#3384. 現代世界の代表者としての印欧語族[indo-european][demography][language_family]


 「#1949. 語族ごとの言語数と話者数」 ([2014-08-28-1]) や「#398. 印欧語族は世界人口の半分近くを占める」 ([2010-05-30-1]) で紹介したように,印欧語族 (indo-european) の現代世界における影響力は他の追随を許さない.
 現存する最古の文献は Hittite 語のそれであり,4000年ほども遡る.2000年ほど前からは古代ギリシア語,ラテン語,サンスクリット語の文献も多く伝わり,それ以降になると,さらに多くの言語で記された文献が入手可能となる.つまり,世界で最もよく記録に残っている語族なのである.
 以上は,Clackson による印欧語言語学入門書のイントロにある,印欧語族の記述をまとめたものである.Clackson (2) の原文を引用しておこう.

The IE language family is extensive in time and space. The earliest attested IE language, Hittite, is attested nearly 4,000 years ago, written on clay tablets in cuneiform script in central Anatolia from the early second millennium BC. We have extensive textual remains, including native-speaker accounts of three more IE languages from 2,000 years ago: Ancient Greek, Latin and Sanskrit. Also from the beginning of the Christian Era we have much more limited corpora of many more IE languages. The stock of recorded IE languages further increases as we move forward in time. In 2003, over 2.5 billion people spoke an IE language as their first language, and there were at least seventy codified varieties, each spoken by a million or more native speakers. Four hundred years ago nearly all speakers of IE lived in Europe, Iran, Turkey, Western Asia and the Indian subcontinent, but migrations have now spread speakers to every part of the world. The wealth of historical material makes IE the best-documented language family in the world.

 ・ Clackson, James. Indo-European Linguistics. Cambridge: CUP, 2007.

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