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Indo-European Languages and Peoples

Code: 104216 ECTS Credits: 6
Degree Type Year Semester
2503702 Ancient Studies OB 2 2


Agustin Alemany Vilamajo

Teaching groups languages

You can check it through this link. To consult the language you will need to enter the CODE of the subject. Please note that this information is provisional until 30 November 2023.


This is an introductory course to Indo-European Linguistics, which is why it is not required a specific previous training to follow it beyond a basic-intermediate knowledge of the grammatical structure of Greek and Latin. However, students are recommended to revise their previous knowledge of both phonology and morphology as well as geography and history of Europe and Asia. It is convenient, but not indispensable, that students have a level of English and French that allows them to access bibliography in these languages.

Objectives and Contextualisation

This course is a basic introduction to Indo-European Linguistics, which will also allow access to the second cycle optional subject "The Origins of Classical Languages", of the same degree. Its purpose is to provide the student with a basic knowledge of the history and culture of the main Indo-European peoples, as well as to offer a general introduction to Greek and Latin phonology and morphology from a comparative point of view.


  • Be able to express oneself orally and in writing in the specific language of history, archaeology and philology, both in one's own languages and a third language.
  • Interrelate linguistic, historical and archaeological knowledge of the ancient world with knowledge of other areas of the humanities, mainly ancient literature, philosophy and art.
  • Students must develop the necessary learning skills to undertake further training with a high degree of autonomy.
  • Understand and interpret the evolution of ancient societies in the Mediterranean from Egyptian civilisation to the disbanding of Western imperial Rome through analysis of the political, historical, social, economic and linguistic factors.

Learning Outcomes

  1. Autonomously searching, selecting and processing information both from structured sources (databases, bibliographies, specialized magazines) and from across the network.
  2. Compare linguistic features of Greek and Latin to draw conclusions about their common origins.
  3. Describe the main historical and social features of the Egyptian, Sumerian, Acadian, Persian and Mycenaean cultures.
  4. Preparing an oral and written discourse in the corresponding language in a proper and organized way.
  5. Relate Mycenaean history and civilisation to the Greek literary, cultural and historical developments that emerge from it.
  6. Submitting works in accordance with both individual and small group demands and personal styles.


The contents of this subject include, on the one hand, a historical presentation of the different Indo-European languages and peoples, and, on the other, an introduction to the historical phonology and morphology of Greek and Latin from a comparative perspective with special attention to the parallel results in Sanskrit and Gothic. Practical exercises will be carried out in order to favor the understanding of this second part. The issues that will be addressed are these, although not necessarily in the order in which they are presented here:

Block I: Indo-European languages and peoples

♦ 1. Brief history and justification of Indo-European linguistics

♦ 2. Anatolic languages † (17th-3rd c. B.C.)

♦ 3. Greek (15th c. BC-)

♦ 4. Indo-Aryan languages (10th c. BC-)

♦ 5. Iranian languages (9th c. BC-)

♦ 6. Italic languages (7th c. BC-)

♦ 7. Celtic languages (4th c. BC-)

♦ 8. Germanic languages (2nd c. BC-)

♦ 9. Armenian (5th c. AD-)

♦ 10. Tocharian † (5th-9th c. AD-)

♦ 11. Slavic languages (8th c. AD-)

♦ 12. Baltic languages (14th c. AD-)

♦ 13. Albanian (15th c. AD-)

Block II: Introduction to Indo-European Linguistics

♦ 14. General characterization of Indo-European

♦ 15. The phonological system

♦ 16. The nominal system

♦ 17. The pronominal system

♦ 18. The verbal system


The teaching methodology of this subject will alternate the theoretical exposition of each of the aforementioned units with the realization of a series of practical exercises designed to help students to familiarize themselves with the basics of comparative grammar. The division in two blocks is not groundless, since it will allow to plan the teaching of contents in alternate classes and thus to deal with the topics related both to Indo-European peoples and cultures and Linguistics (base of the exercises to be carried out) simultaneously every week.
At the beginning of the course, a small dossier will be provided with a series of basic tables illustrating the evolution of the Indo-European phonological and morphological system in Sanskrit, Greek, Latin and Gothic. Other complementary languages may be added, such as Old Church Slavic, for example.
The work will consist [1] in the translation of an entry in the dictionary of Buck 1949 and an etymological and bibliographic research related to it or [2] an etymological exercise based on the student's name and surnames or [3] a series of activities on languages, cultures and writing systems of the Indo-European peoples (to be determined).

