Urchin.

I mentioned in this post, a few days ago, that I was starting The Manticore; I have now almost finished it, and I continue to enjoy the odd bits of knowledge I’m picking up. For instance, a character’s remark that “Diarmuid began to call me Sir Edward, in reference to Marshall Hall” led me to learn about the striking career of Edward Marshall Hall, “The Great Defender.” But what leads me to post is a tidbit of linguistic nature: did you know that urchin originally meant ‘hedgehog’? It is, via French hérisson, from popular Latin *herīciōn-em, a late form of ēricius hedgehog.

While I’m at it, manticore — “A fabulous monster having the body of a lion (occas. a tiger), the head of a man, porcupine’s quills, and the tail or sting of a scorpion” — also has an interesting etymology; to quote the OED entry, updated September 2000:

< Middle French manticore (1246 in Old French; also manticora (13th cent. in Old French), mantichore; French manticore) or its etymon classical Latin mantichoras (post-classical Latin manticora, 12th cent. in a British source), a fabulous beast of India or Africa < ancient Greek μαντιχώρας (Ctesias, quoted in Aristotle Hist. Animalium), variant of μαρτιχόρας (the form preferred by modern editors; another variant is μαρτιοχώρας ) < an unattested Old Persian compound meaning ‘man-eater’ < Old Persian martiya man (Persian mard) + a derivative of a verb meaning ‘to eat’, cognate with Avestan χvar-, Middle Persian χwardan, Persian khordan to eat (compare markhor n.). The β forms have sometimes been reanalysed as < man n.1 + tiger n. by folk etymology (see man-tiger n. and compare mantegar n.).

The citations include some lively quotes:

a1529 J. Skelton Phyllyp Sparowe sig. A.viii, The mantycors of ye montaynes Myght fede them on thy braynes.
1607 G. Wilkins Miseries Inforst Mariage sig. I2v, Mantichoras, monstrous beastes, enemies to mankinde, that ha double rowes of teeth in their mouthes.
1646 J. Howell Lustra Ludovici 174 The Beast Marticora which is of a red colour, and hath the head of a man lancing out sharpe prickles from behind.
1717 J. Gay Three Hours after Marriage iii. 61 Fossile: How have I languish’d for your Feather of the Bird Porphyrion! Nautilus: But your Dart of the Mantichora!

Comments

  1. The poet William Cowper to Mrs. Throckmorton, 1790:

    You have by this time, I presume, heard from the Doctor, whom I desired to present to you our best affections, and to tell you that we are well. He sent an urchin (I do not mean a hedge-hog, commonly called an urchin in old times, but a boy, commonly called so at present), expecting that he would find you at Bucklands, whither he supposed you gone on Thursday.

    A sea-urchin is of course a ‘hedgehog of the sea’, because of its spines.

  2. I had thought that the older “hedgehog” meaning of “urchin” (from which both the street child and echinoderm meanings descend) was fairly well known—at least among people interested in such linguistic oddities. I use that meaning of the word occasionally as a jocular archaism.

  3. Yes, I was surprised I didn’t know it… although it is, of course, entirely possible that I once did and have since forgotten. (You’d think “sea-urchin” would have clued me in.)

  4. Well, at least you have educated me – I’ve seen “sea-urchin” before, but never looked it up and only now understand that it’s the equivalent of German Seeigel “sea hedgehog”.

  5. I still think urchin is a hedgehog (probably because I encountered sea urchin Strongylocentrotus purpuratus much earlier in life than any other urchins). Many of these marine invertebrates, unlike us, pack their DNA in the gametes using a slightly more condensed version of the regular packaging toolkit found in the normal cells, sort of like what the cells use for the silenced segments of their chromosomes. So back then it was like, aha, we can figure out what makes the genes fall into silence with the help of lowly sea urchin sperm. My frozen-sperm source was a yellowish iceball affectionately called a глыбка (little boulder) wrapped in brown paper with a tantalizing inscription, “сперма Оли Преображенской” (~~ “Olga’s sperm”, not after the species but after a gal who collected the specimen at Peter the Great Gulf of the Sea of Japan).

  6. on a tangent, it made me discover a Russian word I never knew.
    Ке́кур (KEkur) is apparently how they call a natural rock stack / pillar on a shoreline of a river, lake, or sea. It must be largely regional to Eastern Siberia and Russian Far East, but Vasmer cites its observations in the Pomor dialects of Kem’ and Kola of Northern White Sea Basin., and Dahl lists it as an Arkhangel dialectism as well. As a toponym, it is also attested in Vologda and Kostroma regions of Northern European Russia. Could “kekur” be a Finnic or Norwegian borrowing? In today’s languages it would be rauk (Norw.) / Raukki (Finn.).

  7. marie-lucie says:

    In French the two critters have quite different names: the hedgehog is le hérisson (note lack of elision of the vowel of the article), while the sea urchin is l’oursin, which looks like it comes from l’ours ‘the bear’. The TLFI indeed relates oursin to ours, because of the alleged resemblance of the urchin spikes to bear fur, once the material for some soldiers’ hats (as still used in England, notably for the guards at the royal palace). It gives ‘bear fur’ (and even just ‘fur’) and later ‘bear fur hat’ as the original meanings of oursin, with ‘sea urchin’ as a later meaning.

    As for hérisson, the TLFI gives a number of technical meanings having to do with with spikes and similar sharp pointy things. It derives the word from Latin ericius ‘hedgehog’ and ericiare ‘to erect (spikes, etc)’ and attributes the initial h to a later ‘expressive’ addition. It dismisses a potential *hericio(ne) which they say would have yielded Olf French *erçon, while the OF word was actually eriz (cf Old Occitan aritz and Spanish erizo).

    I have always thought that ‘urchin’ was related (probably by borrowing) to oursin, but according to the Online Etymology Dictionary, its earliest attestation is ‘yrichun’, a borrowing from Old North French (a variety still attested in Picard and other Northern dialects), a derivative of the same root as eriz.

    I find the potential (reconstructed) Late Latin *hericio(nem) problematic. Addition of h to words of Latin origin beginning with vowels is attested cases like altus ‘high’, French haut (instead of expected *aut)), probably by contamination of the Germanic word in times of Frankish influence. The initial ‘h aspiré’ of hérisson and the verb hérisser (preventing the elision of the unstressed vowel in a previous word) indeed shows the addition of this h (long pronounced [h]), but this must have been quite late, since none of the OF or dialectal words quoted have it, and neither does the borrowing ending up as English urchin. Also, if the Latin name had included the suffix -on-(em, etc.), one would expect that suffix to have survived in Romance cognates of the word, but it only seems to occur in the French word.

  8. We also use « erizo » to name « chestnut hulk ».

  9. marie-lucie says:

    Jesús,

    The TLFI says that another name for oursin is châtaigne de mer, meaning ‘sea chestnut’.

  10. marie-lucie says:

    châtaigne de mer = castaña del mar

  11. In Norman, we have forms of the name of the hedgehog varying dialectally among hérichoun, hérichaon, hérchoun, héch’choun.

    On a visit to Belfast last month, I came into contact with the University of Ulster’s Ulster-Scots Education Project which uses the hedgehog as its mascot logo on educational materials along with the Ulster-Scots name “Hurchin”. This made me feel suddenly at home, coming across what was evidently originally a Norman loan.

    “Hurchin” at BBC Ulster-Scots: http://www.bbc.co.uk/ulsterscots/words/hurchin
    University of Ulster’s Ulster-Scots Education Project on Twitter: https://twitter.com/HurchinHome

  12. >Marie-Lucie
    “Le boucle bouclé” : -)
    As you know, urchins belong to a phylum whose name means skin of hedgehog. The most curious to me of that animal is its Aristotle’s lantern, apart from its pentaradial symmetry.

  13. —Ке́кур (KEkur) is apparently how they call a natural rock stack / pillar on a shoreline of a river, lake, or sea.

    Could be related to

    keg (n.) Look up keg at Dictionary.com
    1630s, earlier kag (mid-15c.), from a Scandinavian source such as Old Norse kaggi “keg, cask,” of unknown origin. Cognate with Swedish kagge, Norwegian kagg. Specific sense of “barrel of beer” is from 1945.

  14. –Vasmer cites its observations in the Pomor dialects of Kem’ and Kola of Northern White Sea Basin.

