Indo-European languages

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"Indo-European" redirects here. Indo-European languages_sentence_0

For Eurasian people living in or connected with Indonesia, see Indo people. Indo-European languages_sentence_1

For other uses, see Indo-European (disambiguation). Indo-European languages_sentence_2

Indo-European languages_table_infobox_0

Indo-EuropeanIndo-European languages_header_cell_0_0_0
Geographic

distributionIndo-European languages_header_cell_0_1_0

Pre-colonial era: Eurasia

Today: Worldwide c. 3.2 billion native speakersIndo-European languages_cell_0_1_1

Linguistic classificationIndo-European languages_header_cell_0_2_0 One of the world's primary language familiesIndo-European languages_cell_0_2_1
Proto-languageIndo-European languages_header_cell_0_3_0 Proto-Indo-EuropeanIndo-European languages_cell_0_3_1
SubdivisionsIndo-European languages_header_cell_0_4_0 Indo-European languages_cell_0_4_1
ISO 639-2 / 5Indo-European languages_header_cell_0_5_0 Indo-European languages_cell_0_5_1
GlottologIndo-European languages_header_cell_0_6_0 Indo-European languages_cell_0_6_1
NotesIndo-European languages_header_cell_0_7_0 Indo-European languages_cell_0_7_1

The Indo-European languages are a large language family native to western and southern Eurasia. Indo-European languages_sentence_3

It comprises most of the languages of Europe together with those of the northern Indian subcontinent and the Iranian Plateau. Indo-European languages_sentence_4

A few of these languages, such as English, French, Portuguese and Spanish, have expanded through colonialism in the modern period and are now spoken across all continents. Indo-European languages_sentence_5

The Indo-European family is divided into several branches or sub-families, the largest of which are the Indo-Iranian, Germanic, Romance, and Balto-Slavic groups. Indo-European languages_sentence_6

The most populous individual languages within them are Spanish, English, Hindustani (Hindi/Urdu), Portuguese, Bengali, Marathi, Punjabi, German, and Russian, each with over 100 million speakers. Indo-European languages_sentence_7

French, Italian, and Persian have more than 50 million each. Indo-European languages_sentence_8

In total, 46% of the world's population (3.2 billion) speaks an Indo-European language as a first language, by far the highest of any language family. Indo-European languages_sentence_9

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. Indo-European languages_sentence_10

All Indo-European languages have descended from a single prehistoric language, reconstructed as Proto-Indo-European, spoken sometime in the Neolithic era. Indo-European languages_sentence_11

Its precise geographical location, the Indo-European urheimat, is unknown and has been the object of many competing hypotheses; the most widely accepted is the Kurgan hypothesis, which posits the urheimat to be the Pontic–Caspian steppe, associated with the Yamnaya culture around 3000 BC. Indo-European languages_sentence_12

By the time the first written records appeared, Indo-European had already evolved into numerous languages spoken across much of Europe and south-west Asia. Indo-European languages_sentence_13

Written evidence of Indo-European appeared during the Bronze Age in the form of Mycenaean Greek and the Anatolian languages, Hittite and Luwian. Indo-European languages_sentence_14

The oldest records are isolated Hittite words and names – interspersed in texts that are otherwise in the unrelated Old Assyrian language, a Semitic language – found in the texts of the Assyrian colony of Kültepe in eastern Anatolia in the 20th century BC. Indo-European languages_sentence_15

Although no older written records of the original Proto-Indo-Europeans remain, some aspects of their culture and religion can be reconstructed from later evidence in the daughter cultures. Indo-European languages_sentence_16

The Indo-European family is significant to the field of historical linguistics as it possesses the second-longest recorded history of any known family, after the Afroasiatic family in the form of the Egyptian language and the Semitic languages. Indo-European languages_sentence_17

The analysis of the family relationships between the Indo-European languages and the reconstruction of their common source was central to the development of the methodology of historical linguistics as an academic discipline in the 19th century. Indo-European languages_sentence_18

The Indo-European family is not known to be linked to any other language family through any more distant genetic relationship, although several disputed proposals to that effect have been made. Indo-European languages_sentence_19

During the nineteenth century, the linguistic concept of Indo-European languages was frequently used interchangeably with the racial concepts of Aryan and the Biblical concept of Japhetite. Indo-European languages_sentence_20

History of Indo-European linguistics Indo-European languages_section_0

See also: Indo-European studies § History Indo-European languages_sentence_21

In the 16th century, European visitors to the Indian subcontinent began to notice similarities among Indo-Aryan, Iranian, and European languages. Indo-European languages_sentence_22

In 1583, English Jesuit missionary and Konkani scholar Thomas Stephens wrote a letter from Goa to his brother (not published until the 20th century) in which he noted similarities between Indian languages and Greek and Latin. Indo-European languages_sentence_23

Another account was made by Filippo Sassetti, a merchant born in Florence in 1540, who travelled to the Indian subcontinent. Indo-European languages_sentence_24

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"). Indo-European languages_sentence_25

However, neither Stephens' nor Sassetti's observations led to further scholarly inquiry. Indo-European languages_sentence_26

In 1647, Dutch linguist and scholar 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. Indo-European languages_sentence_27

He included in his hypothesis Dutch, Albanian, Greek, Latin, Persian, and German, later adding Slavic, Celtic, and Baltic languages. Indo-European languages_sentence_28

However, Van Boxhorn's suggestions did not become widely known and did not stimulate further research. Indo-European languages_sentence_29

