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Forum LockedSpread of Indo-European languages

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calvo View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Quote calvo Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Topic: Spread of Indo-European languages
    Posted: 24-May-2009 at 17:21
As far back as the 1st millenium B.C.; indo-european languages had been spoken by the vast majority of peoples in Europe, Anatolia, Central Asia, Iran, and India.
The "proto Indo European" language had supposedly originated in Central Asia where is spread westwards and southwards.
Nowadays, genetic evidence seem to point out that this spread of languages was not accompanied by any siginificant migration; as genetically most of these areas have been constant since the Neolithic age.
 
Back then, most people lived in small, rural, tribal societies with little organized state structure; if that was the case, then it would have been impossible to impose any "official language" like nations could do nowadays. this meant that the Indo-European languages must have gradually difused through the native populations of the area.
 
I often wonder as to how this "difusion" had taken place.
Was it by Indo-Euoprean speaking tribes who had migrated and absorbed locals into their tribal structures until native genes became dominant?
 
 
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Post Options Post Options   Quote pinguin Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 24-May-2009 at 17:32
World's languages today:
 
 
 
"He who attempts to count the stars, not even knowing how to count the knots of the 'quipus'(counting string), ought to be held in derision."

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Post Options Post Options   Quote drgonzaga Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 24-May-2009 at 18:02
Genetic and linuistics do not mix since the incursion of even a small group of "conquerors" can have a great impact on language but lead to little change in the DNA!
 
Has anyone encountered "native" genes lately?
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Post Options Post Options   Quote pinguin Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 24-May-2009 at 18:06
That's true. A simple example: not all Europeans are Indoeuropeans, and viceversa.
"He who attempts to count the stars, not even knowing how to count the knots of the 'quipus'(counting string), ought to be held in derision."

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Post Options Post Options   Quote Terri Ann Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 24-May-2009 at 19:29
I'm not sure conquest had that much effect on language.
 
The Roman conquest of England did not turn the Celts into Latin speakers.  Over 400-odd years, the native Brythonic language absorbed a large number of Latin words and phrases, but it was not Latin.  By the end of this period apparently even Romans living in Britain were using a Latinised form of the Celtic language.   Languages can absorb each other with remarkable ease!
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Post Options Post Options   Quote pinguin Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 24-May-2009 at 20:32
That's true. What happened with Latin in Britain is quite similar to Arab in Spain. After seven centuries of dominating a large fraction of Spain, the muslims were defeated and the Arab forgotten, except in the vocabulary. The Grammar and structure of Spanish is still mainly Latin, though.
"He who attempts to count the stars, not even knowing how to count the knots of the 'quipus'(counting string), ought to be held in derision."

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Post Options Post Options   Quote calvo Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 24-May-2009 at 23:01
Going back to the original question; Indo European languages certainly did not spread throughout Europe and Asia via conquest. We have never heard of any prehistoric "Indo-European Empire" have we?
What is certainly true is the expansion of Indo-European-speaking tribes; be them Celtic, Greek, Iranian, Indian, or Germanic.
There could be 2 explanations: one is that these tribes had absorbed native populations into their societies; that little by little, all natives joined these tribes. The other is that native tribes had stayed intact; yet all of them adopted Indo-European languages for one reason or another.
 
So far, the second scenario is less likely to occur.
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Post Options Post Options   Quote pinguin Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 25-May-2009 at 01:06
Iberia certainly was converted into Indoeuropean. Originally it was Iberian-Basque-Phoenician. And what about Greece?
"He who attempts to count the stars, not even knowing how to count the knots of the 'quipus'(counting string), ought to be held in derision."

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Post Options Post Options   Quote calvo Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 25-May-2009 at 08:07
Originally posted by pinguin

Iberia certainly was converted into Indoeuropean. Originally it was Iberian-Basque-Phoenician.


"Converted" to certain extent; because the Celts had a major presence in Iberia prior to the Romans. Most of the northern and western coastlines were inhabitted by Celtic tribes. The central meseta was populated by Celti-Iberians; who we still don't know whether they were Iberian-speaking peoples who had adopted Celtic attributes, or the other way around; but in Roman eyes they were defenitely clearly distinguishable from both Celts and Iberians.

Regarding the Celtic expansion, the question is to whether they were indigenous peoples who had adopted en masse the Celtic language and culture, or that Celtic tribes actually migrated from Gaul and absorbed the local populace into their society.

By all means, genetic evidence points out that the Celts and Iberia are largely of native descent rather than migrants from Central Europe.


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Post Options Post Options   Quote gcle2003 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 25-May-2009 at 15:46
Maybe only of marginal relevance, but there's a theory that when languages merge as the result of conquest, the vocabulary tends to come from the superior class and the grammatical structure from the inferior one.
 
Offhand I don't have a reference, but it developed from the study of language development in Britain.
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Post Options Post Options   Quote fantasus Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 29-May-2009 at 08:41
Originally posted by calvo

Going back to the original question; Indo European languages certainly did not spread throughout Europe and Asia via conquest. We have never heard of any prehistoric "Indo-European Empire" have we?
Before Roman empire a lot more of Europes populations may have been speaking non-indoeurpeic languages. Slavic, Celtic and Germaic invasions may also have contributed to the "indo-europeanisation". Invasions may not necessarily led to single empires, they can be in many stages, so we should not at all exclude the possibillity that invasions and conquests may have been important part of the story (in the case of romans it obviously was).
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Post Options Post Options   Quote calvo Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 29-May-2009 at 10:02
Prior to the Roman expansion, Indo-European languages already dominated large parts of Europe and Asia.

