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Thread: Does genetics prove Iran/Armenia is the original land of Indo-Europeans?

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    Does genetics prove Iran/Armenia is the original land of Indo-Europeans?

    The renown geneticist David Reich in his recently published book from the Oxford University press titled "Who We Are and How We Got Here: Ancient DNA and the New Science of the Human Past" (page 120) says:

    The most likely location of the population that first spoke an Indo-European language was south of the Caucasus Mountains, perhaps in present-day Iran or Armenia, because ancient DNA from people who lived there matches what we would expect for a source population both for the Yamnaya and for ancient Anatolians.
    First does it prove people who lived in the west of Iran in the 3rd millennium BC or even earlier were an Indo-European people?

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    Kind of. To my understanding, it proves that there was some sort of proto-Indo-European speaking people (as Reich calls them, the pre-proto Indo Europeans) in Armenia/western Iran. According to Reich, the Proto-Anatolians moved westward from there (I seem to recall reading somewhere that it's thought that the Proto-Anatolians might have been around Lake Van before moving westward, but I'm not sure why the reason for this is), and the rest moved northward and mixed with EEHG to become the Yamnaya, who then split and became all non-Anatolian Indo-Europeans.

    I have a few issues with this, however. A) Arguably, this does prove that Armenia/Iran is the Indo-European homeland, and really, shouldn't Reich's Pre-Proto-Indo Europeans be called Proto-Indo-Europeans? The "pre-proto" part bothers me, especially because it's still commonly held that the Anatolians (Hittites, Luwians, etc) were Indo-Europeans, just a branch that split off very early. B) While they've found some skeletons in Armenia from the Middle/Late Bronze Age with European Steppe ancestry (which suggests that the people were Yamnaya-derived) there's 1) no reason to assume that these people were Armenian-speakers and not another group, such as Cimmerians and 2) there's a lack of Steppe-derived ancestry in your modern Armenian, which means that whoever these Steppe people were, if they were the ones to introduce the Armenian language to the region, they were either a very, very small group or somehow introduced their language without mixing with the native populations (who modern Armenians are descended from) and then died off/disappeared/migrated elsewhere. If they migrated elsewhere, you would assume that there would be an Armenian language or Armenian names appearing somewhere else than NE Turkey/modern Armenia. The only thing I can think of is perhaps these people moved slightly west to Cappodocia or SE Anatolia because there are some ancient names there that could potentially be of Armenian origin, such as Mount Erciyes (Mt. Argeus/Harkasos), Haria, Melia, Togarma, Armatanna, Aravanna, etc. But some/all of these names could also be from Anatolian IE or from some other IE language.

    I just don't understand why we still call the Yamnaya the Proto-Indo Europeans and the European Pontics the Urhemeit, when clearly it had a preceding culture. Seems like it's kind of moving the goalposts a bit. In the case of Armenians and Iranians, it makes more sense to me that they just stayed in the same general region than went all the way around the Black and Caspian Seas, respectively. And as I said, I know that modern-Armenians are more similar to EBA samples that they've found in Armenia than they are to some MLBA samples, which have Steppe ancestry. I don't know much about Iranian genetics though.

    Do you have any thoughts on Sergent's Zagros theory?

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    If the PIE population was roughly equal parts EHG/CHG, then terming the source of the CHG as the "Pre-PIE" would be illogical, in that at most it might be a Pre-PIE. On the other hand, EHG could be the source of the Uralic influence on PIE, with CHG possibly being the Caucasian influence.
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    Quote Originally Posted by CrazyDonkey View Post
    On the other hand, EHG could be the source of the Uralic influence on PIE, with CHG possibly being the Caucasian influence.
    That's my understanding, at least the South Caucasians were the speakers of pre-Proto Indo European (as suggested by Reich). The EHGs could have been Uralic or something else. The Yamnaya could have encountered Uralic speakers too, whether the EHG component of the Yamnaya were Uralic or not, right?

