Indo-European languages

Indo-European languages

Overview
The Indo-European languages are a family
Language family
A language family is a group of languages related through descent from a common ancestor, called the proto-language of that family. The term 'family' comes from the tree model of language origination in historical linguistics, which makes use of a metaphor comparing languages to people in a...

 (or phylum) of several hundred related languages and dialects, including most major current languages of Europe
Languages of Europe
Most of the languages of Europe belong to Indo-European language family. These are divided into a number of branches, including Romance, Germanic, Balto-Slavic, Greek, and others. The Uralic languages also have a significant presence in Europe, including the national languages Hungarian, Finnish,...

, the Iranian plateau
Iranian plateau
The Iranian plateau, or Iranic plateau, is a geological formation in Southwest Asia. It is the part of the Eurasian Plate wedged between the Arabian and Indian plates, situated between the Zagros mountains to the west, the Caspian Sea and the Kopet Dag to the north, the Hormuz Strait and Persian...

, and South Asia
Languages of South Asia
South Asia is home to several hundred languages. Most languages spoken in India belong either to the Indo-European , the Dravidian , the Austroasiatic , or the Tibeto-Burman South Asia is home to several hundred languages. Most languages spoken in India belong either to the Indo-European (ca....

 and also historically predominant in Anatolia
Anatolia
Anatolia is a geographic and historical term denoting the westernmost protrusion of Asia, comprising the majority of the Republic of Turkey...

. With written attestations appearing since the Bronze Age
Bronze Age
The Bronze Age is a period characterized by the use of copper and its alloy bronze as the chief hard materials in the manufacture of some implements and weapons. Chronologically, it stands between the Stone Age and Iron Age...

, in the form of the Anatolian languages
Anatolian languages
The Anatolian languages comprise a group of extinct Indo-European languages that were spoken in Asia Minor, the best attested of them being the Hittite language.-Origins:...

 and Mycenaean Greek, the Indo-European family is significant to the field of historical linguistics
Historical linguistics
Historical linguistics is the study of language change. It has five main concerns:* to describe and account for observed changes in particular languages...

 as possessing the longest recorded history after the Afroasiatic family.

Indo-European languages are spoken by almost three billion native speakers, the largest number for any recognised language family.
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Encyclopedia
The Indo-European languages are a family
Language family
A language family is a group of languages related through descent from a common ancestor, called the proto-language of that family. The term 'family' comes from the tree model of language origination in historical linguistics, which makes use of a metaphor comparing languages to people in a...

 (or phylum) of several hundred related languages and dialects, including most major current languages of Europe
Languages of Europe
Most of the languages of Europe belong to Indo-European language family. These are divided into a number of branches, including Romance, Germanic, Balto-Slavic, Greek, and others. The Uralic languages also have a significant presence in Europe, including the national languages Hungarian, Finnish,...

, the Iranian plateau
Iranian plateau
The Iranian plateau, or Iranic plateau, is a geological formation in Southwest Asia. It is the part of the Eurasian Plate wedged between the Arabian and Indian plates, situated between the Zagros mountains to the west, the Caspian Sea and the Kopet Dag to the north, the Hormuz Strait and Persian...

, and South Asia
Languages of South Asia
South Asia is home to several hundred languages. Most languages spoken in India belong either to the Indo-European , the Dravidian , the Austroasiatic , or the Tibeto-Burman South Asia is home to several hundred languages. Most languages spoken in India belong either to the Indo-European (ca....

 and also historically predominant in Anatolia
Anatolia
Anatolia is a geographic and historical term denoting the westernmost protrusion of Asia, comprising the majority of the Republic of Turkey...

. With written attestations appearing since the Bronze Age
Bronze Age
The Bronze Age is a period characterized by the use of copper and its alloy bronze as the chief hard materials in the manufacture of some implements and weapons. Chronologically, it stands between the Stone Age and Iron Age...

, in the form of the Anatolian languages
Anatolian languages
The Anatolian languages comprise a group of extinct Indo-European languages that were spoken in Asia Minor, the best attested of them being the Hittite language.-Origins:...

 and Mycenaean Greek, the Indo-European family is significant to the field of historical linguistics
Historical linguistics
Historical linguistics is the study of language change. It has five main concerns:* to describe and account for observed changes in particular languages...

 as possessing the longest recorded history after the Afroasiatic family.

Indo-European languages are spoken by almost three billion native speakers, the largest number for any recognised language family. Of the twenty languages with the largest numbers of native speakers according to SIL Ethnologue
Ethnologue
Ethnologue: Languages of the World is a web and print publication of SIL International , a Christian linguistic service organization, which studies lesser-known languages, to provide the speakers with Bibles in their native language and support their efforts in language development.The Ethnologue...

, twelve are Indo-European: Spanish
Spanish language
Spanish , also known as Castilian , is a Romance language in the Ibero-Romance group that evolved from several languages and dialects in central-northern Iberia around the 9th century and gradually spread with the expansion of the Kingdom of Castile into central and southern Iberia during the...

, English
English language
English is a West Germanic language that arose in the Anglo-Saxon kingdoms of England and spread into what was to become south-east Scotland under the influence of the Anglian medieval kingdom of Northumbria...

, Hindi
Hindi
Standard Hindi, or more precisely Modern Standard Hindi, also known as Manak Hindi , High Hindi, Nagari Hindi, and Literary Hindi, is a standardized and sanskritized register of the Hindustani language derived from the Khariboli dialect of Delhi...

, Portuguese
Portuguese language
Portuguese is a Romance language that arose in the medieval Kingdom of Galicia, nowadays Galicia and Northern Portugal. The southern part of the Kingdom of Galicia became independent as the County of Portugal in 1095...

, Bengali
Bengali language
Bengali or Bangla is an eastern Indo-Aryan language. It is native to the region of eastern South Asia known as Bengal, which comprises present day Bangladesh, the Indian state of West Bengal, and parts of the Indian states of Tripura and Assam. It is written with the Bengali script...

, Russian
Russian language
Russian is a Slavic language used primarily in Russia, Belarus, Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan. It is an unofficial but widely spoken language in Ukraine, Moldova, Latvia, Turkmenistan and Estonia and, to a lesser extent, the other countries that were once constituent republics...

, German
German language
German is a West Germanic language, related to and classified alongside English and Dutch. With an estimated 90 – 98 million native speakers, German is one of the world's major languages and is the most widely-spoken first language in the European Union....

, Marathi
Marathi language
Marathi is an Indo-Aryan language spoken by the Marathi people of western and central India. It is the official language of the state of Maharashtra. There are over 68 million fluent speakers worldwide. Marathi has the fourth largest number of native speakers in India and is the fifteenth most...

, French
French language
French is a Romance language spoken as a first language in France, the Romandy region in Switzerland, Wallonia and Brussels in Belgium, Monaco, the regions of Quebec and Acadia in Canada, and by various communities elsewhere. Second-language speakers of French are distributed throughout many parts...

, Italian
Italian language
Italian is a Romance language spoken mainly in Europe: Italy, Switzerland, San Marino, Vatican City, by minorities in Malta, Monaco, Croatia, Slovenia, France, Libya, Eritrea, and Somalia, and by immigrant communities in the Americas and Australia...

, Punjabi
Punjabi language
Punjabi is an Indo-Aryan language spoken by inhabitants of the historical Punjab region . For Sikhs, the Punjabi language stands as the official language in which all ceremonies take place. In Pakistan, Punjabi is the most widely spoken language...

, and Urdu
Urdu
Urdu is a register of the Hindustani language that is identified with Muslims in South Asia. It belongs to the Indo-European family. Urdu is the national language and lingua franca of Pakistan. It is also widely spoken in some regions of India, where it is one of the 22 scheduled languages and an...

, accounting for over 1.7 billion native speakers. 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
Goa
Goa , a former Portuguese colony, is India's smallest state by area and the fourth smallest by population. Located in South West India in the region known as the Konkan, it is bounded by the state of Maharashtra to the north, and by Karnataka to the east and south, while the Arabian Sea forms its...

, noted similarities between Indian languages, specifically Konkani
Konkani language
KonkaniKonkani is a name given to a group of several cognate dialects spoken along the narrow strip of land called Konkan, on the west coast of India. This is, however, somewhat an over-generalisation. Geographically, Konkan is defined roughly as the area between the river Damanganga to the north...

, and Greek and Latin. These observations were included in a letter to his brother which was not published until the twentieth century.

The first account by a western European to mention the ancient language Sanskrit
Sanskrit
Sanskrit , is a historical Indo-Aryan language and the primary liturgical language of Hinduism, Jainism and Buddhism.Buddhism: besides Pali, see Buddhist Hybrid Sanskrit Today, it is listed as one of the 22 scheduled languages of India and is an official language of the state of Uttarakhand...

 came from Filippo Sassetti
Filippo Sassetti
Filippo Sassetti was a Florentine merchant who was born in Florence, Italy in 1540. Sassetti travelled to the Indian subcontinent and was among the first European observers to study the ancient Indian language, Sanskrit. Writing in 1585, he noted some word similarities between Sanskrit and Italian...

 (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"). However, neither Stephens' nor Sassetti's observations led to further scholarly inquiry.

