Hello, universe

After several months of producing unintelligible data, NASA’s spacecraft Voyager 1 has recently started sending usable information back to Earth again. Voaygers 1 and 2 departed from Earth in 1977 on tours of the outer planets, before heading off from the Solar System into inter-stellar space. Greetings, non-earthlings Among other things, the Voyagers carry a…… Continue reading Hello, universe

The Uralic Languages

According to Kiefer and Laakso (2014), there is a general consensus that there are 6 main branches of Uralic: Ugric: Hungarian (13 million speakers) and, in Western Siberia, the Ob-Ugric languages Khanty (almost 10,000 speakers) and Mansi (probably less than 10,000 speakers) Finnic: Finnish (5 million speakers); Estonian (1 million). Other Finnic languages have many…… Continue reading The Uralic Languages

From the Steppes or from Anatolia?

A recent paper takes a further look at some old questions: when did Indo-European languages separate from the rest of that language family, and in which order? where did speakers of Proto Indo-European—the ancestral language of the Indo-European language family—live? The paper Language trees with sampled ancestors support a hybrid model for the origin of…… Continue reading From the Steppes or from Anatolia?

Who used to live near the Don?

Major rivers in Russia and neighbouring countries include the Dniester, Dnieper, Don (and its tributary the Donets). They flow into the Black Sea—the Don doing so via the Sea of Azov. These names are believed to derive from the Iranic words danu (‘river’). For example, the Dnieper comes from a form reconstructed as *danu para…… Continue reading Who used to live near the Don?

Structure of numbers in Indo-European

How are numerals formed in Indo-European languages today, and how were they formed in the ancestral language Proto-Indo-European (PIE)? And do ordering patterns of components within numerals align with other word order patterns in the same languages? Andreea S. Calude and Annemarie Verkerk considered those questions in a paper looking at how 81 present and past…… Continue reading Structure of numbers in Indo-European

Ancient Indo-European language comes to light in Turkey

An excavation in Turkey has brought to light an unknown Indo-European language. The new language was discovered in north-central Turkey at Boğazköy-Hattusha. That site was the capital of the Hittite Empire, a great power in Western Asia inthe Late Bronze Age (1650 to 1200 BCE). Excavations in Boğazköy-Hattusha over more than 100 years have so far…… Continue reading Ancient Indo-European language comes to light in Turkey