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Tablet from the Mycenaean site Pylos, with offerings to different gods inscribed in Linear B script -- deciphered by Michael Ventries in the 50's

Linguistics is a very complicated subject, well, at least it seems so to me! The reason for complicacy is that languages originated and evolved so much long before a first writing system was developed. So, there is not much hard evidence to relate languages to conclude that they originated from one and only one mother tongue. But this hypothesis of evolution of languages from one single language is the most popular so far.

There are words to be compared, grammar structures and phonetics to be studied. What I am interested in is actually Historical Linguistics, where the present languages are traced back to their parent languages, which are now called Proto-languages. The technique developed to reconstruct the earlier proto-languages is called Comparative Etymological Analysis. This is particularly interesting because you can travel back through mankind's journey in time when you are studying different languages and their roots.

In the first section, I will try to give an explanation of the origination and evolution of languages (which is already a well-debated subject among linguists!) - an explanation that seems most logical to me; but as I said, there is not enough evidence of the truth except for the languages themselves. I will also include how linguists came to classify the languages into several families and how they constructed the proto-languages.

In separate sections, I will tabulate the classification -- or genealogy if you prefer the term -- of some major language groups of the World.

 


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