum OPrus simtan sad

*n n n; -˛ [˜] n *nokʷt- night nákt- núkt- noct- naktis náštá

*l r (dial. l) l *leuk- light rócate leukós lūx laũkas ruz

*r r *h₁reudʰ- red rudhirá- eruthrós ruber raũdas sorx

*i̯ y [j] j [j] z [dz > zd, z] / h; -Ø- i [j]; -Ø- Ø j y *yugóm yoke yugám zugón iugum jùngas yugh

*u̯ v [ʋ] v v [ʋ] w > h / Ø u [w > v] f; -Ø- w *h₂weh₁n̥to- wind vā́taḥ áenta ventus vėtra bád

PIE Skr. O.C.S. Lith. Greek Latin Old Irish Gothic English


C- At the beginning of a word. -C- Between vowels. -C At the end of a word. `-C- Following an unstressed vowel (Verner's law). -C-(rl) Between vowels, or between a vowel and r, l (on either side). CT Before a (PIE) stop (p, t, k). CT− After a (PIE) obstruent (p, t, k, etc.; s). C(T) Before or after an obstruent (p, t, k, etc.; s). CH Before an original laryngeal. CE Before a (PIE) front vowel (i, e). CE' Before secondary (post-PIE) front-vowels. Ce Before e. C(u) Before or after a (PIE) u (boukólos rule). C(O) Before or after a (PIE) o, u (boukólos rule). Cn− After n. CR Before a sonorant (r, l, m, n). C(R) Before or after a sonorant (r, l, m, n). C(r),l,u− Before r, l or after r, u. Cruki− After r, u, k, i (Ruki sound law). C..Ch Before an aspirated consonant in the next syllable (Grassmann's law, also known as dissimilation of aspirates). CE..Ch Before a (PIE) front vowel (i, e) as well as before an aspirated consonant in the next syllable (Grassmann's law, also known as dissimilation of aspirates). C(u)..Ch Before or after a (PIE) u as well as before an aspirated consonant in the next syllable (Grassmann's law, also known as dissimilation of aspirates).

Comparison of conjugations[edit] The following table presents a comparison of conjugations of the thematic present indicative of the verbal root *bʰer- of the English verb to bear and its reflexes in various early attested IE languages and their modern descendants or relatives, showing that all languages had in the early stage an inflectional verb system.

Proto-Indo-European (*bʰer- 'to carry, to bear')

I (1st sg.) *bʰéroh₂

You (2nd sg.) *bʰéresi

He/She/It (3rd sg.) *bʰéreti

We (1st dual) *bʰérowos

You (2nd dual) *bʰéreth₁es

They (3rd dual) *bʰéretes

We (1st pl.) *bʰéromos

You (2nd pl.) *bʰérete

They (3rd pl.) *bʰéronti

Major subgroup Hellenic Indo-Iranian Italic Celtic Armenian Germanic Balto-Slavic Albanian

Indo-Aryan Iranian Baltic Slavic

Ancient representative Ancient Greek Vedic Sanskrit Avestan Latin Old Irish Classical Arm. Gothic Old Prussian Old Church Sl. Old Albanian

I (1st sg.) phérō bhárāmi barā ferō biru; berim berem baíra /bɛra/

berǫ *berja

You (2nd sg.) phéreis bhárasi barahi fers biri; berir beres baíris


He/She/It (3rd sg.) phérei bhárati baraiti fert berid berē baíriþ


We (1st dual) — bhárāvas barāvahi — — — baíros


You (2nd dual) phéreton bhárathas — — — — baírats


They (3rd dual) phéreton bháratas baratō — — — —


We (1st pl.) phéromen bhárāmas barāmahi ferimus bermai beremk` baíram


You (2nd pl.) phérete bháratha baraϑa fertis beirthe berēk` baíriþ


They (3rd pl.) phérousi bháranti barəṇti ferunt berait beren baírand


Modern representative Modern Greek Hindustani Persian Sardinian Irish Armenian (Eastern; Western) German Lithuanian Czech Albanian

I (1st sg.) férno (maiṃ) bharūṃ (man) mi baram férjo beirim berum em; g'perem (ich) ge bäre beriu beru (unë) bie

You (2nd sg.) férnis (tū) bhare (tu) mi bari féris beirir berum es; g'peres (du) ge bierst beri bereš (ti) bie

