List of Indo-European languages

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Indo-European languages worldwide by country
  Official or primary language
  Secondary official language
  No use
The approximate present-day distribution of the Indo-European branches within their homelands of Europe and Asia:
  Non-Indo-European languages
Dotted/striped areas indicate where multilingualism is common.
The approximate present-day distribution of Indo-European languages within the Americas by country:

The Indo-European languages include some 449 (SIL estimate, 2018 edition[1]) language families spoken by about or more than 3.5 billion people (roughly half of the world population). Most of the major languages belonging to language branches and groups of Europe, and western and southern Asia, belong to the Indo-European language family. Therefore, Indo-European is the biggest language family in the world by number of mother tongue speakers (but not by number of languages in which it is the 3rd or 5th biggest). Eight of the top ten biggest languages, by number of native speakers, are Indo-European. One of these languages, English, is the de facto World Lingua Franca with an estimate of over one billion second language speakers.

Each subfamily or linguistic branch in this list contains many subgroups and individual languages. Indo-European language family has 10 known branches or subfamilies, of which eight are living and two are extinct. The relation of Indo-European branches, how they are related to one another and branched from the ancestral proto-language is a matter of further research and not yet well known. There are some individual Indo-European languages that are unclassified within the language family, they are not yet classified in a branch and could be members of their own branch.

The 449 Indo-European languages identified in the SIL estimate, 2018 edition,[1] are mostly living languages, however, if all the known extinct Indo-European languages are added, they number more than 800 or close to one thousand. This list includes all known Indo-European languages, living and extinct.

A distinction between a language and a dialect is not clear-cut and simple because there is, in many cases, several dialect continuums, transitional dialects and languages and also because there is no consensual standard to what amount of vocabulary, grammar, pronunciation and prosody differences there is a language or there is a dialect. (Mutual intelligibility can be a standard but there are closely related languages that are also mutual intelligible to some degree, even if it is an asymmetric intelligibility.) Because of this, in this list, several dialect groups and some individual dialects of languages are shown (in italics), especially if a language is or was spoken by a large number of people and over a big land area, but also if it has or had divergent dialects.

The ancestral population and language, Proto-Indo-Europeans that spoke Proto-Indo-European, estimated to have lived about 4500 BCE (6500 BP), at some time in the past, starting about 4000 BCE (6000 BP) expanded through migration and cultural influence. This started a complex process of population blend or population replacement, acculturation and language change of peoples in many regions of western and southern Eurasia.[2] This process gave origin to many languages and branches of this language family.

At the end of the second millennium BC Indo-European speakers were many millions and lived in a vast geographical area in most of western and southern Eurasia (including western Central Asia).

In the following two millennia the number of speakers of Indo-European languages increased even further.

By geographical area, Indo-European languages remained spoken in big land areas, although most of western Central Asia and Asia Minor was lost to another language family (mainly Turkic) due to Turkic expansion, conquests and settlement (after the middle of the first millennium AD and the beginning and middle of the second millennium AD respectively) and also to Mongol invasions and conquests (that changed Central Asia ethnolinguistic composition). Another land area lost to non-Indo-European languages was today's Hungary due to Magyar/Hungarian (Uralic language speakers) conquest and settlement. However, in the second half of the second millennium AD, Indo-European languages expanded their territories to North Asia (Siberia), through Russian expansion, and North America, South America, Australia and New Zealand as the result of the age of European discoveries and European conquests through the expansions of the Portuguese, Spanish, French, English and the Dutch. (These peoples had the biggest continental or maritime empires in the world and their countries were major powers.)

The contact between different peoples and languages, especially as a result of European colonization, also gave origin to the many pidgins, creoles and mixed languages that are mainly based in Indo-European languages (many of which are spoken in island groups and coastal regions).

Ancestral (Proto-Indo-European)[edit]

Dating the split-offs of the main branches[edit]

Although all Indo-European languages descend from a common ancestor called Proto-Indo-European, the kinship between the subfamilies or branches (large groups of more closely related languages within the language family), that descend from other more recent proto-languages, is not the same because there are subfamilies that are closer or further, and they did not split-off at the same time, the affinity or kinship of Indo-European subfamilies or branches between themselves is still an unresolved and controversial issue and being investigated.

