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Mother of all Indo-European languages was born in Turkey
AFP ^ | 11/26/2003 | N/A

Posted on 11/26/2003 5:35:02 PM PST by a_Turk

PARIS (AFP) - The vast group of languages that dominates Europe and much of Central and South Asia originated around 8,000 years ago among farmers in what is now Anatolia, Turkey.

So say a pair of New Zealand academics who have remarkably retraced the family tree of so-called Indo-European languages -- a linguistic classification that covers scores of tongues ranging from Faroese to Hindi by way of English, French, German, Gujarati, Nepalese and Russian.

Russell Gray and Quentin Atkinson, psychologists at the University of Auckland, built their language tree on the same principles as the theory of genetic evolution.

According to this idea, words, like genes, survive according to their fitness.

Imported words take root in a language in response to evolutionary pressures or if they answer a need, and words can also fall out of use, rather like "silent" DNA that appears to be a relic in the genome and serves no known purpose.

The languages that are spoken and written today are the result of historical layering, of addition and deletion, that can be carefully scraped away to trace their previous sources, Gray and Atkinson suggest in the British weekly scientific journal Nature.

The similarity is phylogeny -- the reconstruction of the evolutionary history of organisms.

In theory, an evolutionary biologist one can work all the way back to LUCA: the "last universal common ancestor," presumed to be a bacterium, which evolved into all life as we know it today.

Using a parallel method, Gray and Atkinson turned back the clock on 87 languages, using sophisticated software to trace the path taken by 2,449 "cognates" -- fundamental words in each language that are presumed to derive from a common ancestor.

Their study produces an estimated age-range for the very first Indo-European language of between 7,800 and 9,800 years ago, among rural communities who lived in modern-day Anatolia and for whom there is already an impressive array of archaeological evidence.

Successful pioneers in agriculture, these people migrated westwards and eastwards and the languages evolved accordingly, becoming the tongues that today are so diverse that they would seem to share no common link.

"The pattern and timing of expansion... is consistent with the Anatolian farming theory," Gray and Atkinson suggest.

"Radiocarbon analysis of the earliest Neolithic sites across Europe suggests that agriculture arrived in Greece at some time during the ninth millennium BP (before the present day) and had received as far as Scotland by 5,500 BP."

About 6,000 years ago, the western branch of linguistic migration began to fork into smaller branches, according to their calculations.

The branches progressively became the Celtic languages (2,900 years ago), Romance languages (1,700 years ago) and, 1,750 years ago, the Germanic languages of northern Europe, including rudimentary English.

As for the eastern branch, the biggest fork occurred about 4,600 years ago.

It split into two groups, one of which became the languages of Central Asia today while the other eventually evolved into the major languages of the latter-day sub-continent.

The rival to the Anatolian theory is the notion that roving tribes of Kurgan horsemen expanded into Europe and the Middle East from the steppes of Asia around 6,000 years ago, sowing the linguistic seed for what would become all Indo-European languages today.


TOPICS: Culture/Society; Editorial; News/Current Events; Philosophy
KEYWORDS: anatolia; asiaminor; cuneiform; epigraphyandlanguage; ggg; godsgravesglyphs; indoeuropean; language; lineara; linearb; linguistics; turkey
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1 posted on 11/26/2003 5:35:03 PM PST by a_Turk
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To: Shermy; aristotleman; prairiebreeze; Dog Gone; alethia; AM2000; ARCADIA; ...
Before someone wlse says it: It wasn't Turkey then.
2 posted on 11/26/2003 5:35:56 PM PST by a_Turk (Temperance, Fortitude, Prudence, and Justice..)
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To: blam
BUMP!
3 posted on 11/26/2003 5:38:01 PM PST by Cool Guy (Why is my comment a big jumbled mess?)
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To: a_Turk
Next, they'll probably find the ruins of a towel called Babel. Sounds good to me.
4 posted on 11/26/2003 5:38:33 PM PST by rovenstinez
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To: a_Turk
"Pre-empting-a-verbal-attack-by-certain-kneejerk-balkanites-BUMP"
5 posted on 11/26/2003 5:39:21 PM PST by aristotleman
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To: a_Turk
As for the eastern branch, the biggest fork occurred about 4,600 years ago.
This is when Ebonics separated from internet geek-speak.
6 posted on 11/26/2003 5:41:11 PM PST by Asclepius (karma vigilante)
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To: a_Turk
It wasn't Turkey then.

Yeah, everybody knows thats when they were Ottomans.

