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Linguistics: more on the shared IE-Basque word for bear (*h₂ŕ̥tḱos and hartz)

24 Nov
I was speculating the other day on the possibility that certain Indoeuropean terms meaning bear could have a Vascoid substrate as they resemble a lot the Basque word for bear: hartz. However I was soon corrected by a reader, Waggg, who indicated that there is strong evidence for a proto-Indoeuropean root *h₂ŕ̥tḱos and that variants of this word are widespread in Indoeuropean languages from both Europe and Asia.
I did accept the correction but my doubts remained: why of all animals only the word for bear appears to be an Indoeuropean loanword into Basque? Not even the name of the horse (the animal most characteristically associated with IEs) is such a borrowing (it is zaldi in Basque). Could it be that the word was introduced into proto-Indoeuropean before this linguistic family experienced expansion? 
Another unclear issue is why the Basque word hartz has the /h/ at the beginning if it was a borrowing from Celtic arth? This initial h, which is silent in southern dialects but aspired in the North, is generally accepted to be a residue from an original /k/ (or /g/), which seems attested in ancient Aquitanian epigraphy. It would just make no sense whatsoever to have it added to this suspicious borrowing.
So I asked linguist Roslyn M. Frank (University of Iowa), who speaks Basque more fluently than I do, and she just replied attaching some notes with permission to publish. I reproduce them here in their totality (just boldfacing the last paragraph, which is maybe the most relevant one):

[Notice: minor corrections added in Nov. 28 by suggestion of author]
Unquestionably, the reverent attitude of these two bear keepers underlines the fact that the bear was deeply respected among the Basques. He was treated with similar reverence across both America and Eurasia in times past, as is evidenced in the case of rites for the dead bear celebrated until recently in Lapland, Alaska, British Columbia and Quebec. “All across North America, Indians have honored bears. When northern hunting tribes killed one, they spoke to its spirit, asking for its forgiveness. They treated the carcass reverently; among these tribes the ritual for a slain bear was more elaborate than that for any other food animal (Rockwell 1991:2).” As Shepard (Shepard and Sanders 1992: 80) has observed, there is evidence of a wide and ancient distribution of bear ritual. It is present in virtually every country of Western and Eastern Europe, in Asia south to Iran, and among many of the Indian nations of the United States, even into Central and South America. For example, the Asiatic Eskimos held that during the festival of the slain bear, the bear’s shadow-soul could hear and understand the speech of humans and men, no matter where they were (Shepard and Sanders 1991: 86), while the Tlingit said, “People must always speak carefully of bear people since bears [no matter how far away] have the power to hear human speech. Even though a person murmurs a few careless words, the bear will take revenge” (Rockwell 1991: 64). The Basque bear keepers’ words echo a similar belief in the bear’s ability to understand human speech. And, far from describing him as a cuddly pet, the Basques’ comments, represent the bear as a familiar yet awesome being, in a fashion comparable to that of northern peoples for whom he is “un animal intelligent, habile, humain, familier et redouté” (Mathieu 1984: 12).
Among Finno-Ugric peoples and Native American groups, the bear is viewed as omnipotent and omnipresent. He has the power to hear all that is said. For this reason hunters would avoid mentioning the bear’s real name, choosing rather to address him with euphemisms. That these were the qualities attributed to the European Celestial Bear and his earthly representatives, can be demonstrated in social practice by the semantic taboo existing among Slavic and Germanic peoples which led them to avoid mentioning the bear’s real name, an avoidance pattern which, in all likelihood, stemmed from a profound adherence to the tenets of this shamanic cosmovision. The substitute term utilized in Slavic languages was “honey-eater,” while Germanic tribes preferred to call him the “brown one,” an expression that gave rise eventually to the English word “bear,” linked etymologically to the words “brown” and “bruin” (Praneuf 1989: 28–32).[1]
In contrast, it would appear that other European peoples kept the original etymon for “bear”, although they may well have avoided using it when they were in the presence of the animal or when they were hunting him. For example, there is the example of the name of the main character found in the Basque cycle of oral tales, Hartzkume. The word is a compound formed by (h)artz “bear” and -kume “offspring, baby.” The set of Indo-European cognates for bear includes words such as ours (French), art (Irish), arth (Welsh), arz/ourz (Breton), arsa (Avestan) and rksa (Sanscrit) as well as arktos (Greek) (Buck 1988: 186). As is well known, from the Greek etynom arktos comes our word Arctic, the region lying towards the two Sky Bears (cf. Krupp 1991: 232).
Because of the phonological nature of the Basque word for bear, (h)artz (pronounced more or less like the second element in the English expression “fine arts”), linguists such as Holmer have argued that the word must be identified with the set of cognates found in languages classified as Indo-European. But in Basque, according to Holmer, the etymon is “conserved in a more archaic form than in any other Indo-European language (Holmer 1950: 403). In summary, the semantic relationship holding between the Basque word for bear and those found in the Indo-European languages cited above suggests that, in the case of this item, we are dealing with a wide spread archaic semantic artifact embedded still today in many IE languages. The IE etymon, because of its phonological similarity to the Basque item, could be traced back to a much older European linguistic substratum, one dating back to 4000 B.C., that is, to a period contemporary with bear ceremonialism and the point in time when the projection of the Bear Son stories skywards began to take place. Similarly, this chronology would situate the semantic artifact in Europe prior to the emergence of modern Indo-European languages, as a pre-Indo-European phenomenon that coincided with the rise of megalithic peoples and their fascination with the heavens.[2]
Original footnotes:
[1] Specifically the IE etynom is bher-, “bright, brown,” gave rise to the Old English form bera, and eventually to the Modern English word bear. The word “bruin” is a cognate of this group, often used in English to refer not to the color “brown” but to bears themselves (Cf. Watkins 1969: 1509).
[2] Praneuf (1989:28) cites the following western variants of the same etynom: Hindi rich, Gypsy rich, Persan khers, Kurd hirç, Sariqoli of Pamir yurkh, Pactau of Afganistan yaz, as well as two eastern European representatives that are remarkably similar phonologically to the Basque item (h)artz, namely, the Armenian arch or ardch and the form ars found in Caucasian, although the Caucasian form refers to a “bear cub” rather than to a “bear.” Thus, further evidence for Holmer’s hypothesis concerning the archaic nature of the Basque word is found in the similarity holding between the reflexes of the etynom in the eastern and western extremes of the geographical zone, e.g., in Armenian and Caucasian and in Basque. I would like to thank Ryan McGonigle who first brought the Armenian item to my attention several years ago. As an aside, it would appear that the Basque word began with an aspirated /h/. This sound has been lost in the southern dialects of the language.

Also she explained:

As for the 4000 BC time frame, that was simply a rough date, but one that IE linguists often assign to PIE.

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126 Comments

Posted by on November 24, 2010 in Basque language, European origins, linguistics

 

126 responses to “Linguistics: more on the shared IE-Basque word for bear (*h₂ŕ̥tḱos and hartz)

  1. eurologist

    November 25, 2010 at 4:28 am

    Interesting – but I don't quite understand the timing:this chronology would situate the semantic artifact in Europe prior to the emergence of modern Indo-European languages, as a pre-Indo-European phenomenon that coincided with the rise of megalithic peoples and their fascination with the heavensI understand 4000BC is of course pre modern IE languages – but it is rather late in the formation of IE. In other words, if Basque came in contact with (or even caused) an early IE or pre-IE root form, then it should have been so about 1,000 – 2,000 years earlier – no? Also, the emphasis on bear hunting seems something decidedly pre-neolithic, to me…

     
  2. Maju

    November 25, 2010 at 5:15 am

    Sure, why not? This seems to be just the theory or hypothesis she came up with but the exact timing is certainly arguable and I'm sure she will agree with such flexibility. Actually all the bear cosmology, even if it does seem to have a correlation with the likely interest in astronomy of Megalithic peoples' seems something more archaic. After all Megalithic peoples were agriculturalists/pastoralists/fishermen, not anymore hunter-gatherers (at least not most of the time). In no moment it is implied anyhow that Basque (or Vascoid) directly contacted PIE (that maybe only happened after the first IE expansion) but that the term was widespread in Europe (and maybe parts of Asia?) because of these religious/cosmological reasons. There could have been other languages participating in this sprachbund. IDK, compare with a word like Christ or Allah, which is similar today among so many different peoples in spite of speaking totally different languages.