Annotation: Within the schedule set by the centre or degree programme, 15 minutes of one class will be reserved for students to evaluate their lecturers and their courses or modules through questionnaires.


Title Hours ECTS Learning Outcomes
Type: Directed      
Development of the subject contents 36 1.44 4
Oral and written exercises 15 0.6 1, 2, 6
Type: Supervised      
Tutoring in small groups 4.5 0.18 2
Type: Autonomous      
Performing exercices 35 1.4 2, 6
Reading of bibliography 35 1.4 1


The evaluation of this course will take as a reference point the evaluation activities specified in the attached table. It is important for the student to take into account that the assessment also includes a regular class attendance as well as the resolution of proposed exercises (10%) and the presentation of a small research work (15%). The first partial exam (25%) will be practical in nature and will consist in the resolution of a reconstruction exercise, while the second partial exam (50%) will have two parts, a theorical one on history and culture of Indo-European-speaking peoples (25%) and a practical one similar to the first partial exam (25%). A student having presented two evaluation activities will not be able to avoid final evaluation nor to obtain a final qualification of "Not Evaluable". In the Final Reassessment, the student can overcome the grade corresponding to the second partial exam (50%).

In the event of a student committing any irregularity that may lead to a significant variation in the grade awarded to an assessment activity, the student will be given a zero for this activity, regardless of any disciplinary process that may take place. In the event of several irregularities in assessment activities of the same subject, the student will be given a zero as the final grade for this subject.

In the event that tests or exams cannot be taken onsite, they will be adapted to an online format made available through the UAB’s virtual tools (original weighting will be maintained). Homework, activities and class participation will be carried out through forums, wikis and/or discussion on Teams, etc. Lecturers will ensure that students are able to access these virtual tools, or will offer them feasible alternatives.

If the student chooses a single assessment, he must pass a practical final exam (40%) and a theoretical one (40%), handing in a research paper (20%) agreed  with the professor at the beginning of the year on the day of examination.

Assessment Activities

Title Weighting Hours ECTS Learning Outcomes
1st partial exam 25% 1.5 0.06 2, 4, 6
2nd partial exam 50% 3 0.12 2, 3, 4, 6, 5
Attending class and participation 10% 0 0 2, 4, 6
Small research work 15% 20 0.8 1, 2, 6


― Adrados, F.R.-Bernabé, A.-Mendoza, J. [1995-98] Manual de lingüística indoeuropea, i-iii. Madrid: Ediciones Clásicas. [809.1 Adr]

― Anthony, D.W. [2007] The Horse, the Wheel and Language: How Bronze-Age Riders from the Eurasian Steppes Shaped the Modern World. Princeton: Princeton University Press. [903(4)-16 Ant]

― Bader, F. (ed.) [1997] Langues indo-européennes. Paris: CNRS Éditions. [809.1 Lan]

― Baldi, Ph. [1983] An Introduction to the Indo-European Languages. Carbondale and Edwardsville: Southern Illinois University Press. [809.1 Bal]

― Beekes, R.S.P. [1995] Comparative Indo-European Linguistics. An Introduction. Amsterdam-Filadelfia: John Benjamins Publ. Co. [809.1 Bee]

― Benveniste, É. [1969] Le vocabulaire des institutions indoeuropéennes, i-ii. Paris: Les Éditions de Minuit [809.1-3 Ben] (Spanish translation Vocabulario de las instituciones indoeuropeas, i-ii. Madrid: Taurus). [C. Socials34(095)(=91) Ben]

― Brugmann, K.-Delbrück, B. [1886-1916] Grundriß der vergleichenden Grammatik der indogermanischen Sprachen i-v. Berlin: Walter de Gruyter (reimp. 1967). [809.1-5 Bru]

― Buck, C.D. [1949] A Dictionary of Selected Synonyms in the Principal Indo-European Languages. Chicago-London: The University of Chicago Press (reimp. 1988). [809.1-3 Buc]

