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definition - Indo-European_languages

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Indo-European languages

Before the 16th century, Europe, and South, Central and Southwest Asia; today worldwide.
Linguistic classification: One of the world's major language families
Proto-language: Proto-Indo-European
Anatolian (extinct)
Italic (includes Romance)
Tocharian (extinct)
ISO 639-2 and 639-5: ine
IE countries.svg
  Countries with a majority of speakers of IE languages
  Countries with an IE minority language with official status

The Indo-European languages are a family (or phylum) of several hundred related languages and dialects,[1] including most major current languages of Europe, the Iranian plateau, and South Asia and also historically predominant in Anatolia. With written attestations appearing since the 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 longest recorded history after the Afroasiatic family.

Indo-European languages are spoken by almost three billion native speakers,[2] the largest number for any recognised language family. Of the twenty languages with the largest numbers of native speakers according to SIL Ethnologue, twelve are Indo-European: Spanish, English, Hindi, Portuguese, Bengali, Russian, German, Marathi, French, Italian, Punjabi, and Urdu, accounting for over 1.7 billion native speakers.[3] Several disputed proposals link Indo-European to other major language families.


  History of Indo-European linguistics

Suggestions of similarities between Indian and European languages began to be made by European visitors to India in the 16th century. In 1583 Thomas Stephens, an English Jesuit missionary in Goa, noted similarities between Indian languages, specifically Konkani, and Greek and Latin. These observations, however, were included in a letter to his brother which was not published until the twentieth century.[4]

The first account by a western European to mention the ancient language Sanskrit came from Filippo Sassetti (born in Florence, Italy in 1540), a merchant who traveled 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", nava/nove "nine").[4] However, neither Stephens's nor Sassetti's observations led to further scholarly inquiry.[4]

In 1647, Dutch linguist and scholar Marcus Zuerius van Boxhorn noted the similarity among Indo-European languages, and supposed that they derived from a primitive common language which he called "Scythian". 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.

Gaston Coeurdoux and others had 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 between them. Similarly, Mikhail Lomonosov compared different languages groups of the world including Slavic, Baltic ("Kurlandic"), Iranian ("Medic"), Finnish, Chinese, "Hottentot", and others. He emphatically expressed the antiquity of the linguistic stages accessible to comparative method in the drafts for his Russian Grammar (published 1755).[5]

The hypothesis reappeared in 1786 when Sir William Jones first lectured on the striking similarities between three of the oldest languages known in his time: Latin, Greek, and Sanskrit, to which he tentatively added Gothic, Celtic, and Old Persian,[6] though his classification contained some inaccuracies and omissions.[7][dead link]

It was Thomas Young who in 1813[8] first used the term Indo-European, which became the standard scientific term through the work of Franz Bopp, whose systematic comparison of these and other old languages supported the theory. In some nations, the term Indo-Germanic is in use; in Germany as the standard scientific term, while in other languages it is the more common term.[9] Bopp's Comparative Grammar, appearing between 1833 and 1852, counts as the starting point of Indo-European studies as an academic discipline.

The classical phase of Indo-European comparative linguistics leads from Franz Bopp's Comparative Grammar (1833) to August Schleicher's 1861 Compendium and up to Karl Brugmann's Grundriss, published in the 1880s. Brugmann's junggrammatische reevaluation of the field and Ferdinand de Saussure's development of the laryngeal theory may be considered 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, in the wake of Kuryłowicz's 1956 Apophonie, understanding of the ablaut.


  Indo-European language family
  The approximate present-day distribution of the Indo-European branches within their homelands of Europe and Asia:
  Italic (includes Romance)
  Non-Indo-European languages
Dotted/striped areas indicate where multilingualism is common.

