Talk:Indo-European languages

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Indo-European tree[edit]

Warnow, using the phylogenetic method, figured out the following tree for Indo-European languages:










Satem Core







'''*Albanian could have branched off before Italo-Celtic or after Greco-Armenian.
**Germanic left the Satem area before Satemization was complete and moved next to Italo-Celtic. [1]

I've deleted the above and moved it over here for discussion. The reason I moved it is because this is only one of many proposed trees, as far as I know it doesn't have general acceptance. I think a separate page should be created showing the various proposals. Otherwise, just don't list any. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 04:07, 14 August 2008 (UTC)

I agree. Including this tree was putting UNDUE weight on one person's analysis and includes several intermediate "nodes" that do not enjoy wide acceptance, such as Italo-Celtic, Greco-Armenian, and "Germano-Balto-Slavic". —Angr 04:24, 14 August 2008 (UTC)
Well, the German/Balt/Slav "branch" goes all the way back to Schleicher; Italo-Celtic has been questioned, in part because the prime exhibit for the grouping (the r-forms of middle and passive verbs) turn out to be conservative features, not innovations, but in fact there are some other, less dramatic, shared innovations, if not terribly important ones. The real problem is much more serious than such quibbles. It's been 150 years since anyone thought that languages branch off of one another this way. Baltic and Slavic are unquestionably satem languages, Germanic unquestionably isn't, but both share a unique detail of developing high vowels before syllabic resonants, and Baltic, Slavic, and Germanic have adjectives marked for definiteness (albeit with a different marker). Indeed, whole "branches" can be iffy: so-called West Germanic looks like a collection of innovations that spread over existing linguistic terrain (e.g. *ð > *d) rather than shared innovations of a branch (High German's anaphoric pronouns agree with Gothic, an East Germanic language, against the system in English and Old Saxon). North Germanic is a compact branch, but shares the change of *z to *r with West Germanic, and Old English shows many traits like certain kinds of vowel breaking that align with North Germanic, as does the much greater sensitivity of Old English to i-umlaut than is to be seen in High German. The trouble with trying to connect clean breaks to innovations is that different innovations require different breaks. In any case the matter has been very extensively discussed for a long time, and the clear consensus is that a branching structure, all by itself, is incapable of mapping important diachronic relationships. Alsihler (talk) 00:57, 4 March 2009 (UTC)

Mistakes in the map: Lebanon and Sudan[edit]

Neither French nor English are official in Lebanon, contrary to popular opinion. However, English is official in Sudan. Which makes the map look scary actually, man IE is dominating. --Karkaron (talk) 08:56, 29 August 2008 (UTC)

IE is dominating, but you still can't understand most of these languages. There's nothing scary. Everything is connected.-- (talk) 20:30, 4 April 2013 (UTC)

Conjugation comparison[edit]

(Moved here from User talk:Angr):

I think the table is there to serve as an illustration of the early stages of IE splitting. It might make more sense to establish sort of a timeline, ie from PIE/IE > protolanguages > old attested > modern. I don't think it's irrelevant, just not complete enough to make sense.

If we put in a link to Old Irish, shouldn't the greek link be to Ancient Greek rather than modern greek? Cheers Akerbeltz (talk) 15:35, 30 August 2008 (UTC)

Without any text explaining its significance, it's just a random table that's not doing anything. Does the article even discuss the similarity of verb conjugations among the oldest languages? —Angr 16:26, 30 August 2008 (UTC)
I don't personally have the data to do that but establishing a timeline would be a good idea. As to the above point, the table is clearly relevant, although maybe you feel it isn't explained well enough, but my point is that it's counter-productive to just delete something without at least discussing first whether it can be improved or not, if it's deemed to be irrelevant by concensus then remove it, don't just delete right off the bat, that doesn't benefit any article. ( (talk) 17:05, 30 August 2008 (UTC))

Ok I added some more examples and info and established a rough timeline. Nebulosity, I see you've added Old English but I'm not sure if that's needed - I think one example from each major family is enough to give a general idea of what's going on, so on balance I feel we should rather add a church slavonic or baltic conjugation rather than a second germanic example. Otherwise we may end up with a bias towards germanic or a table as wide as my desk ;) Akerbeltz (talk) 17:44, 31 August 2008 (UTC)

Good point. I've removed the Old English table. I agree we should add one example from the slavic and baltic families, and also indo-iranian to cover the major IE branches. (Nebulousity (talk) 19:40, 31 August 2008 (UTC))
Btw, now that the section has been expanded a bit, Angr do you still have any objection to the relevance tag being removed? ( (talk) 21:48, 1 September 2008 (UTC))

Angr, glad you feel that way about relevance but the "call for citations" you've added is a little ... odd. Everyone can *see* that the PIE verb was synthetic and that the modern languages use largely periphrastic systems. It's like asking for a citation saying that it's usually brighter during the day ;) Same applies to the similarities/differences I would say, wouldn't you agree? I agree with the need for sourcing information, don't get me wrong but not every little statement is sourced, not even on featured articles if the info is totally obvious Akerbeltz (talk) 09:03, 2 September 2008 (UTC)

I'm not asking for sources showing that the older languages were synthetic and the younger languages are periphrastic. I'm asking for sources showing that "the differences [between the Indo-European languages] have increased significantly over time". The chart of the ancient IE languages shows that there were already tremendous differences between them, and I'm not seeing an increase in differentiation between the ancient languages and the modern ones. —Angr 09:07, 2 September 2008 (UTC)
Ah I see what you mean. I guess I was just wearing my linguist goggles when I wrote that. I'm quite happy to scrap that statement and simply say that the differences have increased over time. How's that? Akerbeltz (talk) 10:39, 2 September 2008 (UTC)
I don't think removing the word "significantly" is much of an improvement. The average person is going to see a chart showing several very different-looking ancient languages and then a chart showing several equally different-looking modern languages, and then wonder why we think the differences have increased. And why do we even have to say so? Isn't it fairly unremarkable that as related languages evolve, they diverge from each other more and more? And why should anyone care that they do? It seems to me that section is making a point that is both obvious and uninteresting, and then doesn't even succeed in using evidence to establish that obvious, uninteresting point. —Angr 10:46, 2 September 2008 (UTC)

Agreed... feel free to change/delete, I gotta rush to a workshop right now! Akerbeltz (talk) 10:48, 2 September 2008 (UTC)

I disagree, to a linguist the point might well seem obvious, and uninteresting, but to a linguistic layman (like me) the table presents an excellent visual indicator of how closely related the languages were at one time. For example Haitian Creole originates from contact with French, but the language has fundamental differences due it's substratal influences, and who knows some or all of the IE languages may have initially started out as a creole, by contact with PIE speakers, borrowing PIE vocabulary, but not necessarily grammatical structure. This table does show that that wasn't the case. ( (talk) 12:26, 2 September 2008 (UTC))
But it doesn't. A linguistic layman looking at the tables is only going to see a few tiny similarities (Latin and Greek both end in -ō in the 1st person singular; the 1st person plurals all have an "m" in them somewhere) and otherwise wonder what on earth the table is trying to show. It certainly doesn't succeed in showing laymen any great similarities between the languages; you have to know some things about historical linguistics (like the fact that Greek -ousi is a phonologically regular outcome of -onti) to see through the surface forms and find the similarities. —Angr 12:45, 2 September 2008 (UTC)

Different point that aside - any objections to splitting off the PIE bit of the table into a seperate table and adjusting the width so the old forms sit directly above the now? Someone else would have to do that though, I'm no good with the table formatting. Akerbeltz (talk) 14:35, 2 September 2008 (UTC)

  • Pardon my innocent remark, but in what languages, other than partially Hindi and Faroese, does this comparison table prove the "shift from synthetic to periphrastic systems" ? Also, the dual forms are missing, and this root also had athematic reduplicative present retained in Sanskrit, and there are more than a few notable Indo-Europeanists (Beekes, Watkins, Kortlandt, Jasanoff..) that would object to 2nd and 3rd-person present singular endings to be equal to athematic endings (i.e. *bʰere(h₁)y, *bʰere), which would render most apparent "similarities" parallel innovations (which casual reader cannot possibly know). I'm also pretty sure that most people don't know that e.g. -tъ in OCS beretъ is not of PIE *-ti, but in fact agglutinated demonstrative pronoun.. Highly confusing for a casual reader. If IP wants to prove otherwise well-known typological universal, he should not do it at the expanse of article's general appearance! --Ivan Štambuk (talk) 12:42, 27 September 2008 (UTC)

Thomas Young[edit]

I just added a reference to him as originator of the term "indo-european", adding that the term was popularized by Bopp. Compromiso (talk) 13:55, 23 September 2008 (UTC)

Okay; can you add a source for it, though? —Angr 14:36, 23 September 2008 (UTC)
the source is the thomas young page, which i linked to. isn´t that ok? Compromiso (talk) 18:31, 23 September 2008 (UTC)
Well not really, because that article doesn't cite its sources for the claim either, unless the footnote sourcing the previous sentence applies to the sentence making this claim too. —Angr 18:39, 23 September 2008 (UTC)
yes, you are right. the french wikipedia entry on indo-european languages writes: "En 1813, Thomas Young invente le terme de "langues indo-européennes" pour regrouper ces langues", but does not give a source either. my source was: Historia Universal Vol.1 Los orígenes, Barcelona: Salvat Editores, 2004, p.409, which is not helpful in the english wikipedia. maybe you have an english source?Compromiso (talk) 21:20, 23 September 2008 (UTC)

Are you sure Bopp coined the term? I have a recollection that Schlegel and his "successor" Bopp were both caught up in trying to derive European languages from Sanskrit and sort of came up with the comparative linguistics as an unintentional by-product and that it was only after Bopp that the notion of Sanskrit being the ancestor language was abandoned in favour of PIE? Akerbeltz (talk) 22:06, 23 September 2008 (UTC)

don´t understand, Akerbeltz, bopp didn´t coin the term. and i think the the proto- question is not relevant to the terminology.
thanks to contributor Ivan Štambuk for the reference for thomas young. i made a correction of the german term in the footnote (indogermanisch, not indogermanische, which is an inflection), and made a comment on the controversy in german. © (talk) 15:43, 26 September 2008 (UTC)

there isn't any "controversy in german", just a question of terminological preference. The origin of the term is discussed at length at Indo-European studies. --dab (𒁳) 16:48, 26 September 2008 (UTC)

ah, the acrimonious controversy which i referred to is reaching the english-language page too! User Dbachmann has written "(nonsense, a wikipedia talkpage isn't a quotable source.)" and deleted the addition i had made:
"In German it's indogermanisch 'Indo-Germanic' (though the term is controversial, see the acrimonious German discussion page"
his intervention rather proves my point, thank you for your imprudent and acrimonious (you write "nonsense"), Dbachmann. there _is_ an acrimonious controversy on the german discussion page which i linked to, even if you would prefer that there was not, and no amount of undebated reverting will alter that fact. Compromiso (talk) 17:56, 26 September 2008 (UTC)
no it doesn't. See WP:RS, WP:SELF. If you want to claim there is a "controversy" in article namespace, you will have to provide academic references stating there is one. --dab (𒁳) 18:21, 26 September 2008 (UTC)
I added a brief - and I believe harmless - explanation of the term "Indo-Germanic/indogermanisch" to the foot-note, a term which before WW II was in use not just in Germany:e.g. Columbia Encyclopedia 1942 edition, © 1935, 1938, 1940, 1942 , p. 881: "Indo-European or Indo-Germanic languages..." Marschner (talk) 09:56, 18 October 2008 (UTC)