He/She/It (3rd sg.) férni (vah) bhare (ān) mi barad férit beireann; %beiridh berum ē; g'perē (er)(sie)(es) ge biert beria bere (ai/ajo) bie

We (1st dual)


You (2nd dual)


They (3rd dual)


We (1st pl.) férnume (ham) bhareṃ (mā) mi barim ferìmus beirimid; beiream berum enk`; g'perenk` (wir) ge bären beriame berem(e) (ne) biem

You (2nd pl.) férnete (tum) bharo (šomā) mi barid ferí(t)es beireann sibh; %beirthaoi berum ek`; g'perek` (ihr) ge bärt beriate berete (ju) bini

They (3rd pl.) férnun (ve) bhareṃ (ānān) mi barand férin(t) beirid berum en; g'peren (sie) ge bären beria berou (ata/ato) bien

While similarities are still visible between the modern descendants and relatives of these ancient languages, the differences have increased over time. Some IE languages have moved from synthetic verb systems to largely periphrastic systems. In addition, the pronouns of periphrastic forms are in brackets when they appear. Some of these verbs have undergone a change in meaning as well.

In Modern Irish beir usually only carries the meaning to bear in the sense of bearing a child; its common meanings are to catch, grab. The Hindi
verb bharnā, the continuation of the Sanskrit
verb, can have a variety of meanings, but the most common is "to fill". The forms given in the table, although etymologically derived from the present indicative, now have the meaning of subjunctive. The present indicative is conjugated periphrastically, using a participle (etymologically the Sanskrit
present participle bharant-) and an auxiliary: maiṃ bhartā hūṃ, tū bhartā hai, vah bhartā hai, ham bharte haiṃ, tum bharte ho, ve bharte haiṃ (masculine forms). German is not directly descended from Gothic, but the Gothic forms are a close approximation of what the early West Germanic forms of c. 400 AD would have looked like. The cognate of Germanic beranan (English bear) survives in German only in the compound gebären, meaning "bear (a child)". The Latin
verb ferre is irregular, and not a good representative of a normal thematic verb. In most Romance Languages such as French, other verbs now mean "to carry" (e.g. Fr. porter < Lat. portare) and ferre only survives in compounds such as souffrir "to suffer" (from Latin
sub- and ferre) and conférer "to confer" (from Latin
"con-" and "ferre"). However, Sardinian still retains a reflex of ferre in the verb fèrrere.[56][57] In Modern Greek, phero φέρω (modern transliteration fero) "to bear" is still used but only in specific contexts and is most common in such compounds as αναφέρω, διαφέρω, εισφέρω, εκφέρω, καταφέρω, προφέρω, προαναφέρω, προσφέρω etc. The form that is (very) common today is pherno φέρνω (modern transliteration ferno) meaning "to bring". Additionally, the perfective form of pherno (used for the subjunctive voice and also for the future tense) is also phero. In Modern Russian брать (brat') carries the meaning to take. Бремя (br'em'a) means burden, as something heavy to bear, and derivative беременность (b'er'em'ennost') means pregnancy.

Comparison of cognates[edit] Main article: Indo-European vocabulary See also: Proto-Indo-European numerals and List of numbers in various languages Present distribution[edit]

Countries where an Indo-European language is:   a primary de facto national or official language   a secondary official language   officially recognized

The approximate present-day distribution of Indo-European languages within the Americas by country: Romance:   Spanish   Portuguese–Galician   French Germanic:   English   Dutch

