Sunday, September 09, 2007

Indo-European Languages


Map of Indo-European languages. Orange are countries where an Indo-European language is dominant while yellow means an Indo-European is a minority language. (From Wikipedia)

Readers paying attention to the Kalash thread will notice Catholicgauze has encountered pro-Albanians who among other things claim 1) Alexander the Great was Albanian 2) Greeks and others are just Albanian posers 3) Albanians are the descendants of Atlantis and 4) Kalash are Albanians (I think, they have not been very clear). There evidence you ask? Some Albanian and Kalash words are similar! When Catholicgauze read that I slapped my head. That's because both Kalash and Albanian are Indo-European languages.

Under the leading theory, around the 4th millennium BC, the Kurgan people began to spread from out of the Pontic-Caspian steppe. The language of the Kurgan is thought to be the first Indo-European language. The vast dispersal was made possible because of the Kurgans use of horses. The Kurgan reach (and probable proto-Catholicgauzes) ranged from Western Europe to India. Today languages probably based from the Kurgan include English, German, French, Latin, Greek, Slavic, Farsi, Hindi, and many more.

As time progressed words changed but simpler ones continue to share similarities. Some words continue to remain almost universal between Indo-European languages. Just think of possibly the most common conversation in the world: "Mom? No!" "Mama? Non!" "Madre? No!" "Mutter? Nein!" "Mama? Nyet!" and so on and so on.

The Age of Colonization and then Imperialism allowed Indo-European languages (in particular English, Spanish, French, and Portuguese) to spread throughout the world. Today Indo-European Languages are either the official or an official secondary language in most countries. Seven of the top ten languages spoken by native speakers today are Indo-European.

The main contender to Indo-European is the Semitic language family of Arabic (spread via Islamic conquest), Hebrew (contained to the Jewish race) and a few other small religious languages such as Syriac (mostly in Eastern Christianity). Semitic languages are deeply interwinded with the religion of the respected speakers.

Niger-Congo is another competitor and it comprises most of sub-Saharan Africa. Many places which have a Niger-Congo language also recognize an Indo-European language due to the influence of colonization.

Other language families like Sino-Tibetan (Chinese, et al) and Japonic (Japanese and a few regional languages in Japan) are limited to one or a few national groups. While there was major European interaction with these groups, East Asia for the most part was able to adopt cultural advancements while still retaining their own identity.

8 comments:

Dan tdaxp said...

The gal who came up with the Kurgan hypohesis was a loon (she framed her theory as a the patriarchal horse-riding Aryans subduing a gentle, matriarchal world), but the core of her idea is indeed the best one we have.

Nygdan said...

A kurgan is a burial mound. The idea was that the proto-indo-european (pie) language was being spread by the sample people that were spreading these kurgan burial mounds across the world. Problem was, apparently, that the kurgan burials aren't know thought to all be from the same culture, or even variations of a culture as it spread. I think that there is also an attempt to stay away from calling them the people "the kurgans" (if they even actually existed as a culture), because its just one item within their culture. Sort of like finding the remains of a high school and thinking that there was a small population of 'chalk people' who subdued a larger, weaker population of bookbag people.

Great post though, love the map!

Catholicgauze said...

I for one openly greet our horse-riding, mound building Aryan patriarchal overlords.

queer little fellow said...

I don't want to take away from your post, which I enjoyed, but I thought I'd mention that words for "mother" are often problematic in establishing cross-linguistic relation. The line of thought goes that mama/papa words may be comparable by chance, because the first sounds babies make tend to be similar across languages (one of the arguments against using words that appear to be imitative/onomatopoeic in comparison, too).

Catholicgauze said...

Valid point, QLF. While I still stand by "my" theory, since I don't know I won't condem. TDAXP, you like messing with brains and babies, what do you think?

Anonymous said...

Should Algeria, Morocco, Tunisia be colored yellow ? Isn't French a minority language in some or all of those countries ? Has its use there declined since their Independence ?

yellowdingo said...

Human is a Race and anything part there of is a Culture.

They talk about the barrow mound being indoeuropean because Kurgan is also the basis for the circular tomb shapes that evolved in other more recent cultures.

All languages are protoindoeuropean root languages. Even the indigenous aboriginal languages of Australia which now claim to have lived there for 75 thousand years...

Japanese uses protoindoeuropean roots like Chinese language - I looked at why there is a language problem - In a book of Ninja's Equipment the names of the equipment are a mix of what they are and insults by the original translator - one refers to the belt-sash that holds up the Ninja's sword as something to satisfy the earth in 'indoeuropean' as in allows one to take a pee and then hold up ones clothes.

Its all protoindoeuropean roots. Even the Dark lord of the Jews - Asmodeus is a proto indoeuropean compound word meaning to burn -gather - with anger as in their primal fear is an angry mob with burning torches.

Catholicgauze said...

Yellowdingo,
Umm... not really. Also, why do you think Asmodeus is the Jew's Dark Lord?