Collaborative and adversarial paradigms in the wikipedia project[edit]

this little exchange on thomas young above is illustrative of diametrically opposed approaches to learning and knowledge. User:Angr wrote "Okay; can you add a source for it, though?" while User:Dbachmann reverted and wrote "nonsense". i know which form of exchange i prefer, and i think the wikipedia project continually suffers from the "yes it does - no it doesn´t" paradigm. we need more collaborative and less adversarial work!

unwittingly though, User:Dbachmann is right: i, also unwittingly, was undertaking original research, testing the hypothesis of a "controversy" through a "natural experiment": if a reference to a controversy is suppressed intemperately by an Indogermanist, then there is surely one there!

the controversy is not "nonsense", it has been in the academic establishment (cf. the use of "indoeuropäisch" in GDR academia), but perhaps more significantly on the political and ideological level, and therefore a source for this does not have to be an academic reference, contrary to what User:Dbachmann requires. i can modify the parenthesis to "(see, though, the German discussion page". it´s instructive, and there is no need to try to sweep all this under the carpet. Compromiso (talk) 09:40, 27 September 2008 (UTC)

What I said "Okay; can you add a source for it, though?" about is the claim that Thomas Young was the one who coined the term "Indo-European". What Dbachmann said "nonsense" about is the claim that there is an ongoing controversy in the German-speaking world about the terms indogermanisch and indoeuropäisch, and in particular about using a talk page from German Wikipedia as a source for that claim. The fact that there's a controversy on a Wikipedia talk page does not mean there's actually a controversy in the real world. —Angr 09:57, 27 September 2008 (UTC)
thank you, you are quite right, and i did not want to put it otherwise. i also appreciate the problem of the legitimacy of wikipedia as a source - in fact i myself never cite it as authoritative. there are two points: the veracity of the description "controversy" and its documentation. as i said, i´m quite happy to withdraw both "controversy" and "acrimonious", but would encourage that the link to the german talkpage be reinstated in the way i deswcribe above. i don´t want to start having footnotes to footnotes, so i won´t start compiling references documenting the controversy. Compromiso (talk) 11:46, 27 September 2008 (UTC)

Compromiso, Wikipedia is the "encyclopedia anyone can edit". Anyone. This means we get a lot of people passing by for a chat, or some idle provocation, or to vent some spleen. If there is anything you want, you are obliged to present a reference. Did you get that, yes? No reference, no discussion. See WP:RS for a description of what kind of references are deemed appropriate. We'll be happy to discuss your references with you. As long as you have none, you can hardly claim anything is being "swept under the carpet". --dab (𒁳) 11:52, 27 September 2008 (UTC)

see above - i suggest a link, not a reference. 'as i said, i´m quite happy to withdraw both "controversy" and "acrimonious", but would encourage that the link to the german talkpage be reinstated in the way i deswcribe above. i don´t want to start having footnotes to footnotes, so i won´t start compiling references documenting the controversy.' Compromiso (talk) 13:18, 27 September 2008 (UTC)
There's simply no acceptable way to link to a talk page at German Wikipedia from this article, because there is nothing that a Wikipedia talk page can be used as evidence for. —Angr 14:01, 27 September 2008 (UTC)
Exactly. Moreschi (talk) 14:05, 27 September 2008 (UTC)

Your long lost Urheimat is in Siberia,the most expansive and most indigenous european dna ties to siberia[edit]

The indo-european constructed language was probably a caveman adoption.No doubt it will be denied as the semites deny their ethiopian Urheimat despite endless genetic and linguistic evidence.Return to your Ket roots - part of the Basque, Sino-Tibetan and Ibero-Caucasian languages all groups share exact ancestral ties with most indigenous europeans. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 14:36, 3 October 2008 (UTC)

Whatever. DNA evidence proves exactly nothing in linguistics. —Angr 16:14, 3 October 2008 (UTC)

What is the guy even talking about? The Indo-European language group originated in Siberia? I always thought it was NE of the Black sea. And the Kat language isn't even I-E. And what's the caveman part about? An insult? For whom? Europeans? —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 17:41, 6 September 2010 (UTC)

Baltic vs Baltic-Slavic or does the reader get the correct picture?[edit]

It is misleading to represent both the Baltic and Slavic by the same colour in the maps showing the distribution of the IE starting at around 100-500 AD. I can buy such a representation for the disputed period 3000-500 BC. However, avoiding discriminating between the Baltic and Slavonic languages in the later pre-historic and historic periods is nothing but a masked POV or even propaganda.

Moreover, the following facts are clearly ignored/overlooked in the article:

1. If the Baltic and Slavic are “genetically” classified as one group, there should be a clear statement, that the Proto-Slavic spin-off from the Proto-Baltic-Slavic stem in the beginning was just a peripheral dialect. See for example Encyclopaedia Britannica.

2. Many scholars agree about the occurrence of Baltic hydronims in a huge territory from Pomerania in the West to Volga River in the East. Namely, BALTIC and not Balto-Slavic. See Gimbutas for example.

3. I learned at school that Lithuanian and, in particular, Old Prussian, are the languages, which preserved most of the archaic IE features, these features, in particular, can be found in unusually rich ancient Lithuanian dialects still spoken today (The Slavic are more innovative in this regard aren’t they?). That’s why these “insignificant” languages are studied in many universities across the world. Isn’t this fact worth mentioning? I understand that it might be a bit difficult to accept for the speakers of the “big” languages such as English, Russian or French, but it’s all about facts isn’t it?

4. As a layman I can only state, that the distance between Swedish and English or German is similar to the distance between the two major dialects of Lithuanian: Samogitian and Aukstatian. Not speaking about Latvian and Old Prussian. Thus, once you put together Baltic and Slavic into one group, you shouldn’t create a wrong impression, that the Russian, Latvian, Polish are “all the same”. Because other vice the reader can get a wrong impression that, in fact, the recent history of that part of Europe is nothing wrong, just a natural exchange within “very close dialects of the PIE continuum”. In such a case, we arrive in a situation when some nations are more important than the others ( i.e. some are small, they don’t have enough of Wiki editors, few recent publications in English consider their languages, etc.). 15:29, 28 December 2008 (UTC)Gotho-BalticGotho-Baltic 18:04, 29 December 2008 (UTC)

Baltic and Slavic are indeed comparatively remote. As are Ossetian and Marathi, and both are still Indo-Iranian. Your view of Slavic as a "peripheral" spin-off Baltic is Baltocentric. I take it you are a Balt, and you had an Balto-centric education. Which I grant is one point of view, although an ethnocentric one. That Baltic "preserved most of the archaic IE features" is wrong. It did indeed preserve some surprisingly archaic features, but other archaic features are found in other branches. --dab (𒁳) 20:38, 29 December 2008 (UTC)

This is certainly not my view. I’m not a linguist. See for example: ” 15/14th cent. BC – crystalization of the proto-Slavs in the southern periphery of the proto-Baltic continuum, localized from Silesia to Central Ukraine (Trziniec-Komarov culture).”- Novotna and Blazek, BALTISTICA XL I I ( 2 ) 2007 185–210, p. 208. The article in E Britannica says the same. Moreover, Endre Bojtár, (FOREWORD TO THE PAST, p. 72) notes that there has been found no archaeological evidence for a common Baltic-Slavic culture.
I’m writing this not in an attempt to deny the Balto-Slavic hypothesis. I have nothing against it. My point is that there are references, which put this hypothesis into question and/or provide a broader context. For example, the interaction between Baltic and Germanic, the widespread Baltic river names vs the relatively compact Proto-Slavic Urheimat, Baltic loanwords in Finish, finally the recent political flavor in “marketing” the Baltic-Slavic hypothesis. Now, I don’t want a discussion on these topics to occupy a half of the IE article, but I propose that an English-speaking user of Wiki with no intention to dig into linguistic theories and hypothesis should get an objective and realistic impression of what “all these Eastern” languages are like and what relative distances are between them.Gotho-Baltic 22:03, 30 December 2008 (UTC) —Preceding unsigned comment added by Gotho-Baltic (talkcontribs)
You're right. You're not a linguist and you don't understand what you're talking about (neither am I, but I more or less pretend to know what I'm talking about ^_^). Novotná & Blažek (2007) paper you mention deals with chronological dating of Balto-Slavic split (obviously ipso facto presuming that it does form a genetic clade), and in conclusion, which you shamelessly ripped out of context (where "Proto-Baltic" is used synonymously with "Proto-Balto-Slavic"), explicitely states that the reached numbers of BSl. divergence of 1400-1340 BCE "agree well with Trziniec-Komarov culture, localized from Silesia to Central Ukraine and dated to the period 1500–1200 BCE". And one sentence further from where your "proto-Baltic continuum" is mentioned is: "These results represent unambiguous evidence for Balto-Slavic unity." :)
Archeology alone means nothing. There is even less evidence for Proto-Italic or Proto-Anatolian culture too, but nobody questions those.. Languages only ideally map to archeological cultures or ethnicities, most of the time you have some chained dialect continuum across wide area. --Ivan Štambuk (talk) 18:30, 1 January 2009 (UTC)

Gotho-Baltic (talk · contribs) is invited to read our current Balto-Slavic article and then offer informed criticism on its talkpage. This talkpage here isn't the proper venue for this discussion. --dab (𒁳) 10:50, 2 January 2009 (UTC)

