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Indo European Family Of Languages Essay About Myself

Indo-European Language Family 

By Irene Thompson | Updated February 27, 2017 by Irene Thompson

Indo-European is a family of languages that first spread throughout Europe and many parts of South Asia, and later to every corner of the globe as a result of colonization. The term Indo-European is essentially geographical since it refers to the easternmost extension of the family from the Indian subcontinent to its westernmost reach in Europe. The family includes most of the languages of Europe, as well as many languages of Southwest, Central and South Asia. With over 2.6 billion speakers (or 45% of the world’s population), the Indo-European language family has the largest number of speakers of all language families as well as the widest dispersion around the world.

The cradle of the Indo-Europeans may never be known but an ongoing scholarly debate about the original homeland of Proto-Indo-European (PIE), may some day shed light on the ancestors of all Indo-European languages as well as the people who spoken it. There are two schools of thought:

  • Some scholars (e.g., Marija Gimbutas) propose that PIE originated in the steppes north of the Blackand Caspian Seas (the Kurgan hypothesis). Kurgan is the Russian word of Turkic origin for a type of burial mound over a burial chamber. The Kurgan hypothesis combines archaeology with linguistics to trace the diffusion of kurgans from the steppes into southeastern Europe, providing support for the existence ot a Kurgan culture that reflected an early presence of Indo-European people in the steppes and southeastern Europe from the 5th to the 3rd millenium BC.
  • Other scholars (e.g., Gamkrelidze and Ivanov) suggest that PIE originated around 7,000 BC in Anatolia, a stretch of land that lies between the Blackand Mediterranean seas. It lies across the Aegean Sea to the east of Greece and is thus usually known by its Greek name Anatolia (Asia Minor). Today, Anatolia is the Asian part of modern Turkey.

It would not have been possible to establish the existence of the Indo-European language family if scholars had not compared the systematically recurring resemblances among European languages and Sanskrit, the oldest language of the Indian subcontinent that left many written documents. The common origin of European languages and Sanskrit was first proposed by Sir William Jones(1746-1794). Systematic comparisons between these languages by Franz Bopp supported this theory and laid the foundation for postulating that all Indo-European languages descended from a common ancestor, Proto-Indo-European (PIE), thought to have been spoken before 3,000 B.C. It then split into different branches which, in turn, split into different languages in the subsequent millennia.

Since PIE left no written records, historical linguists construct family trees, an idea pioneered by August Schleicher, on the basis of the comparative method. The comparative method takes shared features among languages and uses procedures to establish their common ancestry. It is not the only method available but is one that has been most widely used. The examples below show how this method actually works with some Indo-European languages.

PIE *dekm >Proto-Germanic *texun > Old English teon > Modern English ten
Proto-Italic *dekem > Latin decem > Modern Italian dieci
Old Church Slavonic desenti > Modern Bulgarian deset
Sanskrit dáça > Hindi/Urdu das
Greek deka
  • proto means ‘old’ in Greek
  • * means the form was reconstructed, not attested.
  • > means ‘became’

 

Indo-European languages are classified into 11 major groups, 2 of which are extinct, comprising 449 languages (Ethnologue).

Baltic
This conservative group has preserved many archaic features thought to have been present in PIE. Some scholars think that Baltic languages share a common ancestral language with the Slavic languages. This hypothetical language is called Balto-Slavic.

Language

Number of speakers

Where spoken primarily

Latvian1.5 millionLatvia
Lithuanian3.1millionLithuania

Celtic 
Celtic languages were largely unknown until the modern period. They were once spread over Europe in the pre-Christian era. The oldest records of these languages date back to the 4th century AD.