     
  3. waggg

    November 25, 2010 at 12:31 pm

    Indeed interesting. It seems strange on such distances but I guess it's still possible. A little detail. It is said : "The substitute term utilized in Slavic languages was "honey-wolf"" Isn't this a mistake? In Russian, "bear" is said medved (medv- ed-), obviously "honey-eater" (which makes more sense), both the IE roots are easy to recognize.

     
  4. manju

    November 25, 2010 at 1:59 pm

    In Kannada, bear is karadi. If you consider k>h then haradi sort of looks similar to hartz.

     
  5. Maju

    November 25, 2010 at 2:50 pm

    Your input, Manju, is most interesting, thanks. In the maybe related Finnic karhu/karu there seems to be another proposed etymology (personal communication with many "unsure"s and "have to ask again" to Finnish colleagues) but the whole structure of these forms is certainly suggestive of an ancient shared origin in something like *kar-something. The k>h change in proto-Basque has already been mentioned and should be no surprise, more intriguing would be a similar change, maybe k>h>loss of consonant in PIE. Wagg said: "Isn't this a mistake?" Maybe, I can't say for sure. She may have been thinking on the conjectural connection between Basque otso (wolf) and Finnish otso (bear, poetic form). But it's maybe a correct alternative etymology – I just do not know enough Slavic to say.

     
  6. Andrew Oh-Willeke

    November 25, 2010 at 4:47 pm

    It certainly makes sense that some words from a pre-IE substrate would have remained in IE, and bear is the kind of word that would make sense to survive, since liturgical language is often the most ancient (compare "Amen" in English from the Coptic substrate in Hebrew).

     
  7. Maju

    November 25, 2010 at 5:23 pm

    Just for the record, it is maybe interesting to mention, using the same Nostraticist/Sino-Caucasicist resource that Manju used the alleged proto-Sino-Caucasian etymology of (eu) hartz and the few "attested" cognates:Proto-Sino-Caucasian: *ẋHVrć̣V́North Caucasian: *ẋHVr[ć̣]V(only attested in Nakh and Dargwa, NE Caucasian languages – remember that "North Caucasian" is a controversial super-family itself)Yenisseian: *ẋa(ʔ)s (˜k-) – attested in Kottish hāš only. Kott is an extinct Yenisean language once spoken in Siberia and apparently related to Ket. It became extinct in the 1850s and only one grammar exists. As no other such cognate seems to exist in Dene-Yenisean, I'd consider this somewhat suspect of borrowing from some other language and in any case the easternmost ancient extension through the steppes/taiga of this ancient word.Proto-Basque: *har̄c (which reads like modern hartz in the Basque quasi-phonetic alphabet).

     
  8. Maju

    November 25, 2010 at 5:34 pm

    And continuing with the same resource, it's interesting it proposes a different PIE root: *rtk' but a most close "Eurasiatic" one: *HVrtkV.Out of IE languages only two macro-Altaic ones are provided:Proto-Altaic: *i̯àrgi ( ˜ -o)Proto-Tungus-Manchu: *iarga (leopard): Spoken Manchu: jarǝhǝ, Jurchen: jara, Nanai: jarga, Udighe: jagäProto-Korean: *írhì (wolf): Modern Korean: iri, Middle Korean: írhìWhile it's impossible to absolutely discard a relationship, they do seem a bit forced. So in general I'd say that the case seems strong for a West/South Eurasian widespread term, adopted by PIE before expansion.

     
  9. waggg

    November 25, 2010 at 7:48 pm

    "But it's maybe a correct alternative etymology – I just do not know enough Slavic to say." It's not specially Slavic, but proto-IE. The usual root for honey is something like *mélh₁-it- (Latin "mel", Hittite "milit", Welsh "mêl", etc… ) but sometimes the root for mead *médhu (a beverage using honey, a.k.a. hydromel, a.k.a. honey wine), was used to name 'honey' (Russian "mëd" (old church Slavonic "meda" = honey), Tocharian B "mit" = honey, Sanskrit "madhu" = honey (and nectar), Lithuanian "medùs" = honey (-> "midùs" = mead)). As for ed-, just think of Latin "edo" ("I eat", from edere), Russian "eda" (food) or Lithuanian edu ("I eat") or simply "to eat" in English.

     
  10. Maju

    November 25, 2010 at 8:03 pm

    "As for ed-, just think of Latin "edo" ("I eat", from edere), Russian "eda" (food) or Lithuanian edu ("I eat") or simply "to eat" in English".Ok. Curiously: Basque edan: to drink. O_O

     
  11. Maju

    November 26, 2010 at 5:04 pm

    Some quick note: Roslyn Frank read the conversation and wrote telling that the "honey-wolf" expression is indeed an error, that she meant "honey-eater". She made a lot of other interesting comments that I will detail later on. The 4000 BCE date is a minimal one also.

     
  12. waggg

    November 26, 2010 at 6:15 pm

    "Roslyn Frank read the conversation and wrote telling that the "honey-wolf" expression is indeed an error, that she meant "honey-eater"." OK, thanks. That's what I assumed. "She made a lot of other interesting comments that I will detail later on. "Good to know. It'll be interesting to read.

     
  13. Maju

    November 27, 2010 at 11:52 pm

    I've made some minor corrections to the original text following Roslyn's directions. She also said, though I chose not to add to the main article the following:The name Beowulf is thought to be a kenning for 'bear' (or perhaps better stated an 'avoidance term') that translates as "honey-wolf" in Old English. I managed to create an ingenious new compound 'honey-wolf'. Please apologize to your readers for me. I should have reread what I sent you before I sent it.Bee-WolfHenry Sweet, a philologist and early linguist specializing in Germanic languages, proposed that the name Beowulf literally means in Old English "bee-wolf" or "bee-hunter" and that it is a kenning for "bear".[1] This etymology is mirrored in recorded instances of similar names. Biuuuwulf is recorded as a name in the AD 1031 Liber Vitae. The name is attested to a monk from Durham and literally means bee wolf in Northumbrian.[2] The 11th century English Domesday Book contains a recorded instance of the name Beulf.[2]On a slightly different note, we have the fact that in recent years the Celtic hero Arthur has been linked repeatedly by serious scholars, to the mythical figure of the 'bear' and by extension to the 'Bear Son' tales.To mention only two well known works:Lajoux, Jean-Dominique. 1996. L'homme et l'ours. Grenoble: Glénat.Pastoureau, Michel. 2007. L’ours. Histoire d’un roi déchu. Paris: Ed. Seuil.

     
  14. Octavià Alexandre

    November 29, 2010 at 7:13 pm

    Why of all animals only the word for bear appears to be an Indoeuropean loanword into Basque? Not even the name of the horse (the animal most characteristically associated with IEs) is such a borrowing (it is zaldi in Basque).Youy're wrong, because Basque zaldi HAS an IE etymology from the root *g(W)old- 'foal, young of an ass': http://starling.rinet.ru/cgi-bin/response.cgi?single=1&basename=/data/ie/piet&text_number=+296&root=configThis is probably derivated (with a suffix) from PNC *gwalV 'horse': http://starling.rinet.ru/cgi-bin/response.cgi?single=1&basename=/data/cauc/caucet&text_number=1125&root=configALso the "Dene-Caucasian" (or Sino-Caucasian) proposed by Bengtson is WRONG, as PNC *XHVr[tç']V 'marten; otter' and Yeniseian *Xas (˜ k-) 'badger' refer to small mammals (there's also Altaic *karsi 'fox, marten').It has been suggested that the IE word for 'bear' is related to a verb root 'to destroy', found in PNC *HarGG(w)V 'to break, destroy, be broken': http://starling.rinet.ru/cgi-bin/response.cgi?single=1&basename=/data/cauc/caucet&text_number=1724&root=config

     
  15. Octavià Alexandre

    November 29, 2010 at 7:19 pm

    Another unclear issue is why the Basque word hartz has the /h/ at the beginning if it was a borrowing from Celtic arth? This initial h, which is silent in southern dialects but aspired in the North, is generally accepted to be a residue from an original /k/ (or /g/), which seems attested in ancient Aquitanian epigraphy. It would just make no sense whatsoever to have it added to this suspicious borrowing.There're Basque words with a non-etymological /h/ (e.g. harma 'weapon'). What's clear is that hartz (found as HARS in Aquitanian inscriptions) had already /h/ at Roman times.