Ottoman Turkish traveler 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. Indo-European languages_sentence_30

Gaston Coeurdoux and others made observations of the same type. Indo-European languages_sentence_31

Coeurdoux made a thorough comparison of Sanskrit, Latin and Greek conjugations in the late 1760s to suggest a relationship among them. Indo-European languages_sentence_32

Meanwhile, Mikhail Lomonosov compared different language groups, including Slavic, Baltic ("Kurlandic"), Iranian ("Medic"), Finnish, Chinese, "Hottentot" (Khoekhoe), and others, noting that related languages (including Latin, Greek, German and Russian) must have separated in antiquity from common ancestors. Indo-European languages_sentence_33

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, though his classification contained some inaccuracies and omissions. Indo-European languages_sentence_34

In one of the most famous quotations in linguistics, Jones made the following prescient statement in a lecture to the Asiatic Society of Bengal in 1786, conjecturing the existence of an earlier ancestor language, which he called "a common source" but did not name: Indo-European languages_sentence_35

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. Indo-European languages_sentence_36

A synonym is Indo-Germanic (Idg. Indo-European languages_sentence_37

or IdG. Indo-European languages_sentence_38

), specifying the family's southeasternmost and northwesternmost branches. Indo-European languages_sentence_39

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. Indo-European languages_sentence_40

A number of other synonymous terms have also been used. Indo-European languages_sentence_41

Franz Bopp wrote in 1816 On the conjugational system of the Sanskrit language compared with that of Greek, Latin, Persian and Germanic and between 1833 and 1852 he wrote Comparative Grammar. Indo-European languages_sentence_42

This marks the beginning of Indo-European studies as an academic discipline. Indo-European languages_sentence_43

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. Indo-European languages_sentence_44

Brugmann's neogrammarian reevaluation of the field and Ferdinand de Saussure's development of the laryngeal theory may be considered the beginning of "modern" Indo-European studies. Indo-European languages_sentence_45

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. 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. Indo-European languages_sentence_46

This led to the so-called laryngeal theory, a major step forward in Indo-European linguistics and a confirmation of de Saussure's theory. Indo-European languages_sentence_47

Classification Indo-European languages_section_1

See also: Indo-European migrations Indo-European languages_sentence_48

The various subgroups of the Indo-European language family include ten major branches, listed below in alphabetical order: Indo-European languages_sentence_49

Indo-European languages_unordered_list_0

In addition to the classical ten branches listed above, several extinct and little-known languages and language-groups have existed or are proposed to have existed: Indo-European languages_sentence_50

Indo-European languages_unordered_list_1

  • Ancient Belgian: hypothetical language associated with the proposed Nordwestblock cultural area. Speculated to be connected to Italic or Venetic, and to have certain phonological features in common with Lusitanian.Indo-European languages_item_1_15
  • Cimmerian: possibly Iranic, Thracian, or CelticIndo-European languages_item_1_16
  • Dacian: possibly very close to ThracianIndo-European languages_item_1_17
  • Elymian: Poorly-attested language spoken by the Elymians, one of the three indigenous (i.e. pre-Greek and pre-Punic) tribes of Sicily. Indo-European affiliation uncertain, but relationships to Italic or Anatolian have been proposed.Indo-European languages_item_1_18
  • Illyrian: possibly related to Albanian, Messapian, or bothIndo-European languages_item_1_19
  • Liburnian: doubtful affiliation, features shared with Venetic, Illyrian, and Indo-Hittite, significant transition of the Pre-Indo-European elementsIndo-European languages_item_1_20
  • Ligurian: possibly close to or part of Celtic.Indo-European languages_item_1_21
  • Lusitanian: possibly related to (or part of) Celtic, Ligurian, or ItalicIndo-European languages_item_1_22
  • Ancient Macedonian: proposed relationship to Greek.Indo-European languages_item_1_23
  • Messapian: not conclusively decipheredIndo-European languages_item_1_24
  • Paionian: extinct language once spoken north of MacedonIndo-European languages_item_1_25
  • Phrygian: language of the ancient PhrygiansIndo-European languages_item_1_26
  • 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.Indo-European languages_item_1_27
  • Sorothaptic: proposed, pre-Celtic, Iberian languageIndo-European languages_item_1_28
  • Thracian: possibly including DacianIndo-European languages_item_1_29
  • Venetic: shares several similarities with Latin and the Italic languages, but also has some affinities with other IE languages, especially Germanic and Celtic.Indo-European languages_item_1_30

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. Indo-European languages_sentence_51

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. Indo-European languages_sentence_52

For example, what makes the 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. Indo-European languages_sentence_53

Many of their common features are presumed innovations that took place in Proto-Germanic, the source of all the Germanic languages. Indo-European languages_sentence_54

In the 21st century, several attempts have been made to model the phylogeny of Indo-European languages using Bayesian methodologies similar to those applied to problems in biological phylogeny. Indo-European languages_sentence_55

Although there are differences in absolute timing between the various analyses, there is much commonality between them, including the result that the first known language groups to diverge were the Anatolian and Tocharian language families, in that order. Indo-European languages_sentence_56

Tree versus wave model Indo-European languages_section_2

See also: Language change Indo-European languages_sentence_57

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. Indo-European languages_sentence_58

In this case, subgroups defined by shared innovations form a nested pattern. Indo-European languages_sentence_59

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. Indo-European languages_sentence_60