Germanic

Romance (Italic)

Language

Number of speakers

Where spoken primarily

Catalan6.7 millionSpain
French65 millionFrance
Italian61.5 millionItaly
Portuguese178 millionPortugal, Brazil
Romanian23.5 millionRomania
Spanish322 millionSpain, Latin America

Slavic

West Slavic

Language

Number of speakers

Where spoken primarily

Czech11.5 millionCzech Republic
Polish43 millionPoland
Slovak5 millionSlovakia
Sorbian70,000 to 110,000Germany

 

East Slavic

Language

Number of speakers

Where spoken primarily

Belarusian9 millionBelorusia
Russian150 million L1 speakersRussia
Ukrainian37.1 millionUkraine

 

South Slavic

Language

Number of speakers

Where spoken primarily

Bosnian4 millionBosnia & Hercegovina
Croatian6.2 millionCroatia
Macedonian1.6 millionMacedonia
Serbian11.1 millionSerbia
Slovenian2 millionSlovenia

Indo-Iranian

Indo-Aryan (Indic)

Language

Number of speakers

Where spoken primarily

Balochi1.8 millionPakistan
Bengali100 million 1st language; 211 million 1st & 2nd language speakersBangladesh
Bhojpuri26.6 millionIndia
Hindi180.8 millionIndia
Gujarati46.1 millionIndia
Kashmiri4.6 millionIndia
Marathi68 millionIndia
Nepali17.2 millionNepal
Maithili24.8 millionIndia
Oriya31.7 millionIndia
Punjabi60.8 millionIndia
Romani1.5 millionRomania & elsewhere
Sanskrit194,000 2nd language speakersIndia & elsewhere
Sindhi21.3 millionPakistan
Sinhalese13.2 millionSri Lanka
Urdu60.5 millionPakistan

 

Iranian

Language

Number of speakers

Where spoken primarily

Dari7.6 millionAfghanistan
Farsi (Persian)24.3 millionIran
Kurdish11 millionIraq & elsewhere
Pashto19 millionAfghanistan & elsewhere
Tajik4.3 millionTajikistan

 

Language

Number of speakers

Where spoken primarily

Albanian5 millionAlbania
Armenian6.7 millionArmenia
Hellenic
Greek is the only surviving language of this group.
12.3 millionGreece

 

Tocharian (extinct)
Attested by texts dating to 500-1000 AD that were found in early 20th century in Chinese Turkestan
Anatolian (extinct)
Unknown until the 20th century when it was discovered during excavations in Turkey. Texts written in cuneiform date to 13th-7th centuries BC.

In addition to these main groups, there are fragmentary records of other Indo-European languages. These records, mostly in the form of inscriptions, do not provide sufficient material for the reconstruction of PIE.

Dialects

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Structure

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Sound system
There have been numerous attempts to reconstruct the vowels and consonants of PIE, all of which encountered serious problems due to the uneven nature of the written records and to the huge differences in the age of the records. As a result, the reconstruction of PIE phonology continues to be a matter of scholarly debate and speculation. Among the most notable reconstructions are those by August Schleicher, Karl Brugmann, Winfred Lehmann, Oswald Szemerènyi, and Jacob Grimm.

First Germanic Sound Shift (Grimm’s Law)
You probably know of Jacob Grimm as the author of fairy tales. But he was also one of the great linguists of the 19th century. He found evidence for the unity of all the modern Germanic languages in the phenomenon known as the First Germanic Sound Shift (also known as Grimm’s law ), which set the Germanic branch apart from the other branches of the Indo-European family. This shift occurred before the 7th century when records started to be kept. According to Grimm’s law, the shift occurred when /p, t, k/ in the classical Indo-European languages (Latin, Greek, and Sanskrit) became /f, t, h/ in Germanic languages. For example, Latin pater > Englishfather, Latin cornu > English horn.
You can easily see the resemblances among four common words across five Indo-European languages.

English

Greek

Latin

Sanskrit

fatherpaterpaterpita
brotherphraterfraterbhratar
footpodapedempada
threetristrestrí

Click here for an amusing illustration of Grimm’s Law and of words for family, plants, animals, sky, and counting in nine Indo-European languages.

