Indo-European and Indo-Europeans

A. Sherratt and S. Sherratt

in Oxford Research Encyclopedia of Classics

Published online December 2015 | e-ISBN: 9780199381135 | DOI:

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For the last 200 years it has been recognized that languages such as Greek, Latin, and Sanskrit share regularities which indicate a close historical relationship (see linguistics, comparative and historical). This grouping, termed Indo-European (IE) to indicate its geographical extent in historical times, includes some nine major living language-groups and also extinct ones known only through inscriptions. The earliest recorded examples belong to the second millennium bce, and include extinct *Anatolian languages such as *Hittite and Luwian (c. 17th cent. bce), as well as the bronze age form of Greek written in Linear B (e.g. at *Cnossus, 14th cent. bce); but many unrecorded languages and language-groups of this family must once have existed, only some of which gave rise to successors which have left evidence in written or spoken form. The peoples who spoke any of this family of related languages might be termed—in a purely linguistic sense—Indo-Europeans.

Article.  727 words. 

Subjects: Historical and Diachronic Linguistics

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