Indo-Iranian languages

The Indo-Iranian languages (also known as Indo-Iranic languages[1][2] or the Aryan languages[3]) constitute the largest and southeasternmost extant branch of the Indo-European language family. They include over 300 languages, spoken by around 1.5 billion speakers, predominantly in South Asia, West Asia and parts of Central Asia and Europe, comprising the modern-day countries of India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Iran, Afghanistan, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Tajikistan, Maldives and the adjacent regions of neighbouring countries.

South, Central, West Asia and the Caucasus
Linguistic classificationIndo-European
  • Indo-Iranian
ISO 639-5iir
Distribution of the Indo-Iranian languages
Chart classifying Indo-Iranian languages within the Indo-European language family

The common ancestor of all of the languages in this family is called Proto-Indo-Iranian—also known as Common Aryan—which was spoken in approximately the late 3rd millennium BC in western Russia. The three branches of the modern Indo-Iranian languages are Indo-Aryan, Iranian, and Nuristani. A fourth independent branch, Dardic, was previously posited, but recent scholarship in general places Dardic languages as archaic members of the Indo-Aryan branch.[4]

The areas with Indo-Iranian languages stretch from Europe (Romani) and the Caucasus (Ossetian, Tat and Talysh), down to Mesopotamia (Kurdish languages, Zaza–Gorani and Kurmanji Dialect continuum[5]) and Iran (Persian), eastward to Xinjiang (Sarikoli) and Assam (Assamese), and south to Sri Lanka (Sinhala) and the Maldives (Maldivian), with branches stretching as far out as Oceania and the Caribbean for Fiji Hindi and Caribbean Hindustani respectively. Furthermore, there are large diaspora communities of Indo-Iranian speakers in northwestern Europe (the United Kingdom), North America (United States, Canada), Australia, South Africa, and the Persian Gulf Region (United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia).

The number of distinct languages listed in Ethnologue are 312,[6] while those recognised in Glottolog are 320.[7]

Etymology edit

The term Indo-Iranian languages refers to the spectrum of Indo-European languages spoken in the Southern Asian region of Eurasia, spanning from the Indian subcontinent (where the Indic branch of Aryan languages are spoken, hence called Indo-Aryan) till the Iranian plateau (where the Iranic branch of Aryan languages are spoken).

This branch is also known as Aryan languages, referring to the languages spoken by Aryan peoples, where the term Aryan is the ethnocultural self-designation of ancient Indo-Iranians. But in modern-day, Western scholars avoid the term Aryan since World War II, owing to the perceived negative connotation associated with Aryanism.

References edit

  1. ^ D. D. Mahulkar (1990). Pre-Pāṇinian Linguistic Studies. Northern Book Centre. ISBN 978-81-85119-88-5.
  2. ^ Annarita Puglielli; Mara Frascarelli (2011). Linguistic Analysis: From Data to Theory. Walter de Gruyter. ISBN 978-3-11-022250-0.
  3. ^ Jadranka Gvozdanović (1999). Numeral Types and Changes Worldwide. Walter de Gruyter. p. 221. ISBN 978-3-11-016113-7.: "The usage of 'Aryan languages' is not to be equated with Indo-Aryan languages, rather Indo-Iranic languages of which Indo-Aryan is a subgrouping."
  4. ^ Bashir, Elena (2007). Jain, Danesh; Cardona, George (eds.). The Indo-Aryan languages. Routledge. p. 905. ISBN 978-0415772945. 'Dardic' is a geographic cover term for those Northwest Indo-Aryan languages which [..] developed new characteristics different from the IA languages of the Indo-Gangetic plain. Although the Dardic and Nuristani (previously 'Kafiri') languages were formerly grouped together, Morgenstierne (1965) has established that the Dardic languages are Indo-Aryan, and that the Nuristani languages constitute a separate subgroup of Indo-Iranian.
  5. ^ Chatoev, Vladimir; Kʻosyan, Aram (1999). Nationalities of Armenia. YEGEA Publishing House. p. 61. ISBN 978-99930-808-0-0.
  6. ^ "Indo-Iranian". Ethnologue. 2023.
  7. ^ "Glottolog 4.7 – Indo-Iranian". Glottolog. Retrieved 1 February 2023.

Further reading edit

External links edit