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Iberian texts in Ibero-Jonian script

01 Jul
Note: I use Basque alphabet as best thinkable approximation for Iberian (instead of the confusing academic conventions). I use Ŕ for RR (second rhotic, surely a trill) and Z for the second sibilant. Cursive is used for letters in some doubt. In Antiquity colon [:] was used to either separate words (later) or sentences (in which case words were not separated).The alphabet is basically Greek:

Notice that I use R/Ŕ inversely as here, also S for this Ś and Z for this S


El Cigarralejo (Mula, Murcia) – lead found in a tomb:

  • IUNTEGENZ
  • ZAKARBIKZOZ
  • LAGUTAS:KEBZ
  • IZGENUZ:ANDINUE […] BIANDIGOŔZANLENEBAŔEŔBEIGULANARE:ŔGANIKBOZ
  • TARIKEDELBABINEDITARKE[… …]NELA:EBANALBAZUZBELIGINELA
  • ZABARBAZDEŔKBIDEDENEŔZBEZANELAZ:
  • IKBAIDEZUIZEBAŔTASORTIDUDAGUNAN

Alcoy (Alacant) – lead:

Side 1 (top):
IŔIKE:OŔTI:GAROKAN:DADULA:BASK
BUISTINEŔ:BAGAROK:SSSXC:TURLBAI
LURA:LEGUSEGUIK:BAZEROKEIUN:BAIDA
URKE:BAZBIDIRBAŔTIN:IRIKE:BAZER
OKAŔ:TEBIND:BELAGASIKAUR:IZBIN
AI:AZGANDIZ:TAGIZGAROK:BINIKE
BIN:SALIŔ:KIDEI:GAIBIGAIT

Crossed at edge of side 1:
AŔNAI
ZAKARIZKER

Second side (bottom):
IUNZTIŔ:SALIŔG:BAZIRTIR:ZABARI
DAŔ:BIRINAR:GURS:BOISTINGISDID
ZESGERSDURAN:ZEZDIRGADEDIN
ZERAIKALA:NALTINGE:BIDUDEIN:ILDU
NIRAENAI:BEKOR:ZEBAGEDIRAN

Other texts

As far as I know, there  are other three Ibero-Jonian texts: one in Alacant province and the other two near the Mediterranean end of the Pyrenees (one in Girona province, near the former Greek outposts, and the other one further North in Roselló). I have not found them yet online and I’d appreciate any information on the matter.

Basque affinities

Anyone mildly familiar with Basque will quickly identify clear and dubious Basque-looking words and even constructions (declensions, verbs): many of them all around in both texts.

From the El Cigarralejo text I see all in bold as Basque-like or even straightforward Basque, but mostly just Basque-like:

  • IUNTEGENZ
  • ZAKARBIKZOZ
  • LAGUTAS:KEBZ
  • IZGENUZ:ANDINUE […] BIANDIGZANLENEBAŔEŔBEIGULANARE:ŔGANIKBOZ
  • TARIKEDELBABINEDITARKE[… …]NELA:EBANALBAZUZBELIGINELA
  • ZABARBAZDEŔKBIDEDENEŔZBEZANELAZ:
  • IKBAIDEZUIZEBAŔTASORTIDUDAGUNAN

So all the text or almost. I presented this transliteration to a native Basque-speaking friend years ago and he told laughing me that it was not from his hometown but could be from the neighboring one (eternal rivals who speak different enough to mark the “foreignness” to each other).

Update: my (highly tentative) notion of what this text might mean using Basque as reference:


IUN TEGENZ – Jaun TegenzLord Tegenz
(or joan (te) gantz: go (te) lard)


ZAKAR BIK ZOZ – za(k/h)ar bi(a)k zoaz(te)the two debris/rough/old go


LAGUTAS:KEBZ – ??


IZ GENUZ : ANDI NUE […] or AN DINUE
Hitz genuz ( roughly: let us speak). Andi nue(n) (I was big/great) –  or Han dinue (what was said to him/her there)


[…] BI ANDI GOŔ ZAN LENE BAŔEŔ BEIGU LANARE : ŔGANIK BOZ
bi handi (gor) zen lehena barre(z?) (beigu) lanare. (rganik) poz/bihotz
two big (gor) were the first laughing (we verb?) to work. (rganik) happy/heart


TARIK EDEL BABINE DITARKE[… …]NELA:EBANALBAZUZBELIGINELA
(tarik) eder (babine ditarke) (…)  -nela. Eban al ba zuz (beli) ginela
(-tarik) beautiful (conditional verb structure) (…) (subordinate sentence suffix: “that”). If you slice/divide (zuz would be zara rather than zoaz here) that we were (beli).


ZABAR BAZDEŔK BIDE DENEŔZBEZANELAZ:
Zabal bazterrak bide dene(rrz) bezain (elaz) [quite straightforward]
The wide banks that are(?, rrz) the way… the same (elaz).



IK BAI DEZU IZEBA ŔTAS ORTI DUDAGUNAN
(ik) bai duzu izeba (rrtas) Orzti(?) duda(n) gunean
(Ik) you do have an aunt (rrtas) that I have Ortzi(?) in the zone.

As for the second text the Basque-like words are also boldfaced here

IŔIKE:OŔTI:GAROKAN:DADULA:BASK
BUISTINEŔ:BAGAROK:SSSXC:TURLBAI
LURA:LEGUSEGUIK:BAZEROKEIUN:BAIDA
URKE:BASBIDIRBAŔTIN:IRIKE:BAZER
OKAŔ:TEBIND:BELAGASIKAUR:ISBIN
AI:AZGANDIZ:TAGIZGAROK:BINIKE
BIN:SALIŔ:KIDEI:GAIBIGAIT

Some are quite striking: BELAGASIKAUR must be bela (beltz) gazika ur: black salty water (the Ocean I guess). OKAŔ is surely oker: wrong, BUISTIN is bustin (wet) and the repeated word OŔTI must be the sky god Ortzi, attested among Medieval Basques and also in vocabulary (week days, meteorological phenomena). KIDEI is still in Basque to the friends or partners.

