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Pre-Indo-European languages are any of several unclassified languages, not necessarily related to one another, that existed in prehistoric Europe and South Asia before the arrival of speakers of Indo-European languages. The oldest Indo-European language texts date from 19th century BC in Kültepe in modern-day Turkey, and while estimates vary widely, spoken Indo-European languages are believed to have developed at the latest by the third millennium BC (see Proto-Indo-European Urheimat hypotheses). Thus the Pre-Indo-European languages must have developed earlier than, or in some cases alongside, the Indo-European languages.
A handful of these languages still survive. Some of the pre-Indo-European languages are attested only as linguistic substrates in Indo-European languages; however, some others (like Etruscan, Minoan, Iberian etc.) are also attested from inscriptions.
Examples of suggested or known substrate influences on specific Indo-European languages:
- Substrate in Vedic Sanskrit, proposed sources for which include:
- Harappan language (not attested in readable script; see Indus script)
- Bactria–Margiana Archaeological Complex (possible source of Sanskrit vocabulary, language not attested)
- Vedda language (a dialect of Sinhalese containing pre-Sinhalese substrate lexicon)
- Elamite language
- Dravidian languages
- Munda languages
- Substrates to early (undifferentiated or partly differentiated) Indo-European in Western Europe:
- Pre-Greek substrate languages, which may have included:
- Pre-Celtic languages:
- Insular Celtic:
- Continental Celtic:
- Paleohispanic languages
- Tyrrhenian languages including at least:
- Camunic language (probably Raetic or Celtic)
- Elymian language (probably Indo-European)
- North Picene language
- Paleosardic language (aka Paleosardinian, Protosardic, Nuraghic language)
- Sicanian language
- Sicel language (probably Indo-European)
- Languages of Neolithic Europe
- Pre-Indo-European (disambiguation)
- Saami languages (containing pre-Uralic substrate)
- Proto-Euphratean language
Archaeology and culture
- Anthony, David with Jennifer Y. Chi (eds., 2009). The Lost World of Old Europe: The Danube Valley, 5000-3500 BC.
- Bogucki, Peter I. and Pam J. Crabtree (eds. 2004). Ancient Europe 8000 BC—1000 AD: An Encyclopedia of the Barbarian World. New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons.
- Gimbutas, Marija (1973). Old Europe c. 7000-3500 B.C.: the earliest European civilization before the infiltration of the Indo-European peoples. The Journal of Indo-European Studies 1/1-2. 1-20.
- Tilley, Christopher (1996). An Ethnography of the Neolithic. Early Prehistoric Societies in Southern Scandinavia. Cambridge University Press.
- Bammesberger, Alfred and Theo Vennemann (eds., 2003). Languages in Prehistoric Europe. Heidelberg: Carl Winter.
- Blench, Roger and Matthew Spriggs (eds. 1). Archaeology and Language. Vol. I. Theoretical and Methodological Orientations.
- Dolukhanov, Pavel M. (2003) Archaeology and Languages in Prehistoric Northern Eurasia // Japan Review, 15:175-186. http://shinku.nichibun.ac.jp/jpub/pdf/jr/IJ1507.pdf
- Gimbutas, Marija (1989). The Language of the Goddess
- Greppin, John and T.L.Markey (eds., 1990). When Worlds Collide: The Indo-Europeans and the Pre-Indo-Europeans, Ann Arbor.
- Lehmann, Winfred P. Pre-Indo-European. Washington, DC: Institute for the Study of Man. 2002. ISBN 0-941694-82-8.
- Mailhammer, Robert (2010). Diversity vs. Uniformity. Europe before the Arrival of Indo-European Languages. http://www.lrz.de/~mailhammer/htdocs/pdf/SWE_paper-MTP_draft.pdf // to appear in: Mailhammer, Robert and Theo Vennemann. Linguistic Roots of Europe. Copenhagen: Museum Tusculanum Press.
- Pre-Indo-European // Encyclopedia of the Languages of Europe. Edited by: Glanville Price. 2000. eISBN 9780631220398.
- Ringe, Don (January 6, 2009). "The Linguistic Diversity of Aboriginal Europe". Language Log. Mark Liberman. Retrieved 22 September 2011.
- Vennemann, Theo. Languages in Prehistoric Europe north of the Alps. http://www.scribd.com/doc/8670/Languages-in-prehistoric-Europe-north-of-the-Alps
- Vennemann, Theo (2008). Linguistic reconstruction in the context of European prehistory. Transactions of the Philological Society. Volume 92, Issue 2, pages 215–284, November 1994
- Woodard, Roger D. (ed., 2008) Ancient Languages of Asia Minor. Cambridge University Press.
- Woodard, Roger D. (2008) Ancient Languages of Europe. Cambridge University Press.
- (French) Reconstructed migration of language families and archaeological cultures in Europe during the Neolithic and Chalcolithic