Indo-Iranian languages

branch of the Indo-European language family

The Indo-Iranian languages or Indo-Iranic languages[1][2] are the largest group of the Indo-European language family. They include the Indo-Aryan (Indic) and Iranic (Iranian) languages. They are mostly spoken in the Indian subcontinent and the Iranian plateau. Originally, they were spoken in Central Asia, to the east and the north of the Caspian Sea.

Indo-Iranian (Indo-Iranic)
Indo-Iranic (Aryan)
Eastern Europe, Western Asia, South Asia
Linguistic classification:Indo-European
  • Indo-Iranian (Indo-Iranic)
ISO 639-5:iir
Indo-European branches map.png
The general location of Indo-European speakers in Europe and Asia.

Indo-Aryan languagesEdit

There are about 221 Indo-Aryan (Indic) languages, with more than 800 million speakers.

Below are the most widely spoken Indo-Aryan languages.

Sanskrit, the sacred language of the Hindus, is also an Indo-Aryan language. Today it is spoken by around 14,000 people, is an official language in the Indian state of Uttarakhand, and is one of the 22 official languages of India.

Iranic languagesEdit

Genetic division of Iranic languages

There are about 86 Iranian languages, or Iranic languages as argued by some scholars,[3] with between 150 and 200 million speakers.

Below are the most widely spoken Iranian languages.

The Iranian languages also contain the extinct language Avestan, which is used in the Zoroastrian scriptures of Zoroastrianism. It is similar to Sanskrit but is not widely spoken today.

Nuristani, Bangani, and BadeshiEdit

Some scholars consider the Nuristani and Bangani languages as part of the Indo-Aryan subgroup, but some other scholars consider them as two separate subgroups of Indo-Iranian. The Badeshi language is also an unclassified Indo-Iranian language.

Further readingEdit

  • "Contact and change in the diversification of the Indo-Iranic languages" (PDF). Dr. Russell Gray.
  • Pinault, Georges-Jean. "Contacts religieux et culturels des Indo-Iraniens avec la civilisation de l'Oxus". In: Comptes rendus des séances de l'Académie des Inscriptions et Belles-Lettres, 149ᵉ année, N. 1, 2005. pp. 213–257. DOI: ;
  • Pinault, Georges-Jean. "La langue des Scythes et le nom des Arimaspes". In: Comptes rendus des séances de l'Académie des Inscriptions et Belles-Lettres, 152e année, N. 1, 2008. pp. 105–138. DOI: ;
  • Baly, Joseph. Eur-Aryan roots: With their English derivatives and the corresponding words in the cognate languages compared and systematically arranged. Vol. 1. K. Paul, Trench, Trubner & Company, Limited, 1897.


  1. Rowlett, Ralph M. "Research Directions in Early Indo-European Archaeology." (1990): 415-418.
  2. Heggarty, Paul. "Europe and western Asia: Indo-European linguistic history." The global prehistory of human migration (2015): 157-167.
  3. Kümmel, Martin Joachim. "Iranic vs. Iranian." Update of Mar 30 (2018).