Second side:

IUNZTIŔ:SALIŔG:BAZIRTIR:ZABARI
DAŔ:BIRINAR:GURS:BOISTINGISDID
ZESGERSDURAN:ZEZDIRGADEDIN
ZERAIKALA:NALTINGE:BIDUDEIN:ILDU
NIRAENAI:BEKOR:ZEBAGEDIRAN

IUN is possibly jaun (sir, lord, mister, master) as the other text also DEDIN may be dadin and DIRAN diren, verbal forms of to be, which is also auxiliary verb. The latter’s -n implies a subodrdinated sentence (dira + n, modernly diren). BOISTIN is again bustin (wet), ILDU is to die or kill or also hil du: (s)he/it has killed (s)he/it. NIRAENAI is surely nire anai: my brother (of man).

Thanks to this page of Ana Mª Vázquez Hoys (UNED), where I took the images from.

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92 Comments

Posted by on July 1, 2011 in Basque language, Iberia, linguistics

 

92 responses to “Iberian texts in Ibero-Jonian script

  1. carpetanuiq

    July 1, 2011 at 8:37 pm

    Maju, your source author name Vazquez Hoys (not Hoyos). Her nice web page is not updated with her last books. This comment is jus to rise an orange warming for readers (not red level): she can be considered a serious researcher, but in one of her last books she tried to argue for a somewhat incredible and bodacious if not crackpot-like thesis: that the alphabetic writing was invented in S-iberia (spanish iberia). Title: las Golondrinas de Tartessos. A second thought I had while reading your post, suggested by the alternation of somewhat basque-like words with martian words is that these inscriptions could be dictionaries. Just an hypothesis.

     
  2. Maju

    July 1, 2011 at 8:49 pm

    Are you sure that the second surname is Hoys? It's not a normal name, that's why I ask.Whatever the case, I am just using her site as source for the two pieces (and I went a bit faster using her trancription for the second piece – but then I had to correct S/Z and R/Ŕ distinctions, which she does not make). What is here is essentially MY transliteration and my opinion, not hers (not at all).

     
  3. Andrew Oh-Willeke

    July 1, 2011 at 8:51 pm

    Good post. It is always hard to evaluate how similar two languages are, and this does a good job of showing rather than telling us that in an easy to grasp way.

     
  4. Maju

    July 1, 2011 at 8:57 pm

    "these inscriptions could be dictionaries"…I don't think so. Some strange letter sequences could be numbers however. In truth no idea about what exactly they are. I worked a bit in the past with the first text and my impression was that it might be explaining a way to go, a verbal map, so to say. I'll make an update on that part because I was not really precise (was in a hurry).

     
  5. Maju

    July 1, 2011 at 8:58 pm

    @Andrew: thanks. I'll see if I can improve this a bit (check for updates in a while) and be even more clear.

     
  6. Octavià Alexandre

    July 2, 2011 at 9:00 am

    The text is unmistakable because it is in Ibero-Jonian.One thing is the script and another one is the language in which is written. I am unsure of which are your reasons to think it is not IberianAs I said, the morphology is un-Iberian: -s, -sos, -bos. They look like an IE, probably Celtic language. At the same time, one can't deny there're Iberian personal names and even a complete sentence. A weird puzzle. but there's hardly any more Iberian region than Murcia-Almeria (El Argar core area) and hardly any more clear text as those in Ibero-Jonian.I said and I repeat that Iberian wasn't the only language spoken in "Iberian" areas, and in many parts (e.g. Catalonia) it wasn't even the vernacular one.Don't take this as a personal offence, but your "translations" are delirious. Sure, Iberian sounds much like Basque, and even entire words are roughly similar in both languages, but their actual meaning is quite different. The only one you got right is kide-, which in Iberian seems to mean 'friend' from a broken bilingual inscription. This is from IE *genh1-ti- (e.g. Latin gens, gentis).

     
  7. Octavià Alexandre

    July 2, 2011 at 11:21 am

    On the La Serreta's lead, we find the personal Sakaŕ-iskeŕ (which I translate as 'Big Hand') followed by the "possession mark" ar nai, which should be understood as 'I am' (Latin sum), that is 'I am (of) Sakaŕiskeŕ"

     
  8. Maju

    July 2, 2011 at 11:59 am

    "Don't take this as a personal offence, but your "translations" are delirious".Why delirious? State the facts: why exactly?They make good sense. If you read those texts (and the transliteration cannot fail with Ibero-Jonian) and you know some Basque you can't but be aware of the Basqueness of at least many fragments of the texts. Iberians were in principle not related to Basques (in terms of Metal Ages' archaeology), so it's likely that the last linguistic flow happened many millennia before these texts were written (Epipaleolithic to Neolithic). This explains any differences (at least as divergent in terms of time as Spanish and Romanian, maybe as much as Berber and Arabic). What you can't deny are the affinities.

     
  9. Maju

    July 2, 2011 at 12:00 pm

    Well, you can deny, but wishful thinking Indoeuropeanist heresy.

     
  10. Octavià Alexandre

    July 2, 2011 at 12:35 pm

    Why delirious? State the facts: why exactly? They make good sense. If you read those texts (and the transliteration cannot fail with Ibero-Jonian) and you know some Basque you can't but be aware of the Basqueness of at least many fragments of the texts.Possibly you aren't aware dozens (and posssibly hundreds) of people have done this before. They chopped the Iberian text in arbritrary ways and then tried to match those segments to modern Basque words. This is is an amateurish and most unscientific approach.

     
  11. Maju

    July 2, 2011 at 1:22 pm

    I challenge you to do it better. I think that straightforward is better than esoteric.

     
  12. Octavià Alexandre

    July 2, 2011 at 2:21 pm

    To begin with, you should get acquantited with ALL Iberian epigraphy, not just the few Ionian inscriptions. The next step is to be able to identify personal names (something quite easy since the Ascoli's Bronze discovery) and then formulaic expressions like the one I've mentioned.

     
  13. Maju

    July 2, 2011 at 3:06 pm

    To begin with, Octaviá, I have worked in the past with other Iberian epigraphy but something I have learned is that there is wide disagreement on how many signs should read. So Ibero-Ionian is safer because there is no room for "cheating" that way: Ibero-Ionian is the Rosetta Stone of Iberian, so to say, restricting what Iberian may be like. That is why I am limiting myself, knowingly, to Ibero-Ionian texts. "The next step is to be able to identify personal names"…Not at all: personal names change a lot with time: 50 years ago Basques were named Javier and Jose Mari, now they are much more often Iker and Odei. These are fashions only. What we need to identify is common nouns, adjective, verbs and grammar elements. Of whatever is left, some may be personal names or toponyms (for example I suggest Orti as modern Ortzi (Urtzi, Ost), the well attested Sky God).

