From the Indo-European to Our Languages Fernando Domènech Rey
How was Indo-European discovered?Many years ago some wise men realized that words from variouslanguages were very similar. Let’s take the word god in severallanguagues. • Dieu, dio, dios / French, Italian, Spanish. • Gott, god, gud /German, English, Swedish. • Bog, bog buh / Ancient Slavian, Russian, Checz. • Theós / Greek.The conclusion was that all these languages came from a uniquelanguage, which was called Indo-European.Indo-European was spoken before the invention of writing, thereforethere are no testimonies of its sounds or forms left.
The Indo-European languages, some dataIndo refers to the Indian subcontinentThey are several hundred languages of Europe, India, Iran and much ofCentral Asia.They comprise the largest families of languages in the world today withthree billion speakers.
We are particularly interested in• the Italic family (which includes Latin and the Romance languages)• the Germanic family (which includes English and German)• the Celtic and Greek families, due to their important contribution to the Spanish and Galician vocabulary.
Italic Languages• The most important language of this family is Latin, the dialect spoken in Latium, where Rome (the cradle of the Roman Empire) is located.• The Romance languages in Spain are: Castilian, Galician, Catalonian… but NOT BASQUE• The Romance languages in the EU are: French, Italian, Portuguese, Sardian, Romanian…
The Greek FamilyMycenaean Greek: the most ancientperiod, 15th century BC, Linear B.Ancient Greek: divided into severaldialects. The Attic is the mostimportant: the language of literatureduring the 5th and 4th centuries BC.Common Greek (Koinè): spoken in theMediterranean area for 1000 years.Modern Greek: spoken nowadays inGreece. It derives from Koinè.
Greek is very important because• We use the Greek alphabet in Mathematics and Physics: , , have got precise meanings.• The Greek alphabet is officially used in the European Union.• The scientific vocabulary comes predominantly from Greek: dermatology (“science of the skin”), philosophy (“love of knowledge”).• Many common words and personal names come from Greek as well: pirate, panic, ideal, Alexander, Monique, Andrew…
Celtic Languages• The Celtics were the first Indo-Europeans to spread all over Europe to the Black Sea.• Afterwards they became a little group living in Central Europe, Ireland and the British Islands.
Germanic Languages• They were the languages of the various Germanic tribes living in the north of Europe during the 1st millenium BC.• More than 500 million people speak one of these languages due to the importance of English.• We can distinguish 2 main groups: Nordic Germanic: Swedish, Danish, Norwegian, Icelandic. Western Germanic: German, Dutch, English.
Balto-Slavic LanguagesMost of the Slavic languages are writtenin the Cyrillic alphabet, the thirdeuropean alphabet (toghether with theLatin and Greek ones).They are classified into two groups: Baltic: Lithuanian, Latvian (but not Estonian). Slavic: Polish, Czech; Russian; Bulgarian, Serbo-Croatian.