The Elder Futhark, Elder Fuþark, Older Futhark, Old Futhark or Germanic Futhark is the oldest form of the runic alphabets. It was a writing system used by Germanic tribes for Northwest Germanic dialects in the Migration Period, the dates of which are debated among scholars. Runic inscriptions are found on artifacts, including jewelry, tools, and, runestones, from the 2nd to the 8th centuries. In Scandinavia, beginning from the late 8th century, the script was simplified to the Younger Futhark, the Anglo-Saxons and Frisians extended Elder Futhark, which became the Anglo-Saxon futhorc. Anglo-Saxon futhorc and the Younger Futharks remained in use during the Early and the High Middle Ages respectively. Knowledge of how to read the Elder Futhark was forgotten until 1865, when it was deciphered by Norwegian scholar Sophus Bugge; the Elder Futhark has 24 runes arranged in three groups of eight runes. In the following table, each rune is given with its common transliteration: þ corresponds to the Greek letter.
Ï is transliterated as æ and may have been either a diphthong or a vowel close to the or. Z was Proto-Germanic, evolved into Proto-Norse /r₂/ and is transliterated as ʀ; the remaining transliterations correspond to the IPA symbol of their approximate value. The earliest known sequential listing of the alphabet dates to 400 AD and is found on the Kylver Stone in Gotland: Two instances of another early inscription were found on the two Vadstena and Mariedamm bracteates, showing the division in three ætts, with the positions of ï, p and o, d inverted compared to the Kylver stone: f u þ a r k g w. H n i j ï p... T b e m l d The Elder Futhark runes are believed to originate in the Old Italic scripts: either a North Italic variant, or the Latin alphabet itself. Derivation from the Greek alphabet via Gothic contact to Byzantine Greek culture was a popular theory in the 19th century, but has been ruled out since the dating of the Vimose inscriptions to the 2nd century. Conversely, the Greek-derived 4th century Gothic alphabet does have two letters derived from runes, and.
The angular shapes of the runes an adaptation to the incision in wood or metal, are not a Germanic innovation, but a property, shared with other early alphabets, including the Old Italic ones. The 1st century BC Negau helmet inscription features a Germanic name, Harigastiz, in a North Etruscan alphabet, may be a testimony of the earliest contact of Germanic speakers with alphabetic writing; the Meldorf inscription of 50 may qualify as "proto-runic" use of the Latin alphabet by Germanic speakers. The Raetic "alphabet of Bolzano" in particular seems to fit the letter shapes well; the spearhead of Kovel, dated to 200 AD, sometimes advanced as evidence of a peculiar Gothic variant of the runic alphabet, bears an inscription tilarids that may in fact be in an Old Italic rather than a runic alphabet, running right to left with a T and a D closer to the Latin or Etruscan than to the Bolzano or runic alphabets. An "eclectic" approach can yield the best results for the explanation of the origin of the runes: most shapes of the letters can be accounted for when deriving them from several distinct North Italic writing systems: the p rune has a parallel in the Camunic alphabet, while it has been argued that d derives from the shape of the letter san in Lepontic where it seems to represent the sound /d/.
The g, a, f, i, t, m and l runes show no variation, are accepted as identical to the Old Italic or Latin letters X, A, F, I, T, M and L, respectively. There is wide agreement that the u, r, k, h, s, b and o runes correspond directly to V, R, C, H, S, B and O; the runes of uncertain derivation may either be original innovations, or adoptions of otherwise unneeded Latin letters. Odenstedt 1990, p. 163 suggests that all 22 Latin letters of the classical Latin alphabet were adopted, with two runes left over as original Germanic innovations, but there are conflicting scholarly opinions regarding the e, n, þ, w, ï and z, ŋ and d runes. Of the 24 runes in the classical futhark row attested from 400, ï, p and ŋ are unattested in the earliest inscriptions of ca. 175 to 400, while e in this early period takes a Π-shape, its M-shape gaining prevalence only from the 5th century. The s rune may have either three or four strokes, only from the 5th century does the variant with three strokes become prevalent.
