Family Tree of Languages Has Roots in Anatolia, Biologists Say

NY Times: Biologists using tools developed for drawing evolutionary family trees say that they have solved a longstanding problem in archaeology: the origin of the Indo-European family of languages.

Tracing the Origins of Indo-European Languages
 The family includes English and most other European languages, as well as Persian, Hindi and many others. Despite the importance of the languages, specialists have long disagreed about their origin.

Linguists believe that the first speakers of the mother tongue, known as proto-Indo-European, were chariot-driving pastoralists who burst out of their homeland on the steppes above the Black Sea about 4,000 years ago and conquered Europe and Asia. A rival theory holds that, to the contrary, the first Indo-European speakers were peaceable farmers in Anatolia, now Turkey, about 9,000 years ago, who disseminated their language by the hoe, not the sword.

The new entrant to the debate is an evolutionary biologist, Quentin Atkinson of the University of Auckland in New Zealand. He and colleagues have taken the existing vocabulary and geographical range of 103 Indo-European languages and computationally walked them back in time and place to their statistically most likely origin.

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.

But despite its advanced statistical methods, their study may not convince everyone.


5 replies

  1. Whatever their discovery maybe, we as Ahamdi Muslims, according to the saying of the Promised Messiah, believe Arabic is the mother of all the language. “Ummul’lisnah”, or “ummullisaan”.

  2. The Reasearch by (Late) Mr. Muhammad Ahmad Mazhar Advocate (rh)the exceptionally talented son of Hadhrat Munshi Zafar Ahmad of Kapurthala (ra); the former Head of Ahmadiyya Community in Faisalabad (Lyallpur); and one of the Ahmadiyya Delegates to the National Assembly of Pakistan in 1974 – evidencing the roots of 49 languages in Arabic – is an outstandingly credible work in this regard.

    His work is in subordination to the revelation received by The Holy Promised Messiah Hadhrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad of Qadian (as) that “Arabic is Mother of the Languages”.

    I hope that some Ahmadi Scholars and Linguists may like to advance in that reserach.

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