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Pre-Indo-European languages are any of several ancient languages, not necessarily related to one another, that existed in prehistoric Europe and South Asia before the arrival of speakers of Indo-European languages. The oldest Indo-European language texts date from 19th century BCE in Kültepe in modern-day Turkey, and while estimates vary widely, spoken Indo-European languages are believed to have developed at the latest by the third millennium BCE (see Proto-Indo-European Urheimat hypotheses). Thus the Pre-Indo-European languages must have developed earlier than, or in some cases alongside, the Indo-European languages that ultimately displaced them.
A handful of these languages still survive; in Europe Basque retains a localized strength with fewer than a million native speakers, while the Dravidian languages of South Asia remain very widespread there, with over 200 million native speakers. Some of the pre-Indo-European languages are attested only as linguistic substrates in Indo-European languages. A few others (such as Etruscan, Minoan, Iberian, etc.) are also attested from inscriptions.
Before World War II, all the unclassified languages of Europe and the Near East were commonly referred to as Asianic languages; the term encompassed several languages that were later found to be Indo-European (such as Lydian), and others (Hurro-Urartian, Hattic etc.) were classified as distinct language families. The term pre-Indo-European is not universally accepted, as some linguists maintain the idea of the relatively late arrival of the speakers of these unclassified languages to Europe, possibly even after the Indo-European languages; they prefer to speak about non-Indo-European languages. A new term, Paleo-European, was coined relatively recently.[when?] The latter term is not applicable to the languages that predated or co-existed with Indo-European outside Europe (in Iran or India).
Surviving pre-Indo-European languages are held to include:
- in South Asia, the Dravidian languages, Munda languages, Nihali, Kusunda, Vedda (extinct by 1997), and Burushaski.
- in the Caucasus, the Kartvelian, Northeast Caucasian, Northwest Caucasian.
- in the Iberian Peninsula, Basque.
- in Northern Eurasia, the Paleosiberian languages and the Uralic languages, although in Finland there is also evidence of an Indo-European substrate preceding Finno-Ugric, as well as Paleo-European substrates preceding both.
Languages that contributed a substrate to Indo-European languages
Examples of suggested or known substrate influences on specific Indo-European languages include:
- Substrate to Anatolian: Hattic language
- Substrate to Armenian: Hurro-Urartian languages
- Substrate in Vedic Sanskrit, proposed sources for which include:
- Substrates to early undifferentiated or partly-differentiated Indo-European in Western Europe:
- Pre-Greek substrate languages, which may have included:
- Pre-Germanic: see Germanic substrate hypothesis
- Pre-Celtic languages:
- Insular Celtic:
- Continental Celtic:
- Italic languages:
Languages which are attested in inscriptions include:
Later Indo-European expansion
Languages replaced or engulfed by Indo-European in ancient times must be distinguished from languages replaced or engulfed by Indo-European languages in more recent times. In particular, the vast majority of the major languages spread by colonialism have been Indo-European, and this has in the last few centuries led to superficially similar linguistic islands being formed by, for example, indigenous languages of the Americas (now surrounded by English, Spanish, Portuguese, and French), as well as of several Uralic languages (now surrounded by Russian).
- Languages of Neolithic Europe
- Pre-Indo-European (disambiguation)
- Saami languages (containing pre-Uralic substrate)
- Proto-Euphratean language
- David W. Anthony, The Horse, the Wheel, and Language: How Bronze-Age Riders from the Eurasian Steppes Shaped the Modern World (Oxford, 2010)
- Haarmann, Harald. Pre-Indo-European Writing in Old Europe as a Challenge to the Indo-European Intruders Indogermanische Forschungen; Strassburg Vol. 96, (Jan 1, 1991): 1
- Roger Blench, Matthew Spriggs (eds.) Archaeology and Language III: Artefacts, Languages and Texts, (2012, Routledge)
- Peter R. Kitson, "Reconstruction, typology and the original home of the Indo-Europeans", in (ed.) Jacek Fisiak, Linguistic Reconstruction and Typology, Berlin, Walter de Gruyter, 1997, p. 191.
- Aikio, Ante (2012). "An essay on Saami ethnolinguistic prehistory" (PDF). Mémoires de la Société Finno-Ougrienne. Helsinki, Finland: Finno-Ugrian Society. 266: 63–117. Retrieved 5 July 2017.
Archaeology and culture
- Anthony, David with Jennifer Y. Chi (eds., 2009). The Lost World of Old Europe: The Danube Valley, 5000–3500 BC.
- Bogucki, Peter I. and Pam J. Crabtree (eds. 2004). Ancient Europe 8000 BC—1000 AD: An Encyclopedia of the Barbarian World. New York: Charles Scribner's Sons.
- Gimbutas, Marija (1973). Old Europe c. 7000–3500 B.C.: the earliest European cultures before the infiltration of the Indo-European peoples. The Journal of Indo-European Studies 1/1-2. 1-20.
- Tilley, Christopher (1996). An Ethnography of the Neolithic. Early Prehistoric Societies in Southern Scandinavia. Cambridge University Press.
- Bammesberger, Alfred & Theo Vennemann, eds. Languages in Prehistoric Europe. Heidelberg: Carl Winter, 2003.
- Blench, Roger, & Matthew Spriggs, eds. Archaeology and Language. Vol. 1, Theoretical and Methodological Orientations. London/NY: Routeledge, 1997.
- Dolukhanov, Pavel M. “Archaeology and Languages in Prehistoric Northern Eurasia”, Japan Review 15 (2003): 175-186. http://shinku.nichibun.ac.jp/jpub/pdf/jr/IJ1507.pdf
- Gimbutas, Marija. The Language of the Goddess: Unearthing the Hidden Symbols of Western Civilization. San Francisco: Harper & Row, 1989.
- Greppin, John and T.L.Markey, eds. When Worlds Collide: The Indo-Europeans and the Pre-Indo-Europeans. Ann Arbor: 1990.
- Haarmann, H.. “Ethnicity and language in the ancient Mediterranean”, in A companion to ethnicity in the ancient Mediterranean. Edited by J. McInerney. Wiley Blackwell, 2014, pp. 17–33.
- Lehmann, Winfred P. Pre-Indo-European. Washington, DC: Institute for the Study of Man. 2002. ISBN 0-941694-82-8.
- Mailhammer, Robert. “Diversity vs. Uniformity. Europe before the Arrival of Indo-European Languages”[permanent dead link], in The Linguistic Roots of Europe: Origin and Development of European Languages. Edited by Robert Mailhammer & Theo Vennemann. Copenhagen: Museum Tusculanum Press, 2016.
- “Pre-Indo-European”, in Encyclopedia of the Languages of Europe. Edited by Glanville Price. Oxford: Blackwell, 1998. ISBN 978-0-631-22039-8.
- Ringe, Don (January 6, 2009). "The Linguistic Diversity of Aboriginal Europe". Language Log. Mark Liberman. Retrieved 22 September 2011.
- Vennemann, Theo. Languages in Prehistoric Europe north of the Alps. https://www.scribd.com/doc/8670/Languages-in-prehistoric-Europe-north-of-the-Alps
- Vennemann, Theo (2008). Linguistic reconstruction in the context of European prehistory. Transactions of the Philological Society. Volume 92, Issue 2, pages 215–284, November 1994
- Woodard, Roger D. (ed., 2008) Ancient Languages of Asia Minor. Cambridge University Press.
- Woodard, Roger D. (2008) Ancient Languages of Europe. Cambridge University Press.