Anatolian Homeland for Indo-European: The Argument Is Over

CLAVDIVS AMERICANVS: I don’t have a dog in this fight and I not an Indo-Europeanist. But check this anti-Kurgan Hypothesis video. The talk about ‘wheel’ cognates across three continents is fascinating.

I know some Indo-Europeanists pretty well. We communicate back and forth. And they have told me that it is now unanimous among Indo-Europeanists that the proper name for the family is Indo-Anatolian, similar to Joseph Greenberg’s Indo-Hittite. In other words, Anatolian itself is so divergent from the rest of IE that it is a sister to all of the non-Anatolian languages.

The argument is over. Indo-European is divided into Anatolian and everything else, so Anatolian is a sister family to all of the rest of IE. That right there shows that Anatolian split far before all the rest. According to the Kurgan Hypothesis, that can’t be so.

And if Anatolian split is that far from the rest of IE, obviously it was the initial homeland and Colin Renfrew’s Anatolian homeland theory gained backing when a phylogenetic or Bayesian analysis by Atkinson and Grey showed that IE goes back 9,000 YBP.

However, the Kurgan Hypothesis is also correct. Obviously, the Kurgan area was a secondary homeland for the IE people. It looks like IE sat  in Anatolia for ~3,000 years, not doing a whole lot, and then went to the Kurgan area 6,000 YBP. I would argue for a secondary split of Tocharian after Anatolian and then all of the rest of IE splitting off from that.

Indo-European being divided into Anatolian first and then all non-Anatolian languages after that, similar to how

  • Turkic is actually Bulgaro-Turkic, as Turkic is divided into Chuvash, etc. and all of the non-Bulgaric languages.
  • Tungusic is now divided into Manchu-Tungus, ie, Tungusic is divided into Manchu and all of the non-Manchu languages.
  • Tai is split into the Kadai languages and then all of the non-Kadai languages.
  • Inuit is divided into Aleut and then all of the non-Aleut languages.
  • Austronesian is obviously divided into the languages of Taiwan and then all of the non-Taiwan languages, but they are not formally split that way.

We don’t have a lot of these splits in IE itself that I’m aware of.

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7 thoughts on “Anatolian Homeland for Indo-European: The Argument Is Over”

  1. Based on the Hittite evidence and the fact that I treat with suspicion anything feminists say, I’ll go with the Anatolian hypothesis.

    The secondary Urheimat sounds reasonable. This makes Gimbutas somewhat of an inadvertent Nordicist because it means the European branch of Indo-Anatolian is exceptional, at least in the sense that it survived and spread through the known world.

    Why “Indo-Anatolian?” I don’t like that name, nor “Indo-Hittite,” since the Indian sub-sub-stratum only accounts for one-third of the extant family tree. “Euro-Anatolian” or just plain “Anatolian” would make more sense. Anatolian is neutral since no extant I.E. languages are officially spoken there. We can say Armenian and Kurdish are mostly geographically Caucasian and Persian, respectively.

    1. Anatolian is neutral since no extant I.E. languages are officially spoken there.

      20 million Kurds in Turkey would beg to differ with you on that. And there are still a few Armenians left. Not sure about Greeks. There are definitely some Pomak Bulgarians too.

  2. This video excellently criticizes Atkinson mathematical model. I still agree with the Anatolian conclusion but there are some flaws in Atkinson’s work.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4jHsy4xeuoQ

    However, the main critique that Atkinson’s dating of the branching of Indo-Anatolian at circa 6,000 BCE is invalid. The video presenters claim that since the ‘wheel line’ is at around 3,000 BCE, and this is when Indo-European words for wheel and related concepts first appear, then this is historical evidence AGAINST the earlier Atkinson branching.

    The wheel line may be a historical fact. But the first anti-Kurgan video I linked shows that words for wheel appeared everywhere around that time and are all similar, implying that some group invented the wheeled chariot which diffused across the Western Old World languages bringing linguistic cognates along with the technology.

    The fact that Indo-Anatolian, Semitic and freakin’ Sumerian have cognate words for wheel makes Atkinson’s claim more plausible because the restriction that PIE/PIA could not have split until its speakers invented the wheel or chariot is lifted; PIE/PIA splits in 6,000 BCE, and in 3,000 BCE everyone around the world borrows the wheel and word from the some source.

    1. Correction:

      However, the main critique is invalid. The critique is that Atkinson’s dating of the branching of Indo-Anatolian at circa 6,000 BCE is too early. The video presenters claim that since the ‘wheel line’ is at around 3,000 AD, and this is when Indo-European words for wheel and related concepts first appear then this is historical evidence AGAINST the earlier Atkinson branching.

      1. Yeah but the Kurgan secondary homeland shows up 3000-4000 BCE. Everyone seems to agree with that. And the latest paper I read puts Anatolian at at least 2,000 years before the main IE branch. So that shoots us back to 5000-6000 BCE which is about in line with Atkinson. Anatolian is extremely archaic. The gender system is very primitive – animate and inanimate. Masculine, feminine and neuter develop thousands of years later with no traces of the old Anatolian system. That archaic gender system right there says to me that Anatolian is very archaic and quite a ways back from the main IE branch. Not only that, but after Anatolian breaks up, Tocharian splits off and then maybe 1,000 years later, the main IE Kurgan branch splits. Now that brings us back 6000-7000 BCE, which is right in line with Atkinson. Also Bayesian analysis is a pretty good tool.

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