Press Esc to close

Origin of Indian languages traced to Turkey

Kalyan Ray New Delhi, Aug 24, 2012, DHNS 22:39 IST

Majority of these were spoken by pre-historic farmers of the country

A new study has suggested that languages spoken in North India and in a majority of countries across the world originated from an extinct language spoken by pre-historic farmers who lived in modern day Turkey almost 8,000-9,500 years ago.

According to the study published in the August 24 issue of Science, languages spoken by them (pre-historic farmers) traveled across the globe and coinciding with the spread of agriculture branched out into 400 diverse languages, including a large number of modern ones spoken by three billion people in every inhabited continents.

Indian languages that can trace their origin back to “Anatolia” (largely in Turkey) include Marathi, Hindi, Gujarati, Bengali, Kashmiri, Oriya, Marwari, Bhojpuri and Urdu. All of these along with English belong to a family called “Indo-European languages”. Interestingly, the south Indian languages were not taken into consideration as they had a Dravidian origin.

This is one of the largest language families in the world and includes Celtic, Germanic, Italic, Balto-Slavic and Indo-Iranian languages.

Some of the prominent descendents are English, German, French, Spanish, Russian and Polish as well as Indo-Iranian languages like Persian and Hindi, and ancient ones such as Sanskrit and Greek. “To the untrained ear, languages like English, Dutch, Spanish, Russian, Greek and Hindi might all sound very different from each other but in fact, they show remarkable similarities because of which scholars concluded that these languages and hundreds of others across Europe and Near East are in fact all related, having sprung from a common source,” said Michael Dunn from Radboud University in the Netherlands and one of the authors of the study.

The latest findings support one of two hotly debated hypothesises for the origins of this language family. Previously some researchers proposed that Anatolia was the source of this language family, beginning 8,000 to 9,500 years ago.

But there is an alternate hypothesis suggesting, the Indo-European language originated in north of the Caspian Sea in the Russian steppes, where it was first disseminated by a semi-nomadic, horse-riding people known as the “Kurgan”, starting about 6,000 years ago.

To test both of these hypothesises, Quentin Atkinson at University of Auckland in New Zealand and colleagues in Europe adapted a computational method used by evolutionary biologists to work out how species are related in a family tree, based on similarities and differences in their DNA.

Instead of comparing species, the authors compared Indo-European languages, and instead of DNA, they looked for shared cognates, which are words that have a common origin, such as “mother”, “mutter” and “madre”.

Go to Top

Most trending stories
Photo Gallery
BJP supporters during a BJP campaign rally attended by Prime Minister Narendra Modi...

BJP supporters during a BJP campaign rally attended by Prime Minister Narendra Modi...

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau with his son Hardien walks towards...

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau with his son Hardien walks towards...

Rolls-Royce Asia Pacific Regional Director Paul Harris at the launch of eight generation...

Rolls-Royce Asia Pacific Regional Director Paul Harris at the launch of eight generation...

Pigeons fly over the historical Jama Masjid in New Delhi...

Pigeons fly over the historical Jama Masjid in New Delhi...

BJP MP Hema Malini addresses a press conference regarding Braj Holi Rasotsav...

BJP MP Hema Malini addresses a press conference regarding Braj Holi Rasotsav...

Inmates of Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose central jail perform a tribal dance...

Inmates of Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose central jail perform a tribal dance...

A view of Sunder Nursery at Hazrat Nizamuddin in...

A view of Sunder Nursery at Hazrat Nizamuddin in...

Mahila Congress activists make 'pakodas' to protest against alleged unemployement...

Mahila Congress activists make 'pakodas' to protest against alleged unemployement...

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and First Lady Sophie Grgoire greet visitors...

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and First Lady Sophie Grgoire greet visitors...

Gold medalist Mariama Jamanka of Germany gets lifted by silver medal winner Lauren Gibbs...

Gold medalist Mariama Jamanka of Germany gets lifted by silver medal winner Lauren Gibbs...

Like us on Facebook

Copyright 2017, The Printers (Mysore) Private Ltd., 75, M.G Road, Post Box 5331, Bengaluru - 560001
Tel: +91 (80) 25880000 Fax No. +91 (80) 25880523
Powered by Yodasoft Technologies Pvt. Ltd.