     
  16. Maju

    November 29, 2010 at 8:25 pm

    "You're wrong"…Hi, Octavià. I think this is much better said "you may be wrong" or "I think that you are wrong". It's linguistics after all: slippery terrain by its very nature and therefore we are all issuing opinions, and only very rarely judgments in such absolute terms. But I appreciate your opinion as knowledgeable and bright linguist, even if not the style. "because Basque zaldi HAS an IE etymology from the root *g(W)old- 'foal, young of an ass'"Looks tentative to me. Interesting but I do not see anywhere how can you be so strongly convinced. After all there are several sound changes(gw>z specially but also some vocalic changes) and it's not even the same meaning. The "Nostratic" (Ataic, Uralic) alleged cognates actually refer to young animals in general, rather than equids. Also no Celtic, Latin or Germanic "middleman" term is provided. The alleged NE Caucasian cognates do refer to horses but are even more distant from Basque (loss of d and no z still anywhere) so this cannot be explained by Vasco-Caucasian theory. It still needs Celtic (or Latin, or Germanic non-existent intermediary). It's interesting as exploration outline but far from conclusive, IMO. "ALso the "Dene-Caucasian" (or Sino-Caucasian) proposed by Bengtson is WRONG"Agreed here (always my opinion anyhow). I argued above that the *XHVr[tç']V and very similar PIE *h₂ŕ̥tḱos conjectured roots seem to be a West Eurasian (with South Asian links maybe) phenomenon and is not clearly related to any language East of Kott(ish) by the Steppes, being this one anomalous within Yenisean. My underlying speculation here is that Nostratic and Sino-Caucasian are probably wrong (at best they reflect some sprachbund through the steppes) and that we are more likely (because of the geographic constrictions of prehistoric human demographics and Eurasian geography) to find geographically organized superfamilies, at least to some extent. For example I would suspect that most West Eurasian languages have never arrived from East Asia (or vice versa), the main exception being arguably proto-Uralic. Similarly the only language family that looks African by origin is Afroasiatic. All the others should derive from the same early proto-language (or proto-languages in intense sprachbund) of some 30-50 Ka ago. Some doubts anyhow exist about which are the exact origins of PIE (East European, South Asian, Central Asian?) but in general it seems to belong in that group, rather than being "exotic". "It has been suggested that the IE word for 'bear' is related to a verb root 'to destroy', found in PNC *HarGG(w)V 'to break, destroy, be broken'".Sounds cool, funny. I like it that sense at least. But would I look for cognates in Basque, I'd look at the root har-:· harri: stone (pre-IE *khar- proposed often)· haritz: oak (suffix hitz: word, speech quality?)· har(tu): to take, to get· har: there (loc.)What say Caucasian peoples?

     
  17. Maju

    November 29, 2010 at 8:40 pm

    "There're Basque words with a non-etymological /h/ (e.g. harma 'weapon'). What's clear is that hartz (found as HARS in Aquitanian inscriptions) had already /h/ at Roman times". I was essentially referring to standard Basque (Euskara Batua or Batua for short). In Bizkaiera there are no written Hs at all I believe. If any advantage carries Batua for etymological purposes is that it has tried to stay genuine to the Basque core of linguistic purity (central dialects), so to say, as understood by Euskaltzaindia (Basque Language Academy).But your comment is very interesting in any case. I'm not really sure which are the premises of the alleged /k/>/h/ sound change but I understand that the famous inscription "aherbelts deo" ("to the black he-goat god" in Latin and Basque) shows sound oscillation between k and h (akerbeltz modernly) but it's not clear to me which direction was dominant. Can it be a never consolidated dialectal variant? I understand that for some changes to become consolidated a lot of ephemeral and/or localized changes must exist too. This is just common sense, right?

     
  18. Ebizur

    November 30, 2010 at 9:49 am

    Maju said,"But would I look for cognates in Basque, I'd look at the root har-:· harri: stone (pre-IE *khar- proposed often)"Where did you find it posited that pre-Proto IE had a form *khar- "stone"? I think this is the modern Armenian word for "stone."

     
  19. Octavià Alexandre

    November 30, 2010 at 11:21 am

    Hi, Octavià. I think this is much better said "you may be wrong" or "I think that you are wrong". It's linguistics after all: slippery terrain by its very nature and therefore we are all issuing opinions, and only very rarely judgments in such absolute terms. But I appreciate your opinion as knowledgeable and bright linguist, even if not the style.Hi, Maju. I didn't use the conditional because you expressed such a strong opinion: "Not even the name of the horse […] is such a borrowing".Looks tentative to me. Interesting but I do not see anywhere how can you be so strongly convinced. After all there are several sound changes(gw>z specially but also some vocalic changes) and it's not even the same meaning.The initial velar became palatized (assibilated) at a later stage. This phenomenon, although apparently not recognized by Vascologists, is quite common in part of the Basque lexicon, even including Romance loanwords. Another example I mentioned before is txar 'bad' from *-gar.Also the meanings 'ass', 'horse', 'poney', etc. belong to the same semantic field.Also no Celtic, Latin or Germanic "middleman" term is provided. The alleged NE Caucasian cognates do refer to horses but are even more distant from Basque (loss of d and no z still anywhere) so this cannot be explained by Vasco-Caucasian theory. It still needs Celtic (or Latin, or Germanic non-existent intermediary).This word is only attested in Germanic and Sanskrit, neither Celtic nor Latin have it. But it possibly existed in Ligurian (aka "Italoid" or "Sorotaptic"), an IE substrate language which has been studied by scholars like Joan Coromines or Francisco Villar.Agreed here (always my opinion anyhow). I argued above that the *XHVr[tç']V and very similar PIE *h₂ŕ̥tḱos […]IMHO the similarity between these two words is probably accidental."It has been suggested that the IE word for 'bear' is related to a verb root 'to destroy', found in PNC *HarGG(w)V 'to break, destroy, be broken'".Sounds cool, funny. I like it that sense at least.This relationship was first suggested by IE-ists. I merely translated to PNC 🙂But would I look for cognates in Basque, I'd look at the root har-:Do you know what does "homonymy" mean?

     
  20. Octavià Alexandre

    November 30, 2010 at 12:11 pm

    I was essentially referring to standard Basque (Euskara Batua or Batua for short). In Bizkaiera there are no written Hs at all I believe. If any advantage carries Batua for etymological purposes is that it has tried to stay genuine to the Basque core of linguistic purity (central dialects), so to say, as understood by Euskaltzaindia (Basque Language Academy).Basque /h/ is only preserved in North Dialects, although there're evidence Biscayan had it in the Middle Ages. Unfortunately, Euskaltzaindia choose to keep only initial and intervocalic /h/ in Batua, but not the ones which indicate aspiration of the precedent consonant. I'm also affraid Euskera Batua isn't a good start point to make linguistic research.I'm not really sure which are the premises of the alleged /k/>/h/ sound change but I understand that the famous inscription "aherbelts deo" ("to the black he-goat god" in Latin and Basque) shows sound oscillation between k and h (akerbeltz modernly) but it's not clear to me which direction was dominant. Can it be a never consolidated dialectal variant?IMHO, the form aker, probably from *ap and *-ger 'bad', is a borrowing from a related variety which displaced the Aquitanian (=Proto-Basque) one, which has no modern descendents. It looks like Proto-Basque *h arose from a former strong plosive (most often k:) through an intermediate aspiration stage: *k: > *kh > *h. I call this "Martinet's Law" because it's very similar to the model proposed by the French linguist André Martinet in 1955. Unfortunately, this hasn't been yet acknowledged by academic Vascologists.harri: stone (pre-IE *khar- proposed often)The root is actually *kar- 'hard', which I relate to PNC *GwerV 'stone'.