Note that the "mature" runes of the 6th to 8th centuries tend to have only three directions of strokes, the vertical and two diagonal directions. Early inscriptions show horizontal strokes: these appear in the case of e, but in t, l, ŋ and h; the general agreement dates the creation of the first runic alphabet to the 1st century. Early estimates include the 1st century BC, late estimates push the date into the 2nd century; the question is one of estimating the "findless" period separating the script's creation from the Vimose finds of ca
In linguistics, the comparative method is a technique for studying the development of languages by performing a feature-by-feature comparison of two or more languages with common descent from a shared ancestor, in order to extrapolate back to infer the properties of that ancestor. The comparative method may be contrasted with the method of internal reconstruction, in which the internal development of a single language is inferred by the analysis of features within that language. Ordinarily both methods are used together to reconstruct prehistoric phases of languages, to fill in gaps in the historical record of a language, to discover the development of phonological and other linguistic systems, to confirm or refute hypothesised relationships between languages; the comparative method was developed over the 19th century. Key contributions were made by the Danish scholars Rasmus Rask and Karl Verner and the German scholar Jacob Grimm; the first linguist to offer reconstructed forms from a proto-language was August Schleicher, in his Compendium der vergleichenden Grammatik der indogermanischen Sprachen published in 1861.
Here is Schleicher's explanation of why he offered reconstructed forms: In the present work an attempt is made to set forth the inferred Indo-European original language side by side with its existent derived languages. Besides the advantages offered by such a plan, in setting before the eyes of the student the final results of the investigation in a more concrete form, thereby rendering easier his insight into the nature of particular Indo-European languages, there is, I think, another of no less importance gained by it, namely that it shows the baselessness of the assumption that the non-Indian Indo-European languages were derived from Old-Indian; the comparative method aims to prove that two or more attested languages descend from a single proto-language by comparing lists of cognate terms. From them, regular sound correspondences between the languages are established, a sequence of regular sound changes can be postulated, which allows the reconstruction of a proto-language. Relation is deemed certain only if at least a partial reconstruction of the common ancestor is feasible, if regular sound correspondences can be established—with chance similarities ruled out.
Descent is defined as transmission across the generations: children learn a language from the parents' generation and after being influenced by their peers transmit it to the next generation, so on. For example, a continuous chain of speakers across the centuries links Vulgar Latin to all of its modern descendants. Two languages are genetically related. For example and French both come from Latin and therefore belong to the same family, the Romance languages. Having a large component of vocabulary from a certain origin is not sufficient to establish relatedness: for example, as a result of heavy borrowing from Arabic into Persian, Modern Persian in fact takes more of its vocabulary from Arabic than from its direct ancestor, Proto-Indo-Iranian, but Persian remains a member of the Indo-Iranian family and is not considered "related" to Arabic. However, it is possible for languages to have different degrees of relatedness. English, for example, is related both to German and to Russian, but is more related to the former than to the latter.
Although all three languages share a common ancestor, Proto-Indo-European and German share a more recent common ancestor, Proto-Germanic, while Russian does not. Therefore and German are considered to belong to a different subgroup, the Germanic languages. Shared retentions from the parent language are not sufficient evidence of a sub-group. For example and Russian both retain from Proto-Indo-European a contrast between the dative case and the accusative case, which English has lost. However, this similarity between German and Russian is not evidence that German is more related to Russian than to English; the division of related languages into sub-groups is more accomplished by finding shared linguistic innovations differentiating them from the parent language, rather than shared features retained from the parent language. Languages have been compared since antiquity. For example, in the 1st century BC the Romans were aware of the similarities between Greek and Latin, which they explained mythologically, as the result of Rome being a Greek colony speaking a debased dialect.
