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Indo-European Family of Languages, The ( (table))

The Indo-European Family of Languages

 Asterisk indicates a dead language.
The Indo-European Family of Languages
Subfamily Group Subgroup Languages and Principal Dialects
Anatolian     Hieroglypic Hittite, Hittite (Kanesian), Luwian, Lycian, Lydian, Palaic
Baltic     Latvian (Lettish), Lithuanian, Old Prussian
Celtic Brythonic   Breton, Cornish, Welsh
Continental   Gaulish
Goidelic or Gaelic   Irish (Irish Gaelic), Manx, Scottish Gaelic
Germanic East Germanic   Burgundian, Gothic, Vandalic
North Germanic   Old Norse (see Norse), Danish, Faeroese, Icelandic, Norwegian, Swedish
West Germanic(see Grimm's law) High German German, Yiddish
Low German Afrikaans, Dutch, English, Flemish, Frisian, Plattdeutsch (see German language)
Greek     Aeolic, Arcadian, Attic, Byzantine Greek, Cyprian, Doric, Ionic, Koinē, Modern Greek
Indo-Iranian Dardic or Pisacha   Kafiri, Kashmiri, Khowar, Kohistani, Romani (Gypsy), Shina
Indic or Indo-Aryan   Pali, Prakrit, Sanskrit, Vedic
Central Indic Hindi, Hindustani, Urdu
East Indic Assamese, Bengali (Bangla), Bihari, Oriya
Northwest Indic Punjabi, Sindhi
Pahari Central Pahari, Eastern Pahari (Nepali), Western Pahari
South Indic Marathi (including major dialect Konkani), Sinhalese (Singhalese)
West Indic Bhili, Gujarati, Rajasthani (many dialects)
Iranian   Avestan, Old Persian
East Iranian Baluchi, Khwarazmian, Ossetic, Pamir dialects, Pashto (Afghan), Saka (Khotanese), Sogdian, Yaghnobi
West Iranian Kurdish, Pahlavi (Middle Persian), Parthian, Persian (Farsi), Tajiki
Italic (Non-Romance)   Faliscan, Latin, Oscan, Umbrian
Romance or Romanic Eastern Romance Italian, Rhaeto-Romanic, Romanian, Sardinian
Western Romance Catalan, French, Ladino, Portuguese, Provençal, Spanish
Slavic or Slavonic East Slavic   Belarusian (White Russian), Russian, Ukrainian
South Slavic   Bulgarian, Church Slavonic, Macedonian, Serbo-Croatian, Slovenian
West Slavic   Czech, Kashubian, Lusatian (Sorbian or Wendish), Polabian, Polish, Slovak
Thraco-Illyrian     Albanian, Illyrian, Thracian
Thraco-Phrygian     Armenian, Grabar (Classical Armenian), Phrygian
Tokharian (W China)     Tokharian A (Agnean), Tokharian B (Kuchean)

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Indo-European languages

Indo-European languages Family of languages spoken throughout all of Europe and sw and s Asia, and used in all the areas of European settlement, such as Australia and New Zealand, South Africa, Canada, the USA, and Latin America. It consists of the following subgroups: the Germanic languages, the Celtic languages and the Indo-Iranian (including Persian, Avestan, and the Indic languages – Sanskrit, Pali, and modern Hindi). Other languages and groups in the family are Armenian, Albanian, Greek, the Italic languages (including Latin and its descendants, the Romance languages), the Baltic group (including Latvian and Lithuanian), and the Slavic group (including Old Church Slavonic, Russian, Polish, Czech, Serbian, Croatian, and others). About half the world's population speaks an Indo-European language.

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Indo-European

In·do-Eu·ro·pe·an • adj. of or relating to the family of languages spoken over the greater part of Europe and Asia as far as northern India. ∎ another term for Proto-Indo-European. • n. 1. the ancestral Proto-Indo-European language. ∎  the Indo-European family of languages. 2. a speaker of an Indo-European language, esp. Proto-Indo-European.

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Indo-European

Indo-European of or relating to the family of languages spoken over the greater part of Europe and Asia as far as northern India.

The Indo-European languages have a history of over 3,000 years. Their unattested, reconstructed ancestor, Proto-Indo-European, is believed to have been spoken well before 4000 bc in a region somewhere to the north or south of the Black Sea. The family comprises twelve branches: Indic (including Sanskrit and its descendants), Iranian, Anatolian (including Hittite and other extinct languages), Armenian, Hellenic (Greek), Albanian (or Illyrian), Italic (including Latin and the Romance languages), Celtic, Tocharian (an extinct group from central Asia), Germanic (including English, German, Dutch, and the Scandinavian languages), Baltic, and Slavic (including Russian, Czech, Bulgarian, and Serbo-Croat).

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Indo-European

Indo-European, family of languages having more speakers than any other language family. It is estimated that approximately half the world's population speaks an Indo-European tongue as a first language. The Indo-European family is so named because at one time its individual members were prevalent mainly in an area between and including India and Europe, although not all languages spoken in this region were Indo-European. Today, however, the Indo-European languages have spread to every continent and a number of islands. It should be stressed that the term Indo-European describes language only and is not used scientifically in an ethnic or cultural sense. The languages classified as Indo-European are sufficiently similar to form one major linguistic division.

The characteristics Indo-European languages share with respect to vocabulary and grammar have led many scholars to postulate that they are all descended from an original parent language, called Proto-Indo-European, which is believed to have been spoken some time before 4000 BC, perhaps before 8000 BC or earlier. Since there are no written records of Proto-Indo-European, it apparently was in use before writing was known to its speakers. Even its existence is an assumption, although a plausible one and the only really satisfactory explanation of the common features of the modern Indo-European languages. There has been much speculation as to the region where the speakers of Proto-Indo-European first lived and the nature of their culture, but nothing definite is known. One theory of the origin of the individual Indo-European languages suggests that as the ancient speakers of Proto-Indo-European migrated or moved away from each other, losing contact, their language broke up into a number of tongues. These tongues later also split up still further, eventually giving rise to the many modern Indo-European languages. For a classification of Indo-European subfamilies, groups, subgroups, and individual languages, see the table entitled The Indo-European Family of Languages. By studying the vocabulary and grammar of the various daughter languages of which there are records, scholars have tried to reconstruct Proto-Indo-European and infer some of its characteristics. It appears to have been highly inflected in a distinctive way. Apparently, it also had three genders (masculine, feminine, and neuter) for nouns, pronouns, and adjectives; eight cases for the noun; agreement between adjectives and nouns; and a free accent (i.e., one that could be placed on any syllable).

The descendant languages have all tended to discard to a greater or lesser extent these features of the mother tongue and to become simplified. For example, they substitute increasingly the use of word order and prepositions for inflections to indicate the relationships of words in a sentence. There also exists among the Indo-European languages a similarity of basic words (such as words denoting kinship, numerals, and parts of the body) that points to a common origin. Different forms of writing for the various Indo-European languages used both in ancient and modern times include cuneiform, hieroglyphics, and a number of alphabets, among them the Devanagari, Greek, Roman, and Arabic scripts.

See articles on many of the Indo-European subfamilies, groups, and languages.

See also E. Benveniste, Indo-European Language and Society (tr. 1973); P. Baldi, An Introduction to the Indo-European Languages (1983).

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