Most approaches to Indo-European subgrouping to date have assumed that the tree model is by-and-large valid for Indo-European; however, there is also a long tradition of wave-model approaches. Indo-European languages_sentence_61

In addition to genealogical changes, many of the early changes in Indo-European languages can be attributed to language contact. Indo-European languages_sentence_62

It has been asserted, for example, that many of the more striking features shared by Italic languages (Latin, Oscan, Umbrian, etc.) might well be areal features. Indo-European languages_sentence_63

More certainly, very similar-looking alterations in the systems of long vowels in the West 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). Indo-European languages_sentence_64

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. Indo-European languages_sentence_65

The Balkan sprachbund even features areal convergence among members of very different branches. Indo-European languages_sentence_66

An extension to the Ringe-Warnow model of language evolution, suggests that early IE had featured limited contact between distinct lineages, with only the Germanic subfamily exhibiting a less treelike behaviour as it acquired some characteristics from neighbours early in its evolution. Indo-European languages_sentence_67

The internal diversification of especially West Germanic is cited to have been radically non-treelike. Indo-European languages_sentence_68

Proposed subgroupings Indo-European languages_section_3

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. Indo-European languages_sentence_69

However, unlike the ten traditional branches, these are all controversial to a greater or lesser degree. Indo-European languages_sentence_70

The Italo-Celtic subgroup was at one point uncontroversial, considered by Antoine Meillet to be even better established than Balto-Slavic. Indo-European languages_sentence_71

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-. Indo-European languages_sentence_72

This evidence was prominently challenged by Calvert Watkins; while Michael Weiss has argued for the subgroup. Indo-European languages_sentence_73

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". Indo-European languages_sentence_74

Greek and Indo-Iranian share innovations mainly in verbal morphology and patterns of nominal derivation. Indo-European languages_sentence_75

Relations have also been proposed between Phrygian and Greek, and between Thracian and Armenian. Indo-European languages_sentence_76

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 and Tocharian. Indo-European languages_sentence_77

Shared features with Balto-Slavic languages, on the other hand (especially present and preterit formations), might be due to later contacts. Indo-European languages_sentence_78

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. Indo-European languages_sentence_79

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. Indo-European languages_sentence_80

Points proffered in favour of the Indo-Hittite hypothesis are the (non-universal) Indo-European agricultural terminology in Anatolia and the preservation of laryngeals. Indo-European languages_sentence_81

However, in general this hypothesis is considered to attribute too much weight to the Anatolian evidence. Indo-European languages_sentence_82

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. Indo-European languages_sentence_83

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. Indo-European languages_sentence_84

Hans J. Holm, based on lexical calculations, arrives at a picture roughly replicating the general scholarly opinion and refuting the Indo-Hittite hypothesis. Indo-European languages_sentence_85

Satem and centum languages Indo-European languages_section_4

Main article: Centum and satem languages Indo-European languages_sentence_86

The division of the Indo-European languages into satem and centum groups was put forward by Peter von Bradke in 1890, although Karl Brugmann did propose a similar type of division in 1886. Indo-European languages_sentence_87

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'. Indo-European languages_sentence_88

In the centum languages, the palatovelars merged with the plain velars, while the labiovelars remained distinct. Indo-European languages_sentence_89

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. Indo-European languages_sentence_90

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. Indo-European languages_sentence_91

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. Indo-European languages_sentence_92

Kortlandt proposes that the ancestors of Balts and Slavs took part in satemization before being drawn later into the western Indo-European sphere. Indo-European languages_sentence_93

Suggested macrofamilies Indo-European languages_section_5

Some linguists propose that Indo-European languages form part of one of several hypothetical macrofamilies. Indo-European languages_sentence_94

However, these theories remain highly controversial and are not accepted by most linguists in the field. Indo-European languages_sentence_95

Some of the smaller proposed macrofamilies include: Indo-European languages_sentence_96

Indo-European languages_unordered_list_2

Other, greater proposed families including Indo-European languages, include: Indo-European languages_sentence_97

Indo-European languages_unordered_list_3

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. Indo-European languages_sentence_98

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). Indo-European languages_sentence_99

Because the signal-to-noise ratio in historical linguistics declines over time, at great enough time-depths it becomes open to reasonable doubt that one can even distinguish between signal and noise. Indo-European languages_sentence_100

Evolution Indo-European languages_section_6

Proto-Indo-European Indo-European languages_section_7

Main article: Proto-Indo-European language Indo-European languages_sentence_101

The proposed Proto-Indo-European language (PIE) is the reconstructed common ancestor of the Indo-European languages, spoken by the Proto-Indo-Europeans. Indo-European languages_sentence_102

From the 1960s, knowledge of Anatolian became certain enough to establish its relationship to PIE. Indo-European languages_sentence_103

Using the method of internal reconstruction, an earlier stage, called Pre-Proto-Indo-European, has been proposed. Indo-European languages_sentence_104

PIE was an inflected language, in which the grammatical relationships between words were signaled through inflectional morphemes (usually endings). Indo-European languages_sentence_105

The roots of PIE are basic morphemes carrying a lexical meaning. Indo-European languages_sentence_106

By addition of suffixes, they form stems, and by addition of endings, these form grammatically inflected words (nouns or verbs). Indo-European languages_sentence_107

The reconstructed Indo-European verb system is complex and, like the noun, exhibits a system of ablaut. Indo-European languages_sentence_108

Diversification Indo-European languages_section_8

See also: Indo-European migrations Indo-European languages_sentence_109

The diversification of the parent language into the attested branches of daughter languages is historically unattested. Indo-European languages_sentence_110