Centum-Satem division
The Centum-Satem division explains the evolution of PIE labiovelar, velars, and palatovelar consonants.

  • Labiovelar consonants include [kw, gw, xw, ngw] which are pronounced like [k, g, x, ng] but with rounded lips.
  • Velars are consonants articulated with the back part of the tongue (the dorsum) against the soft palate (the back part of the roof of the mouth, known also as the velum). They include [k, g, x, ng].
  • Palatovelar consonants are articulated with the back part of the tongue against the hard palate. They include [k’, g’, x’, ng’]. For example, [k’] is pronounced as the k in keen.

The terms centum-satem come from the words for ‘one hundred’ in representative languages of each group. Please note that not all languages fall neatly into these categories.

  • Satem languages include Baltic, Slavic, Albanian, Armenian, and Indo-Iranian languages. For example, Sanskritsatam, Lithuaniansimtas, Russiansto.
    Click here to see the complete satem language tree.
  • Centum languages include Romance, Celtic, Germanic, and Greek. For example, Latincentum, Irishcead, Englishhundred, Greek.

 

Click here to see the complete Centum language tree.

Stress
It is believed that PIE had a pitch accent system. All words had only one accented syllable which received a high pitch. Stress could fall on any syllable of a word.

Grammar 
Unevenness of existing records and huge gaps in the chronology among Indo-European languages make the reconstruction of PIE grammar a difficult task. Discoveries of Hittite, Tocharian and Mycenaean Greek in the 20th century have made changes in the data base on which the reconstruction of PIE is based that in turn have modified existing views of PIE. .

Many of the older well-documented languages, such as Sanskrit, Greek, and Latin, have rich morphologies with clearly marked gender and number, as well as elaborately marked case systems for nouns, pronouns, and adjectives. Verbs in these languages also have elaborately marked systems of tense, aspect, mood, and voice, in addition to person, number, and gender. Reconstructed PIE is based on the assumption that it contained all the features found in attested languages. If a given language lacks a particular feature, it is assumed that the feature was lost or that it had merged with other features.

Modern Indo-European languages reflect the rich morphology of PIE to various degrees. For instance, Sanskrit, Greek, Latin, Baltic, Slavic, Celtic, Armenian have extremely rich morphologies. On the other hand, Germanic, Romance, Albanian, and Tocharian do not possess quite as many finely differentiated morphological features.

Nouns, pronouns and adjectives

  • Case
    Sanskrit had the most cases (8), followed by Old Church Slavonic, Lithuanian, and Old Armenian (7), Latin (6), Greek, Old Irish, Albanian (5), Germanic (5).
  • Gender
    The three genders (masculine, feminine, neuter) have survived in a number of Indo-European languages.
  • Number
    The three numbers (singular, dual, plural) survived in Sanskrit, Greek, and Old Irish. Vestiges of the dual number can be found in many other Indo-European languages.
  • Adjective-Noun agreement
    Adjective-noun agreement has survived in many Indo-European languages.

Verbs
Reconstructed PIE verbs had different sets of endings tense/aspect, voice and mood in addition to person and number. :

  • Tense and aspect
    It is thought that the PIE verb system was aspect-based, although traditionally, aspect has been confused with tense. Although tense was not formally marked in PIE, most Indo-European languages define their verbal systems in terms of tense, rather than aspect. .
  • Voice
    PIE had two voices: active (e.g., The child broke the glass) and medio-passive which combined reflexive and passive voices (e.g., The child washed himself and The child was washed by his mother). In addition to the active voice, various Indo-European languages use the middle or the passive voices.
  • Mood
    It is hypothesized the PIE had four moods: indicative, optative, subjunctive, and imperative. Most of these moods exist in all Indo-European languages.
  • Person and number
    PIE verbs were marked for person (1st, 2nd, 3rd) and number (singular, dual, plural).