     
  14. carpetanuiq

    July 2, 2011 at 9:17 pm

    Yes, second surname is Hoys. Probably a crystallized transcription mistake from Hoyos, but Hoys anyway. Dictionary: well, assuming your basque interpretation are right (I´m agnostic about this), a text where some parts can be interpreted according to a language and other inserted parts not, suggest a dictionary. Of course it could be a dictionary, a wordp map or any other thing, we just lack of enough information to decide. It always surprise me that despite all the research energy devoted to this pre-roman iberian languages we have not advanced too much since Gomez Moreno´s time. Again i do not think it is because inhability of researchers, we just do not have enough information to solve this puzzle.

     
  15. Octavià Alexandre

    July 2, 2011 at 10:37 pm

    To begin with, Octaviá, I have worked in the past with other Iberian epigraphy but something I have learned is that there is wide disagreement on how many signs should read.I think you're pretty misinformed, as usual. Actually, things are quite the opposite you say.

     
  16. Maju

    July 2, 2011 at 11:03 pm

    I have seen very different interpretations of the Iberian script, one of them produced a "Celtic" result, another made Tartessian "be Basque", etc. Also there's no way to take apart K/G, D/T and B/P, even assuming that all interpretations are correct, so Ibero-Ionian is safest (but sadly scarce).Whatever the case you have no right to claim that Ibero-Ionian is not the way to go: in the worst case, it's as good Iberian as any other and has the advantage of using an alphabet (not a sillabary) and an alphabet we are quite sure of how to read. So essentially: I think you are making up bad excuses for your failure to see whatever you want to see in these texts.

     
  17. Octavià Alexandre

    July 3, 2011 at 6:59 am

    I have seen very different interpretations of the Iberian script, one of them produced a "Celtic" result, another made Tartessian "be Basque", etc.I think you confuse reading with translating. Iberian texts can be read but not translated.Also there's no way to take apart K/G, D/T and B/P, even assuming that all interpretations are correctActually, there's a variant of the Levantine script which differentiate them but I'm afraid this is too subtle for an amateur.I think you are making up bad excuses for your failure to see whatever you want to see in these texts.No, it's YOU who're making excuses for not being able to read the indigenous scripts (Levantine and Southern).

     
  18. eurologist

    July 3, 2011 at 8:47 am

    Maju,How old are these inscriptions, and what is your general impression about the timing and prevalence of surrounding Celtiberian?I just took a look at some of the Botorrita inscriptions and can't believe they have not yet been reliably translated (from what I gather). They look so perfectly IE (not much Celtic, really, at all, but more Italic and Germanic, as would be expected) — it's all hard to believe.

     
  19. Octavià Alexandre

    July 3, 2011 at 9:04 am

    How old are these inscriptions,Hi, eurologist. According to the specialist Javier Velaza: Epigrafía y lengua ibéricas (Arco Libros, 1996), the most ancient inscriptions are those in the Ionian alphabet, and they date from the 4th century BC.I just took a look at some of the Botorrita inscriptions and can't believe they have not yet been reliably translated (from what I gather).Apparently Celtiberian is hard to understood than, say, Gaulish, possibly due to a non-Celtic IE substrate (Italoid/Sorotaptic).They look so perfectly IE (not much Celtic, really, at all, but more Italic and Germanic, as would be expected) — it's all hard to believe.I bet you're referring to Lusitanian, a non-Celtic IE language recorded in inscriptions from the West of the Iberian Peninsula.

     
  20. Octavià Alexandre

    July 3, 2011 at 9:07 am

    Lusitanian looks like a dialect of Italoid/Sorotaptic, an IE language mostly attested in toponymy and substrate loanwords. According to Coromines and Villar, who have studied it, it's somewhere between Baltic and Italic in the IE dialectal cloud.

     
  21. carpetanuiq

    July 3, 2011 at 2:02 pm

    A very detailed map relevant to the discussion: http://www.arkeotavira.com/Mapas/Iberia/Populi.pdfSeveral questions: –what is the oldest undisputed aquitanian inscription (in aquitanian language?). What is its date ?–are there any words at use today in latin-derived iberian undisputedly derived from iberian ?what about toponomy ?–why all genetic studies in Basques are centered in basque country in stead of mountain areas of Navarra ? Or mabe I´m wrong on this…

     
  22. Maju

    July 3, 2011 at 2:38 pm

    "I think you confuse reading with translating".I do not: I mean different readings. For example our "friend" Koch systematically reads Iberian in a way others do not (and that's the only way he can come up with "Celtic" translations"). I have often seen (online and in books) different tables that produce different transliterations for the same Iberian characters (and not just one nor a rare one but for common ones and many of them too). There may be some consensus on the basics but I understand that nothing is set on stone in this matter. And that is why I think Ibero-Ionian is a lot safer to begin with and a reference that cannot be ignored. "… it's YOU who're making excuses for not being able to read the indigenous scripts"…I can read them (with the help of a reference table). In fact I almost ended up adding my own transliteration for the "Celtiberic tesera" of Sasamón (Northern Burgos province), which IMO is quite Basque in fact. But I decided to be strict and abide by Ibero-Ionian texts for that reason. There are still three Ibero-Ionian texts I could not find online. You may want to use them to either disprove or support my thesis (or something in between). But I have set the basic rules for this basic analysis in the Ibero-Ionian texts for a serious matter of scientific method, so please respect this. They are just random texts (with the advantage of using a "normal alphabet" that we know how it reads for sure). So why to reject them? You tell me, Octaviá: what's so scary about simple texts that everyone can read easily?