In 1647, Dutch
Dutch people
The Dutch people are an ethnic group native to the Netherlands. They share a common culture and speak the Dutch language. Dutch people and their descendants are found in migrant communities worldwide, notably in Suriname, Chile, Brazil, Canada, Australia, South Africa, New Zealand, and the United...

 linguist and scholar Marcus Zuerius van Boxhorn
Marcus Zuerius van Boxhorn
Marcus Zuerius van Boxhorn was a Dutch scholar . Born in Bergen op Zoom, he was professor at the University of Leiden. He discovered the similarity among Indo-European languages, and supposed the existence of a primitive common language which he called 'Scythian'...

 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
Dutch language
Dutch is a West Germanic language and the native language of the majority of the population of the Netherlands, Belgium, and Suriname, the three member states of the Dutch Language Union. Most speakers live in the European Union, where it is a first language for about 23 million and a second...

, Albanian
Albanian language
Albanian is an Indo-European language spoken by approximately 7.6 million people, primarily in Albania and Kosovo but also in other areas of the Balkans in which there is an Albanian population, including western Macedonia, southern Montenegro, southern Serbia and northwestern Greece...

, Greek
Greek language
Greek is an independent branch of the Indo-European family of languages. Native to the southern Balkans, it has the longest documented history of any Indo-European language, spanning 34 centuries of written records. Its writing system has been the Greek alphabet for the majority of its history;...

, Latin, Persian
Persian language
Persian is an Iranian language within the Indo-Iranian branch of the Indo-European languages. It is primarily spoken in Iran, Afghanistan, Tajikistan and countries which historically came under Persian influence...

, and German
German language
German is a West Germanic language, related to and classified alongside English and Dutch. With an estimated 90 – 98 million native speakers, German is one of the world's major languages and is the most widely-spoken first language in the European Union....

, later adding Slavic
Slavic languages
The Slavic languages , a group of closely related languages of the Slavic peoples and a subgroup of Indo-European languages, have speakers in most of Eastern Europe, in much of the Balkans, in parts of Central Europe, and in the northern part of Asia.-Branches:Scholars traditionally divide Slavic...

, Celtic
Celtic languages
The Celtic languages are descended from Proto-Celtic, or "Common Celtic"; a branch of the greater Indo-European language family...

 and Baltic languages
Baltic languages
The Baltic languages are a group of related languages belonging to the Balto-Slavic branch of the Indo-European language family and spoken mainly in areas extending east and southeast of the Baltic Sea in Northern Europe...

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

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
Mikhail Lomonosov
Mikhail Vasilyevich Lomonosov was a Russian polymath, scientist and writer, who made important contributions to literature, education, and science. Among his discoveries was the atmosphere of Venus. His spheres of science were natural science, chemistry, physics, mineralogy, history, art,...

 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).

The hypothesis reappeared in 1786 when Sir William Jones
William Jones (philologist)
Sir William Jones was an English philologist and scholar of ancient India, particularly known for his proposition of the existence of a relationship among Indo-European languages...

 first lectured on the striking similarities between three of the oldest languages known in his time: Latin
Latin
Latin is an Italic language originally spoken in Latium and Ancient Rome. It, along with most European languages, is a descendant of the ancient Proto-Indo-European language. Although it is considered a dead language, a number of scholars and members of the Christian clergy speak it fluently, and...

, Greek
Greek language
Greek is an independent branch of the Indo-European family of languages. Native to the southern Balkans, it has the longest documented history of any Indo-European language, spanning 34 centuries of written records. Its writing system has been the Greek alphabet for the majority of its history;...

, and Sanskrit
Sanskrit
Sanskrit , is a historical Indo-Aryan language and the primary liturgical language of Hinduism, Jainism and Buddhism.Buddhism: besides Pali, see Buddhist Hybrid Sanskrit Today, it is listed as one of the 22 scheduled languages of India and is an official language of the state of Uttarakhand...

, to which he tentatively added Gothic
Gothic language
Gothic is an extinct Germanic language that was spoken by the Goths. It is known primarily from the Codex Argenteus, a 6th-century copy of a 4th-century Bible translation, and is the only East Germanic language with a sizable Text corpus...

, Celtic
Celtic languages
The Celtic languages are descended from Proto-Celtic, or "Common Celtic"; a branch of the greater Indo-European language family...

, and Old Persian
Old Persian language
The Old Persian language is one of the two directly attested Old Iranian languages . Old Persian appears primarily in the inscriptions, clay tablets, and seals of the Achaemenid era...

, though his classification contained some inaccuracies and omissions.

It was Thomas Young
Thomas Young (scientist)
Thomas Young was an English polymath. He is famous for having partly deciphered Egyptian hieroglyphics before Jean-François Champollion eventually expanded on his work...

 who in 1813 first used the term Indo-European, which became the standard scientific term (except in Germany) through the work of Franz Bopp
Franz Bopp
Franz Bopp was a German linguist known for extensive comparative work on Indo-European languages.-Biography:...

, whose systematic comparison of these and other old languages supported the theory. Bopp's Comparative Grammar, appearing between 1833 and 1852, counts as the starting point of Indo-European studies
Indo-European studies
Indo-European studies is a field of linguistics dealing with Indo-European languages, both current and extinct. Its goal is to amass information about the hypothetical proto-language from which all of these languages are descended, a language dubbed Proto-Indo-European , and its speakers, the...

 as an academic discipline.

The classical phase of Indo-European comparative linguistics
Comparative linguistics
Comparative linguistics is a branch of historical linguistics that is concerned with comparing languages to establish their historical relatedness....

 leads from Franz Bopp
Franz Bopp
Franz Bopp was a German linguist known for extensive comparative work on Indo-European languages.-Biography:...

's Comparative Grammar (1833) to August Schleicher
August Schleicher
August Schleicher was a German linguist. His great work was A Compendium of the Comparative Grammar of the Indo-European Languages, in which he attempted to reconstruct the Proto-Indo-European language...

's 1861 Compendium and up to Karl Brugmann
Karl Brugmann
Karl Brugmann was a German linguist. He is a towering figure in Indo-European linguistics.-Biography:He was educated at Halle and Leipzig. He was instructor in the gymnasium at Wiesbaden and at Leipzig, and in 1872-77 was assistant at the Russian Institute of Classical Philology at the latter place...

's Grundriss, published in the 1880s. Brugmann's junggrammatische reevaluation of the field and Ferdinand de Saussure
Ferdinand de Saussure
Ferdinand de Saussure was a Swiss linguist whose ideas laid a foundation for many significant developments in linguistics in the 20th century. He is widely considered one of the fathers of 20th-century linguistics...

's development of the laryngeal theory
Laryngeal theory
The laryngeal theory is a generally accepted theory of historical linguistics which proposes the existence of one, or a set of three , consonant sounds termed "laryngeals" that appear in most current reconstructions of the Proto-Indo-European language...

 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
Calvert Watkins
Calvert Watkins is a professor Emeritus of linguistics and the classics at Harvard University and professor-in-residence at UCLA.His doctoral dissertation, Indo-European Origins of the Celtic Verb I...

, Jochem Schindler
Jochem Schindler
Jochem Schindler was an Austrian Indo-Europeanist. In spite of his comparatively thin bibliography, he made important contributions, in particular to the theory of Proto-Indo-European language nominal inflection and ablaut.-References:*Eichner Compositiones Indogermanicae in memoriam Jochem...

 and Helmut Rix
Helmut Rix
Helmut Rix was a German linguist and professor of the Sprachwissenschaftliches Seminar of Albert-Ludwigs-Universität, Freiburg, Germany....

) developed a better understanding of morphology and, in the wake of Kuryłowicz's 1956 Apophonie, understanding of the ablaut
Indo-European ablaut
In linguistics, ablaut is a system of apophony in Proto-Indo-European and its far-reaching consequences in all of the modern Indo-European languages...

.

Classification




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
    Anatolian languages
    The Anatolian languages comprise a group of extinct Indo-European languages that were spoken in Asia Minor, the best attested of them being the Hittite language.-Origins:...

    , the earliest attested branch. Isolated terms in Old Assyrian
    Akkadian language
    Akkadian is an extinct Semitic language that was spoken in ancient Mesopotamia. The earliest attested Semitic language, it used the cuneiform writing system derived ultimately from ancient Sumerian, an unrelated language isolate...

     sources from the 19th century BC, Hittite texts
    Hittite texts
    The corpus of texts written in the Hittite language is indexed by the Catalogue des Textes Hittites...

     from about the 16th century BC; extinct by Late Antiquity
    Late Antiquity
    Late Antiquity is a periodization used by historians to describe the time of transition from Classical Antiquity to the Middle Ages, in both mainland Europe and the Mediterranean world. Precise boundaries for the period are a matter of debate, but noted historian of the period Peter Brown proposed...

    .
  2. Hellenic
    Hellenic languages
    Hellenic, as a technical term in historical linguistics, is the branch of the Indo-European language family that includes Greek . According to most traditional classifications, Hellenic contains only Greek as a single language alone in its branch, and is as such co-extensive with "Greek"...

    , fragmentary records in Mycenaean
    Mycenaean language
    Mycenaean Greek is the most ancient attested form of the Greek language, spoken on the Greek mainland, Crete and Cyprus in the 16th to 12th centuries BC, before the hypothesised Dorian invasion which was often cited as the terminus post quem for the coming of the Greek language to Greece...

