The language family covering the majority of the languages of Europe and the northern parts of the Indian subcontinent.

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55 views

Relics of reduplication in modern Germanic languages

I'm wondering whether some german verbs, like, for example: bibbern plappern lallen ... and as well some similar english verbs of which now only "to giggle" comes to my mind, are indeed relics of ...
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3answers
51 views

Why does final /n/ appear in plural suffixes of both Indo-European and Afro-Asiatic languages?

Examples: Tamazight: -en Arabic: -un , -in Farsi:-an German:-en
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0answers
50 views

Germanic comparative grammars?

Can anyone recommend a good comparative grammar of the Germanic languages -- or, failing that, good historical grammars specifically for Old English and Old Norse? Ideally, what I want is a ...
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0answers
35 views

Why does the pronunciation of Germanic languages before vowel shift seems to have been more “Indo-European”?

I think the vowels have become "harsher" during the vowel shift and has made them sound very different from Latin, Greek, Sanskrit,... which generally use "soft" vowels. Can we deduce that the vowel ...
7
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2answers
140 views

What did the Greeks and Romans believe about language relationships?

The ancient Greeks and Romans had no concept of historical linguistics or of the Indo-European language family. However, it would have been noticeable to anyone who spoke even a little of both Greek ...
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1answer
92 views

Mine, Yours, Ours, His, Hers, Its, and Don't Forget Theirs

What exactly are the Indo-European predicative mine/yours/ours/his/hers/its/theirs forms, in terms of word class and inflection? Would they be considered the genitive (or even the dative) case of ...
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0answers
67 views

Parallels in Celtic and Slavic lexemes?

Some Russian words (including the word "барин" (gentry), the etymology of which is still unclear to most community members) derive from the common IE stock. To list a few, these are the words like ...
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1answer
101 views

What is the origin of Russian барин ['bа:rʲin]?

The word (pl. баре, ['bа:rʲe]) is roughly rendered into English as 'gentry' meaning 'a noble person without a position at imperial court'. The boyar is possibly not a cognate. What surprises me the ...
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3answers
191 views

Discontinuous morphemes in Indo-European languages

Indo-European is not a language family known for discontinuous morphology, but there are occasional examples. I can think of two: The German and Dutch past participle formants, ge-en and ge-t, e.g. ...
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4answers
145 views

Adverbial free relative clauses, in early Indo-European languages and generally

By "adverbial free relative clause" (maybe there's a better term for this) I mean a relative clause which (a) is headed by an indefinite fused relative pronoun, e.g. English whoever, whatever, and (b) ...
5
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1answer
91 views

Origin of *-k- “extension” in (aorist of) some IE verbs?

In Greek, the PIE verbal roots *dheh1 'put' or 'do', *Hieh1 'throw', and *deh3 'give' show up with an unexpected -k- in some aorist forms: ἔθηκα, ἧκα, ἔδωκα. In Latin, the reflexes of the first two ...
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1answer
315 views

Word-initial consonant clusters beginning with /s/ or /ʃ/, an Indo-European characteristic?

All the cases I've seen of a consonant /s/ (or similar pronunciations) at the beginning of a word occur in Indo-European languages. Can we say that this is a characteristic of this language family? ...
2
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1answer
283 views

Why do the sounds [ks] have their own single letter 'X' in European languages?

It seems that the original intent of the letter 'X' was to pronounce the phoneme [k^h] in Classical Greek but evolved over time to be [ks]. My question is: How come there are so many European ...
2
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3answers
78 views

What is the most ancient form of Armenian verb 'to be'?

The infinitive form of the verb in Eastern Armenian (provided there are infinitives) is a suppletive 'linEl'. I am surprised to notice its resemblance to most Finno-Ugric words of similar meaning, ...
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2answers
160 views

Caucasoid people, Common Genetic roots and Common Proto-Language? [closed]

It is so probable that all Caucasoid people have had a common ancestor. Does The fact that most of Caucasoid people speak a Semitic or Indo-European language not suggest that there has been an ...
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2answers
154 views

The reason for similarity of Turkic “min” and latin “mille”, Turkic “dil” and dutch “taal”?

What's the linguistic relation between the Turkic words bin or min and Latin word mille meaning thousand Turkic dil and dutch taal meaninge language?
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1answer
354 views

How many of Latin words have Greek roots?

I was wondering how many of Latin (both Classical and Medieval varieties) words have Greek roots. Is Greek the common root of most IE languages?
2
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2answers
112 views

The “close front rounded vowel” mainly used in Germanic, Altaic and far Asian languages

Why is the "close front rounded vowel" /y/ mainly used in Germanic, Altaic and far Asian languages but rare in Latin*, Indo-Iranian and Slavic languages? Can we say that Germanic phonetics is less ...
4
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2answers
361 views

Is there any agglutinative Indo-European language?

It seems like Indo-European languages are always stuck between throwing away complicated fusional grammar (like English) or retaining most of it (like Russian). Are there any Indo-European languages ...
4
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3answers
450 views

Origin of articles in European languages

I read that PIE, Latin, old English, and even old German did not use articles, yet current English, German and Romance languages all use articles. Is it true that articles developed in all these ...
3
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0answers
168 views

Cellar door and Indo-European languages

Where I grew up (UK) there was a pub called The Drysalters. I always liked this name without having any idea what a drysalter was, or having any association or emotional connection to the pub itself. ...
2
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2answers
609 views

Are there any languages that are more analytic than English other than Afrikaans in the Indo-European family?

