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PostPosted: Sun Mar 19, 2017 12:29 pm 
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I am currently working on a dictionary of possible Aquan loanwords in western IE languages. There is still a lot of work to do - I am currently about halfway through Matasović's Etymological Dictionary of Proto-Celtic, and then comes Germanic - but some patterns begin to form which are broadly in agreement with my notion of a Para-Indo-European language branching off before ablaut. There are a few words which resemble IE words but are somewhat "off" phonologically or semantically, and may point at Urverwandtschaft, such as Aq *makwa 'son' vs. PIE *meh2ḱ- 'to raise, to grow'.

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PostPosted: Tue Mar 21, 2017 1:44 pm 
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PostPosted: Tue Mar 21, 2017 4:13 pm 
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PostPosted: Wed Mar 22, 2017 1:06 pm 
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I am done with the Celtic etymological dictionary; it's now at 194 entries, including 18 candidates for Aquan-IE Urverwandtschaft. Next, I will go through Kroonen's Etymological Dictionary of Proto-Germanic, but now I need a break.

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PostPosted: Wed Mar 22, 2017 5:18 pm 
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What's the URL to your website?

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PostPosted: Thu Mar 23, 2017 11:29 am 
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PostPosted: Thu Mar 23, 2017 5:17 pm 
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While the work on the web site and the substratum dictionary is under way, I shall share some thoughts with you (later to be rolled up into an article on the web site).

The Iberian Peninsula as a test case for pre-IE linguistic diversity

A few years ago, I posted an estimate of the linguistic diversity of pre-IE Europe, where I arrived at a figure of 18 to 30 stocks in all of Europe, with about 3 to 5 stocks on each of the three great Mediterranean peninsulas. Salmoneus, however, posted a much lower estimate according to which there were hardly a dozen stocks in all of Europe, and only one on each peninsula, and his arguments are not easily refuted.

Now we have a possible test case for this question: the Iberian Peninsula. This is the only place in western Europe where one of the old stocks survived in the form of Basque, and there are epigraphic remains of two further non-IE languages, Iberian and Tartessian (some say that Tartessian was Celtic and thus IE, but these claims have been rejected by most Celticists, and I am very skeptical about this as well; see below).

The question is: are these languages related, or not? If they are all related to each other, this would be evidence of a single stock in the peninsula. If they are all unrelated to each other, we would have at least three stocks. There could have been one or two more in the northwest of the peninsula, where no pre-IE language is attested. At least, these three languages do not form a close-knit group like Germanic or Slavic where the relationship is readily apparent to the non-specialist. They are at most more distantly related, forming a stock like IE or Uralic, but they may constitute two or three different stocks.

The idea that Basque and Iberian are related is old, but the 19th- to early 20th-century claims by people like Wilhelm von Humboldt or Hugo Schuchardt (who reconstructed two nicely matching nominal declension paradigms for Basque and Iberian - which later both turned out to be wrong) were premature, as virtually nothing was known about the history of Basque and the Iberian script was undeciphered. Only in the middle of the 20th century, with Koldo Mitxelena's reconstruction of Proto-Basque and Manuel Gómez-Moreno's decipherment of the Iberian script, meaningful comparisons became possible - and they yielded only little evidence in favour of a relationship. A few Iberian word elements (such as the toponym Iliberis, which looks much like Proto-Basque *ili berri 'new town') can be interpreted by means of Basque, but we don't know whether these interpretations are correct, and many others look nothing like Basque. And even if there are true resemblances, borrowing may be an alternative (something like *ili 'town' may be an Iberian loanword in Basque, though this is not equally likely with a basic adjective like *berri 'new').

Then there is Tartessian, a tough nut to crack. It looks nothing like Basque or Iberian. We don't even know whether it is IE or not. At first glance, John T. Koch's suggestion that Tartessian was a Celtic language seems to make sense as there is no shortage of Celtic names in the region. There are several towns with names in *-briga, a tribe named Celtici and the legendary king Arganthonios - all of which are as Celtic as they could be. But I have been informed that most Celticists remain skeptical, and that Koch's reading of the Tartessian inscriptions as Celtic is fraught with problems such as taking recourse to forms attested only in Goidelic. (I am not a Celticist and cannot judge whether this skepticism is justified or not.) Also, these inscriptions are mostly dated to the early 7th century BC, making them the oldest of all inscriptions found in the Iberian Peninsula, and it seems unlikely that Celtic spread that far that early. This makes it more likely that the Tartessian inscriptions represent a pre-Celtic, non-IE language, and that the Celts put an end to Tartessian literacy when they arrived around 500 BC.