     Greek
    Greek language
    Greek is an independent branch of the Indo-European family of languages. Native to the southern Balkans, it has the longest documented history of any Indo-European language, spanning 34 centuries of written records. Its writing system has been the Greek alphabet for the majority of its history;...

     from the late 15th
    15th century BC
    The 15th century BC is a century which lasted from 1500 BC to 1401 BC.- Events :* 1504 BC – 1492 BC: Egypt conquers Nubia and the Levant.* 1500 BC – 1400 BC: The Rigveda was composed around this time....

     to the early 14th century BC; Homer
    Homer
    In the Western classical tradition Homer , is the author of the Iliad and the Odyssey, and is revered as the greatest ancient Greek epic poet. These epics lie at the beginning of the Western canon of literature, and have had an enormous influence on the history of literature.When he lived is...

    ic texts date to the 8th century BC. (See Proto-Greek
    Proto-Greek language
    The Proto-Greek language is the assumed last common ancestor of all known varieties of Greek, including Mycenaean, the classical Greek dialects , and ultimately Koine, Byzantine and modern Greek...

    , History of the Greek.)
  3. Indo-Iranian
    Indo-Iranian languages
    The Indo-Iranian language group constitutes the easternmost extant branch of the Indo-European family of languages. It consists of three language groups: the Indo-Aryan, Iranian and Nuristani...

    , descended from Proto-Indo-Iranian
    Proto-Indo-Iranian language
    Proto-Indo-Iranian is the reconstructed proto-language of the Indo-Iranian branch of Indo-European. Its speakers, the hypothetical Proto-Indo-Iranians, are assumed to have lived in the late 3rd millennium BC, and are usually connected with the early Andronovo archaeological...

     (dated to the late 3rd millennium BC
    3rd millennium BC
    The 3rd millennium BC spans the Early to Middle Bronze Age.It represents a period of time in which imperialism, or the desire to conquer, grew to prominence, in the city states of the Middle East, but also throughout Eurasia, with Indo-European expansion to Anatolia, Europe and Central Asia. The...

    ).
    • Iranian
      Iranian languages
      The Iranian languages form a subfamily of the Indo-Iranian languages which in turn is a subgroup of Indo-European language family. They have been and are spoken by Iranian peoples....

      , attested from roughly 1000 BC in the form of Avestan
      Avestan language
      Avestan is an East Iranian language known only from its use as the language of Zoroastrian scripture, i.e. the Avesta, from which it derives its name...

      . Epigraphically from 520 BC in the form of Old Persian (Behistun inscription
      Behistun Inscription
      The Behistun Inscription The Behistun Inscription The Behistun Inscription (also Bistun or Bisutun, Modern Persian: بیستون The Behistun Inscription (also Bistun or Bisutun, Modern Persian: بیستون...

      ).
    • Indo-Aryan
      Indo-Aryan languages
      The Indo-Aryan languages constitutes a branch of the Indo-Iranian languages, itself a branch of the Indo-European language family...

       or Indic languages, attested from the late 15th to the early 14th century BC in Mitanni
      Mitanni
      Mitanni or Hanigalbat was a loosely organized Hurrian-speaking state in northern Syria and south-east Anatolia from ca. 1500 BC–1300 BC...

       texts showing traces of Indo-Aryan
      Indo-Aryan superstrate in Mitanni
      Some theonyms, proper names and other terminology of the Mitanni exhibit an Indo-Aryan superstrate, suggesting that an Indo-Aryan elite imposed itself over the Hurrian population in the course of the Indo-Aryan expansion....

      . Epigraphically from the 3rd century BC in the form of Prakrit
      Prakrit
      Prakrit is the name for a group of Middle Indic, Indo-Aryan languages, derived from Old Indic dialects. The word itself has a flexible definition, being defined sometimes as, "original, natural, artless, normal, ordinary, usual", or "vernacular", in contrast to the literary and religious...

       (Edicts of Ashoka
      Edicts of Ashoka
      The Edicts of Ashoka are a collection of 33 inscriptions on the Pillars of Ashoka, as well as boulders and cave walls, made by the Emperor Ashoka of the Mauryan dynasty during his reign from 269 BCE to 231 BCE. These inscriptions are dispersed throughout the areas of modern-day Bangladesh, India,...

      ). The Rigveda
      Rigveda
      The Rigveda is an ancient Indian sacred collection of Vedic Sanskrit hymns...

       is assumed to preserve intact records via oral tradition dating from about the mid-2nd millennium BC
      2nd millennium BC
      The 2nd millennium BC marks the transition from the Middle to the Late Bronze Age.Its first half is dominated by the Middle Kingdom of Egypt and Babylonia. The alphabet develops. Indo-Iranian migration onto the Iranian plateau and onto the Indian subcontinent propagates the use of the chariot...

       in the form of Vedic Sanskrit
      Vedic Sanskrit
      Vedic Sanskrit is an old Indo-Aryan language. It is an archaic form of Sanskrit, an early descendant of Proto-Indo-Iranian. It is closely related to Avestan, the oldest preserved Iranian language...

      .
    • Dardic
      Dardic languages
      The Dardic languages are a sub-group of the Indo-Aryan languages spoken in northern Pakistan, eastern Afghanistan, and the Indian region of Jammu and Kashmir...

    • Nuristani
      Nuristani languages
      The Nuristani languages are one of the three groups within the Indo-Iranian language family, alongside the much larger Indo-Aryan and Iranian groups. They are spoken primarily in eastern Afghanistan...

  4. Italic
    Italic languages
    The Italic subfamily is a member of the Indo-European language family. It includes the Romance languages derived from Latin , and a number of extinct languages of the Italian Peninsula, including Umbrian, Oscan, Faliscan, and Latin.In the past various definitions of "Italic" have prevailed...

    , including Latin
    Latin
    Latin is an Italic language originally spoken in Latium and Ancient Rome. It, along with most European languages, is a descendant of the ancient Proto-Indo-European language. Although it is considered a dead language, a number of scholars and members of the Christian clergy speak it fluently, and...

     and its descendants (the Romance
    Romance languages
    The Romance languages are a branch of the Indo-European language family, more precisely of the Italic languages subfamily, comprising all the languages that descend from Vulgar Latin, the language of ancient Rome...

    ), attested from the 7th century BC.
  5. Celtic
    Celtic languages
    The Celtic languages are descended from Proto-Celtic, or "Common Celtic"; a branch of the greater Indo-European language family...

    , descended from Proto-Celtic
    Proto-Celtic language
    The Proto-Celtic language, also called Common Celtic, is the reconstructed ancestor language of all the known Celtic languages. Its lexis can be confidently reconstructed on the basis of the comparative method of historical linguistics...

    . Tartessian
    Tartessian language
    The Tartessian language is the extinct Paleohispanic language of inscriptions in the Southwestern script found in the southwest of the Iberian Peninsula: mainly in the south of Portugal , but also in Spain . There are 95 of these inscriptions with the longest having 82 readable signs...

     dated from 8th century BC, Gaulish inscriptions date as early as the 6th century BC; Celtiberian
    Celtiberian language
    Celtiberian is an extinct Indo-European language of the Celtic branch spoken by the Celtiberians in an area of the Iberian Peninsula lyingbetween the headwaters of the Duero, Tajo, Júcar and Turia rivers and the Ebro river...

     from the 2nd century BC; Old Irish
    Old Irish language
    Old Irish is the name given to the oldest form of the Goidelic languages for which extensive written texts are extant. It was used from the 6th to the 10th centuries, by which time it had developed into Middle Irish....

     manuscript tradition from about the 8th century AD, and there are inscriptions in Old Welsh from the same period.
  6. Germanic
    Germanic languages
    The Germanic languages constitute a sub-branch of the Indo-European language family. The common ancestor of all of the languages in this branch is called Proto-Germanic , which was spoken in approximately the mid-1st millennium BC in Iron Age northern Europe...

     (from Proto-Germanic), earliest testimonies in runic inscriptions from around the 2nd century AD, earliest coherent texts in Gothic
    Gothic language
    Gothic is an extinct Germanic language that was spoken by the Goths. It is known primarily from the Codex Argenteus, a 6th-century copy of a 4th-century Bible translation, and is the only East Germanic language with a sizable Text corpus...

    , 4th century AD. Old English manuscript tradition from about the 8th century AD.
  7. Armenian
    Armenian language
    The Armenian language is an Indo-European language spoken by the Armenian people. It is the official language of the Republic of Armenia as well as in the region of Nagorno-Karabakh. The language is also widely spoken by Armenian communities in the Armenian diaspora...

    , alphabet writings known from the beginning of the 5th century AD.
  8. Tocharian
    Tocharian languages
    Tocharian or Tokharian is an extinct branch of the Indo-European language family. The name is taken from the people known to the Greeks as the Tocharians . These are sometimes identified with the Yuezhi and the Kushans. The term Tokharistan usually refers to 1st millennium Bactria, which the...

    , 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
    Balto-Slavic languages
    The Balto-Slavic language group traditionally comprises Baltic and Slavic languages, belonging to the Indo-European family of languages. Baltic and Slavic languages share several linguistic traits not found in any other Indo-European branch, which points to the period of common development...

