|Ancient tribes of the Greater Basque Country (blue Celts, red pre-IE)|
Category Archives: linguistics
Conclusions: 1. Basque ‘ume’ is probably an Iberian loanword, and 2. Iberian ‘Ybar’ probably means ‘father’. And ‘Ybar-Yi’ (like in the Sinarcas stele) would mean ‘my father’, a very plausible meaning in its context.
Hitz egiten nuen nire buruari: lit. I was talking to my head; actual meaning: I was talking to myself.
Hau hizkuntari buruz da: this is about language.
Both mean ‘day’. The Turkish word for ‘sun’, ‘güneş’, is derived from ‘gün’. According to L. Trask “Barandiarán (1972) suggests an original sense of ‘sun’, ‘light’, which is possible but beyond checking for Bq. ‘egun’ “. That would mean that the Basque word for ‘sun’, ‘eguzki’, is derived fom ‘egun’ (in its meaning of ‘day’) by means of a compound suffix: ‘egu(n)-(e)z-ki’.
Ezina ekinez egina: the impossible [gets] done through action.
Both a have strong relationship with intellectual capacity and the like: the Basque word has several acceptances like ‘age’ (probably through a link with ‘wise’), ‘understanding’, ‘judgement’; the Turkish word means ’intellectual, literate, etc.’. The Basque word frequently occurs in Aquitanian names, so an Iberian origin cannot be excluded since Aquitanian names often mimic or copy Iberian names.
Izen-Isim:Both mean ‘name’. Another pure coincidence? I begin to think there are too many of them.
Izena duen guztia izan omen da: all that has name may be (exist).
Izena izana: the name, the being.
-kume-Küme:This time I’m venturing into perilous territory, but it might contribute something. The Basque suffix means ‘offspring, young animal’ and is obviously related to ‘ume’
The Turkish word has a basic meaning of ‘conglomeration, group …’, including ‘family’.
There is just one striking coincidence with proto-Turkish: egun-gün and another one, quite more dubious, with proto-Semitic: izen-*sim-. Some speculations on a common pan-European substrate of some declensions/suffixes. And then those clearly wrong rantings about the word ibar.
There is nothing of substance here, move along.
Note: a very simple (highly incomplete but a good preliminary exercise) way of comparing languages for possible similitudes is to compare the numeral series, especially 1-5, or maybe up to 10. There is a veteran online database for that. For our purposes (1-5 only):
- PIE: *oynos/*sem *duwo: *treyes *kwetwores *penkwe
- Basque: bat bi hiru lau bost
- Proto-Basque (??): *bade *biga *(h)ilur *laur *bortz(e)
- Proto-Finno-Ugric: *ykte *kakte *kolm- *neljä- *vit(t)e
- Old Turkic: bir iki üch tört besh
- Akkadian (example of old Semitic): ishte:n shena shalash erbe h.amish
- Proto-North-Caucasian (??): *cHê *qHwä: *s’wimHV *hêmqi *fh`ä^
- Sumerian: desh min pesh lim i
- Georgian: erti ori sami otxi xuti
- turpe (Lat. foul, dirty) → *durpe → *burde → urde (pig, boar; metaphorically only: dirty – the common word for dirty is zikin)
- timor (Lat. fear) → … *dirbur → *birdur → bildur (more commonly beldur: fear¹)
- hierba (Sp. grass, herb) > *erbar > *berar > belar / bedar (grass, there’s actually a real Latin/Romance derived word: zerba = herb)
- caninu (from. Lat. caninus: rel. to dogs) → *ahinu → *ahiun → *ha.in → hagin (molar)
- *(la)grima (Sp. lágrima: tear; grima: coll. pity) > *girma > *girna > *nirga > nigar (more commonly negar: cry, tears, negar egin: to cry, to express emotion by tears)
Notes (my own ideas):
¹ Beldur (fear) surely derives from bel(tz): black in fact, possibly: *bel-adur: black humor.
² I would also consider *hatz-adar (toe-horn, toe’s horn) as possible origin of both forms.
Important correction: I got totally confused about the authorship of this paper. Neither Frank nor Alonso are the authors but they do have another paper[es] that is also a criticism on Lakarra’s conjectures, paper that I will have to discuss in another entry in order to compensate for my error.
This study is actually anonymous, being the second of that kind, a clear signal of academic freedom being seriously curtailed in Basque philology in the Basque Country itself by this professor’s power networks.