Today, Indo-European languages
Indo-European languages
are spoken by almost 3 billion native speakers across all inhabited continents,[58] the largest number by far for any recognised language family. Of the 20 languages with the largest numbers of native speakers according to Ethnologue, 11 are Indo-European: Spanish, English, Hindustani, Portuguese, Bengali, Russian, Punjabi, German, French and Marathi, accounting for over 1.7 billion native speakers.[59] Additionally, hundreds of millions of persons worldwide study Indo-European languages
Indo-European languages
as secondary or tertiary languages, including in cultures which have completely different language families and historical backgrounds—there between 600,000,000[60] and one billion[61] L2 learners of English alone. The success of the language family, including the large number of speakers and the vast portions of the Earth that they inhabit, is due to several factors. The ancient Indo-European migrations
Indo-European migrations
and widespread dissemination of Indo-European culture
Indo-European culture
throughout Eurasia, including that of the Proto-Indo-Europeans
themselves, and that of their daughter cultures including the Indo-Aryans, Iranian peoples, Celts, Greeks, Romans, Germanic peoples, and Slavs, led to these peoples' branches of the language family already taking a dominant foothold in virtually all of Eurasia
except for North and East Asia
by the end of the prehistoric era, replacing the previously-spoken pre- Indo-European languages
Indo-European languages
of this extensive area. Despite being unaware of their common linguistic origin, diverse groups of Indo-European speakers continued to culturally dominate and replace the indigenous languages of the western two-thirds of Eurasia. By the beginning of the Common Era, Indo-European peoples controlled almost the entirety of this area: the Celts
western and central Europe, the Romans southern Europe, the Germanic peoples
Germanic peoples
northern Europe, the Slavs
eastern Europe, the Iranian peoples
Iranian peoples
the entirety of western and central Asia
and parts of eastern Europe, and the Indo-Aryan peoples
Indo-Aryan peoples
south Asia, with the Tocharians
inhabiting the Indo-European frontier in western China. By the medieval period, only the Vasconic, Semitic, Dravidian, Caucasian and Uralic languages remained of the (relatively) indigenous languages of Europe
and the western half of Asia. Despite medieval invasions by Eurasian nomads, a group to which the Proto-Indo-Europeans
had once belonged, Indo-European expansion reached another peak in the early modern period with the dramatic increase in the population of the Indian subcontinent
Indian subcontinent
and European expansionism throughout the globe during the Age of Discovery, as well as the continued replacement and assimilation of surrounding non- Indo-European languages
Indo-European languages
and peoples due to increased state centralization and nationalism. These trends compounded throughout the modern period due to the general global population growth and the results of European colonization
European colonization
of the Western Hemisphere
Western Hemisphere
and Oceania, leading to an explosion in the number of Indo-European speakers as well as the territories inhabited by them. Due to colonization and the modern dominance of Indo-European languages in the fields of global science, technology, education, finance, and sports, even many modern countries whose populations largely speak non- Indo-European languages
Indo-European languages
have Indo-European languages as official languages, and the majority of the global population speaks at least one Indo-European language. The overwhelming majority of languages used on the Internet are Indo-European, with English continuing to lead the group; English in general has in many respects become the lingua franca of global communication.

See also[edit]

Afroasiatic languages Grammatical conjugation The Horse, The Wheel and Language
The Horse, The Wheel and Language
(book) Indo-European copula Indo-European sound laws Indo-European studies Indo-European vocabulary Indo-Semitic languages Indo-Uralic languages Eurasiatic languages Language family Languages of Asia Languages of Europe Languages of India List of Indo-European languages Proto-Indo-European root Proto-Indo-European religion