In the 9th or 10th century AD, Yehuda Ibn Quraysh compared the phonology and morphology of Hebrew and Arabic, but attributed this resemblance to the Biblical story of Babel, with Abraham and Joseph retaining Adam's language, with other languages at various removes becoming more altered from the original Hebrew. In publications of 1647 and 1654, Marcus van Boxhorn first described a rigid methodology for historical linguistic comparisons and proposed the existence of an Indo-European proto-language unrelated to Hebrew, but ancestral to Germanic, Romance, Sanskrit, Slavic and Baltic languages; the Scythian theory was further developed by Andreas Jäger and William Wotton, who made early forays to reconstruct this primitive common language. In 1710 and 1723 Lambert ten Kate first formulated the regularity of sound laws, introducing among others, the term root vowel. Another early systematic attempt to prove the relationship between two languages on the basis of similarity of grammar and lexicon was made by the Hungarian János Sajnovics in 1770, when he attempted to
The Proto-Indo-Europeans were the prehistoric people of Eurasia who spoke Proto-Indo-European, the ancestor of the Indo-European languages according to linguistic reconstruction. Knowledge of them comes chiefly from that reconstruction, along with material evidence from archaeology and archaeogenetics; the Proto-Indo-Europeans lived during the late Neolithic, or the 4th millennium BC. Mainstream scholarship places them in the Pontic–Caspian steppe zone in Eastern Europe; some archaeologists would extend the time depth of PIE to the middle Neolithic or the early Neolithic, suggest alternative location hypotheses. By the early second millennium BC, offshoots of the Proto-Indo-Europeans had reached far and wide across Eurasia, including Anatolia, the Aegean, the north of Europe, the edges of Central Asia, southern Siberia. Using linguistic reconstruction, hypothetical features of the Proto-Indo-European language are deduced. Assuming that these linguistic features reflect culture and environment of the Proto-Indo-Europeans, the following cultural and environmental traits are proposed: pastoralism, including domesticated cattle and dogs agriculture and cereal cultivation, including technology ascribed to late-Neolithic farming communities, e.g. the plow a climate with winter snow transportation by or across water the solid wheel, used for wagons, but not yet chariots with spoked wheels worship of a sky god, *Dyḗus Ph2tḗr, vocative *dyeu ph2ter oral heroic poetry or song lyrics that used stock phrases such as imperishable fame and wine-dark sea a patrilineal kinship-system based on relationships between menThe Proto-Indo-Europeans had domesticated horses – *eḱwos.
The cow played a central role, in mythology as well as in daily life. A man's wealth would have been measured by the number of his animals, *peḱu; as for technology, reconstruction indicates a culture of the late Neolithic bordering on the early Bronze Age, with tools and weapons likely composed of "natural bronze". Silver and gold were known. Sheep were kept for wool, textiles were woven. Burials in barrows or tomb chambers apply to the Kurgan culture, in accordance with the original version of the Kurgan hypothesis, but not to the previous Sredny Stog culture, generally associated with PIE. Important leaders would have been buried with their belongings in kurgans. Many Indo-European societies know a threefold division of priests, a warrior class, a class of peasants or husbandmen. Georges Dumézil has suggested such a division for Proto-Indo-European society. If there was a separate class of warriors, traces of initiation rites in several Indo-European societies suggest that this group would have identified with wolves.
Researchers have made many attempts to identify particular prehistoric cultures with the Proto-Indo-European-speaking peoples, but all such theories remain speculative. Any attempt to identify an actual people with an unattested language depends on a sound reconstruction of that language that allows identification of cultural concepts and environmental factors associated with particular cultures; the scholars of the 19th century who first tackled the question of the Indo-Europeans' original homeland, had only linguistic evidence. They attempted a rough localization by reconstructing the names of plants and animals as well as the culture and technology; the scholarly opinions became divided between a European hypothesis, positing migration from Europe to Asia, an Asian hypothesis, holding that the migration took place in the opposite direction. In the early 20th century, the question became associated with the expansion of a supposed "Aryan race," a fallacy promoted during the expansion of European empires and the rise of "scientific racism."
The question remains contentious within some flavours of ethnic nationalism. A series of major advances occurred in the 1970s due to the convergence of several factors. First, the radiocarbon dating method had become sufficiently inexpensive to be applied on a mass scale. Through dendrochronology, pre-historians could calibrate radiocarbon dates to a much higher degree of accuracy, and before the 1970s, parts of Eastern Europe and Central Asia had been off limits to Western scholars, while non-Western archaeologists did not have access to publication in Western peer-reviewed journals. The pioneering work of Marija Gimbutas, assisted by Colin Renfrew, at least addressed this problem by organizing expeditions and arranging for more academic collaboration between Western and non-Western scholars; the Kurgan hypothesis, as of 2017 the most held theory, depends on linguistic and archaeological evidence, but is not universally accepted. It suggests PIE origin in the Pontic-Caspian steppe during the Chalcolithic.
