A new study revealed that Asia and Europe share more genes and languages than previously thought by various scientists. Based on a new study, the family of modern languages, called Proto-Indo-European, originated from the steppes of the region that is now known as Ukraine and spread to southern Russia and through western Asia and other parts of Europe.
Linguistic scholars have been trying to establish the origin of the Indo-European languages used in parts of Europe, central and western Asia and the Mideast for several years. They have tried to find the link between the Proto-Indo-European language that had branched out to most parts of Asia and Europe and later into South and North America into English, French, Portuguese and Spanish and the English spoken in Australia and New Zealand. About half of the world’s population speaks an Indo-European language.
This family of languages came about 6,000 to 9,000 years ago, according to estimates. Although there are varying ideas as to how long ago language developed, many scholars believed that language evolved during the time that humans departed from Africa, which could have happened some 50,000 to 100,000 years ago.
The new study that had been conducted revealed that the origin of the Proto-Indo-European languages were the Yamnaya people, pastoral herders who lived in the extensive flatlands of the region that is now called Ukraine. They migrated and mingled with people in Southern Russia and Western Asia into Europe and beyond. In the course of their migration they came into contact with the Corded Ware culture of Central Europe that had been known for their skills in dairy farming and pottery. The Yamnaya culture was known to bury their dead in kurgans (earthen mounds).
In the past there were two schools of thought. Some linguists believed that one original language was spoken by humans before it evolved into the 5,000 to 6,500 languages that are known today. On the other hand, there are also linguists who thought that the separation of humans came well before the language, which later formed into unique and separate languages to aid their communication.
There are no written records on the origin of the Proto-Indo-European languages. What exist are only hypotheses. The new study involved genetics, which made the study more credible and contrasted with the existing hypotheses that said that the family of languages originated in Anatolia (Turkey) or around the eastern region of the Mediterranean Sea.
The new research involved the analysis of the DNA of ancient Europeans in order to test the migration theory. They studied the DNA of 69 Europeans who lived 8,000 to 3,000 years back as well as the DNA of the nine people from the present-day Yamnaya Culture and the bones of some Corded Ware ancestors. The analysis showed that about three-fourths of their ancestry could be traced back to the Yamnaya. Although further study is needed, scientists are initially concluding that the results of the DNA tests showed that the two separate cultures shared an Indo-European language. In modern day, scientists noted that speakers of Indo-European languages likewise share religious and cultural features. They cited as example ancient India and ancient Scandinavia, both of which share similar stories and gods.