The various subgroups of the Indo-European language family include ten major branches, given in the chronological order of their earliest surviving written attestations:

  1. Anatolian, the earliest attested branch. Isolated terms in Old Assyrian sources from the 19th century BC, Hittite texts from about the 16th century BC; extinct by Late Antiquity.
  2. Hellenic, fragmentary records in Mycenaean Greek from between 1350 and 1450 BC have been found.[10] Homeric texts date to the 8th century BC. (See Proto-Greek, History of the Greek.)
  3. Indo-Iranian, descended from Proto-Indo-Iranian (dated to the late 3rd millennium BC).
  4. Italic, including Latin and its descendants (the Romance), attested from the 7th century BC.
  5. Celtic, descended from Proto-Celtic. Tartessian dated from 8th century BC,[11][12] Gaulish inscriptions date as early as the 6th century BC; Celtiberian from the 2nd century BC; Old Irish manuscript tradition from about the 8th century AD, and there are inscriptions in Old Welsh from the same period.
  6. Germanic (from Proto-Germanic), earliest testimonies in runic inscriptions from around the 2nd century AD, earliest coherent texts in Gothic, 4th century AD. Old English manuscript tradition from about the 8th century AD.
  7. Armenian, alphabet writings known from the beginning of the 5th century AD.
  8. Tocharian, extant in two dialects (Turfanian and Kuchean), attested from roughly the 6th to the 9th century AD. Marginalized by the Old Turkic Uyghur Khaganate and probably extinct by the 10th century.
  9. Balto-Slavic, believed by most Indo-Europeanists[13] to form a phylogenetic unit, while a minority ascribes similarities to prolonged language contact.
  10. Albanian, attested from the 14th century AD; Proto-Albanian likely emerged from Paleo-Balkan predecessors.[14][15]

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


Membership of these languages in the Indo-European language family is determined by genetic relationships, meaning that all members are presumed to be descendants of a common ancestor, Proto-Indo-European. Membership in the various branches, groups and subgroups or Indo-European is also genetic, 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 a branch of Indo-European is that much of their structure and phonology can so be stated in rules that apply to all of them. Many of their common features are presumed to be innovations that took place in Proto-Germanic, the source of all the Germanic languages.

  Tree versus wave model

To the evolutionary history of a language family, a genetic "tree model" is considered appropriate especially if communities do not remain in effective contact as their languages diverge. Exempted from this concept are shared innovations acquired by borrowing (or other means of convergence), that cannot be considered genetic. In this case the so-called "wave model" applies, featuring borrowings and no clear underlying genetic tree. 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. 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, since 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 to be 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 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, while 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.[16]

  Proposed subgroupings

Specialists have postulated the existence of such subfamilies (subgroups) as Italo-Celtic, Graeco-Armenian, Graeco-Aryan, and Germanic with Balto-Slavic. The vogue for such subgroups waxes and wanes; Italo-Celtic for example used to be a standard subgroup of Indo-European, but it is now little honored, in part because much of the evidence on which it was based has turned out to have been misinterpreted.[17]

Subgroupings of the Indo-European languages are commonly held to reflect genetic relationships and linguistic change. The generic differentiation of Proto-Indo-European into dialects and languages happened hand in hand with language contact and the spread of innovations over different territories.

Rather than being entirely genetic, the grouping of satem languages is commonly inferred as an innovative change that occurred just once, and subsequently spread over a large cohesive territory or PIE continuum that affected all but the peripheral areas.[18] Kortlandt proposes the ancestors of Balts and Slavs took part in satemization and were then drawn into the western Indo-European sphere.[19]

Shared features of Phrygian and Greek[20] and of Thracian and Armenian[21] group together with the Indo-Iranian family of Indo-European languages.[22] 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[23] and Tocharian. Shared features with Balto-Slavic languages, on the other hand (especially present and preterit formations), might be due to later contacts.[24]

The Indo-Hittite hypothesis proposes the Indo-European language family to consist 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[25] and the preservation of laryngeals.[26] 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 early separation, rather than indicating a special ancestral relationship.[27] Hans J. Holm, based on lexical calculations, arrives at a picture roughly replicating the general scholarly opinion and refuting the Indo-Hittite hypothesis.[28]

  Satem and centum languages

The division of the Indo-European languages into a Satem vs. a Centum group was devised by von Bradke in the late 19th century.

  Suggested macrofamilies

Some linguists propose that Indo-European languages form part of a hypothetical Nostratic macrofamily, and attempt to relate Indo-European to other language families, such as South Caucasian, Uralic (the Indo-Uralic proposal), Dravidian, and Afroasiatic. This theory, like the similar Eurasiatic theory of Joseph Greenberg, and the Proto-Pontic postulation of John Colarusso, remains highly controversial, however, and is not accepted by most linguists in the field. 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; 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). Since the signal-to-noise ratio in historical linguistics declines steadily over time, at great enough time-depths it becomes open to reasonable doubt that it can even be possible to distinguish between signal and noise.