^ Hammarström, Harald; Forkel, Robert; Haspelmath, Martin, eds. (2017). "Indo-European". Glottolog
3.0. Jena, Germany: Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History.  ^ Quiles, Carlos (June 2017). "Indo-European demic diffusion model" (PDF) (2nd ed.). Badajoz: Universidad de Extremadura. Retrieved March 24, 2018.  ^ " Ethnologue
report for Indo-European". Ethnologue.com.  ^ Gilchrist, John (January 1804). "A New Theory and Prospectus of the Persian Verbs, with their Hindoostanee Synonymes in Persian and English". The Critical Review: or, Annals of Literature. 3. Volume 1: 565–571.  ^ a b c Auroux, Sylvain (2000). History of the Language Sciences. Berlin, New York: Walter de Gruyter. p. 1156. ISBN 3-11-016735-2.  ^ M. V. Lomonosov (drafts for Russian Grammar, published 1755). In: Complete Edition, Moscow, 1952, vol. 7, pp. 652–659: Представимъ долготу времени, которою сіи языки раздѣлились. ... Польской и россійской языкъ коль давно раздѣлились! Подумай же, когда курляндской! Подумай же, когда латинской, греч., нѣм., росс. О глубокая древность! [Imagine the depth of time when these languages separated! ... Polish and Russian separated so long ago! Now think how long ago [this happened to] Kurlandic! Think when [this happened to] Latin, Greek, German, and Russian! Oh, great antiquity!] ^ "Indo-European Practice and Historical Methodology (cited on pp. 14–15)" (PDF). Retrieved 2010-08-07.  ^ Roger Blench. "Archaeology and Language: methods and issues" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on May 17, 2006. Retrieved May 29, 2010.  In: A Companion To Archaeology. J. Bintliff ed. 52–74. Oxford: Basil Blackwell, 2004. (He erroneously included Egyptian, Japanese, and Chinese in the Indo-European languages, while omitting Hindi.)[dead link] ^ Robinson, Andrew (2007). The Last Man Who Knew Everything: Thomas Young, the Anonymous Genius who Proved Newton Wrong and Deciphered the Rosetta Stone, among Other Surprising Feats. Penguin. ISBN 0-13-134304-1.  ^ In London Quarterly Review X/2 1813.; cf. Szemerényi 1999:12, footnote 6 ^ Franz Bopp (2010) [1816]. Über das Conjugationssystem der Sanskritsprache : in Vergleichung mit jenem der griechischen, lateinischen, persischen und germanischen Sprache. Documenta Semiotica : Serie 1, Linguistik (2 ed.). Hildesheim: Olms.  ^ Kurylowicz, Jerzy (1927). "ə indo-européen et ḫ hittite". In Taszycki, W.; Doroszewski, W. Symbolae grammaticae in honorem Ioannis Rozwadowski. 1. pp. 95–104.  ^ Elsie, Robert (2005). "Theodor of Shkodra (1210) and Other Early Texts". Albanian Literature: A Short History. New York/Westport/London: I.B.Tauris. p. 5.  ^ In his latest book, Eric Hamp supports the thesis that the Illyrian language belongs to the Northwestern group, that the Albanian language is descended from Illyrian, and that Albanian is related to Messapic which is an earlier Illyrian dialect (Comparative Studies on Albanian, 2007). ^ Curtis, Matthew Cowan. "Slavic-Albanian Language Contact, Convergence, and Coexistence". ProQuest LLC. p. 18. Retrieved 31 March 2017. So while linguists may debate about the ties between Albanian and older languages of the Balkans, and while most Albanians may take the genealogical connection to Illyrian as incontrovertible, the fact remains that there is simply insufficient evidence to connect Illyrian, Thracian, or Dacian with any language, including Albanian  ^ "2006-05-02 Hittite". www.leidenuniv.nl. 7 July 2017.  ^ Güterbock, Hans G. "The Hittite Computer Analysis Project" (PDF).  ^ such as Schleicher 1861, Szemerényi 1957, Collinge 1985, and Beekes 1995 ^ "Tablet Discovery Pushes Earliest European Writing Back 150 Years". Science 2.0. 30 March 2011.  ^ Indian History. Allied Publishers. p. 114. ISBN 978-81-8424-568-4.  ^ Mark, Joshua J. (28 April 2011). "Mitanni". Ancient History Encyclopedia.  ^ David W. Anthony, "Two IE phylogenies, three PIE migrations, and four kinds of steppe pastoralism", Journal of Language Relationship, vol. 9 (2013), pp. 1–22 ^ Michel Lejeune (1974), Manuel de la langue vénète. Heidelberg: Indogermanische Bibliothek, Lehr- und Handbücher.[page needed] ^ Julius Pokorny (1959), Indogermanisches Etymologisches Wörterbuch. Publisher Bern.[page needed] ^ Kruta, Venceslas (1991). The Celts. Thames and Hudson. p. 54.  ^ Fine, John (1985). The ancient Greeks: a critical history. Harvard University Press. p. 72. ISBN 0674033140. "Most scholars now believe that the Sicans and Sicels, as well as the inhabitants of southern Italy, were basically of Illyrian stock superimposed on an aboriginal 'Mediterranean' population." ^ François, Alexandre (2014), "Trees, Waves and Linkages: Models of Language Diversification" (PDF), in Bowern, Claire; Evans, Bethwyn, The Routledge Handbook of Historical Linguistics, London: Routledge, pp. 161–189, ISBN 978-0-41552-789-7  ^ Blažek, Václav (2007). "From August Schleicher
