Episode 11: Germanic Ancestors

We look at the emergence of the Usatovo culture which spoke an Indo-European dialect believed to be the ancient ancestor of the Germanic languages – including English. We also look at the later migrations of the Indo-European tribes throughout Europe and Central Asia.

Map Prepared by Louis Henwood (Click Map for Larger Image)

Map Prepared by Louis Henwood (Click Map for Larger Image)

6 thoughts on “Episode 11: Germanic Ancestors

  1. Pingback: Language history – Lesson 1 | Internet och allt

  2. There’s a small historical error in this episode. The Bell Beaker people did not build Stonhenge. It was Neolithic farmers decended from the population that entered the Balkans from Northwest Anatolia that raised and used Stonehenge long before the arrival of the Beaker folk. Beakers and associated artifacts have been found on the site, but those were left long after the original construction of the circle. Beakers had a habit of burying their dead in the mounds of others – probably as a seal-the-deal take-over statement.

  3. Could the sound shift from PIE to Proto-Germanic be due to interaction with large numbers of non-PIE speaking peoples who had difficulty with some of the sounds in PIE who adopted the language of the Indo-Europeans but spoke a pidgin form of it?

    • Perhaps. Linguists can identify the specific sound changes based on diligent research, but generally speaking, I don’t think they can identify the specific causes that triggered the changes. Perhaps one day they will be able trace those linguistic factors as well.

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