History and Civilization: The Indo-Europeans and Historical Linguistics (Lecture 7)
In the late eighteenth century, a British judge living in India noticed profound similarities in several historical languages, which suggested to him they shared a common origin. His hypothesis gave rise to the field of historical linguistics, the study of language change over time. Since then, two centuries of scholars, including the famous Brothers Grimm of fairy-tale fame, have worked out the general nature of that "mother tongue" and its culture, now referred to as Indo-European, and have shown that Indo-European civilization underlies much of Western Civilization. Still, our knowledge of the original Indo-Europeans is far from complete. For instance, we don't know what their "homeland" was, that is, where they lived as a cultural entity before spreading across most of the known world. All in all, the once mysterious Indo-Europeans and their descendants can now be seen as the most successful conquerors ever in human history.
Attributed to Mark L. Damen Professor of History and Classics,
Utah State University
For more information please visit: https://www.usu.edu/markdamen/1320Hist&amp;Civ/index.htm
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