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73 votes
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Is Sanskrit really the mother of all languages?

No, it is not. First and foremost, there are many languages recorded long before the advent of Sanskrit, and many religions recorded long before the advent of Hinduism. The oldest surviving texts in ...
Draconis's user avatar
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45 votes

Since when did Indo-European languages start associating noun genders with male/female sexes?

Short answer: the association between the grammatical genders and sociological genders happened very early in Indo-European, but it was an association rather than an equivalence and had many ...
Draconis's user avatar
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40 votes
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Is the Indo-European language family made up?

The claim cited in the quote is definitely wrong. The existence of language families is inferred from the data on extant and ancient languages, and there is a rigorous methodology used in this ...
Sir Cornflakes's user avatar
31 votes

Is Sanskrit really the mother of all languages?

Sanskrit is not the mother of all languages. Sanskrit is not even the mother of the modern Indo-Aryan languages of the Northern India. Neither it is their father or grandfather. In fact, no language ...
Yellow Sky's user avatar
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25 votes
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Stable words in the Indo-European language family

Common usage creates irregularity, but not because those words are likely to change—rather, it's because they're not likely to change! These common words are likely to stay in their current forms even ...
Draconis's user avatar
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22 votes

Since when did Indo-European languages start associating noun genders with male/female sexes?

The association was certainly firmly in place already during the time that ancient Greek and Latin grammarians were writing about grammatical gender, so the fact that genus can be translated as "...
brass tacks's user avatar
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19 votes
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Which Indo European language best preserves the features of Proto Indo-European?

There are many possible answers to this question. Historically, the comparative method was born from observing the regularity of phonological and morphological correspondences between Classical ...
Artemij Keidan's user avatar
19 votes

Is the Indo-European language family made up?

The Indo-European family is completely made up, yes. But not for the reason cited in that comment. And the fact it's made up doesn't mean it's not real. Sciences often posit the existence of things ...
Omar and Lorraine's user avatar
18 votes
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Do the words "angst" and "anxiety" share a common root?

Yes, Germanic angst and Latin anxiety are are derived from the same Proto-Indo-European root, which was something like *h₂enǵʰ- "constrict, narrow". Philippa (2003-2009) confirm that they ...
Cerberus's user avatar
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14 votes

Earliest recognition that Germanic and Romance languages are related

The question should probably be restated as something like "When did people begin to believe that Romance and Germanic languages were related with some scholarly basis for that belief?" The ...
TKR's user avatar
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14 votes

Since when did Indo-European languages start associating noun genders with male/female sexes?

Some time after the middle of the 4th millenium BC. As discussed in this article by Luraghi, IE did not develop sex-based gender distinctions until the Anatolian branch split off, which is typically ...
user6726's user avatar
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13 votes

What make Latin and ancient Greek into different subgroups in the Indo-European family of languages?

Latin and Greek are similar enough to clearly be related languages, but they really aren't that similar. Just a few incompatible divergences that must have happened very early in their development: ...
Cairnarvon's user avatar
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12 votes

What are cognates of "fuck" in other Indo-European languages?

From the Oxford English Dictionary: Probably cognate with Dutch fokken to mock (15th cent.), to strike (1591), to fool, gull (1623), to beget children (1637), to have sexual intercourse with (...
fdb's user avatar
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12 votes

Does Linear A potentially have the oldest Indo-European text that we know of?

Potentially, but probably not. It's true that the oldest Linear A inscriptions (c 1850 BCE) are older than the oldest cuneiform Hittite inscriptions (c 1750 BCE). However, many linguists over the ...
Draconis's user avatar
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11 votes
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Why there is a neuter gender in some Indo-European languages, and others apparently dropped it?

The three genders are found in all the oldest Indo-European languages we know (Latin, Greek, Sanskrit, Gothic, Old Irish, Old Church Slavonic, Old Norse) with the exception of Hittite. Hittite had two ...
Colin Fine's user avatar
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11 votes

Etymology of Kalb/Canis

The Latin is from the PIE word *ḱwṓ "dog" which is also the source of Sanskrit श्वन् śván, Irish cú, Greek κύων kýōn, Armenian շուն šun, English hound (from an extended form), and possibly ...
Tristan's user avatar
  • 8,785
10 votes

What did the Greeks and Romans believe about language relationships?

