Indo-European is a family of languages that, as
associated with its name, first spread across Europe as well as South Asia, and
later to every corner of the globe as a result of colonization. As mentioned
before, the name is strictly geographical and represents the primary lands
where the family of languages were used. It is one of the most popular family
of language spoken by almost 45% of the world population.
The various subgroups of the Indo-European
language family include ten major branches: “Albanian, Anatolian, Armenian,
Balto-Slavic, Baltic, Celtic, Germanic, Hellenic and Indo-Aryan, Italic and
Tocharian”. “Indo-European languages are classified genealogically”, meaning
that some of the subgroups might have the same ancestors and were divided later
on, however the languages can be also classified by the sequence of rules like
for example Germanic group. Languages in the Germanic group usually follow the
same or very similar principles with grammar or even word-formation. It would
not have been possible to establish the existence of the Indo-European language
family if scholars had not compared the systematically recurring resemblances
among European languages and Sanskrit, the oldest language of the Indian
subcontinent that left many written documents. The common origin of European
languages and Sanskrit was first proposed by Sir William Jones. Later the same
theory was sustained and it has been discovered that all Indo-European
languages descended from a common ancestor, Proto-Indo-European (PIE) only
to later on split into different branches which, in turn, split into different
languages. What I found interesting is the fact, that PIE left no written
records. However, historical linguists decided to construct family trees on the
basis of the comparative method. The comparative method takes shared features
among languages and uses procedures to establish their common ancestry. Unevenness
of existing records and huge gaps in the chronology among Indo-European
languages make the reconstruction of PIE grammar a difficult task. Modern
Indo-European languages reflect the rich morphology of PIE to various degrees.
This, we can see in nouns, pronouns and
Case: Sanskrit had the most cases (8), followed by Old Church Slavonic,
Lithuanian, and Old Armenian (7), Latin (6), Greek, Old Irish, Albanian (5),
Gender: The three genders (masculine, feminine, neuter) have survived in a number
of Indo-European languages.
Number: The three numbers (singular, dual, plural) survived in Sanskrit, Greek,
and Old Irish. Vestiges of the dual number can be found in many other
Adjective-Noun agreement: which has survived in many
As well as in verbs as PIE verbs had different sets of endings
tense/aspect, voice and mood in addition to person and number:
Tense and aspect: It is
thought that the PIE verb system was aspect-based, although traditionally,
aspect has been confused with tense. Although tense was not formally marked in
PIE, most Indo-European languages define their verbal systems in terms of
tense, rather than aspect.
Voice: PIE had two voices: active
(e.g., The child broke the glass) and medio-passive which
combined reflexive and passive voices (e.g., The child washed himself and The
child was washed by his mother). In addition to the active voice, various
Indo-European languages use the middle or the passive voices.
Mood: It is hypothesized the PIE
had four moods: indicative, optative, subjunctive, and imperative. Most of
these moods exist in all Indo-European languages.
Person and number: PIE verbs were marked for person (1st, 2nd, 3rd) and
number (singular, dual, plural).
It is suspected, that despite being unaware of their common linguistic
origin, diverse groups of Indo-European speakers continued to culturally
dominate and replace the indigenous languages of the western two-thirds of
Eurasia. Due to colonization and the modern dominance of Indo-European
languages in the fields of global science, technology, education, finance, and
sports many modern countries whose populations largely speak non-Indo-European languages
have Indo-European languages as official languages. What is more, English being
one of the most popular and universal language of the world is one of the most
frequent language used on the Internet. Knowing how powerful the Internet is,
it is believed to spread the Indo-European languages family even more.