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. Indo-European languages_sentence_111

Using a mathematical analysis borrowed from evolutionary biology, Don Ringe and Tandy Warnow propose the following evolutionary tree of Indo-European branches: Indo-European languages_sentence_112

Indo-European languages_unordered_list_4

  • Pre-Anatolian (before 3500 BC)Indo-European languages_item_4_35
  • Pre-TocharianIndo-European languages_item_4_36
  • Pre-Italic and Pre-Celtic (before 2500 BC)Indo-European languages_item_4_37
  • Pre-Armenian and Pre-Greek (after 2500 BC)Indo-European languages_item_4_38
  • Proto-Indo-Iranian (2000 BC)Indo-European languages_item_4_39
  • Pre-Germanic and Pre-Balto-Slavic; proto-Germanic c. 500 BCIndo-European languages_item_4_40

David Anthony proposes the following sequence: Indo-European languages_sentence_113

Indo-European languages_unordered_list_5

  • Pre-Anatolian (4200 BC)Indo-European languages_item_5_41
  • Pre-Tocharian (3700 BC)Indo-European languages_item_5_42
  • Pre-Germanic (3300 BC)Indo-European languages_item_5_43
  • Pre-Italic and Pre-Celtic (3000 BC)Indo-European languages_item_5_44
  • Pre-Armenian (2800 BC)Indo-European languages_item_5_45
  • Pre-Balto-Slavic (2800 BC)Indo-European languages_item_5_46
  • Pre-Greek (2500 BC)Indo-European languages_item_5_47
  • Proto-Indo-Iranian (2200 BC); split between Iranian and Old Indic 1800 BCIndo-European languages_item_5_48

From 1500 BC the following sequence may be given: Indo-European languages_sentence_114

Indo-European languages_unordered_list_6

Important languages for reconstruction Indo-European languages_section_9

In reconstructing the history of the Indo-European languages and the form of the Proto-Indo-European language, some languages have been of particular importance. Indo-European languages_sentence_115

These generally include the ancient 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). Indo-European languages_sentence_116

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. Indo-European languages_sentence_117

Most noticeable of all: Indo-European languages_sentence_118

Indo-European languages_unordered_list_7

  • 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 Rigveda (c. 1500 BC).Indo-European languages_item_7_56
  • Ancient Greek (c. 750–400 BC). Mycenaean Greek (c. 1450 BC) 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 (the Iliad and the Odyssey, c. 750 BC).Indo-European languages_item_7_57
  • 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 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 many early phonological and grammatical changes which, combined with the ambiguities of its writing system, hinder its usefulness somewhat.Indo-European languages_item_7_58

Other primary sources: Indo-European languages_sentence_119

Indo-European languages_unordered_list_8

  • 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.Indo-European languages_item_8_59
  • 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 (c. 800–1000 AD), Old High German (c. 750–1000 AD) and Old Norse (c. 1100–1300 AD, with limited earlier sources dating all the way back to c. 200 AD).Indo-European languages_item_8_60
  • 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.Indo-European languages_item_8_61
  • Modern Lithuanian, with limited records in Old Lithuanian (c. 1500–1700 AD).Indo-European languages_item_8_62
  • Old Church Slavonic (c. 900–1000 AD).Indo-European languages_item_8_63

Other secondary sources, of lesser value due to poor attestation: Indo-European languages_sentence_120

Indo-European languages_unordered_list_9

Other secondary sources, of lesser value due to extensive phonological changes and relatively limited attestation: Indo-European languages_sentence_121

Indo-European languages_unordered_list_10

  • Old Irish (c. 700–850 AD).Indo-European languages_item_10_68
  • Tocharian (c. 500–800 AD), underwent large phonetic shifts and mergers in the proto-language, and has an almost entirely reworked declension system.Indo-European languages_item_10_69
  • Classical Armenian (c. 400–1000 AD).Indo-European languages_item_10_70
  • Albanian (c. 1450–current time).Indo-European languages_item_10_71

Sound changes Indo-European languages_section_10

Main article: Indo-European sound laws Indo-European languages_sentence_122

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. Indo-European languages_sentence_123

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. Indo-European languages_sentence_124

(The correctness of the terms palatal and plain velar is disputed; see Proto-Indo-European phonology.) Indo-European languages_sentence_125

All daughter languages have reduced the number of distinctions among these sounds, often in divergent ways. Indo-European languages_sentence_126

As an example, in English, one of the Germanic languages, the following are some of the major changes that happened: Indo-European languages_sentence_127

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. Indo-European languages_sentence_128

The major distinction between centum and satem languages corresponds to the outcome of the PIE plain velars: Indo-European languages_sentence_129

Indo-European languages_unordered_list_11

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. Indo-European languages_sentence_130

None of the various daughter-language families continue it unchanged, with numerous "solutions" to the apparently unstable PIE situation: Indo-European languages_sentence_131

Indo-European languages_unordered_list_12

  • The Indo-Aryan languages preserve the three series unchanged but have evolved a fourth series of voiceless aspirated consonants.Indo-European languages_item_12_74
  • The Iranian languages probably passed through the same stage, subsequently changing the aspirated stops into fricatives.Indo-European languages_item_12_75
  • Greek converted the voiced aspirates into voiceless aspirates.Indo-European languages_item_12_76
  • Italic probably passed through the same stage, but reflects the voiced aspirates as voiceless fricatives, especially f (or sometimes plain voiced stops in Latin).Indo-European languages_item_12_77
  • Celtic, Balto-Slavic, Anatolian, and Albanian merge the voiced aspirated into plain voiced stops.Indo-European languages_item_12_78
  • 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).Indo-European languages_item_12_79