As I've posted in The Other Place, there was indeed a notion of Latin being a dialect of Greek, which a recent paper has described as "Aeolism". The locus classicus for it is Dionysius of ...
Nick Nicholas's user avatar
10 votes

s / h change in Indo-European languages

This is a common sound change. [h] has no constriction above the larynx, and involves spreading the glottis so that any noise generated is turbulence as the air flows through the glottis. Most of the ...
user6726's user avatar
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10 votes
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Subtypes of Standard Average European

First, Latin is not part of Standard Average European (SAE): the sprachbund is thought to have emerged through language contacts during the early middle ages and later, at a time when (classical) ...
Frédéric Grosshans's user avatar
10 votes
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Noun inflection in which IE language is close to PIE noun inflection?

A simply approach to the question is to find which language (if any one language can be determined) has the most similar noun paradigm to PIE. The phonology of the suffixes can also be concidered. ...
Fummy's user avatar
  • 326
10 votes

Is Sanskrit really the mother of all languages?

Not at all. Sanskrit, Latin and a few other languages had a common ancestor called Proto-Indo-European, which was prevalent around 2500 BC on the southern steppes of Russia. It is a fact that ...
joe's user avatar
  • 363
10 votes
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Indo-European languages that have innovated a nominative-accusative distinction for neuter nouns

Russian is such a language. Being a Slavic language, Russian has nouns belong to either animate or inanimate class. The difference is how the Accusative case is formed: the inanimate nouns have ...
Yellow Sky's user avatar
  • 18.5k
10 votes

Is it reasonable to connect the Old Persian/Avestan word for "garden" with the Greek word?

It doesn’t seem like there’s any connection. Persian is not my speciality, but going by etymologies given on Wiktionary, their similarity is completely coincidental. Greek Greek βοτάνη contains the ...
Janus Bahs Jacquet's user avatar
9 votes

Which Indo European language best preserves the features of Proto Indo-European?

To be honest, I think this is a useless question. All IE languages have preserved certain features of the hypothetical parent language and have lost others. All IE languages need to be taken into ...
fdb's user avatar
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9 votes
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Are Germanic languages closer to Italo-Celtic languages or Balto-Slavic languages?

The best answer is: There is no consensus about this. In the big tree of Indogermanic languages there are only two intermediate groupings that are generally accepted: Indo-Iranian and Balto-Slavic. ...
Sir Cornflakes's user avatar
9 votes

Where did the Greek consonant cluster "ps" come from

It's important to note that whilst Greek does spell /ps/ with a single letter, it does not represent a single phoneme, but a sequence of two. In native vocabulary, Greek /ps/ continues the Proto-Indo-...
Tristan's user avatar
  • 8,785
8 votes
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What decides the language family of a language the most structure/grammar or the vocabulary?

Your question isn't entirely clear, and Greg Lee has implicitly answered one version, namely how do we determine the subgrouping of languages that we know to be related, for example how do we know ...
user6726's user avatar
  • 83.1k
8 votes

What language was spoken in East Asia before Proto-Turkic?

As for the title question, the answer would be "many languages, including proto-Chinese". Focusing on the question in the body, the language spoken by the historical ancestors of proto-Turks, there ...
user6726's user avatar
  • 83.1k
8 votes

What is the best linguistic term for describing the kw > p / gw > b change, and its usual companion s > h

The change from /s/ to /h/ is called debuccalization, from Latin bucca, "mouth". The name is generally applied to any change that turns a non-glottal sound glottal, since it's moving the articulation "...
Draconis's user avatar
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8 votes
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Is it accurate to say that the Spanish language has no connection whatsoever with the Greek language?

No, it isn't. Spanish and Greek are both part of the Indogermanic language family and therefore historically connected. However, this historic connection is rather old, the split between proto-Greek ...
Sir Cornflakes's user avatar

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