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

The Proto-Indo-European language (PIE) is the 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 desinences (usually endings), these form grammatically inflected words (nouns or verbs). The hypothetical Indo-European verb system is complex and, like the noun, exhibits a system of ablaut.


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.

  Indo-European languages ca. 1500 BC
  Indo-European languages ca. 500 BC
  Indo-European languages ca. 500 AD

  Sound changes

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:

  1. As in other centum languages, the "plain velar" and "palatal" stops merged, reducing the number of stops from 15 to 12.
  2. 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:
    Each original consonant shifted one position to the right. For example, original 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 : quid vs. what; quandō vs. when
  3. 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 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 preserve the three series unchanged but have evolved a fourth series of voiceless aspirated consonants.
  • The 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, with e.g. bh b p becoming b p f (known as Grimm's law in Germanic).

Among the other notable changes affecting consonants are:

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.
*p p; phH p Ø;
chT [x]
`-b- [β]
*pṓds ~ *ped- foot pád- poús (podós) pēs (pedis) pãdas
*t t; thH t t;
-th- [θ]
þ [θ];
`-d- [ð];
*tréyes three tráyas treĩs trēs trỹs
*ḱ ś [ɕ] s š [ʃ] k c [k] c [k];
-ch- [x]
`-g- [ɣ]
*ḱm̥tóm hund(red) śatám he-katón centum šimtas
*k k; cE [tʃ];
čE [tʃ];
cE' [ts]
k *kreuh₂
"raw meat"
OE hrēaw
> raw
kravíṣ- kréas cruor kraûjas
*kʷ p;
qu [kʷ];
c(O) [k]
ƕ [ʍ];
*kʷid, kʷod what kím quid, quod kàs
*kʷekʷlom wheel cakrá- kúklos kãklas
*b b; bhH b b [b];
*d d; dhH d d [d];
t *déḱm̥(t) ten,
Goth. taíhun
dáśa déka decem dẽšimt
j [dʒ];
hH [ɦ]
z ž [ʒ] g g [ɡ];
k c / k;
*ǵénu, *ǵnéu- OE cnēo
> knee
jā́nu gónu genu
*g g;
jE [dʒ];
hH,E [ɦ]
žE [ʒ];
g *yugóm yoke yugám zugón iugum jùngas
*gʷ b;
u [w > v];
gun- [ɡʷ]
b [b];
q [kʷ] qu *gʷīw- quick
jīvá- bíos,
vīvus gývas
*bʰ bh;
b ph;
b [b];
*bʰerō bear "carry" bhar- phérō ferō OCS berǫ
*dʰ dh;
d th;
d [d];
d [d];
d *dʰwer-, dʰur- door dhvā́raḥ thurā́ forēs dùrys
*ǵʰ h [ɦ];
z ž [ʒ] kh;
g [ɡ];
-g- [ɣ];
-g [x]
*ǵhans- goose,
OHG gans
haṁsáḥ khḗn (h)ānser žąsìs
*gʰ gh;
hE [ɦ];
žE [ʒ];
*gʷʰ ph;
g /
-u- [w];
ngu [ɡʷ]
*sneigʷh- snow sneha- nípha nivis sniẽgas
*gʷʰerm-  ??warm gharmáḥ thermós formus Latv. gar̂me
*s s h-;
s [s];
*septḿ̥ seven saptá heptá septem septynì
ruki- [ʂ] xruki- [x] šruki- [ʃ]
*m m m [m];
m *mūs mouse mū́ṣ- mũs mūs OCS myšĭ
*-m -m -˛ [˜] -n -m -n -Ø
*n n n;
-˛ [˜]
n *nokʷt- night nákt- núkt- noct- naktis
*l r (dial. l) l *leuk- light rócate leukós lūx laũkas
*r r *h₁reudh- red rudhirá- eruthrós ruber raũdas
*i̯ y [j] j [j] z [zd > dz > z] /
i [j];
Ø j y *yugóm yoke yugám zugón iugum jùngas
*u̯ v [ʋ] v v [ʋ] w > h / Ø u [w > v] f;
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.
  • C(O) Before or after a (PIE) o, u.
  • 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, aka 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, aka 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, aka dissimilation of aspirates).

