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A term coined by philologists to distinguish the Indian, or Indic, branch of the Indo-Iranian language group from its Iranian counterpart. This model is predicated on the assumption that there was at one time an undivided population speaking a common Indo-European language (‘Indo-Iranian’), which separated over time into Iranian (Persian) and Indian subgroups while migrating, and/or invading, in a broadly West to East direction. When applied specifically to languages and their development, the term is subdivided into ‘Old’ (Vedic and classical Sanskrit), ‘Middle’ (the Prākrits), and ‘Modern’ (Hindi, Gujarati, etc.) Indo-Āryan. On some counts there are more than five hundred Indo-Āryan languages now spoken in central and northern parts of the Indian subcontinent. See also Indo-European; Āryan.

Subjects: Linguistics

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