    It’s Saami then.

    Google gives North Saami “geađgi” (stone, rock). Could it have transformed into Russian kekur?

  15. marie-lucie says:

    GJ, thank you for those delightful Norman words! obviously from Old Northern French as the OED (E for Etymology) says.

  16. Trond Engen says:

    SFR: It’s Saami then.

    Not necessarily. There are more than one Uralic variety around the White Sea. We might even ponder Dutch or English through early sailor’s pidgin.

    Google gives North Saami “geađgi” (stone, rock). Could it have transformed into Russian kekur?

    Don’t think so. Not directly anyway. Of course, using North Saami for Saami in general is like using Danish for North Germanic or French for Romance, so we’ll have to travel back in time. Or at least out of North Saami. The Eastern and lost Southern varieties were less innovative and partly bridging the gap to Karelian.

    Trying to follow the pattern in Sammalahti (1998), I surmise NS geađgi < PFS *keđka. That might possibly yield something like **kekko in Finnic. A **kekkuri would take us from there to kékur, but the suffix -Vri is agentive (and a fairly obvious borrowing), so “stoner”, but OTOH tunturi. I suppose I should leave this to someone with some real knowledge of Finnic derivation.

  17. So, where does the word “echidna” come from, really?

  18. Trond, Have you seen Mikko Heikkilä’s thesis on the linguistic prehistory of Fennoscandia? I can’t read Swedish, but from the English abstract it looks very interesting:

    “My dissertation shows that Proto-Germanic, Proto-Scandinavian, Proto- Finnic and Proto-Sami all date to different periods of the Iron Age. I argue that the present study along with my earlier published research (see References) also proves that a (West-)Uralic language – the pre-form of the Finnic and Samic languages – was spoken in the region of the present-day Finland in the Bronze Age, but not earlier than that. In the centuries before the Common Era, Proto- Sami was spoken in the whole region of what is now called Finland, excluding Lapland. At the beginning of the Common Era, Proto-Sami was spoken in the whole region of Finland, including Southern Finland, from where the Sami idiom first began to recede. An archaic (Northwest-)Indo-European language and a subsequently extinct Paleo-European language were likely spoken in what is now called Finland and Estonia, when the linguistic ancestors of the Finns and the Sami arrived in the eastern and northern Baltic Sea region from the Volga-Kama region probably at the beginning of the Bronze Age. For example, the names Suomi ʻFinlandʼ and Viro ʻEstoniaʼ are likely to have been borrowed from the Indo-European idiom in question. (Proto-)Germanic waves of influence have come from Scandinavia to Finland since the Bronze Age. A considerable part of the Finnic and Samic vocabulary is indeed Germanic loanwords of different ages which form strata in these languages.”

  19. I rather like the German name for the Spatangoida (heart urchin) order of sea urchins: Herzigel (heart-hedgehog).

  20. Thanks for Heikilla’s thesis!

    It is useful to know that

    ” ʼstenʼ heter giergie på sydsamiska men geađgipå nordsamiska “

  21. Trond Engen says:

    There’s a paragraph up there screaming for deitalization.

    Y: Trond, Have you seen Mikko Heikkilä’s thesis on the linguistic prehistory of Fennoscandia?

    Have not, but will now. Thanks! Some thoughts before I start: As far as I can tell from the abstract, what he says about the geographical distributions of WU (FS) isn’t very different from previous mainstream hypotheses, but he will probably have given it more legs to stand on. And the identification and characterization of the substrates could be new. The existence of a non-IE substrate in Saami is widely accepted, but identifying substrate words and placenames in Scandinavian is much more difficult, which might suggest a genocide. (Me, I enjoy to think that the indigenous population kept lingering on at the outskirts of society for a long time. They may have been called Finns “gatherers”, and when they merged with an incoming Uralic population in the north, the name stuck,) Also, John Cowan mentioned a hypothetical IE/NG substrate in Finnish a couple of years ago, and it made a lot of sense. If this thesis combines deeper Germanic and Baltic and maybe even some supposed Iranian influences into one coherent substrate, let Occam raise one for Heikkila!

  22. — An archaic (Northwest-)Indo-European language and a subsequently extinct Paleo-European language were likely spoken in what is now called Finland and Estonia, when the linguistic ancestors of the Finns and the Sami arrived in the eastern and northern Baltic Sea region from the Volga-Kama region probably at the beginning of the Bronze Age.

    This one is very interesting.

    Archaeologically, this archaic Indo-European language corresponds to Pit–Comb Ware culture ( 4200 BC to around 2000 BC) which occupied Finland and Estonia before arrival of proto-Finns.

    However, there is one big problem. You see, the Pit–Comb Ware culture were basically hunter-gatherers which is very different from way of life of Bronze Age Indo-Europeans.

    Of course, the Pit–Comb Ware culture itself had its origins in Mesolitic Dnieper-Donets culture (ca. 5th—4th millennium BC) which many regard as Proto-Indo-European Urheimat, so a case might be made that people of the Pit–Comb Ware culture spoke a sister language to Proto-Indo-European or its very. very early offshoot (predating Indo-European adoption of agriculture).

  23. David Marjanović says:

    Mikko Heikkilä’s thesis on the linguistic prehistory of Fennoscandia

    is indeed fascinating. I spent many hours yesterday trying to… burrow through the first half of it, which I find rather hard – triangulation from German, English and a bit of historical linguistics doesn’t let me understand the topic of each sentence.

    If this thesis combines deeper Germanic and Baltic and maybe even some supposed Iranian influences into one coherent substrate

    Oh no. At least the Germanic and the Baltic loans stay distinct; and as the last sentence of the abstract hints at, there’s layer upon layer of loanwords in all stages of Finnic, Samic and their common ancestor with each other (and at least sometimes with Mari + Mordvin) from all stages of Swedish, Old Norse, Pre-North Germanic, Northwest Germanic, Pre-Northwest Germanic, Proto-Germanic and several stages of Pre-Germanic. On pp. 129–132, Heikkilä proposes a very detailed relative (and even absolute) combined chronology of most of the sound shifts from PIE to Old Norse and from Proto-West Uralic to Proto-Finnic and Proto-Samic.

    In a few cases I wonder if alternative interpretations are possible; not every detail is supported by more than one word. I wonder in particular about this sequence:

    4. Pre-Germanic *ē becomes *[æː] (ca. 750 BC)
    5. Grimm’s law (two stages, therefore at least two generations, beginning ca. 700 BC)
    7. Pre-Germanic *ā merges into *ō (ca. 650 BC)
    8. Verner’s law (ca. 625 BC)
    9. Pre-Germanic accent shift to the first syllable (ca. 575 BC)
    11. Pre-Germanic *[æː] becomes Northwest Germanic *ā (ca. 525 BC)
    14. Pre-Germanic *e becomes *i if followed by *i later in the word (“äldre i-omljud”); this includes *ei becoming *ī (ca. 450 BC)
    15. Pre-Germanic *eNC becomes *iNC; Heikkilä comments that this happened in analogy to change 14 and… sker tidigt i något nordgermanskt område men senare annanstans; does that mean “very early in the North Germanic area but later elsewhere”? If so, no evidence for “later elsewhere” is presented as far as I have read.
    20. First, Pre-Germanic *staknia (which looks a bit weird to me) is borrowed into “Middle Proto-Finnic” (ending up, for instance, as Finnish sauna); then Kluge’s law happens, turning *kn into *kk in this word; then “Middle Proto-Finnic” develops consonant gradation, and the Great Samic Vowel Shift happens. Only a single date – ca. 300 BC – is given for the whole paragraph.
    26. Pre-Germanic *Vnx becomes *Vːx (ca. 0).
    27. Northwest Germanic a-umlaut: Proto-Germanic *u becomes Northwest Germanic *o if followed by *a or *ō later in the word (before 50 AD). This is followed by *ō becoming NW Germanic *u at the ends of words.
    28. Pre-North Germanic merges *zn into *nn and *zd into *dd (before 98 AD). This is followed by *enn becoming *inn, explained as a second round of *eNC becoming *iNC (ca. 150 AD).

