2: Introducing Indo-European, Aryan’s language

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Indo-European, the language of the Aryan culture

The militarily aggressive European nations eventually conquered and colonized most of the known world. They began to establish control of Southeast Asia in the 1500s. European culture ultimately derived from the prehistoric Aryans. Let us explore the nature of the ancient Aryan society to better understand its pervasive influence upon their European offspring.

The Aryans belonged to a culture that originated in prehistoric times. Hence, no eyewitness left a written account of its existence. They had already made their mark thousands of years before Herodotus, the alleged Father of History, wrote his famous account of the Persian Empire’s confrontation with Greece.

Evidence for their existence came indirectly. From the Greek flowering of culture came the Roman Empire based in Latin. Early scholars who spoke both languages recognized that there were many similarities between the two and imagined that there must be some unknown connection. In 1786 Sir William Jones, an Asian scholar, made the first connection in a speech before the Bengal Asiatic Society. He said that the similarities between Sanskrit and the European languages of Greek and Latin were so numerous that it couldn’t be a coincidence. He said these similarities applied to German and Celtic as well. He imagined that each must be part of some proto language. This was the seed beginning.

Relatively rapidly thereafter, intensive scholastic studies established distinct connections between the above mentioned languages as well as Slavic and Baltic. As a group, they were named the Indo European languages. From this idea of a common language came the idea of a common culture. This is usually referred to as the Aryan culture.

Hitler popularized the term ‘Aryan’. He claimed that Aryan culture brought progress to the many indigenous, and presumably primitive, barbaric or savage, cultures of the world. He then extended this idea in the following fashion. According to Hitler, Germans are the most racially pure Aryans. Hence they are the most civilized, advanced and intelligent race on Earth. As the 'superior' race, they are most qualified to dominate and rule the world. Those who have no Aryan blood - the Jews and Gypsies - bore his most extreme consequences - extermination - from which came the Holocaust.

Hitler’s theories and conclusions regarding the Aryans have absolutely no basis in scholarly fact. There is no evidence that the Germans are the most pure Aryans or that those speaking other language groups are inferior.

However it could be argued that the Aryan culture brought civilization to the world, if we refine the meaning of these charged words. ‘World’ in this context means the Eurasian landmass. ‘Civilization’ means the collection of humans in big cities. In the Aryan political system, indigenous farming cultures support the ruling classes by their labor. The working classes are treated as inferior beasts of burden. This ‘civilization’ was also accompanied by the subjugation of women and the resolution of conflicts by military means rather than by negotiation.

Southeast Asian civilization was very different before the Europeans arrived. Although a rice farming population provided sustenance for the residents of the kingdoms, they were relatively independent, not slaves or serfs. Women were not considered property. Further, as a region with many natural geographical barriers, commercial solutions were favored over military force.

Top 10 languages of the World

The Indo-European language associated with Aryan culture is exceptionally important on our planet. As an indication, 7 of the top 10 spoken languages in the world today belong to the Aryan language family. Expressed another way, Chinese [Sinetic], Arabic and Japanese are the only major languages of the world that are not Indo-European. Here is the list with the language family and the branch they belong to.

Top 10 languages

Language family

Branch

1. Mandarin

Sino-Tibetan

Sinetic

2. Hindi

Indo-European

Indic

3. Spanish

Indo-European

Romance

4. English

Indo-European

Germanic

5. Bengali

Indo-European

Indic

6. Arabic

Afroasiatic

Arabic

7. Portuguese

Indo-European

Romance

8. Russian

Indo-European

Slavic

9. Japanese

Korean?/Altaic?

Japanese

10. German

Indo-European

Germanic

 

Indo-European’s Branches

Due to its global importance, let’s examine the Indo-European language family in more detail. The language family is broken down into 8 branches. These are shown in the chart below with their regions of origination. Note that 7 of the 8 branches comprise all the European languages. It is safe to say that virtually all Europeans speak languages in the Indo-European family.

