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What languages are most closely related to English?
English belongs to the most widespread language group in the world: Indo-European. It includes the following branches: Indo-Iranian, Tocharian, Armenian, Anatolian, Albanian, Greek, Italic (and its modern offshoots, the Romance languages), Slavic, Baltic, Germanic, and Celtic (though Anatolian and Tocharian are now extinct). It has been suggested that all of these branches were spoken as dialects of a proto-language, but the exact area and time of existence of the Indo-Europeans has not been identified with any archaeologically attested culture. The Indo-European languages are the descendants of a single unrecorded language that is believed to have been spoken more than 5,000 years ago in the steppe regions north of the Black Sea and then split into a number of dialects by the beginning of the 3rd millennium BC. These dialects, carried by migrating tribes to Europe and Asia, developed into separate languages, a number of which have left written records of their various stages. The main branches are Anatolian (e.g., Hittite); Indo-Iranian (e.g., Sanskrit, Avestan, modern Hindi, and Persian); Greek; Italic (e.g., Latin and its modern representatives, the Romance languages, which are French, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, Romanian, etc.); Germanic (e.g., English, German, Dutch, and the Scandinavian languages); Armenian; Celtic (e.g., Irish and Welsh); Albanian; the extinct Tocharian languages; Baltic (e.g., Latvian, Lithuanian); and Slavic (e.g., Russian, Czech, Polish, Serbo-Croatian, etc.).