7 posted on 11/26/2003 5:42:19 PM PST by putupon (Shoes for industry, pills for Bill Gates, comrades.)
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To: rovenstinez
The Towel of Babel soaked up too many resources and collapsed in a limp pile.
8 posted on 11/26/2003 5:45:52 PM PST by RightWhale (Close your tag lines)
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To: a_Turk
I guess it's PC to say BP but since in the US it's still
2003AD then I'll say 7,000BC instead of 9000BP/
9 posted on 11/26/2003 5:45:59 PM PST by hford02 ((We built the UN in NYC to lower the overhead for all socialist spies))
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To: a_Turk
Mother of all Indo-European languages was born in Turkey

Glad that Mother got out!!1 ;-)

10 posted on 11/26/2003 5:50:58 PM PST by HoustonCurmudgeon (PEACE - Through Superior Firepower)
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To: a_Turk
Near the mountains of Arrarat perhaps? Shades of Noah's ark.
11 posted on 11/26/2003 5:57:46 PM PST by Ahban
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To: hford02
Where does Sanskrit fit into this picture? I recall reading that Indo-European can be traced to Sanskrit origins.
12 posted on 11/26/2003 5:57:50 PM PST by stanz (Those who don't believe in evolution should go jump off the flat edge of the Earth.)
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To: a_Turk
Hence the phrase: Let's talk turkey.
13 posted on 11/26/2003 6:04:58 PM PST by Consort
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To: a_Turk
Some say Anatolia, some say the Kurgan people to the North of the Black Sea, some say teh peoples at the mouth of the Danube were the origin.

The curious thing is that the Black Sea wasn't there 8 to 9 thousand BP. The Mediteranean didn't break through into the Black Sea Basin till around 7 thousand BP.

A lot of people are beginning to gues that the true source of the Indo European peoples was under the present Black Sea.

So9

14 posted on 11/26/2003 6:09:26 PM PST by Servant of the 9 (Effing the Ineffable.)
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To: stanz
No, Sanskrit is an ancient Indo-European language as far I know.

In fact, Indo-European is just a catch-all, there may have been some proto-languages around that area, but I doubt it started with just this group of neolithic farmers. Likely it had a few epicenters and as it spread the branches spread out(romance, Greek, German, etc)
15 posted on 11/26/2003 6:11:14 PM PST by Skywalk
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To: a_Turk; *Gods, Graves, Glyphs; Alas Babylon!; Andyman; annyokie; bd476; BiffWondercat; ...
Gods, Graves, Glyphs
List for articles regarding early civilizations , life of all forms, - dinosaurs - etc.

Let me know if you wish to be added or removed from this ping list.

16 posted on 11/26/2003 6:18:10 PM PST by farmfriend ( Isaiah 55:10,11)
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To: Skywalk
Kinda makes you wonder doesn't it? When you've got basically a 'farmer's language' that forms the basis of modern Western languages, it makes you wonder if the so-called 'cognates' or basic language 'markers' didn't have a lot to do with the various kinds of manure people would encounter as they migrated out of the Anatolian valleys.

'Well' said Bubba 'You've got you're chickenshit, you've got you're bullshit, horseshit, shit-on-a-shingle; there's water buffalo shit, yak shit, pig shit, as well as your batshit, and a hundred and twenty five kinds of rodent shit..."
17 posted on 11/26/2003 6:25:04 PM PST by hleewilder
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To: a_Turk
This is nothing new; the Hittites of Biblical fame spoke an Indo-European tongue, as do the Armenians, Iranians, Hindus, Pakistanis and various tribes of Afghanistan.

We Honkies are everywhere...

18 posted on 11/26/2003 6:32:22 PM PST by Chairman Fred (@mousiedung.commie)
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To: stanz
I recall reading that Indo-European can be traced to Sanskrit origins.

Udder way 'round. Sanskrit is a very old Eastern Indo-European Language. There are two main branches of Indo-European, the Eastern or "Satem" languages and the Western or "Centum" (pronounced "Kentum") branch. Satem and centum are Avestan (old Iranian) and Latin for one-hundred. In the Eastern branch, the first sound in this word was invariably a sibilant (e.g., "s", "sh" ,etc), in the Western branch a fricative ( "h", "k"...).

Sanskrit, which can be translated as "holy" or "sacred", is a very old member of the Indic family. It stands in relation to modern Indic languages somewhat in the same status as Latin to modern Romance languages. It is fairly far evolved from Indo-European. It is interesting because it still preserves the full grammatic structure and inflections of the older language. One feature is particulary intriguing, the "number" of a noun can be singular, dual or plural. In other words the form of the word for man can be "man", "two (or both) men" or "(more than two) men". There are lots of things that occur so often in pairs that perhaps this is natural: hands, eyes, arms, twins.... English to this day has a unique dual designation, "both". "Both eyes" or "both arms" are different than "two eyes" or "two arms".