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    Quote Originally Posted by CrazyDonkey View Post
    If the PIE population was roughly equal parts EHG/CHG, then terming the source of the CHG as the "Pre-PIE" would be illogical, in that at most it might be a Pre-PIE.
    Yeah, I suppose it depends on if PPIE was already relatively evolved/developed/on its way to PIE by the time it reached the Pontic Steppes or whether PPIE evolved significantly into PIE in the Pontic Steppes (meaning, was PPIE just an earlier dialect of PIE or was PIE some combination of PPIE and Uralic or something along those lines). To my understanding, new languages aren't really formed by combining two other languages. Something like 60% or 80% of Armenian is Iranian loans, 60% of English is from Greek/Latin loans, and a significant percentage of Albanian is from Latin/Greek/Slavic loans, but all these languages are still considered to be independent languages, and in the case of Armenian and Albanian, independent subfamilies.

    If the Anatolian languages are PIE daughter languages and not PIE sister languages, and the Anatolians didn't come from the Yamnaya, then the PPIEs would have to have been the PIE.

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    PIE has nothing to do with EHG OR CHG originally. It was originally a farmer language from Western Anatolia (related to the originally Eastern Anatolian Kartvelian language family), spread to Cucuteni-Trypillia and subsequently picked up by Sredny Stog which beforehand would have spoken some form of Uralic (which was NOT spread by Y DNA N1c tribes). R1b L23-derived cultures like Yamnaya and that of the Bell Beakers spoke some form of Dene-Caucasian. Besides the Anatolian languages (which existed in Anatolia as a result of farmer folk and not Steppe pastoralists), all Indo-European languages were spread by the Corded Ware culture and its successors. This has nothing to do with Armenia. As far as I can see nothing else can explain the story of the Indo-European languages apart from this, and I’m also fairly confident on all the other assertions.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Cyrus View Post
    The renown geneticist David Reich in his recently published book from the Oxford University press titled "Who We Are and How We Got Here: Ancient DNA and the New Science of the Human Past" (page 120) says:
    First does it prove people who lived in the west of Iran in the 3rd millennium BC or even earlier were an Indo-European people?
    It's a reasonable possibility, but just because Reich says it, this doesn't represent proof. I don't think we know for sure which language/s the Yamnayans spoke, nor how widespread IE was in Anatolia, nor when it was first spoken there. My view is that this is a bit of a wild goose chase. We are all communicating in English, but this doesn't identify where each of our ancestors come from.

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    Quote Originally Posted by tyuiopman
    If they migrated elsewhere, you would assume that there would be an Armenian language or Armenian names appearing somewhere else than NE Turkey/modern Armenia.
    Iranian language originated in Iran, Armenian language originated in Armenia, Germanic language originated in Germania, ... but it doesn't mean that these languages were developed in the same lands, Armenian is certainly a Satem language, for example the Armenian word for "heart" is sirt from proto-IE *ḱerd, it means proto-IE has been changed to kʲ > c > tʃ > ts > ʃ > s, you should compare this Armenian word to other Satem words in the Corded Ware culture, like Latvian sirds "heart". We can't find Armenian names in other lands because Armenian sound changes, like devoicing, happened in Armenia (Final Satem *sird- > Armenian sirt), not other lands.

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    Quote Originally Posted by ToBeOrNotToBe View Post
    PIE has nothing to do with EHG OR CHG originally. It was originally a farmer language from Western Anatolia (related to the originally Eastern Anatolian Kartvelian language family), spread to Cucuteni-Trypillia and subsequently picked up by Sredny Stog which beforehand would have spoken some form of Uralic (which was NOT spread by Y DNA N1c tribes). R1b L23-derived cultures like Yamnaya and that of the Bell Beakers spoke some form of Dene-Caucasian. Besides the Anatolian languages (which existed in Anatolia as a result of farmer folk and not Steppe pastoralists), all Indo-European languages were spread by the Corded Ware culture and its successors. This has nothing to do with Armenia. As far as I can see nothing else can explain the story of the Indo-European languages apart from this, and I’m also fairly confident on all the other assertions.
    While there seems to have been an early relationship with Kartvelian, there also seems to have been an early relationship with Semitic, Uralic, and possibly Hurrio-Urartian languages. An Armenian/Iranian urheimat (or proto-urheimat) makes more sense for these language contacts than a western Anatolian one (obviously Armenia's/Iran's close proximity to Kartvelian and Semitic languages--the former which may have even been spoken to the immediate NW at the time (i.e. NE Turkey), Uralic coming into contact with early IEs once they arrived in the Pontic Steppes). Plus, the genetic and archaeological records support groups moving northward from the South Caucasus into the Pontic Steppes. You seem to be equating the spread of Indo-European languages with the spread of farming into Europe, which is an attractive explanation but that's not what is supported by the current evidence, but rather a locus to the near east of Western Anatolia.

