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Key People:Rasmus RaskAugust SchleicherFerdinand de SaussureAntoine MeilletFranz Bopp...(Show more)Related Topics:Romance languagesGreek languageSlavic languagesCeltic languagesBaltic languages...(Show more)

Indo-European languages, family of languages talked in many of Europe and also areas of europe settlement and in lot of Southwest and also South Asia. The hatchet Indo-Hittite is used by scholar who think that Hittite and the other Anatolian languages are not just one branch of Indo-European however rather a branch coordinate through all the rest put together; thus, Indo-Hittite has actually been offered for a family consisting that Indo-European appropriate plus Anatolian. As lengthy as this check out is no definitively confirmed nor disproved, that is practically to save the traditional use the the hatchet Indo-European.

Languages the the family

The well-attested language of the Indo-European household fall relatively neatly into the 10 main branches detailed below; these are arranged according to the age of their earliest sizable texts.


Now extinct, Anatolian languages were talked during the 1st and second millennia bce in what is presently asian Turkey and also northern Syria. By far the best-known Anatolian language is Hittite, the official language the the Hittite empire, which flourished in the 2nd millennium. Very few Hittite texts were known before 1906, and also their interpretation as Indo-European was not generally embraced until after ~ 1915; the integration of Hittite data into Indo-European comparative grammar was, therefore, one of the principal advancements of Indo-European studies in the 20th century. The earliest Hittite texts date from the 17th century bce, the latest from roughly 1200 bce.


Indo-Iranian comprises two key subbranches, Indo-Aryan (Indic) and also Iranian. Indo-Aryan languages have been spoken in what is now north and main India and also Pakistan due to the fact that before 1000 bce. Aside from a very poorly known dialect spoken in or near northern Iraq throughout the second millennium bce, the oldest record of an Indo-Aryan language is the Vedic Sanskrit of the Rigveda, the earliest of the spiritual scriptures that India, dating approximately from 1000 bce. Examples of contemporary Indo-Aryan languages space Hindi, Bengali, Sinhalese (spoken in Sri Lanka), and also the numerous dialects that Romany, the language of the Roma.

Iranian language were spoken in the first millennium bce in present-day Iran and also Afghanistan and also in the steppes come the north, from contemporary Hungary to eastern (Chinese) Turkistan (now Xinjiang). The only well-known old varieties the Iranian languages room Avestan, the spiritual language the the Zoroastrians (Parsis), and also Old Persian, the main language of Darius i (ruled 522–486 bce) and Xerxes i (486–465 bce) and also their successors. Among the contemporary Iranian languages space Persian (Fārsī), Pashto (Afghan), Kurdish, and also Ossetic.


Greek, despite its many dialects, has actually been a single language transparent its history. It has been spoken in Greece due to the fact that at least 1600 bce and, in all probability, since the end of the third millennium bce. The earliest texts space the linear B tablets, some of which may date from together far ago as 1400 bce (the date is disputed) and some the which absolutely date to 1200 bce. This material, very sparse and daunting to interpret, was not determined as Greek until 1952. The Homeric epics—the Iliad and also the Odyssey, more than likely dating indigenous the 8 hours century bce—are the earliest texts of any kind of bulk.


The primary language the the Italic group is Latin, initially the speech of the city that Rome and the ancestor that the modern Romance languages: Italian, Romanian, Spanish, Portuguese, French, and also so on. The faster Latin inscriptions apparently date from the 6th century bce, v literature start in the third century. Scholars space not in agreement as to how countless other ancient languages of Italy and also Sicily belonging in the exact same branch as Latin.


In the center of the 1st millennium bce, germanic tribes stayed in southern Scandinavia and northern Germany. Your expansions and also migrations indigenous the second century bce onward are mainly recorded in history. The earliest Germanic language the which lot is known is the Gothic of the 4th century ce. Other languages include English, German, Dutch, Danish, Swedish, Norwegian, and Icelandic.


Armenian, favor Greek, is a single language. Speakers of Armenian are tape-recorded as being in what currently constitutes eastern Turkey and also Armenia as beforehand as the sixth century bce, yet the earliest Armenian texts date from the fifth century ce.


The Tocharian languages, now extinct, were talked in the Tarim container (in present-day northwestern China) during the first millennium ce. Two distinctive languages space known, labeled A (East Tocharian, or Turfanian) and also B (West Tocharian, or Kuchean). One team of take trip permits for caravans deserve to be date to the beforehand 7th century, and also it appears that various other texts day from the exact same or from adjoining centuries. This languages became known to scholars only in the very first decade that the 20th century. They have actually been less important for Indo-European studies than Hittite has been, partly due to the fact that their testimony about the Indo-European parental language is obscured by 2,000 more years of readjust and partly because Tocharian testimony fits reasonably well with that that the previously well-known non-Anatolian languages.


Celtic languages were spoken in the last centuries before the usual Era (also called the Christian Era) over a vast area the Europe, indigenous Spain and also Britain come the Balkans, with one team (the Galatians) even in Asia Minor. Very little of the Celtic of that time and the ensuing centuries has survived, and this branch is known nearly entirely from the Insular Celtic languages—Irish, Welsh, and others—spoken in and near the brothers Isles, as recorded from the 8 hours century ce onward.


The group of Baltic and Slavic right into a single branch is somewhat controversial, but the solely shared attributes outweigh the divergences. In ~ the start of the typical Era, Baltic and Slavic tribes lived in a big area of east Europe, east of the german tribes and also north that the Iranians, consisting of much of present-day Poland and the claims of Belarus, Ukraine, and also westernmost Russia. The Slavic area was in all likelihood reasonably small, possibly centred in what is now southern Poland. But in the fifth century ce the Slavs started expanding in every directions. By the end of the 20th century Slavic language were spoken throughout lot of eastern Europe and also northern Asia. The Baltic-speaking area, however, contracted, and by the finish of the 20th century Baltic languages to be confined to Lithuania and also Latvia.

The earliest Slavic texts, composed in a dialect called Old Church Slavonic, date from the ninth century ce, the oldest substantial material in Baltic days to the finish of the 14th century, and the oldest linked texts come the 16th century.


Albanian, the language of the present-day republic of Albania, is recognized from the 15th century ce. The presumably proceeds one that the really poorly attested old Indo-European language of the Balkan Peninsula, but which one is not clear.

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In addition to the major branches simply listed, there are numerous poorly documented extinct languages of which sufficient is known to be certain that they to be Indo-European and that castle did not belong in any type of of the teams enumerated over (e.g., Phrygian, Macedonian). The a few, too small is well-known to be certain whether they were Indo-European or not.