Proto-Indo-European language (PIE or P.I.E.) is not an actual language but a reconstructed language that is presumed to be the ancestor of modern Indo-European languages. The study of Proto-Indo-European began when philologists in the 18th century noticed that various seemingly unrelated languages had words in common. Father is one such word. The Sanskrit is pitar; Latin/Greek, pater; Gothic, fadar. Regularities were noticed and systematically analyzed using the Comparative Method. The changes that produced the Germanic languages, like English, are described in Grimm's Law. The original speakers of an Indo-European language are thought to have lived 5000 B.C.
Although making historical generalizations based on the languages used in a given area is risky, and even more so when dealing with an hypothetical one, in the area of the history of Central Eurasia, historical linguists' analysis of Proto-Indo-European is one of the best tools. They have determined that the language appears to have started in the area of steppe and forest between the southern Ural Mountains, the North Caucasus, and the Black Sea, migrating out of there about 4,000 years ago, according to Christopher I. Beckwith, in Empires of the Silk Road. The language may have spread out in different waves, which partly accounts for closer similarities between some languages (like Iranian and Indian). Meanwhile (between waves) the mother language probably developed and changed just like any other language. When they spread, they created creoles with native languages wherever the steppe peoples settled down in Europe and Asia. It is these creoles we know by such names as Greek and the Italic languages.
Also Known As: *IE
Alternate Spellings: (Proto) Indo-European, Proto Indo-European
When people talk about etymology, they often refer to a speculative PIE root.
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