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    Quote Originally Posted by tyuiopman View Post
    Kind of. To my understanding, it proves that there was some sort of proto-Indo-European speaking people (as Reich calls them, the pre-proto Indo Europeans) in Armenia/western Iran.
    Could the Armenian language be a direct descendant of pre-proto Indo-European?

    edit: i see you already talked about this in your post. so then could the language of Yamnaya have been a mix of a form of proto-Armenian and the language of the Sredny Stog people?

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    Quote Originally Posted by ToBeOrNotToBe View Post
    PIE has nothing to do with EHG OR CHG originally. It was originally a farmer language from Western Anatolia (related to the originally Eastern Anatolian Kartvelian language family), spread to Cucuteni-Trypillia and subsequently picked up by Sredny Stog which beforehand would have spoken some form of Uralic (which was NOT spread by Y DNA N1c tribes). R1b L23-derived cultures like Yamnaya and that of the Bell Beakers spoke some form of Dene-Caucasian. Besides the Anatolian languages (which existed in Anatolia as a result of farmer folk and not Steppe pastoralists), all Indo-European languages were spread by the Corded Ware culture and its successors. This has nothing to do with Armenia. As far as I can see nothing else can explain the story of the Indo-European languages apart from this, and I’m also fairly confident on all the other assertions.
    Without any doubt Indo-European was initially divided into two different branches: Satem and Centum, this is the basic thing that we know about this language, a Centum language like Anatolian can never be changed to a Satem language like Indo-Iranian and vice versa, I don't see this very important division in your theory.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Cyrus View Post
    Without any doubt Indo-European was initially divided into two different branches: Satem and Centum, this is the basic thing that we know about this language, a Centum language like Anatolian can never be changed to a Satem language like Indo-Iranian and vice versa, I don't see this very important division in your theory.
    Luwian, and Albanian, are non-Centum, but not Satem either:

    "Thus, the three-way IE reconstructed voiced ~ voiceless ~ voiced aspirated system of obstruents has been reduced, as in many IE dialects, to a double opposition: voiced ~ voiceless; and the outcomes of the three dorsal series suggest that Albanian, like Luwian, may have originally retained this three-way opposition intact and therefore is neither centum nor satem, despite the clear satem-like outcome of its palatal dorsals in most instances.The evidence for this is the palatalization of original PIE labiovelars, but not plain velars, before front vowels.
    Bardhyl Demiraj
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    Anatolian lacks the wheel/wagon terms that are present, to one degree or another, in all other PIE-derived languages. It does possess a word for "harness-pole" with a PIE-root, but which might refer to a "plow shaft" (not requiring wheels or wagon) rather than to a wagon-till. In other words, Anatolian likely either 1) split off early from PIE, before the adoption of the wheel/wagon technology, or 2) evolved from a precedent language that contributed to PIE, but not from PIE itself.

    See Horse, Wheel, and Language, pp. 63-65.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Cyrus View Post
    Iranian language originated in Iran, Armenian language originated in Armenia, Germanic language originated in Germania, ... but it doesn't mean that these languages were developed in the same lands, Armenian is certainly a Satem language, for example the Armenian word for "heart" is sirt from proto-IE *ḱerd, it means proto-IE has been changed to kʲ > c > tʃ > ts > ʃ > s, you should compare this Armenian word to other Satem words in the Corded Ware culture, like Latvian sirds "heart". We can't find Armenian names in other lands because Armenian sound changes, like devoicing, happened in Armenia (Final Satem *sird- > Armenian sirt), not other lands.
    Again, Armenian is not totally a Satem language and the Satemization is based on only a small numbers of words. Remember too, Armenian rests between Indo-Iranian and Greek languages, so it would make sense that it's a mostly-but-not-quite Satem language. Balto-Slavic languages (including Latvian) are also Satem but also still have some Centemized words, which some have suggested means that Satemization wasn't complete in Balto-Slavic languages, for whatever reason. So perhaps Armenian features a similar phenomenon, a Satemization process that was incomplete or interrupted for whatever reason.