A minority of scholars prefer the Anatolian hypothesis, suggesting an origin in Anatolia d
The Paleolithic or Palaeolithic is a period in human prehistory distinguished by the original development of stone tools that covers c. 99% of human technological prehistory. It extends from the earliest known use of stone tools by hominins c. 3.3 million years ago, to the end of the Pleistocene c. 11,650 cal BP. The Paleolithic is followed in Europe by the Mesolithic, although the date of the transition varies geographically by several thousand years. During the Paleolithic, hominins grouped together in small societies such as bands, subsisted by gathering plants and fishing, hunting or scavenging wild animals; the Paleolithic is characterized by the use of knapped stone tools, although at the time humans used wood and bone tools. Other organic commodities were adapted for use including leather and vegetable fibers. About 50,000 years ago, there was a marked increase in the diversity of artifacts. In Africa, bone artifacts and the first art appear in the archaeological record; the first evidence of human fishing is noted, from artifacts in places such as Blombos cave in South Africa.
Archaeologists classify artifacts of the last 50,000 years into many different categories, such as projectile points, engraving tools, knife blades, drilling and piercing tools. Humankind evolved from early members of the genus Homo—such as Homo habilis, who used simple stone tools—into anatomically modern humans as well as behaviorally modern humans by the Upper Paleolithic. During the end of the Paleolithic the Middle or Upper Paleolithic, humans began to produce the earliest works of art and began to engage in religious and spiritual behavior such as burial and ritual; the climate during the Paleolithic consisted of a set of glacial and interglacial periods in which the climate periodically fluctuated between warm and cool temperatures. Archaeological and genetic data suggest that the source populations of Paleolithic humans survived in sparsely wooded areas and dispersed through areas of high primary productivity while avoiding dense forest cover. By c. 50,000 – c. 40,000 BP, the first humans set foot in Australia.
By c. 45,000 BP, humans lived at 61°N latitude in Europe. By c. 30,000 BP, Japan was reached, by c. 27,000 BP humans were present in Siberia, above the Arctic Circle. At the end of the Upper Paleolithic, a group of humans crossed Beringia and expanded throughout the Americas; the term "Palaeolithic" was coined by archaeologist John Lubbock in 1865. It derives from Greek: παλαιός, palaios, "old"; the Paleolithic coincides exactly with the Pleistocene epoch of geologic time, which lasted from 2.6 million years ago to about 12,000 years ago. This epoch experienced important climatic changes that affected human societies. During the preceding Pliocene, continents had continued to drift from as far as 250 km from their present locations to positions only 70 km from their current location. South America became linked to North America through the Isthmus of Panama, bringing a nearly complete end to South America's distinctive marsupial fauna; the formation of the isthmus had major consequences on global temperatures, because warm equatorial ocean currents were cut off, the cold Arctic and Antarctic waters lowered temperatures in the now-isolated Atlantic Ocean.
Most of Central America formed during the Pliocene to connect the continents of North and South America, allowing fauna from these continents to leave their native habitats and colonize new areas. Africa's collision with Asia created the Mediterranean, cutting off the remnants of the Tethys Ocean. During the Pleistocene, the modern continents were at their present positions. Climates during the Pliocene became cooler and drier, seasonal, similar to modern climates. Ice sheets grew on Antarctica; the formation of an Arctic ice cap around 3 million years ago is signaled by an abrupt shift in oxygen isotope ratios and ice-rafted cobbles in the North Atlantic and North Pacific Ocean beds. Mid-latitude glaciation began before the end of the epoch; the global cooling that occurred during the Pliocene may have spurred on the disappearance of forests and the spread of grasslands and savannas. The Pleistocene climate was characterized by repeated glacial cycles during which continental glaciers pushed to the 40th parallel in some places.