Word order
Less is know about the syntax of PIE than about its morphology. What is known about PIE word order, therefore, is a subject of conjecture and debate. It is thought likely that word order in PIE sentences was Subject-Object-Verb. This word order is found in Latin, Hittite, Vedic Sanskrit, Tocharian, and to some extent in Greek.

Vocabulary
The comparative method enables linguists to reconstruct a basic PIE vocabulary referring to many common elements of their culture. This basic vocabulary is not uniformly attested across all Indo-European languages which suggests that some words may have developed later or were borrowed from other languages. Among words that are reliably reconstructed are words for day, night, the seasons, celestial bodies (sun, moon, stars), precipitation (rain, snow), animals (sheep, horse, pig, bear, dog, wolf, eagle), kinship terms (father, mother, brother, sister, son, daughter), tools (axe, yoke, arrow).

Click here to explore cognates in different Indo-European languages

Writing

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Written records for various Indo-European languages have different date lines. The table below shows when the first written records appeared, what writing system was used, and which writing systems are used by the languages today.

Branches

Earliest written records

Earliest writing system

Current writing system(s)

Armenian500 ADArmenian alphabetArmenian alphabet
Albanian15th century ADGreek alphabetModified Latin alphabet
Greek1,400 BCLinear BGreek alphabet
Celtic4th century ADOgham alphabetModified Latin alphabet
Baltic16 th century ADModified Latin alphabetModified Latin alphabet
Romance6th century BCLatin alphabet, adapted from EtruscanModified Latin alphabet
Germanic3rd century ADrunic FutharkModified Latin alphabet
Slavic9th century ADOld Church Slavonic alphabetCyrillic and Latin alphabets
Indo-Aryan3rd century BCBrāhmī scriptBengali, Devanāgarī, Gujarati, Oriya, Gurmukhi, Sinhala, Kaithi,modified Perso-Arabic
Iranian9th century ADPerso-Arabic scriptModified Perso-Arabic, Arabic, modified Cyrillic, modified Latin.
Tocharian500-1,000 ADBrāhmī script

Difficulty

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Language Difficulty

How difficult is it to learn Indo-European Languages?
Indo European Languages range from Category I  to Category II in terms of difficulty for speakers of English.

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Posted in:  Baltic, Celtic, Editors Picks, family, Germanic, Home Page, Indo-Aryan, Indo-European, Indo-Iranian, Romance, Slavic


Introduction

The most widely studied language family in the world is the Indo-European. There are a number of reasons for this:
  • Many of the most important languages of the world are Indo-European. These languages are official or co-official in many countries and are important in academic, technical and world organisations.

    Examples: English, Spanish, French, German, Russian.

    Indeed, more than half the world's population speak one or more of these languages either as a mother tongue or as a business language.

  • Languages that are essential in multinational contexts or with large numbers of speakers.

    Examples: Portuguese, Hindi, German, Bengali.

  • Some of the great classical languages of religion, culture and philosophy were Indo-European.

    Examples: Latin, Greek, Persian, Sanskrit, Pali.

  • Languages that are scattered around the world as their speakers are part of diasporas.

    Examples: Greek, Yiddish, Polish, Armenian, Romany, Kurdish, Italian, Punjabi, Gujarati.

The Indo-European languages tend to be inflected (ie verbs and nouns have different endings depending on their part in a sentence). Some languages (eg English) have lost many of the inflections during their evolution.

The Indo-European languages stretch from the Americas through Europe to North India.

The Indo-European Family was originally thought to have originated in the forests north of the Black Sea (in what is now Ukraine) during the Neoloithic period (about 7000BC). Modern research appears to indicate an origin in Anatolia (Modern Turkey). Either way, the people bagan to migrate between 3500BC and 2500BC, spreading west to Europe, south to the Mediterranian, north to Scandinavia, and east to India.

The Indo-European Family is divided into twelve branches, ten of which contain existing languages. I will describe each of these branches separately.