     
  21. Maju

    November 30, 2010 at 6:51 pm

    @Ebizur:Pre-IE is not proto-IE but non-IE. Pre-IE in Europe and equivalent (highly Indoeuropeanized) contexts refers to the languages that existed before IE expansion, including survivors like Basque, Caucasian languages, Dravidian, Burushaski…

     
  22. Maju

    November 30, 2010 at 7:18 pm

    "Hi, Maju. I didn't use the conditional because you expressed such a strong opinion: "Not even the name of the horse […] is such a borrowing"".Ok. My bad then. I could not see any sort of relation with PIE *h₁éḱwos or any other nearby IE variant such as horse or caballo.So it is not any apparent borrowing, at least on first sight. You come with an interesting alternative PIE/NEC potential cognate. Fair enough, but it's a proposal and not a demonstration. "Also the meanings 'ass', 'horse', 'poney', etc. belong to the same semantic field".Yes but that also applies when you compare leopards and bears, something I considered dubious above and that you also considered unclear in a different case later:"ALso the "Dene-Caucasian" (or Sino-Caucasian) proposed by Bengtson is WRONG, as PNC *XHVr[tç']V 'marten; otter' and Yeniseian *Xas (˜ k-) 'badger' refer to small mammals (there's also Altaic *karsi 'fox, marten')".So it is important (in order to feel safe of the interpretation) the most strict meaning identity. As I said above this happens with the NEC cognates but they are more distant than the PIE one and therefore we lack a transmitter.I think you may be on something but not so solidly as you would like to make it look. "But it possibly existed in Ligurian (aka "Italoid" or "Sorotaptic"), an IE substrate language"…I am of the opinion that there is absolutely no reason to claim Ligurian as IE and I think it is likely to be related with Basque and Iberian in fact. As in the case of Basque and Caucasian languages we see this language's speakers clinging to the mountains as refuge, and their archaeology has clear pre-IE roots as far as I can discern. The linguistic evidence is nearly zero, sadly enough."I argued above that the *XHVr[tç']V and very similar PIE *h₂ŕ̥tḱos […]IMHO the similarity between these two words is probably accidental". I do not believe in coincidences, much less when they make total sense. "Do you know what does "homonymy" mean?"Of course. I am just suggesting.My (weak) interest in the har- root is that it seems to show up once and again in connection with what seem "sacred" or "most important" elements of what could be a Prehistoric world-view: stone, oak, bear. As I have told you before, you cannot solve the puzzle of European/West Eurasian languages (before IE and Semitic expansions) without considering all the pieces. What I do is to take Basque on its own right, and not just assuming without sufficient justification it is a mere dialect of a most controversial proto-North-Caucasian, as you do without sufficient justification IMO. It is complementary to other approaches and has its own merits. We should not just simply assume that Basque is a dialect of PNC or NEC but it's clear that it's a different language with at least 7000 years of different history, more than IE as we know it. And it may be even older (i.e. Paleolithic). So it's important to consider Basque on its own context: Basque itself, related Iberian and other Vasconic substrate indicators through West Europe (and wherever). …

     
  23. Maju

    November 30, 2010 at 7:35 pm

    "Unfortunately, Euskaltzaindia choose to keep only initial and intervocalic /h/ in Batua, but not the ones which indicate aspiration of the precedent consonant. I'm also affraid Euskera Batua isn't a good start point to make linguistic research".You have to understand that I am not any linguist with a degree and that most of my readers can't read/speak/understand Basque. So using Batua as reference, with all the shortcomings it has, is a necessary simplification. You can always expand from there if need be. As for th and so on, it was a simplification considered necessary, yet you are welcome to illustrate us when this "lost" (dialectal) phonetics may be relevant. "IMHO, the form aker, probably from *ap and *-ger 'bad', is a borrowing from a related variety which displaced the Aquitanian (=Proto-Basque) one, which has no modern descendents".Sounds unlikely to me, specially as the word is documented in Iberian (with /k/). I also mentioned before (another post) the possibility that aker (he-goat) and ahari (ram) (<*akari?) might be related, with Lat. aries being a derived term maybe, via Ligurian/other Vasconic substrate. "It looks like Proto-Basque *h arose from a former strong plosive (most often k:) through an intermediate aspiration stage: *k: > *kh > *h. I call this "Martinet's Law" because it's very similar to the model proposed by the French linguist André Martinet in 1955. Unfortunately, this hasn't been yet acknowledged by academic Vascologists".It makes sense to me. Just that I would consider the unidirectional arrows to be at times/places bidirectional or even totally reversed, as the aherbelts case seems to indicate. "The root is actually *kar- 'hard', which I relate to PNC *GwerV 'stone'".Ok, in this I concede. I had seen it as *khar- maybe to indicate Basque har- but it's fine either way.

     
  24. Maju

    November 30, 2010 at 8:01 pm

    Just a word about the issue of proto-NEC (as PNC seems little more than that) *XHVr[tç']V. One of the animals related is badger, which is the other mammal most typically related to bear (excepting maybe the wolf and this one only because of similar status in the food chain). Badger in Basque is azkonar (and similar) and is typically considered to be a derivate from hartz (hartz + dim. -(s)ko). Also I want to say that what keeps together (if anything other than sound similarity) the har- words in Basque is something like the quality of strength. In this sense your PIE/PNC mention of a potential root in "PNC *HarGG(w)V 'to break, destroy, be broken" makes total sense, except that I do not really feel the need for the second syllable -GG(w)V in the case of Basque and that my emphasis would be more in "passive strength", solidity, sturdiness, a characteristic that can well share stone (harri), oak (haritz) and bear (hartz). However I reckon that haritz breaks the rule for lacking strong R (ŕ or rr). On the other hand har(-tu) (to get, to take) has it, as indicated in the compound harremanak (relations: the-take-give-s literally). So maybe it is actually related to that PNC/proto-NEC root, after we exclude haritz and include hartu, because both to take and to break seem to imply some sort of affirmative "violence" (but notice the more relaxed and pragmatic proto-Basque meaning if hartu is the key verb to track). Just thinking loud in any case.

     
  25. Maju

    November 30, 2010 at 8:25 pm

    Last post this row (I promise). What I'm cautiously proposing in my "thinking loud" exercise of the previous post(s) is a proto-Basque *har- (maybe harri not just as stone but also as verb – -i, -n and -tu are the three infinitive forms in Basque) that meant to take/get but also more broadly active manipulation of the environment and, in this sense, not really different from PNC *HarGG(w)V (to break, destroy) but with a more thief/crafter than warrior attitude in it. The bear is certainly a "taker" and the stone is something you "take" an use to "take" stuff from the environment. …Besides a note: it has also been proposed that ar (male) is related to this *har- root (specially in hartu), because, in spite of the loss of initial h (it does retain the final strong R: i.e. arra: the male), because of the parallel with eme (female) and eman (to give). Also for the readers not familiar with Basque specially, verbs that are very similar in sound to the hypothetical proto-verb (above) *harri would be for instance:jarri: to put, to setekarri: to carry or bring from [its opposite eraman, lit. 'variant of to give', seems a more recent development with the preffix era- (mode) which is used similarly to English phrasal verbs to modify the meaning of the main verb] – related to ekai (matter, burden, similar to gai also matter). I don't mean here that these three verbs are related just using them as examples to illustrate how such verbs do exist in Basque. There are many others in -i (jaitsi, ipini, ibili, etc.) but I chose these two because the accidentally also end in -arri.

     
  26. Ebizur

    November 30, 2010 at 9:18 pm

    Maju said,"Pre-IE is not proto-IE but non-IE. Pre-IE in Europe and equivalent (highly Indoeuropeanized) contexts refers to the languages that existed before IE expansion, including survivors like Basque, Caucasian languages, Dravidian, Burushaski…"It is ridiculous to postulate the existence of particular "Pre-IE" words or morphemes unless you have evidence that Indo-European languages have spread at the expense of a single pan-West Eurasian "Pre-IE" language family. From which morphemes of which attested languages has such a "Pre-IE" form as *khar- been reconstructed?

     
  27. Maju

    November 30, 2010 at 9:40 pm

    Pre-IE is a loose term. It does not presuppose anything but that IE expanded over something else (which can well be a plurality of language families, in sprachbund or not). In the context of Europe, specially the western half or so, it's often interchangeable with Vasconic but "pre-IE" just makes less assumptions. It refers to generic substrate in Indoeuropeanized areas and never to proto-IE (or pre-proto-IE).

