AD's English Literature : Indo European family of languages

Monday, February 28, 2011

Indo European family of languages

Languages, which show some common features and some shared properties, are said to belong to one family. It is assumed that such systematic similarities cannot be accidental; these similarities are there because the concerned languages have ‘descended’ from a common ‘parent’. That is, at some point of time, there was a language spoken all over a given geographical area which over a period of time broke up, fragmented, into a number of ‘sibling’ varieties. With the passage of time these varieties become sufficiently different from each other to be considered as separate languages.

            As far as English is concerned, it perhaps started as a speech of some Germanic tribes in Europe and through a series of changes brought about by migrations, invasions, conversions, settlement and colonization assumed its present avatars. The Germanic speech group consist a branch of the Indo-European family of languages and in the sub-branches of Germanic branch; English is placed in the sub-family. Let’s sum up in a diagram: 

Reference: An Outline History of the English Language by  F. T. Wood

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