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|South, Central, Western Asia and the Caucasus|
Distribution of the Indo-Iranian languages
The Indo-Iranian languages (also Indo-Iranic languages or Aryan languages) constitute the largest and southeasternmost extant branch of the Indo-European language family. They include over 300 languages, spoken by around 1.5 billion speakers, predominantly in South Asia, the Middle East and parts of Central Asia.
The common ancestor of all of the languages in this family is called Proto-Indo-Iranian—also known as Common Aryan—which was spoken in approximately the late 3rd millennium BC. The three branches of the modern Indo-Iranian languages are Indo-Aryan, Iranian, and Nuristani. A fourth independent branch, Dardic, was previously posited, but recent scholarship in general places Dardic languages as archaic members of the Indo-Aryan branch.
The areas with Indo-Iranian languages stretch from Europe (Romani) and the Caucasus (Ossetian, Tat and Talysh), down to Mesopotamia (Kurdish languages, Zaza–Gorani and Kurmanji Dialect continuum) and Iran (Persian), eastward to Xinjiang (Sarikoli) and Assam (Assamese), and south to Sri Lanka (Sinhala) and the Maldives (Maldivian), with branches stretching as far out as Oceania and the Caribbean for Fiji Hindi and Caribbean Hindustani respectively. Furthermore, there are large diaspora communities of Indo-Iranian speakers in northwestern Europe (the United Kingdom), North America (United States, Canada), Australia, South Africa, and the Persian Gulf Region (United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia).
The number of distinct languages listed in Ethnologue are 312, while those recognised in Glottolog are 320.
The term Indo-Iranian languages refers to the spectrum of Indo-European languages spoken in the Southern Asian region of Eurasia, spanning from the Indian subcontinent (where the Indic branch of Aryan languages are spoken, hence called Indo-Aryan) till the Iranian plateau (where the Iranic branch of Aryan languages are spoken).
This branch is also known as Aryan languages, referring to the languages spoken by Aryan peoples, where the term Aryan is the ethnocultural self-designation of ancient Indo-Iranians. But in modern-day, Western scholars avoid the term Aryan since World War II, owing to the perceived negative connotation associated with Aryanism.
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'Dardic' is a geographic cover term for those Northwest Indo-Aryan languages which [..] developed new characteristics different from the IA languages of the Indo-Gangetic plain. Although the Dardic and Nuristani (previously 'Kafiri') languages were formerly grouped together, Morgenstierne (1965) has established that the Dardic languages are Indo-Aryan, and that the Nuristani languages constitute a separate subgroup of Indo-Iranian.
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- Swadesh lists of Indo-Iranian basic vocabulary words (from Wiktionary's Swadesh-list appendix)