     
  23. Maju

    July 3, 2011 at 3:07 pm

    @Eurologist:"How old are these inscriptions"…?Not sure exactly but they are Iron Age, proto-historical. The fact that they use a variant of the Greek alphabet means that in the last 550 years before the common era (foundation of Emporion), probably before the Punic wars. So maybe 550-200 BCE is a safe window. Though there's no particular reason why Iberian would not be used in Roman times (and in "Greek alphabet"), I guess that Latin replaced it quite fast, specially among literate people."… and what is your general impression about the timing and prevalence of surrounding Celtiberian?"Celtiberian is, I understand, the residual Celtic (with Iberian substrate) that remained south of the Ebro River and specially in the mountain range known as Iberian range (Soria and Teruel provinces mostly) after Iberians (and Basques) "liberated" what is now Catalonia and the Northern half or Aragon. This probably happened in relation to the founding of the Greek trading outposts of Emporion and Rhodes, near the Mediterranean end of the Pyrenees, c. 550 BCE. Sometimes the term Celtiberian is misused to indicate all Iberian Celts or even all Iberian Indoeuropeans of proto-history, including the dubious Lusitani, but this is confusing at the least. These other (related) peoples lived in the Plateau and the Western coasts, which they had conquered somehow in the 7th century (peripheral Hallstatt culture) in a move reminiscent to that of Italics into Central and South Italy under similar socio-economic conditions. Hope this answers your quite ample question."I just took a look at some of the Botorrita inscriptions and can't believe they have not yet been reliably translated (from what I gather). They look so perfectly IE (not much Celtic, really, at all, but more Italic and Germanic, as would be expected) — it's all hard to believe".It is an opinion, thanks. I'm sure you'll have fun with Iberian texts and script in any case, for what I know you… at least for a while. I'm not going to work right now transcribing and trying to translate the whole text but I'll do with the first line (using Almagro-Gorbea's tables from the 1980s), so we can check notes:TIKUI(?)NTAM: BE(TE)KUNKET(?)M: TOKOITOZKUKE: MA(BU)NIKIO: KUE: MUA: KOMBALKES: NEL(?)TOM…Of course I use again Z for the second sibilant (did not need to bother about rhotics) and the following pairs are interchangeable: B/P, D/T and G/K. So it could beging DIUGUI, TIGUI, DIKUI or TIKUI…Does it sound Germanic/Italic to you? I can't figure out but who knows? It's supposed to be Celtiberian.

     
  24. Maju

    July 3, 2011 at 3:21 pm

    "… the most ancient inscriptions are those in the Ionian alphabet"…That would make no sense because then the alphabet would have stuck and Iberian script would have never evolved altogether. Ibero-Ionian is clearly an improvement on the Iberian script and cannot be older than 550 BCE in any case.Instead Iberian script implies some connection with Cyprus (or maybe Crete?) before Phoenicians took over (it's not derived from the Phoenician alphabet either). So ultimately he Tartessian and Iberian scripts must be from the Tartessian, a time when there was marked civilization and some cultural unity across South and SE Iberia. So, regardless of the exact date of each text, the Tartessian and Iberian scripts are surely from c. 1000 BCE, not more recent in their formation. They may well date to the El Argar period ultimately but the Tartessian one is a safer bet. "Apparently Celtiberian is hard to understood than, say, Gaulish, possibly due to a non-Celtic IE substrate (Italoid/Sorotaptic)".Celtiberian and all Iberian Celt/IE also diverged quite earlier from the common proto-Celtic origin than all other attested Western Celtic (which are from the La Tène culture, which never reached Iberia) and then became isolated from the mainland when Catalonia was re-Iberized in the 6th century. So Iberian "Celt" should be quite archaic in relation to Gaulish and island Celtic, maybe with the partial exception of the languages spoken by Vacceans (and Armoricans?) in SE France. "I bet you're referring to Lusitanian"…He said clearly Botorrita: a "Celtiberian" text from Zaragoza province.

     
  25. Octavià Alexandre

    July 3, 2011 at 7:11 pm

    For example our "friend" Koch systematically reads Iberian in a way others do not (and that's the only way he can come up with "Celtic" translations").Apparently, Koch didn't read a line of Iberian in his whole life. His worsk is about Tartessian, not Iberian.So why to reject them? You tell me, Octaviá: what's so scary about simple texts that everyone can read easily?I don't "reject" anything, but I think it's anything but scientific to isolate these texts from the rest of the Iberian epigraphic corpus.Ibero-Ionian is clearly an improvement on the Iberian script and cannot be older than 550 BCE in any case.Bullshit. This is a Greek alphabet and the Iberian scripts (don't forget there're two of them) are based on the Phoenician alphabet.So, regardless of the exact date of each text, the Tartessian and Iberian scripts are surely from c. 1000 BCE, not more recent in their formation.Stretching the date a bit earlier you could even make them rpedate the Phoenician alphabet. 🙂"I bet you're referring to Lusitanian"…He said clearly Botorrita: a "Celtiberian" text from Zaragoza province.Yes, but if Celtiberian looks so un-Celtic it's surely due to its Italoid substrate. Also if Tartessian is actually Celtic it would also have an even stronger substrate.

     
  26. Maju

    July 3, 2011 at 10:37 pm

    "His worsk is about Tartessian, not Iberian".Alright but still he's off the other tables. And the Iberian tables you can find online and in books are different from each other too. You just need to bother making a search.I said: "Ibero-Ionian is clearly an improvement on the Iberian script and cannot be older than 550 BCE in any case".And the angry Catalan wannabe linguist said: "Bullshit. This is a Greek alphabet and the Iberian scripts (don't forget there're two of them) are based on the Phoenician alphabet".And I say now: Precisely because it is a Greek ALPHABET it is an improvement on the semi-syllabary (or even the imperfect Phoenician abjad without vowels). That's a reason why we use today a variant of the Greek alphabet in most of the World (and not just Rome: Roman numerals are all but lost because they were inferior in comparison to Arabic (Indian) ones). Greek alphabet should have not arrived to Iberia before the founding of Emporion c. 550 BCE nor should have survived long after the Romans took over.Now say "bullshit" again if you feel like but at least provide a decent explanation for that."Stretching the date a bit earlier you could even make them rpedate the Phoenician alphabet".Are you sure that the Iberian syllabary is a development on the Phoenician abjad? If so, did Iberians invent vowels on their own? Because the Phoenician abjad has no vowels at all and the Iberian script has all five vowels and is a semisyllabary. So Iberian has two developments in comparison with the Phoenician abjad: vowels and single-sign syllables. In the first it's closer to Greek and Etruscan alphabets, but these are post-Tartessos, in the latter it is closest to Cypriot and Cretan scripts (both syllabaries). So IMO it's absurd to claim it derived from the Phoencian abjad. Instead I bet for Cypriot and Cretan influences, maybe in El Argar time, before the arrival of Phoenicians. "… but if Celtiberian looks so un-Celtic it's surely due to its Italoid substrate".Why not the fact that it diverged from Celtic earlier than all continental or insular Celtic? That makes total sense, the same that makes Romanian impossible to understand: it diverged earlier than other Romances and remained isolated from the rest for long (while the others influenced each other mutually). Also I'm flippant why you don't even mention the likely Vasco-Iberian substrate. After all, Celts were invaders from the continent and there was something before them, surely a Vasco-Iberian or similar substrate we cannot ignore.

