Introduction to Comparative Indo-European Linguistics
Delve into the prehistory and ancient languages of Europe and Asia
Every language belongs to a language family; a group of languages that are genetically related to each other. Indo-European is the name of the language family to which English belongs, along with many sub-families such as Germanic languages and Romance languages.
On this eight-week course from Leiden University, you’ll explore Indo-European languages, the ancient languages at the top of the family tree, and the linguistic tools needed to study them.
Discover the linguistic origins and distinctions of Indo-European languages
The Indo-European language family is now known to consist of thirteen major branches and a number of now extinct languages of which only fragments have been preserved that may once have formed branches of their own.
You’ll delve into the structure and origins of these branches. Not only will you learn about the oldest languages belonging to the Indo-European language family, but you’ll also learn about linguistic reconstruction, how you can tell whether two languages are related to each other and how language changes.
Explore each branch of the Indo-European language tree, from Greek and Iranian to Balto-Slavic
This course will guide you through the different groups of Indo-European languages. You’ll look at some of the oldest texts from these languages, including Ancient Greek and Sanskrit, and learn about the importance of oral traditions in the history of these texts.
Develop the skills to reconstruct Proto-Indo-European
As you progress through each of the branches of the language tree, you’ll begin to piece together the Proto-Indo-European language bit by bit by comparing and contrasting each different language in the tree.
Learning on this course
On every step of the course you can meet other learners, share your ideas and join in with active discussions in the comments.
What will you achieve?
By the end of the course, you‘ll be able to...
- Explain how Indo-European languages are related to each other
- Investigate words and sounds in Indo-European languages
- Describe the systematic changes that allow us to reconstruct a prehistoric language
- Discuss the interplay between linguistics, archaeology and genetics
- Discuss the recent developments in this research field
- Explore the oldest written sources of Indo-European languages
Who is the course for?
This course is designed for anyone with an interest in prehistoric and ancient Europe and Asia, as well as anyone looking to learn about comparative linguistics.
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