Indo-Iranian languages


Indo-Iranian languages
Indo-Iranian
Geographic
distribution:
Eastern Europe, Southwest Asia, Central Asia, South Asia
Linguistic classification: Indo-European
  • Indo-Iranian
Proto-language: Proto-Indo-Iranian
Subdivisions:
ISO 639-5: iir

The Indo-Iranian language group constitutes the easternmost extant branch of the Indo-European family of languages. It consists of three language groups: the Indo-Aryan, Iranian and Nuristani. The Indo-Iranian languages occasionally go by the term "Aryan languages."[1] The speakers of the Proto-Indo-Iranian language, the hypothetical Proto-Indo-Iranians, are usually associated with the late 3rd millennium BC Andronovo and Sintashta-Petrovka cultures of Central Asia. Their expansion is believed to have been connected with the invention of the chariot.

The contemporary Indo-Iranian languages form the largest sub-branch of Indo-European, with more than one billion speakers in total, stretching from Europe (Romani) and the Caucasus (Ossetian) eastward to Xinjiang (Sarikoli) and Assam (Assamese) and south to Sri Lanka (Sinhalese). SIL in a 2005 estimate counts a total of 308 varieties, the largest in terms of native speakers being Hindustani (Hindi and Urdu, ca. 190-330 million), Bengali (ca. 190 million), Punjabi (ca. 88 million), Marathi (ca. 70 million), Persian (ca. 70 million), Pashto (ca. 50 million), Gujarati (ca. 46 million), Bhojpuri (ca. 35 million), Awadhi (ca. 35 million), Maithili (ca. 35 million), Oriya (ca. 32 million), Marwari (ca. 31 million), Sindhi (ca. 21 million), Rajasthani (ca. 20 million), Chhattisgarhi (ca. 17 million), Assamese (ca. 17 million), Kurdish (ca. 16 million), Sinhalese (ca. 16 million), and Rangpuri (ca. 15 million).

Indo-Iranian languages were once spoken across a still wider area. The Scythians were described by Roman writer Strabo as inhabiting the lands to the north of the Black Sea in present-day Ukraine, Moldova and Romania. The river-names Don, Dnieper, Danube etc. are possibly of Indo-Iranian origin. The so-called Migration Period saw Indo-Iranian languages disappear from Eastern Europe with the arrival of the Turkic-speaking Pechenegs and others by the eighth century AD.

The oldest attested Indo-Iranian languages are Vedic Sanskrit (ancient Indian), Avestan and Old Persian (two ancient Iranian languages). But there are written instances of a fourth language in Northern Mesopotamia (see Indo-Aryan superstrate in Mitanni) which is considered to be Indo-Aryan. It is attested in documents from the ancient empire of Mitanni and the Hittites of Anatolia.

Contents

Subdivisions

Indo-European topics

Albanian · Armenian · Baltic
Celtic · Germanic · Greek
Indo-Iranian (Indo-Aryan, Iranian)
Italic · Slavic  

extinct: Anatolian · Paleo-Balkan (Dacian,
Phrygian, Thracian· Tocharian

Vocabulary · Phonology · Sound laws · Ablaut · Root · Noun · Verb
 
Europe: Balts · Slavs · Albanians · Italics · Celts · Germanic peoples · Greeks · Paleo-Balkans (Illyrians · Thracians · Dacians·

Asia: Anatolians (Hittites, Luwians)  · Armenians  · Indo-Iranians (Iranians · Indo-Aryans)  · Tocharians  

Homeland · Society · Religion
 
Abashevo culture · Afanasevo culture · Andronovo culture · Baden culture · Beaker culture · Catacomb culture · Cernavodă culture · Chasséen culture · Chernoles culture · Corded Ware culture · Cucuteni-Trypillian culture · Dnieper-Donets culture · Gumelniţa-Karanovo culture · Gushi culture · Karasuk culture · Kemi Oba culture · Khvalynsk culture · Kura-Araxes culture · Lusatian culture · Maykop culture · Middle Dnieper culture · Narva culture · Novotitorovka culture · Poltavka culture · Potapovka culture · Samara culture · Seroglazovo culture · Sredny Stog culture · Srubna culture · Terramare culture · Usatovo culture · Vučedol culture · Yamna culture
 

Indo-Aryan Group:

Insular Indo-Aryan

Iranian Group:

Nuristani languages:

See also

References

Bibliography

External links


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Look at other dictionaries:

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