     
  27. Maju

    July 4, 2011 at 3:38 am

    I am right now comparing the Southern Iberian script in the online Omniglot version and the 1986 version of Almagro Gorbea I have at home. There are major differences in the following characters: E, O, U (3/% vowels!), Ŕ (1/7 free consonants), BA, BE, BI, BU, TE, TI, TO (7/15 potential syllables). In Northen Iberian I find only one significant discrepancy (in the sign TU, that for Almagro is a dotted triangle and for Omniglot a Celtic cross instead).Almagro also seemed to believe that Southern Iberians and Tartessians used the same script. He makes no mention of any Celtiberian variant either. And that's only 25 years ago. There are also differences between the chart (for the Southern Iberian script) proposed in Wikipedia (on Correa 2004) and those in Omniglot, even if not so extreme as with Almagro's.

     
  28. Maju

    July 4, 2011 at 3:59 am

    And as I was checking Wikipedia, I stumbled on a section of the article on Iberian languages on the possible relations between Iberian and Basque that may be of interest for readers. It was indeed novelty for me to find that certain Orduña (2005) has proposed a whole numeral sequence in Iberian that is almost identical to that of Basque: ban-bi(n)-irur-laur-bors(te)-śei-sisbi-sorse-…-abaŕ-…-oŕkeiCompare with modern Basque:bat-bi-hiru-lau-bost-sei-sazpi-sortzi-bederatzi-hamar-…-hogei (20)The Iberian forms irur, laur and bors(te) are coincident with those proposed for proto-Basque: hirur, laur and bortz (3, 4 and 5).There are also other curious coincidences: bat (1) becomes ban- in composites like bana (each one), bi (2) becomes bin in bina (each two). Hamar (10) had a proto-form proposed as *(h)anbar (compare with Iberian abaŕ, baŕ). There is also Iberian erder/erdi, equivalent to Basque erdi: half. It is mentioned that at least in one case a whole numeral system migrated between unrelated languages: from Middle Chinese to Vietnamese, Japanese, Korean and Thai. But that is probably the only time it ever happened and you can't compare the influence of the Iberian civilization with that of the Chinese Empire.

     
  29. Octavià Alexandre

    July 4, 2011 at 6:29 am

    Are you sure that the Iberian syllabary is a development on the Phoenician abjad? If so, did Iberians invent vowels on their own? Because the Phoenician abjad has no vowels at all and the Iberian script has all five vowels and is a semisyllabary.Simple. They took the Phoenician signs and gave them other values.Why not the fact that it diverged from Celtic earlier than all continental or insular Celtic? That makes total sense, the same that makes Romanian impossible to understand: it diverged earlier than other Romances and remained isolated from the rest for long (while the others influenced each other mutually).But a Romanian had a Dacian substrate absent in other Romance languages (not to speak of the Slavic adstrate in the Middle Ages).Also I'm flippant why you don't even mention the likely Vasco-Iberian substrate. After all, Celts were invaders from the continent and there was something before them, surely a Vasco-Iberian or similar substrate we cannot ignore.Unless it could be defined with precision, the concept "Vasco-Iberian" is meaningless to me. This is why I don't use it. I've got a different view because this is my own research field.

     
  30. Octavià Alexandre

    July 4, 2011 at 6:35 am

    And I say now: Precisely because it is a Greek ALPHABET it is an improvement on the semi-syllabary (or even the imperfect Phoenician abjad without vowels).Then you'll have a hard time to explain why Levantine Iberians abandoned the Ionian alphabet and adopted a variant of the Southern script based on the Phoenician alphabet.

     
  31. Maju

    July 4, 2011 at 7:03 am

    "Simple. They took the Phoenician signs and gave them other values".That is what some say but to me that is far from "simple" because it requires A LOT of innovation precisely in the same direction that the East Mediterranean syllabaries and true alphabets had. Could Iberians or Tartessians have co-evolved in the syllabary direction when this was in fact a stage previous to the abjad? I found that González Ramos (2000, in Spanish), for example, ponders similar questions when discussing the Tartessian script (similar to Iberian and maybe at its origin). Because one thing would be to co-evolve vowels out of nothing with or without Greek influence but a much harder path is to evolve syllable characters from an alphabet just because. Makes no sense unless a true syllabary cross-influenced the formation of the scripts.This syllabary could be Linear A/B, Cypriot or even Ugaritic (it is cuneiform but it is a syllabary with vowels like Cypriot and Linear A/B). "But a Romanian had a Dacian substrate absent in other Romance languages"…Other Romance languages had other substrates: Etruscan, Ligurian, Celtic, Basque, Iberian, Tartessian, Illyrian and whatever else (we do not even know what was spoken in so many areas). I do not question substrate nor adstrate (why would I?), what I do is to emphasize is timeline of divergence (several centuries earlier or later) and geography of isolation or interaction. "Unless it could be defined with precision, the concept "Vasco-Iberian" is meaningless to me". LOL, I just mentioned a whole bunch of elements of coincidence, including all the numeral system! What more precision do you expect? From an amateur?! You cannot provide even a fraction of that precision to your "Vasco-Caucasian". NEC numerals for example are much more remote (if related at all) than Iberian and Basque are. I arrived to the conclusion that Basque and NE Caucasian were remotely related maybe by comparing numbers but this connection is hyper-thin in comparison with Iberian. What more precision do you need?

     
  32. Maju

    July 4, 2011 at 7:14 am

    "Then you'll have a hard time to explain why Levantine Iberians abandoned the Ionian alphabet and adopted a variant of the Southern script based on the Phoenician alphabet".There can be political, cultural and prestige reasons. Remember that it is the time in which Phoenician influence extends in all that area. Using a Greek script may have been perceived as pro-Massilian first and then pro-Roman. This would be the political reason.But what I suspect is that the syllabary was older than the Ionian script. Unsure exactly where or if it can be proven (clay plates only survive if burnt) and that's the historico-cultural reason. My conjecture is that there was already a Tartessian/Iberian script c. 1000 BCE, when the Tartessian culture began (Final Proto-Tartessian Bronze in West Andalusia) within the wider context of the Atlantic Bronze, which has somewhat intense trade connections with Cyprus. This Tartessian culture expands its influence since c. 900 BCE, while Phoenician influence is only apparent since c. 750 BCE. It may be the convergence of a Cypriot (modified?) syllabary with the Phoenician abjad (and some local creativity, maybe lead by the authority of the monarchy of Tartessos or whatever) what forged that script, that later would show some local variants.