  Comparison of conjugations

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.

(*bʰer- 'to carry')
I (1st. Sg.) *bʰéroh₂
You (2nd. Sg.) *bʰéresi
He/She/It (3rd. Sg.) *bʰéreti
We (1st. Du.) *bʰérowos
You (2nd. Du.) *bʰéreth₁es
They (3rd. Du.) *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
You (2nd. Sg.) phéreis bhárasi barahi fers biri; berir beres baíris bereši
He/She/It (3rd. Sg.) phérei bhárati baraiti fert berid berē baíriþ beretъ
We (1st. Du.) bhárāvas barāvahi baíros berevě
You (2nd. Du.) phéreton bhárathas baírats bereta
They (3rd. Du.) phéreton bháratas baratō berete
We (1st. Pl.) phéromen bhárāmas barāmahi ferimus bermai beremk` baíram beremъ
You (2nd. Pl.) phérete bháratha baraϑa fertis beirthe berēk` baíriþ berete
They (3rd. Pl.) phérousi bháranti barəṇti ferunt berait beren baírand berǫtъ
Modern Representative Modern Greek Hindi-Urdu Persian French Irish Armenian (Eastern; Western) German Lithuanian Czech Albanian
I (1st. Sg.) férno (maiṃ) bharūṃ (mi)baram (je) {con}fère beirim berum em; g'perem (ich) {ge}bäre beriu beru (unë) mbart
You (2nd. Sg.) férnis (tū) bhare (mi)bari (tu) {con}fères beirir berum es; g'peres (du) {ge}bierst beri bereš (ti) mbart
He/She/It (3rd. Sg.) férni (vah) bhare (mi)barad (il) {con}fère beireann; %beiridh berum ē; g'perē (sie) {ge}biert beria bere (ai/ajo) mbart
We (1st. Du.) beriava
You (2nd. Du.) beriata
They (3rd. Du.) beria
We (1st. Pl.) férnoume (ham) bhareṃ (mi)barim (nous) {con}ferons beirimid; beiream berum enk`; g'perenk` (wir) {ge}bären beriame berem(e) (ne) mbartim
You (2nd. Pl.) férnete (tum) bharo (mi)barid (vous) {con}ferez beireann sibh; %beirthaoi berum ek`; g'perek` (ihr) {ge}bärt beriate berete (ju) mbartni
They (3rd. Pl.) férnoun (ve) bhareṃ (mi)barand (ils) {con}fèrent beirid berum en; g'peren (sie) {ge}bären beria berou (ata/ato) mbartin

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. 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 French, other verbs now mean "to carry" and ferre only survives in compounds such as souffrir "to suffer" (from Latin sub- and ferre) and conferer "to confer" (from Latin "con-" and "ferre).
  • In Modern Greek, phero φέρω (modern transliteration fero) "to bear" is still used but only in specific contexts not in everyday language. 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 (bremia) means burden, as something heavy to bear, and derivative беременность (beremennost) means pregnancy.

