Centum and satem languages – a former classification of the Indo-European languages

In this article I will introduce you another classification of the Indo-European languages which has been introduced by the German linguists August Schleicher and Franz Bopp. Although it is a little bit antiquated you will often hear it when studying philology or linguistics at university. Some linguists classify the Indo-European languages only in two groups. As base they took the word hundred and classified the Western European languages in centum languages as this word starts with a palatal in most of these languages. As examples you will find cent in French, ciento in Spanish, cento in Italian or qind in Albanian. The Eastern European and Indo-Iranian languages are all satem languages as the word hundred starts with an s. The Slavic languages use all the same form which is sto. In the Baltic languages it’s similar: simts in Latvian and šimtas in Lithuanian. Romanian is the only Romanic language being a satem language which uses the form o sută. In the Indo-Iranian languages it is also very similar. In Farsi for instance it’s صد (sad) and in Hindi सौ (sau). For more interesting facts about the Indo-European languages stay tuned for the next articles on my blog.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s