The Balkans was populated by Greek-speaking and Illyrian-speaking people.
Most of Central and Western Europe: Iberia, Gaul, Britain; was Celtic-speaking.
Northern Europe was Germanic-speaking.
Ukraine, southern Russia, Kazakhstan, and Central Asia were populated by Iranian-speaking nomads.
The Persian Empire dominated the Near East.
Indian civilization was already in full-bloom.
Asia Minor was populated by a range of distinct ethnicities, but most of them Indo-Europeans (Greeks, Lydians, Galatian Celts, and descendant nations of the Hittites).

the only significant non-Indo-European peoples in the regions were the Etruscans and the Iberians, and the areas they occupied were very limited.




Edited by calvo - 29-May-2009 at 10:02
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Post Options Post Options   Quote fantasus Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 29-May-2009 at 10:20
Originally posted by calvo

Prior to the Roman expansion, Indo-European languages already dominated large parts of Europe and Asia.
Yes, there may still be some doubt for large parts how long it had dominated by then.

Originally posted by calvo


Northern Europe was Germanic-speaking.
The entire Northern part of Europe never were germanic speaking and still is not. At least if
"europe" includes the areas east of Elbe River, the northernmost parts and parts of Britain and Ireland.
Originally posted by calvo


the only significant non-Indo-European peoples in the regions were the Etruscans and the Iberians, and the areas they occupied were very limited.


I think there is really large parts we know little about at that time, especially in the east in what is now nrothern part of Russia and the Baltics. Even for some parts of the Roman empire the picture may not be so clear at all (Pannonia and perhaps some other eastern and Danubian prvinces).
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Bertucat Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 29-May-2009 at 12:48
Originally posted by gcle2003

Offhand I don't have a reference, but it developed from the study of language development in Britain.
 
yes, it is particularly visible with English: old native english grammary and a lot of vocabulary from french, as old french was the language of king, lords and royal administration from 1066 to XVe century.
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Flipper Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 29-May-2009 at 15:28
Originally posted by pinguin

And what about Greece?


Greece had for sure speakers of somekind of Anatolian (Luwian, Carrian, Hittito -related). This is evident from the placenames (mainly) and some dictionary. Other languages could have been spoken as well. It's unclear what the Minoans spoke for example. Some suggest it was a very early form of Indoeuropean close to the Anatolian languages, other say it was a language that later became the Ionic Greek, other say it was Semitic (Phoenician or Egyptian) and as we've seen from our co-poster in this forum Pablito some believe it could be Caucasian. Last but not least, many say Minoan (and aegean languages) are extict group of languages that do not belong to any known group.

Greek as a language was not an external nor aboriginal language. It was a product of various people mixing, cooperating and trading with each other. The first speakers of it probably came out from a Greco-Phrygo-Armenian supergroup of farmers that were settled in the north and west Greece. The migrations to the north which caused a clash with the anatolian & other populations gave the final form to this language.

Other languages, PIE and non-IE may have been spoken as well. It is impossible to know however, since there's no translation to any scarce written evidence that exists.  The oldest evidence of writting in the area is 7250 years old, but it is impossible to get a translation out of it since between that time and the first Linear scripts there's a gap of litteracy stretching over 4000 years. 

In any case, the vast dictionary and synonyms of the Greek language is the evidence that Greek has a rich background of known and unknown languages that were once upon a time spoken in the Helladic area, the Aegian and anatolia.


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Post Options Post Options   Quote Dacian Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 10-Jun-2009 at 23:03
Originally posted by calvo

Going back to the original question; Indo European languages certainly did not spread throughout Europe and Asia via conquest. We have never heard of any prehistoric "Indo-European Empire" have we?
What is certainly true is the expansion of Indo-European-speaking tribes; be them Celtic, Greek, Iranian, Indian, or Germanic.
There could be 2 explanations: one is that these tribes had absorbed native populations into their societies; that little by little, all natives joined these tribes. The other is that native tribes had stayed intact; yet all of them adopted Indo-European languages for one reason or another.
 
So far, the second scenario is less likely to occur.



the first explanation surely involves alot of time (generation changes within 1 tribe and the actual neighbours to be in contact with).
i would say it is most unlikely for an absorbtion of non PIE into PIE.

most sense (for me at least) makes the idea that 'tehnological improvement' nominated by PIE with their own words, expanded vastly (so you get a wave of PIE language parts passing the non PIE tribes directly and past) and then the rest of associated words and denomination in that domain followed as the 2nd wave.
you end up with a "very fast" spread that surely cuts significantly the whole conversion process

the domain most likely was farming and the need for more food acted as a catalyst for non PIE tribes to adopt the new technology together with their original denominations


the conquering variant seems unlikely also.


another one is the classic of PIE tribes invasion and them getting absorbed by the local tribes of Europe, leaving the legacy of language (wouldn't be the singular example)


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