Pre-Indo-European languages

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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.

Surviving languages[edit]

Surviving pre-Indo-European languages include:

Languages that contributed a substrate to Indo-European languages[edit]

Examples of suggested or known substrate influences on specific Indo-European languages:

Attested languages[edit]

Several of these languages are attested in inscriptions. These include Etruscan, Minoan, Aquitanian, Iberian, and Urartian.

Later Indo-European expansion[edit]

Languages replaced or engulfed by Indo-European in ancient times must be distinguished from languages replaced or engulfed by Indo-European languages in more recent times. In particular, many of the major languages spread by colonialism have been Indo-European, and this has in the last few centuries led to superficially similar linguistic islands being formed by e.g. indigenous languages of the Americas (now surrounded by English, Spanish and Portuguese), and of several Uralic languages (now surrounded by Russian).

See also[edit]

Literature[edit]

Archaeology and culture[edit]

  • 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.

Linguistic reconstructions[edit]

References[edit]

External links[edit]