  Comparison of cognates

  See also

  Citations and notes

  1. ^ It includes 449 languages and dialects, according to the 2005 Ethnologue estimate, about half (219) belonging to the Indo-Aryan subbranch.
  2. ^ "Ethnologue list of language families". Ethnologue.com. http://www.ethnologue.com/ethno_docs/distribution.asp?by=family. Retrieved 2010-08-07. 
  3. ^ "Ethnologue list of languages by number of speakers". Ethnologue.com. http://www.ethnologue.com/ethno_docs/distribution.asp?by=size. Retrieved 2010-08-07. 
  4. ^ a b c Auroux, Sylvain (2000). History of the Language Sciences. Berlin, New York: Walter de Gruyter. p. 1156. ISBN 3-11-016735-2. http://books.google.com/?id=yasNy365EywC&pg=PA1156&vq=stephens+sassetti&dq=3110167352. 
  5. ^ M. V. Lomonosov. 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!]
  6. ^ "cited on page 14-15." (PDF). http://www.billposer.org/Papers/iephm.pdf. Retrieved 2010-08-07. 
  7. ^ Roger Blench Archaeology and Language: methods and issues. 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.)
  8. ^ In London Quarterly Review X/2 1813.; cf. Szemerényi 1999:12, footnote 6
  9. ^ In German the scientific term is indogermanisch translating into 'Indo-Germanic' which indicates the east-west extension. That term was first recorded in use in French original as indo-germanique, in 1810 by Conrad Malte-Brun, a French geographer of Danish descent. In other languages, for instance, in Dutch the term Indo-Germaans is the term used by the general population.
  10. ^ http://www.science20.com/news_articles/tablet_discovery_pushes_earliest_european_writing_back_150_years-77650
  11. ^ Koch, John T (2010). Celtic from the West Chapter 9: Paradigm Shift? Interpreting Tartessian as Celtic. Oxbow Books, Oxford, UK. pp. 187–295. ISBN 978-1-84217-410-4. 
  12. ^ Koch, John T (2011). Tartessian 2: The Inscription of Mesas do Castelinho ro and the Verbal Complex. Preliminaries to Historical Phonology. Oxbow Books, Oxford, UK. pp. 1–198. ISBN 978-1-907029-07-3. http://www.oxbowbooks.com/bookinfo.cfm/ID/91450//Location/Oxbow. 
  13. ^ such as Schleicher 1861, Szemerényi 1957, Collinge 1985, and Beekes 1995
  14. ^ Of the Albanian Language. William Martin Leake, London, 1814.
  15. ^ "The Thracian language". The Linguist List. http://linguistlist.org/forms/langs/LLDescription.cfm?code=txh. Retrieved 2008-01-27. "An ancient language of Southern Balkans, belonging to the Satem group of Indo-European. This language is the most likely ancestor of modern Albanian (which is also a Satem language), though the evidence is scanty. 1st Millennium BC – 500 AD." 
  16. ^ Nakhleh, Luay; Ringe, Don & Warnow, Tandy (2005). "Perfect Phylogenetic Networks: A New Methodology for Reconstructing the Evolutionary History of Natural Languages". Language: Journal of the Linguistic Society of America 81 (2): 382–420. DOI:10.1353/lan.2005.0078. http://www.cs.rice.edu/~nakhleh/Papers/NRWlanguage.pdf 
  17. ^ Mallory J.P., D. Q. Adams (Hrsg.): Encyclopedia of Indo-European Culture, Fitzroy Dearborn, London, 1997
  18. ^ Britannica 15th edition, vol.22, 1981, p.588, 594
  19. ^ "Frederik Kortlandt-The spread of the Indo-Europeans, 1989" (PDF). http://www.kortlandt.nl/publications/art111e.pdf. Retrieved 2010-08-07. 
  20. ^ Lubotsky - The Old Phrygian Areyastis-inscription, Kadmos 27, 9-26, 1988
  21. ^ Kortlandt - The Thraco-Armenian consonant shift, Linguistique Balkanique 31, 71-74, 1988
  22. ^ Renfrew, Colin (1987). Archaeology & Language. The Puzzle of the Indo-European Origins. London: Jonathan Cape. ISBN 0-224-02495-7. 
  23. ^ Encyclopaedia Britannica, vol.22, Helen Hemingway Benton Publisher, Chicago, (15th ed.) 1981, p.593
  24. ^ George S. Lane, Douglas Q. Adams, Britannica 15th edition 22:667, "The Tocharian problem"
  25. ^ 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).
  26. ^ 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
  27. ^ Britannica 15th edition, 22 p. 594, "Indo-Hittite hypothesis"
  28. ^ 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. http://www.hjholm.de/. "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 did not part as first ones and thereby refutes the Indo-Hittite hypothesis." 
  29. ^ "Indo-European Languages: Balto-Slavic Family". Utexas.edu. 2008-11-10. http://www.utexas.edu/cola/centers/lrc/iedocctr/ie-lg/Balto-Slavic.html. Retrieved 2010-08-07. 


  • Fortson, Benjamin W. (2004). Indo-European Language and Culture: An Introduction. Malden, Massachusetts: Blackwell. ISBN 1-4051-0315-9. 
  • 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". 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 .
  • Szemerényi, Oswald; Jones, David; Jones, Irene (1999). Introduction to Indo-European Linguistics. Oxford University Press. ISBN 0-19-823870-3 

  Further reading

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