    I wonder:
    1) The last sound change that happened in the ancestry of all Germanic branches is 26, meaning Proto-Germanic was the stage between 26 and 27. But the first sound change that did not affect all Germanic branches is 11! Admittedly, whether 14 and 15 ever operated in the ancestry of Gothic is, AFAIK, impossible to tell, because every *e became *i there; but that leaves 20 and 26. I haven’t noticed Heikkilä commenting on this so far, so I have no idea if he thinks 20 and 26 (or 14, 15, 20 and 26) somehow spread throughout a dialect continuum that already covered a very large area while 11 somehow did not, or if there’s something wrong here.
    2) Kluge’s law is not, as far as I’ve seen, discussed in the text. It is generally easier to explain if it is assumed to have happened before change 9; and its morphological consequences are found in Gothic just as well as in NW Germanic, so all of that would have needed to spread far and wide if these were already distinct dialects.
    3) The evidence for the dating of 27 is sparse and shows an apparent exception (pp. 92, 93).
    4) If Verner’s law happened around 625 BC, how can the Teutoni have had their 15 minutes of fame in 113 BC? On p. 57 Heikkilä explicitly argues that their name had not undergone Verner’s law. More precisely, Verners lag ännu inte hade verkat i den ifrågavarande västgermanska språkformen (jfr Euler & Badenheuer 2009: 13, 66–67) (“Verner’s law had ?not yet? operated in the West Germanic language forms in question”); that seems to mean he thinks a) the name is specifically West Germanic and b) Verner’s law didn’t happen on the way to Proto-Germanic, but later, starting in some dialect around 625 BC and reaching West Germanic only after 113 BC – however, neither of these apparent assumptions is discussed at all, as far as I have noticed.

    Me, I enjoy to think that the indigenous population kept lingering on at the outskirts of society for a long time. They may have been called Finns “gatherers”, and when they merged with an incoming Uralic population in the north, the name stuck

    The Finns are finders? I like that. Heikkilä (p. 128), however, seems not to; Fenni (Tacitus, 98 AD) and Phinnoi (Ptolemaeus, ca. 150 AD) are his evidence for dating the two steps of change 28, because he derives them from Proto-Germanic *feznōz – without explaining that word any further, except for ascribing the same meaning to it (finnar).

  24. I’m surprised no one’s mentioned that in Shakespere an urchin is usually a hedgehog, but once (Merry Wives IV.4) “a goblin, a sort of fairy”: the children who are to torment Falstaff are to dress “like urchins, oafs, and fairies, green and white”. (That’s certainly not the contemporary meaning of “oaf”, either.)

    He may have used it twice: Schmidt’s Shakespeare Lexicon queries the meaning of “urchin-snouted”, used of the boar in Venus and Adonis: “having a snout like that of a hedgehog (?), or having a goblin-like, demoniac snout (?)”.

  25. Oaf was borrowed from Norse alfr, and so is a doublet of elf. The original oaf in English was a changeling, the not-quite-person left behind by the elves/fairies when they stole a human child; in reality, a deformed or mentally retarded child. Le Guin uses the word “Oafscastle” in her early novel Rocannon’s World (though with influence from the modern sense), and I used it in the first draft of my translation of the mediaeval Welsh poem “Preideu Annwfn” but changed it to “Elfscastle”.

  26. …because he derives them from Proto-Germanic *feznōz – without explaining that word any further, except for ascribing the same meaning to it (finnar).

    In IE terms, *pes-n-ó- means more or less ‘manly, masculine’. It’s derived from the stem *pés-on- ‘male’ (literally, ‘having the organ mentioned in the next sentence’). These words are attested in Anatolian and Tocharian, so they must be echt IE. Note Gk. péos (< *pés-es-) 'penis' and Lat. pēnis itself (*pes-n-i-, derived somewhat tautologically from *pes-n-o- as, roughly, ‘the thing that a human who’s got a dick has got’).

  27. Oops, the sentence after next, actually. One has to think twice before adding another sentence to a text containing internal references.

  28. David Marjanović says:

    Curiouser and curiouser. 🙂

  29. So, where does the word “echidna” come from, really?

    Greek, of course. Where else? The real question is why someone decided to use it as the English name for tachyglossids, which are very unlike anything called ékhidna in Greek (that is, either real-world adders or the cosmogonic monster goddess described by Hesiod). “Echidna” replaced “spiny anteater” quite recently, so the details of the renaming are perhaps documented somewhere. My guess is that somebody confused ékhidna with ekhînos, the Greek word for ‘hedgehog’. They are both derived from ékhis ‘snake’ (PIE *h₁eǵʰ-i-, also used to refer to mythological “serpents”). The Germanic and Balto-Slavic ‘hedgehog’ words also contain the same base. Hedgehogs must have had a reputation as snake-killers.

  30. cosmogonic monster goddess

    Say it five times fast!

  31. Not so very recently: the OED1’s first and only quotation s.v. echidna is 1847 and m-w.com predates it to 1832, but Etymonline says 1810 and attributes it doubtfully to Cuvier (1769-1832). All give the ‘snake’ theory in some form, but Etym prefers the derivation from Echidna herself (who was a woman with a snake’s tail instead of legs), on the grounds that the animal appeared to early naturalists to be of mixed mammalian and amphibian origins.

  32. David Marjanović says:

    There’s a lot of history behind the echidna.

    First of all, the scientific name hasn’t been Echidna in a long time, it’s Tachyglossus (some derivation of “fast tongue”); probably Echidna is preoccupied by a beetle, as is usually the case – Platypus is a beetle, too, and the mammal has long been renamed Ornithorhynchus (“bird beak”).

    of mixed mammalian and amphibian origins

    A consistent distinction between amphibians and reptiles is a surprisingly young concept. (Even today many biologists work on both, and this discipline is called herpetology, from herpetón, an adjective to “creep”.) And even once taxonomists started to make this distinction, they continued to think that the mammals are not derived from any reptiles, but directly from amphibians, because mammals and amphibians both have double occipital condyles while “reptiles” have just one. (Mammals and… amphibians in almost the narrowest sense have two knobs on the skull that articulate with two sockets on the first neck vertebra, one left of the spinal cord, one right. This makes nodding motions easier, but any others have to be accommodated elsewhere in the vertebral column. “Reptiles” have a single big one under the spinal cord.) Only around the turn of last century or so had enough “mammal-like reptiles” been discovered to make clear that this reliance on a single character had (as usual) been wrong, and the double occipital condyles of amphibians and mammals are independently derived. …Snakes are not amphibians anyway.

    The Germanic and Balto-Slavic ‘hedgehog’ words also contain the same base.

    Example: German Igel. (Is that a diminutive suffix at the end?)

    Hedgehogs must have had a reputation as snake-killers.

    Makes sense.

  33. David Marjanović says:

    herpetón, an adjective to “creep”

    …and thus a Greek translation of Latin reptilis.

  34. David:

    Example: German Igel. (Is that a diminutive suffix at the end?)

    It looks like a diminutive; so does Gk. ekhînos. The suffix can be reconstructed as *-h₁no- (the lengthened vowel suggests a laryngeal, and absence of “laryngeal breaking” points specifically to *h₁), and we do have some IE diminutives of animal names involving *-h₁no-. The Balto-Slavic word is a *-jo- stem, and so probably a thematicisation of the ‘snake’ word. Such thematic derivatives have adjectival semantics (‘having to do with snakes’). How exactly all these words are related sounds like a good research problem. Good stuff for an article, if I find the time ;). There seem to have been two or three other “snaky” terms in PIE (whose precise meaning may be hard to reconstruct) and there may have been one alternative (primary?) term for ‘hedgehog’ (the root noun *ǵʰer-), though its attestation is very uncertain.

  35. Come to think of it, there is already a good article on some of the IE ‘snake’ and ‘hedgehog’ terms by Norbert Oettinger, “Die indogermanische Wörter für ‘Schlange'” (in: Ronald Kim et al. 2010, Ex Anatolia lux [a birthday Festschrift for H. Craig Melchert], Ann Arbor: Beech Stave Press, 278-284). I don’t think Oettinger’s interpretation of the suffix in Greek as a reflex of the “Hoffmann suffix” *-h₃on- is correct, but his analysis of two ‘snake’ words (accidentally similar to each other, and so prone to mutual influence which has to be disentangled) is obligatory reading for anyone interested in PIE herpetology.

  36. Trond Engen says:

    Y: Still not half way through, but what a feast! Indeed different in scope than I expected, but that just goes to show how little I knew.