However, there is some consensus that Anatolian was the first group of Indo-European (branch) to split-off from all the others and Tocharian was the second in which that happened.[3]

Using a mathematical analysis borrowed from evolutionary biology, Donald Ringe and Tandy Warnow propose the following tree of Indo-European branches:[4]

David W. Anthony, following the methodology of Donald Ringe and Tandy Warnow, proposes the following sequence:[4]

List of Indo-European protolanguages[edit]

The protolanguages that developed into the Indo-European languages

This is not a list of just Proto-Indo-European, but it also contains the protolanguages of Indo-European subfamilies

The list below follows Donald Ringe and Tandy Warnow classification tree for Indo-European branches.[4]

Anatolian languages (all extinct)[edit]

Anatolian languages in 2nd millennium BC; Blue: Luwian, Yellow: Hittite, Red: Palaic.

Tocharian languages (Agni-Kuči languages) (all extinct)[edit]

Tocharian languages A (blue), B (red) and C (green) in the Tarim Basin.[5] Tarim oasis towns are given as listed in the Book of Han (c. 2nd century BC). The areas of the squares are proportional to population.

Italic languages[edit]

Iron Age Italy (c.500 B.C.). Italic languages in green colours.
Length of the Roman rule and the Romance Languages[10]
Romance languages in Europe (major dialect groups are also shown).
European extent of Romance languages in the 20th century
Eastern and Western Romance areas split by the La Spezia–Rimini Line; Southern Romance is represented by Sardinian as an outlier.
Romance languages in the World. Countries and sub-national entities where one or more Romance languages are spoken. Dark colours: First language, Light colours: Official or Co-Official language; Very Light colours: Spoken by a significant minority as first or second language. Blue: French; Green: Spanish; Orange: Portuguese; Yellow: Italian; Red: Romanian.

Celtic languages[edit]

Diachronic distribution of Celtic language speakers:
  core Hallstatt territory, by the 6th century BCE
  maximal Celtic expansion, by 275 BCE
  Lusitanian and Vettonian area of Iberian Peninsula where Celtic presence is uncertain, Para-Celtic?
  the six Celtic nations which retained significant numbers of Celtic speakers into the Early Modern period
  areas where Celtic languages remain widely spoken today
Animated Map - Celtic languages over time from 900 BC to 2000 AD. Note: The inclusion of Lusitanian and Tartessian as Celtic is not accepted by all.
Britain and Ireland in the first few centuries of the 1st millennium, before the founding of Anglo-Saxon kingdoms.
  Mainly Goidelic areas.
  Mainly Pictish areas.
  Mainly Brittonic areas.
Goidelic language and culture would eventually become dominant in the Pictish area and far northern Brittonic area.
A map of the modern distribution of the Celtic languages. Red: Welsh; Purple:Cornish; Black: Breton; Green: Irish Gaelic; Blue: Scottish Gaelic: Yellow: Manx Gaelic. Areas where languages overlap are shown in stripes.
Map of the Gaelic-speaking world. The red area shows the maximum extent of Old Irish (common ancestor of Irish Gaelic, Scottish Gaelic and Manx Gaelic); the orange area shows places with Ogham inscriptions; and the green area are modern Gaelic-speaking areas. Orkney and Shetland islands were never majority Scots Gaelic or Scottish Gaelic speaking.
Linguistic division in early twelfth century Scotland:
  Gaelic speaking ("Scots" here refers to Scots Gaelic not to Germanic Scots)
  Norse-Gaelic zone, characterized by the use of both languages
  English-speaking zone
  Cumbric may have survived in this zone; more realistically a mixture of Cumbric, Gaelic (west) and English (east)

Armenian language[edit]

Armenian dialects, according to Adjarian (1909) (before 1st World War and Armenian Genocide). In many regions of the contiguous area shown in the map, Armenian speakers were the majority or a significant minority.
Modern geographical distribution of the Armenian language.

Hellenic languages[edit]

Distribution of Greek dialects in Greece in the classical period.[18]
Distribution of Greek dialects in Magna Graecia (Southern Italy and Sicily) in the classical period.
The distribution of major modern Greek dialect areas.
Anatolian Greek until 1923. Demotic in yellow. Pontic in orange. Cappadocian in green. Green dots indicate Cappadocian-Greek-speaking villages in 1910.[19]

Albanian language[edit]

Distribution of modern Albanian dialects.

Indo-Iranian languages[edit]

Geographic distribution of modern Indo-Iranian languages. Blue, dark purple and green colour shades: Iranic languages. Dark pink: Nuristani languages. Red, light purple and orange colour shades: Indo-Aryan languages. Areas where languages overlap are shown in stripes.

