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Razib Khan's Unsupervised Learning

May 14, 2021

45% of humans speak an Indo-European language. English is Indo-European. Hindi is Indo-European. The language of the ancient Hittites was Indo-European. This is one reason the origin and expansion of this language family is so interesting to so many.

Thomas Olander is an associate professor of Indo-European studies in Denmark. He has a deep interest in the question of when and where the Proto-Indo-European speakers flourished. In the podcast we talk about different hypotheses in terms of the “homeland problem” (Pontic steppe vs. Anatolia), the issues historical linguists have with Bayesian phylogenetics, and the impact of ancient DNA in clarifying long-stand disputes. I also push Thomas on what we do, and don’t, know, at least from his view as a historical linguist.


The Horse, the Wheel, and Language: How Bronze-Age Riders from the Eurasian Steppes Shaped the Modern World

In Search of the Indo-Europeans

Family Tree of Languages Has Roots in Anatolia, Biologists Say