    As for my comment about IE migration into Armenia, I meant specifically the people that introduced the (proto) Armenian language. Theoretically, they would have been a Steppe-derived population, but, to my understanding, they left almost no traces of Steppe-derived ancestry in modern Armenians. In other words, modern Armenians are more similar to the EBA, pre-IE/non-Steppe people of the region. So if there were Steppe Armenians (i.e. a Yamnaya-derived population who brought the proto-Armenian language to Armenia), where did they go? They were either a) an extremely small number of people/elite class who didn't really mix in at all with the native population, which is certainly possible, and then died off or b) they didn't die off, but migrated elsewhere from Armenia. But if they migrated elsewhere, regardless of sound changes, if we can recognize that Greek and Indo-Iranian languages are closest to Armenian, and theoretically these branches split off from one another before proto-Armenian was fully developed (and proto-Greek and proto-Indo Iranian) we should be able to identify another Armenian language that derives from the Steppe Armenians and is closer to Armenian than Greek or Indo-Iranian. Meaning, a sister language to Armenian (AKA another daughter of the proto-Armenian). But obviously there is no evidence of this, so it suggests that the Steppe Armenians died off. Unless it was Phrygian (which is now thought to be closer to Greek than Armenian, so it might not be a good candidate) or some unattested language.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Johane Derite View Post
    Luwian, and Albanian, are non-Centum, but not Satem either:

    "�Thus, the three-way IE reconstructed voiced ~ voiceless ~ voiced aspirated system of obstruents has been reduced, as in many IE dialects, to a double opposition: voiced ~ voiceless; and the outcomes of the three dorsal series suggest that Albanian, like Luwian, may have originally retained this three-way opposition intact and therefore is neither centum nor satem, despite the clear satem-like outcome of its palatal dorsals in most instances.The evidence for this is the palatalization of original PIE labiovelars, but not plain velars, before front vowels.�
    Bardhyl Demiraj
    2018 De Gruyter �Handbook of Comparative and Historical Indo-European Linguistics
    Yep. And Tocharian might not have been either. And Balto-Slavic are Satem but it is incomplete.

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    Quote Originally Posted by voloh View Post
    Could the Armenian language be a direct descendant of pre-proto Indo-European?

    edit: i see you already talked about this in your post. so then could the language of Yamnaya have been a mix of a form of proto-Armenian and the language of the Sredny Stog people?
    That's what I am wondering. Because Armenian is really all over the place with its relationships to other languages. For a long time it was thought to be closest to Iranian (to the point where it was originally categorized as an Iranian language), and then Greek or Phrygian, then Thracian/Balkanic languages, and now Greek and Iranian again. But it shares some unique morpheme developments with Balto-Slavic languages, and in some ways apparently it is closer to Indic languages than Iranian languages. Then there is some relationship with Celtic languages and possibly Tocharian, and loans from Luwian and possibly Hittite, as well as a very long relationship with Kartvelian and Hurrio-Urartian.

    Part of the issue with studying Armenian is a) most of the native Armenian vocabulary has been replaced with Iranian words b) there are no other Armenian languages, just some divergent dialects and c) although we know Armenian is ancient, there is only about 1500 years of written Armenian...and by that time there had already been long influence by Iranian and Greek (as well as other languages like Syriac).

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    Quote Originally Posted by CrazyDonkey View Post
    Anatolian lacks the wheel/wagon terms that are present, to one degree or another, in all other PIE-derived languages. It does possess a word for "harness-pole" with a PIE-root, but which might refer to a "plow shaft" (not requiring wheels or wagon) rather than to a wagon-till. In other words, Anatolian likely either 1) split off early from PIE, before the adoption of the wheel/wagon technology, or 2) evolved from a precedent language that contributed to PIE, but not from PIE itself.