    DM: Your reading is good. To answer your question, sker tidigt means “takes place early”, not “very (sheer?) early”. I can’t find any explanation either.

    As for Verner’s law, I don’t think he needs it to be that early. It’s more a result of moving Grimm back. He says in footnote 64, after stating that, in spite of some recent attempts, it can’t have predated Grimm:

    Jag har således placerat Verners lag på den plats i förteckningen på vilken den på grundval av språkintern rekonstruktion traditionellt oftast placeras i germanistiken (Brinton & Arnovick 2006: 138; Ringe 2006: 93).

    “I have thus placed Verner’s law where it based on internal reconstruction traditionally most often is placed in Germanic linguistics (references).”

    Apart from that I’m not able to discuss details yet. I set out to do a point-by-point comparison with the timeline in Voyles (1992), but decided that it’s probably outdated anyway.

  37. David Marjanović says:

    sker tidigt means “takes place early”

    Oh, geschieht, “happens”. 🙂

    Heikkilä spends several pages, IIRC, on comparing extremely detailed scenarios for how Grimm’s and Verner’s laws might have worked, apparently rejecting all of them but in any case concluded that the tradition is right and Grimm’s happened first.

  38. Trond Engen says:

    Well, yes. Or he spends a lot of space rejecting a couple of different scenarios for a pre-Grimm Verner, before arguing that Grimm happened between 800 B.C. (introduction of hemp) and 113 B.C. (Cimbri Teutonique). I think he’s wrong on the latter, though; the epenthetic b of Cimbri is voiced by nature, or else Grimm should work on *m and *r as well. But that does little to change the dating, since the attestation of *h- in Ptolemaios is almost as old, and the Negau inscription is quite likely older. And if the relative position of the *a/*o changes is right, the Negau inscription is well after Grimm.

    It seems that the point of moving the beginning of Verner thus far back in time is to give the accent shift time to spread throughout Germanic before the splitting. I don’t think that’s a problem. Verner’s law might have been a synchronic rule for a long time before the accent shift removed the conditioning. Whatever triggered the accent shift would have had time to spread. And I think the accent shift should be assumed to go immediately before the start of syncope.

  39. Trond Engen says:

    Also, I spent yesterday night on chapter 5, on the onomastics of Satakunta. I find that chapter in general less convincing than chapter 4, on onomastic evidence for Finland’s Saami prehistory, where the main takeaway for me were his etymologies of Saami/Hämä and Senja/Sažža.

  40. Piotr, De Vaan says that pēnis meant ‘tail’ originally, since the meaning ‘tail’ is attested earlier (as pēnītus ‘tailed’, in Naevius) than the meaning ‘phallus’, and since the semantic direction ‘tail’ > ‘phallus’ is more natural than the other way around.

    (Ultimately, he speculates pēnis and penna are cognates, which would make English pen and pencil a true doublet, pace the earlier discussion on LH.)

  41. David Marjanović says:

    But that does little to change the dating, since the attestation of *h- in Ptolemaios is almost as old

    I thought Ptolemaios is 150 AD?

    and the Negau inscription is quite likely older

    Well, Negova in Slovenia is a really strange place for anything Germanic to end up in in 50 BC. And indeed…

    “Must (1957) reads Hariχas Titieva as a Raetic personal name, the first element from the Indo-European (Venetic rather than Germanic), the second from the Etruscan.”

    The inscriptions on the other helmet from the same site don’t look Germanic at all: “The four discrete inscriptions on the helmet usually called “Negau A” are read by Markey [2001] as: Dubni banuabi ‘of Dubnos the pig-slayer’; sirago turbi ‘astral priest of the troop’; Iars’e esvii ‘Iarsus the divine’; and Kerup, probably an abbreviation for a Celtic name like Cerubogios.”

    I’m surprised Heikkilä doesn’t mention any of that.

  42. Trond Engen says:

    Yeah, sorry. I meant in Caesar’s Commentarii de Bello Gallico. Heikkilä dates the attestation of the Harudes further back to 73 B.C., but I haven’t checked his references, so I don’t know why.

    He dates the Negau inscription to the mid-second century B.C. And in this case I have one of his references, Bjorvand & Lindeman (2007). (The mention of the Negau inscription is under tirsdag, so it took some time to find it.) They say (in my ad hoc translation):

    The god’s name *teiwa- m. does by all tokens also appear already in the inscription on the Negau bronze helmet from Negau in Steiermark (Austria) [sic]. This inscription, which can be dated to ca. 150-100 B.C., contains according to e.g. Grønvik (1998:159ff.) after the name Harigasti “army-guest” also the form Teiwa, which he understands as a West Germanic nominative < *teiwaz with loss of final *-z.

  43. Trond Engen says:

    Then they go on to mention another “less probable” reading, Callie’s/Düvel’s Harigasti Tei V A III IL In Fs. Höfler 1 (1968:57ff.).

  44. Trond Engen says:

    Callies/Düvel’s, that is.

  45. Trond Engen says:

    After finishing chapter 5, I think he does a good job of supporting Petri Kallio’s identification of the Uralic expansion with a Bronze Age culture spreading from the Volga basin in the mid-second millennium B.C. and that a deep IE element should be identified with Corded Ware. Since the Germanic changes wouldn’t have happened yet, this can’t explain why such a large share of basic words and naming elements for natural formations are of Germanic origin, though. I don’t really see a mechanism for that in the paper.

    I don’t think we can assume Nordic Bronze Age expansion to have reached farther north and east than yet discovered, i.e. beyond the eastern rim of the Baltic Sea. I do think that the Baltic fur trade could account for incentives to turn the Proto-Saami of southern Finland from Bronze Age settlers to semi-nomadic seasonal hunters, leaving the home region open for intruding Finns. That would explain the IE origin of names for goods, but not for natural formations. Maybe the inland fur trade was first handled by Germanic traveling agents wth Saami guides (and soon Saami wifes, and then Saami sons taking over the business from their Germanic fathers), leaving after them not only words for traded goods but a whole new terminology for long distance travel and descriptive topography.

  46. Y:

    I know the alternative derivations of pēnis in Latin, and I’m not quite happy with them — the proposed morphology looks ad hoc to me, and I fail to see why ‘feather’ should have come to be associated with non-avian tails. I agree that the early meaning of ‘tail’ is a semantic problem that hasn’t been solved satisfactorily (see also the fascinating discussion of the numerous synonyms of mentula in J. N. Adams’s The Latin Sexual Vocabulary). But even if we discount the Latin word (to be on the safe side), there’s enough IE evidence of *pes-es- and *pes-no- all over the place (including Anatolian, Indo-Iranian and Greek), and the reconstruction remains safe.

  47. Trond Engen says:

    I’m also through the short final chapter. He announces that he’ll proceed to incorporate Balto-Slavic and maybe Indo-Iranian chronologies. I’m definitely looking forward to that, quibbles with (or questions about) his Germanic chronology notwithstanding.

    (Something come up off-Hat and the previous message got posted prematurely. I also meant to add a paragraph break, but hadn’t decided on where. I still haven’t. Before “I don’t think”? And while I’m at it, I think the intended meaning of “to the eastern rim” in the end of that sentence would be more transparent as “beyond the eastern rim”. Etc., etc.)

  48. I made those changes; let me know if there are any others you’d like made.

  49. Trond Engen says:

    Oh, thanks! No, it’s OK now. If I go down that path I’ll never be able to stop.

  50. Trond Engen says:

    Essentially Proto-Birkarlar, now that I think of it.

  51. David Marjanović says:

    Negau in Steiermark (Austria)

    Accurate all the way up to 1918. I keep being surprised by how many scientists are bad geographers.

    I fail to see why ‘feather’ should have come to be associated with non-avian tails

    “Bushy tail”? That’s what I heard – in the context of Pinsel, the German cognate of pencil, which means “paintbrush”.

    He announces that he’ll proceed to incorporate Balto-Slavic and maybe Indo-Iranian chronologies.

    Awesome!

    Essentially Proto-Birkarlar, now that I think of it.

    Interesting.

