You have seen that I asked a question about Proto-Indo-Uralic and whether or not it could be reconstructed using Proto-Indo-European, Proto-Uralic, and internal reconstruction in those branches. One person said kind of, and the other one said no. (I'm reading the paper that one of the people sent me about Schleicher's fable being reconstructed in PIU.) However, if such a language existed (and I believe so and more importantly there is evidence that it did, though the proof is not settled nearly as much as the Indo-European or Uralic languages), when was it spoken?

  • 4
    If Japanese were Indo-European, which existing Indo-European subfamily would it be part of? It's very hard to give a meaningful answer when the question is based on this sort of premise—again, very few linguists in my experience seriously believe in "Indo-Uralic", and I've never seen particularly compelling evidence for it. – Draconis Nov 27 '19 at 23:23
  • 1
    About 50 miles south of where Proto-Indo-Semitic was spoken, and 30 miles west of the homeland of Proto-Altaic speakers. – Robert Columbia Nov 28 '19 at 0:15
  • 3
    @vectory this question may be flawed but the question of "where" is endlessly debated for proto-languages within the field of linguistics. Let's not cling to mirrors to find reasons to dismiss questions, especially when there's better reasons anyway. (Also the question was "when".) – LjL Nov 28 '19 at 0:30
  • 1
    The primary question was already dismissed in the previous thread. Logically, ex falso quot libet. "What if" is a Q for world building SE. The Q had "where" in the title. Where and when are inseperably tied, so there's no help in striking where. I'm voting close because of the mode of asking, not for the question itself, though it is badly written. OP had been offered two sources, which they can't have read yet, or if they did, don't show it. If there's no mention of when or where, then guess why. – vectory Nov 28 '19 at 1:31
  • 1
    This seems like a sensible question to me. Linguists who believe in Indo-Uralic, though a minority, have theories about when and where it was spoken, and it's fair to ask what those are. – TKR Nov 28 '19 at 19:24

Short answer: about to 6001 BC near the northern beaches on Caspian Sea.

Long answer:


As @jknappen states, there is probably no evidence that Indo-Uralic really existed. But if this paper is believable, it states that:

Based on the current archaeological and genetic data, it is likely that the Neolithic Pontic-Caspian steppes represented the Proto-Uralic community to the west (Mariupol) and the Proto-Indo-European community to the east (Samara-Orlovska), already separated during the 6th millennium BC; before, during and after which period they influenced each other with successive population movements. We will assume in this paper an ancient genetic relationship—that is, that Early Proto-Indo-European is in fact Proto-Indo-Uralic—which is supported by the initial formation and continued similar genetic admixture in the Eneolithic steppe. By the time of the Suvorovo-Novodanilovka expansion at the end of the 5th millennium, though, they were already two different, unintelligible languages.

Based on this, we can assume two things:

  1. Proto-Indo-Uralic as one language is probably spoken on 7th millenium BC.
  2. Since the 6001 BC is the latest 7th millenium BC date, the last time Proto-Indo-Uralic was spoken as the same language was around 6001 BC.


Indo-Uralic is probably spoken near the northern beaches on Caspian Sea. If the Wikipedia is believable, it states that:

The Dutch linguist Frederik Kortlandt supports a model of Indo-Uralic in which the original Indo-Uralic speakers lived north of the Caspian Sea, and the Proto-Indo-European speakers began as a group that branched off westward from there to come into geographic proximity with the Northwest Caucasian languages, absorbing a Northwest Caucasian lexical blending before moving farther westward to a region north of the Black Sea where their language settled into canonical Proto-Indo-European (2002:1). Allan Bomhard suggests a similar schema in Indo-European and the Nostratic Hypothesis (1996). Alternatively, the common protolanguage may have been located north of the Black Sea, with Proto-Uralic moving northwards with the climatic improvement of post-glacial times.


Probably never.

There is currently no evidence for an Indo-Uralic clade in linguistics, see this question and its answers for a discussion of the current state of Indo-Uralic.

There is probably a last common ancestor for Uralic and Indogermanic languages, but it probably was also the ancestor of some other language groups as well.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.