Four major glacial events have been identified, as well as many minor intervening events. A major event is a general glacial excursion, termed a "glacial". Glacials are separated by "interglacials". During a glacial, the glacier experiences minor retreats; the minor excursion is a "stadial". Each glacial advance tied up huge volumes of water in continental ice sheets 1,500–3,000 m deep, resulting in temporary sea level drops of 100 m or more over the entire surface of the Earth. During interglacial times, such as at present, drowned coastlines were common, mitigated by isostatic or other emergent motion of some regions; the effects of glaciation were global. Antarctica was ice-bound throughout the preceding Pliocene; the Andes were covered in the south by the Patagonian ice cap. There were glaciers in New Tasmania; the now decaying glaciers of Mount Kenya, Mount Kilimanjaro, the Ruwenzori Range in east and central Africa were larger. Glaciers existed to the west in the Atlas mountains. In the northern hemisphere, many glaciers fused into one.
In historical linguistics, the tree model is a model of the evolution of languages analogous to the concept of a family tree a phylogenetic tree in the biological evolution of species. As with species, each language is assumed to have evolved from a single parent or "mother" language, with languages that share a common ancestor belonging to the same language family. Popularized by the German linguist August Schleicher in 1853, the tree model has always been a common method of describing genetic relationships between languages since the first attempts to do so, it is central to the field of comparative linguistics, which involves using evidence from known languages and observed rules of language feature evolution to identify and describe the hypothetical proto-languages ancestral to each language family, such as Proto-Indo-European and the Indo-European languages. However, this is a theoretical, qualitative pursuit, linguists have always emphasized the inherent limitations of the tree model due to the large role played by horizontal transmission in language evolution, ranging from loanwords to creole languages that have multiple mother languages.
The wave model was developed in 1872 by Schleicher's student Johannes Schmidt as an alternative to the tree model that incorporates horizontal transmission. The tree model has the same limitations as biological taxonomy with respect to the species problem of quantizing a continuous phenomenon that includes exceptions like ring species in biology and dialect continua in language; the concept of a linkage was developed in response and refers to a group of languages that evolved from a dialect continuum rather than from linguistically isolated child languages of a single language. Augustine of Hippo supposed that each of the descendants of Noah founded a nation and that each nation was given its own language: Assyrian for Assur, Hebrew for Heber, so on. In all he identified tribal founders and languages; the confusion and dispersion occurred in son of Heber, son of Shem, son of Noah. Augustine makes a hypothesis not unlike those of historical linguists, that the family of Heber "preserved that language not unreasonably believed to have been the common language of the race... thenceforth named Hebrew."
Most of the 72 languages, date to many generations after Heber. St. Augustine solves this first problem by supposing that Heber, who lived 430 years, was still alive when God assigned the 72. St. Augustine's hypothesis stood without major question for over a thousand years. In a series of tracts, published in 1684, expressing skepticism concerning various beliefs Biblical, Sir Thomas Browne wrote: "Though the earth were peopled before the flood... yet whether, after a large dispersion, the space of sixteen hundred years, men maintained so uniform a language in all parts... may well be doubted." By discovery of the New World and exploration of the Far East had brought knowledge of numbers of new languages far beyond the 72 calculated by St. Augustine. Citing the Native American languages, Browne suggests the "confusion of tongues at first fell only upon those present in Sinaar at the work of Babel...." For those "about the foot of the hills, whereabout the ark rested... their primitive language might in time branch out into several parts of Europe and Asia...."
This is an inkling of a tree. In Browne's view, simplification from a larger aboriginal language than Hebrew could account for the differences in language, he suggests ancient Chinese, from which the others descended by "confusion and corruption". He invokes "commixture and alteration."Browne reports a number of reconstructive activities by the scholars of the times: "The learned Casaubon conceiveth that a dialogue might be composed in Saxon, only of such words as are derivable from the Greek... Verstegan made no doubt that he could contrive a letter that might be understood by the English and East Frislander... And if, as the learned Buxhornius contendeth, the Scythian language as the mother tongue runs throughout the nations of Europe, as far as Persia, the community on many words, between so many nations, hath more reasonable traduction and were rather derivable from the common tongue diffused through them all, than from any particular nation, which hath borrowed and holdeth but at second hand."
