The Indo-European family of cognate languages spoken for at least the last 3,000 years originally over most of Europe and extending into Asia as far south as northern India and as far east as Chinese Turkistan. The Indo-European languages are thought to have originated in a language which has been called Proto-Indo-European, spoken at some distant time in the past, considerably before 2000 BC.

The main divisions to which the Proto-Indo-European language eventually split are the Baltic languages, the Celtic branch, the Germanic languages, the Greek branch, the Indic branch, the Italic branch, and the Slavic languages, as well as the ancient Anatolian languages, and Tocharian. In addition to these, Albanian and Armenian form distinct members of the family.

It constitutes the most extensively spoken group of languages in the world and virtually all the modern languages of Europe belong to this group.

Indo-European is the most wide-spread and extensively studied language family in the world. The discovery in the 19th Century that Sanskrit was related to Greek and Latin led to the founding of the science of historical linguistics, and contributed to the large part of the science of linguistics in general. The language family encompasses roughly all the languages of Europe (excepting mainly Basque, an isolate, and Finnish and Hungarian, which belong to the Uralic family), much of the languages between Armenia and India, as well as some older extinct languages, such as Hittite. The Indo-Europeans are believe to have lived somewhere in the Caucasus area, and to have spoken a language scientists refer to as Proto-Indo-European. These are the invading Aryans of Indian history, as well as the invaders from the North in many a Mesopotamian account. Here is the general breakdown of this large family, and although it does not include every single language (there are roughly 450 known), it includes all of the better-known examples:


A star indicates that the language is, for all intents and purposes, kaput. If you know of any others that you think should be added to this list, please let me know.

In`do-Eu`ro*pe"an (?), a.

Aryan; - - applied to the languages of India and Europe which are derived from the prehistoric Aryan language; also, pertaining to the people or nations who speak these languages; as, the Indo-European or Aryan family.

The common origin of the Indo-European nations.


© Webster 1913


A member of one of the Caucasian races of Europe or India speaking an Indo-European language.

Professor Otto Schrader . . . considers that the oldest probable domicile of the Indo-Europeans is to be sought for on the common borderland of Asia and of Europe, -- in the steppe country of southern Russia.
Census of India, 1901.


© Webster 1913

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