August Schleicher
to Sergei Starostin: on the development of the tree-diagram models of the Indo-European languages". Journal of Indo-European Studies. 35 (1–2): 82–109.  ^ Meillet, Antoine (1908). Les dialectes indo-européens. Paris: Honoré Champion.  ^ Bonfante, Giuliano (1931). I dialetti indoeuropei. Brescia: Paideia.  ^ Porzig, Walter (1954). Die Gliederung des indogermanischen Sprachgebiets. Heidelberg: Carl Winter Universitätsverlag.  ^ Nakhleh, Luay; Ringe, Don & Warnow, Tandy (2005). "Perfect Phylogenetic Networks: A New Methodology for Reconstructing the Evolutionary History of Natural Languages" (PDF). Language: Journal of the Linguistic Society of America. 81 (2): 382–420. doi:10.1353/lan.2005.0078.  ^ Mallory, J.P.; Adams, D.Q. (1997). Encyclopedia of Indo-European Culture. London: Fitzroy Dearborn.  ^ Porzig 1954, p. 39. ^ Fortson 2004, p. 247. ^ Watkins, Calvert (1966). " Italo-Celtic
revisited". In Birnbaum, Henrik; Puhvel, Jaan. Ancient Indo-European dialects. Berkeley: University of California Press. pp. 29–50.  ^ Weiss, Michael (2012). Jamison, Stephanie W.; Melchert, H. Craig; Vine, Brent, eds. Italo-Celtica: linguistic and cultural points of contact between Italic and Celtic. Proceedings of the 23rd annual UCLA Indo-European Conference. Bremen: Hempen. pp. 151–173. ISBN 3934106994. Retrieved 2018-02-19.  ^ Greppin, James (1996). "Review of The linguistic relationship between Armenian and Greek by James Clackson". Language. 72 (4): 804–807. doi:10.2307/416105.  ^ Euler, Wolfram (1979). Indoiranisch-griechische Gemeinsamkeiten der Nominalbildung und deren indogermanische Grundlagen. Innsbruck: Institut für Sprachwissenschaft der Universität Innsbruck.  ^ Lubotsky – The Old Phrygian Areyastis-inscription, Kadmos 27, 9–26, 1988 ^ Kortlandt – The Thraco-Armenian consonant shift, Linguistique Balkanique 31, 71–74, 1988 ^ Renfrew, Colin (1987). Archaeology & Language. The Puzzle of the Indo-European Origins. London: Jonathan Cape. ISBN 0-224-02495-7.  ^ Encyclopædia Britannica, vol.22, Helen Hemingway Benton Publisher, Chicago, (15th ed.) 1981, p. 593 ^ George S. Lane, Douglas Q. Adams, Britannica 15th edition 22:667, "The Tocharian problem" ^ The supposed autochthony of Hittites, the Indo-Hittite hypothesis and migration of agricultural "Indo-European" societies became intrinsically linked together by C. Renfrew. (Renfrew, C 2001a The Anatolian origins of Proto-Indo-European and the autochthony of the Hittites. In R. Drews ed., Greater Anatolia
and the Indo-Hittite language. family: 36–63. Washington, DC: Institute for the Study of Man). ^ Britannica 15th edition, 22 p. 586 "Indo-European languages, The parent language, Laryngeal theory" – W.C.; p. 589, 593 "Anatolian languages" – Philo H.J. Houwink ten Cate, H. Craig Melchert and Theo P.J. van den Hout ^ Britannica 15th edition, 22 p. 594, " Indo-Hittite hypothesis" ^ Holm, Hans J. (2008). "The Distribution of Data in Word Lists and its Impact on the Subgrouping of Languages". In Preisach, Christine; Burkhardt, Hans; Schmidt-Thieme, Lars; et al. Data Analysis, Machine Learning, and Applications. Proc. of the 31st Annual Conference of the German Classification Society (GfKl), University of Freiburg, March 7–9, 2007. Studies in Classification, Data Analysis, and Knowledge Organization. Heidelberg-Berlin: Springer-Verlag. ISBN 978-3-540-78239-1. The result is a partly new chain of separation for the main Indo-European branches, which fits well to the grammatical facts, as well as to the geographical distribution of these branches. In particular it clearly demonstrates that the Anatolian languages
Anatolian languages
did not part as first ones and thereby refutes the Indo-Hittite hypothesis.  ^ Britannica 15th edition, vol.22, 1981, pp. 588, 594 ^ Kortlandt, Frederik (1989). "The spread of the Indo-Europeans" (PDF). Retrieved 2010-08-07.  ^ a b Anthony 2007, pp. 56–58. ^ Ringe 2006, p. 67. ^ Anthony 2007, p. 100. ^ "Indo-European Languages: Balto-Slavic Family". Utexas.edu. 2008-11-10. Archived from the original on 2011-06-04. Retrieved 2010-08-07.  ^ "Ancient Tablet Found: Oldest Readable Writing in Europe". 1 April 2011.  ^ Vocabulario Sardo-Logudorese / Italiano di Pietro Casu (Istituto Superiore Etnografico della Sardegna 2011) ^ Sardo/Verbi irregolari (Wikibooks 2017) ^ " Ethnologue
list of language families". Ethnologue.com. Retrieved 2010-08-07.  ^ " Ethnologue
list of languages by number of speakers". Ethnologue.com. Retrieved 2010-08-07.  ^ "English". Ethnologue. Retrieved January 17, 2017.  ^ "Then Things You Might Not Have Known About the English Language". Oxford Dictionary. 