Indo-European languages

Regions of origination

Anatolia

Turkey

Greek

Southeast Europe

Italic/Romance

Southern Europe

Germanic

Northern Europe

Celtic

Central -> Western Europe

Slavic

Northeast Europe

Albanian

East central Europe

Indo-Iranian

Persia -> India

Proto German’s language family

English and German are rated #4 and #10 in the top ten spoken languages of the world. These two are significant sub-branches of the Germanic languages, which belong to the Indo-European language family. Here is a chart of the Germanic language branch. It is quite extensive. These languages derive from proto German, sometimes call Frisian. They comprise English, all the Northern European languages, and all of the Scandinavian languages, except Finnish.

Germanic Language Family

West German

Anglo /Frisian

English

 

 

Frisian

 

Netherlands/Germanic

Dutch

 

 

German

East German

West Scandinavian

Iceland

 

 

Norway

 

East Scandinavian

Danish

 

 

Swedish

 

East Germany

Gothic

 

Spanish and Portuguese are rated #3 and #7 in the top ten languages. They are branches of the Italic or Romance languages. French and Italian are also Romance languages. Each of these languages is spoken in Southern Europe. Russian, #8 on the list, is a Slavic language, which also includes Polish and Czech, as well as myriad other languages with fewer speakers. These are the languages of Eastern Europe with the exception of Hungary.

In brief, the residents of nearly all the countries of Europe including Russia speak languages in the Indo-European language family. The only exceptions are the inhabitants of the small countries of Hungary and Finland. Their native tongue is from the Altaic language family of the Central Asian Steppes.

That’s not all. Spanish, Portuguese, French, and English are the primary languages of the Americas - the New World - the entire Western hemisphere. In other words, Europe and the entire Western hemisphere speak languages belonging to the Indo-European language family. That’s quite impressive.

Aryan = Indo-Iranian: 3 Branches and their countries

That’s not it. There’s still more.

Of all the Indo-European branches, only Indo-Iranian, or Aryan as it is commonly called, is spoken in Asia. This language is referred to as Aryan, as it was presumably the language of the Aryans who invaded India to replace the Indus Valley civilization. It is closest to the Slavic and the Baltic branches of the Indo-European family. This Indo-Iranian language family has three main branches – Indic, Iranian and Kafiri. These are shown below along with the countries in which they are spoken. Both Hindi and Bengali, #2 and #5 on our top ten language list, are part of the Indic branch.

Aryan = Indo-Iranian

Indic

Iranian

(Indo-Aryan)

(Persian/Farci)

Kafiri

India

Iran

Hindu Kush

Pakistan

Iraq

 

Bangladesh

Afghanistan

 

Nepal

Pakistan

 

Turkey

 

 

 

Wow! The primary languages of the Americas, both North and South, Europe, Russia, Iran, and India, all belong to the Indo-European language family. That’s quite an impressive list. It is easy to see that this language family is very significant globally.

In contrast, none of the Southeast Asian nations claim an Indo-European language as its primary language. Due to the many mutually unintelligible languages in the region, English is the language of tourism and politics. However, it is generally a second language for the citizenry, not their native tongue.  While the population of more than half the globe speaks languages in the one family – Indo-European, Southeast Asian is home to at least 4 distinct language families – 3 of which are unique to the region.

Southeast Asian Languages

Language Family

Country/Region

Sino-Tibetan

Myanmar

Austroasiatic/Mon-Khmer

Cambodia & Vietnam

Austro-Tai

Thailand & Laos

Austronesian

Indonesia & Malaysia

   

Indo-European

North & South America

‘‘
Europe, Russia

‘‘

Iran & N. India

Frequently, though not always, language and culture are intimately linked. For instance, Spanish and Portuguese speaking populations tend to be Catholic as well. Because Southeast Asians had only minor interactions with Indo-European speakers until the 2nd half of the millennium, they had also never encountered their aggressive culture. To understand the roots of Aryan culture, let’s first examine their ancestors.

 

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