Gotho-Baltic has already commented at Talk:Balto-Slavic languages, and Ivan Štambuk has responded there. (Balto-Slavic is just a disambig.) In Gotho-Baltic's defense, his original comment was about the maps used on this page. —Angr 12:32, 2 January 2009 (UTC)
Certainly, I meant the IE language evolution maps when I started this discussion. I provided with several references, which project the Baltic-Slavic unity into separated geographic locations. Ivan Stambuk felt offended (if so- I apologize) and he suspected me “shamelessly” pulling the evidences from the context, which, of course is not the case- the article by Novotna&Blazek is fully available on-line. Moreover, you can read a nice summary on the Baltic-Slavic in Bojtar’s book (partially online via google books). He also refers to a theory by Ivanov&Toporov, which considers the Slavic originally as a peripheral dialect of proto-Baltic (ref Bojtar, p71). I think it is worth mentioning in this paragraph:
“9. Balto-Slavic languages, believed by most Indo-Europeanists[6] to form from a phylogenetic unit, while a minority ascribes similarities to prolonged language contact.”
And finally, consider extending the Baltic l. language area in the Diversification maps to comprise present-days Estonia and (maybe) the Baltic shore in southern Finland:
“The oldest (proto-)Baltic and (proto-)Germanic loanwords [in Finnish] mainly relate to nature. Particularly interesting in this sense are the sea-related words derived from the Baltic branch, meri (sea) itself and the fish-names lohi (salmon) and ankerias (eel). These words at least seem to imply that the proto-Finns, or more accurately the Finno-Ugrian peoples, had never lived by a salt sea before coming into contact with the Baltic peoples.”
Also in Britannica, “Finnic Peoples”: “In prehistoric times, the Finnic peoples evidently came from central Russia, probably bringing with them the art of cereal agriculture. Those migrating to the area of Estonia may have met a numerous population of Balts and Germans already there, but those going on to Finland entered an almost uninhabited country”.
Good luck and see you at Talk:Balto-Slavic.Gotho-Baltic 13:59, 2 January 2009 (UTC) —Preceding unsigned comment added by Gotho-Baltic (talkcontribs)

Map question: China[edit]

There are Russian-speaking and Tajik-speaking minorities in northeastern and western [Sinkiang?] China, although I don't know what status they might have as relevant to the map shown here. However, Portuguese and English are coöfficial, in the SARs of Macau and Hong Kong, respectively. Tomertalk 20:12, 25 January 2009 (UTC)

Interesting point. The Tajiks are an official minority in Tashkurgan Tajik Autonomous County. The Russians are an official minority too but have no autonomous area - it's only a tiny minority. So the languages have whatever status national minority languages in China have. Akerbeltz (talk) 21:21, 25 January 2009 (UTC)

Changed 'Snake' to 'Serpent'[edit]

For those who are latin and sanskrit challenged, Americans would comprehend the change to the latter, as it doesn't require much thinking. (talk) 17:07, 15 February 2009 (UTC)

Are you sure this is more accurate though? It is my understanding that in English "serpent" refers not to mundane snakes but to snakes in some kind of ritual or mythological context. I recognise that the word serpent may be preferable as it is a cognate to the examples given, but it may also not be the best translation. -- (talk) 01:46, 22 May 2009 (UTC)
Thank you, anon from J.C. Penny - since you posted from Dallas, I assume you are not an American, and are making disparaging remarks about the country of your employer - in any event, your comments are not welcome, un-encyclopedic, and against WIKI policy. — Preceding unsigned comment added by HammerFilmFan (talkcontribs) 04:32, 2 March 2011 (UTC)
Only a foreigner would ever disparage American education? Ha! —Tamfang (talk) 20:22, 2 March 2011 (UTC)

made a few corrections in the starting line[edit]

made a few corrections. i gave the reasons in the history section. i have to say this is quite a good article. it has good detail :)Dicst (talk) 11:29, 29 March 2009 (UTC)

Whe greek is missing from the family trees?[edit]

In the upper right board of the page "indoeuropean languages" is missing the Greek language as a separate family of languages.

Probably is a mistake that should be corrected.

Also there is a board on the discussion page, that is mentioned in "greaco-armenian family" languages, this is a hypothesis that is supported by only few scientists as far as I know.

Anyway in the board of the page "indoeuropean languages" is not mentioned neether "graeco-armenian" as family. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Konig82 (talkcontribs) 18:31, 31 March 2009 (UTC)

The board you're talking about includes Hellenic languages. garik (talk) 18:50, 31 March 2009 (UTC)

the group is in fact known as "Greek" in English. "Hellenic" is a pompous term used for oblique pov-pushing. --dab (𒁳) 11:12, 20 July 2009 (UTC)

Early cases[edit]

See —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 09:59, 13 June 2009 (UTC) See Bernard Sergent, Les Indo-Europeens, Payot, 1995. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 10:02, 13 June 2009 (UTC)


The article speaks of the "loss of pre-vocalic *s- in Greek". Actually, the "s" was shifted to "h". Admittedly, this "h" has been dropped in Modern Greek. At the least, the article is misleading on this point. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 10:57, 27 July 2009 (UTC)

I changed it to "loss of intervocalic *s in Proto-Greek" so it can refer to things like *genesos > γένεος. +Angr 13:40, 27 July 2009 (UTC)

Bad French[edit]

In the table about the various modern and ancient equivalents of the verb "to bear", it mentions the French verb {con}férer. I am French-speaking, and "conférer" means to confer, not to bear. CielProfond (talk) 02:49, 5 August 2009 (UTC)

See: semantic change. It's a derived verb with different than meaning the original verbal base. --Ivan Štambuk (talk) 11:43, 5 August 2009 (UTC)
Köszönöm. I should have thought about that. Then again, maybe there should be a note that the meaning has changed since. CielProfond (talk) 03:17, 6 August 2009 (UTC)
It's just being used as an example of the conjugation, no claims as to its meaning are made. +Angr 05:27, 6 August 2009 (UTC)

Bad German[edit]

In the table about the various modern and ancient equivalents of the verb "to bear", it mentions the German verb "gebären". The third person singular is given as "er gebiert". I've never seen a male German give birth to a child :) This most certainly should be "sie gebiert".

THis might indeed be about conjugation, not meaning. Nevertheless, I am confused by you mentioning "to carry" in the beginning sentence of the section, then proceeding to conjugate "gebären", which is something completely different to the best of my knowledge. If a mother carries a baby she does not gibe birth to it (German "sie gebiert"), but moves it from one place to another (German "sie trägt")!? It might be a good idea to explicitly stress that those verb examples have different meanings and to avoid the impression that all those verbs from different languages are synonyms to a specific english verb. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 11:01, 14 October 2010 (UTC)


Indoeuropean language is a theory. No one to date has proved the existance of such a powerful, society. A theory, that has not been proven so far. One would expect that evidence of such a powerful society's existance, (lending its language to significant portion of the world) would have been unearthed by archeologists so far. An inscription, a setting, a pot a drawing. Mothing so far. None. This fact is neglected, why? —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 13:22, 19 August 2009 (UTC)

Indo-European is a reconstructed language that was never written down. Archaeologists don't find evidence of languages unless the languages were written down. +Angr 18:44, 19 August 2009 (UTC)
Agreed, that is why indoeuropean theory, is a theorem that stands on air, there is no fundamental evidence to its existance. Never was. Angr, the language was never written down, but the society must have lived somewhere. A drawing, a pot, something of this great civilisation has never been found. Ever. Still, as if a matter of "faith", linguists insists that this great first european civilisation existed and gave its language to the masses. With this tactic one can support anything. It is irrational and nothing more than just a linguists impression of what was. Even if this great civilization never written anything down, surely their settings, utensils would have been found somewhere. Since they are not, why would anyone support the existence but not the inexistance of this imaginary civilisation? Perhaps not everyone is related, but they borrowed words from each other. Anyway indoeuropean to my understanding is simply another theory far from being scientifically proven. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 11:31, 20 August 2009 (UTC)
While I disagree a lot with what you say, this isn't the place for debate. Your issue seems to be less with the Wikipedia article, and more with those in the Indo-European linguist and history research community. This article is about what mainstream IE linguist and history researchers believe, not a place to debate their opinions. If you can cite criticism of the IE/PIE theories that exists in academia, feel free to add it to the article but remember to cite your sources and discuss it dispassionitly. David Reiss (talk) 13:58, 20 August 2009 (UTC)
I know this is an old discussion, but I just want to contribute my thoughts, that the first users of Indo-European didn't have to be a particularly great civilisation. They just had to have the ability to invade and conquer one neighbour. From there on, it depends on the neighbours and time. HiLo48 (talk) 12:35, 31 July 2010 (UTC)
Please stop this curious discussion. It is nonsense because substitute for "IE" in's contribution above "the grandfather of the grandfather of my grandfather" (born in 1720 as I was told) and everything turns out to be the same! Therefore I do not exist.
Thank you for your contribution to a discussion that had been quiet for two years. —Tamfang (talk) 18:41, 21 August 2012 (UTC)

Removed suggested subfamilies[edit]

As an Iranian Persian myself, who has studied languages, I can tell you that Dravidian people and Australoid (non Aryan Indians closely related to aboriginals from Australia and Africans) and their language is NOT Indo-European. This section was put in this article using the wiki article on Nostratic languages as a source. I'm sorry, but this is just another example of propaganda. There is no historical evidence for this, and is not accepted in the scholarly community. This is an article on Indo-Europeans, NOT African or Asian languages. Joseph Greenberg's research is highly faulty and full of agenda (not to mention he is highly criticised) I think his information should stay in the Nostratic article on wikipedia and off this page.--CreativeSoul7981 (talk) 02:07, 22 August 2009 (UTC)

Nostratics is a very active research field, and deserves to be mentioned. --Ivan Štambuk (talk) 02:18, 22 August 2009 (UTC)

Again, I will reiterate that this information belongs on the Nostratics page and NOT the Indo-European page since the Linguistic community does NOT accept even accept this as a valid theory. Please leave this on the Nostratics page.--CreativeSoul7981 (talk) 05:00, 22 August 2009 (UTC)

I will add that this information needs to be agreed upon with valid sources and not theories by one or two people not even recognized by the Lingual Community. Otherwise, it's just propoganda.--CreativeSoul7981 (talk) 05:01, 22 August 2009 (UTC)

Lingual Community? What on earth are you talking about? ^_^ Illyč-Svityč, Dogolpolsky, Bomhard etc. are/were top linguists, their works are published in credible books and academic journals and hardly fit into some "propaganda" theory. There is a lot of skepticism for Nostratics in the West, but it doesn't invalidate the fact that it is being actively researched in the highest possible academic standards. This touches PIE as PIE is grouped as one of the Nostratic branches and it must be mentioned. All the other articles on major language families mention their still-controversial supergroupings (Nostratic, Altaic..), and the article on IE should be no exception. --Ivan Štambuk (talk) 05:49, 22 August 2009 (UTC)
I agree that it should be mentioned; however, I also agree that it is very controversial in the field and not accepted by the majority of linguists. I've attempted to make this clearer. garik (talk) 09:51, 22 August 2009 (UTC)

