European Languages originated in Armenian Highlands

A brand new study published in the latest edition of Science journal reveals the origins of the Indo-European language family located in ancient Armenian Highlands. The so called Anatolian urheimat theory first proposed in the late 1980s by Prof Colin Renfrew (now Lord Renfrew) received gradual acceptance, but remained controversial until a new method of studying language displacement was introduced by Dr. Quentin Atkinson of the University of Auckland in New Zealand. Using new scientific methods derived from evolutionary biology Dr. Atkinson and his team announce to have solved the mystery of the origins of Indo-European family of languages. Dr Atkinson and his team built a database containing 207 cognate words present in 103 Indo‐European languages, which included 20 ancient tongues such as Latin and Greek. Using phylogenetic analysis, they were able to reconstruct the evolutionary relatedness of these modern and ancient languages – the more words that are cognate, the more similar the languages are and the closer they group on the tree. The Indo-European family is one of the largest families – more than 400 languages spoken in at least 60 countries. The result, they announced in Thursday’s issue of the journal Science, is that “we found decisive support for an Anatolian origin over a steppe origin.” Both the timing and the root of the tree of Indo-European languages “fit with an agricultural expansion from Anatolia beginning 8,000 to 9,500 years ago,” they report.

As a language native to the Armenian Highlands, the Armenian also belongs to the Indo-European family (as is seen in the chart bellow). We can also observe from the tree, the Armenian language appears to be one of the oldest surviving languages still in use today.


Indo European language tree

Mapping the Origins and Expansion of the Indo-European Language Family

These finds have received coverage in major News outlets around the world.

Read more :

The New York Times


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