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Indo-European languages stem from Anatolia, say researchers

Until now, it was believed that the languages stemmed from pastoralist tribes in the steppes north of the Caspian Sea in modern day Kazakhstan.

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Researchers found that Anatolia is likely the home of Indo-European languages. (Wikimedia/Wikimedia commons)

Indo-European languages may actually originate in Anatolia says new research.

Until now, it was believed that the languages stemmed from pastoralist tribes in the steppes north of the Caspian Sea, reported the Economist.

Researchers at the Univerity of Auckland used mapping techniques for sourcing virus outbreaks to trace the evolution of the language group, which includes English.

The study looked at the vocabularly of 103 languages, reported the New York Times, and scored words that are cognates with others.

Using the word scores, the researchers used the dates of known language splits - many during the break-up of the Roman Empire - and the current range of languags with Indo-European origins.

The computer model was able to trace the languages from beginning to present with some surprising results.

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The research found that the language group arose about 4000 years ago, earlier than previous predictions which put the language group at between 5000 and 6000 years-old, said ABC.

Other theories which put Anatolia as the hub of Indo-European languages, say that they came about 9000 years ago.

Yet, the Anatolian theory has never been able to explain how the languages spread until now.

"We hope we've provided the most convincing case yet that this family of languages came from the Anatolian region 8,000-9,500 years ago, around the time agriculture was beginning to spread," said study co-author Quentin Atkinson, an evolutionary anthropologist at the University of Auckland, reported the Washington Post.

Indo-European languages are believed to number about 400 with English, Persian and Hindi included.

Their findings were published in the journal Science.

 

 

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/science/120825/indo-european-languages-stem-anatolia-say-researchers