No one really knows how many languages there are in world today or how many have been lost over the years.  Most sources put the number of living languages around 6,500.

One of the main groups of languages still spoken around the world is Indo-European.  This language group includes Albanian, Armenian, Balto-Slavic, Celtic, Germanic, Hellenic (Greek), Indo-Iranian and Italic (Romance).  It also includes Anatolian and Tocharian which are both considered to be extinct.  Indo-European languages are spoken on every continent except Africa and Antarctica.

Language experts are always striving to locate the origin of the many of the languages on earth.  In that endeavor, a large team of researchers have been working together in an effort to trace the origins of the Indo-European languages.  They used Bayesian phylogeographic analysis of spatial and linguistic data in their effort to trace the languages back to their origins.

Current views have held two possible origins and dates for the origin of the Indo-European languages.  The predominant view is that the Indo-European languages originated about 6,000 years ago in the Pontic steppes in modern day Ukraine.  A second view which is not as predominant in the linguistic world is that the Indo-European languages originated between 8,000 to 9,500 years ago in Anatolia.

According to the latest study, the lesser held view of Anatolia seems to be the more accurate one.  From all of their tracking of past written and archaeological records, the team of researchers concluded that the Indo-European languages did originate in Anatolia sometime between 8,000 to 9,500 years ago.

Without using their fancy Bayesian phylogeographic analysis techniques, I can tell the team of researchers where and approximately when the Indo-European languages originated.  Turning to Genesis 11, we read about the Tower of Babel and how everyone spoke one language until God judged them for their sins, confused their languages and scattered them across the face of the globe.  The Bible doesn’t tell us exactly when the Tower of Babel was, but using the genealogies found in Genesis, we can narrow the time to somewhere between 4,257 to 4,020 years ago.

Chances are, one of the groups of people scattered from Babel traveled west into the Anatolia region, which today compromises the western two thirds of Turkey.  Over the years, descendants from this group began to scatter into Europe and Asia and eventually into North and South America and Australia.

I wonder how their study would have turned out had they started with the truth found in God’s Word?


Indo-European Languages Originated in Anatolia, Research Suggests, Science Daily, Aug. 23, 2012.

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