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PIE is thought to have had a complex system of morphology that included inflections (suffixing of roots, as in who, whom, whose), and ablaut (vowel alterations, as in sing, sang, sung).Nouns used a sophisticated system of declension and verbs used a similarly sophisticated system of conjugation.Scholars estimate that PIE may have been spoken as a single language (before divergence began) around 3500 BCE, though estimates by different authorities can vary by more than a millennium.The most popular hypothesis for the origin and spread of the language is the Kurgan hypothesis, which postulates an origin in the Pontic–Caspian steppe of Eastern Europe.With written attestations appearing since the Bronze Age in the form of the Anatolian languages and Mycenaean Greek, the Indo-European family is significant to the field of historical linguistics as possessing the second-longest recorded history, after the Afroasiatic family.Indo-European languages are spoken by almost 3 billion native speakers, the largest number by far for any recognised language family.The existence of PIE was first postulated in the 18th century by Sir William Jones, who observed the similarities between Sanskrit, Ancient Greek, and Latin.By the early 20th century, well-defined descriptions of PIE had been developed that are still accepted today (with some refinements).

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The Anatolian languages have also spurred a major re-evaluation of theories concerning the development of various shared Indo-European language features and the extent to which these features were present in PIE itself.The Proto-Indo-European language (PIE) is the linguistic reconstruction of a common ancestor of the Indo-European languages spoken by the Proto-Indo-Europeans.PIE was the first proposed proto-language to be widely accepted by linguists.The Indo-Hittite hypothesis postulates a common predecessor for both the Anatolian languages and the other Indo-European languages, called Indi-Hittite or Indo-Anatolian.the Indo-Hittite hypothesis is not widely accepted, and there is little to suggest that it is possible to reconstruct a proto-Indo-Hittite stage that differs substantially from what is already reconstructed for PIE.Relationships to other language families, including the Uralic languages, have been proposed but remain controversial.

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