     
  28. Octavià Alexandre

    November 30, 2010 at 10:53 pm

    "Also the meanings 'ass', 'horse', 'poney', etc. belong to the same semantic field".Yes but that also applies when you compare leopards and bears, […]Don't be ridiculous. The animals I listed before are all equids.What I do is to take Basque on its own right, and not just assuming without sufficient justification it is a mere dialect of a most controversial proto-North-Caucasian, as you do without sufficient justification IMO.The problem is you take IE loanwords as if they were "Vasconic", much in th same way Vennemann does.I am of the opinion that there is absolutely no reason to claim Ligurian as IE and I think it is likely to be related with Basque and Iberian in fact.There're probably two Ligurian languages, a non-IE and an IE one.Sounds unlikely to me, specially as the word is documented in Iberian (with /k/). AFAIK, Iberian had no /h/ nor followed Martinet's Law."It looks like Proto-Basque *h arose from a former strong plosive (most often k:) through an intermediate aspiration stage: *k: > *kh > *h. I call this "Martinet's Law" because it's very similar to the model proposed by the French linguist André Martinet in 1955. Unfortunately, this hasn't been yet acknowledged by academic Vascologists".It makes sense to me. Just that I would consider the unidirectional arrows to be at times/places bidirectional or even totally reversed, as the aherbelts case seems to indicate.Not so. Basque aker must be a borrowing and not a native word.Badger in Basque is azkonar (and similar) and is typically considered to be a derivate from hartz (hartz + dim. -(s)ko).No, this is a Celtic loanword from *tazgo- 'badger' (> Latin taxō) with loss of initial t- (no /h/ in any dialect). And the forms azkonar, azkunar, azkenarro have the male "suffix" -ar.Also I want to say that what keeps together (if anything other than sound similarity) the har- words in Basque is something like the quality of strength. In this sense your PIE/PNC mention of a potential root in "PNC *HarGG(w)V 'to break, destroy, be broken" makes total sense, except that I do not really feel the need for the second syllable -GG(w)V in the case of Basque and that my emphasis would be more in "passive strength", solidity, sturdiness, a characteristic that can well share stone (harri), oak (haritz) and bear (hartz).Sorry, but this doesn't make any sense.

     
  29. Maju

    November 30, 2010 at 11:59 pm

    @Octavià: I do not understand why you take a modern scientific category (equids) and apply it to linguistics, much less why would this be different from another modern scientific category such as carnivores. For an IE loan to have arrived into Basque before Latin or Celtic did (i.e. before c. 1200 BCE) we need a carrier. What do you propose? Be clear because this prehistory understanding is critical. A mere cognate between PIE and Vasconic does not automatically mean loan into Basque: it can be something much older. This should be clear for someone who postulates that Basque is nothing but a North Caucasian dialect (?) that migrated to the far west (thousands of years before IE began its expansion and even yet several more millennia before it arrived to the Pyrenees). In order to claim conclusively that something is as an IE borrowing into Basque/Vasconic, you need a plausible vehicle. Typically these are either Celtic or Latin but guess that Greek or Germanic can do too. Your proposal for zaldi breaks all these rules, so I cannot accept it as such. However I can conjecture that they represent different branches of a shared root (where? maybe in a shared pan-European common phylogeny/substrate/sprachbund dating to either Gravettian or Neolithic times). That is exactly what Frank proposes for hartz/arctos/etc. Crucial in this seems to be that she and others find the Basque word hartz more archaic than the PIE and PNC ones (and not derived). Similarly I find that zaldi in comparison with your PIE and PNC words looks rather archaic than derived, very specially for the loss of D in Caucasian languages, what almost makes the cognate nature unrecognizable – would it not be for the PIE reconstruction, which actually seems intermediate, in spite of the different meaning. All this to me says that there was once some sort of *zhwaldV evolving into *GwVldV in the East and into *zaldi (for lack of a better proto-word) in the West. At that time PIE was just one of many languages, possibly related by a shared origin spoken in Europe and parts of its periphery. This is more parsimonious than the most implausible loan from PIE you are defending. "Basque aker must be a borrowing and not a native word".Highly skeptic. I'd rather think that it's better to consider Basque or any other language for what they actually used to be: a dialectal continuum and not some sort of fossilized academic standard. We need to begin to apply chaos theory to linguistics, and stop assuming everything comes in neat distinct blocs. "this is a Celtic loanword from *tazgo- 'badger'"Well, this I leave to linguists to debate. Just to mention that I borrowed the idea from Frank's papers on the bear mythology and linguistic implications.

     
  30. Octavià Alexandre

    December 1, 2010 at 7:12 pm

    I do not understand why you take a modern scientific category (equids) and apply it to linguistics, much less why would this be different from another modern scientific category such as carnivores.What nowadays we call "equids" where very similar animals to ancient people. However, this isn't so for "carnivores", which is a broader concept.A mere cognate between PIE and Vasconic does not automatically mean loan into Basque: it can be something much older. This should be clear for someone who postulates that Basque is nothing but a North Caucasian dialect (?) that migrated to the far west (thousands of years before IE began its expansion and even yet several more millennia before it arrived to the Pyrenees).For puerly geographical reasons, nobody would consider Basque as being "North Caucasian". "Macro-Caucasian" or "Vasco-Caucasian" would be more appropriate terms.In order to claim conclusively that something is as an IE borrowing into Basque/Vasconic, you need a plausible vehicle. Typically these are either Celtic or Latin but guess that Greek or Germanic can do too.I disagree. Apart from historical attested languages like the ones you mentioned, there's evidence of other members of IE family which are poorly attested or not attested at all, only surviving in the form of loanwords. And Italoid/Sorotaptic is one of them.Your proposal for zaldi breaks all these rules, so I cannot accept it as such. However I can conjecture that they represent different branches of a shared root (where? maybe in a shared pan-European common phylogeny/substrate/sprachbund dating to either Gravettian or Neolithic times).There's no need to suppose that IMHO. And the same argument can be applied to hartz.This is more parsimonious than the most implausible loan from PIE you are defending.No, it's actually on the contrary."Basque aker must be a borrowing and not a native word".Highly skeptic. I'd rather think that it's better to consider Basque or any other language for what they actually used to be: a dialectal continuum and not some sort of fossilized academic standard.This dialectal continuum was broken after Romanization in the High Middle Ages, and it looks Basque absorbed part of the lexicon of its sisters. Given that the Proto-Basque form was aher, aker must be one of these loanwords.

     
  31. Octavià Alexandre

    December 1, 2010 at 7:16 pm

    Similarly I find that zaldi in comparison with your PIE and PNC words looks rather archaic than derived, very specially for the loss of D in Caucasian languages, what almost makes the cognate nature unrecognizable – would it not be for the PIE reconstruction, which actually seems intermediate, in spite of the different meaning.There's no such loss of *-d-, as this is a suffix which was added in IE. And the meaning isn't really so different (i.e semantic latitude is narrow).

     
  32. Maju

    December 1, 2010 at 8:15 pm

    "This dialectal continuum was broken after Romanization in the High Middle Ages". Not sure what you refer to, I presume that to the loss of Iberian language(s) and Aquitanian Basque (or rather the Garonne variants of Vasco-Aquitanian). But the dialectal continuum has remained till the 20th century (and even today) in the remainder Basque-speaking areas. ""carnivores", which is a broader concept".I know, but the animals are not that dissimilar in looks and behavior. It is not impossible that words may have shifted meaning when earliest proto-languages migrated in the depths of the Paleolithic ages. It remains conjectural but the same has to be when you find a "Nostratic" phylogeny where most of the cognates mean not anything related to equids but just small or young animal in general (cub, whelp in English). So my elaboration, removes the Nostratic conjecture (more for practical reasons than absolute impossibility) and focus on European-specific cognates, what is what I think you do too. However you claim a IE origin that I fail to see clear for lack of vehicles of transmission."For puerly geographical reasons, nobody would consider Basque as being "North Caucasian". "Macro-Caucasian" or "Vasco-Caucasian" would be more appropriate terms".It's possible. But in previous debates at your blog, you have made more than once to derive Basque terms from PNC and that (because of diversity or conjectures about the Neolithic frame of expansion of proposed Vasco-Caucasian), to effectively work as if Basque (and Iberian) were mere dialects evolved from PNC, without any reconstruction of any more balanced proto-Vasco-Caucasian, which IMO should be the first thing to consider. "Apart from historical attested languages like the ones you mentioned, there's evidence of other members of IE family which are poorly attested or not attested at all, only surviving in the form of loanwords. And Italoid/Sorotaptic is one of them".Well, maybe I should have used the term "Italic" instead of Latin, its only historical survivor. Whatever the case, a clear case for a vehicle for the loan(s) should be proposed. AFAIK, Basques were only in intense contact with Celtic and then Latin Indoeuropean, with whatever reserves for the Lusitanian case (which I tend to think as a branch of proto-Celtic of pre-Q Celtic if this term can be used). I do not expect any direct contact with IE before 2400 BCE and that only at the Rhine and via the Bell Beaker phenomenon. In order to consider these, we'd need to know if any Western IE preserves the *GwaldV form with the LD consonantic group (so fowl is not valid, IMO) and preferably in a form close to zaldi. The LD group is in fact the only thread that may relate zaldi with *GwaldV, plus maybe the persistence of final vowel, also lost in fowl (actually if you compare fowl and zaldi only the L is consistent, enough? I say no). So we wold be better with some evidence that it existed in West IE and not just in always conjectural PIE. …

