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The Aryan Family Of Languages


Source: Teutonic Mythology

It is universally known that the Teutonic dialects are related to the
Latin, the Greek, the Slavic, and Celtic languages, and that the kinship
extends even beyond Europe to the tongues of Armenia, Irania, and India.
The holy books ascribed to Zoroaster, which to the priests of Cyrus and
Darius were what the Bible is to us; Rigveda's hymns, which to the
people dwelling on the banks of the Ganges are God's revealed word, are
written in a language which points to a common origin with our own.
However unlike all these kindred tongues may have grown with the lapse
of thousands of years, still they remain as a sharply-defined group of
older and younger sisters as compared with all other language groups of
the world. Even the Semitic languages are separated therefrom by a chasm
so broad and deep that it is hardly possible to bridge it.

This language-group of ours has been named in various ways. It has been
called the Indo-Germanic, the Indo-European, and the Aryan family of
tongues. I have adopted the last designation. The Armenians, Iranians,
and Hindoos I call the Asiatic Aryans; all the rest I call the European

Certain it is that these sister-languages have had a common mother, the
ancient Aryan speech, and that this has had a geographical centre from
which it has radiated. (By such an ancient Aryan language cannot, of
course, be meant a tongue stereotyped in all its inflections, like the
literary languages of later times, but simply the unity of those
dialects which were spoken by the clans dwelling around this centre of
radiation.) By comparing the grammatical structure of all the daughters
of this ancient mother, and by the aid of the laws hitherto discovered
in regard to the transition of sounds from one language to another,
attempts have been made to restore this original tongue which many
thousand years ago ceased to vibrate. These attempts cannot, of course,
in any sense claim to reproduce an image corresponding to the lost
original as regards syntax and inflections. Such a task would be as
impossible as to reconstruct, on the basis of all the now spoken
languages derived from the Latin, the dialect used in Latium. The
purpose is simply to present as faithful an idea of the ancient tongue
as the existing means permit.

In the most ancient historical times Aryan-speaking people were found
only in Asia and Europe. In seeking for the centre and the earliest
conquests of the ancient Aryan language, the scholar may therefore keep
within the limits of these two continents, and in Asia he may leave all
the eastern and the most of the southern portion out of consideration,
since these extensive regions have from prehistoric times been inhabited
by Mongolian and allied tribes, and may for the present be regarded as
the cradle of these races. It may not be necessary to remind the reader
that the question of the original home of the ancient Aryan tongue is
not the same as the question in regard to the cradle of the Caucasian
race. The white race may have existed, and may have been spread over a
considerable portion of the old world, before a language possessing the
peculiarities belonging to the Aryan had appeared; and it is a known
fact that southern portions of Europe, such as the Greek and Italian
peninsulas, were inhabited by white people before they were conquered by


Next: The Hypothesis Concerning The Asiatic Origin Of The Aryans

Previous: The Words German And Germanic

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