Indo-European Languages - Classification


Further information: List of languages by first written accounts
Indo-European topics
Indo-European languages (list)
  • Albanian
  • Armenian
  • Balto-Slavic
  • Celtic
  • Germanic
  • Greek
  • Indo-Iranian
  • Italic
  • Slavic
  • Anatolian
  • Tocharian
  • Paleo-balkan languages
Proto-Indo-European language
  • Vocabulary
  • Phonology
  • Sound laws
  • Ablaut
  • Root
  • Nominals
  • Verbs
Indo-European language-speaking peoples
  • Albanians
  • Balts
  • Celts
  • Greeks
  • Illyrians
  • Italic peoples
  • Germanic peoples
  • Thracians
  • Slavs
  • Anatolians
  • Armenians
  • Indo-Aryans
  • Iranians
  • Tocharians
  • Homeland
  • Society
  • Religion
Indo-European archaeology
  • Abashevo culture
  • Afanasevo culture
  • Andronovo culture
  • Baden culture
  • Beaker culture
  • Catacomb culture
  • Cernavodă culture
  • Chasséen culture
  • Chernoles culture
  • Colchian
  • Corded Ware culture
  • Cucuteni-Trypillian culture
  • Dnieper-Donets culture
  • Funnelbeaker culture
  • Gumelniţa-Karanovo culture
  • Gushi culture
  • Hallstatt culture
  • Karasuk culture
  • Kemi Oba culture
  • Khvalynsk culture
  • Kura-Araxes culture
  • Lusatian culture
  • Kurgan
  • Koban
  • Leyla-Tepe culture
  • Jar-Burial
  • Jastorf culture
  • Khojaly-Gadabay
  • Maykop culture
  • Middle Dnieper culture
  • Narva culture
  • Nordic Bronze Age
  • Novotitorovka culture
  • Poltavka culture
  • Potapovka culture
  • Samara culture
  • Seroglazovo culture
  • Shulaveri-Shomu
  • Sredny Stog culture
  • Srubna culture
  • Terramare culture
  • Trialeti
  • Tumulus culture
  • Unetice culture
  • Urnfield culture
  • Usatovo culture
  • Vučedol culture
  • Yamna culture
Indo-European studies

The various subgroups of the Indo-European language family include ten major branches, given in the chronological order of their earliest surviving written attestations:

  1. Anatolian, the earliest attested branch. Isolated terms in Old Assyrian sources from the 19th century BC, Hittite texts from about the 16th century BC; extinct by Late Antiquity.
  2. Hellenic, fragmentary records in Mycenaean Greek from between 1350 and 1450 BC have been found. Homeric texts date to the 8th century BC. (See Proto-Greek, History of the Greek.)
  3. Indo-Iranian, descended from Proto-Indo-Iranian (dated to the late 3rd millennium BC).
    • Iranian, attested from roughly 1000 BC in the form of Avestan. Epigraphically from 520 BC in the form of Old Persian (Behistun inscription).
    • Indo-Aryan or Indic languages, attested from the late 15th to the early 14th century BC in Mitanni texts showing traces of Indo-Aryan. Epigraphically from the 3rd century BC in the form of Prakrit (Edicts of Ashoka). The Rigveda is assumed to preserve intact records via oral tradition dating from about the mid-2nd millennium BC in the form of Vedic Sanskrit.
    • Dardic
    • Nuristani
  4. Italic, including Latin and its descendants (the Romance), attested from the 7th century BC.
  5. Celtic, descended from Proto-Celtic. Tartessian dated from 8th century BC, Gaulish inscriptions date as early as the 6th century BC; Celtiberian from the 2nd century BC; Old Irish manuscript tradition from about the 8th century AD, and there are inscriptions in Old Welsh from the same period.
  6. Germanic (from Proto-Germanic), earliest testimonies in runic inscriptions from around the 2nd century AD, earliest coherent texts in Gothic, 4th century AD. Old English manuscript tradition from about the 8th century AD.
  7. Armenian, alphabet writings known from the beginning of the 5th century AD.
  8. Tocharian, extant in two dialects (Turfanian and Kuchean), attested from roughly the 6th to the 9th century AD. Marginalized by the Old Turkic Uyghur Khaganate and probably extinct by the 10th century.
  9. Balto-Slavic, believed by most Indo-Europeanists to form a phylogenetic unit, while a minority ascribes similarities to prolonged language contact.
    • Slavic (from Proto-Slavic), attested from the 9th century AD (possibly earlier; see Slavic runes), earliest texts in Old Church Slavonic.
    • Baltic, attested from the 14th century AD; for languages attested that late, they retain unusually many archaic features attributed to Proto-Indo-European (PIE).
  10. Albanian, attested from the 14th century AD; Proto-Albanian likely emerged from Paleo-Balkan predecessors.

In addition to the classical ten branches listed above, several extinct and little-known languages have existed:

  • Illyrian — related to Messapian. Possibly related to Albanian.
  • Venetic — close to Italic and possibly Continental Celtic.
  • Liburnian — apparently grouped with Venetic.
  • Messapian — not conclusively deciphered.
  • Phrygian — language of the ancient Phrygians, possibly close to Thracian, Armenian, Greek.
  • Paionian — extinct language once spoken north of Macedon.
  • Thracian — possibly including Dacian.
  • Dacian — possibly very close to Thracian.
  • Ancient Macedonian — proposed relationships to Greek, Illyrian, Thracian, and Phrygian.
  • Ligurian language — possibly close to or part of Celtic.
  • Sicel - an ancient language spoken by the Sicels (Greek Sikeloi, Latin Siculi), one of the three indigenous (i.e. pre-Greek and pre-Punic) tribes of Sicily. Proposed relationship to Latin.
  • Lusitanian — possibly related to (or part of) Celtic, or Ligurian, or Italic.

Read more about this topic:  Indo-European Languages