     
  33. Octavià Alexandre

    July 4, 2011 at 7:29 am

    found that González Ramos (2000, in Spanish)You got the name bad. The guy is Rodríguez Ramos. That is what some say but to me that is far from "simple" because it requires A LOT of innovation precisely in the same direction that the East Mediterranean syllabaries and true alphabets had.LOL. If alphabets were innovative with regard to syllabaries, then the Tartessian and Iberian scripts would be actually "involutive", not "innovative".Could Iberians or Tartessians have co-evolved in the syllabary direction when this was in fact a stage previous to the abjad? This syllabary could be Linear A/B, Cypriot or even Ugaritic (it is cuneiform but it is a syllabary with vowels like Cypriot and Linear A/B).This is highly unlikely unless Tartessians had direct contacts with these cultures in the past.My conjecture is that there was already a Tartessian/Iberian script c. 1000 BCE, when the Tartessian culture began (Final Proto-Tartessian Bronze in West Andalusia) within the wider context of the Atlantic Bronze, which has somewhat intense trade connections with Cyprus.The usual dating is around 700 BC.It may be the convergence of a Cypriot (modified?) syllabary with the Phoenician abjad (and some local creativity, maybe lead by the authority of the monarchy of Tartessos or whatever) what forged that script, that later would show some local variants.See above.LOL, I just mentioned a whole bunch of elements of coincidence, including all the numeral system!They're just a bunch of words similar in form in both languages, but nothing guarentees they're actually related.What more precision do you expect? From an amateur?!Of course I can't expect none. This my own field of research, so please leave this task to me.

     
  34. Maju

    July 4, 2011 at 7:48 am

    "… then the Tartessian and Iberian scripts would be actually "involutive", not "innovative"".Indeed. But if they had no contact ever with any syllabary, they had to invent it, and that is innovation, even if it'd be in an involutive and unnecessarily complicated manner. But that's why I require the intervention of a syllabary. My favorite is Cypriot because it looks more like Iberian than the other candidates but it could also have been Linear B in Mycenaean times, because we know that Mycenaeans had quite close relations with El Argar before both civilizations collapsed. In this case, Southern Iberian would be the ancestor of all Iberian scripts (instead of Tartessian). But my first choice is Tartessian with Cypriot influence. In any case, Cyprus had to be involved in the rather sudden naval colonial expansion of Phoenicians, providing the knowledge of routes at the least. "This is highly unlikely unless Tartessians had direct contacts with these cultures in the past".What I am saying is that all the Atlantic Bronze had some trading contact with Cyprus. Earlier El Argar specially (but also Bronze of Levante) had contacts with Crete specially and with Mycenaean Greeks in general. Actually the Iberian trade with various Eastern Mediterranean peoples was almost continuous, however the civilizations at both sides of the (colonial and increasingly unequal) deal changed a bit, specially at the Bronze/Iron Ages transition."The usual dating is around 700 BC".The usual dating of what? Of the earliest Tartessian script? Why?"… nothing guarentees they're actually related".A whole numeral system almost identical! WTF! You are in denial, a very strange denial from someone who argued not long ago that Basque was a direct descendant from Iberian. Have you changed your stand?"This my own field of research, so please leave this task to me".I am not going to leave anything to anyone. If you don't like my opinions, you can discuss them from person to person or you know where the door is. I don't have to put up with scholastic pedantry.

     
  35. eurologist

    July 4, 2011 at 11:28 am

    "Does it sound Germanic/Italic to you? I can't figure out but who knows? It's supposed to be Celtiberian."The only reason I brought this up was to understand the broader context of this period in Iberia. I used the transliteration in Wikipedia – I have no idea how good or bad it is.But it clearly shows a text that is declared/decided upon, followed by a list of participants/ officials who voted. The structure thus is identical to the Latin Botorrita II. In the list of names, I would guess barauzanco, bercanti, uzeis[z]u, acainaz, antutaz, and ucontaz to be IE foreign (that is, Iberian and/or Basque). The "bintis" and "cum" structure appears IE/Italic, though. In the preceding lines, there is an abundance of repeated suffixes in a very structured way that reminds of proto-IE: ito/itom/itei, scue/cue/cuez/counei; also mue. Then there are words reminiscent of either personal pronouns or simple conjugations of "to be" or "to have" verbs, like sua, soz, sues, saum, somei, and also iom, iomue, imue, and emeiue.Thus, to the lay person, the structure looks very much (proto) IE with some Iberian substrate.

     
  36. Maju

    July 4, 2011 at 5:03 pm

    … "the structure looks very much (proto) IE with some Iberian substrate". What you say makes sense to me. The words in -Z look vaguely Basque (-(e)z is a modal declension meaning by means of – example: "kotxez": by car). It might be also, I presume in archaic or dialectal versions related to Ibero-Romance surname endings in -ez and Basque in in -iz. Baraunzaco reminds me of Bur(t)zako, a surname. Burzako means of Bur(t)za (burtza: purse?). Barauntzako (modern Basque spelling) would be from Barauntz(a), compare with baratz(a) (orchard), barazki (vegetable), untz (rabbit), ahuntz (goat)… The words you say are IE generally don't sound Basque to me, excepted "sua" (the fire), "scue" (-sko dimminutive + -e nominative? -zkoa like in Aezkoa?), which may be coincidences. What do you think of the bronze "tesera" (password) of Sasamón (Burgos): link 1, link 2? Each site provides a different transliteration (and I don't like either). Sasamón is at the approximate triple border point between ancient Vaccei (Celts), Cantabri and Autrigones (IMO Basque but Celt for others). I understand that the sign that looks like a 'double E' (one on top of the other) is not read as E (which has only two horizontal strokes in North Iberian and the proposed Celtiberian variant script, like an 'F' upside down) but as TI (Almagro 86 for South Iberian) or something else. Otherwise I follow standard Northern Iberian and get: 1- GUIŔOŔTIKIEZNEBEIDUUKOZBETINAIOZ2- ALDITUUŔDIZThe choice between G/K, D/T and B/P is mine. I think I can read most in Basque:gu irrortik(i) ez nebei du uko beti nahiezwe from Irror have not left the sisters (of woman) willfully However nebei is IO "to the sisters" and I'm using it here liberally as DO "the sisters" as demanded by the verb "du" (ez du uko). Also "uko" is not a verb modernly but a particle of "uko egin" (to do "uko" = to leave). So maybe I am wrong after all because the grammar does not fit well enough. The second side could be ALDITU URDIZ or maybe more like ALDE ITURRIZ (liberally). First one is reminding of aditu (learned, wise) by the boar (urdaz?) or something like that (-IZ surname suffix already?). Second "liberal" reading "by means of the fountain (iturri) of the zone (alde)".Whatever, just baiting your interest. 🙂

     
  37. Maju

    July 4, 2011 at 5:04 pm

    PS- "beti" means forever, always (somehow I forgot to translate that word above).