Among the other notable changes affecting consonants are: Indo-European languages_sentence_132

Indo-European languages_unordered_list_13

  • The Ruki sound law (s becomes /ʃ/ before r, u, k, i) in the satem languages.Indo-European languages_item_13_80
  • Loss of prevocalic p in Proto-Celtic.Indo-European languages_item_13_81
  • Development of prevocalic s to h in Proto-Greek, with later loss of h between vowels.Indo-European languages_item_13_82
  • Verner's law in Proto-Germanic.Indo-European languages_item_13_83
  • Grassmann's law (dissimilation of aspirates) independently in Proto-Greek and Proto-Indo-Iranian.Indo-European languages_item_13_84

The following table shows the basic outcomes of PIE consonants in some of the most important daughter languages for the purposes of reconstruction. Indo-European languages_sentence_133

For a fuller table, see Indo-European sound laws. Indo-European languages_sentence_134

Indo-European languages_description_list_14

  • Notes:Indo-European languages_item_14_85

Indo-European languages_unordered_list_15

  • C- At the beginning of a word.Indo-European languages_item_15_86
  • -C- Between vowels.Indo-European languages_item_15_87
  • -C At the end of a word.Indo-European languages_item_15_88
  • `-C- Following an unstressed vowel (Verner's law).Indo-European languages_item_15_89
  • -C- Between vowels, or between a vowel and r, l (on either side).Indo-European languages_item_15_90
  • C Before a (PIE) stop (p, t, k).Indo-European languages_item_15_91
  • C After a (PIE) obstruent (p, t, k, etc.; s).Indo-European languages_item_15_92
  • C Before or after an obstruent (p, t, k, etc.; s).Indo-European languages_item_15_93
  • C Before an original laryngeal.Indo-European languages_item_15_94
  • C Before a (PIE) front vowel (i, e).Indo-European languages_item_15_95
  • C Before secondary (post-PIE) front-vowels.Indo-European languages_item_15_96
  • C Before e.Indo-European languages_item_15_97
  • C Before or after a (PIE) u (boukólos rule).Indo-European languages_item_15_98
  • C Before or after a (PIE) o, u (boukólos rule).Indo-European languages_item_15_99
  • C After n.Indo-European languages_item_15_100
  • C Before a sonorant (r, l, m, n).Indo-European languages_item_15_101
  • C Before or after a sonorant (r, l, m, n).Indo-European languages_item_15_102
  • C Before r, l or after r, u.Indo-European languages_item_15_103
  • C After r, u, k, i (Ruki sound law).Indo-European languages_item_15_104
  • C Before an aspirated consonant in the next syllable (Grassmann's law, also known as dissimilation of aspirates).Indo-European languages_item_15_105
  • C 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).Indo-European languages_item_15_106
  • C 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).Indo-European languages_item_15_107

Comparison of conjugations Indo-European languages_section_11

The following table presents a comparison of conjugations of the thematic present indicative of the verbal root *bʰer- of the English verb 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. Indo-European languages_sentence_135

Indo-European languages_table_general_1

Indo-European languages_header_cell_1_0_0 Proto-Indo-European
(* 'to carry, to bear')Indo-European languages_header_cell_1_0_1
I (1st sg.)Indo-European languages_header_cell_1_1_0 *bʰéroh₂Indo-European languages_cell_1_1_1
You (2nd sg.)Indo-European languages_header_cell_1_2_0 *bʰéresiIndo-European languages_cell_1_2_1
He/She/It (3rd sg.)Indo-European languages_header_cell_1_3_0 *bʰéretiIndo-European languages_cell_1_3_1
We (1st dual)Indo-European languages_header_cell_1_4_0 *bʰérowosIndo-European languages_cell_1_4_1
You (2nd dual)Indo-European languages_header_cell_1_5_0 *bʰéreth₁esIndo-European languages_cell_1_5_1
They (3rd dual)Indo-European languages_header_cell_1_6_0 *bʰéretesIndo-European languages_cell_1_6_1
We (1st pl.)Indo-European languages_header_cell_1_7_0 *bʰéromosIndo-European languages_cell_1_7_1
You (2nd pl.)Indo-European languages_header_cell_1_8_0 *bʰéreteIndo-European languages_cell_1_8_1
They (3rd pl.)Indo-European languages_header_cell_1_9_0 *bʰérontiIndo-European languages_cell_1_9_1