    , believed by most Indo-Europeanists to form a phylogenetic unit, while a minority ascribes similarities to prolonged language contact.
    • Slavic
      Slavic languages
      The Slavic languages , a group of closely related languages of the Slavic peoples and a subgroup of Indo-European languages, have speakers in most of Eastern Europe, in much of the Balkans, in parts of Central Europe, and in the northern part of Asia.-Branches:Scholars traditionally divide Slavic...

       (from Proto-Slavic), attested from the 9th century AD (possibly earlier; see Slavic runes), earliest texts in Old Church Slavonic
      Old Church Slavonic
      Old Church Slavonic or Old Church Slavic was the first literary Slavic language, first developed by the 9th century Byzantine Greek missionaries Saints Cyril and Methodius who were credited with standardizing the language and using it for translating the Bible and other Ancient Greek...

      .
    • Baltic
      Baltic languages
      The Baltic languages are a group of related languages belonging to the Balto-Slavic branch of the Indo-European language family and spoken mainly in areas extending east and southeast of the Baltic Sea in Northern Europe...

      , attested from the 14th century AD; for languages attested that late, they retain unusually many archaic features attributed to Proto-Indo-European
      Proto-Indo-European language
      The Proto-Indo-European language is the reconstructed common ancestor of the Indo-European languages, spoken by the Proto-Indo-Europeans...

       (PIE).
  10. Albanian
    Albanian language
    Albanian is an Indo-European language spoken by approximately 7.6 million people, primarily in Albania and Kosovo but also in other areas of the Balkans in which there is an Albanian population, including western Macedonia, southern Montenegro, southern Serbia and northwestern Greece...

    , attested from the 14th century AD; Proto-Albanian likely emerged from Paleo-Balkan
    Paleo-Balkan languages
    Paleo-Balkan is a geolinguistic term referring to the Indo-European languages that were spoken in the Balkans in ancient times. Except for Greek and the language that gave rise to Albanian , they are all extinct, due to Hellenization, Romanization, and Slavicisation.- Classification :The following...

     predecessors.


In addition to the classical ten branches listed above, several extinct and little-known languages have existed:
  • Illyrian
    Illyrian languages
    The Illyrian languages are a group of Indo-European languages that were spoken in the western part of the Balkans in former times by groups identified as Illyrians: Ardiaei, Delmatae, Pannonii, Autariates, Taulanti...

     — related to Messapian.
  • Venetic
    Venetic language
    Venetic is an extinct Indo-European language that was spoken in ancient times in the North East of Italy and part of modern Slovenia, between the Po River delta and the southern fringe of the Alps....

     — close to Italic and possibly Continental Celtic.
  • Liburnian
    Liburnian language
    The Liburnian language is an extinct language which was spoken by the ancient Liburnians, who occupied Liburnia in classical times. The Liburnian language is reckoned as an Indo-European language, in the Centum group. Alternative speculations place it on the same Indo-European branch as the Venetic...

     — apparently grouped with Venetic.
  • Messapian
    Messapian language
    Messapian is an extinct Indo-European language of South-eastern Italy, once spoken in the region of Apulia. It was spoken by the three Iapygian tribes of the region: the Messapians, the Dauni and the Peucetii....

     — not conclusively deciphered.
  • Phrygian
    Phrygian language
    The Phrygian language was the Indo-European language of the Phrygians, spoken in Asia Minor during Classical Antiquity .Phrygian is considered to have been closely related to Greek....

     — language of ancient Phrygia
    Phrygia
    In antiquity, Phrygia was a kingdom in the west central part of Anatolia, in what is now modern-day Turkey. The Phrygians initially lived in the southern Balkans; according to Herodotus, under the name of Bryges , changing it to Phruges after their final migration to Anatolia, via the...

    , possibly close to Thracian, Greek, and Armenian.
  • Paionian
    Paionian language
    The Paeonian language is the poorly attested language of the ancient Paeonians, whose kingdom once stretched north of Macedon into Dardania and in earlier times into southwestern Thrace.Several Paeonian words are known from classical sources:...

     — extinct language once spoken north of Macedon.
  • Thracian
    Thracian language
    The Thracian language was the Indo-European language spoken in ancient times in Southeastern Europe by the Thracians, the northern neighbors of the Ancient Greeks. The Thracian language exhibits satemization: it either belonged to the Satem group of Indo-European languages or it was strongly...

     — possibly including Dacian.
  • Dacian
    Dacian language
    The extinct Dacian language may have developed from proto-Indo-European in the Carpathian region around 2,500 BC and probably died out by AD 600. In the 1st century AD, it was the predominant language of the ancient regions of Dacia and Moesia and, possibly, of some surrounding regions.It belonged...

     — possibly very close to Thracian.
  • Ancient Macedonian
    Ancient Macedonian language
    Ancient Macedonian was the language of the ancient Macedonians. It was spoken in the kingdom of Macedon during the 1st millennium BCE and it belongs to the Indo-European group of languages...

     — proposed relationships to Greek, Illyrian, Thracian, and Phrygian.
  • Ligurian language — possibly not Indo-European; possibly close to or part of Celtic.
  • Lusitanian
    Lusitanian language
    Lusitanian was a paleohispanic language that apparently belonged to the Indo-European family. Its relationship to the Celtic languages of the Iberian Peninsula, either as a member, a cousin , or as a different branch of Indo-European, is debated. It is known from only five inscriptions, dated from...

     — possibly related to (or part of) Celtic, or Ligurian, or Italic.

Grouping


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
Proto-Indo-European language
The Proto-Indo-European language is the reconstructed common ancestor of the Indo-European languages, spoken by the Proto-Indo-Europeans...

. 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
Tree model
A language tree, or family tree with languages substituted for real family members, has the form of a node-link diagram of a logical tree structure. Additional linguistics terminology derives from it. Such a diagram contains branch points, or nodes, from which the daughter languages descend by...

" 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
Loanword
A loanword is a word borrowed from a donor language and incorporated into a recipient language. By contrast, a calque or loan translation is a related concept where the meaning or idiom is borrowed rather than the lexical item itself. The word loanword is itself a calque of the German Lehnwort,...

 (or other means of convergence
Language convergence
Language convergence is a type of contact-induced change whereby languages with many bilingual speakers mutually borrow morphological and syntactic features, making their typology more similar....

), that cannot be considered genetic. In this case the so-called "wave model
Wave model (linguistics)
In historical linguistics, the wave model or wave theory is a model of language change in which new features of a language spread from a central point in continuously weakening concentric circles, similar to the waves created when a stone is thrown into a body of water. According to the 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
Areal feature (linguistics)
In linguistics, an areal feature is any feature shared by languages within the same geographical area as a consequence of linguistic diffusion....

. 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
Proto-language
A proto-language in the tree model of historical linguistics is the common ancestor of the languages that form a language family. Occasionally, the German term Ursprache is used instead.Often the proto-language is not known directly...

 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.

Proposed subgroupings


Specialists have postulated the existence of such subfamilies (subgroups) as Italo-Celtic
Italo-Celtic
In historical linguistics, Italo-Celtic is a grouping of the Italic and Celtic branches of the Indo-European language family on the basis of features shared by these two branches and no others. These are usually considered to be innovations, which are likely to have developed after the breakup of...

, Graeco-Armenian
Graeco-Armenian
Graeco-Armenian is the hypothetical common ancestor of the Greek and Armenian languages which postdates the Proto-Indo-European...

, 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.

Subgroupings of the Indo-European languages are commonly held to reflect genetic relationships
Genetic relationship (linguistics)
In linguistics, genetic relationship is the usual term for the relationship which exists between languages that are members of the same language family. The term genealogical relationship is sometimes used to avoid confusion with the unrelated use of the term in biological genetics...

 and linguistic change
Historical linguistics
Historical linguistics is the study of language change. It has five main concerns:* to describe and account for observed changes in particular languages...

. 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. Kortlandt proposes the ancestors of Balts and Slavs took part in satemization and were then drawn into the western Indo-European sphere.

Shared features of Phrygian and Greek and of Thracian and Armenian group together with the Indo-Iranian family of Indo-European languages. Some fundamental shared features, like the aorist
Aorist
Aorist is a philological term originally from Indo-European studies, referring to verb forms of various languages that are not necessarily related or similar in meaning...

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

The Indo-Hittite
Indo-Hittite
In Indo-European linguistics, the term Indo-Hittite refers to Sturtevant's 1926 hypothesis that the Anatolian languages may have split off the Proto-Indo-European language considerably earlier than the separation of the remaining Indo-European languages...

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

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 and is said by some to be outdated because of being based on just one phonological feature.

Suggested macrofamilies


Some linguists propose that Indo-European languages form part of a hypothetical Nostratic
Nostratic languages
Nostratic is a proposed language family that includes many of the indigenous language families of Eurasia, including the Indo-European, Uralic and Altaic as well as Kartvelian languages...

 macrofamily
Macrofamily
In historical linguistics, a macro-family, also called a superfamily or phylum, is defined as a proposed genetic relationship grouping together language families in a larger scale clasification.However, Campbell regards this term as superfluous, preferring language family for those clasifications...

, and attempt to relate Indo-European to other language families, such as South Caucasian
South Caucasian languages
The Kartvelian languages are spoken primarily in Georgia, with a large group of ethnic Georgian speakers in Russia, the United States, the European Union, and northeastern parts of Turkey. There are approximately 5.2 million speakers of this language family worldwide.It is not known to be related...