The Celtic Branch

This is now the smallest branch. The languages originated in Central Europe and once dominated Western Europe (around 400BC). The people migrated across to the British Isles over 2000 years ago. Later, when the Germanic speaking Anglo Saxons arrived, the Celtic speakers were pushed into Wales (Welsh), Ireland (Irish Gaelic) and Scotland (Scottish Gaelic).

One group of Celts moved back to France. Their language became Breton spoken in the Brittany region of France. Breton is closer to Welsh than to French.

Other Celtic languages have became extinct. These include Cornish (Cornwall in England - now being revived), Gaulish (France), Cumbrian (Cumbria), Manx (Isle of Man - another language being revived), Pictish (Scotland) and Galatian (spoken in Anatolia by the Galatians mentioned in the Christian New Testament).

Welsh has the word order Verb-Subject-Object in a sentence. Irish has the third oldest literature in Europe (after Greek and Latin).

The Germanic Branch

These languages originate from Old Norse and Saxon. Due to the influence of early Christian missionaries, the vast majority of the Celtic and Germanic languages use the Latin Alphabet.

They include English, the second most spoken language in the world, the most widespread, the language of technology, and the language with the largest vocabulary. A useful language to have as your mother tongue.

Dutch and German are the closest major languages related to English. An even closer relative is Frisian.

Flemish and Afrikaans are varieties of Dutch while Yiddish is a variety of German. Yiddish is written using the Hebrew script.

Three of the four (mainland) Scandinavian languages belong to this branch: (Danish, Norwegian, and Swedish). Swedish has tones, unusual in European languages. The fourth Scandinavian language, Finnish, belongs to a different family.

Icelandic is the least changed of the Germanic Languages - being close to Old Norse. Another old language is Faroese.

Gothic (Central Europe), Frankish (France), Lombardo (Danube region), Visigoth (Iberian Peninsula) and Vandal (North Africa) are extinct languages from this branch.

German has a system of four cases and three genders for its nouns. Case is the property where a noun takes a different ending depending on its role in a sentence. An example in English would be the forms: lady, lady's, ladies and ladies'. The genders are masculine, feminine and neuter. German has three dialects spoken in northern Germany, southern Germany and Austria, and a very different form spoken in Switzerland.

English has lost gender and case. Only a few words form their plurals like German (ox, oxen and child, children). Most now add an s, having been influenced by Norman French.

The Latin Branch

Also called the Italic or Romance Languages.

These languages are all derived from Latin. Latin is one of the most important classical languages. Its alphabet (derived from the Greek alphabet) is used by many languages of the world. Latin was long used by the scientific establishment and the Catholic Church as their means of communication.

Italian and Portuguese are the closest modern major languages to Latin. Spanish has been influenced by Arabic and Basque. French has moved farthest from Latin in pronunciation, only its spelling gives a clue to its origins. French has many Germanic and Celtic influences. Romanian has picked up Slavic influences because it is a Latin Language surrounded by a sea of Slavic speakers. Portuguese and Spanish have been separate for over 1000 years. The most widely spoken of these languages is Spanish. Apart from Spain, it is spoken in most of Latin America (apart from Portuguese speaking Brazil, and a few small countries like Belize and Guyana).

Romansh is a minority language in Switzerland. Ladino was the language spoken by Spain's Jewish population when they were expelled in 1492. Most of them now live in Turkey and Israel. Provincial and Catalan are closely related languages spoken in the south of France and the north-east of Spain, respectively.

Note that Basque (spoken in parts of Spain and France) is not an Indo-European language - in fact it is totally unrelated to any other language of the world.

Galician is a Portuguese dialect with Celtic influences spoken in the north west of Spain. Finally, Moldavian is a dialect of Romanian spoken in the Moldova. Under the Soviets the Moldavians had to use the Cyrillic alphabet. Now they have returned to the Latin alphabet.

Apart from Latin, other extinct languages include Dalmatian, Oscan, Faliscan, Sabine and Umbrian.