     
  38. Octavià Alexandre

    July 4, 2011 at 8:53 pm

    ndeed. But if they had no contact ever with any syllabary, they had to invent it, and that is innovation, even if it'd be in an involutive and unnecessarily complicated manner.But that's why I require the intervention of a syllabary. My favorite is Cypriot because it looks more like Iberian than the other candidates but it could also have been Linear B in Mycenaean times, because we know that Mycenaeans had quite close relations with El Argar before both civilizations collapsed. In this case, Southern Iberian would be the ancestor of all Iberian scripts (instead of Tartessian).Interestingly, but utterly unprovable. IMHO, there's no special reason to think Tartessians and Iberians didn't develop their syllabary independently.

     
  39. Octavià Alexandre

    July 4, 2011 at 9:00 pm

    IMHO, beti is another Celtic loanword in Basque. As a little exercice, I'll leave you the task of searching Matasović's dictionary to find the source. 🙂

     
  40. Octavià Alexandre

    July 4, 2011 at 9:30 pm

    You are in denial, a very strange denial from someone who argued not long ago that Basque was a direct descendant from Iberian.Not exactly, they're both offpsring from an ancient dialectal continuum.Although relatives, they've also phonetical differences. For example, native Iberian lacked lamino-alveolar sibilants but it had instead dental STOPS t, d (unvoiced and voiced), which respectively correspond to Basque s "z" and r . These two consonants, when geminated, gave ś "s" and ŕ "rr". This would explain isoglosses like esan ~ erran 'to say' or mossu ~ Spanish morro 'muzzle, lips'.To complicate matters further, both Basque and Iberian had loanwords from a third Vasco-Caucasian but non-Vasconic language which I call "Cantabrian", and whose sound correspondences with Starostin's PNC are different from the Vasconic ones.

     
  41. Maju

    July 4, 2011 at 10:40 pm

    "Interestingly, but utterly unprovable. IMHO, there's no special reason to think Tartessians and Iberians didn't develop their syllabary independently".From an alphabet/abjad? It's illogical: the logical of writing evolution is: hieroglyphic > syllabary > abjad/alphabet. These things are tools for communication not fancy games for nerdy speculation. "As a little exercice, I'll leave you the task of searching Matasović's dictionary to find the source".As I told to someone else today: if you think that I am your secretary, fuck off and send me your money. "… they're both [Iberian and Basque] offpsring from an ancient dialectal continuum".Fair enough to me, as long as it is a SW European one. "To complicate matters further, both Basque and Iberian had loanwords from a third Vasco-Caucasian but non-Vasconic language which I call "Cantabrian"…Sounds interesting. Could we think of it as the language of Neolithic and Chalcolithic Portugal. Before Celts took over there, it used to be a center of civilization and must have been once a most influential source of culture.

     
  42. Octavià Alexandre

    July 5, 2011 at 7:42 am

    IMHO, beti is another Celtic loanword in Basque.This is Proto-Celtic *bitu- 'world' (but also 'eternal'), from PIE *gWih3-tu-, the same root which gives Latin vīta.

     
  43. Octavià Alexandre

    July 5, 2011 at 8:05 am

    "Interestingly, but utterly unprovable. IMHO, there's no special reason to think Tartessians and Iberians didn't develop their syllabary independently".From an alphabet/abjad? It's illogical: the logical of writing evolution is: hieroglyphic > syllabary > abjad/alphabet. These things are tools for communication not fancy games for nerdy speculation.Sorry, but unless you could prove Tartessians took their signs from one of the syllabaries and not from Phoenician, there's no room for "nerdy speculation".

     
  44. Maju

    July 5, 2011 at 11:36 am

    You have not proven either that they took their signs from the Phoencian abjad exclusively. The Phoenician alphabet has only 22 characters, at least some of which do NOT correspond with any Iberian signs. The Iberian syllabary has at least 32 signs (5 vowels, 7 free consonants and 15 syllables). The Cypriot syllabary had some 55 signs (Cretan some 60 of them).In any case concepts like vowel and syllable characters are totally absent from the Phoenician syllabary and yet found in other Eastern Mediterranean scripts, the three syllabaries I have mentioned. Tartessians or Iberians must have known them at the time of, not merely adopting the Phoenician abjad or even a variant of it, but of inventing a wholly new syllabary.The hieroglyph > syllabary > alphabet pattern of evolution is common worldwide. I challenge you to point to a single case when an alphabet becomes syllabary.As for "beti", claiming a protoword without properly documenting it with real speech examples is nonsense. More so when it can come or be otherwise related with the Basque verbal form "bedi" (let it be), form most common in the Christian ritual sentence "so it be" ("amen"), which in Basque is "hala bedi". And more so when you are doing exactly what you complain that should not be done: relating words by mere approximate sound value regardless of meaning. Why would Basques take their world for something as basic in speech as "always" from other language? It's not like it's a new weapon type, which would be justified, or a new communication concept as book or telephone… it's one of the most common words of speech!