Are there any languages that are more analytic than (or as analytic as) English other than Afrikaans in the Indo-European family?
5
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1answer
288 views

What rule governs the vowel alternations in Latin caput/capit-/-cep(t)-/-cipit-/-ciput?

In different forms, the Latin root caput "head" appears with different vowels: a-u: caput (nominative singular); a-i: capitis (genitive singular), capitī (dative singular), capita (nominative ...
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1answer
457 views

What is the proper way to write Hindi phonetically in English?

I've noticed that when Hindi is I guess transliterated phonetically transcribed to the English Alphabet many of the letters are doubled to represent the correct sound that one would make if you were ...
7
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1answer
179 views

What is the sound law to describe the etymology of “helix” and “vulva”?

What confused me is the transition from "w" in PIE *wel- to "h" in E. helix . And what's the sound law applied to the word E. "vulva",which has the change from "w" to "v"? helix "a spiral ...
5
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1answer
281 views

Indo-European prepositions: why prepositions?

In a related but different question to Indo-European prepositions: from whence did they come?, why do just about all modern Indo-European languages have prepositions rather than postpositions? PIE ...
4
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1answer
283 views

Indo-European prepositions: whence did they come?

What manner of theories are there on the origin of Indo-European case-like prepositions (usually; they were originally postpositions, and a handful of languages still have postpositions)? They seem ...
3
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1answer
256 views

Why is the number of grammatical cases in Germanic and Romance languages decreasing?

There is a tendency in Germanic and Romance languages that the number of the grammatical cases is decreasing. The Indo-European proto-language should have 8 grammatical cases, in Latin we already ...
4
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1answer
221 views

Deceangli and Angles: are these two tribe names etymologically related?

In pre-Roman times, there was a Celtic tribe in Britain, called Deceangli. To a layperson, this name bears an interesting resemblance to Angles, the name of another (Germanic) tribe that lived in the ...
2
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2answers
330 views

What caused some IE languages to have consonant inventory sizes different from PIE?

The WALS chapter on consonant inventories shows that the distribution of inventory sizes across languages follows a normal curve, with average size inventories (22 ± 3 consonants) being the most ...
7
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2answers
249 views

Is there a comprehensive account of the development of laryngeal theory?

The laryngeal theory proposes that Proto-Indo-European contained a number of consonants that are absent in (almost) all daughter languages. Their existence was proposed (by Saussure, under the term ...
10
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4answers
728 views

What are the reasons to count Armenian as an Indo-European language?

Often I encounter arguments that Armenian is in fact not an Indo-European language. The claims assert that the regular correspondences between Armenian and PIE are too unrealistic, too rare and too ...
10
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5answers
481 views

Are the Finnish pronouns related to their Indo-European counterparts?

Although not belonging to the Indo-European family, Finnish has personal pronouns that resemble (to a layperson, at least) the corresponding pronouns in Indo-European languages. For example, the ...
10
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3answers
794 views

What is necessary to decide if Lusitanian is a Celtic language?

The Lusitanian language was almost certainly an Indo-European language, but whether or not it was a Celtic language is still uncertain. Some features, as the presence of the initial p- (as in porcom ...
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2answers
444 views

Are there any non-Indo-European languages with go-periphrasis?

Some Indo-European languages have a construction called go-periphrasis, by which some form of the verb go is used in conjunction with the main verb to mark tense. Most languages that have this feature ...
10
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4answers
958 views

What is the origin of non-natural grammatical genders in Indo-European languages?

What is the origin of non-natural grammatical genders in Indo-European languages? (assuming that there is a single origin, if there are many, what are they) How and for what purpose did it develop? ...
8
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3answers
289 views

Do some Indo European languages reflect noun class types other than gender?

In the comments of another question about animate as noun gender in some Slavic languages an interesting point was raised. Many if not most Indo European languages exhibit grammatical gender for ...
5
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1answer
292 views

Is there a general consensus on what modern language is the closest relative of Albanian?

I'm off to Albania tomorrow so starting to get more and more interested in the language. It's one of the outliers on the Indo-European family tree. It's not hard to see a relationship but it's not ...
31
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8answers
2k views

Why did early Indo-European languages seem to be morphologically complex?

Apparently there is a general trend that languages lose morphological marking over time. For example, according to this question PIE had 8 noun cases (nominative, accusative, genitive, etc), Latin 5, ...
20
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5answers
506 views

Which Romance languages have reflexes of nouns in the Latin nominative?

It is generally accepted that the nominal forms in the Romance languages represent reflexes of the Latin accusative rather than the nominative. (This is even true for those languages that have ...
18
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4answers
2k views

Can Modern Hebrew be considered an Indo-European language?

According to this Wikipedia page Zuckermann argues that Israeli Hebrew, which he calls "Israeli", is genetically both Indo-European (Germanic, Slavic and Romance) and Afro-Asiatic (Semitic). ...
22
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4answers
454 views

Are consonant mutations in Indo-European languages specific of the Celtic group?

Consonant mutations are a strong characteristic of the Celtic languages. An example in Breton would be: Khaz /kaz/: cat Ar c'haz /aʁ.xaz/: the cat The /k/ is altered to /x/ after ar. ...