The confusion at the Tower of Babel was thus removed as an obstacle by setting it aside. Attempts to find similarities in all languages were resulting in the gradual uncovering of an ancient master language from which all the other languages derive. Browne undoubtedly did his writing and thinking well before 1684. In that same revolutionary century in Britain James Howell published Volume II of Epistolae Ho-Elianae, quasi-fictional letters to various important persons in the realm containing valid historical information. In Letter LVIII the metaphor of a tree of languages appears developed short of being a professional linguist's view: "I will now hoist sail for the Netherlands, whose language is the same dialect with the English, was so from the beginning, being both of them derived from the high Dutch: The Danish is but a branch of the same tree... Now the High Dutch or Teutonick Tongue, is one of the prime and most spacious Maternal Languages of Europe... it was the language of the Goths and Vandals, continueth yet of the greatest part of Poland and Hungary, who have a Dialect of hers for their vulgar tongue...
Some of her writers would make this world believe that she was the language spoken in paradise." The search for "the language of paradise" was on among all the linguists of Europe. Those who wrote in Latin called it the lingua
Primitive Irish or Archaic Irish is the oldest known form of the Goidelic languages. It is known only from fragments personal names, inscribed on stone in the ogham alphabet in Ireland and western Great Britain from around the 4th to the 7th or 8th centuries. Transcribed ogham inscriptions, which lack a letter for /p/, show Primitive Irish to be similar in morphology and inflections to Gaulish, Classical Greek and Sanskrit. Many of the characteristics of modern Irish, such as initial mutations, distinct "broad" and "slender" consonants and consonant clusters, are not yet apparent. More than 300 ogham inscriptions are known in Ireland, including 121 in County Kerry and 81 in County Cork, more than 75 found outside Ireland in western Britain and the Isle of Man, including more than 40 in Wales, where Irish colonists settled in the 3rd century, about 30 in Scotland, although some of these are in Pictish. Many of the British inscriptions are bilingual in Latin. Only about a dozen of the Irish inscriptions show any such sign.
The majority of ogham inscriptions are memorials, consisting of the name of the deceased in the genitive case, followed by MAQI, MAQQI, "of the son", the name of his father, or AVI, AVVI, "of the grandson", the name of his grandfather: for example DALAGNI MAQI DALI, " of Dalagnos son of Dalos". Sometimes the phrase MAQQI MUCOI, "of the son of the tribe", is used to show tribal affiliation; some inscriptions appear to be border markers. Old Irish, written from the 6th century onward, has most of the distinctive characteristics of Irish, including "broad" and "slender" consonants, initial mutations, some loss of inflectional endings, but not of case marking, consonant clusters created by the loss of unstressed syllables, along with a number of significant vowel and consonant changes, including the presence of the letter p, reimported into the language via loanwords and names; as an example, a 5th-century king of Leinster, whose name is recorded in Old Irish king-lists and annals as Mac Caírthinn Uí Enechglaiss, is memorialised on an ogham stone near where he died.
This gives the late Primitive Irish version of his name, as MAQI CAIRATINI AVI INEQAGLAS. The Corcu Duibne, a people of County Kerry known from Old Irish sources, are memorialised on a number of stones in their territory as DOVINIAS. Old Irish filed, "poet", appears in ogham as VELITAS. In each case the development of Primitive to Old Irish shows the loss of unstressed syllables and certain consonant changes; these changes, traced by historical linguistics, are not unusual in the development of languages but appear to have taken place unusually in Irish. According to one theory given by John T. Koch, these changes coincide with the conversion to Christianity and the introduction of Latin learning. All languages have various registers or levels of formality, the most formal of which that of learning and religion, changes while the most informal registers change much more but in most cases are prevented from developing into mutually unintelligible dialects by the existence of the more formal register.