, Uralic
Uralic languages
The Uralic languages constitute a language family of some three dozen languages spoken by approximately 25 million people. The healthiest Uralic languages in terms of the number of native speakers are Hungarian, Finnish, Estonian, Mari and Udmurt...

 (the Indo-Uralic
Indo-Uralic languages
Indo-Uralic is a proposed language family consisting of Indo-European and Uralic.A genetic relationship between Indo-European and Uralic was first proposed by the Danish linguist Vilhelm Thomsen in 1869 but was received with little enthusiasm...

 proposal), Dravidian
Dravidian languages
The Dravidian language family includes approximately 85 genetically related languages, spoken by about 217 million people. They are mainly spoken in southern India and parts of eastern and central India as well as in northeastern Sri Lanka, Pakistan, Nepal, Bangladesh, Afghanistan, Iran, and...

, and Afroasiatic. This theory, like the similar Eurasiatic
Eurasiatic languages
Eurasiatic is a language macrofamily proposed by Joseph Greenberg that includes many language families historically spoken in northern Eurasia. The eight branches of Eurasiatic are Etruscan, Indo-European, Uralic–Yukaghir, Altaic, Korean-Japanese-Ainu, Gilyak, Chukotian, and Eskimo–Aleut, spoken in...

 theory of Joseph Greenberg
Joseph Greenberg
Joseph Harold Greenberg was a prominent and controversial American linguist, principally known for his work in two areas, linguistic typology and the genetic classification of languages.- Early life and career :...

, 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
Loanword
A loanword is a word borrowed from a donor language and incorporated into a recipient language. By contrast, a calque or loan translation is a related concept where the meaning or idiom is borrowed rather than the lexical item itself. The word loanword is itself a calque of the German Lehnwort,...

 (including Wanderwörter
Wanderwort
A Wanderwort is a word that was spread among numerous languages and cultures, usually in connection with trade, so that it has become very difficult to establish its original etymology, or even its original language...

, which can travel very long distances). Since the signal-to-noise ratio
Signal-to-noise ratio
Signal-to-noise ratio is a measure used in science and engineering that compares the level of a desired signal to the level of background noise. It is defined as the ratio of signal power to the noise power. A ratio higher than 1:1 indicates more signal than noise...

 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.

Proto-Indo-European


The Proto-Indo-European language (PIE) is the common ancestor of the Indo-European languages, spoken by the Proto-Indo-Europeans
Proto-Indo-Europeans
The Proto-Indo-Europeans were the speakers of the Proto-Indo-European language , a reconstructed prehistoric language of Eurasia.Knowledge of them comes chiefly from the linguistic reconstruction, along with material evidence from archaeology and archaeogenetics...

. From the 1960s, knowledge of Anatolian became certain enough to establish its relationship to PIE. Using the method of internal reconstruction
Internal reconstruction
Internal reconstruction is a method of recovering information about a language's past from the characteristics of the language at a later date...

 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
Root (linguistics)
The root word is the primary lexical unit of a word, and of a word family , which carries the most significant aspects of semantic content and cannot be reduced into smaller constituents....

 of PIE are basic morpheme
Morpheme
In linguistics, a morpheme is the smallest semantically meaningful unit in a language. The field of study dedicated to morphemes is called morphology. A morpheme is not identical to a word, and the principal difference between the two is that a morpheme may or may not stand alone, whereas a word,...

s carrying a lexical meaning. By addition of suffix
Suffix
In linguistics, a suffix is an affix which is placed after the stem of a word. Common examples are case endings, which indicate the grammatical case of nouns or adjectives, and verb endings, which form the conjugation of verbs...

es, 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
Indo-European ablaut
In linguistics, ablaut is a system of apophony in Proto-Indo-European and its far-reaching consequences in all of the modern Indo-European languages...

.

Diversification



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.
  • 2500 BC–2000 BC: The breakup into the proto-languages of the attested dialects is complete. Proto-Greek is spoken in the Balkans
    Balkans
    The Balkans is a geopolitical and cultural region of southeastern Europe...

    , Proto-Indo-Iranian
    Indo-Iranian languages
    The Indo-Iranian language group constitutes the easternmost extant branch of the Indo-European family of languages. It consists of three language groups: the Indo-Aryan, Iranian and Nuristani...

     north of the Caspian in the emerging Andronovo culture
    Andronovo culture
    The Andronovo culture, is a collection of similar local Bronze Age cultures that flourished ca. 21200–1400 BCE in western Siberia and the west Asiatic steppe. It is probably better termed an archaeological complex or archaeological horizon...

    . The Bronze Age reaches Central Europe
    Central Europe
    Central Europe or alternatively Middle Europe is a region of the European continent lying between the variously defined areas of Eastern and Western Europe...

     with the Beaker culture
    Beaker culture
    The Bell-Beaker culture , ca. 2400 – 1800 BC, is the term for a widely scattered cultural phenomenon of prehistoric western Europe starting in the late Neolithic or Chalcolithic running into the early Bronze Age...

    , likely composed of various Centum dialects. The Tarim mummies
    Tarim mummies
    The Tarim mummies are a series of mummies discovered in the Tarim Basin in present-day Xinjiang, China, which date from 1900 BC to 200 AD. Some of the mummies are frequently associated with the presence of the Indo-European Tocharian languages in the Tarim Basin, although the evidence is not...

     possibly correspond to proto-Tocharians
    Tocharians
    The Tocharians were the Tocharian-speaking inhabitants of the Tarim Basin, making them the easternmost speakers of Indo-European languages in antiquity. They were known as, or at least closely related to, the Yuezhi of Chinese sources...

    .
  • 2000 BC–1500 BC: Catacomb culture
    Catacomb culture
    The Catacomb culture, ca. 2800-2200 BC, refers to an early Bronze Age culture occupying essentially what is present-day Ukraine. It is seen more as a term covering several smaller related archaeological cultures....

     north of the Black Sea. The chariot
    Chariot
    The chariot is a type of horse carriage used in both peace and war as the chief vehicle of many ancient peoples. Ox carts, proto-chariots, were built by the Proto-Indo-Europeans and also built in Mesopotamia as early as 3000 BC. The original horse chariot was a fast, light, open, two wheeled...

     is invented, leading to the split and rapid spread of Iranian
    Iranian languages
    The Iranian languages form a subfamily of the Indo-Iranian languages which in turn is a subgroup of Indo-European language family. They have been and are spoken by Iranian peoples....

     and Indo-Aryan
    Indo-Aryan languages
    The Indo-Aryan languages constitutes a branch of the Indo-Iranian languages, itself a branch of the Indo-European language family...

     from the Bactria-Margiana Archaeological Complex
    Bactria-Margiana Archaeological Complex
    The Bactria–Margiana Archaeological Complex is the modern archaeological designation for a Bronze Age culture of Central Asia, dated to ca. 2300–1700 BC, located in present day Turkmenistan, northern Afghanistan and northeastern Iran, southern Uzbekistan and western Tajikistan, centered on...

     over much of Central Asia
    Central Asia
    Central Asia is a core region of the Asian continent from the Caspian Sea in the west, China in the east, Afghanistan in the south, and Russia in the north...

    , Northern India
    India
    India , officially the Republic of India , is a country in South Asia. It is the seventh-largest country by geographical area, the second-most populous country with over 1.2 billion people, and the most populous democracy in the world...

    , Iran
    Iran
    Iran , officially the Islamic Republic of Iran , is a country in Southern and Western Asia. The name "Iran" has been in use natively since the Sassanian era and came into use internationally in 1935, before which the country was known to the Western world as Persia...

     and Eastern Anatolia
    Anatolia
    Anatolia is a geographic and historical term denoting the westernmost protrusion of Asia, comprising the majority of the Republic of Turkey...

    . Proto-Anatolian is split into Hittite
    Hittite language
    Hittite is the extinct language once spoken by the Hittites, a people who created an empire centred on Hattusa in north-central Anatolia...

     and Luwian. The pre-Proto-Celtic Unetice culture
    Unetice culture
    Unetice; or more properly Únětice culture ; is the name given to an early Bronze Age culture, preceded by the Beaker culture and followed by the Tumulus culture. It was named after finds at site in Únětice, northwest of Prague. It is focused around the Czech Republic, southern and central Germany,...

     has an active metal industry (Nebra skydisk
    Nebra skydisk
    The Nebra Sky Disk is a bronze disk of around 30 cm diameter, with a blue-green patina and inlaid with gold symbols. These are interpreted generally as a sun or full moon, a lunar crescent, and stars . Two golden arcs along the sides, marking the angle between the solstices, were added later...

    ).
  • 1500 BC–1000 BC: The Nordic Bronze Age
    Nordic Bronze Age
    The Nordic Bronze Age is the name given by Oscar Montelius to a period and a Bronze Age culture in Scandinavian pre-history, c. 1700-500 BC, with sites that reached as far east as Estonia. Succeeding the Late Neolithic culture, its ethnic and linguistic affinities are unknown in the absence of...

     develops pre-Proto-Germanic, and the (pre)-Proto-Celtic Urnfield and Hallstatt
    Hallstatt culture
    The Hallstatt culture was the predominant Central European culture from the 8th to 6th centuries BC , developing out of the Urnfield culture of the 12th century BC and followed in much of Central Europe by the La Tène culture.By the 6th century BC, the Hallstatt culture extended for some...

     cultures emerge in Central Europe, introducing the Iron Age
    Iron Age
    The Iron Age is the archaeological period generally occurring after the Bronze Age, marked by the prevalent use of iron. The early period of the age is characterized by the widespread use of iron or steel. The adoption of such material coincided with other changes in society, including differing...