  52. David Marjanović says:

    a West Germanic nominative […] with loss of final *-z

    …Yeah, perhaps, but that strikes me as rather early. The Northwest Germanic [æː] > [aː] shift hadn’t happened yet in Caesar’s time (Suevi) or that of Varus (Segimer, father of Arminius), and even the shift from initial [x] to [h] hadn’t happened yet (Cherusci, Chatti, Chaucich might mean [kʰ] or [x], but definitely not [h]!).

  53. Jeremy Wheeler says:

    I thoroughly recommend your getting a copy of Marshall Hall’s biography,
    For the Defence: The Life of Sir Edward Marshall Hall, by Edward Marjoribanks; Introduction By The Earl of Birkenhead.

    Not an easy book to find but there seem to be some second hand copies here: http://www.abebooks.com/servlet/SearchResults?an=edward+marjoribanks&sts=t&x=28&y=16

  54. Trond Engen says:

    I was going to say that I don’t really believe in my own attempt to derive kékur from *keđka. Then it suddenly struck me that in Norwegian tradition these rocks are seen as trolls, usually female and carrying names like Kjerringa “the wife/woman” or Møya “the maiden”. A female troll is a gyger. I think we’d have to assume ON as the source and transmission through Sami for the phonology to work.

  55. Trond Engen says:

    Not that I have figured out the phonological path. Something like ON gýgr f.nom. > NS *giehkar > ES *kiekar > Kar *kiekuri > NRu kékur, I imagine. An obvious objection is that words for passive objects like landscape elements are much more common in the accusative. That might actually be another argument for transmission through Saami.

    (And no, there’s no logical coherence between the first and second sentence of my previous comment.)

  56. In today’s languages it would be rauk (Norw.) / Raukki (Finn.).

    It is not raukki but roukko, roukkio, röykkiö (a heap, a pile), as in:
    45 Niin Jaakob otti kiven, nosti sen pystyyn patsaaksi 46 ja sanoi omalle väelleen: “Kerätkää kiviä.” Miehet hakivat kiviä ja kasasivat ne röykkiöksi. Sitten he yhdessä aterioivat sen ääressä. 47 [i] Laban antoi röykkiölle nimeksi Jegarsahaduta*, ja Jaakob antoi sille nimen Galed*.
    Genesis
    rõuk1 in Estonian.
    ← algskandinaavia *χrauka-z
    vanaislandi hraukr ‘koonusekujuline kuhi’
    rootsi mrd rök ‘viljarõuk’

    кекур <- keko? (a heap, a pile)

  57. Trond Engen says:

    Could keko be a cognate of NS geađgi < PFS *keđka? But a kékur doesn’t look like “a heap, a pile”,

  58. David Marjanović says:

    The Northwest Germanic [æː] > [aː] shift hadn’t happened yet in Caesar’s time (Suevi) or that of Varus (Segimer, father of Arminius), and even the shift from initial [x] to [h] hadn’t happened yet (Cherusci, Chatti, Chauci – ch might mean [kʰ] or [x], but definitely not [h]!).

    I should also have figured out that old Segimer also predated the *e…i > *i…i shift, Heikkilä’s change 14 (“ca. 450 BC”). One of his extant namesakes is Sigmar Gabriel.

    Meanwhile I’ve learned that the Chauci were also spelled Cauchi and Chauchi, and are interpreted as *xauxōz, “high ones”, presumably particularly tall warriors.

  59. On Russian ке́кур: any attempts at a connection with either Samic *keaðkē or Finnic keko seem futile to me (besides, “Eastern Siberia and Russian Far East”also doesn’t sound very promising for a loanword from that direction that at all) — but for one lead, Tundra Nenets has the obviously related хэкур” /xekur/ ‘place marker made of piled peat or erected reindeer antlers’, also пэ хэкур” ‘cairn’ (пэ ‘stone’). It might be simply loaned from Russian, however: ке- → хэ- is expected due to phonological limitations in (Nenets has no initial ˣk-), while in the other direction we’d probably expect to also find х- in Russian.

  60. If we overlay the distribution of kekur per Vasmer (Kemskaya Volost, Kola, Kolyma) and Dal (Arkhangelsk, Sibir) with the direction of the Novgorodian expansion in the North (up the Dvina and then West and East along the shores of the White Sea), it seems quite likely that Russian speakers encountered the word in the region that is now the Arkhangelsk oblast and carried it with them to the West and East. That makes it more likely that the source is Nenets – perhaps an older variant or a dialect that had initial /k/. To clinch the argument it would be good to know whether хэкур has an internal etymology in Nenets.

  61. Correction: that ought to be “down the Dvina” – I was thinking of “up North” when I wrote the post.

  62. I haven’t on a quick look-around found anything looking like an internal Nenets etymology, but if you want to suggest that the word only ever went “downstream” with Russian — then that’s already circumstantial evidence against that direction of derivation. The Tundra Nenets reached the Barents Sea area later than the Russians did; they only arrived from the east around the 17th century, cf. e.g. this rough map. The entire coastal area between Mezen’ and the Jamal Peninsula, today the Nenets Autonomous Okrug, was until quite late inhabited by an unknown pre-Uralic substrate population (known as “Сихыртя” in Nenets folklore). It seems that they assimilated or went extinct only maybe a century too soon to be documented in detail. This word for “remnant” might be a decent candidate for a loanword from (one of?) their language(s?).

  63. I didn’t know that the Nentsy were latecomers in the Arkhangelsk area. In that case, I’d go with the idea that it’s a substrate word from those Сихыртя.

  64. David Marjanović says:

    I had no idea.

  65. Trond Engen says:

    I first learned of them in Bergsveinn Birgisson’s Den Svarte Vikingen (The Black Viking), a colourful well-above-semi-fictional biography of Geirmundur heljarskinn (Hjörsson), the richest man on Iceland in the age of settlement.

  66. j: Thanks for the information -I did not know, but I am not surprised, that the Nenets language had conquered new territories at such a recent date. I write that I am not surprised, because in parts of the world whose linguistic history I know something about it is a fact that many “indigenous” languages were expanding at the expense of other languages even after a new, “non-indigenous” intrusive language had itself begun expanding. Examples I am thinking about include: Cree in Western Canada, Quechua in the Andes, Mapudungu in Patagonia. All three were spreading and replacing other languages even as European languages were expanding, ultimately at their expense. Well: now I can add Nenets to the list. Are there other known instances of such recent (i.e. post-Russian expansion) language spreads in Siberia/the Russian North, incidentally?

    It highlights something which was recently discussed here at Casa Hat, namely the difficult matter as to what counts as “indigenous”.

    A final question: you refer to the Сихыртя as “pre-Uralic”: is enough known of their language (through toponymy or substrate loans or both) to determine that it indeed was pre-URALIC, and not merely pre-Nenets, or perhaps pre-Samoyedic?

  67. Are there other known instances of such recent (i.e. post-Russian expansion) language spreads in Siberia/the Russian North, incidentally?

    Yes for sure. Already just around western Siberia within the last few centuries (say, 1700 on), we can identify at least the following events:
    • Tundra Nenets spread also eastward to the Taimyr peninsula, at the expense of Tundra Enets and Forest Enets;
    • Yakut spread westward, leading to the rise of the mixed people we now know as the Dolgans;
    • Khanty and Selkup spread northwards, along the Ob and the Taz rivers respectively, at the expense of Forest Nenets and Forest Enets;
    • the Komi substantially strengthened their foothold around the Northern end of the Urals, mainly at the expense of Western and Northern Mansi, partly also Tundra Nenets (though loanword evidence shows that they had been doing trade in the Ob region already since about the 14th century);
    • the South Siberian Turkic language varieties spread eastward along the Sayan range, at the expense of the now-extinct Samoyedic (Mator, Kamass) and Yeniseyan (Arin, Kett, etc.) languages of the area.

    In most cases I don’t know how much actual population displacement was involved. In some cases we are clearly dealing with language shift, e.g. the “Koibal” people who spoke a dialect of Kamassian circa 1850, but at least since 1900 have spoken a dialect of Khakas; in others it’s been mainly about migration, e.g. the reindeer-herding Northern Komi marginalizing the hunter-fisher Mansi (whose main direction of assimilation has instead been to Russians). Reindeer herders outcompeting hunter-fishers seems to be the main theme of recent expansions in this corner of the world, though.

