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Far more work has gone into reconstructing it than any other proto-language and it is by far the most well-understood of all proto-languages of its age.
During the 19th century, the vast majority of linguistic work was devoted to reconstruction of Proto-Indo-European or its daughter proto-languages such as Proto-Germanic, and most of the current techniques of historical linguistics (e.g.
According to the widely accepted Kurgan hypothesis c.q.
Steppe theory, the Indo-European language and culture spread in several stages from the Proto-Indo-European Eurasian homeland in the Pontic steppes, into Western Europe, Central and South Asia, through folk migrations and so-called elite recruitment.
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.
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).
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.
Relationships to other language families, including the Uralic languages, have been proposed but remain controversial.
Archaeological research has unearthed a broad range of historical cultures which can be related to the spread of the Indo-European languages.
Various steppe-cultures show strong similarities with the Yamna-horizon at the Pontic steppe, while the time-range of several Asian cultures also coincides with the proposed trajectory and time-range of the Indo-European migrations.
This process started with the introduction of cattle at the Eurasian steppes around 5200 BCE, and the mobilisation of the steppe herder cultures with the introduction of wheeled wagons and horse-back riding, which led to a new kind of culture.
Between 4,500 and 2,500 BCE, this "horizon", which includes several distinctive cultures, spread out over the Pontic steppes, and outside into Europe and Asia.
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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.