    See Horse, Wheel, and Language, pp. 63-65.
    The Armenian word for "wheel" is aniv, which apparently comes from PIE *h₃nebʰ- ("nave, naval") from which words like "naval" and "umbilical" derive from, rather than the PIE word *kʷel- ("to turn") from which most IE "wheel" words come from. So make of that what you will.

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    Quote Originally Posted by tyuiopman View Post
    Again, Armenian is not totally a Satem language and the Satemization is based on only a small numbers of words. Remember too, Armenian rests between Indo-Iranian and Greek languages, so it would make sense that it's a mostly-but-not-quite Satem language. Balto-Slavic languages (including Latvian) are also Satem but also still have some Centemized words, which some have suggested means that Satemization wasn't complete in Balto-Slavic languages, for whatever reason. So perhaps Armenian features a similar phenomenon, a Satemization process that was incomplete or interrupted for whatever reason.
    The common factor between Armenia and the Baltic is that each appears to have hosted one successful steppic lineage, followed by a different later one. Regarding Armenian lineages, R1b-Z2103 developed first and R1a-Z94 later. For Baltic lineages, R1a-M417 developed first and R1b-U106 later. This might explain the only partly-satemised language in each region.

    Quote Originally Posted by tyuiopman View Post
    As for my comment about IE migration into Armenia, I meant specifically the people that introduced the (proto) Armenian language. Theoretically, they would have been a Steppe-derived population, but, to my understanding, they left almost no traces of Steppe-derived ancestry in modern Armenians. In other words, modern Armenians are more similar to the EBA, pre-IE/non-Steppe people of the region. So if there were Steppe Armenians (i.e. a Yamnaya-derived population who brought the proto-Armenian language to Armenia), where did they go? They were either a) an extremely small number of people/elite class who didn't really mix in at all with the native population, which is certainly possible, and then died off or b) they didn't die off, but migrated elsewhere from Armenia. But if they migrated elsewhere, regardless of sound changes, if we can recognize that Greek and Indo-Iranian languages are closest to Armenian, and theoretically these branches split off from one another before proto-Armenian was fully developed (and proto-Greek and proto-Indo Iranian) we should be able to identify another Armenian language that derives from the Steppe Armenians and is closer to Armenian than Greek or Indo-Iranian. Meaning, a sister language to Armenian (AKA another daughter of the proto-Armenian). But obviously there is no evidence of this, so it suggests that the Steppe Armenians died off.
    The alternative is that the Steppe Armenians were pre-Yamnayan (as phylogenic analysis would suggest), and either (i) there had been a substantial dilution of their DNA (over a longer time period), or (ii) their DNA was not as heavily steppic when it arrived there in the first place (being derived from the North Caucasus, rather than the Northern Pontic-Caspian Steppe).

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    Quote Originally Posted by Pip View Post
    The common factor between Armenia and the Baltic is that each appears to have hosted one successful steppic lineage, followed by a different later one. Regarding Armenian lineages, R1b-Z2103 developed first and R1a-Z94 later. For Baltic lineages, R1a-M417 developed first and R1b-U106 later. This might explain the only partly-satemised language in each region.
    These are both from modern samples, right? But R1b is far more prevalent in Armenians than R1a. I was under the impression that the R1b found in Armenians was an earlier and/or separate mutation than other European R1b...either Z2103 or L584.

    Quote Originally Posted by Pip View Post
    The alternative is that the Steppe Armenians were pre-Yamnayan (as phylogenic analysis would suggest), and either (i) there had been a substantial dilution of their DNA (over a longer time period), or (ii) their DNA was not as heavily steppic when it arrived there in the first place (being derived from the North Caucasus, rather than the Northern Pontic-Caspian Steppe).
    Yeah, that could make sense. What is the current research telling us about Maykop? Last I read, there was a theory that they had significant Siberian or Central Asian ancestry.