    Relatedly, the expansion of Northern Sami to Northern Sweden and the Finnmark coast at the expense of other Sami varieties has been ongoing since they reindeer herding was taken up in the Middle Ages, but parts of that, too, date within the last couple of centuries; sometimes aided by things such as the Swedish state recognizing reindeer herders as an indigenous population substantially earlier than hunters and fishers. The southeastern parts of Finnish Lapland even gained their Northern Sami and Skolt Sami populations as recently as circa 1950 —if for different reasons; the former still expanding their reindeer herding range (though they’ve later been Finnishizing at a clip), the latter as internally resettled refugees from areas lost to Russia in WW2.

    [I]s enough known of their language (through toponymy or substrate loans or both) to determine that it indeed was pre-URALIC, and not merely pre-Nenets, or perhaps pre-Samoyedic?

    As I understand it, their identification as “non-Uralic” is a negative inference drawn from the fact that the better-known substratal toponym areas (Samic and Finnic-type ones) do not quite reach all the way up north. See e.g. Onomastica Uralica 4 for some further details on these (though I have, however, not looked into the studies specifically on non-Uralic toponyms in the area).

  68. David Marjanović says:

    Kett

    Ket is still hanging on to life; the last speaker of Kott died shortly before the Soviet Union did. All other Yeniseian languages died out considerably earlier, though, before Russians were a significant presence.

  69. David Marjanović says:

    Here’s the paper.

    It is also plausible that prior to or even simultaneously with the Uralic languages, extinct Palaeo-European languages were spoken in northeastern Europe. There is historical (in medieval Russian sources) and archaeological evidence of a tribe called the печера,⁵ who seem to have stood culturally apart from the present northern European populations. These people, who lived in northernmost Europe, may have been referred to as the sihirtja in Nenets folklore (cf. Lashuk 1958). In the light of multiple substrate borrowings in Nenets, these people were in all probability linguistically non-Uralic. Moreover, there is vocabulary which is probably of substrate origin in Finnic and especially in the Sámi branches of the Uralic languages (Saarikivi 2004a; Aikio 2004) which suggests contact between these language groups and extinct languages (see section 6.5.).⁶

    ⁵ The name of this ethnic group is connected with the name of the River Pechora and is derived form the Russian dialectal variant of пещера ‘cave’. According to historical sources, the печера lived in the caves at the mouth of the river Pechora.
    ⁶ In Sámi, the Palaeo-European substrate is, in any case, stronger and newer than in Finnic, where the existence of such a substrate layer may well be questioned.

    Strange typesetting – most spaces are double.

  70. j.: Thank you for your examples. I find them intriguing, not least because none runs counter to what one scholar of Uralic toponymy in Northern Russia has argued, namely that before the spread of Slavic/Russian Finnic and Permic were expanding at the expense of other (now extinct) varieties of Uralic.

  71. Ante Aikio thinks that in Saami there is a large presence of an earlier non-Uralic substrate.
    What do you think of that article, j.?

  72. I have no major disagreements, and I don’t know of anyone who would have. Some kind of a substrate in Samic is kind of obvious already on the grounds of genetics (cf. also the coverage of scholars like Wiklund or Ravila in § 1). Aikio’s work has mostly established the possibility to actually explore the lexical residue left by this substrate. As you may know, he has later followed this up by demonstrating, in his PhD thesis, also a Samic lexical substrate in Finnish and Karelian, showing similar characteristics to the Paleoeuropean substrate in Samic sketched out in the paper you link.

    You might also like his later essay “…on Saami ethnolinguistic prehistory” in A Linguistic Map of Prehistoric Northern Europe (and, I imagine, perhaps also many of the other works in the volume).

    It’s even interesting to note that while Samic is generally a relatively lexically archaic branch of Uralic, it’s meanwhile quite high up there in the amount of basic vocabulary lost or replaced: these include such widespread Uralic roots as ‘stone’, ‘water’, ‘bone’, ‘tooth’, ‘louse’, ‘pot’, ‘full’, ‘to be’, ‘to eat’ (most of these supposedly within the most stable 20% of the Swadesh list).

  73. David Marjanović says:

    A Linguistic Map of Prehistoric Northern Europe

    Ooh… I know what I’ll be reading all weekend long.

    such widespread Uralic roots as ‘stone’, ‘water’, ‘bone’, ‘tooth’, ‘louse’, ‘pot’, ‘full’, ‘to be’, ‘to eat’

    Reminiscent of the Romance assault on the basic vocabulary… though ‘water’, ‘bone’, ‘tooth’, ‘full’ and half of ‘be’ survived that one. What’s the situation with body parts?

  74. Body part terms are in general retained with what looks like a very good track record, at least up to the Proto-Samic period. There are e.g. in the ballpark of half a dozen native Uralic terms (at least ‘ear’, ‘lip’, ‘neck’, ‘spleen’, ‘kidney’, ‘thumb’, one of the words for ‘finger’) that are retained in Samic vs. replaced or lost in Finnic. Later on especially ‘liver’ has been widely replaced by a Scandinavian loanword, though; I wonder if this involves taboo phenomena.

    There are most likely sociolinguistic reasons for different foci in lexical replacement in different language shift situations, although I am not aware of much research on this topic.

  75. A while back I read a paper looking at the relations of the Tanoan languages (spoken in some of the Native pueblos of the U.S. Southwest) compared with the people who speak them. A phylogenetic study of the languages essentially confirmed the conclusions of the comparative method: there are two groups, Tiwa and Tewa. Tiwa can be divided into two varieties, Northern (2 pueblos) and Southern (3 pueblos); Tewa into five varieties spoken in 5 pueblos. Finally, Towa is spoken in 1 pueblo and is the sister group to Tiwa-Tewa.

    However, a methodologically similar study using craniometric data showed that the people of Jemez, the Towa-speaking pueblo, are most closely related to the people of Tewa-speaking Ohkay Owinga (formerly San Juan) pueblo, and thus are within the genetic group of Tewa-speakers. And so much for correlations between speakers and languages: in this case the correlation between the trees, which are identical except for the position of Towa vs. Jemez, is both weak and non-significant.

    (Note: Kiowa is the sister group of Tanoan as defined here: some call the whole clade Kiowa-Tanoan, other simply Tanoan.)

  76. David Marjanović says:

    Keep in mind that craniometrics actually uses very few independent characters and therefore routinely comes to conclusions that don’t hold up when more data are added.

  77. Logan Sutton’s dissertation, Kiowa-Tanoan: a synchronic and diachronic study, does not find that Tanoan is a separate clade in Kiowa-Tanoan, and leaves the internal classification of the group an open question.

  78. Trond Engen says:

    I’m reading Aikio’s An essay on Saami ethnolinguistic prehistory. It’s long… Some random notes to the first five chapters before I forget:

    Along the Norwegian coast there are scattered Saami place-names which have been convincingly explained as loans from Proto-Scandinavian; the southernmost of these are found in the South Saami area. The clearest examples are South Saami Måefie (Mo i Rana) and Mueffie (Mo i Vefsn), which due to their consonant /f/ must have been borrowed from Proto-Scandinavian *mōhwaz (> ON mór ‘heath’). Another interesting example is Laakese, the older South Saami name for the Namsen river which is now commonly called Nååmesje. This seems to reflect Proto-Scandinavian *laguz (> ON lǫgr ‘sea, lake, water’, Norwegian -lågen in river names); the loan must have been adopted before the Scandinavian sound change *z > *r. These as well as several other plausible candidates for Proto-Scandinavian loan names have been discussed by Bergsland (1996). Similar cases are found in the North Saami area as well. The best-known one is the name of the island Máhkarávju (Magerøy) in the extreme north of Norway; -ávju can only reflect a Proto-Scandinavian form *aujō and certainly not its later Old Norse development ey ‘island’. An apparently previously unnoticed case is the fjord name Vávžavuotna (Veggefjord) on the island Ringvassøy north of Tromsø. Here Vávža- (< PSaa *vāvčë-) seems to reflect PScand *wagja- (> ON veggr ‘wedge’)

    This is interesting. I should have read Bergsland (1996) long ago but have never gotten around to it. The apparent fact that there are placenames borrowed from PSc. on the Finnmark coast and in the innermost ends of northern fjords doesn’t merely date the arrival of Saami but it also suggests strong Scandinavian presence well before the time of modern settlement. Which means that the same substrate elements found in Saami toponyms should be present in Scandinavian toponyms in the same region, But maybe they can’t be discerned from those mediated through Saami.

