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The Family of
Indo-European Languages

This page was last updated: February 04, 2003


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Abstracts
Indo-European
Semitic
Bangla
English


 

The group of Indo-European languages is by far the largest linguistic group in the world.

You may have probably wondered why are so many English words quite similar phonetically and in spellings of words to languages from other parts of the world. The same goes for Bangla words.

The case is true not only for words, but also grammatical structures. The Indo-European languages mostly follow similar patterns of sentence-making. One noteworthy feature is the Compounding of words, which is called Samās in Bangla and Sanskrit. If you know some German, you might probably encounter compounded words every once in a while! Also there are the similarities of placing subjects, objects and verbs in a sentence. The abundant use of prefixes and suffixes to construct new words is also characteristic of the Indo-European languages. Compare: Bangla and English.

Anyway, the group of Indo-European languages extend from Western and Central Europe through the Mediterranean region, through Near and Middle East, through India, Central Asia, up to the borders of China. Pretty big region, huh! The reason for this group to spread is that the Indo-European groups of people frequently migrated from Central Asia to different parts of the Old World. They conquered Persia, India, Greece, Italy, Gaul (present France), their language influenced the Hittite, and they penetrated into Eastern and Central Europe. The Greeks, the Romans, the Persians, and the ancient Indians (who are often referred to as Aryans - the Indo-European group that settled in India) all spoke variants of the same mother tongue.

The following table will give you an overview of the relationships among the Indo-European languages and also their evolution through time, and probably will inspire you to do some more study too!

 

 

 

Indo-European Languages

Languages and Major Dialects

 

Note: Languages marked in Red are dead languages. The others in ancient or medieval column are those which survive in special use, as in literary composition or liturgy.

 

BRANCH

GROUP

ANCIENT

MEDIEVAL

MODERN

PROVENIENCE

GERMANIC

 

 

East

 

Gothic

 

Eastern Europe

 

 

North

 

 

 

Old Norse

Icelandic

Iceland

Faeroese

Faeroe Islands

Norwegian

Norway

Swedish

Sweden

Danish

Denmark

 

 

 

 

 

West

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Old High German

German

Germany, Switzerland, Austria

Middle High German

 

Yiddish

Germany, Eastern Europe

Old Saxon

Low German

Northern Germany

Middle Low German

Middle Dutch

Dutch

Netherlands

Afrikaans

South Africa

Middle Flemish

Flemish

Belgium

Old Frisian

Frisian

Netherlands, Germany

Old English

English

England

 

 

 

 

CELTIC

 

 

 

 

Continental

Gaulish

 

 

Gaul

Goidelic

 

 

 

 

Old Irish

Irish Gaelic

Ireland

Middle Irish

 

Scottish Gaelic

Scotland

Manx

Isle of Manx

Brythonic

 

Old Welsh

Welsh

Wales

Middle Welsh

Old Cornish

Cornish

Cornwall

Middle Breton

Breton

Bretagne

 

ITALIC

Osco-Umbrian

Oscan, Sabellian, Umbrian

 

 

Ancient Italy

 

Latinian

or

Romance[1]

Venetic, Faliscan

Lanuvian, Praenestine

 

 

Ancient Italy

Latin

 

Portuguese

Portugal

Spanish

Spain

Judeo-Spanish

Mediterranean lands

Catalan

Spain (Catalonia)

Old Provenšal

Provenšal

Southern France

Old French

French

France, Belgium, Switzerland

Middle French

 

Haitian Creole

Haiti

Italian

Italy, Switzerland

Rhaeto-Romanic

Switzerland, Italy

Sardinian

Sardinia

Dalmatian

Adriatic Coast

Rumanian

Romania, Balkans

Scantily recorded and of uncertain affinities within Indo-European

Ligurian, Messapian

 

 

Ancient Italy

Illyrian, Thracian

Balkans

Phrygian

Asia Minor

ALBANIAN

 

 

Albanian

Albania, Southern Italy

GREEK OR HELLENIC

Greek

Greek

Greek

Greece, the Eastern Mediterranean

BALTO-SLAVIC Branch:

BALTIC

   

Old Prussian

 

East Prussia

 

Lithuanian

Lithuania

Latvian

Latvia

Branch:

SLAVIC

South

 

 

Old Church Slavonic

 

 

 

Slovene

Slovenia

Serb

Serbia

Croatian

Croatia

Macedonian

Macedonia

Bulgarian

Bulgaria

West

 

 

 

 

Old Czech

Czech, Slovak

Czech Republic, Slovakia

 

Polish, Kashubian

Poland

Wendish, Polabian

Germany

East

 

 

Old Russian

Russian

Russia

 

Ukrainian

Ukraine

Belorussian

Bielorussia

ARMENIAN

 

Armenian

Armenian

Armenia, Asia Minor, Caucasus

ANATOLIAN

Hittite, Lydian, Lycian

    Asia Minor

Luwian

Palaic

Hieroglyphic Hittite

 

BRANCH

 

GROUP

ANCIENT

MEDIEVAL

MODERN

PROVENIENCE

INDO-IRANIAN

Branch:

IRANIAN

West

Old Persian

Pahlavi

 

Persia

 

 

 

 

Persian

Persian

Persia (Iran)

 

Kurdish

Persia, Iraq, Turkey

Baluchi

Pakistan

Tajiki

Tajikistan, Central Asia

East

Avestan

 

 

Ancient Persia

 

Sogdian

 

Central Asia (Uzbekistan)

Khotanese

Central Asia (Uzbekistan)

 

Pashtu

Afghanistan, Pakistan

Ossetic

Caucasus

Branch:

INDIC

Dard

   

Shina, Khowar, Kafiri

Upper Indus Valley

Kashmiri

Kashmir

Sanskritic

Sanskrit, Pali

 

  India

PrÔkrits

PrÔkrits

   

Lahnda

Western Punjab

Sindhi

Sind

Punjabi

Punjab

Rajasthani

Rajasthan

Gujarati

Gujarat

Marathi

Western India

Konkani

Western India

Oriya Orissa
Bengali Bengal
Assamese Assam
Bihari Bihar

Hindi

Northern India

Urdu Pakistan, India
Nepali Nepal
Sinhalese Ceylon
Romany (Gypsy Language)
TOCHARIAN Tocharian A   Central Asia
Tocharian B

1. Romance is normally applied to medieval and modern languages; Latinian is normally only to ancient languages.

 


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