Proto-Indo-Iranian language

Proto-Indo-Iranian Language

Proto-Indo-Iranian language

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Proto-Indo-Iranian is the reconstructed proto-language of the Indo-Iranian branch of Indo-European. Its speakers, the hypothetical Proto-Indo-Iranians, are assumed to have lived in the late 3rd millennium BC, and are usually connected with the early Andronovo archaeological horizon.

Proto-Indo-Iranian was a Satem language, likely removed less than a millennium from the late Proto-Indo-European language, and in turn removed less than a millennium from the Vedic Sanskrit of the Rigveda. It is the ancestor of the Indo-Aryan languages, the Iranian languages, the Dardic languages and the Nuristani languages.

Descriptive phonology

In addition to the vowels, *H, and *r̥ could function as the syllabic core.

Two palatal series

Proto-Indo-Iranian is hypothesized to contain two series of stops or affricates in the palatal to postalveolar region. The following table shows the most common reflexes and origins of the two series (Proto-Iranian is the hypothetical ancestor to the Iranian languages, including Avestan and Old Persian):


Proto-Indo-European is usually hypothesized to have three to four laryngeal consonants, each of which could occur in either syllabic or non-syllabic position. In Proto-Indo-Iranian, the laryngeals merged together as one phoneme /*H/. Beekes suggests that some instances of this /*H/ survived into Avestan as unwritten glottal stops.Beekes (1988),...
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