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What is PIE?

"PIE" is an abbreviation of "Proto-Indo-European" believed to be the ancestor of most of the languages of Europe (except for Basque, Hungarian, Finnish, and Estonian) and India (except for the Dravidian languages in the south). It probably existed around 5000 BCE, i.e. 7000 years ago. The Sanskrit Rig Vedas date back as far as 900-1500 BC so PIE must have antedated them. This language over time developed dialects, such as those between the northern and southern U.S. states. However, the people speaking these dialects migrated away from the center and the dialects became so strong that people speaking different ones eventually could not understand each other. At this point we say they were speaking different languages. Now, the people speaking these new languages developed dialects and the process continued on and on until today (and continues today). For an idea of which languages developed this way from the original Proto-Indo-European, read "How is a Hippo like a Feather" in our library and take a look at the illustration by clicking here.

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