Indo-European languages_table_general_2

Major subgroupIndo-European languages_header_cell_2_0_0 HellenicIndo-European languages_header_cell_2_0_1 Indo-IranianIndo-European languages_header_cell_2_0_2 ItalicIndo-European languages_header_cell_2_0_4 CelticIndo-European languages_header_cell_2_0_5 ArmenianIndo-European languages_header_cell_2_0_6 GermanicIndo-European languages_header_cell_2_0_7 Balto-SlavicIndo-European languages_header_cell_2_0_8 AlbanianIndo-European languages_header_cell_2_0_10
Indo-AryanIndo-European languages_header_cell_2_1_0 IranianIndo-European languages_header_cell_2_1_1 BalticIndo-European languages_header_cell_2_1_2 SlavicIndo-European languages_header_cell_2_1_3
Ancient representativeIndo-European languages_header_cell_2_2_0 Ancient GreekIndo-European languages_header_cell_2_2_1 Vedic SanskritIndo-European languages_header_cell_2_2_2 AvestanIndo-European languages_header_cell_2_2_3 LatinIndo-European languages_header_cell_2_2_4 Old IrishIndo-European languages_header_cell_2_2_5 Classical ArmenianIndo-European languages_header_cell_2_2_6 GothicIndo-European languages_header_cell_2_2_7 Old PrussianIndo-European languages_header_cell_2_2_8 Old Church Sl.Indo-European languages_header_cell_2_2_9 Old AlbanianIndo-European languages_header_cell_2_2_10
I (1st sg.)Indo-European languages_header_cell_2_3_0 Indo-European languages_cell_2_3_1 bʰárāmiIndo-European languages_cell_2_3_2 barāIndo-European languages_cell_2_3_3 Indo-European languages_cell_2_3_4 biru; berimIndo-European languages_cell_2_3_5 beremIndo-European languages_cell_2_3_6 baíra /bɛra/Indo-European languages_cell_2_3_7 *beraIndo-European languages_cell_2_3_8 berǫIndo-European languages_cell_2_3_9 *berjaIndo-European languages_cell_2_3_10
You (2nd sg.)Indo-European languages_header_cell_2_4_0 phéreisIndo-European languages_cell_2_4_1 bʰárasiIndo-European languages_cell_2_4_2 barahiIndo-European languages_cell_2_4_3 fersIndo-European languages_cell_2_4_4 biri; berirIndo-European languages_cell_2_4_5 beresIndo-European languages_cell_2_4_6 baírisIndo-European languages_cell_2_4_7 *beraIndo-European languages_cell_2_4_8 berešiIndo-European languages_cell_2_4_9 *berjeIndo-European languages_cell_2_4_10
He/She/It (3rd sg.)Indo-European languages_header_cell_2_5_0 phéreiIndo-European languages_cell_2_5_1 bʰáratiIndo-European languages_cell_2_5_2 baraitiIndo-European languages_cell_2_5_3 fertIndo-European languages_cell_2_5_4 beridIndo-European languages_cell_2_5_5 berēIndo-European languages_cell_2_5_6 baíriþIndo-European languages_cell_2_5_7 *beraIndo-European languages_cell_2_5_8 beretъIndo-European languages_cell_2_5_9 *berjetIndo-European languages_cell_2_5_10
We (1st dual)Indo-European languages_header_cell_2_6_0 Indo-European languages_cell_2_6_1 bʰárāvasIndo-European languages_cell_2_6_2 barāvahiIndo-European languages_cell_2_6_3 Indo-European languages_cell_2_6_4 Indo-European languages_cell_2_6_5 Indo-European languages_cell_2_6_6 baírosIndo-European languages_cell_2_6_7 Indo-European languages_cell_2_6_8 berevěIndo-European languages_cell_2_6_9 Indo-European languages_cell_2_6_10
You (2nd dual)Indo-European languages_header_cell_2_7_0 phéretonIndo-European languages_cell_2_7_1 bʰárathasIndo-European languages_cell_2_7_2 Indo-European languages_cell_2_7_3 Indo-European languages_cell_2_7_4 Indo-European languages_cell_2_7_5 Indo-European languages_cell_2_7_6 baíratsIndo-European languages_cell_2_7_7 Indo-European languages_cell_2_7_8 beretaIndo-European languages_cell_2_7_9 Indo-European languages_cell_2_7_10
They (3rd dual)Indo-European languages_header_cell_2_8_0 phéretonIndo-European languages_cell_2_8_1 bʰáratasIndo-European languages_cell_2_8_2 baratōIndo-European languages_cell_2_8_3 Indo-European languages_cell_2_8_4 Indo-European languages_cell_2_8_5 Indo-European languages_cell_2_8_6 Indo-European languages_cell_2_8_7 Indo-European languages_cell_2_8_8 bereteIndo-European languages_cell_2_8_9 Indo-European languages_cell_2_8_10
We (1st pl.)Indo-European languages_header_cell_2_9_0 phéromenIndo-European languages_cell_2_9_1 bʰárāmasIndo-European languages_cell_2_9_2 barāmahiIndo-European languages_cell_2_9_3 ferimusIndo-European languages_cell_2_9_4 bermaiIndo-European languages_cell_2_9_5 beremk`Indo-European languages_cell_2_9_6 baíramIndo-European languages_cell_2_9_7 *beramaiIndo-European languages_cell_2_9_8 beremъIndo-European languages_cell_2_9_9 *berjameIndo-European languages_cell_2_9_10
You (2nd pl.)Indo-European languages_header_cell_2_10_0 phéreteIndo-European languages_cell_2_10_1 bʰárathaIndo-European languages_cell_2_10_2 baraϑaIndo-European languages_cell_2_10_3 fertisIndo-European languages_cell_2_10_4 beirtheIndo-European languages_cell_2_10_5 berēk`Indo-European languages_cell_2_10_6 baíriþIndo-European languages_cell_2_10_7 *berateiIndo-European languages_cell_2_10_8 bereteIndo-European languages_cell_2_10_9 *berjejuIndo-European languages_cell_2_10_10
They (3rd pl.)Indo-European languages_header_cell_2_11_0 phérousiIndo-European languages_cell_2_11_1 bʰárantiIndo-European languages_cell_2_11_2 barəṇtiIndo-European languages_cell_2_11_3 feruntIndo-European languages_cell_2_11_4 beraitIndo-European languages_cell_2_11_5 berenIndo-European languages_cell_2_11_6 baírandIndo-European languages_cell_2_11_7 *beraIndo-European languages_cell_2_11_8 berǫtъIndo-European languages_cell_2_11_9 *berjantiIndo-European languages_cell_2_11_10