Anthony, David W. (2007). The Horse, the Wheel, and Language: How Bronze-Age Riders from the Eurasian Steppes Shaped the Modern World. Princeton University Press. ISBN 0-691-05887-3.  Auroux, Sylvain (2000). History of the Language Sciences. Berlin: Walter de Gruyter. ISBN 3-11-016735-2.  Fortson, Benjamin W. (2004). Indo-European Language and Culture: An Introduction. Malden, Massachusetts: Blackwell. ISBN 1-4051-0315-9.  Brugmann, Karl (1886). Grundriss der Vergleichenden Grammatik der indogermanischen Sprachen (in German). Erster Band. Strassburg: Karl J. Trübner.  Houwink ten Cate, H. J.; Melchert, H. Craig & van den Hout, Theo P. J. (1981). "Indo-European languages, The parent language, Laryngeal theory". Encyclopædia Britannica. 22 (15th ed.). Chicago: Helen Hemingway Benton.  Holm, Hans J. (2008). "The Distribution of Data in Word Lists and its Impact on the Subgrouping of Languages". In Preisach, Christine; Burkhardt, Hans; Schmidt-Thieme, Lars; et al. Data Analysis, Machine Learning, and Applications. Proceedings of the 31st Annual Conference of the German Classification Society (GfKl), University of Freiburg, March 7–9, 2007. Heidelberg-Berlin: Springer-Verlag. ISBN 978-3-540-78239-1.  Kortlandt, Frederik (1990). "The Spread of the Indo-Europeans" (PDF). Journal of Indo-European Studies. 18 (1–2): 131–140.  Lubotsky, A. (1988). "The Old Phrygian Areyastis-inscription". Kadmos. 27: 9–26.  Kortlandt, Frederik (1988). "The Thraco-Armenian consonant shift". Linguistique Balkanique. 31: 71–74.  Lane, George S.; Adams, Douglas Q. (1981). "The Tocharian problem". Encyclopædia Britannica. 22 (15th ed.). Chicago: Helen Hemingway Benton.  Renfrew, C. (2001). "The Anatolian origins of Proto-Indo-European and the autochthony of the Hittites". In Drews, R. Greater Anatolia
and the Indo-Hittite language family. Washington, DC: Institute for the Study of Man. ISBN 0-941694-77-1.  Schleicher, August (1861). Compendium der vergleichenden Grammatik der indogermanischen Sprachen (in German). Weimar: Böhlau (reprinted by Minerva GmbH, Wissenschaftlicher Verlag). ISBN 3-8102-1071-4.  Szemerényi, Oswald; Jones, David; Jones, Irene (1999). Introduction to Indo-European Linguistics. Oxford University Press. ISBN 0-19-823870-3.  von Bradke, Peter (1890). Über Methode und Ergebnisse der arischen (indogermanischen) Alterthumswissenshaft (in German). Giessen: J. Ricker'che Buchhandlung. 