I agree with CreativeSoul7981. There has been huge INFLUENCE of indo-iranian on the Indian sub-continent to the dravidians, but they are Australoid not Indo-European. Iraj Ali (talk) 13:27, 8 August 2012 (UTC)

Not to worry. The only mention of Dravidian in the present article is in the paragraph about proposed macrofamilies such as Nostratic. —Tamfang (talk) 22:19, 8 August 2012 (UTC)

Language grouping: Baltic and Slavic[edit]

We have to take this topic again. Certainly, the Balto-Slavic group is a sort of mainstream view, especially if one judges from the available sources in English on Internet. Beside scientific arguments there are political reasons (systematic manipulation and propaganda of the Soviet science) that explain why the Balto-Slavic hypothesis became widespread compared to the other ones (see above, Bojtar, 1999). However, there is no doubt that the scientific dispute is not solved, the discussion is going on and this should be reflected in this article. Proofs? Henning Andersen (UCLA professor) states in his article “Slavic and Indo-European Migrations”, 2003, p 49, that there are at least three groups of theories dealing with the relationships between Baltic and Slavic. Moreover, organizers of a very recent special workshop (German, Austrian, Dutch) put it like this: “Despite many years of research, the reason for the striking similarity remains unclear. There are two competing, although not mutually exclusive hypotheses. One assumes an intermediate Balto-Slavic stage after the break up of Proto-Indo-European. The other hypothesis seeks to explain the similarities within the framework of language contact, i.e as a result of their longstanding geographic relationship. Both positions have been argued, but neither has been generally accepted.”, Note, these are secondary or tertiary references.
The situation has to be reflected properly in this article, see WP:UNDUE, or we will need to look for some other remedies, e.g. WP:POV tag. My personal message to a couple of particular enthusiasts of Balto-Slavic hypothesis- Ivan S. and Angr: stop misusing WP policy for pushing your OR. This will be dealt accordingly.Gotho-Baltic 22:37, 28 August 2009 (UTC) —Preceding unsigned comment added by Gotho-Baltic (talkcontribs)

Diversification Section[edit]

Made minor corrections regarding the period 1500-2000 (covering attempted European colonization of West, Southern and South-East Asia and North Africa; and actual European colonization of Southern Africa, North Asia, and the Americas). Changes included changing the confusing reference to South Arica (as a region associated with IE 'romance languages'; specifically Portuguese, French and Spanish) to Sub-Saharan Africa; the more inclusive and actual area of Africa to which Romance languages where spread through forced European colonization.

The term 'South Africa' is confusing and inaccurate in reference to regions of Africa where Romance IE languages are spoken because South Africa is (currently) a country in Southern Africa where the principal IE languages spoken are Non=Romance, in fact Germanic languages(i.e. English and Afrikaans); Southern Africa includes Mozambique and Angola where portuguese is the main IE language, as well as Zimbabwe, Nambia, Zambia and Botswana where the main non-native IE languages are Germanic (English, German. English and German, respectively). However, 'Romance' IE languages are spoken in many countries of Sub-Saharan Africa (which includes the Southern African region), such as the aforementioned Mozambique and Angola (Portuguese), as well as Ivory Coast (French), Cameroon (French), and many more. Therefore the erroneous term 'South Africa' (which can be confused with the country of South Africa) has been changed to Sub-Saharan Africa.

In addition, the intent of this section is to define areas of the world to which IE languages were recently introduced (i.e. did not exist prior to the period of 1500-2000), therefore the reference to South Asia is too limiting and inappropriate as it gives the misimpression that IE languages spread to only that region of Asia AND as a result of the spread of English, which is clearly absurd as most of the inhabitants of Persia (Persian Iranian Aryan ethnic group and speakers), India/Southern Asia (Indo-Aryan ethnic group and speakers) have been native speakers of Indo-European languages for thousands of years BCE to present. The spread of English, Dutch, Portuguese and Russian to traditionally non IE speaking regions of Asia is more relevant as it pertains to the Geographic spread of IE languages during this period (1500-2000 AD). Hence I have included East and South-East Asia and North Asia (which where previously not covered) as regions where IE languages have been introduced recently (i.e. period of 1500-2000). (talk) 03:46, 8 September 2009 (UTC)

Can we explain the huge amount of non indo-european words and grammatical features(especially in local-non standard-indoeuropean dialects)by dene-caucasian,borean and cromagnic substratum ?[edit]

Can we explain the huge amount of non indo-european words and grammatical features(especially in local-non standard-indoeuropean

dialects)by dene-caucasian,borean and cromagnic substratum of pre neolihicly migrating(proto indoeuropean speaking anatolian

farmers)populations of europe?

Humanbyrace (talk) 00:55, 13 September 2009 (UTC)

Problem under "Diversification"[edit]

Second bullet states:

2000 BC–1500 BC: Catacomb culture north of the black sea. The chariot is invented, leading to the split and rapid spread of Iranian and Indo-Aryan from the Bactria-Margiana Archaeological Complex over much of Central Asia, Northern India, Iran and Eastern Anatolia. Proto-Anatolian is split into Hittite and Luwian. The pre-Proto-Celtic Unetice culture has an active metal industry (Nebra skydisk).

Yet Wikipedia's page for the Indo-Aryan Migration states:

However, recent extensive studies conducted on genetics and archaeogenetics of the South Asian population have found no proof of large population migrations, since at least 10,000 years, and that Indo-Aryan language speakers have a largely South Asian origin.

and sites three sources to substantiate this claim:

  1. ^ a b c Sahoo, Sanghamitra; Anamika Singh, G. Himabindu, Jheelam Banerjee, T. Sitalaximi, Sonali Gaikwad, R. Trivedi, Phillip Endicott, Toomas Kivisild, Mait Metspalu, Richard Villems and V. K. Kashyap (2006-01-24). "A prehistory of Indian Y chromosomes: Evaluating demic diffusion scenarios". Proceedings of National Academy of Sciences of United States of America 103 (4): 843–848. doi:10.1073/pnas.0507714103.
  2. ^ a b Sengupta, S.; et al. (2006-02-01). "Polarity and temporality of high-resolution y-chromosome distributions in India identify both indigenous and exogenous expansions and reveal minor genetic influence of Central Asian pastoralists.". Am J Hum Genet. (The American Society of Human Genetics) 78 (2): 201–221. PMID 16400607. Retrieved 2007-12-03.
  3. ^ a b Sharma, S.; Saha A, Rai E, Bhat A, Bamezai R. (2005). "Human mtDNA hypervariable regions, HVR I and II, hint at deep common maternal founder and subsequent maternal gene flow in Indian population groups.". J Hum Genet. 50 (10): 497–506. doi:10.1007/s10038-005-0284-2. Retrieved 2007-12-03.

Is the page on Indo-European Languages using now defunct Aryan Invasion Theory? Scholars generally agree now that there was no Invasion via chariots. Specifically I point you to page 239 of Culture Throughout Time 1991 (Standford University Press). I will come back with more sources to further substantiate this, if need be.

Derived (talk) 06:47, 20 September 2009 (UTC)

This is an article on languages, not genetics, which are of absolutely no use in determining how languages spread. +Angr 16:22, 20 September 2009 (UTC)

Satem and Centum languages[edit]

I notice this section is tagged. I just worked on Centum-Satem isogloss, which needed a lot of work. I notice this section contains a lot of issues already addressed and corrected in the other article. The incorrect picture is repeated yet once again (aren't there any others?) Either this write-up could be corrected, which would amount to doing another but shorter article similar to Centum-Satem isogloss or we can just defer to the other article, which contains everything mentioned here and more. I don't like to capture the same ground twice so if no one objects I am just going to remove the contents of this subsection. As far as the jargon is concerned - well, maybe. It is too conversational and it is too opinionated.Dave (talk) 12:53, 5 December 2009 (UTC)

Removed image[edit]

I removed this image:

I have no criticism of the graphics, which are very fine. Nice work, I hope you get an A. You must know of course that this graphic represents one point of view about the origin of Indo-European; moreover, it is not the mainstream view, which places them between and above the Black and Caspian Seas. But again, there is plenty of room in Wikipedia for minority views; in fact, I think they ought to be encouraged in the people's encyclopedia. No, that is not my beef. Whoever's point of view it is needs to be identified. The author and publisher need to be stated. Who's view do you say this is? Who did the graphic? How do we know you didn't lift it from somewhere? Wikipedia asks that you try to use templates such as cite web, which provide a uniform look and ask for standard information. Now I find that we are all blocked from the site, which is provided by UPenn history department. That brings a further complication. Now, it appears as though you have a personal site at the department, which is generally true of students. That means, this could be your personal until now unpublished creative work, or more likely you did an imitation or rehash from Scientific American (the original publisher of this Russian point of view). So, I hope you will not be too astounded if I ask for references on this, and a location of the private pages of UPENN history department is not that. We have plenty of course blurbs but typically the professor gives his name and takes credit and responsibility and the blurb is already published in one form or another. Reference please. Ciao.Dave (talk) 02:37, 10 December 2009 (UTC)

the informations about the Aryans are resebled to Iranian which is a bigg mistake, that shouldnt be divided by sub-iranian branches . Afghans(Pashtons) and their language Pashto is not sub-iranian branch of language but its separate a North-Eastern-Aryanian Language of the Indo-European tree. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 04:39, 19 January 2010 (UTC)

There goes the second image[edit]

I removed this:

The problem with this one is basically the same. It is stored on Professor Clark Ford's site. Now, nothing on this image or with it identifies it as the work of professor Ford. He could just be keeping it there for personal reference. Moreover, the professor's field is far removed from Indo-European linguistics. I don't think he did this, especially as it turns up at a few other locations of the Internet without his name. You know, just because the Internet makes it possible to invade privacy even more than before does not mean we can use material obtained in this way. We need an author and a publisher here. If the author designated it for public use it does not matter if we view it in the good professor's site, just as he does. If not, it is against the law for the professor to publish it like that and for us to use it like this. Not to mentions the fact that as far as we know now it might be original unpublished creative material. Reference please. Ciao.Dave (talk) 02:57, 10 December 2009 (UTC)

I think it's a redrawn copy of a tree I've seen before, in old books: the loop of II around the BS limb is distinctive. —Tamfang (talk) 16:51, 3 April 2011 (UTC)
I think its free, because it first was published before 1900, and for such old works there is no copy right, scientists at that time were not crazy like those of our times. But it is a question of fairness to cite the author correctly, even if he lived together with those Jesuits, who first developped the idea of that language family some four centuries ago. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 17:49, 21 August 2012 (UTC)