    I'm wondering if the proto-Armenians every made it up to Yamnaya, but rather made it as far north as Georgia or Daghestan and then decided to go back southward? Does this sound possible to you?

    EDIT: I just re-read your comment. That is what you're suggesting right, that the Steppe Armenians/Proto-Armenians never made it as far north as the Pontic Steppe)?

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    Yamnaya = Khvalynx (EHG) + CHG

    The question is where does PIE, assuming it was not a creole, predominantly trace back to - north of the Caucasus (Khvalynx/Repin) or south? Arguing for the first would be continuity between late Khvalynx/Repin and early Yamnaya pottery. (Anthony, pp. 274-277, 317-323.)

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    Quote Originally Posted by CrazyDonkey View Post
    Yamnaya = Khvalynx (EHG) + CHG

    The question is where does PIE, assuming it was not a creole, predominantly trace back to - north of the Caucasus (Khvalynx/Repin) or south? Arguing for the first would be continuity between late Khvalynx/Repin and early Yamnaya pottery. (Anthony, pp. 274-277, 317-323.)
    But arguing the latter (i.e. south of the Caucasus) would explain a) the apparent Indo-European names related to Armi/Armani as recorded by the Eblaites in the 25th century BCE and b) PIE's early exposure to/relationship with Kartvelian, Semitic, and potentially Sumerian and Hurrio-Urartian.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Johane Derite View Post
    Luwian, and Albanian, are non-Centum, but not Satem either:

    "�Thus, the three-way IE reconstructed voiced ~ voiceless ~ voiced aspirated system of obstruents has been reduced, as in many IE dialects, to a double opposition: voiced ~ voiceless; and the outcomes of the three dorsal series suggest that Albanian, like Luwian, may have originally retained this three-way opposition intact and therefore is neither centum nor satem, despite the clear satem-like outcome of its palatal dorsals in most instances.The evidence for this is the palatalization of original PIE labiovelars, but not plain velars, before front vowels.�
    Bardhyl Demiraj
    2018 De Gruyter �Handbook of Comparative and Historical Indo-European Linguistics
    It probably shows a direct migration of proto-Indo-Europeans to Albania, I just looked again at the map of E-V13:



    This haplogroup has a low frequency in the lands of Basques, Estonians, Finns, Georgians, Chechens, Arabs, Turks, Africans and other non-Indo-European people.

    The region in the south of lake Urmia in the northwest of Iran (Hajji Firuz Tepe) has almsot all Indo-European haplogroups.

    Haplogroup I:



    Haplogroup R1b:



    Haplogroup R1a:



    Haplogroup J2b:



    Haplogroup T:

    Last edited by Cyrus; 07-07-19 at 10:28.

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    Quote Originally Posted by tyuiopman View Post
    These are both from modern samples, right? But R1b is far more prevalent in Armenians than R1a. I was under the impression that the R1b found in Armenians was an earlier and/or separate mutation than other European R1b...either Z2103 or L584.
    Yes, these are from an analysis of large modern databases. Based on SNP diversity, yfull estimates a TMRCA of 3,500 BC for Armenian-coalescing clades of R1b and 2,200 BC for South Caspian-coalescing clades of R1a. My estimates based on STR diversity are both earlier - 4,500 BC for Armenian R1b and 2,400 BC for South Caspian R1a. Armenian R1b is fairly stable, behaving like other Near/Middle Eastern lineages. South Caspian R1a is expansive and nomadic, with volatile development patterns - I don't see them in general as part of the same movement. Both might have spoken IE languages - R1b an earlier centum version and R1a a later satemised version, both affecting the final language product.

    Quote Originally Posted by tyuiopman View Post
    That is what you're suggesting right, that the Steppe Armenians/Proto-Armenians never made it as far north as the Pontic Steppe?
    The original Steppe Armenians/Proto-Armenians could have 'formed' anywhere over a fairly wide area - my guess is somewhere between North East Anatolia and Azov, but there's not enough data to be precise. Depending on where, they might have had fairly limited EHG before R1a arrived.

    Regarding ancient language-speaking, the only thing I'm tentatively confident about is that early R1b-DF27 most likely brought a Basque-ancestral language to Spain, rather than a IE one, so I really have no firm idea where IE came from.