Latin had three genders and at least six cases for its nouns and a Subject-Object-Verb sentence structure. Most modern Romance languages have only two genders, no cases and a Subject-Verb-Object structure.

The Slavic Branch

These languages are confined to Eastern Europe.

In general, the Catholic peoples use the Latin alphabet while the Orthodox use the Cyrillic alphabet which is derived from the Greek. Indeed some of the languages are very similar differing only in the script used (Croatian and Serbian are virtually the same language).

One of the oldest of these languages is Bulgarian. The most important is Russian. Others include Polish, Kashubian (spoken in parts of Poland), Sorbian (spoken in parts of eastern Germany), Czech, Slovak, Slovene, Macedonian, Bosnian, Ukrainian and Byelorussian.

The Slavic languages are famed for their consonant clusters and large number of cases for nouns (up to seven). Many of the languages have three numbers for verbs: singular, dual and plural. Macedonian has three definite articles indicating distance; all are suffixes: VOL (ox), VOLOT (the ox), VOLOV (the ox here), VOLON (the ox there).

The Baltic Branch

Three Baltic states but only two Baltic Languages (Estonian is related to Finnish).

Lithuanian is one of the oldest of the Indo-European languages. Its study is important in determining the origins and evolution of the family. Lithuanian and Latvian both use the Latin script and have tones. Lithuanian has three numbers: singular, dual and plural.

Prussian is an extinct language from this branch

The Hellenic Branch

The only extant language in this branch is Modern Greek.

Greek is one of the oldest Indo-European languages. Mycenaean dates from 1300BC. The Ancient Greek of Homer was written from around 700BC. The major forms were Doric (Sparta), Ionic (Cos), Aeolic (Lesbos), and Attic (Athens). The latter is Classical Greek.

The New Testament of the Christian Bible was written in a form of 1st Century AD Greek called Koine. This developed into the Greek of the Byzantine Empire. Modern Greek has developed from this.

Greek has three genders and four cases for nouns but no form of the verb infinitive. The language has its own script, derived from Phoenician with the addition of symbols for vowels. It is one of the oldest alphabets in the world and has led to the Latin and Cyrillic alphabets. The Greek Alphabet is still used in science and mathematics.

Until the 1970s Greek was a Diglossic language. This means that there were two forms: Katharevoussa used in official documents and news broadcasts and Demotic used in common speech.

The Greek spoken in Cyprus includes many Turkish, Arabic and Venetian words and has a different pronounciation to the official Greek of Greece.

The Illyric Branch

Another single language branch. Only Albanian (called Shqip by its speakers) belongs to this branch. It has been written in the Latin script since 1909; this replaced a number of writing systems including Greek and Arabic scripts. Albanian has many avoidance words. Instead of saying wolf, the phrase may God close its mouth is used. The definate article is shown by a suffix: BUK (bread) BUKA (the bread). Many noun plurals are irregular.

There are two dialects that have been diverging for 1000 years. They are mostly mutually intelligible. Geg is spoken in the north of Albania and Kosovo (Kosova). Tosk is spoken in southern Albania and north west Greece.

The ancient Illyric and Mesapian languages, spoken in parts of Italy, are considered by some to be an extinct member of this branch.

The Anatolian Branch

This branch includes the language of the Hittite civilisation which once ruled central Anatolia, fought the Ancient Egyptians and was mentioned in the Christain Bible's Old Testament. Other languages were Lydian (spoken by a people who ruled the south coast of Anatolia), Lycian (spoken by a Hellenic culture along the western coastal regions), Luwian (spoken in ancient Troy) and Palaic.

All languages in this branch are extinct.

Hittite is the earliest Indo-European language known in Europe. It has two noun genders, animate and inanimate. It has post-positions.

The Thracian Branch

This branch is represented by a single modern language, Armenian. It has its own script.