The file, is not unproblematic either. It erroneously lists Norwegian as a West Scandinavian language. The only extant West Scandinavian languages are Faroese and Icelandic. //roger.duprat.copenhagen —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 07:03, 3 April 2011 (UTC)

Cite sources please. (Or list common innovations that define Norwegian as East Scandinavian. I don't even know a lot of diagnostic markers which are truly reliable as most, for example monophthongisation, are just tendencies not without dialectal exceptions; the one really old criterion, the ku/ko isogloss, squarely places Norwegian into West Scandinavian, in any dialect. To establish reliable isoglosses for East and West Scandinavian, you need to study all the medieval dialects, namely Old Icelandic, Old Norwegian, Old Swedish, Old Gutnish and Old Danish, as well as the modern dialects.) I'm curious. The scholarly consensus I'm familiar with is that Norwegian is, indeed, West Scandinavian. --Florian Blaschke (talk) 03:26, 13 May 2011 (UTC)
There is another glitch in there - it gives Pictish as indo-european, which is not proven and probably not true. All those Pictish words, especially place names, are not accepted as being of indo-european origin. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 17:56, 21 August 2012 (UTC)
Not really, it's pretty much accepted by now among Celtologists that Pictish was indeed a Celtic language, quite possibly simply the part of Britannic cut off by the erection of the Antonine Wall and Hadrian's Wall, even if some placenames may have pre-Indo-European origins. But that is a relatively recent development, granted. --Florian Blaschke (talk) 22:40, 19 August 2014 (UTC)

American Heritage Dictionary[edit]

To all of us Internet Indo-Europeanists the sudden pulling of the American Heritage Dictionary from was a low blow. It is hard to remember what a great asset it was and how lucky we were to have it. Some people like to take candy away from babies. I remember when uemployment was made taxable, which ever after was greatly regretted, but no one seems to have the power to reverse it. Houghton-Mifflin is after all in business to make money, and why should they give us anything for free? I will not even wonder what Calvert Watkins thinks of this move. I remember him as a totally helpful man if you can accept being always wrong and never right. That is how it seems to students anyway. Regardless of why Houghton Mifflin did it and why the people allowed their unemployment to be taxed and what Calvert may think of this unhelpful act, it is done and we have lost a great intellectual asset. Things will never be the same. Oh well, you can buy the paper book; it is less than 100, or used to be - but it isn't the same as the Internet, you know that. But - there is a ray of hope. I do not know how long it will last. Internet Archive has got it. I have changed the link from Bartelby to archived Bartleby. There are a large number of online links to roots in the AHD so there is a tremendous amount of work to do in fixing it. Watkins is on Google also but you never can count on links to their material so we might be better off just referencing the paper books.Dave (talk) 05:05, 10 December 2009 (UTC)

Beekes' book[edit]

isbn=90-272-2151-0 (Europe), ISBN 1-55619-505-2 (U.S.) May be invalid - please double check

Is your typing hand broken? Check it yourself. Anyway I invoked "find it in a library" and what do you know, no library has it. There's some for sale second-hand in the usual places. "Find it in a library" also gave the publisher's info. Even though only one edition is listed, there are several ISBN's. This is the case with many books. In cases such as that I never list the ISBN as that is equivalent to plugging one edition, format or seller and not another. We told them enough to locate the book, we are not helping them to buy it or anyone else to sell it.Dave (talk) 02:01, 15 December 2009 (UTC)

ISBN's are generally worthless because there are different ISBN's for paperback, hardback, kindle, etc. (Taivo (talk) 05:54, 15 December 2009 (UTC))

Sidetrack section removed[edit]

(Removed sidetrack section. If you guys want to keep it, I won't object.) (Taivo (talk) 15:49, 20 January 2010 (UTC))


to be fair, the three main pillars of PIE reconstruction are Vedic Sanskrit, Greek and Anatolian (Hittite), because these three give a "direct" glimpse of the Bronze Age. The point that Sanskrit records do not survive in any material manuscripts dating to the Bronze Age (as Taivo correctly points out) is of limited importance. --dab (𒁳) 07:37, 27 January 2010 (UTC)

Vedic is, indeed, one of the three pillars of PIE reconstruction, no question there. But that's because it preserves (in the early Iron Age) some archaic features that are not preserved in Anatolian and Greek. We surmise that it is a good record of the language of the Bronze Age, but because there is no actual documentation from the Bronze Age, we cannot be certain. We know that "orally preserved" languages may change less than living languages, but they still change nonetheless--Modern Ecclesiastical Latin is different than Medieval Ecclesiastical Latin which is different than Classical Latin even though there have been no native speakers since at least the fifth or sixth century or so. It's just part of the process. I'm not trying to downplay the importance of Vedic in reconstruction, just trying to put it into perspective. The date of attestation is very important in how much confidence we can place in the total accuracy of the form at a given time. If Vedic had not preserved structures that Greek and Anatolian had not, then its importance would be much less. Our records of Iranian predate Vedic, but while there is some importance to those languages in reconstruction, they still show more widespread changes than Vedic. (Taivo (talk) 13:37, 27 January 2010 (UTC))
well, you're telling me nothing I don't know, and I imagine I am telling you nothing you don't know. The point is, of course, that Vedic recitation isn't your basic oral tradition, it is oral tradition on steroids, with the effect that there is universal or near-universal consensus that the Rigveda preserves language of the Late Bronze Age without any alteration, especially after you do some trivial metric restoration to the Samhitapatha. The point is not that I believe this but that this is the mainstream position, which is, as I expect you are aware, extremely easy to establish. --dab (𒁳) 15:31, 27 January 2010 (UTC)
Agreed, it's probably not your typical oral tradition, and Vedic rightfully deserves an important place at the reconstructive table. But despite the fact that it's a lot better than just swapping the same old yarn around the campfire for years, it's still not quite the same as written attestation. If the sentence in the article is rewritten to reflect that, I don't have any objection, but as long as we're using the term "attestation", then it can't be listed. I'm sure you wouldn't have any objections to that either. (Taivo (talk) 17:37, 27 January 2010 (UTC))
it is in many ways more reliable than written attestation. Take cuneiform. About half of Hittite phonology is guesswork because it is written with the Akkadian syllabary, and the other half is unknown entirely because it was written with ideograms. --dab (𒁳) 11:08, 16 February 2010 (UTC)
But that's not the case with Vedic, which was written in a clear, phonological system without a lot of ambiguity or uncertainty. And without the written record, of course, we wouldn't know anything about it ;) It may have been a good oral tradition, but until pen hit paper it was still oral and unattested. (Taivo (talk) 13:21, 16 February 2010 (UTC))

(outdent) Vedic is not attested from the Bronze Age and it is only presumed to be based on oral traditions from the Bronze Age. But there's a difference between preserving traditions from the Bronze Age and preserving actual linguistic forms. In that respect, Vedic is rightly valued in I-E studies, but adding it to Bronze Age attestation is a leap of faith. (Taivo (talk) 00:21, 8 April 2010 (UTC))

Perhaps. Or not, that's not up to us to decide. We go by sources. For example Michael Witzel, a prominent Indologist and expert on all things Vedic. See Svādhyāya#Learning one's Vedic recension. Don't argue his position if you find this doubtful and Witzel too credulous, bring counter-citations if you disagree. I have to remind you that Wikipedia is all about appeals to authority. --Florian Blaschke (talk) 22:50, 19 August 2014 (UTC)

Conjugation table - position of Persian[edit]

Why exactly is the Persian declension listed under the Armenian column? Is there no modern Armenian descendent of *bʰer- to use, and an empty column would look weird? As it is, it looks like it claims Persian is a contemporary member of Armenian. So shouldn't it be replaced with examples from modern Armenian, or either just left blank? Baranxtu (talk) 17:31, 8 July 2010 (UTC)

Info Box: Subdivision[edit]

How can individual languages like "Albanian" have the same status as Language Family's like "Germanic"? The whole list seems utterly anachronistic and arbitrary. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 03:31, 12 July 2010 (UTC)

Simple: an independent branch going back all the way to PIE having only one (living) descendant. Note that the only IE case is Armenian. Albanian is in fact a small family (macrolanguage) containing (at least) 4 member languages: Tosk (Standard), Gheg, Arvanitika, and Arbëresh. Moreover, the "dialects" of Arvanitika and Arbëresh are actually not (fully) mutually intelligible, and are thus more properly called languages in their own right. --JorisvS (talk) 11:18, 12 July 2010 (UTC)
If Albanian is outrageous, what about Tocharian and Anatolian – branches with no members! —Tamfang (talk) 05:03, 14 July 2010 (UTC)

Roman Stopa[edit]

Using methods similar to those of Greenberg, Roman Stopa proved that I.-E. languges are related to the Bushman languages of Southern Africa. See the article in the Polish Wikipedia on Stopa for a reference to his work of 1972. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 16:06, 23 July 2010 (UTC)

Well, the very title of his book states "Traces" which is hardly "proving" a relationship; however, any linguist who has read his works may wish to put a note in the article about what the peers in this discipline had to say about it. Was this mere coincidence? Were the wrong conclusions drawn? If not, how did an IE influence arrive in that portion of Africa without affecting the surrounding areas' peoples? HammerFilmFan (talk) 10:13, 2 March 2011 (UTC)
It simply proves the method is flawed. --JorisvS (talk) 18:16, 2 March 2011 (UTC)


There is a redirect from "Indo-Germanic" to "Indo-European". I thought that it was an alternate name, albeit rare. I wouldn't count a mention of that as "vandalism", but I'm not going to do anything without discussion. TomS TDotO (talk) 09:47, 9 October 2010 (UTC)

"Indo-Germanic" is a translation of what the family is called in German --Indo-Germanisch-- but it's never called that in English. --Taivo (talk) 11:54, 9 October 2010 (UTC)
I don't see why it wouldn't be appropriate to mention that in this article. Especially as there is a redirect here from "Indo-Germanic". I suppose that someone would ask for a "cite". TomS TDotO (talk) 13:34, 9 October 2010 (UTC)
In the nineteenth century, wouldn't "Indo-Germanic" have been used in English as well? And the whole concept of Indo-European languages arose from German scholars in the nineteenth century. It might be worth mentioning. john k (talk) 13:54, 9 October 2010 (UTC)

I have collected information on this here. Perhaps a short summary wouldn't be superfluous in this article. --dab (𒁳) 11:26, 10 October 2010 (UTC)

Thanks. Looks good. But it does need a reference. TomS TDotO (talk) 14:07, 10 October 2010 (UTC)