    . Migration of the Proto-Italic
    Italic languages
    The Italic subfamily is a member of the Indo-European language family. It includes the Romance languages derived from Latin , and a number of extinct languages of the Italian Peninsula, including Umbrian, Oscan, Faliscan, and Latin.In the past various definitions of "Italic" have prevailed...

     speakers into the Italian peninsula (Bagnolo stele
    Bagnolo stele
    The Bagnolo steles are two stone boulders found in Ceresolo-Bagnolo, Malegno commune, Brescia province, Lombardia, Northern Italy, at the base of Monte Mignone, at an altitude of ca. 700 m. Bagnolo 1 was discovered in 1963, bearing depictions of 14 items, engraved by hammering...

    ). Redaction of the Rigveda
    Rigveda
    The Rigveda is an ancient Indian sacred collection of Vedic Sanskrit hymns...

     and rise of the Vedic civilization in the Punjab
    Punjab region
    The Punjab , also spelled Panjab |water]]s"), is a geographical region straddling the border between Pakistan and India which includes Punjab province in Pakistan and the states of the Punjab, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Chandigarh and some northern parts of the National Capital Territory of Delhi...

    . The Mycenaean civilization gives way to the Greek Dark Ages
    Greek Dark Ages
    The Greek Dark Age or Ages also known as Geometric or Homeric Age are terms which have regularly been used to refer to the period of Greek history from the presumed Dorian invasion and end of the Mycenaean Palatial civilization around 1200 BC, to the first signs of the Greek city-states in the 9th...

    .
  • 1000 BC–500 BC: The Celtic languages
    Celtic languages
    The Celtic languages are descended from Proto-Celtic, or "Common Celtic"; a branch of the greater Indo-European language family...

     spread over Central and Western Europe. Baltic languages
    Baltic languages
    The Baltic languages are a group of related languages belonging to the Balto-Slavic branch of the Indo-European language family and spoken mainly in areas extending east and southeast of the Baltic Sea in Northern Europe...

     are spoken in a huge area from present-day Poland to the Ural Mountains. Proto Germanic. Homer
    Homer
    In the Western classical tradition Homer , is the author of the Iliad and the Odyssey, and is revered as the greatest ancient Greek epic poet. These epics lie at the beginning of the Western canon of literature, and have had an enormous influence on the history of literature.When he lived is...

     and the beginning of Classical Antiquity
    Classical antiquity
    Classical antiquity is a broad term for a long period of cultural history centered on the Mediterranean Sea, comprising the interlocking civilizations of ancient Greece and ancient Rome, collectively known as the Greco-Roman world...

    . The Vedic Civilization gives way to the Mahajanapadas
    Mahajanapadas
    Mahājanapadas , literally "great realms", were ancient Indian kingdoms or countries...

    . Siddhartha Gautama preaches Buddhism
    Buddhism
    Buddhism is a religion and philosophy encompassing a variety of traditions, beliefs and practices, largely based on teachings attributed to Siddhartha Gautama, commonly known as the Buddha . The Buddha lived and taught in the northeastern Indian subcontinent some time between the 6th and 4th...

    . Zoroaster
    Zoroaster
    Zoroaster , also known as Zarathustra , was a prophet and the founder of Zoroastrianism who was either born in North Western or Eastern Iran. He is credited with the authorship of the Yasna Haptanghaiti as well as the Gathas, hymns which are at the liturgical core of Zoroastrianism...

     composes the Gatha
    Gatha
    Gatha is a type of metered and often rhythmic poetic verse or a phrase in the ancient Indian languages of Prakrit and Sanskrit. The word is originally derived from the Sanskrit/Prakrit root gai , which means, to speak, sing, recite or extol. Hence gatha can mean either speech, verse or a song...

    s, rise of the Achaemenid Empire
    Achaemenid Empire
    The Achaemenid Empire , sometimes known as First Persian Empire and/or Persian Empire, was founded in the 6th century BCE by Cyrus the Great who overthrew the Median confederation...

    , replacing the Elamites and Babylonia
    Babylonia
    Babylonia was an ancient cultural region in central-southern Mesopotamia , with Babylon as its capital. Babylonia emerged as a major power when Hammurabi Babylonia was an ancient cultural region in central-southern Mesopotamia (present-day Iraq), with Babylon as its capital. Babylonia emerged as...

    . Separation of Proto-Italic into Osco-Umbrian
    Osco-Umbrian languages
    The Osco-Umbrian languages or Sabellic languages are a group of languages that belong to the Italic language family of the Indo-European languages. They were spoken in central and southern Italy before Latin replaced them as the power of the Romans expanded...

     and Latin-Faliscan. Genesis of the Greek
    Greek alphabet
    The Greek alphabet is the script that has been used to write the Greek language since at least 730 BC . The alphabet in its classical and modern form consists of 24 letters ordered in sequence from alpha to omega...

     and Old Italic
    Old Italic alphabet
    Old Italic refers to several now extinct alphabet systems used on the Italian Peninsula in ancient times for various Indo-European languages and non-Indo-European languages...

     alphabets. A variety of Paleo-Balkan languages
    Paleo-Balkan languages
    Paleo-Balkan is a geolinguistic term referring to the Indo-European languages that were spoken in the Balkans in ancient times. Except for Greek and the language that gave rise to Albanian , they are all extinct, due to Hellenization, Romanization, and Slavicisation.- Classification :The following...

     are spoken in Southern Europe.
  • 500 BC–1 BC/AD: Classical Antiquity
    Classical antiquity
    Classical antiquity is a broad term for a long period of cultural history centered on the Mediterranean Sea, comprising the interlocking civilizations of ancient Greece and ancient Rome, collectively known as the Greco-Roman world...

    : spread of Greek
    Ancient Greek
    Ancient Greek is the stage of the Greek language in the periods spanning the times c. 9th–6th centuries BC, , c. 5th–4th centuries BC , and the c. 3rd century BC – 6th century AD of ancient Greece and the ancient world; being predated in the 2nd millennium BC by Mycenaean Greek...

     and Latin
    Latin
    Latin is an Italic language originally spoken in Latium and Ancient Rome. It, along with most European languages, is a descendant of the ancient Proto-Indo-European language. Although it is considered a dead language, a number of scholars and members of the Christian clergy speak it fluently, and...

     throughout the Mediterranean, and during the Hellenistic period
    Hellenistic period
    The Hellenistic period or Hellenistic era describes the time which followed the conquests of Alexander the Great. It was so named by the historian J. G. Droysen. During this time, Greek cultural influence and power was at its zenith in Europe and Asia...

     (Indo-Greeks) to Central Asia and the Hindukush. Kushan Empire
    Kushan Empire
    The Kushan Empire originally formed in the early 1st century AD under Kujula Kadphises in the territories of ancient Bactria on either side of the middle course of the Oxus in what is now northern Afghanistan, Pakistan, and southern Tajikistan and Uzbekistan.During the 1st and early 2nd centuries...

    , Mauryan Empire. Proto-Germanic
    Proto-Germanic language
    Proto-Germanic , or Common Germanic, as it is sometimes known, is the unattested, reconstructed proto-language of all the Germanic languages, such as modern English, Frisian, Dutch, Afrikaans, German, Luxembourgish, Danish, Norwegian, Icelandic, Faroese, and Swedish.The Proto-Germanic language is...

    . The Anatolian languages are extinct
    Language death
    In linguistics, language death is a process that affects speech communities where the level of linguistic competence that speakers possess of a given language variety is decreased, eventually resulting in no native and/or fluent speakers of the variety...

    .
  • 1 BC/AD 500: Late Antiquity
    Late Antiquity
    Late Antiquity is a periodization used by historians to describe the time of transition from Classical Antiquity to the Middle Ages, in both mainland Europe and the Mediterranean world. Precise boundaries for the period are a matter of debate, but noted historian of the period Peter Brown proposed...

    , Gupta period; attestation of Armenian
    Armenian language
    The Armenian language is an Indo-European language spoken by the Armenian people. It is the official language of the Republic of Armenia as well as in the region of Nagorno-Karabakh. The language is also widely spoken by Armenian communities in the Armenian diaspora...

    . Proto-Slavic. The Roman Empire
    Roman Empire
    The Roman Empire was the post-Republican period of the ancient Roman civilization, characterised by an autocratic form of government and large territorial holdings in Europe and around the Mediterranean....

     and then the Migration period
    Migration Period
    The Migration Period, also called the Barbarian Invasions , was a period of intensified human migration in Europe that occurred from c. 400 to 800 CE. This period marked the transition from Late Antiquity to the Early Middle Ages...

     marginalize the Celtic languages to the British Isles.
  • 500–1000: Early Middle Ages
    Early Middle Ages
    The Early Middle Ages was the period of European history lasting from the 5th century to approximately 1000. The Early Middle Ages followed the decline of the Western Roman Empire and preceded the High Middle Ages...