Continues original entry with the necessary corrections:
A group of anonymous linguists (the speak in plural “we”) have recently published a paper in which they criticize the excessive reliance of Basque language studies on the work of Prof. Joseba Lakarra, whose shadowy control of the Basque Academy on this matter is most worrying, notably since his key defamatory intervention against the extraordinary finds of Iruña-Veleia, which challenge to some extent the foundations of his work.
- The monosyllabic root theory of Lakarra is too daring. The available evidence does not support this in most cases.
- There is no process of critical revision. This makes Lakarra models mere hypothesis or conjectures and not at all proven theories. Larry Trask did not include a single root by Lakarra in his own etymological dictionary. Michael Morvan and J.B. Orpustan frontally rejected Lakarra’s ideas.
- All reconstructions are purely theoretical.
- Abusive self-citation, often of unpublished materials. Lakarra almost never cites other authors than himself.
- No systematization. Lakarra’s model has never been systematically described, something that the professor seems to prefer, as it allows him for unlimited freedom in his ramblings.
- Frequent changes in the etymologies, revealing extreme insecurity and improvisation in Lakarra’s own thought.
- Abusive use of typological comparativism. Even if systematically criticizes comparativism, because he only believes in internal reconstruction for the case of Basque, he constantly relies in grammatic comparison with other unrelated languages.
- Incoherence with the reality of languages 3000 years ago. For Lakarra, Basque in that time only had the most rudimentary vocabulary and grammar, while the reality we know is that all languages were as complete as they are today, and therefore (proto-)Basque must have been as well.
- Monosyllabic root theory has serious issues. Words like lur (earth, land, soil) are ancestrally monosyllabic for Lakarra, however they are attested in bisyllabic forms like luur or luhur, suggesting that it is in fact a shortening of longer ancient words. There are many other such cases.
- It does not even consider dialectal variation. Lakarra invariably uses only the modern standard form (Euskara Batua), totally ignoring the well attested dialectal variation.
- It ignores Aquitanian toponymy. For example eihar for Lakarra derives from Lat. cremare, while it is attested as such eihar in Aquitaine c. 87 CE.
- Some proposed evolutions are absolutely incredible. For example:
*goi-bar (‘up-down’) > *gwibar > *bi-z-bar > bizkar (anat. back, geog. hill, mountain).
- Some etymologies suffer of serious anachronisms. For example, bazter (edge, corner, riverside; secondarily: field, land, place) is made by Lakarra to derive from Lat. praesaepe via Castilian Spanish pesebre and a claimed intermediate word presepre (actually unattested). Sp. pesebre is attested only 130 years after Basque bazter is. [I believe that bazter is actually present in an ancient Iberian text from Mula, Murcia, see note below].
- Breaches the principle of regularity when we consider Basque dialects.
- Ignores Basque culture. For example hogi (bread) is for Lakarra derivate from hor (dog) and -gi (-gi/-ki common for meat kinds), meaning in his mind originally something like dog-meat. This is simply absurd… but so are so many things around this peculiar individual in his ivory tower.
- Sometimes misinterprets words. For example atseden (to rest, turn off, breath, satisfy) is mistranslated by Lakarra as to die.
- Does not help at all to the reconstruction of Aquitanian onomastics. Nothing at all in Lakarra’s work helps the understanding of this key ancient reference of Basque studies.
- Risk of unitary or monolithic thought. Lakarra’s single-handed effective domination of Basque philology in the Western Basque Country has almost stopped independent research altogether. His followers limit themselves to make comments to his theories without daring to think independently, much less being critical.
- Conclusions. Warning on the use of public funds for the vanity project of this man, who is no doubt fallible.
Note on bazter: in the Ibero-Ionian text on lead from El Cigarralejo (Mula, Murcia – pictured), in line #7 it reads:
760 officially recognized scripts on ceramics from Iruña-Veleia excavated by the archaeology firm Lurmen S.L. (approximately between years 2002-2008)have been analyzed. A number of these ceramics contains scripts which may be assimilated to Iberian/Tartessian writings. This number may be underestimated since more studies need to be done in already available and new found ceramics. This is the second time that Iberian writing is found by us in an unexpected location together with the Iberian-Guanche inscriptions of Lanzarote and Fuerteventura (Canary Islands). On the other hand, naviform scripting, usually associated to Iberian rock or stone engraving may have also been found in Veleia. Strict separation, other than in time and space stratification, between Iberian and (South) Tartessian culture and script is doubted.
Surely one of the most important researchers of ancient Iberian languages and also of Italian ones, Jürgen Untermann has left his signature all around the bibliography regarding Iberian, Celtiberian and Italic languages. His life ended on February 7th 2013 at the venerable age of 84.