Modern representativeIndo-European languages_header_cell_2_12_0 Modern GreekIndo-European languages_header_cell_2_12_1 HindustaniIndo-European languages_header_cell_2_12_2 PersianIndo-European languages_header_cell_2_12_3 PortugueseIndo-European languages_header_cell_2_12_4 IrishIndo-European languages_header_cell_2_12_5 Armenian (Eastern; Western)Indo-European languages_header_cell_2_12_6 GermanIndo-European languages_header_cell_2_12_7 LithuanianIndo-European languages_header_cell_2_12_8 CzechIndo-European languages_header_cell_2_12_9 AlbanianIndo-European languages_header_cell_2_12_10
I (1st sg.)Indo-European languages_header_cell_2_13_0 férnoIndo-European languages_cell_2_13_1 (mɛm̥) bʰarūm̥Indo-European languages_cell_2_13_2 (man) {mi}baramIndo-European languages_cell_2_13_3 (trans)firoIndo-European languages_cell_2_13_4 Indo-European languages_cell_2_13_5 berum em; g'peremIndo-European languages_cell_2_13_6 (ich) {ge}bäreIndo-European languages_cell_2_13_7 beriuIndo-European languages_cell_2_13_8 Indo-European languages_cell_2_13_9 (unë) bieIndo-European languages_cell_2_13_10
You (2nd sg.)Indo-European languages_header_cell_2_14_0 férnisIndo-European languages_cell_2_14_1 (tū) bʰarēIndo-European languages_cell_2_14_2 (tu) {mi}bariIndo-European languages_cell_2_14_3 (trans)feresIndo-European languages_cell_2_14_4 beirirIndo-European languages_cell_2_14_5 berum es; g'peresIndo-European languages_cell_2_14_6 (du) {ge}bierstIndo-European languages_cell_2_14_7 beriIndo-European languages_cell_2_14_8 berešIndo-European languages_cell_2_14_9 (ti) bieIndo-European languages_cell_2_14_10
He/She/It (3rd sg.)Indo-European languages_header_cell_2_15_0 férniIndo-European languages_cell_2_15_1 (vah) bʰarēIndo-European languages_cell_2_15_2 (ān) {mi}baradIndo-European languages_cell_2_15_3 (trans)fereIndo-European languages_cell_2_15_4 beireann; beiridhIndo-European languages_cell_2_15_5 berum ē; g'perēIndo-European languages_cell_2_15_6 (er)(sie)(es) {ge}biertIndo-European languages_cell_2_15_7 beriaIndo-European languages_cell_2_15_8 bereIndo-European languages_cell_2_15_9 (ai/ajo) bieIndo-European languages_cell_2_15_10
We (1st dual)Indo-European languages_header_cell_2_16_0 Indo-European languages_cell_2_16_1 Indo-European languages_cell_2_16_2 Indo-European languages_cell_2_16_3 Indo-European languages_cell_2_16_4 Indo-European languages_cell_2_16_5 Indo-European languages_cell_2_16_6 Indo-European languages_cell_2_16_7 beriavaIndo-European languages_cell_2_16_8 Indo-European languages_cell_2_16_9 Indo-European languages_cell_2_16_10
You (2nd dual)Indo-European languages_header_cell_2_17_0 Indo-European languages_cell_2_17_1 Indo-European languages_cell_2_17_2 Indo-European languages_cell_2_17_3 Indo-European languages_cell_2_17_4 Indo-European languages_cell_2_17_5 Indo-European languages_cell_2_17_6 Indo-European languages_cell_2_17_7 beriataIndo-European languages_cell_2_17_8 Indo-European languages_cell_2_17_9 Indo-European languages_cell_2_17_10
They (3rd dual)Indo-European languages_header_cell_2_18_0 Indo-European languages_cell_2_18_1 Indo-European languages_cell_2_18_2 Indo-European languages_cell_2_18_3 Indo-European languages_cell_2_18_4 Indo-European languages_cell_2_18_5 Indo-European languages_cell_2_18_6 Indo-European languages_cell_2_18_7 beriaIndo-European languages_cell_2_18_8 Indo-European languages_cell_2_18_9 Indo-European languages_cell_2_18_10
We (1st pl.)Indo-European languages_header_cell_2_19_0 férnumeIndo-European languages_cell_2_19_1 (ham) bʰarēm̥Indo-European languages_cell_2_19_2 (mā) {mi}barimIndo-European languages_cell_2_19_3 (trans)ferimosIndo-European languages_cell_2_19_4 beirimid; beireamIndo-European languages_cell_2_19_5 berum enk`; g'perenk`Indo-European languages_cell_2_19_6 (wir) {ge}bärenIndo-European languages_cell_2_19_7 beriameIndo-European languages_cell_2_19_8 berem(e)Indo-European languages_cell_2_19_9 (ne) biemIndo-European languages_cell_2_19_10
You (2nd pl.)Indo-European languages_header_cell_2_20_0 férneteIndo-European languages_cell_2_20_1 (tum) bʰaroIndo-European languages_cell_2_20_2 (šomā) {mi}baridIndo-European languages_cell_2_20_3 (trans)ferisIndo-European languages_cell_2_20_4 beireann sibh; beirthaoiIndo-European languages_cell_2_20_5 berum ek`; g'perek`Indo-European languages_cell_2_20_6 (ihr) {ge}bärtIndo-European languages_cell_2_20_7 beriateIndo-European languages_cell_2_20_8 bereteIndo-European languages_cell_2_20_9 (ju) biniIndo-European languages_cell_2_20_10
They (3rd pl.)Indo-European languages_header_cell_2_21_0 férnunIndo-European languages_cell_2_21_1 (ve) bʰarēm̥Indo-European languages_cell_2_21_2 (ānān) {mi}barandIndo-European languages_cell_2_21_3 (trans)feremIndo-European languages_cell_2_21_4 beiridIndo-European languages_cell_2_21_5 berum en; g'perenIndo-European languages_cell_2_21_6 (sie) {ge}bärenIndo-European languages_cell_2_21_7 beriaIndo-European languages_cell_2_21_8 berouIndo-European languages_cell_2_21_9 (ata/ato) bienIndo-European languages_cell_2_21_10