19 posted on 11/26/2003 6:35:37 PM PST by Lonesome in Massachussets (Uday and Qusay and Idi-ay are ead-day)
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To: a_Turk
What does Turkey mean in turkish?
20 posted on 11/26/2003 6:45:10 PM PST by Jabba the Nutt
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To: a_Turk

21 posted on 11/26/2003 6:48:57 PM PST by sourcery (This is your country. This is your country under socialism. Any questions? Just say no to Socialism!)
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To: stanz
I believe that this belief was disproved more than 150 years ago. See other posts for current state of knowledge.
22 posted on 11/26/2003 6:53:55 PM PST by maro
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To: a_Turk
Try UNDER the black sea....
23 posted on 11/26/2003 6:55:34 PM PST by Hunble
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To: putupon
>> Yeah, everybody knows thats when they were Ottomans.


You're not serious, right?
24 posted on 11/26/2003 7:17:57 PM PST by a_Turk (Temperance, Fortitude, Prudence, and Justice..)
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To: Jabba the Nutt
Hindi.
25 posted on 11/26/2003 7:20:06 PM PST by a_Turk (Temperance, Fortitude, Prudence, and Justice..)
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To: a_Turk
Interesting article. I enjoy history. Keep me pinged on stuff like this.
26 posted on 11/26/2003 7:37:45 PM PST by SpookBrat
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To: a_Turk

Another far flung language group, I think called Altaic, started where present day Mongolia is today. This group gave rise to presdent day Mongolian and Turkish languages, also Hungarian, Finnish, Estonian and possibly Japanese and Koran.
27 posted on 11/26/2003 7:40:36 PM PST by JNB
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To: Servant of the 9; a_Turk; Cool Guy
"The curious thing is that the Black Sea wasn't there 8 to 9 thousand BP. The Mediteranean didn't break through into the Black Sea Basin till around 7 thousand BP."

"A lot of people are beginning to gues that the true source of the Indo European peoples was under the present Black Sea."

You got it. The Black Sea flood (Noah's Flood) 7,600 years ago changed everything. At that time the whole region was very arid, people were crowded around the fresh water Black Sea as fishermen and irrigation farmers, most were farmers. (The sea edge and the river valleys were the only places liveable)

When the 'plug' at the Bosporus broke, the water in the whole Black Sea began to rise at the rate of six inches a day and covered the villages around the edge under 550 feet of salt water. Most survived and were able to walk away with what they could carry and their animals.
The survivors streamed up the river valleys of the Don, Dniepier, Danube and others shoving out or killing the valley inhabitants before them. Remember, the river valleys were the only inhabitable areas now (fresh water) because the Black Sea is becoming salt water, everyone's world changed.

These refugees streamed into Europe bringing farming and the language with them. They streamed across the Anatolian Plateau to become the Sumerians (Gilgamesh), Egyptians (pyramid builders) and others. They set out across the steppes where they were recently discovered as mummies in China (Tocharians) and some even believe they are the Ainu of Japan(I don't). They are also the Aryians who invaded Northern India.

28 posted on 11/26/2003 7:42:30 PM PST by blam
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To: a_Turk
Yikes... Ike Ants Pee King Lish !!! ;-))

.

29 posted on 11/26/2003 7:44:38 PM PST by GeekDejure ( LOL = Liberals Obey Lucifer !!!)
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To: a_Turk
bump for later ..........
30 posted on 11/26/2003 7:46:21 PM PST by RedWhiteBlue
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Comment #31 Removed by Moderator

To: putupon
Yeah, everybody knows thats when they were Ottomans.

Ottomans? I'm confused!

32 posted on 11/26/2003 7:50:40 PM PST by Revolting cat! (Merry Pre-Xmas Storewide Sales Event For Limited Time Only!)
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To: a_Turk
.....for later
33 posted on 11/26/2003 8:06:53 PM PST by rface (Ashland, Missouri - Republicans for Dean)
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To: blam
Your comments make a lot of sense to me, intuitively. Can you point me to any good books on the subject?
34 posted on 11/26/2003 8:10:13 PM PST by ARepublicanForAllReasons
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To: ARepublicanForAllReasons
"Can you point me to any good books on the subject?"