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    Post

    Quote Originally Posted by tyuiopman View Post
    Again, Armenian is not totally a Satem language and the Satemization is based on only a small numbers of words. Remember too, Armenian rests between Indo-Iranian and Greek languages, so it would make sense that it's a mostly-but-not-quite Satem language. Balto-Slavic languages (including Latvian) are also Satem but also still have some Centemized words, which some have suggested means that Satemization wasn't complete in Balto-Slavic languages, for whatever reason. So perhaps Armenian features a similar phenomenon, a Satemization process that was incomplete or interrupted for whatever reason.

    As for my comment about IE migration into Armenia, I meant specifically the people that introduced the (proto) Armenian language. Theoretically, they would have been a Steppe-derived population, but, to my understanding, they left almost no traces of Steppe-derived ancestry in modern Armenians. In other words, modern Armenians are more similar to the EBA, pre-IE/non-Steppe people of the region. So if there were Steppe Armenians (i.e. a Yamnaya-derived population who brought the proto-Armenian language to Armenia), where did they go? They were either a) an extremely small number of people/elite class who didn't really mix in at all with the native population, which is certainly possible, and then died off or b) they didn't die off, but migrated elsewhere from Armenia. But if they migrated elsewhere, regardless of sound changes, if we can recognize that Greek and Indo-Iranian languages are closest to Armenian, and theoretically these branches split off from one another before proto-Armenian was fully developed (and proto-Greek and proto-Indo Iranian) we should be able to identify another Armenian language that derives from the Steppe Armenians and is closer to Armenian than Greek or Indo-Iranian. Meaning, a sister language to Armenian (AKA another daughter of the proto-Armenian). But obviously there is no evidence of this, so it suggests that the Steppe Armenians died off. Unless it was Phrygian (which is now thought to be closer to Greek than Armenian, so it might not be a good candidate) or some unattested language.
    Armenian language is closer to Balto-Slavic than Indo-Iranian, for example we see /l/ existed in proto-Armenian phonology, genetically they are also related to Balto-Slavic people, I think the original Armenian-speaking people lived in the north of Balkan, haplogroups of these people like R1a-Z282 or I2 can be found among modern Armenians, even in Iran we see I2 has the highest frequency among Iranian Armenians, also J2b1, ...

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    Quote Originally Posted by Cyrus View Post
    Armenian language is closer to Balto-Slavic than Indo-Iranian, for example we see /l/ existed in proto-Armenian phonology, genetically they are also related to Balto-Slavic people, I think the original Armenian-speaking people lived in the north of Balkan, haplogroups of these people like R1a-Z282 or I2 can be found among modern Armenians, even in Iran we see I2 has the highest frequency among Iranian Armenians, also J2b1, ...
    What are you basing that on? Most linguists agree that Armenian is closest to/occupies a space between Greek and Indo-Iranian, this includes Vaux, Hamp, Clackson, etc. It's more frequently agreed upon that Indo-Iranian is closer to Balto-Slavic than Armenian is. The idea isn't that Armenian is closer to Balto-Slavic, but that these languages were in contact with one another. If you're basing your reasoning off of /l/ existence in proto-Armenian's phonology, /f/ didn't exist in Classical Armenian (and quite possibly not in pre-Classical Armenian, and maybe not proto-Armenian). Instead, p>f was rendered in Classical Armenian as p>h (fire=hur, father=hayr). I believe that /f/ exists in Balto-Slavic languages, however.

    As for the genetics, we know that people genetically similar to Armenians contributed heavily to Yamnaya. We also know that Corded Ware were genetically connected to Yamnaya. So that could explain genetic connections between Armenians and Balto-Slavics.

    J2b1 is native to the Near East. I2 is originally Eastern Mediterranean. Only 8% of Armenians are R1a, which could be from Steppe Armenians, or could be from an intrusion of another Steppe-derived populations.

    The most frequent Y-haplogroups in Armenians are R1b1b1 (28%), J2a2a (22%), G2 (11%) (mainly G2a3a), and J1 (11%) (J1c3d, J1c3d1).

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