Library resources about Indo-European Languages

Online books Resources in your library Resources in other libraries

Further reading[edit]

Beekes, Robert S. P. (1995). Comparative Indo-European Linguistics. Amsterdam: John Benjamins.  Chakrabarti, Byomkes (1994). A comparative study of Santali and Bengali. Calcutta: K.P. Bagchi & Co. ISBN 81-7074-128-9.  Collinge, N. E. (1985). The Laws of Indo-European. Amsterdam: John Benjamins.  Mallory, J.P. (1989). In Search of the Indo-Europeans. London: Thames and Hudson. ISBN 0-500-27616-1.  Renfrew, Colin (1987). Archaeology & Language. The Puzzle of the Indo-European Origins. London: Jonathan Cape. ISBN 0-224-02495-7.  Meillet, Antoine. Esquisse d'une grammaire comparée de l'arménien classique, 1903. Ramat, Paolo; Ramat, Anna Giacalone (1998). The Indo-European languages. Routledge.  Schleicher, August, A Compendium of the Comparative Grammar of the Indo-European Languages (1861/62). Strazny, Philip; Trask, R. L., eds. (2000). Dictionary of Historical and Comparative Linguistics (1 ed.). Routledge. ISBN 978-1-57958-218-0.  Szemerényi, Oswald (1957). "The problem of Balto-Slav unity". Kratylos. 2: 97–123.  Watkins, Calvert (2000). The American Heritage Dictionary of Indo-European Roots. Houghton Mifflin. ISBN 978-0-618-08250-6.  Remys, Edmund, General distinguishing features of various Indo-European languages
Indo-European languages
and their relationship to Lithuanian. Berlin, New York: Indogermanische Forschungen, Vol. 112, 2007. P. Chantraine (1968), Dictionnaire étymologique de la langue grecque, Klincksieck, Paris.

External links[edit]

Wikimedia Commons has media related to Indo-European languages.

Wikinews has related news: New research shows over 400 languages originated in Turkey

has the text of the 1911 Encyclopædia Britannica article Indo-European Languages.


Dyen, Isidore; Kruskal, Joseph; Black, Paul (1997). "Comparative Indo-European". wordgumbo. Retrieved 13 December 2009.  "Indo-European". LLOW Languages of the World. Retrieved 14 December 2009.  "Indo-European Documentation Center". Linguistics Research Center, University of Texas at Austin. 2009. Archived from the original on 3 September 2009. Retrieved 14 December 2009.  Lewis, M. Paul, ed. (2009). "Language Family Trees: Indo-European". Ethnologue: Languages of the World, Online version (Sixteenth ed.). Dallas, Tex.: SIL International. . "Thesaurus Indogermanischer Text- und Sprachmaterialien: TITUS" (in German). TITUS, University of Frankfurt. 2003. Retrieved 13 December 2009.  "Indo-European Lexical Cognacy Database (IELex)". Max Planck Institute for Psycholinguistics, Nijmegen. 


" Indo-European Etymological Dictionary (IEED)". Leiden, Netherlands: Department of Comparative Indo-European Linguistics, Leiden University. Archived from the original on 7 February 2006. Retrieved 14 December 2009.  "Indo-European Roots Index". The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language (Fourth ed.). Internet Archive: Wayback Machine. August 22, 2008 [2000]. Archived from the original on February 17, 2009. Retrieved 9 December 2009.  Köbler, Gerhard (2014). Indogermanisches Wörterbuch (in German) (5th ed.). Gerhard Köbler. Retrieved 29 March 2015.  Schalin, Johan (2009). "Lexicon of Early Indo-European Loanwords Preserved in Finnish". Johan Schalin. Retrieved 9 December 2009. 

v t e

List of primary language families


Afro-Asiatic Austronesian Khoe Kx'a Niger–Congo Nilo-Saharan? Tuu Mande? Songhay? Ijaw? Ubangian? Kadu?


Bangime Hadza Jalaa Sandawe Kwadi? Laal? Shabo?

Sign languages

Arab BANZSL French Lasima Tanzanian Others

Europe and Asia

Afro-Asiatic Ainu Austroasiatic Austronesian Chukotko-Kamchatkan Dravidian Eskimo–Aleut Great Andamanese Hmong–Mien Hurro-Urartian Indo-European Japonic Kartvelian Koreanic Mongolic Northeast Caucasian Northwest Caucasian Ongan Sino-Tibetan Tai–Kadai Tungusic Turkic Tyrsenian Uralic Yeniseian Yukaghir Dené–Yeniseian? Altaic? Austronesian–Ongan? Austro-Tai? Sino-Austronesian? Digaro? Kho-Bwa? Siangic? Miji? Vasconic?