     
  33. Maju

    December 1, 2010 at 8:17 pm

    …"No, it's actually on the contrary".This is the kind of non-discussion where we cannot proceed further. Why would be more parsimonious to make the Basque form zaldi derive from *g(W)old- (equid whelp) or *gwalV (horse)? It is obvious that these two proto-words are more closely related to each other than to Basque:*g(W)old- <> *gwalV [1 or 2 changes: loss/gain of D, plus maybe change in the last vowel]*g(W)old- <> zaldi [2 or 3 changes: key consonant change at beginning, two vowel changes]*gwalV <> zaldi [2-3 changes: same as above plus loss/gain of D]If we only consider consonantic changes then the tree is:Z'LD' <> GW'LD' <> GW'L'But GW'LD' has a meaning shift, what to me indicates that it's a borrowing from some third language where it still meant horse (as in Basque and NEC, and not small equid). So I would seriously consider a, for instance, Dniepr-Don (or Danubian or even Gravettian) ancient word like *GwaldV or even *ZhaldV. PIE and P-NEC would then be the eastern variants, and Basque would be the remaining Western one. Considering that horses were known to Dniepr-Don peoples and that they influenced Northern Europe, contacting Megalithic peoples, some time before Indoeuropeans did (i.e. in the context of Funnelbeaker and Pitted Ware), this is not impossible, I'd say."Given that the Proto-Basque form was aher, aker must be one of these loanwords".*aher > aker seems to argue against such loan but rather speaks of sound shift, really. We only known that Aherbelts was spelled with H (instead of K) in one slab. This may have been a Garonne dialectal variant or even an error when transcribing to Latin alphabet. It's not conclusive evidence of anything alone.Maybe we are also in relation to aker/ahari ambiguity (they are both males of ovi-caprids and the terms may have been interchangeable to some extent in the past). This we would hardly ever be able to discern but it's clear that these kinds of subtle changes in meaning happen all the time in living languages (specially when you change the dialectal zone), so we should expect them to happen in the past too.

     
  34. Maju

    December 1, 2010 at 8:22 pm

    "There's no such loss of *-d-, as this is a suffix which was added in IE".You are taking the (arbitrary) stand that the PNC word *gwadV is older, a claim that lacks any evidence to support it. We have three words in three language families that seem cognates, the logical default is to think that all them descend from the same unknown common root and in any case, the Caucasus does not look like the place where this word in particular would coalesce. I'd rather look in the steppes, but Vasconia also has a long history with horses anyhow (just visit Ekain, for instance). So for me there is loss of D in PNEC *gwalV and the proto-European word should have it.

     
  35. Maju

    December 1, 2010 at 8:23 pm

    Erratum *gwadV should read *gwalu in the first paragraph. My bad.

     
  36. Octavià Alexandre

    December 1, 2010 at 9:26 pm

    "There's no such loss of *-d-, as this is a suffix which was added in IE".You are taking the (arbitrary) stand that the PNC word *gwalV is older, a claim that lacks any evidence to support it.Not so, as PNC is for sure older than PIE. There's also evidence of Vasco-Caucasian loanwords right into PIE. And it's also more reasonable to assume a suffix -d- was added at some stage than the contrary.For puerly geographical reasons, nobody would consider Basque as being "North Caucasian". "Macro-Caucasian" or "Vasco-Caucasian" would be more appropriate terms".It's possible. But in previous debates at your blog, you have made more than once to derive Basque terms from PNC and that (because of diversity or conjectures about the Neolithic frame of expansion of proposed Vasco-Caucasian), to effectively work as if Basque (and Iberian) were mere dialects evolved from PNC, without any reconstruction of any more balanced proto-Vasco-Caucasian, which IMO should be the first thing to consider.Some the sound correspondences among NEC languages point to PNC is actually a much older entity than commonly thought and hence closer to the actual (still unreconstructed) Proto-Vasco-Caucasian."Apart from historical attested languages like the ones you mentioned, there's evidence of other members of IE family which are poorly attested or not attested at all, only surviving in the form of loanwords. And Italoid/Sorotaptic is one of them".Well, maybe I should have used the term "Italic" instead of Latin, its only historical survivor. Whatever the case, a clear case for a vehicle for the loan(s) should be proposed.This is why I've proposed Italoid/Sorotaptic, which according to their discoverers Coromines and Villar, was somewhere between Baltic and Italic in the IE dialectal cloud. Apart from zaldi, there're also other possible loanwords from that source in Basque.AFAIK, Basques were only in intense contact with Celtic and then Latin Indoeuropean, with whatever reserves for the Lusitanian case (which I tend to think as a branch of proto-Celtic of pre-Q Celtic if this term can be used).Contrarily to some scholars, I think Lusitanian wasn't a Celtic language (as it keeps PIE *p) but a dialect of Italoid (see Blanca M. Prosper: Lenguas y religiones prerromanas del occidente de la Península Ibérica for more information)."This dialectal continuum was broken after Romanization in the High Middle Ages".Not sure what you refer to, I presume that to the loss of Iberian language(s) and Aquitanian Basque (or rather the Garonne variants of Vasco-Aquitanian). But the dialectal continuum has remained till the 20th century (and even today) in the remainder Basque-speaking areas.Logically, I'm referring to the Aquitanian dialectal continuum.My point is that the form aher was found in Proto-Basque (as only this variety had h), while aker belonged to another variety which became extinct in theHigh Middle Ages (probably for socio-economical reasons). I suppose their speakers were Pyrenaic shepherds which became Euskaldunized or Romanized; in the first case part of its lexicon would have been borrowed by Basque.*aher > aker seems to argue against such loan but rather speaks of sound shift, really. We only known that Aherbelts was spelled with H (instead of K) in one slab. This may have been a Garonne dialectal variant or even an error when transcribing to Latin alphabet. It's not conclusive evidence of anything alone.As I said in earlier posts, from the available evidence we know that ONLY Proto-Basque had /h/ (coming from the aspiration of a former stop), so aher must be a genuine Proto-Basque form. And there's no way to derive aker from it.

     
  37. Maju

    December 1, 2010 at 10:25 pm

    I have to say here that Wikitionary proposes a quite different PIE ancestor for foal: *pōlh-, which would be behind Catalan poltre and hence Spanish potro (foal) too but also pollo (chicken, same root as poultry), via more genuine Latin origin pullus. Among the cognates it's listed Armenian ul, goat – go figure! I like the concept of diffuse Western IE but we have to work with what we do know of Western IE. Otherwise I would have to assume I can also imagine all kind of things for a diffuse Vascoid out of the blue. It's too speculative to be valid, we need some evidence that supports the proposal."And it's also more reasonable to assume a suffix -d- was added at some stage than the contrary".Well, I was already speculating if the term zaldi would have something to do with conjectural Paleolithic concepts of time and space (aldi/alde). So I'm already in the mood to think (z)aldi as more natural than (z)ali as "ali" only suggests me Ali Baba, which is not any genuinely Basque concept. But it's arguably not the best logic. Where does your logic (i.e. "more reasoanble") lay?"And there's no way to derive aker from it".It is if the k>h transition was never finished in this case, maybe because of the related term ahari (in order make the two terms more clear one kept the archaic form), something that seems common sense in a farmer context, where such distinction seems important.

     
  38. Octavià Alexandre

    December 2, 2010 at 11:32 am

    I have to say here that Wikitionary proposes a quite different PIE ancestor for foal: *pōlh-, which would be behind Catalan poltre and hence Spanish potro (foal) too but also pollo (chicken, same root as poultry), via more genuine Latin origin pullus. Among the cognates it's listed Armenian ul, goat – go figure!Mallory & Adams reconstruct *pelH- 'to bear young'. I guess this is a Vasco-Caucasian loanword from PNC *bHaɮɮi (˜ -ǝ-) 'young one, young (of animals)', which gives Basque berri 'new' (formerly 'young'). Semitic has also a similar root *pVlw/y- 'foal, small of domestic animals'."And it's also more reasonable to assume a suffix -d- was added at some stage than the contrary".But it's arguably not the best logic. Where does your logic (i.e. "more reasoanble") lay?I beg your pardon, but I think you should get yourself more comfortable in historical linguistics."And there's no way to derive aker from it".It is if the k>h transition was never finished in this case, maybe because of the related term ahari (in order make the two terms more clear one kept the archaic form), something that seems common sense in a farmer context, where such distinction seems important.Definitely not. Basque ahari derives from Proto-Basque *an-ali (this l can be secured from the Baztanese forms aalzain, altzai 'shepherd of rams', a compound with zain 'guard'). This is a compound whose first member *an- can also be found in *an-unts > ahuntz 'goat' or *an-unne > ahuña, ahüñe, aume, auma 'goat kid'.