Iranian languages[edit]

Approximate distribution of ancient Iranian languages in 100 BC. Eastern Iranian languages appears in orange and Western Iranian languages appears in red, although the representation in the map is not totally accurate. Old Iranian languages, Eastern and Western, were spoken in a large Eurasian landmass area that included most of south Eastern Europe, south west Siberia, Central Asia, including parts of western China, and the Iranian Plateau. The Scythian languages (including Saka), that belonged to the Northern Eastern Iranian languages subgroup, were the ones with the biggest geographical distribution, they were spoken in most of the steppe and desert areas of Eastern Europe and Central Asia, matching most of the western half of the Eurasian steppe, which corresponds to modern southern European Russia and south Russian west Siberia and parts of southern central Siberia, modern southern Ukraine, an enclave in the east Pannonian Basin, in modern Hungary, all of modern Kazakhstan, parts of modern Xinjiang, in Western China, modern Kyrgyzstan, and parts of modern Uzbekistan and modern Turkmenistan.[21] Later Scythian languages were also present in northern India by migration of part of the ancient Iranian peoples forming the Indo-Scythians. This was the geographical distribution until the first centuries A.D., after that time, Turkic migration and conquests along with Turkification, made many ancient Iranian languages go extinct.
Modern distribution of main Iranian languages.

Nuristani languages (Kamozian)[22][edit]

Nuristan Province in Afghanistan, where most speakers live.

Transitional Iranian-Indo-Aryan[23][24] (older name: Kafiri) (according to some scholars[25][22] there is the possibility that the older name "Kapisi" that was synonymal of Kambojas, related to the ancient Kingdom of Kapisa, in modern-day Kapisa Province, changed to "Kafiri" and came to be confused and assimilated with "kafiri", meaning "infidel" in Arabic and used in Muslim religion)

Nuristani languages.

Indo-Aryan languages[edit]

Distribution of language groups and major modern Indo-Aryan languages. Pink: Dardic; Dark Blue: Northwestern Indo-Aryan; Purple: Northern Indo-Aryan; Red: Western Indo-Aryan; Orange: Central and East Central Indo-Aryan; Yellow: Eastern Indo-Aryan; Green: Southern Indo-Aryan. Areas where languages overlap are shown in stripes.
Present-day geographical distribution of the major Indo-Aryan language groups. Romani, Domari, Kholosi and Lomavren are outside the scope of the map. Colors indicate the branches - yellow is Eastern, purple is Dardic, blue is Northwestern, red is Southern, green is Western, brown is Northern and orange is Central. Data is from "The Indo Aryan Languages" as well as census data and previous linguistic maps. Dardic
  Pashai (Dardic)
  Chitrali (Dardic)
  Shina (Dardic)
  Kohistani (Dardic)
  Kashmiri (Dardic)
  Punjabi (Northwestern)
  Sindhi (Northwestern)
  Rajasthani (Western)
  Gujarati (Western)
  Bhili (Western)
  Khandeshi (Western)
  Himachali-Dogri (= W. Pahari, Northern)
  Garhwali-Kumaoni (= C. Pahari, Northern)
  Nepali (= E. Pahari, Northern)
  Western Hindi (Central)
  Eastern Hindi (Central)
  Bihari (Eastern)
  Bengali-Assamese (Eastern)
  Odia (Eastern)
  Halbi (Eastern)
  Marathi-Konkani (Southern)
  Sinhala-Maldivian (Southern)
(not shown: Kunar (Dardic), Chinali-Lahuli).

Germanic languages[edit]

One proposed theory for approximate distribution of the primary Germanic dialect groups in Europe around the year 1 AD. East Germanic Northwest Germanic West Germanic North Germanic
Germanic languages and main dialect groups in Europe after 1945.
Germanic languages in the World. Countries and sub-national entities where one or more Germanic languages are spoken. Dark Red: First language; Red: Official or Co-Official language, Pink: Spoken by a significant minority as second language.

Balto-Slavic languages[edit]

Area of Balto-Slavic dialect continuum (purple) with proposed material cultures correlating to speakers Balto-Slavic in Bronze Age (white). Red dots= archaic Slavic hydronyms.
Political map of Europe with countries where a Slavic language is a national language marked in shades of green and where a Baltic language is a national language marked in light orange. Wood green represents East Slavic languages, pale green represents West Slavic languages, and sea green represents South Slavic languages. Contemporary Baltic languages are all from the same group: Eastern Baltic
Baltic languages (extinct languages shown in stripes).
Slavic languages in Europe (2008). Areas where languages overlap are shown in stripes.
Russian Language – Map of all the areas where the Russian language is the language spoken by the majority of the population. Based on the latest census available per country (2013). Russian is the biggest Slavic language both in number of first language speakers and in geographical area where the language is spoken (a vast land area of Eastern Europe and North AsiaSiberia, i.e. most of Northern Eurasia).