Koch argues that in pre-Christian Ireland the most formal register of the language would have been that used by the learned and religious class, the druids, for their ceremonies and teaching. After the conversion to Christianity the druids lost their influence, formal Primitive Irish was replaced by the Upper Class Irish of the nobility and Latin, the language of the new learned class, the Christian monks; the vernacular forms of Irish, i.e. the ordinary Irish spoken by the upper classes came to the surface, giving the impression of having changed rapidly. Early Irish literature Goidelic substrate hypothesis Ogham Ogham inscription Old Irish
An isogloss called a heterogloss, is the geographic boundary of a certain linguistic feature, such as the pronunciation of a vowel, the meaning of a word, or the use of some morphological or syntactic feature. Major dialects are demarcated by bundles of isoglosses, such as the Benrath line that distinguishes High German from the other West Germanic languages and the La Spezia–Rimini Line that divides the Northern Italian dialects from Central Italian dialects. However, an individual isogloss may not have any coincidence with a language border. For example, the front-rounding of /y/ cuts across France and Germany, while the /y/ is absent from Italian and Spanish words that are cognates with the /y/-containing French words. One of the best-known isoglosses is the centum-satem isogloss. Similar to an isogloss, an isograph is a distinguishing feature of a writing system. Both concepts are used in historical linguistics; the centum-satem isogloss of the Indo-European language family relates to the different evolution of the dorsal consonants of Proto-Indo-European.
In the standard reconstruction, three series of dorsals are recognised: In some branches, the palatals merged with the velars: PIE *keup- "tremble" became Latin cupiō "desire" and *ḱm̥tom "hundred" became Latin centum. They are known as centum branches, named after the Latin word for hundred. In other branches, the labiovelars merged with the velars: PIE *keup- became Vedic Sanskrit kopáyati "shaken" and *kʷo- became Avestan kō "who?". They are known after the Avestan word for hundred. Since the Balto-Slavic family, the Indo-Iranian family, the other satem families are spoken in adjacent geographic regions, they can be grouped by an isogloss: a geographic line separating satem branches on one side from centum branches on the other. A major isogloss in American English has been identified as the North-Midland isogloss, which demarcates numerous linguistic features, including the Northern Cities vowel shift: regions north of the line have the shift, while regions south of the line do not. A feature of the ancient Northwest Semitic languages is w becoming y at the beginning of a word.
Thus, in Proto-Semitic and subsequent non-Northwest Semitic languages and dialects, the root letters for a word for "child" were w-l-d. However, in the ancient Northwest Semitic languages, the word was y-l-d, with w- > y-. Proto-Semitic ā becomes ō in the Canaanite dialects of Northwest Semitic. Within the Aramaic languages and dialects of Northwest Semitic, the historic ā is preserved. Thus, an ancient Northwest Semitic language whose historic ā became ō can be classed as part of the Canaanite branch of Northwest Semitic; such features can be used as data of fundamental importance for the purposes of linguistic classification. Just as there are distinguishing features of related languages, there are distinguishing features of related scripts. For example, a distinguishing feature of the Iron Age Old Hebrew script is that the letters bet, dalet,'ayin and resh do not have an open head, but contemporary Aramaic has open-headed forms; the bet of Old Hebrew has a distinctive stance, but the bet of the Aramaic and Phoenician scripts series has a different stance.
In 2006, Christopher Rollston suggested using the term isograph to designate a feature of the script that distinguishes it from a related script series, such as a feature that distinguishes the script of Old Hebrew from Old Aramaic and Phoenician. The term isogloss is inspired by isopleths, such as isobars. However, the isogloss separates rather than connects points, it has been proposed for the term heterogloss to be used instead. Dialect Dialectology Dialect continuum Cultural boundary Joret line Sprachbund Uerdingen line Chambers, J. K.. Dialectology. Cambridge Textbooks in Linguistics. Cambridge University Press. ISBN 0-521-59646-7. Woodard, Roger D.. The Cambridge Encyclopedia of the World's Ancient Languages. New York: Cambridge University Press. ISBN 0-521-56256-2. An example of an isogloss in Southern England. Beyond the Isogloss: The Isograph in Dialect Topography: A discussion of the shortcomings and oversimplifications of using isoglosses. On Some Acoustic Correlates of Isoglossy: A humorous analysis of Russian isoglossy