     
  39. Maju

    December 2, 2010 at 12:25 pm

    "I beg your pardon, but I think you should get yourself more comfortable in historical linguistics". You should document your claims if you are so sure. Do not hide behind a diploma or some arrogant dismissive sentences! That's disrespectful with the rest. There is no particular reason for -d- being a "suffix" (an insertion): it needs to be justified. "Basque berri 'new' (formerly 'young')".Uh? I understand this is an speculative claim, because I am NOT aware that berri ever meant young. The closest word by sound (in Basque) is probably barru, barren (inside, interior), though I guess you'll argue it's just coincidence and has a different etymology from nothing less than P-NEC (made to look PNC). I'd argue it has instead to do with an intuitive relation with the fact that all new comes from inside something else (in plants and animals at least) and in this sense it may actually have meant (also) "young" at some point in the deep past. [At this point I'd ponder if Basque berri (new) could be related to English berry and Germanic equivalents, with a Vascoid etymology and not the proposed PIE one *bhes-, or maybe a hybrid creole between bhes- and berri – most Germanic cognates have R, in the North, the South and the West]."Definitely not. Basque ahari derives from Proto-Basque *an-ali (this l can be secured from the Baztanese forms aalzain, altzai 'shepherd of rams', a compound with zain 'guard')"Is there any such profession as "shepherd of rams"?! Anyhow, I'd say here the final soft R of ahari is the one transformed into /l/ because of the need, it seems, to differentiate from artzain, which means normal shepherd (of sheep, ardi). The etymology looks a little bit forced, IMO (al- or ahal- would be more natural roots than "an-ali"). Why would we have to take this proposal instead of its obvious Latin cognate, aries, which does not have a clear IE root and hence is likely to be of Vasconic or otherwise pre-IE origin? Beats me!I would propose a aker<>*aher<>ahari<>*aari<>aries. All five words are documented, even the ones with the *: *aher in the Aquitanian slabs and *aari or just *ari in the modern southern Basque dialects (albeit written ahari). We even have akiŕ in Iberian to further document the extension of the term beyond Basque senso stricto. What's the problem with a proposed etymology from *ahar, where -ar is the usual Basque word/suffix for male and *ah- is the same as in ahuntz (goat, normally female, maybe with an unclear suffix -untz***)?:ahar > aher > akerahar > ahardi (ahar+ardi: billy-sheep) > ahari > aari > ariesI mean: if it's a dog, it bites you.[***Note: *untz could relate directly to untzi: rabbit and (h)ontzi: vessel, both in the cup and ship meanings, maybe related to milking. But I don't want to make this a central issue in my reasoning, just a side note, your -ume proposed origin might also be ok, though it's a bit less obvious].

     
  40. Octavià Alexandre

    December 2, 2010 at 10:16 pm

    You should document your claims if you are so sure. Do not hide behind a diploma or some arrogant dismissive sentences! That's disrespectful with the rest.Sorry, what I meant is that you seem to lack some of the basic knowledge anybody who wants to devote to historical linguistics shoudl have. I'd recommend you read Trask's book on Basque. There is no particular reason for -d- being a "suffix" (an insertion): it needs to be justified.It's just more common among languages to derive words by adding new elements than substrating them."Basque berri 'new' (formerly 'young')".Uh? I understand this is an speculative claim, because I am NOT aware that berri ever meant young. […] I'd argue it has instead to do with an intuitive relation with the fact that all new comes from inside something else (in plants and animals at least) and in this sense it may actually have meant (also) "young" at some point in the deep past.Perhaps not so deep as you think. You also might be interested to know that PNC *ts’ænʔV 'new' gave Basque sehi, which means 'servant' in some dialects but 'child' in Biscayan, which has also the form sein, both derived from Proto-Basque *śeni.Is there any such profession as "shepherd of rams"?This is what says Azkue's dictionary (a good startpoint for making linguistic researches): "pastores especiales de carneros". Anyhow, I'd say here the final soft R of ahari is the one transformed into /l/ because of the need, it seems, to differentiate from artzain, which means normal shepherd (of sheep, ardi).No, because the Lapurdian dialect has the variants ahari-zaiñ, ahar(t)zain, with the same meaning than the Baztanese forms.The etymology looks a little bit forced, IMO (al- or ahal- would be more natural roots than "an-ali").Perhaps you didn't know that Proto-Basque intervocalic *-n- disappears in Basque.Why would we have to take this proposal instead of its obvious Latin cognate, aries, which does not have a clear IE root and hence is likely to be of Vasconic or otherwise pre-IE origin? Beats me!With the available data, I consider the resemblance between the Basque and Latin words as coincidental.What's the problem with a proposed etymology from *ahar, where -ar is the usual Basque word/suffix for maleBecause this word has actually a STRONG rhotic: -arr. Remember that modern Basque ortography doesn't mark the strong rhotic at word-final because of its very high occurrence (the soft rhotic in that position is very rare.)and *ah- is the same as in ahuntz (goat, normally female, maybe with an unclear suffix -untz***)?This is actually *an- (see above).maybe with an unclear suffix -untz***)?:This isn't a "suffix" but a compound element.*untz could relate directly to untzi: rabbit and (h)ontzi: vessel, both in the cup and ship meanings, maybe related to milking.By no means, they're homonymous words!

     
  41. Maju

    December 3, 2010 at 12:44 am

    … "you seem to lack some of the basic knowledge anybody who wants to devote to historical linguistics shoudl have".That is by default. In fact I do not write much on linguistics. It is a matter within my interests but it's rather at the margins. However as anyone attempting to understand the past, I have sometimes to deal with linguistic history (documented) and prehistory (not documented and largely conjectural and based on opinions, best guesses). "I'd recommend you read Trask's book on Basque". I've read something but can't remember much right now. "It's just more common among languages to derive words by adding new elements than substrating them".Sure, when you add meaning to the root word. But not when you keep the meaning and just change the pronunciation. I know that dialectality is crazy, too chaotic, but it's a fact of life. And in this concept I include the private speech variants which are the ones that constitute the dialects and the language after all. And one tendency in speech is to "swallow" phonemes for mere laziness. There are patterns, for example IE languages tend to "eat" the vowels, while Basque instead tends to add them (librus > liburu) but others are just quasi-random. So I find most reasonable that a word would lose a D just because. Sadly I do not know which are the logic of cacophony in NE Caucasian, so I can't say how much sense does this make. Is the consonant group -LD- common in NE Caucasian? …"the Lapurdian dialect has the variants ahari-zaiñ, ahar(t)zain"I think aaltzain is then an r>l sound change. Seems obvious, right?"Perhaps you didn't know that Proto-Basque intervocalic *-n- disappears in Basque"…No I do not know. I know there are many theories around but I never heard of this one before. "Because this word has actually a STRONG rhotic: -arr".Good objection.I'd like to know if this can also be a product of concept-exchange. Unlike what you say, I feel that final soft R is also common in Basque and even the Ŕ/R contrast serves to tell words apart sometimes (when declined only but that's most of the time anyhow). So maybe it's just part of the divergent evolution. The similitude in form and meaning is too strong, specially if we accept K<>H and include Lat. aries in the equation. "By no means, they're homonymous words!"Maybe, probably, but that you can only say with such certainty if you already KNOW the etymologies for a FACT. Do you? ;)Do you read the Speculative Grammarian? I only do very rarely but I laughed a lot with the article titled "How to do fieldwork in proto-Indoeuropean?"The article had one single sentence as content: "1. Find a native speaker". 🙂

