Indo-European Linguistics

Asko Parpola

in The Roots of Hinduism

Published in print September 2015 | ISBN: 9780190226909
Published online August 2015 | e-ISBN: 9780190226947 | DOI:
Indo-European Linguistics

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Understanding the “Aryan problem” requires acquaintance with general and historical linguistics. Words similar in phonetic shape and meaning may accidentally exist in different languages. Proving genetic relationship (descent from a common ancestral language) between specific languages demands comparison of many potentially cognate words and showing that their sound correspondences are regular. All living languages continuously change in all their many aspects, and the changes follow different rules in different languages. In each language, sound laws governing the changes are supposed to operate universally, unless restricted by definite conditions (witness Jakob Grimm’s law about the first Germanic sound shift). Apparent exceptions are mostly due to analogical change. The affrication of stops before front vowels in satem languages differentiated them from the centum languages; this constitutes an early dialectal division of the Indo-European language family, whose main branches and their known history conclude the chapter.

Keywords: historical linguistics; ancestral language; genetic relationship; cognate word; sound correspondences; sound law; analogical change; satem languages; centum languages; Indo-European language family

Chapter.  2875 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Hinduism

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