Turkey is homeland of Hindi, English: Researchers
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The researchers, led by evolutionary biologist at New Zealand's University of Auckland Quentin Atkinson, during a new study have used computational methods to analyse words from more than 100 ancient and contemporary languages.
Through this method, the scientists say they have identified Anatolia, an ancient region of western Asia which covers most of modern Turkey as the homeland of the Indo-European family of languages, spoken on every continent by a total of three billion people.
The study, published in the journal Science said there are two competing hypotheses for the origin of the Indo-European language family.
The conventional view places the homeland in the Pontic steppes about 6000 years ago, while an alternative hypothesis claims that the languages spread from Anatolia with the expansion of farming 8000 to 9500 years ago.
The researchers used a complex technique which studies the evolution and spread of disease as well as basic vocabulary data from 103 ancient and contemporary Indo-European languages to explicitly model the expansion of the family and test these hypotheses.
"We found decisive support for an Anatolian origin over a steppe origin. Both the inferred timing and root location of the Indo-European language trees fit with an agricultural expansion from Anatolia beginning 8000 to 9500 years ago," the study said.
Linguists have believed that the first speakers of the mother tongue were chariot-driving pastoralists who moved from their homeland on the steppes above the Black Sea about 4,000 years ago and conquered Europe and Asia.
A rival theory holds that, to the contrary, the first Indo-European speakers were peaceable farmers in Anatolia, now Turkey, about 9,000 years ago, who disseminated their language by the hoe, not the sword.
While English, Dutch, Spanish, Russian, Greek and Hindi may sound very different, researchers said there are several commonalities in a host of words in these languages. In the study, researchers examined cognates or words that have a clear line of descent from the same ancestral word.
The word 'mother', which is 'mutter'in German, 'mat' in Russian, 'madar' in Persian, 'ma' in Hindi and 'materi in Latin are all cognates derived from the proto-Indo-European word 'mehter'.
"These methods pave the way for reconstructing human prehistory in other parts of the world, using the legacy of our past that is documented in our languages," said Atkinson.
"It allows us to place these language family trees on a map in space and time and play out histories over the landscape," he said.