Armenian is spoken in Armenia and Nagorno-Karabakh (an enclave in Azerbaijan). The language is rich in consonants and has borrowed much of its vocabulary from Farsi (Iranian). Nouns have 7 cases and the past tense of verbs take an E prefix like Greek.


Armenian
Three extinct languages from this branch are Dacian (or Daco-Mysian - spoken in the ancient Balkan region of Dacia), Thracian and Phrygian (spoken in ancient Troy).

The Iranian Branch

These languages are descended from Ancient Persian, the literary language of the Persian Empire and one of the great classical languages.

The main language of this branch is Farsi (also called Iranian, Dari and Persian), the main language of Iran and much of Afghanistan. Kurdish is a close relation. Kurdish is spoken in Turkey, Syria, Iran and Iraq by the Kurds. It is the second largest of the Iranian languages after Farsi. In Turkey it was banned until recently.

Pashto (also called Pushtu or Pakhto) is spoken in Afghanistan and parts of north west Pakistan. Baluchi is spoken in the desert regions between Iran, Afganistan and Pakistan. These languages are written in the Nastaliq script, a derivative of Arabic writing. It is interesting that you cannot tell which family a language belongs to by the way it is written.

Ossetian is found in the Caucasus mountains, north of Georgia. Tadzhik is a close relative of Farsi, written in Cyrillic and spoken in Tadzhikistan (of the former USSR) as well as northern Afghanistan.

Avestan is the extinct language of the Zoroastrian religion. Scythian is an extinct language of a warrior people who once lived north of the Black Sea.

The Indic Branch

This branch has the most languages. Most are found in North India. They are derived from Sanskrit (the classical language of Hinduism dating from 1000BC). This gave rise to Pali (the language of Buddhism), Ardhamagadhi (the language of Jainism) and the ancestors of the modern North Indian languages.

Of the modern North Indian languages, Hindi and Urdu are very similar but differ in the script. The Hindi speakers are Hindus and use the Sanskrit writing system called Devanagari (writing of the Gods). Urdu is spoken by the Muslims so uses the Arabic Nastaliq script. These two languages are found in north and central India and Pakistan. Nepali is closely related to Hindi.

Hindi
In India most of the states have their own language. These languages either use Devanagari script or a derivation (if the people are Hindus) or the Arabic Nastaliq script (if the people are Muslims).

Bengali (West Bengal as well as Bangladesh), Bhili (Central India), Oriya (in Orissa), Marathi (in Maharashtra), Assamese (in Assam), Punjabi and Lahnda (from the Punjab), Maithili and Maghadi (from Bihar), Kashmiri (Kashmir - written mainly in Nastaliq), Sindhi (the Pakistan province of Sindh - also written in Nastaliq), Gujarati (Gujarat in western India), Konkani (in Goa, an ex Portuguese colony, uses the Latin script), Sinhalese (Sri Lanka - uses its own script derived from Pali), Maldivian (Maldives - with its own script based on Arabic).

Bengali
Punjabi
Oriya
Sinhalese
The most surprising language in this branch is Romany, the language of the Roma (also known as Gypsies - this is a derogatory term which should not be used). The Roma migrated to Europe from India.

Sanskrit had three genders as has Marathi; most modern Indic languages have two genders; Bengali has none.

The fascinating point about India is that the south Indian languages (like Tamil) are not Indo-European. In other words, Hindi is related to English, Greek and French but is totally unrelated to Tamil. North Indians visiting Madras (in the south) are as baffled by Tamil as a foreigner would be.

The Tokharian Branch

Turfanian and Kuchean are recently identified extinct languages once spoken in north west China. Very little is known about this branch as only a few manuscripts dating from 600 AD are in existence. The languages disappeared around the 8th century AD. The closest relatives of these languages are from the Celtic, Anatolian and Latin branches.



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History and language of Persia / Iran.

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Yiddish language and culture.

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History of the Lithuanian language.

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Italian site looking at Indo-European theories and problems.

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