Basque Burushaski Elamite Hattic Kusunda Nihali Nivkh Sumerian Hruso? Miju? Puroik?

Sign languages

BANZSL French German Japanese Swedish Chinese Indo-Pakistani Arab Chiangmai–Bangkok Others

New Guinea and the Pacific

Arai–Samaia Arafundi Austronesian Baining Binanderean–Goilalan Border Bulaka River Central Solomons Chimbu–Wahgi Doso–Turumsa East Geelvink Bay East Strickland Eleman Engan Fas Kaure–Kosare Kiwaian Kutubuan Kwomtari Lakes Plain Lower Mamberamo Lower Sepik Madang Mairasi North Bougainville Pauwasi Piawi Ramu Senagi Sentani Sepik Skou South Bougainville Teberan Tor–Kwerba–Nimboran Torricelli Trans-Fly Trans–New Guinea Turama–Kikorian West Papuan Yam Yawa Yuat North Papuan? Northeast New Guinea? Papuan Gulf?


Abinomn Anêm? Ata? Kol Kuot Porome Taiap? Pawaia Porome Sulka? Tambora Wiru

Sign languages

Hawai'i Sign Language Others


Arnhem/Macro-Gunwinyguan Bunuban Darwin River Eastern Daly Eastern Tasmanian Garawan Iwaidjan Jarrakan Mirndi Northern Tasmanian Northeastern Tasmanian Nyulnyulan Pama–Nyungan Southern Daly Tangkic Wagaydyic Western Daly Western Tasmanian Worrorran Yangmanic (Wardaman)


Giimbiyu Malak-Malak Marrgu Tiwi Wagiman

North America

Algic Alsea Caddoan Chimakuan Chinookan Chumashan Comecrudan Coosan Eskimo–Aleut Iroquoian Kalapuyan Keresan Maiduan Muskogean Na-Dene Palaihnihan Plateau Penutian Pomoan Salishan Shastan Siouan Tanoan Tsimshianic Utian Uto-Aztecan Wakashan Wintuan Yokutsan Yukian Yuman–Cochimí Dené–Yeniseian? Hokan? Penutian?


Chimariko Haida Karuk Kutenai Seri Siuslaw Takelma Timucua Waikuri Washo Yana Yuchi Zuni

Sign languages

Inuit (Inuiuuk) Plains Sign Talk Others


Chibchan Jicaquean Lencan Mayan Misumalpan Mixe–Zoque Oto-Manguean Tequistlatecan Totonacan Uto-Aztecan Xincan Totozoquean?


Cuitlatec Huave Tarascan/Purépecha

Sign languages

Plains Sign Talk Mayan Others

South America

Arawakan Arauan Araucanian Arutani–Sape Aymaran Barbacoan Boran Borôroan Cahuapanan Cariban Catacaoan Chapacuran Charruan Chibchan Choco Chonan Guaicuruan Guajiboan Jê/Gê Harákmbut–Katukinan Jirajaran Jivaroan Kariri Katembri–Taruma Mascoian Matacoan Maxakalian Nadahup Nambikwaran Otomákoan Pano-Tacanan Peba–Yaguan Purian Quechuan Piaroa–Saliban Ticuna–Yuri Timotean Tiniguan Tucanoan Tupian Uru–Chipaya Witotoan Yabutian Yanomaman Zamucoan Zaparoan Chimuan? Esmeralda–Yaruro? Hibito–Cholón? Lule–Vilela? Macro-Jê? Tequiraca–Canichana?

Isolates (extant in 2000)

Aikanã? Alacalufan Andoque? Camsá Candoshi Chimane Chiquitano Cofán? Fulniô Guató Hodï/Joti Irantxe? Itonama Karajá Krenak Kunza Leco Maku-Auari of Roraima Movima Mura-Pirahã Nukak? Ofayé Puinave Huaorani/Waorani Trumai Urarina Warao Yamana Yuracaré

See also

Language isolates Unclassified languages Creoles Pidgins Mixed languages Artificial languages List of sign languages

Families with more than 30 languages are in bold. Families in italics have no living members.

Authority control

LCCN: sh85065703 GND: 4114006-0 SUDOC: 027236293 BNF: cb11932222t (data) NDL: 0056