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There are about 439 languages and dialects, according to the 2009 Ethnologue estimate, about half of these (221) belonging to the Indo-Aryan subbranch originating in South Asia.The Indo-European family includes most of the major current languages of Europe, the Iranian plateau, the northern half of the Indian Subcontinent, Sri Lanka and was also predominant in ancient Anatolia.A shared common ancestor of Indo-European and Uralic, Indo-Uralic, has been postulated as a possible pre-PIE.According to Kortlandt, "Indo-European is a branch of Indo-Uralic which was radically transformed under the influence of a North Caucasian substratum when its speakers moved from the area north of the Caspian Sea to the area north of the Black Sea." Anthony notes that the validity of such deep relationships cannot be reliably demonstrated due to the time-depth involved, and also notes that the similarities may be explained by borrowings from PIE into proto-Uralic.According to the widely accepted Kurgan hypothesis or Steppe theory, the Indo-European language and culture spread in several stages from the Proto-Indo-European Urheimat in the Eurasian Pontic steppes into Western Europe, Central and South Asia, through folk migrations and so-called elite recruitment.
2100–1800 BCE), at the eastern border of the Yamna horizon and the Corded ware culture, growing into the Andronovo culture (c. Indo-Aryans moved into the Bactria–Margiana Archaeological Complex (c.
Recent genetic research has a growing contribution to the understanding of the historical relations between various historical cultures.
The Indo-European languages and cultures spread in various stages. 4200–3000 BCE brought archaic proto-Indo-European into the lower Danube valley, Alternatively, a European branch of Indo-European dialects, termed "North-west Indo-European" and associated with the Beaker culture, may have been ancestral to not only Celtic and Italic, but also to Germanic and Balto-Slavic.
The Indo-Hittite hypothesis postulates a common predecessor for both the Anatolian languages and the other Indo-European languages, called Indi-Hittite or Indo-Anatolian.
the Indo-Hittite hypothesis is not widely accepted, and there is little to suggest that it is possible to reconstruct a proto-Indo-Hittite stage that differs substantially from what is already reconstructed for PIE.
The existence of PIE was first postulated in the 18th century by Sir William Jones, who observed the similarities between Sanskrit, Ancient Greek, and Latin.