    . The Viking Age
    Viking Age
    Viking Age is the term for the period in European history, especially Northern European and Scandinavian history, spanning the late 8th to 11th centuries. Scandinavian Vikings explored Europe by its oceans and rivers through trade and warfare. The Vikings also reached Iceland, Greenland,...

     forms an Old Norse
    Old Norse
    Old Norse is a North Germanic language that was spoken by inhabitants of Scandinavia and inhabitants of their overseas settlements during the Viking Age, until about 1300....

     koine
    Koine language
    In linguistics, a koiné language is a standard language or dialect that has arisen as a result of contact between two mutually intelligible varieties of the same language. Since the speakers have understood one another from before the advent of the koiné, the koineization process is not as rapid...

     spanning Scandinavia, the British Isles and Iceland. The Islamic conquest and the Turkic expansion results in the Arabization
    Arabization
    Arabization or Arabisation describes a growing cultural influence on a non-Arab area that gradually changes into one that speaks Arabic and/or incorporates Arab culture...

     and Turkification
    Turkification
    Turkification is a term used to describe a process of cultural or political change in which something or someone who is not a Turk becomes one, voluntarily or involuntarily...

     of significant areas where Indo-European languages were spoken. Tocharian
    Tocharian languages
    Tocharian or Tokharian is an extinct branch of the Indo-European language family. The name is taken from the people known to the Greeks as the Tocharians . These are sometimes identified with the Yuezhi and the Kushans. The term Tokharistan usually refers to 1st millennium Bactria, which the...

     is extinct in the course of the Turkic expansion while Northeastern Iranian (Scytho-Sarmatian) is reduced to small refugia. Slavic languages spread over wide areas in eastern and southeastern Europe, largely replacing Romance in the Balkans (with the exception of Romanian) and whatever was left of the paleo-Balkan languages
    Paleo-Balkan languages
    Paleo-Balkan is a geolinguistic term referring to the Indo-European languages that were spoken in the Balkans in ancient times. Except for Greek and the language that gave rise to Albanian , they are all extinct, due to Hellenization, Romanization, and Slavicisation.- Classification :The following...

     (with the exception of Albanian).
  • 1000–1500: Late Middle Ages
    Late Middle Ages
    The Late Middle Ages was the period of European history generally comprising the 14th to the 16th century . The Late Middle Ages followed the High Middle Ages and preceded the onset of the early modern era ....

    : Attestation of Albanian
    Albanian language
    Albanian is an Indo-European language spoken by approximately 7.6 million people, primarily in Albania and Kosovo but also in other areas of the Balkans in which there is an Albanian population, including western Macedonia, southern Montenegro, southern Serbia and northwestern Greece...

     and Baltic
    Baltic languages
    The Baltic languages are a group of related languages belonging to the Balto-Slavic branch of the Indo-European language family and spoken mainly in areas extending east and southeast of the Baltic Sea in Northern Europe...

    .
  • 1500–2000: Early Modern period
    Early modern Europe
    Early modern Europe is the term used by historians to refer to a period in the history of Europe which spanned the centuries between the end of the Middle Ages and the beginning of the Industrial Revolution, roughly the late 15th century to the late 18th century...

     to present: Colonialism
    Colonialism
    Colonialism is the establishment, maintenance, acquisition and expansion of colonies in one territory by people from another territory. It is a process whereby the metropole claims sovereignty over the colony and the social structure, government, and economics of the colony are changed by...

     results in the spread of Indo-European languages to every continent, most notably Romance (North, Central and South America, French Canada, North and Sub-Saharan Africa, West Asia), West Germanic
    West Germanic languages
    The West Germanic languages constitute the largest of the three traditional branches of the Germanic family of languages and include languages such as German, English, Dutch, Afrikaans, the Frisian languages, and Yiddish...

     (English
    English language
    English is a West Germanic language that arose in the Anglo-Saxon kingdoms of England and spread into what was to become south-east Scotland under the influence of the Anglian medieval kingdom of Northumbria...

     in North America, Sub-Saharan Africa, East Asia and Australia; to a lesser extent Dutch and German), and Russian
    Russian language
    Russian is a Slavic language used primarily in Russia, Belarus, Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan. It is an unofficial but widely spoken language in Ukraine, Moldova, Latvia, Turkmenistan and Estonia and, to a lesser extent, the other countries that were once constituent republics...

     to Central Asia and North Asia.

Sound changes



As the Proto-Indo-European language broke up, its sound system diverged as well, changing according to various sound laws evidenced in the daughter language
Daughter language
In historical linguistics, a daughter language is a language descended from another language through a process of genetic descent.-Examples:*English is a daughter language of Proto-Germanic, which is a daughter language of Proto-Indo-European....

s. Notable cases of such sound laws include Grimm's law
Grimm's law
Grimm's law , named for Jacob Grimm, is a set of statements describing the inherited Proto-Indo-European stops as they developed in Proto-Germanic in the 1st millennium BC...

 in Proto-Germanic, loss of prevocalic *p- in Proto-Celtic, loss of intervocalic *s- in Proto-Greek, Brugmann's law
Brugmann's law
Brugmann's law, named for Karl Brugmann, states that Proto-Indo-European in non-final syllables became *ā in open syllables in Indo-Iranian. Everywhere else the outcome was *ǎ, the same as the reflexes of PIE *e and *a...

 in Proto-Indo-Iranian, as well as satemization (discussed above). Grassmann's law
Grassmann's Law
Grassmann's law, named after its discoverer Hermann Grassmann, is a dissimilatory phonological process in Ancient Greek and Sanskrit which states that if an aspirated consonant is followed by another aspirated consonant in the next syllable, the first one loses the aspiration...

 and Bartholomae's law
Bartholomae's law
Bartholomae's law is an early Indo-European sound law affecting the Indo-Iranian family. It states that in a cluster of two or more obstruents , any one of which is a voiced aspirated stop anywhere in the sequence, the whole cluster becomes voiced and aspirated...

 may or may not have operated at the common Indo-European stage.

Comparison of conjugations


The following table presents a comparison of conjugations of the thematic
Vowel stems
In Indo-European linguistics, a thematic stem or vowel stem is a noun or verb stem that ends in a vowel that appears in or otherwise influences the noun or verb's inflectional paradigm. The vowel is called the thematic vowel...

 present indicative
Present tense
The present tense is a grammatical tense that locates a situation or event in present time. This linguistic definition refers to a concept that indicates a feature of the meaning of a verb...

 of the verbal root } of the English verb to bear and its reflexes in various early attested IE languages and their modern descendants or relatives, showing that all languages had in the early stage an inflectional verb system.
Proto-Indo-European
Proto-Indo-European language
The Proto-Indo-European language is the reconstructed common ancestor of the Indo-European languages, spoken by the Proto-Indo-Europeans...


(} 'to carry')
I (1st. Sg.) }
You (2nd. Sg.) }
He/She/It (3rd. Sg.) }
We (1st. Du.) }
You (2nd. Du.) }
They (3rd. Du.) }
We (1st. Pl.) }
You (2nd. Pl.) }
They (3rd. Pl.) }

Major Subgroup Hellenic
Hellenic languages
Hellenic, as a technical term in historical linguistics, is the branch of the Indo-European language family that includes Greek . According to most traditional classifications, Hellenic contains only Greek as a single language alone in its branch, and is as such co-extensive with "Greek"...

Indo-Iranian
Indo-Iranian languages
The Indo-Iranian language group constitutes the easternmost extant branch of the Indo-European family of languages. It consists of three language groups: the Indo-Aryan, Iranian and Nuristani...

Italic
Italic languages
The Italic subfamily is a member of the Indo-European language family. It includes the Romance languages derived from Latin , and a number of extinct languages of the Italian Peninsula, including Umbrian, Oscan, Faliscan, and Latin.In the past various definitions of "Italic" have prevailed...

Celtic
Celtic languages
The Celtic languages are descended from Proto-Celtic, or "Common Celtic"; a branch of the greater Indo-European language family...

Armenian Germanic
Germanic languages
The Germanic languages constitute a sub-branch of the Indo-European language family. The common ancestor of all of the languages in this branch is called Proto-Germanic , which was spoken in approximately the mid-1st millennium BC in Iron Age northern Europe...

Balto-Slavic
Balto-Slavic languages
The Balto-Slavic language group traditionally comprises Baltic and Slavic languages, belonging to the Indo-European family of languages. Baltic and Slavic languages share several linguistic traits not found in any other Indo-European branch, which points to the period of common development...

Albanian
Indo-Aryan
Indo-Aryan languages
The Indo-Aryan languages constitutes a branch of the Indo-Iranian languages, itself a branch of the Indo-European language family...

Iranian
Iranian languages
The Iranian languages form a subfamily of the Indo-Iranian languages which in turn is a subgroup of Indo-European language family. They have been and are spoken by Iranian peoples....

Baltic
Baltic languages
The Baltic languages are a group of related languages belonging to the Balto-Slavic branch of the Indo-European language family and spoken mainly in areas extending east and southeast of the Baltic Sea in Northern Europe...

Slavic
Slavic languages
The Slavic languages , a group of closely related languages of the Slavic peoples and a subgroup of Indo-European languages, have speakers in most of Eastern Europe, in much of the Balkans, in parts of Central Europe, and in the northern part of Asia.-Branches:Scholars traditionally divide Slavic...

