is the collective name for the branches of Indo-European
in which the so-called Satem
shift, the change of palato-velar
into fricatives or affricates, did not take place, and the palato-velar consonants merged with plain velars (*k, *g, *gh
). Most of the Centum languages preserve Proto-Indo-European labio-velars (*kw
) or their historical reflexeses as distinct from plain velars; for example, PIE
> Latin c
/k/, /p/ (or /t/ before front vowels), Gothic
The name Centum comes from the Latin word centum '100', pronounced [kentum] < PIE *k^mtom, illustrating the falling together of *k and *k^. Compare Sanskrit s′ata- or Russian sto, in which *k^ changed into a fricative.
The Centum branches include Anatolian, Tocharian, Italic, Celtic, Germanic, Greek, and probably a number of minor and little known extinct groups.
The Centum group is a paraphyletic group and thus not a phylogenetic unit.