Proto-Indo-European Homeland Theories; a Study of Historical Linguistics
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The Proto-Indo-European homelands enigma lies in the hope that in the search for a lost homeland, a more fundamental understanding of this pre-historic civilization can be constructed. This chimeric academic quest for truth is truly a riveting observation, not only of the assumptions of this lost “Urheimat”, but of the dedication of linguists in the face of such a limitless question. Though this argument began with a nineteenth-century fascination with the origins of man, the task has been delineated to the origins of the Proto-Indo-European people in particular. This essay seeks to trace the study of Proto-Indo-European, and the academic fascination with a prehistoric peoples’ homeland. Beginning with Nineteenth century German philologists, the field of historical linguistics has championed various methods of reconstructing a history of the Indo-Europeans. This has led to collaboration with fields such as archaeology. Two popular contemporary theories of the homelands, the Kurgan Hypothesis and the Anatolian Model, use different methods to uncover the homeland. I analyse the strengths and weaknesses of each as proposed by the current academic discourse. Indo-European origin studies remain relevant to the field of historical linguistics today, as any progress made towards answering questions of these prehistoric people strengthens the field as a discipline.