A book by Ryan & Pittman titled Noah's Flood

35 posted on 11/26/2003 8:34:43 PM PST by blam
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To: Lonesome in Massachussets
Another example of the satem/centum divide is the word for "heart." In Greek (centum) it is "kardia." In Latin (centum) it is "cor" (root "cord-"). In English (centum) the initial "k" sound has changed to an "h" giving us "heart." (The same k/h correspondence can be seen in the Greek, Latin, and English words for "dog" [kyon/canis/hound]...and that's why the English word for 100 starts with an "h"). In Russian (satem), the word for "heart" is "serdtse." (Same root but the "k" sound is replaced with an "s" sound.)
36 posted on 11/26/2003 8:41:25 PM PST by Verginius Rufus
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To: ARepublicanForAllReasons
J. P. Mallory, In Search of the Indo-Europeans (Thames and Hudson, 1989; ISBN 0-500-27616-1).
37 posted on 11/26/2003 8:43:56 PM PST by Verginius Rufus
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To: a_Turk
Italian Archaeologist: Anatolia - Home To First Civilization On Earth
38 posted on 11/26/2003 8:49:26 PM PST by blam
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To: ARepublicanForAllReasons; Verginius Rufus
Tracking The Tarim Mummies
39 posted on 11/26/2003 8:56:56 PM PST by blam
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To: Lonesome in Massachussets
I haven't given serious study to anything as exotic as Sanskrit, but how languages evolved has long been an interest of mine. Since the Indo-European languages are related, the study of one can pay off in interesting ways. For example, I recently "discovered" the Latvian language. I can read Russian and German and was aware of the Baltic languages but had not studied them. I recently obtained a Bible in Latvian, and immediately saw the "Russian" grammar all over the place! Many of the words have more or less similar counterparts in Russian, German (and Swedish) and Latin. The more Latvian I read, the more of it "clicks" in my mind. What did not "click" was when I have tried to read a language like Hungarian that is from a different framework. I was unable to guess at the meaning of the words or the sentence structure in Hungarian -- I was completely in unfamiliar territory.
40 posted on 11/26/2003 9:13:30 PM PST by Wilhelm Tell (Lurking since 1997!)
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To: Wilhelm Tell
Lithuanian is supposed to be the most old-fashioned of all the Indo-European languages, at least those which are still spoken, and I think Latvian and Lithuanian are fairly close (they are both labeled as Baltic languages).
41 posted on 11/26/2003 9:45:47 PM PST by Verginius Rufus
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To: Lonesome in Massachussets
One feature is particulary intriguing, the "number" of a noun can be singular, dual or plural

Another interesting thing about Sanskrit is the ability to form non-linear sentences. Because the each word has a case imbedded in it, the words of a sentence can theoretically be placed in any order and the sentence still makes sense. The Sanskrit alpahabet is also fascinating as the letters are grouped by how the mouth is formed when pronouncing them. pa pha ba bha ma is the 'labial' group, for example.

42 posted on 11/26/2003 11:21:49 PM PST by servantoftheservant
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To: Wilhelm Tell
I believe the Hungarian and Finnish languages, along with Gypsy dialects have Sanskrit as common relations.
43 posted on 11/26/2003 11:23:21 PM PST by servantoftheservant
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To: sourcery
Sounds Yodaish, or in other words, the sentence structure is very similar to how we structure ours.

"Yesterday to the store I went."

"Around the survivors a perimeter create."

I wonder what changed the structure in later years?
44 posted on 11/26/2003 11:34:36 PM PST by a_Turk (Temperance, Fortitude, Prudence, and Justice..)
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To: Verginius Rufus; blam
Thank you for the cool references.
45 posted on 11/27/2003 3:12:05 AM PST by ARepublicanForAllReasons
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To: Verginius Rufus
Lithuanian is supposed to be the most old-fashioned of all the Indo-European languages, at least those which are still spoken, and I think Latvian and Lithuanian are fairly close (they are both labeled as Baltic languages).

That is my understanding, too. It is remarkable that these two languages have survived, as both peoples have been often dominated by other countries. There once was another Baltic language called Prussian, but it is extinct -- I suppose the people who spoke that language either became Poles or Germans.

46 posted on 11/27/2003 3:43:56 AM PST by Wilhelm Tell (Lurking since 1997!)
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To: a_Turk; 4ConservativeJustices
Mother of all Indo-European languages was born in Turkey

Wonder how far away this place is from Babel??

47 posted on 11/27/2003 3:47:09 AM PST by Ff--150 (The blessing of the LORD, it maketh rich)
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To: hleewilder
You're on FreeRepublic. How could you have forgotten the Møøse mudpatties?
48 posted on 11/27/2003 3:52:29 AM PST by FreedomPoster (this space intentionally blank)
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To: a_Turk
Sounds a lot like the theory developed by Colin Renfrew in Archaeology and Language. I wonder if these guys have refined the theory, or found further evidence for it?
49 posted on 11/27/2003 4:00:14 AM PST by aristeides
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To: servantoftheservant
Another interesting thing about Sanskrit is the ability to form non-linear sentences.

I'm not a linguist, but I believe that it shares this characteristic with all older IE languages. In general, they evolved stylistic conventions that became set as rules. For instance in most Western European EI languages the convention was verb-second in declarative sentences, with the element one wished to stress first. This lead to subject-verb order as the norm in the descendents of these languages. (In interogative sentences it was verb first. Did you get that?) As English lost its inflections, it came to depend on word order to convey meaning. It shares this trait with Chinese. In spoken English we also depend on stress and tone to convey meaning.

50 posted on 11/27/2003 4:46:33 AM PST by Lonesome in Massachussets (Uday and Qusay and Idi-ay are ead-day)
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