I apologise for labelling it as "vandalism". The edit was done by an editor who had just changed German to the most spoken Indo-European language, so I just threw it in with that. "Indo-Germanic" is very rarely used in English, though. Hayden120 (talk) 01:32, 11 October 2010 (UTC)

This [1] any good as a source? Itsmejudith (talk) 14:32, 11 October 2010 (UTC)
Szeremennyi is a good linguist, and the book is a standard, but it's hard to wade through. If you're looking for an introduction to Indo-European that is readable, the Fortson volume published by Blackwell is the best in English, I think. --Taivo (talk) 15:42, 11 October 2010 (UTC)

Isn't the terminology of "Indo-Germanic" a bit outdated? I cannot find a single source earlier than 1915. I'm also gonna guess that this terminology is rooted in 19th century German nationalism.Volunteer Marek (talk) 05:56, 14 May 2011 (UTC)

Wough Marek, you have done nice research work! 1915 was the great war (WW I) and many German notations in the anglo-saxon world were changed to English. Another example: Berlin near Waterloo/Ontario was changed to Kitchener, remembering Lord Kitchener of the Sudan. But one name wasn't changed: Merck (from the NYSE and the Dow) remained Merck, although being a reparation from the German Merck (named after its founder), which still exists today. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 07:54, 22 August 2012 (UTC)

Actually it originated from geographical considerations. Basically if you look at the extent of the IE languages before about 1492, the Easternmost languages were Indic, and the Westernmost was Germanic (Icelandic). So it was named after the furthest Eastern and Western families. I believe Germans still use "Indogermanik", but in English it is usually Indo-european. Ekwos (talk) 01:54, 22 May 2011 (UTC)

the undoing of Dhruvekhera[edit]

I'll bite. Why is "the Iranian plateau and South Asia" preferred to "the Indian Subcontinent and the Iranian plateau"? At least the latter form clearly doesn't include Burma. —Tamfang (talk) 23:33, 5 November 2010 (UTC)

That wasn't the only issue involved. The main reason I reverted the edit was that it also removed information later in the article. The whole edit was heavily POV-oriented toward placing references to Indo-Aryan ahead of Iranian. If the sole point of the edit was to improve the wording that you spoke of, then I wouldn't have a beef. But when an edit is clearly and unequivocally to push a POV, then that is another matter. It wouldn't have mattered to me which direction the POV had been pushed, an edit solely to push a POV is not an acceptable edit. --Taivo (talk) 01:22, 6 November 2010 (UTC)


The word "genetic" is not directly explained, and could be confusing to those who don't know the special linguistic meaning of the word... AnonMoos (talk) 00:51, 19 December 2010 (UTC)

"Genetic" is the correct linguistic term. If someone doesn't understand, that's why the term has a wikilink to Genetic relationship (linguistics). --Taivo (talk) 02:10, 19 December 2010 (UTC)
I'd say standard rather than correct; the metaphor is so weak as to make one cringe, if one happens to be me. —Tamfang (talk) 02:55, 19 December 2010 (UTC)
There are two separate questions, Tamfang. If you are asking, "What is the best term to have a perfect metaphor for language relationship?", then you can alleviate your "cringe" by stating that "genetic" is not correct. However, Wikipedia is not the place to be conducting original research. The second question is what we ask on Wikipedia, "What is the term that linguists use as a metaphor for language relationship?" That question has a correct answer, and that answer is "genetic". --Taivo (talk) 05:03, 19 December 2010 (UTC)
It's not even a metaphor. Because the term has nothing to with genes. "Genetic" is simply used in the literal Ancient Greek sense here, namely "with regard to origin (genesis)". Since Indo-Europeanists are expected to be familiar with Ancient Greek, it's not confusing to them, only to people who lack a classical humanist education – which is unfortunately true of most natural and formal scientists nowadays, who will connect the word "genetic" only with genetics as a field of biology. --Florian Blaschke (talk) 23:00, 19 August 2014 (UTC)

Conjugation comparison tables[edit]

I've modified the two conjugation comparison tables. In the basic sense, I've fixed the styling so that it's easier to read and doesn't have strange/redundant markup (for some reason, every table cell was colspan="4"); there is now a difference between header cells and regular cells, but I've retained the text centering on all cells.

Back in July, somebody made an edit to show that Persian was not part of the Armenian subgroup—it was a good thought, but it was executed poorly. I've rectified that by creating an "Iranian" column and putting that and "Indo-Aryan" under an "Indo-Iranian" column. I've also properly left a space for modern Armenian examples. In a subsequent edit, I rearranged the columns to match File:IndoEuropeanTree.svg, which is supposedly ordered based on specific evidence; I've excluded dead-end branches for simplicity. I added the "Albanian" branch, as well as a "Baltic" branch under the "Balto-Slavic" header.

Here's what's to be done: I've changed some of the names and expanded some of abbreviations; we can easily haggle over those changes, but they were motivated by the tree diagram and verbosity. What we really need are examples of the languages we are now missing:

  • Ancient Representatives
    • an Iranian language
    • a Baltic language
    • Old Albanian
  • Modern Representatives
    • modern Armenian
    • a Baltic language
      • Latvian or Lithuanian
    • modern Albanian

So if anyone can dig up some references for those, that'd be great. We may also want to note when the ancient representative did not directly evolve into the modern representative (e.g. Gothic and German). Hope that helps. Gordon P. Hemsley 09:11, 19 December 2010 (UTC)

This example table perfectly illustrates the problem of Balto-Slavic. There is no word with this ber- root in Lithuanian. The closest would be the noun “bernas”, meaning nearly the same as “ett barn” in Swedish- a child, a boy. This now is my speculation, but a verb with possibly related semantics could be “pereti”, that means “to lay on eggs”. If that’s true, you once again have a case when Lithuanian forms are closer to Latin than to Slavic.Gotho-Baltic 15:50, 12 January 2011 (UTC) — Preceding unsigned comment added by Gotho-Baltic (talkcontribs)

I looked it up in Fraenkel's Lithuanian Etymology Dictionary here:\data\ie\fraenkel&first=1&text_word=&method_word=substring&text_etym=&method_etym=substring&text_pages=&method_pages=substring&text_any=berti&method_any=substring&sort=word According to this Lithuanian word "berti" (meaning 1. strew; scatter 2. break out ; 3. sow ;. shed tears) is derived from the indo-european * bher- 'bear, give'. My suggestion would be to include lithuanian as an ancient representative so that dual verb forms could also be mentioned as they are still used in dialects (the reference for this can be found here: in page 74). There is no space for dual in the table for the modern representatives. Then Latvian could be the modern representative if there is a word derived from *bher in Latvian. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Smurkst (talkcontribs) 12:22, 27 February 2011 (UTC)

The reason I added Lithuanian example for Proto-Indo-European(*bʰer- 'to carry') Comparison of conjugations under the "Ancient Representatives" instead of "Modern Representatives" is because there was no place for dual under "Modern Representatives". The example of how dual is conjugated in Lithuanian dialects can be seen here:

Singular aš einu 'I go, I am going' tu eini ('thou goest') jis eina 'he goes'

Plural mes einame 'we go' jūs einate 'you go' ie eina 'they go'

Dual mudu (mudvi) einava 'we two ('we two", fern.) go' judu (judvi) einata 'you two ('you two', fern.) go' jiedu (jiedvi) eina 'they two ('they two', fern.) go'19 — Preceding unsigned comment added by Smurkst (talkcontribs) 19:21, 19 April 2012 (UTC)

Then add a line for dual under the modern forms. Lithuanian is not an ancient representative. Adding dual and Lithuanian under the modern forms will be more relevant since readers can then clearly see that the Baltic languages are the only ones that preserve the dual. --Taivo (talk) 19:45, 19 April 2012 (UTC)

Where's the criticism?[edit]

Where's the criticism for this theory of a language family? (talk) 07:00, 15 January 2011 (UTC)

Look for reliable sources and construct a NPOV section, and then collaborate with other editors to build a consensus view on the matter. Or are your plans just to periodically show up to inject criticisms on talk pages of contentious subjects without actually doing anything useful to them, as your contribs seem to suggest?Heiro 06:38, 18 January 2011 (UTC)
none has been voiced for about 100 years now. It's a bit like Newton's theory of gravity, everybody agrees that it doesn't capture the whole truth, but that isn't "criticism". --dab (𒁳) 06:40, 18 January 2011 (UTC) — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talkcontribs)

Irrelevant. Claiming that a large number of languages have a common ancestor is very different indeed from claiming that all their speakers are descended from the same group of people. This article is about the Indo-European language family, not any Indo-European "race". The existence of the language family is not disputed by any reputable scholars. garik (talk) 19:10, 21 March 2012 (UTC)
An Indo-European "race" in the sense that all speakers of Indo-European languages are descended from them obviously cannot exist. My favourite example is Philipp Rösler. His native language is German (with English as second language) and he quite possibly speaks not a single word of the language of his biological parents (Vietnamese), because he was adopted as a baby. I think he has stated he feels no connection with Vietnam at all and considers Germany his home country. But he may well not have a single ancestor from Europe, even if you go back into deep prehistory. Biological and linguistic ancestry are simply not correlated (at least not necessarily, especially on the individual level: the R1a1a Y-DNA haplogroup is widely spread among populations that have been Indo-European-speaking for a long time, as in since the Bronze Age, while in regions that have been linguistically and culturally Indo-Europeanised later, such as in Spain or Crete, it is rare). Also, speakers of Hungarian, Estonian and Finnish are biologically more Indo-European than some Indo-European-speaking populations. --Florian Blaschke (talk) 23:24, 19 August 2014 (UTC)
  • Any "criticism" in the form of doubts about whether the Indo-European languages form an actual language family would be thoroughly fringe. "Criticism" in the form of discussion of how to improve the classification and understanding of indo-european prehistory is already present in the article.User:Maunus ·ʍaunus·snunɐw· 23:38, 19 August 2014 (UTC)

Classification is wrong[edit]

the oldest text of the gathas is written in gathic wich is so old that is why linguistics date zoroastrianism to 1800 bc it is older then just 1000 bc way older i dates from 1500-1200 bc actually that is why gathic is incredibly close to vedic sanskrit it can´t be from around 1000 bc the gathas is just way to old it whas written in very old avestan 1500 bc is a good date but atleast 1200 bc that is the minimum —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 14:44, 21 January 2011 (UTC)

No, you are mistaken. The dating of the Gathas is around 1000 BCE. (Mark Hale, "Avestan", The Cambridge Encyclopedia of the World's Languages (2004, Cambridge)). --Taivo (talk) 17:13, 21 January 2011 (UTC)