While similarities are still visible between the modern descendants and relatives of these ancient languages, the differences have increased over time. Indo-European languages_sentence_136

Some IE languages have moved from synthetic verb systems to largely periphrastic systems. Indo-European languages_sentence_137

In addition, the pronouns of periphrastic forms are in brackets when they appear. Indo-European languages_sentence_138

Some of these verbs have undergone a change in meaning as well. Indo-European languages_sentence_139

Indo-European languages_unordered_list_16

  • 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.Indo-European languages_item_16_108
  • The Hindustani (Hindi and Urdu) 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 future subjunctive. The loss of the present indicative in Hindustani is roughly compensated by the habitual indicative which is formed periphrastically, using the habitual participle (etymologically the Sanskrit present participle bʰarant-) and an auxiliary: mè̃ bʰartā hū̃, tū bʰartā hè, vah bʰartā hè, ham bʰarte hè̃, tum bʰarte ho, ve bʰarte hè̃ (masculine forms).Indo-European languages_item_16_109
  • 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)".Indo-European languages_item_16_110
  • 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 was borrowed and nativized only in compounds such as souffrir "to suffer" (from Latin sub- and ferre) and conférer "to confer" (from Latin "con-" and "ferre").Indo-European languages_item_16_111
  • 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.Indo-European languages_item_16_112
  • 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.Indo-European languages_item_16_113

Comparison of cognates Indo-European languages_section_12

Main article: Indo-European vocabulary Indo-European languages_sentence_140

See also: Proto-Indo-European numerals and List of numbers in various languages Indo-European languages_sentence_141

Present distribution Indo-European languages_section_13

Today, Indo-European languages are spoken by 3.2 billion native speakers across all inhabited continents, the largest number by far for any recognised language family. Indo-European languages_sentence_142

Of the 20 languages with the largest numbers of native speakers according to Ethnologue, 10 are Indo-European: Spanish, English, Hindustani, Portuguese, Bengali, Russian, Punjabi, German, French, and Marathi, accounting for over 1.7 billion native speakers. Indo-European languages_sentence_143

Additionally, hundreds of millions of persons worldwide study Indo-European languages as secondary or tertiary languages, including in cultures which have completely different language families and historical backgrounds—there are between 600 million and one billion L2 learners of English alone. Indo-European languages_sentence_144

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. Indo-European languages_sentence_145

The ancient Indo-European migrations and widespread dissemination of 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 swathes of the Near East, North and East Asia, replacing many (but not all) of the previously-spoken pre-Indo-European languages of this extensive area. Indo-European languages_sentence_146

However Semitic languages remain dominant in much of the Middle East and North Africa, and Caucasian languages in much of the Caucasus region. Indo-European languages_sentence_147

Similarly in Europe and the Urals the Uralic languages (such as Hungarian, Finnish, Estonian etc) remain, as does Basque, a pre-Indo-European isolate. Indo-European languages_sentence_148

Despite being unaware of their common linguistic origin, diverse groups of Indo-European speakers continued to culturally dominate and often replace the indigenous languages of the western two-thirds of Eurasia. Indo-European languages_sentence_149

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 northern Europe, the Slavs eastern Europe, the Iranian peoples most of western and central Asia and parts of eastern Europe, and the Indo-Aryan peoples in the Indian subcontinent, with the Tocharians inhabiting the Indo-European frontier in western China. Indo-European languages_sentence_150

By the medieval period, only the Semitic, Dravidian, Caucasian, and Uralic languages, and the language isolate Basque remained of the (relatively) indigenous languages of Europe and the western half of Asia. Indo-European languages_sentence_151

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 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 and peoples due to increased state centralization and nationalism. Indo-European languages_sentence_152

These trends compounded throughout the modern period due to the general global population growth and the results of European colonization of the Western Hemisphere and Oceania, leading to an explosion in the number of Indo-European speakers as well as the territories inhabited by them. Indo-European languages_sentence_153

Due to colonization and the modern dominance of Indo-European languages in the fields of politics, global science, technology, education, finance, and sports, even many modern countries whose populations largely speak non-Indo-European languages have Indo-European languages as official languages, and the majority of the global population speaks at least one Indo-European language. Indo-European languages_sentence_154

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. Indo-European languages_sentence_155

See also Indo-European languages_section_14

Credits to the contents of this page go to the authors of the corresponding Wikipedia page: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Indo-European languages.