    Suggested substrate words:

    I’ve imagined NSa. lávvu “tent” to be a borrowing of Fi. laavu “bivouac, shelter”, cognate with NSa. luovvi “type of building structure”. But I know nothing.

    NSa. dieigu “radius (bone)” < PIE *deik- “finger”?

    NSa. riehppi “high valley difficult to access” looks suspiciously similar to the Norwegian farmnames Reppe. These are not very well explained in Norwegian, but they are too widespread to be Saami or Paleo-Laplandic in origin. Browsing the map I find that quite a few of them seem to have been accessible only by a steep route, either high up in a narrow valley, sitting on a hillside, or on a plateau between eroded river valleys. I suggest an ON *hreppi < PGmc. hrimp- “contract oneself” (-> “climb” implied by OF rampe, Eng. ramp). (The meaning “contract oneself” might explain ON hreppr “hamlet; cluster of farms”, the origin of a set of near-homonymic placenames Repp)

    NSa. bovttáš “puffin” looks PSc. on the surface. There’s a set of No. dial. words paut m. “small sharp object, short stick, surly person”, paute v. “be haughty” etc. I also wonder if the English name could be native after all and the Gmc. ‘puff’ word *peu- could be involved (e.g. No. pute “pillow”,). If so, or either way, Sami would preserve a Scandinavian name while No. lunde possibly << PU *lunta “bird”!

    Several more words look (to use the scientific term) sort of Germanic without this armchair etymologist being able to handwave in the general direction of an etymology. Just as Proto-Saami could have preserved Baltic loans mediated through Proto-Finnic but lost elsewhere in WU, Saami could have preserved Scandinavian loans lost in Scandinavian. Also the same nativization process suggested for loanwords working their way through WU from southeast could have happened with Scandinavian loans spreading through Saami from southwest.

  79. David Marjanović says:

    Cool.

  80. Trond Engen says:

    Yeah. But not necessarily correct…

    A few more notes upon rereading my comment:

    I should also note that paut itself doesn’t look particularly native. But it’s all over Germanic.

    The reflex of PSc. *hW- in Saami toponyms doesn’t necessarily mean that Saami interacted directly with Scandinavian. The names could also have been intermediated by another, unknown language, and the interesting -ef(f)ie might be substratal, or a different, maybe altered, PSc/ON name element. However, the fact that Southern Saami is more accommodating to Scandinavian phonology suggests that they interacted long enough for South Saami communities to be functionally bilingual before the language morphed from Proto-Scandinavian to Old Norse.

    The way PSc. loans don’t seem to have been nativized suggests that the contact frontier was long and words were borrowed independently along the Saami continuum, supporting strong Scandinavian presence up to the Northern Saami area. This doesn’t have to mean east of the North Cape. Before large-scale reindeer herding the Northern Saami lived further south and west. According to Sammalahti, the dialects of the sedentary Coast Saami, while generally being lumped with their (semi-)nomadic inland neighbours, generally show more eastern features, reflecting an eastward expansion of reindeer herders that eventually broke the continuum with Skolt and Inari Saami in the area near the Russian border.

  81. David Marjanović says:

    I should also note that paut itself doesn’t look particularly native. But it’s all over Germanic.

    It can hardly have a PIE etymology, seeing as it begins with *p < **b… Concerning distribution, (Pre-?)Proto-Germanic was apparently for some time spoken in a pretty small area: just southern Scandinavia, Denmark and the northern tip of Germany. As we’ve talked about in other threads, there are a few Finnic loans in Proto-Germanic or at least Proto-Northwest-Germanic.

  82. And that’s a fact that wasn’t much emphasized in the things I read about Germanic when I was younger, if it was even mentioned. So the whole Völkerwanderung thing struck me as a bit suspicious, if Germany was full of Germanic speakers why would the Vandals have to come all the way from Aalborg to Rome?

    Is it new knowledge, or did I just read the wrong books?

    And who were living in the area between the Proto-Germanic homeland and Latium back in 300 BC? Celts/Gauls all the way, or did Balto-Slavic extend west to like Belgium? I wish we could know the story about why the Proto-Germans came all the way up where there’s only snow season and mosquito season. Maybe they just liked having one lake or island per family, for the fishing and with a private bathing spot 🙂

  83. January First-of-May says:

    And who were living in the area between the Proto-Germanic homeland and Latium back in 300 BC? Celts/Gauls all the way, or did Balto-Slavic extend west to like Belgium?

    Definitely not the latter, as far as I understand, and probably not quite the former.

    Apparently there’s such a thing as Przeworsk culture, which I’ve never heard of before – the Wikipedia article is silent on them being Balto-Slavic or not, though given the geography they might well have been – and the people living in Belgium (the eponymic Belgae) might well have spoken something else entirely.

  84. Trond Engen says:

    I think the common assumption is that Untermitteleuropa was Celtic before the Roman conquest, but not necessarily long before, Celtic having expanded with (or within) Hallstatt-La Tène and replaced both IE and surviving non-IE languages. Proto-Germanic forming in Southern Scandinavia doesn’t preclude a later, gradually diverging Germanic from having spread south towards the Celts before the Roman conquest, and eastwards in the centuries leading up to the Migration Period. Meanwhile Balto-Slavic is in Northern Ukraine, Belarus, and Lithuania, being brought into the European sphere by the expanding East Germanic tribes. The areas inbetween were occupied by peoples speaking other languages, some of which are known as such and some of which may have survived in the names of their Germanic, Slavic, or Celtic speaking successors. The Vends lived between the Germans and the Balts, and maybe the people south of them were called the Lugii. The Wals may have been Celts in the Rhineland, but then agian, they may not, as may the Belgae. Other fairly central parts of the map where held by Rhaetians, Ligurians, Illyrians, Dacians,

    The nature of the West Uralic/Germanic/Balto-Slavic interaction is obviously part of the picture. I’ve seen Uralic loans in Proto-Germanic as a natural consequence of trade in the Baltic region. If Hyllested is right, the area even includes Proto-Celtic, and we’d have to think radically different about the geography.

  85. I’ve imagined NSa. lávvu “tent” to be a borrowing of Fi. laavu “bivouac, shelter”, cognate with NSa. luovvi “type of building structure”

    Just a bit off the mark: the cognate of NS luovvi (PS *lōvē) is Fi. lava ‘platform’, while laavu (a northern dialectal word that entered the standard language only around 1900) has long been considered a loan from Sami. According to standard references, probably from Inari Sami, which is the only Sami language to also have the word in the meaning ‘bivouac’.

    It’s true that PS *lāvō ‘tent’ looks phonetically pretty close to PS *lōvē < preS *lawa 'storage platform' though, but the meanings seem to start to diverge, and these are short enough words that coincidences can easily occur. For comparison, Fi. lavetti ‘gun carriage’ (← French l’affût through German and Swedish) and Fi. lautta ‘raft’ (← Germanic *flauta-) are unrelated to both lava and to each other.

  86. David Marjanović says:

    So the whole Völkerwanderung thing struck me as a bit suspicious, if Germany was full of Germanic speakers why would the Vandals have to come all the way from Aalborg to Rome?

    What do you mean?

    They came very gradually, BTW. Silesia is said to be named for the Siling Vandals.

    If Hyllested is right, the area even includes Proto-Celtic, and we’d have to think radically different about the geography.

    I rather think the Celtic expansion – the area shown here cannot be its maximum extent – produced a pretty uniform area from sea to shining Black Sea, through which interesting loans could diffuse very quickly. There are Celtic loans in Proto-Balto-Slavic, too.

    Asko Parpola’s article in the same issue wonders if the Hallstatt and Urnfield cultures spoke Italic, BTW, and were taken over by Celtic speakers from the west.

  87. Trond Engen says:

    j: Just a bit off the mark

    Thanks. You’re obviously right about the likeli/yhood of a chance resemblance in such short words.

    I also want to withdraw my remark that “bovttáš “puffin” looks PSc. on the surface”. I don’t think PSc *-Vz could have been reflected as NSa -áš.

    I still like my etymology for riehppi. Or rather, I don’t see how and why such a special word should make it into Saami, but I like it for Reppe even without it being more than a chance resemlance with the Saami word.