     
  42. Octavià Alexandre

    December 3, 2010 at 2:14 pm

    That is by default. In fact I do not write much on linguistics. It is a matter within my interests but it's rather at the margins. However as anyone attempting to understand the past, I have sometimes to deal with linguistic history (documented) and prehistory (not documented and largely conjectural and based on opinions, best guesses).I think if you're'd like to be competent in the matter you've still got to learn a lot of things. In fact, IMHO the learning process actually never ends.So I find most reasonable that a word would lose a D just because. Sadly I do not know which are the logic of cacophony in NE Caucasian, so I can't say how much sense does this make. Is the consonant group -LD- common in NE Caucasian?It looks like other names of animals presumably borrowed from (Vasco-Caucasian) substrate languages have a similar suffix, for example Celtic *molto- 'ram, wether' (Catalan moltó, French moutton) is actually from *mol-t-.I think aaltzain is then an r>l sound change. Seems obvious, right?No, because Proto-Basque intervocalic *-l- became -r- (soft) in Basque."Perhaps you didn't know that Proto-Basque intervocalic *-n- disappears in Basque"…No I do not know. I know there are many theories around but I never heard of this one before.This was stablished by Koldo Mitxelena more than 40 years ago in his magna opus "Fonética Histórica Vasca". You should read this or perhaps better, Trask's version in his own book.I'd like to know if this can also be a product of concept-exchange.If your question is actually about phonosymbolism in these words, my answer (from the available data) is negative. I've discovered an interesting case which I'm going to comment on my blog.Maybe, probably, but that you can only say with such certainty if you already KNOW the etymologies for a FACT. Do you? 😉Unrelated meanings such as 'goat', 'rabbit' or 'vessel' are sure indicators of homonymy, which is the first enemy of any historical linguist.

     
  43. Maju

    December 3, 2010 at 7:47 pm

    "Unrelated meanings such as 'goat', 'rabbit' or 'vessel' are sure indicators of homonymy"…How is a she-goat different from a vessel: it has milk inside, just like a tetrapack! Before you can say that these are unrelated meanings, you have to get into the Neolithic mentality. Obviously for you a goat and a bottle are different things but maybe not so much in reality. Rabbit seems more difficult to relate, admittedly… unless rabbit skins were used in particular to make such leathery vessels (skins, Sp. pellejos), what we can't confirm at all. "It looks like other names of animals presumably borrowed from (Vasco-Caucasian) substrate languages have a similar suffix"…Wouldn't then we be before a regular sound change. A change that also excludes IE from the NEC for without D. I do not understand the Celtic example, anyhow. If both PIE and Basque share the D "suffix" (as happens in your *g(W)old example), then Celtic should also have it, right. But then you seem to suggest that mol is the original Celtic name, suffixed only because of Basque substrate (unsure, could not find the Celtic proto-word, only that it's thought to be of Gaulish origin and that all derived terms have the -t- and no one lacks it). "… because Proto-Basque intervocalic *-l- became -r- (soft) in Basque".We know nothing of proto-Basque, do we? The last one who said something was kicked on the mouth by certain findings at Iruña-Veleia. It is true that intervocalic L is rare in Basque however (except after I, when it's palatized) but there are exceptions (I can think right now of "ale"). All I'd dare to claim is that the intervocalic L is uncommon in Basque. It may be a similar case with intervocalic N, which is mostly preserved when it could be palatized (lots of -inV- words). Is it possible that there was a tendency to palatize these sounds (adding an I therefore)?Anyhow the case (altzain) does not include any intervocalic L but the much more common L before consonant.

     
  44. Octavià Alexandre

    December 3, 2010 at 10:35 pm

    How is a she-goat different from a vessel: it has milk inside, just like a tetrapack! No, milk is produced by goats, not "contained" inside them. So I'm affraid your analogy is an absurd one 😦"… because Proto-Basque intervocalic *-l- became -r- (soft) in Basque".We know nothing of proto-Basque, do we?Proto-Basque phonology was recontructed by Mitxelena mainly on the basis of the behaviour of Latin loanwords into Basque. Proto-Basque had actually two lateral sounds: a soft *l and a strong *l:, more like a geminate. In modern Basque, the soft one became r and the strong one became l. For nasals, Proto-Basque had a soft *n and a strong *n:, which respectively became zero and n. However, in the case of the former, things are a little more complicated, as in some words *-Vni became -in and also nasalized the surrouding vowels in the Roncalese and Zuberoan dialects.I do not understand the Celtic example, anyhow.Yes, I can see you didn't :-)My point is these words aren't PIE at all, but loanwords from some substrate language (but not closely related to Basque) which added the dental suffix. That's all.

     
  45. Octavià Alexandre

    December 3, 2010 at 11:01 pm

    In some cases, the output of Proto-Basque *n: is a labial m instead of the regular n, although this hasn't been reognized by academical Vascology.For example, after /u/ as in -ume 'child, cub' (mostly found as a compound element) and zume 'osier' come from earlier forms *un:e and *sun:e.

     
  46. Maju

    December 4, 2010 at 12:05 am

    "milk is produced by goats, not "contained" inside them"I'm not going to argue this further but really "produce milk" is a modern concept. Actually now that I think of it Basque uses a modulated verb (eragin) to mean produce… but so does Latin, it seems to me, by the very fact that it has the particle pro- at the beginning. I just watched on TV the milking a goat (and earlier a camel as well) and really the impression is that they carry a big bag of milk ready to be drunk. I know it sounds absurd for a modern mentality but more difficult it seems to me to derive untz from ume (which means human child, not even animal whelp and requires to shift 67-75% of the word anyhow). I'd rather make "human" to derive from ume if anything really. "Proto-Basque phonology was recontructed by Mitxelena mainly on the basis of the behaviour of Latin loanwords into Basque".I'll read Mitxelena's work some day but I have the impression from your short explanation that he's deducing a proto-Language from the type of sounds that Basque dislikes, what is in itself not at all any evidence of how was proto-Basque but only what kind of sounds are cacophonous for Basque internal logic.For example we know that -br- (or -tr- or -gr-… or -bl-, etc.) is cacophonous in Basque and that it's typically to be shifted into -bVr- as happens in liburu… (however we also see persistence in more recent loans like greba < grève – so there's also irregularity). This does not allow us to reconstruct a proto-Basque with -br- and such but rather suggests that Vasconic has always been refractive to such type of sounds.We do not find such sounds in Iberian either, do we?

     
  47. Maju

    December 4, 2010 at 12:21 am

    "as in -ume 'child, cub'"I would not easily accept ume as cub – kume is cub, whelp. Both words are obviously related but they are different as well. The usual suffix for whelp of non-humans is -kume too (arkume, katakume, etc.)"and zume 'osier' come from earlier forms *un:e and *sun:e"Une does exist today (fraction of time or space) but it's unrelated to willows. I find all this highly speculative, because, as I said earlier, we know nearly nothing of ancient Basque or even related Iberian. At best we have fragmentary knowledge of how these were in Antiquity some 1800-2200 years ago. I understand that there is justified repulsion in linguistic circles, at least at international level (Spain is probably different, sadly) towards reconstructing based on proto-Languages, which themselves are little more than speculation. But you all the time resort to proto-words, what is totally crazy IMO.

     
  48. Octavià Alexandre

    December 4, 2010 at 6:23 pm

    I would not easily accept ume as cub – kume is cub, whelp. Both words are obviously related but they are different as well. The usual suffix for whelp of non-humans is -kume too (arkume, katakume, etc.)IMHO, they're both variant of the same word."and zume 'osier' come from earlier forms *un:e and *sun:e"Une does exist today (fraction of time or space) but it's unrelated to willows.I should have said respectively: *un:e > ume and *sun:e > zume.I understand that there is justified repulsion in linguistic circles, at least at international level (Spain is probably different, sadly) towards reconstructing based on proto-Languages, which themselves are little more than speculation. But you all the time resort to proto-words, what is totally crazy IMO.I disagree. Protoforms and consistent sound correspondences is out tool to gain insight into ancient languages.Using modern words like you do is simply unscientific and amateurish.

     
  49. Maju

    December 4, 2010 at 7:15 pm

    "Using modern words like you do is simply unscientific and amateurish".Not "unscientific". In linguistics real words (modern or otherwise attested either by toponymy or historical texts) are the FACTS on which one can build good science. Proto-words are constructs and they necessarily imply a degree of opinion and erudite guess. They are NOT FACTS and hence any "science" based on them is at best feeble and at worst pseudo-science.

     
  50. Maju

    December 4, 2010 at 7:19 pm

    PS- I do not mean you cannot use proto-words at all, as long as they are properly construed from careful inference from various cognates in different real languages/dialects/other direct evidence. What I mean is that one has to be extra-careful and double-check all the time for possible incongruences with reality, to which proto-words do not necessarily belong.

     

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