Ancient Representative Ancient Greek
Ancient Greek
Ancient Greek is the stage of the Greek language in the periods spanning the times c. 9th–6th centuries BC, , c. 5th–4th centuries BC , and the c. 3rd century BC – 6th century AD of ancient Greece and the ancient world; being predated in the 2nd millennium BC by Mycenaean Greek...

Vedic Sanskrit
Vedic Sanskrit
Vedic Sanskrit is an old Indo-Aryan language. It is an archaic form of Sanskrit, an early descendant of Proto-Indo-Iranian. It is closely related to Avestan, the oldest preserved Iranian language...

Avestan
Avestan language
Avestan is an East Iranian language known only from its use as the language of Zoroastrian scripture, i.e. the Avesta, from which it derives its name...

Latin
Latin
Latin is an Italic language originally spoken in Latium and Ancient Rome. It, along with most European languages, is a descendant of the ancient Proto-Indo-European language. Although it is considered a dead language, a number of scholars and members of the Christian clergy speak it fluently, and...

Old Irish Classical Arm. Gothic
Gothic language
Gothic is an extinct Germanic language that was spoken by the Goths. It is known primarily from the Codex Argenteus, a 6th-century copy of a 4th-century Bible translation, and is the only East Germanic language with a sizable Text corpus...

Old Prussian
Old Prussian language
Prussian is an extinct Baltic language, once spoken by the inhabitants of the original territory of Prussia in an area of what later became East Prussia and eastern parts of...

Old Church Sl. Old Albanian
I (1st. Sg.) phérō bhárāmi ferō biru; berim berem baíra /bɛra/ berǫ
You (2nd. Sg.) phéreis bhárasi fers biri; berir beres baíris bereši
He/She/It (3rd. Sg.) phérei bhárati fert berid berē baíriþ beretъ
We (1st. Du.) bhárāvas baíros berevě
You (2nd. Du.) phéreton bhárathas baírats bereta
They (3rd. Du.) phéreton bháratas berete
We (1st. Pl.) phéromen bhárāmas ferimus bermai beremk` baíram beremъ
You (2nd. Pl.) phérete bháratha fertis beirthe berēk` baíriþ berete
They (3rd. Pl.) phérousi bháranti ferunt berait beren baírand berǫtъ
Modern Representative Modern Greek
Modern Greek
Modern Greek refers to the varieties of the Greek language spoken in the modern era. The beginning of the "modern" period of the language is often symbolically assigned to the fall of the Byzantine Empire in 1453, even though that date marks no clear linguistic boundary and many characteristic...

Hindi-Urdu Persian
Persian language
Persian is an Iranian language within the Indo-Iranian branch of the Indo-European languages. It is primarily spoken in Iran, Afghanistan, Tajikistan and countries which historically came under Persian influence...

French
French language
French is a Romance language spoken as a first language in France, the Romandy region in Switzerland, Wallonia and Brussels in Belgium, Monaco, the regions of Quebec and Acadia in Canada, and by various communities elsewhere. Second-language speakers of French are distributed throughout many parts...

Irish
Irish language
Irish , also known as Irish Gaelic, is a Goidelic language of the Indo-European language family, originating in Ireland and historically spoken by the Irish people. Irish is now spoken as a first language by a minority of Irish people, as well as being a second language of a larger proportion of...

Armenian (Eastern; Western)
Armenian language
The Armenian language is an Indo-European language spoken by the Armenian people. It is the official language of the Republic of Armenia as well as in the region of Nagorno-Karabakh. The language is also widely spoken by Armenian communities in the Armenian diaspora...

German
German language
German is a West Germanic language, related to and classified alongside English and Dutch. With an estimated 90 – 98 million native speakers, German is one of the world's major languages and is the most widely-spoken first language in the European Union....

Lithuanian
Lithuanian language
Lithuanian is the official state language of Lithuania and is recognized as one of the official languages of the European Union. There are about 2.96 million native Lithuanian speakers in Lithuania and about 170,000 abroad. Lithuanian is a Baltic language, closely related to Latvian, although they...

Czech
Czech language
Czech is a West Slavic language with about 12 million native speakers; it is the majority language in the Czech Republic and spoken by Czechs worldwide. The language was known as Bohemian in English until the late 19th century...

Albanian
Albanian language
Albanian is an Indo-European language spoken by approximately 7.6 million people, primarily in Albania and Kosovo but also in other areas of the Balkans in which there is an Albanian population, including western Macedonia, southern Montenegro, southern Serbia and northwestern Greece...

I (1st. Sg.) férno (maiṃ) bharūṃ (mi)baram (je) {con}fère beirim berum em; g'perem (ich) {ge}bäre beru (unë) mbart
You (2nd. Sg.) férnis (tū) bhare (mi)bari (tu) {con}fères beirir berum es; g'peres (du) {ge}bierst 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 bere (ai/ajo) mbart
We (1st. Pl.) férnoume (ham) bhareṃ (mi)barim (nous) {con}ferons beirimid; beiream berum enk`; g'perenk` (wir) {ge}bären 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 berete (ju) mbartni
They (3rd. Pl.) férnoun (ve) bhareṃ (mi)barand (ils) {con}fèrent beirid berum en; g'peren (sie) {ge}bären 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
Synthetic language
In linguistic typology, a synthetic language is a language with a high morpheme-per-word ratio, as opposed to a low morpheme-per-word ratio in what is described as an isolating language...

 verb systems to largely periphrastic
Periphrasis
In linguistics, periphrasis is a device by which a grammatical category or grammatical relationship is expressed by a free morpheme , instead of being shown by inflection or derivation...

 systems. The pronoun
Pronoun
In linguistics and grammar, a pronoun is a pro-form that substitutes for a noun , such as, in English, the words it and he...

s 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 "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.

See also

  • Grammatical conjugation
    Grammatical conjugation
    In linguistics, conjugation is the creation of derived forms of a verb from its principal parts by inflection . Conjugation may be affected by person, number, gender, tense, aspect, mood, voice, or other grammatical categories...

  • The Horse, The Wheel and Language
    The Horse, The Wheel and Language
    The Horse, The Wheel and Language is a book by David W. Anthony, which won the Society for American Archaeology's 2010 Book Award.The book explores the origins of Indo-European languages in the context of the domestication of the horse and invention of the wheel.The book tries to explain the...

    (book)
  • Indo-European copula
    Indo-European copula
    A feature common to all Indo-European languages is the presence of a verb corresponding to the English verb to be. Though in some languages, such as Russian, it is vestigial, it is present nonetheless in atrophied forms or derivatives.-General features:...

  • Indo-European sound laws
    Indo-European sound laws
    As the Proto-Indo-European language broke up, its sound system diverged as well, according to various sound laws in the daughter languages.Especially notable is the palatalization that produced the Satem languages, along with the associated ruki sound law...

  • Indo-European studies
    Indo-European studies
    Indo-European studies is a field of linguistics dealing with Indo-European languages, both current and extinct. Its goal is to amass information about the hypothetical proto-language from which all of these languages are descended, a language dubbed Proto-Indo-European , and its speakers, the...

  • Indo-European vocabulary
    Indo-European vocabulary
    The following is a table of the many of most fundamental Proto-Indo-European language words and roots, with their cognates in all of the major families of descendants...

  • Language family
    Language family
    A language family is a group of languages related through descent from a common ancestor, called the proto-language of that family. The term 'family' comes from the tree model of language origination in historical linguistics, which makes use of a metaphor comparing languages to people in a...

  • List of Indo-European languages
  • Proto-Indo-European language
    Proto-Indo-European language
    The Proto-Indo-European language is the reconstructed common ancestor of the Indo-European languages, spoken by the Proto-Indo-Europeans...

  • Proto-Indo-European root
    Proto-Indo-European root
    The roots of the reconstructed Proto-Indo-European language are basic parts of words that carry a lexical meaning, so-called morphemes. PIE roots always have verbal meaning like "to eat" or "to run", as opposed to nouns , adjectives , or other parts of speech. Roots never occur alone in the language...


Further reading

  • Meillet, Antoine
    Antoine Meillet
    Paul Jules Antoine Meillet was one of the most important French linguists of the early 20th century. Meillet began his studies at the Sorbonne, where he was influenced by Michel Bréal, Ferdinand de Saussure, and the members of the Année Sociologique. In 1890 he was part of a research trip to the...

    . Esquisse d’une grammaire comparée de l’arménien classique, 1903.
  • Schleicher, August
    August Schleicher
    August Schleicher was a German linguist. His great work was A Compendium of the Comparative Grammar of the Indo-European Languages, in which he attempted to reconstruct the Proto-Indo-European language...

    , A Compendium of the Comparative Grammar of the Indo-European Languages (1861/62).
  • Remys, Edmund, General distinguishing features of various Indo-European languages and their relationship to Lithuanian. Berlin, New York: Indogermanische Forschungen, Vol. 112, 2007.
  • P. Chantraine
    Pierre Chantraine
    Pierre Chantraine was a French linguist.A student of, among others, Antoine Meillet, Joseph Vendryes and Paul Mazon, Chantraine became one of the most renowned authorities on Ancient Greek philology of his generation...

    (1968), Dictionnaire étymologique de la langue grecque, Klincksieck, Paris.

Lexica