     
  45. Octavià Alexandre

    July 5, 2011 at 12:21 pm

    You have not proven either that they took their signs from the Phoencian abjad exclusively. The Phoenician alphabet has only 22 characters, at least some of which do NOT correspond with any Iberian signs. The Iberian syllabary has at least 32 signs (5 vowels, 7 free consonants and 15 syllables).The Cypriot syllabary had some 55 signs (Cretan some 60 of them).Good. But the burden of proof is on you, not me. Anybody who proposes something is entitled to supply the evidence.As for "beti", claiming a protoword without properly documenting it with real speech examples is nonsense.I should have explained this with more detail. To begin with, the concept 'life' is semantically related to 'eternal' in IE languages. For example, Latin aevum '(eternal) time; lifetime; age, generation' comes from PIE *aju- 'life'.Basque beti supposes an earlier form *beto- from a Late Gaulish dialect where i became e. My Italian colleague Marco Moretti quoted the Sequanic inscription memento beto to dio 'remember forever your god'.Why would Basques take their world for something as basic in speech as "always" from other language?I won't say it's a "basic" term, but rather a religious one. It looks like Vascologists themselves have deeply underestimated the strong Celtic influence upon ancient Basques and Iberians. To quote an interesting example, Basque zuhur 'wise, prudent' < *sun-uŕ is a semantic calque from Celtic *dru-wid 'druid', a compound from *dru 'tree' and *weid- 'to know', lit. 'expert in trees'.

     
  46. Octavià Alexandre

    July 5, 2011 at 12:39 pm

    And more so when you are doing exactly what you complain that should not be done: relating words by mere approximate sound value regardless of meaning.On the contrary, it's you who actually compared phonetically unrelated words with the same meaning in Basque and PIE.

     
  47. Maju

    July 5, 2011 at 1:16 pm

    "But the burden of proof is on you, not me. Anybody who proposes something is entitled to supply the evidence".Have you supplied any evidence of your Phoenician only origin hypothesis? In that aspect the burden of proof is yours. "I should have explained this with more detail. To begin with, the concept 'life' is semantically related to 'eternal' in IE languages".It is highly speculative, forcing meaning assimilations. These may make sense in their original languages, I do not question that, but extrapolating them to pretext a loanword is not serious linguistics. Beti is not a religious term: it is a common word. If it has to have a religious origin it'd be Christian… but Basque anyhow, as I said in from the ritual form "hala bedi", (so it be, amen). "… the Sequanic inscription memento beto to dio 'remember forever your god'".How do you know "beto" means forever and not something else, like an emphatic term?"Basque zuhur 'wise, prudent' < *sun-uŕ is a semantic calque from Celtic *dru-wid 'druid', a compound from *dru 'tree' and *weid- 'to know', lit. 'expert in trees'".And how does it relate to Basque zuhaitz, tree? Don't tell me it does not, you just kicked your ass in this one. Remember that the very concept of 'druid' is non-Celtic but pre-Celtic British, possibly Vasconic as well. Iberian Celts never had druids or anything like druidism and some were even claimed to be atheists. Is it possible that druid is a semantic calque from zuhur instead? I'd say so.

     
  48. Maju

    July 5, 2011 at 1:19 pm

    "… it's you who actually compared phonetically unrelated words with the same meaning in Basque and PIE".At least I did make sure that the meaning was the same. Which is the first thing to care about, otherwsie we end up comparing thumb with stick and horse with frog.

     
  49. Octavià Alexandre

    July 5, 2011 at 1:37 pm

    Have you supplied any evidence of your Phoenician only origin hypothesis? In that aspect the burden of proof is yours.Not really, because it's what it says stablished scholarship. If you want to challenge that (something perfectly legitimate), it's up to you to supply the necessary evidence."I should have explained this with more detail. To begin with, the concept 'life' is semantically related to 'eternal' in IE languages".It is highly speculative, forcing meaning assimilations. These may make sense in their original languages, I do not question that, but extrapolating them to pretext a loanword is not serious linguistics.I haven't "extrapolated anything", this is internal to Gaulish.How do you know "beto" means forever and not something else, like an emphatic term?Because this is the most parsimonous hypothesis."Basque zuhur 'wise, prudent' < *sun-uŕ is a semantic calque from Celtic *dru-wid 'druid', a compound from *dru 'tree' and *weid- 'to know', lit. 'expert in trees'".And how does it relate to Basque zuhaitz, tree? Don't tell me it does not, you just kicked your ass in this one.These words have as first member zur 'wood' (soft rothic) < *sun-.Remember that the very concept of 'druid' is non-Celtic but pre-Celtic British, possibly Vasconic as well.Evidence?Is it possible that druid is a semantic calque from zuhur instead? I'd say so.Not impossible, but it must be demonstrated.At least I did make sure that the meaning was the same.But you didn't care about phonetics. This isn't how comparative linguistics works.

     
  50. Maju

    July 5, 2011 at 2:31 pm

    No one liners, please. I bet that you, with your university education, can write better than that. Anyhow, I do not understand why you are so close-minded. I have already mentioned how Rodríguez Ramos himself finds difficult to explain how the syllabary hatched from the Phoenician abjad. He says that this is a matter that requires some better thought and I am proposing a coherent model: Cypriot syllabary influence at the genesis, influence that is attested archaeologically (in trade items) and is crucial also to understand how Phoencians (North Canaanites) set out to be the mariner people they are known to history. Nothing in all this part of history can be understood without the Cypriot connection. As for the Gaulish loanword hypothesis of beti, I think you make many claims without sufficient substantiation, like for instance the word still existing in Brythonic or something. These interpolations from ancient texts are always a bit dubious, more when you look at them in some depth, as happened with your "gdonios" claim. "These words have as first member zur 'wood' (soft rothic) < *sun-".The etymology is conjectural. The clear thing, and in this I will agree is that the root is zur (wood), as in zuri (white, probably from zur-ti: woody), zuhaitz (tree, lit. rock of wood) and now you say also zuhur (astute), I am not sure how you make "-ur" related to "to know" (jakin) but I'll let it stay as possible. It is not in any case a calque from Celtic but the opposite wold be more likely (as druidism is pre-Celtic)."Evidence?"Not only it is attested by Roman sources (cf. Kruta and nearly any other documentation on druidism), which declared the concept of British origin and not truly native, but also these same ancient sources never make any mention of druidism or anything of the like among Iberian Celts. The Vaccei, a militarist coalition, were proclaimed atheist in fact (either Strabo or Pliny, can't recall)."Not impossible, but it must be demonstrated".Not so easy to demonstrate because pre-Celtic languages of Britain, which may have been related to Basque and are the source of the druidic concepts, are fully dead and forgotten. "But you didn't care about phonetics".Can you remind me what was this about? Whatever the case, if I committed errors in phonetics, you should criticize them but much worse is to compare words unrelated or very weakly related in meaning (unless a very powerful reason exists, as happened with the two words that swapped meanings per that Gascon linguist "friend" of yours who visited here some time ago).

     

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