Recent IP additions[edit]

Can someone with access to the book cited check the recent IP additions here [2] and [3]. I don't have access to the book they cite, and their reasoning in the edit summary has me wondering. I am always a little distrustful of someone inserting something into an already existing sentence, especially with such reasoning. As they have already IP hopped to 3 different addresses, talking with them other than here may be difficult. Heiro 04:46, 20 April 2011 (UTC)

It would help if a specific passage in Renfrew's book could be cited, rather than the book as a whole. Also, can someone tell us how "Shared features of Phrygian and Greek and of Thracian and Armenian", without reference to features of II, define a grouping that includes II? —Tamfang (talk) 19:03, 20 April 2011 (UTC)
Unless the additions can be cited to a specific page and checked, maybe they should be removed?Heiro 19:28, 20 April 2011 (UTC)

IE Footprint in 1500[edit]

The principle difference between IE1500BP.png and the actual extent in 1500 is the push to the North in eastern europe, at this point the Duchy of Moscow hadn't become the Tsardom of Russia and begun its push to the Pacific. So saying the IEs had global extent any time before the 16th century is flat false and the coverage shown in the current map wasn't established until the late 19th with the Scramble for Africa. Lycurgus (talk) 13:50, 2 June 2011 (UTC)

This map is for 500 AD a very useful one, except for one tiny item: Germanic settlements in Morokko (in the Rif) are not proven, contrary to those around Karthago in todays Tunesia. And in Spain Gothic settlements were around Toledo, at least 80 km south of Toledo, the gothic capital, and perhaps along El Cid's route (and some in Galicia). Undoubtedly everything like that was wiped out with the moslem conquest of the peninsula. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 08:06, 22 August 2012 (UTC)

So are you saying the North African kingdom of the Vandals was a myth, as well as the numerous accounts of its history and war with Byzantium - or that their patently East Germanic language was not Germanic at all? Harsimaja (talk) 16:24, 17 September 2012 (UTC)

Homer composition.[edit]

I have changed a bit the Homer note.

The Iliad of Homer was composed in post-Mycenaean period (IX BC – VIII BC see Homer) due to the presence of modern variants of deities. However, the story took place in the Mycenaean period and it's been passed down orally from that period. The form that we know has been crystallized in writing probably around VIII-VII century BC when borned the modern alphabet derived from Phoenician.

Interesting is the fact of the passage of Bronze Age to Iron Age see Achilles armature made by Hephaestus. Indeed the Dorians used Iron.

--Andriolo (talk) 17:31, 3 June 2011 (UTC)

It doesn't matter when the story dates to, the written form is 8th century. This article is about the language, not the story of the Trojan War or the Bronze Age/Iron Age transition. --Taivo (talk) 00:27, 4 June 2011 (UTC)

Probably I am not clear. I agree with you about text became written down in VIII-VII century but I think that this sentence confuses the date of composition with the date of writing. “Tradition”, does not mean written but oral. The etymon of “tradition” is corpus consuetudinary (for a folk or group). So Homeric tradition doesn’t date 8th century BC because it is older (probably soon after the Mycenaean period in the Greek dark age). I propose to modify the sentence in “Homer written texts may date 8th century BC.” or “Iliad and Odyssey were probably written in 8th century BC”. --Andriolo (talk) 11:51, 4 June 2011 (UTC)

"Texts" is simpler and cleaner. I changed it to that. --Taivo (talk) 12:01, 4 June 2011 (UTC)

Ok... Ciao --Andriolo (talk) 12:05, 4 June 2011 (UTC)

Archeology re: Indoeuropean Language family.[edit]

Hi all! Can someone please help? I am not that much familiar with the subject of the article, and going through the article could not find anything relevant to archeology. I mean if there ever was this great civilization of Indoeuropeans surely they must have lived in an area before their migrations.

  • Does archeology support the Kurgan hypothesis and the Indoeuropean theory at large?
  • Are their any archeological findings? A city, a village, pottery or anything of the sort.
  • Could someone please suggest a reference or point me to the right direction in order to answer this puzzling question?

The article right from the beginning reads as if the indoeuropean family of languages is a certain undisputed fact and not a theory. Is that the case? Thank you!! 23x2 (talk) 18:09, 19 June 2011 (UTC)

This is an article about languages, not archeology. Yes, the Indo-European family of languages is an undisputed fact, not a theory. I don't know where you'd find an article on archeology, but I suggest you start at Kurgan hypothesis and follow a couple of wikilinks. One theory links the Sredny Stog culture with the Proto-Indo-Europeans. --Taivo (talk) 21:03, 19 June 2011 (UTC)
There might not have been "this great civilization". There was definitely a language Proto-Indo-European, and it was definitely diffused, eventually to cover an area from Ireland to Bengal. Who did the diffusing, what their technological level was, whether it amounted to being "civilized", whether they kept herds of animals, grew crops, or both, is still a matter of speculation. Itsmejudith (talk) 21:40, 19 June 2011 (UTC)
Thank you both for your response. All the best! 23x2 (talk) 17:38, 20 June 2011 (UTC)


I would like to know what peer-reviewed paper says that is disputed as an Indo-European and Celtic language since John T. Koch first published his thorough attempt at translation and classification in 2008 with increasing confidence now that he has looked at the longest and complete inscription (see peer-reviewed chapters in books "Celtic from the West" and "Tartessian 2". All I have seen is support since from other academics in the Tartessian space (e.g. Guerra and Villar). Please tell me.Jembana (talk) 04:02, 27 June 2011 (UTC)

I'm not going to insist on the word "disputed", but it seems appropriate to give citations here - and, more importantly, edit the article Tartessian language to reflect recent scholarship. TomS TDotO (talk) 16:11, 27 June 2011 (UTC)
Sure - I will add the citations and I am currently editing the Tartessian language page to update it - there is a rather large amount of material to put there :)Jembana (talk) 22:06, 27 June 2011 (UTC)
Tartessian is not Celtic according to the vast majority of opinion on the matter. Paul S (talk) 19:22, 3 July 2013 (UTC)

Number of Speakers[edit]

Well we've been changing this number several times and we need to fix the problem. Ethnologue goes with 2.7 billion A fellow told me that we don't know how many of them natives, but clearly Ethnologue are counting natives as can be seen in the section "Language size" (English= 328 million). However, if anyone have doubts and wants to add new sources it would be interesting. --Bentaguayre (talk) 12:48, 11 July 2011 (UTC)

The sentence that you keep changing concerns speakers of the twelve biggest IE languages. That number, according to my adding-up of the numbers in the Ethnologue "Language size" page cited, is 1767 million. If there are another billion IE natives, let that be said in another sentence. —Tamfang (talk) 20:02, 22 July 2011 (UTC)
If Ethnologue says one table counts only native speakers, it's likely that another Ethnologue table also counts only native speakers, but not safe to assume in my humble opinion. —Tamfang (talk) 20:04, 22 July 2011 (UTC)

Removed obsolete terms from lede[edit]

"Indo-Germanic" and "arian" [sic] are obsolete terms that are only of minor historical relevance, and are thus too trivial for mention in the lede. "Indo-Germanic" is already mentioned in the lede, and "aryan" languages currently refer exclusively to a particular sub-family. Dominus Vobisdu (talk) 15:46, 15 August 2011 (UTC)

Balto-Slavic POW pushing[edit]

There is no consensus about BSl, see for example International Encyclopedia of Linguistics, William J. Frawley (Editor), Oxford University Press, 2003. The ongoing POW pushing certainly has consequences on misleading millions of readers. This let's-play-science-game went that far that in several other related WP articles the Baltic as a linguistic group “disappeared” at all. This is already about falsification of information. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 21:55, 19 January 2012 (UTC)

International Encyclopedia of Linguistics, Page 196: "2. Classification. The shared features of Baltic and Slavic have led many scholars to propose an intermediate Balto-Slavic family within IE; however, this view has been disputed by scholars who argue for a separate, if parallel, evolution of Baltic from IE. This issue remains open."

Coppied this from Talk:Baltic languages:

"The vast majority of Indo-Europeanists accept Baltic as a valid single clade within Indo-European (see the various stammbaum offered in all the modern introductory texts on Indo-European--Fortson, Clackson, etc.). The notion that there was no Baltic clade is not supported within the mainstream Indo-European literature. The whole section "Modern interpretation" is not based on modern, accepted Indo-European scholarship, but is a WP:FRINGE position from the 1960s. It is not accepted in the 21st century by the vast majority of Indo-Europeanists. Fortson (2010, Indo-European Language and Culture), Mallory & Adams (2006, The Oxford Introduction to Proto-Indo-European and the Proto-Indo-European World), Szemerényi (1990, Introduction to Indo-European Linguistics), Beekes (1995, Comparative Indo-European Linguistics), Schmalsteig (1998, "The Baltic Languages," The Indo-European Languages, ed. Ramat & Ramat), Clackson (2007, Indo-European Linguistics), Baldi (1983, An Introduction to the Indo-European Languages), etc. all support Baltic as a clade. This is the mainstream position and the "Baltic is not a clade" is a minority view and to give it an entire section violates WP:UNDUE. --Taivo (talk) 17:38, 1 May 2011 (UTC)" Count du Monét (talk) 20:46, 24 May 2012 (UTC)

A clade is the set of all descendants of some common ancestor, at any level. Whether Baltic is a clade is independent of whether Balto-Slavic is also a clade — that is, none of these four possibilities is illogical:
  • both are clades, one within the other (the usual model, which you want to suppress);
  • Baltic is a clade and "Balto-Slavic" not (the model that you're pushing);
  • Balto-Slavic is a clade which includes the "Baltic" languages as a non-clade;
  • neither is a clade.
North Germanic is (I believe) an uncontroversial clade, and the present article doesn't mention it at all; yet it explicitly mentions Baltic more than once, so how is it suppressing Baltic cladehood? —Tamfang (talk) 21:25, 26 May 2012 (UTC)


Rather than censoring Balto-Slavic out of the article entirely, how about adding a passage to the effect that "since 1989 the validity of a Balto-Slavic group has increasingly been disputed"? —Tamfang (talk) 21:25, 26 May 2012 (UTC)