― Fortson, B.W. [2004] Indo-European Language and Culture: An Introduction. Blackwell Textbooks in Linguistics, 19. Malden, MA: Blackwell Publishing. [UB Lletres R 809.1 For]

― Gamkrelidze, T.V.-V.V. Ivanov [1995] Indo-European and the Indo-Europeans: a Reconstruction and Historical Analysis of a Proto-Language and a Proto-Culture, i-ii. Berlin-New York: Mouton de Gruyter [80.1 Tre/080]

― Haudry, J. [19923Les Indo-Européens. Que sais-je? 1965, Paris: Presses Universitaires de France. [082.1 Que/1965]

― Haudry, J. [19943L'Indo-Européen. Que sais-je? 1798, Paris: Presses Universitaires de France. [UGirona 809.1 Hau]

― Lehmann, W.P. [1993] Theoretical Bases of Indo-European Linguistics. London-New York: Routledge (1st paperback ed. 1996). [809.1(091) Leh]

― Lockwood, W.B. [1972] A Panorama of Indo-European Languages. Hutchinson University Library: London. [809-1 Loc]

― Mallory, J.P. [1989] In Search of the Indo-Europeans: Language, Archaeology and Myth, London: Thames and Hudson (French translation [1997] A la recherche des Indo-Européens: langue, archéologie, mythe, Paris: Editions du Seuil). [both 809.1 Mal]

― Mallory, J.P.-Adams, D.Q. (eds.) [1997] Encyclopedia of Indo-European Culture. London-Chicago: Fitzroy Dearborn Publishers. [809.1(03) Enc]

― Mallory, J.P.-Adams, D.Q. (eds.) [2006] The Oxford Introduction to Proto-Indo-European and the Proto-Indo-European World. Oxford-New York: Oxford University Press. [809.1 Mal]

― Martinet, A. [1987] Des steppes aux océans: l'indo-européen et les "indo-européens". Paris: Payot [809.1(091) Mar] (Spanish translation [1997] De las estepas a los océanos: el indoeuropeo y los indoeuropeos. Madrid: Gredos). [809.1 Mar]

― Meier-Brügger, M. [20028Indogermanische Sprachwissenschaft. Berlin-New York: Walter de Gruyter (English translation [2003] Indo-European Linguistics. Berlin-New York: Walter de Gruyter). [809.1 Mei]

― Meillet, A. [19378Introduction à l'étude comparative des langues indo-européennes. París: Hachette (reprint Alabama: University Press 1964). [809.1 Mei]

― Pokorny, J. [1959-69] Indogermanisches etymologisches Wörterbuch, i-ii. Bern-München: Francke Verlag. [809.1 Pok]

― Ramat, A.G.-Ramat, P. (eds.) [1998] The Indo-European Languages. London-NY: Routledge (Italian original version [1993] Le lingue indoeuropee. Bologna: Società Editrice Il Mulino; Spanish translation [1995] Las lenguas indoeuropeas. Madrid: Cátedra). [809.1 Len]

― Renfrew, C. [1987] Archaeology and Language. The Puzzle of Indo-European Origins. London: Jonathan Cape (Spanish translation [2003] Arqueología y lenguaje: la cuestión de los orígenes indoeuropeos, Barcelona: Crítica 1990). [809.1 Ren]

― Schmitt-Brandt, R. [1998] Einführung in die Indogermanistik. Tübingen-Basel: Francke.

― Szemerényi, O. [19904Einführung in die Vergleichende Sprachwissenschaft. Darmstadt: Wissenschaftliche Buchgesellschaft (English translation [1996] Introduction to Indo-European Linguistics. Oxford: Clarendon Press) [both 809.1 Sze] (Spanish translation de 19701 [1978] Introducción a la lingüística comparativa. Madrid: Gredos). [800.1 Sze]

― Villar, F. [19962Los indoeuropeos y los orígenes de Europa. Lenguaje e historia. Madrid: Gredos. [809.1 Vil]

― West, M.L. [2007] Indo-European Poetry and Myth, Oxford: Oxford University Press. [299.1 Wes]

― Woodard, R.D. (ed.) [2004] The Cambridge Encyclopedia of the World's Ancient Languages. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. [800(3) Cam]


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