The prehistory of European languages

Robert Mailhammer

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


    This chapter deals with the prehistory of the European languages from the earliest arrival of modern humans in the late Stone Age until the dawn of history, marked by the attestation of written records in Europe from the second millennium BC onwards (see Appendix for a timeline). Its aim is to give an overview of the main developments and to point out the main results of recent research as well as to report on current discussions. One central topic will be language contact during the period of the Neolithic until the beginning of the Iron Age, in particular the impact of substrate languages on the Indo-European languages and the Indo-European superstrate in the Uralic languages. This chapter is structured as follows: Section two deals with Europe before the Neolithic period. In section three the Neolithic population movements are addressed in connection with the process of agriculturalization and the languages that entered Europe during this time. Section four discusses the linguistic effects of the Neolithic developments, focusing in particular on the Vasconic Theory by Theo Vennemann. The final section presents the linguistic map of Europe before the arrival of the Iron Age and sums up the most important results.
    Original languageEnglish
    Title of host publicationThe Languages and Linguistics of Europe: A Comprehensive Guide
    Editors B.Kortmann & J.van der Auwen
    Place of PublicationBerlin Germany
    PublisherWalter de Gruyter
    ISBN (Print)9783110220254
    Publication statusPublished - 2011


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