Connecting the Dots: Reconfiguring the Indo-European Family Tree

Connecting the Dots is a research project focusing on the Indo-European family tree. It is financed by the Independent Research Fund Denmark and the Department of Nordic Studies and Linguistics, University of Copenhagen, and it is led by Thomas Olander.

A prehistoric event with long-lasting effects on our modern everyday lives was the spread of Indo-European languages throughout Eurasia beginning around six millennia ago. The recent advances in ancient genetics have made it more likely than ever that the spread of languages was connected with the spread of genes and cultures in the Late Neolithic and Bronze Age.

However, we still do not understand the early diversification of the Indo-European languages and how it squares with the archaeological and genetic evidence for the early dispersal of the speakers of Indo-European.

By (1) examining the branching order of the Indo-European language family, (2) refining the methodological approach to linguistic subgrouping and (3) assessing the points of convergence or divergence of the revised Indo-European family tree with the archaeological and genetic evidence, the project stages language as a key component in the new, more detailed prehistory of Eurasia that is being written now.

A more detailed description of “Connecting the Dots” is accessible in this excerpt from the project proposal.