"increasingly been disputed" isn't accurate. It is a minority view being primarily pushed by linguists in the Baltic states. --Taivo (talk) 21:57, 26 May 2012 (UTC)
From zero to a handful of nationalist cranks would still be an increase. ;) —Tamfang (talk) 22:03, 26 May 2012 (UTC)
WP:UNDUE and WP:FRINGE apply. The view is essentially limited to nationalistic cranks, and isn't seriously discussed in the real academic community. Dominus Vobisdu (talk) 22:29, 26 May 2012 (UTC)
And, if you look down about halfway through the article, there is a brief mention of the minority view anyway in a listing of the constituent parts of Indo-European. That is more than sufficient for this article and need not be multiplied just to satisfy nationalistic fervor. --Taivo (talk) 22:32, 26 May 2012 (UTC)
There is an easy way out of this controversy: A wave of indo-european people, arriving from the southeast, was divided by the Pripjet swamps. Those who went north became the Baltics, those who went south became the Slavs. The Slavs hided in the Carpathian forests against the constant waves of riders from the east, an Ivan Grosny strategy, and sometimes were named forest-Skyths. This geographical meaningful theory must be completed by giving a date - and exactly that is the problem. Any time between 2200 BC and 200 BC has some merit. The only boundary condition to be included is, that it must have taken place after the Celtic, Italic, Germanic (and early urnfieldculture) invasions of Europe. The question is, can this date be derived from glottochronics, and/or a Gray & Atkinson approach? I think, this analysis should be done by someone without a Baltic or Slavonic background. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 08:30, 22 August 2012 (UTC)

"possessing the longest recorded history after the Afroasiatic family"[edit]

What about Sino-Tibetan (Classical Chinese)? But then again, I suppose if we're counting oral literature, Indo-European might count, with things like the Rigveda and Zoroastrian texts. (talk) 19:36, 6 February 2012 (UTC)

According to Oracle bone script("the oldest member and ancestor of the Chinese family of scripts") dates from "ca. 14th -11th centuries BCE to ca. 1200 to ca. 1050 BC", while Anatolian, the earliest attested branch of Indo-European has isolated terms in Old Assyrian sources from the 19th century BCE, and Hittite texts from about the 16th century BCE. So this would seem to make it older, unless there is something I've overlooked.. Heiro 20:29, 6 February 2012 (UTC)

Revert to former glory, please[edit]

Now when I look at this article, somebody has almost deleted it. Can anybody fix it?

Excuse me, can anybody make this article as it is now back to its former glory? Somebody almost deleted it. Hill Crest's WikiLaser (Boom). (talk) 01:32, 9 March 2012 (UTC)

Thanks, reverter. Hill Crest's WikiLaser (Boom). (talk) 01:38, 9 March 2012 (UTC)


They speak Danish and English in Greenland, they speak into european languages. Should be on the map. (talk) 19:29, 1 August 2012 (UTC)

Greenlandic, an Eskimo–Aleut language, is the main language. --JorisvS (talk) 20:18, 1 August 2012 (UTC)


Jespersen said that there was considerable opposition to and ill-feeling towards the comparativists from the classicists. This was in the German-speaking area. The classicists objected to the implication that they did not know Latin and Greek, or even German. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Alaskan Wanderer (talkcontribs) 15:51, 5 August 2012 (UTC)

See Jespersen's 1922 book. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Alaskan Wanderer (talkcontribs) 15:56, 5 August 2012 (UTC)

new origin paper[edit]

I'm reverting this addition

According to the research which is reported in Science paper in August 2012, the Modern Indo-European languages including English language is not originated 5,000 years ago in south-west Russia, but originated 9,000 years ago in Turkey.
"English language 'originated in Turkey'". August 25, 2012. 

mainly because it was inserted into the section "History of IE linguistics", where it definitely doesn't fit, and I don't see a better place for it. —Tamfang (talk) 07:38, 30 August 2012 (UTC)

I agree, the anatolian hypothesis is not new and the statistical evidence in that aper is not likely to be considered decisive by most linguists.·ʍaunus·snunɐw· 12:30, 30 August 2012 (UTC)
Yes, and the University of Auckland's Simon Greenhill, Russell Gray, and Quentin Atkinson (who have been pushing for a 9,000 year old age and an Anatolian origin even before this new paper) probably don't offer anything new as statistical analysts authoring the paper. Can Bayesian "phylogeographic inference" really resolve the debates about human prehistory as the paper claims? I think it can to an extent. However, I think it is safe to leave the Science article cited in the comparison of the competing models mentioned in the "Proto-Indo-European Urheimat hypotheses" article. -Ano-User (talk) 10:20, 31 August 2012 (UTC)


Kazakhstan's population mainly consists of Kazakh speakers - why is Kazakhstan in dark green? Harsimaja (talk) 16:18, 17 September 2012 (UTC)

Russian is official and widely spoken. StasMalyga (talk) 14:38, 17 September 2012 (UTC)
Yes, I realise that, but is the majority of the population Russian-speaking? When I read that I assume first-language speakers are meant, in which case the answer is no - otherwise Finland should certainly be in dark green too (most Finns CAN speak English, and many can speak Swedish or Russian). Harsimaja (talk) 16:18, 17 September 2012 (UTC)
Kazakhstan article indicates that Russian is more widespread than Kazakh. Most Finns learn English as a foreign language, and it has no status, Russian and Swedish are definably in minority. StasMalyga (talk) 22:06, 17 September 2012 (UTC)

Map question: Greenland[edit]

According to the wiki article about Greenland, the use of Danish, while non-official, is still widespread in some sectors, and a significant minority (>10%) speaks Danish only. Hence Greenland should be coloured blue in the map. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 11:15, 22 October 2012 (UTC)

File:Americaslanguages (orthographic projection)-2.png[edit]


I see that Greenland and Iceland are not coloured, although the inhabitants of these countries speak an indo-european language (Danish and Icelandic). can someone correct this? — Preceding unsigned comment added by Gertdk (talkcontribs) 15:24, 16 November 2012 (UTC)

This map shows Indo-European languages spoken in Americas and European countries they originally come from. I'm not sure about the status and placement of Greenland (for one thing Greenlandic is the only official language), but Icelandic is not spoken in Americas therefore it's not colored. StasMalyga (talk) 00:37, 17 November 2012 (UTC)

This may be of interest.[edit] — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 22:34, 24 April 2013 (UTC)

Article needs to be bought.

Still here are some parts of the text:

Here is part of the text:

From around 2800 BC, the LNE Bell Beaker culture emerged from the Iberian Peninsula to form one of the first pan-European archaeological complexes. This cultural phenomenon is recognised by a distinctive package of rich grave goods including the eponymous bell-shaped ceramic beakers. The genetic affinities between Central Europe’s Bell Beakers and present-day Iberian populations (Fig. 2) is striking and throws fresh light on long-disputed archaeological models3. We suggest these data indicate a considerable genetic influx from the West during the LNE. These far-Western genetic affinities of Mittelelbe-Saale’s Bell Beaker folk may also have intriguing linguistic implications, as the archaeologically-identified eastward movement of the Bell Beaker culture has recently been linked to the initial spread of the Celtic language family across Western Europe39. This hypothesis suggests that early members of the Celtic language family (for example, Tartessian)40 initially developed from Indo-European precursors in Iberia and subsequently spread throughout the Atlantic Zone; before a period of rapid mobility, reflected by the Beaker phenomenon, carried Celtic languages across much of Western Europe. This idea not only challenges traditional views of a linguistic spread of Celtic westwards from Central Europe during the Iron Age, but also implies that Indo-European languages arrived in Western Europe substantially earlier, presumably with the arrival of farming from the Near East41.

It seems that genetic evidence supporting the Iberian hypothesis, paired with archaelogy, is ever-growing. A lot has been already published concerning the Iberian-Basque-British Isles connection. Now this seems to continue in other European areas like Germnay.

Pipon — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 23:04, 24 April 2013 (UTC)

This proves nothing, because the genes are not inherently linked to Celtic. What if the language of the Bell-Beaker people was a precursor of Basque or Iberian or some completely unknown and long-extinct language? The genes won't tell us on their own. That's the same fallacy criticised with "pots don't speak", only repeated for genes. You can't just simply assume a correlation, you have to argue for it.
Celtic is unlikely because in the mid/late first century BC, all attested Celtic languages are quite similar, and especially Lepontic in the 6th century BC is highly similar to reconstructed Proto-Celtic, their common origin, so Proto-Celtic and the beginning of the Celtic expansion is probably not 2000 years older. --Florian Blaschke (talk) 23:52, 19 August 2014 (UTC)

Mistake in the map[edit]

Turkey, Azerbaijan and Uzbekistan should be colored blue as they have significant minorities of IE speakers. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 00:48, 23 June 2013 (UTC)

I'm not sure that is a mistake. It may be a design decision to show the main languages of an area. JamesBWatson (talk) 20:48, 5 October 2013 (UTC)

Also, the map makes a distinction between Lurish, "Persico" and Kurdish which should rather be grouped together under Iranian or Indo-Iranian (parallel to Slavic, Germanic, etc.) TomS TDotO (talk) 18:17, 5 October 2013 (UTC)

True, though you are talking about a completely different map from the one in the above post. I have edited the map you refer to, to correct that point. JamesBWatson (talk) 20:48, 5 October 2013 (UTC)

Official linguistic map of Europe[edit] — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 00:22, 18 November 2013 (UTC)

Who made this? In what way is it official? It's very nice (although there are one or two oddities in country names). garik (talk) 17:30, 20 November 2013 (UTC)


"The Indo-European languages are a family (or phylum) of several hundred related languages and dialects." Speling12345 (talk) 2:29, 13 December 2013 (UTC)

What's your point? --JorisvS (talk) 08:45, 13 December 2013 (UTC)

Indo-European originated in Asia Minor[edit]

This is old news, and will remain little regarded by linguistic experts as long as Atkinson, Pagel & Co. stick to poor data and methods and completely miss the point.
Perhaps a link to Proto-Indo-European Urheimat hypotheses should be included in a prominent place within the article, as for lay readers, i. e., non-linguists, this is clearly a central issue. --Florian Blaschke (talk) 00:24, 20 August 2014 (UTC)

Removal of Messapic, Philistine and Thracian from the infobox...[edit]

I removed the aforementioned languages from the infobox for the following reasons:

1. Philistine is not confirmed to be an Indo-European language. It was merely suggested, by some linguists, that Philistine might have been an Indo-European language but there's nothing that can conclusively prove it was. Adding it to the infobox would be as ridiculous as adding Hunnic to the infobox, since some linguists have also theorized that Hunnic was an Indo-European language.

2. Messapic and Thracian were indeed Indo-European languages, but they were not subfamilies. In fact, there's no consensus on the exact classification of these two languages. The infobox is meant to list the immediate (i.e. first order) subdivisions of the Indo-European family, therefore it was not appropriate to list Messapic and Thracian in the infobox as their precise classifications within the language family have not been widely determined.

--Nadia (Kutsuit) (talk) 08:50, 25 May 2014 (UTC)

  1. ^