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PostPosted: Fri Mar 24, 2017 8:27 am 
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Nobody can know, of course.

That said, I'm afraid I'm not convinced.

So far as I can see, you need three premises:
- there was linguistic diversity in Iberia
- that linguistic diversity preceded the kurgan invasions
- in terms of diversity, Iberia was representative of Europe as a whole

All three premises, in my opinion, are highly questionable.

Regarding the three families and diversity in Iberia:
- it's not even clear that Basque was present in Iberia in prehistoric times; our earliest and most voluminous attestations are from France, not Spain, and it appears that in at least part of its later Iberian territory it was overlaid on a Celtic (or similar) substrate. While it's possible that it was present all along, we can't really assume that for sure, as I understand it.

- Iberian appears to be related to Basque. Sure, we don't know that, because we don't know much at all about Iberian. But what little we do know all seems to point to correspondences with Basque in names, in morphological elements, and in numerals. Now, it could be that there was massive borrowing from one direction or the other, as well as sprachbund effects. We can't disprove that. But the more parsimonious hypothesis would surely be that all the resemblances are due to the languages being related, and not even all that distantly.

- Tartessian does look different. But again, we know so little! Imagine trying to prove the existence of Indo-European, when your only resources are a grammar of modern Bengali and some fragmentary inscriptions in Old Irish! Bear in mind also that related languages can undergo substantial surface differentiation, particularly in a prehistoric context where travel may have been less widespread. (look how difficult it's proven to demonstrate large families in Amerindian).

So it's not clear to me that there WAS such diversity in Iberia.

Regarding the second point: we don't know that ANY of those languages are Neolithic in origin, let alone Mesolithic. What we do know is that by the time of our earliest attestations the region had already been invaded from at least two directions - Celts had already crossed the Pyrenees, and Greeks and Phoenicians had already arrived by sea. There is no particular reason to think that neither the Iberians (who seem related to the Aquitanians living north of the Pyrenees) nor the Tartessians (who seem anomalously developed for the area and had extensive contact with the Phoenicians and Greeks) migrated to the area not long before historic times. NON-IE doesn't necessarily mean PRE-IE.

In particular, while we could see the Basques as relicts, we could also see them as invaders. Our first depiction of them (thanks, Caesar) is not as peaceful isolated mountain dwellers in Iberia, but as a warlike race of horsemen in France. Genetically, although there is an unusually high degree of mesolithic and neolithic ancestry in the basques, they don't seem to stand to one side of the rest of europe, the way the Sardinians do, and apparently there is considerable genetic continuity across the atlantic region. We (seemingly) know that, for instance, the British Isles were invaded by the kurgans long before it is feasible to imagine the celts, per se, being there. That atlantic invasion could then be linked to, for instance, the prevalence of R1b and the Bell Beaker culture. In short, I think it's actually more attractive to see the Ur-Basques (Ur-Bell-Beakers in this hypothesis) as allies of the PIE - a precursor invasion that was then overrun by the second wave.

Even if we did see both Basque-Iberian and Tartessian as "native", in the short term, we know that Europe suffered at least two massive invasions from the middle-east with the Neolithic transition - the LBK by land, and the Cardials by sea. If these were indeed two language families (though genetically they're closely related, so that's far from certain), it wouldn't be too surprising to see two language families in Iberia, a region that could feasibly be reached by both routes (Tartessians as Cardial seafarers, Iberians as LBKs come over the Pyrenees).

Finally, regarding the idea of Iberia as representative: it seems the exact opposite to me.

For one thing, mountainous peninsulars in general aren't somewhere to look for representativeness. Even if it were true that there were 3 neolithic stocks in each peninsular, there might still only be 10-15 stocks in all of Europe, rather than 25-30. Consider how many apparently distinct families there are in California, compared to those of the great Plains... (and Iberia was much,much less diverse than California, at least by historic times).

But there are also specific reasons to doubt the representativeness of Iberia.

First, if we're talking about the Mesolithic situation, there is a big difference between the peninsular refugia and the thawing tundra. The tundra seems to have been rapidly repopulated by a single culture, but that doesn't necessarily mean that the same people took over Iberia: it would be more likely that as those people spread out from the refugium, they left whatever diversity was there to its own devices - repopulating a thawing wasteland with seminomadism is much easier than overwhelming an established fish-eating population hotspot. [not that I imagine there were many stocks surviving in that refugium anyway, but it's possible]. The Tartessians in particular are as far away from the Mesolithic expansions as possible, so they could well be only very, very distantly related to most of mesolithic europe.

Then, regarding the Neolthic invasions, Iberia is at the exact opposite end of the continent from the source of those invasions. If anywhere retained pre-neolithic languages, it would be Iberia. Likewise, Iberia would be one of the most likely places to see settlement from both directions - or indeed from a third, precursor group (settlers across the Med before the main Cardial expansion). So Iberia has particular reasons to show much more diversity than the rest of Europe - and frankly I think the interesting thing is that it doesn't show MORE diversity!


So while the crazy-quilt hypothesis is obviously not something we can currently falsify, and almost certainly never will be, it seems to me that it requires a whole series of unparsimonious assumptions, and is less likely true than untrue.

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PostPosted: Fri Mar 24, 2017 12:47 pm 
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I honestly can't tell what the argument is about. How do you define language stock?
Before the PIE hypothesis existed, Germanic, Romance, Slavi, Indic, etc. were all different stocks. After it, they became one.

It'd be useful to define what 'language stock' means first and then judge how many there were in Europe.

Ultimately, I wouldn't be surprised if all current languages descend from just 20-30 languages from 30 000 years ago, with 5-6 having given 80% of the languages today.


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PostPosted: Fri Mar 24, 2017 5:38 pm 
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PostPosted: Sat Mar 25, 2017 9:50 am 
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In that case, it is pointless to talk about stock, because you cannot demonstrate any relationship or lack of one based off of current evidence. It's the new angels on the head of a pin.

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PostPosted: Sat Mar 25, 2017 11:21 am 
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PostPosted: Sat Mar 25, 2017 1:20 pm 
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I like "Wir müssen wissen — wir werden wissen!" better as a slogan myself... even though of course a number of Hilbert's questions have been found to be unanswerable.

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PostPosted: Sat Mar 25, 2017 1:38 pm 
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PostPosted: Sat Mar 25, 2017 4:35 pm 
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PostPosted: Sat Mar 25, 2017 6:52 pm 
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PostPosted: Sun Mar 26, 2017 1:27 pm 
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Addendum @Salmoneus (or whoever knows):

Where can I read up about the pre-Neolithic population movements you mentioned?

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PostPosted: Sun Mar 26, 2017 2:58 pm 
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Duodecimal number system in "Old Europe"?

Francisco Villar claims, on page 155 of his 1996 book, Los Indo-Europeos y los orígines de Europa, that what he calls Vieja Europa 'Old Europe', i.e. the Neolithic peoples of the Balkan Peninsula, used a duodecimal number system, but doesn't give any sources. Does anybody have an idea where evidence for that can be found?

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PostPosted: Sun Mar 26, 2017 3:41 pm 
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PostPosted: Mon Mar 27, 2017 9:09 am 
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PostPosted: Mon Mar 27, 2017 12:27 pm 
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PostPosted: Mon Mar 27, 2017 3:48 pm 
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PostPosted: Mon Mar 27, 2017 4:10 pm 
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Regarding the genetic discrepancy you mention between LBK and Yamna (source?), this of course does not prove that their languages were unrelated. Languages can spread from one genetic population to another. The Sami, I have heard, are genetically not much like Finns, yet they speak a related language. The whole Uralic and Turkic families straddle the boundary zone between "European" and "East Asian" human "races" (I know that "race" is a problematic concept avoided by modern geneticists). Compare Finns to Samoyeds, or Turks (from Turkey) to Yakuts.

It is of course the question which way the language spread. It seems as if the whole shebang is more distantly related to Uralic, but that is not certain. That seems to indicate that the language came from the east. There may have been a component in the ancestors of the LBK which brought in a sister language of PIE but left only a minor mark on the gene pool. I need to do more research on these matters.

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PostPosted: Tue Mar 28, 2017 4:32 pm 
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Smeric
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Joined: Thu Oct 29, 2015 6:44 am
Posts: 1998
Location: suburbs of Mrin

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ìtsanso, God In The Mountain, may our names inspire the deepest feelings of fear in urkos and all his ilk, for we have saved another man from his lies! I welcome back to the feast hall kal, who will never gamble again! May the eleven gods bless him!


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PostPosted: Wed Mar 29, 2017 9:15 am 
Smeric
Smeric
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Joined: Wed Mar 08, 2006 5:00 pm
Posts: 1630
Location: Braunschweig, Germany

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...brought to you by the Weeping Elf
Tha cvastam émi cvastam santham amal phelsa. -- Friedrich Schiller
ESTAR-3SG:P human-OBJ only human-OBJ true-OBJ REL-LOC play-3SG:A


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