  88. Trond Engen says:

    I rather think the Celtic expansion – the area shown here cannot be its maximum extent – produced a pretty uniform area from sea to shining Black Sea, through which interesting loans could diffuse very quickly.

    That suggests a level of internal communication and coherence that I didn’t know existed in Pre-Roman Europe. But then, there may be good reasons to rethink Pre-Roman Europe.

    Asko Parpola’s article in the same issue wonders if the Hallstatt and Urnfield cultures spoke Italic, BTW, and were taken over by Celtic speakers from the west.

    So do I. Or rather, I suspect Italic, Celtic, and Illyrian to have dispersed and diverged within Hallstatt.

  89. David Marjanović says:

    That suggests a level of internal communication and coherence that I didn’t know existed in Pre-Roman Europe.

    It could only have lasted a short time, perhaps even just a few decades.

    I suspect Italic, Celtic, and Illyrian to have dispersed and diverged within Hallstatt

    I suppose that’s possible…

  90. I’ve read somewhere that people of the Lugii/Przeworsk culture spoke Italic language.

    Latins of the East, so to speak

  91. What do you mean?

    I mean that it was hard to connect the popular accounts of linguistic evolution that I read 40 years ago with any sense of pre-history happening before the Romans arrived at the Rhine (which is quite far south) and found Germans on the other side.

    In this picture it seemed like sourcing your Germanic invaders all the way from Denmark was a stretch, there must have been closer-by places to get them from.

    Of course I can read up on Cimbri and Vandals now and see that it all happened in smaller steps, and that perhaps the Cimbri and Teutones were actually the front runners in a Germanic expansion (picking up the non-Germanic Am(b)rones in Friesland), with the Vandals following as far as Poland and staying there for a few hundred years until they got their second breath. That makes much more sense.

    Still it would be interesting if anything could be known about the path of the Pre-Pre-Proto-Germanic language from the PIE homeland — it seems it must have come through Central Europe one way or another, whether by adoption or migration, so why was it replaced there? And what made it possible for the later tribes to come back the same way?

    And where was Germanic when the first isoglosses between East and North-West Germanic arose? If both Vandalic and Gothic were East Germanic, and that actually has anything to do with Vendsyssel and Götaland, that moves NWG to Norway… but a wild thought strikes me that perhaps Germanic came up east of the Baltic and one group stayed on that side for a while, getting pushed across the sea to Denmark and southern Sweden when a Finnic or Pre-Baltic migration arrived, but after developing a separate dialect.

    Are any specific North Germanic sound changes reflected in the oldest loan word stratum in Finnish?

  92. Tangential, but I once got into the strangest argument on /r/askhistorians with a claimed archeologist from Ireland who was adamant that the Norse were not a Germanic culture – whatever they took that to mean. When I suggested that the Germanic urheimat is thought to have been largely centered on southern Scandinavia and Denmark, and that the earliest Germanic runes are found there, they defaulted to the puzzling analogy that speaking English doesn’t make Americans Anglo-Saxon. All I needed to do was open an archeology textbook, they said, to learn how manifestly “not Germanic” the Norse were.

    Is that a meme that exists somewhere? All I could surmise was that this person had tightly equated Germanic with Germania, as the Romans knew it, and brooked no alternative definitions.

  93. Trond Engen says:

    Never heard it before. It sounds like a definitional contrivance. Obviously, the cultures of the first known Germanic tribes and the Old Norse were not the same. With a time gap of several centuries, a Roman empire, a Migration Period, and a Carolingian empire, how could they be? But Roman Era Germania was closely connected, and there’s cultural, linguistic, and religious continuity through the Migration Period to the Viking Age.

  94. Trond Engen says:

    Lars: Still it would be interesting if anything could be known about the path of the Pre-Pre-Proto-Germanic language from the PIE homeland — it seems it must have come through Central Europe one way or another, whether by adoption or migration, so why was it replaced there?

    The PIE language dispersed, then diverged, probably in several waves with different centers. Germanic came to be as one of many regions of convergence in the generally diverging IE world — maybe because of natural borders, maybe because the peoples in the region had a history of interaction before they adopted IE. The lands behind them along the path from the steppes belonged to other regions of convergence. Time and again migrations would move peoples and languages about, breaking the continuity,

    And what made it possible for the later tribes to come back the same way?

    So about East Germanic to the Black Sea? Partly it was the same pull-effect from trade that may have moved IE in the opposite direction long before: Sitting in one end of a trade route, seeing value being taken by middlemen, and hearing stories of the riches in the other end. Partly it was openness to invasions — I think the continuous threat from mobile steppe nomads and slave hunters made Eastern European settled populations gather in large villages and accept the overlordship of whoever came around next.

  95. Let’s not forget Harvað-fells.

    As a public service (and not in opposition to jocular or parodic use), “Proto-” is a prefix used for the results of the the comparative method, whereas “Pre-” is a prefix used for the results of internal reconstruction. They can be used in sequence, indicating a reconstruction made by comparing several languages and then doing internal reconstruction on the result.

    Unfortunately, “pre-” can also be used to mean a language unrelated to an existing language but spoken in the same place, as in “pre-Celtic place names”, which are not the result of internal reconstruction, but simply names used by people who preceded the Celts.

  96. David Marjanović says:

    Still it would be interesting if anything could be known about the path of the Pre-Pre-Proto-Germanic language from the PIE homeland — it seems it must have come through Central Europe one way or another, whether by adoption or migration, so why was it replaced there?

    I don’t think Germanic became a distinct branch somewhere on the steppe and then moved west. I think it’s an in-situ descendant of the language of the Corded Ware/Battle Axe people in northwestern Europe. In other words, I think IE came to central & western Europe only once.

    And where was Germanic when the first isoglosses between East and North-West Germanic arose?

    The question is whether the first East Germanic and Northwest Germanic innovations happened before or after the ancestors of the later speakers of East Germanic crossed the Baltic Sea. A recent paper asks in its title whether there once was an East-Germanic-speaking area in Sweden; unfortunately, to read the answer, I’d need access to the paper, which I don’t have…

    Are any specific North Germanic sound changes reflected in the oldest loan word stratum in Finnish?

    Not in the oldest one! Finnish has loanwords from every stage from Pre-Germanic before Grimm’s law and *o > *a through modern Swedish. It’s amazing, really. On top of that, there are Finnish words that make sense if you take words that are otherwise attested in Germanic, project them all the way back to PIE (with laryngeals and all), and then export them eastwards into Proto-West-Uralic or something.

    I recommend Aikio’s, Parpola’s and Kallio’s articles here.

    Let’s not forget Harvað-fells.

    Given that the Carpathians (like the Beskides, BTW) have a straightforward Albanian etymology, I wonder if this “rock” word goes back to the last common ancestor of Albanian and Germanic (“West IE”?) and was lost in Germanic except as a poetic attribute of mountains, which was then also forgotten except in one story…

  97. David Marjanović says:

    All I needed to do was open an archeology textbook, they said, to learn how manifestly “not Germanic” the Norse were.

    Did he confuse Germanic with German?

    Or is this a reference to the people kidnapped in Ireland and forced to contribute to the population of Iceland, along with a few words like the name Njáll?

  98. A recent paper asks in its title whether there once was an East-Germanic-speaking area in Sweden; unfortunately, to read the answer, I’d need access to the paper, which I don’t have…

    Why not provide a link, or author/title, in case somebody else has access?

  99. David Marjanović says:

    Because I can’t remember any of those. I’ll look for them.

  100. Finnish has loanwords from every stage from Pre-Germanic…

    I lost track of my own ideas there — what I meant to ask was rather if Finnish has any Germanic loanwords that show specific East (or otherwise non-North) Germanic developments. Because if it doesn’t, it might point at East Germanic developing its separate character only after migrating south (one of David’s alternatives).

    Or maybe not — if the first isogloss was along the impenetrable forest between Götaland and Svealand prior to migration, that might also be the border between the peoples who traded with Finns and those who traded with Central Europe.

    (This is all wild-assed guesses, don’t spend time on it if you don’t think it’s fun).

  101. David Marjanović says:

    I can’t find what I mean, but I did find this openly accessible pdf which answers the question with “nope”.

    if Finnish has any Germanic loanwords that show specific East (or otherwise non-North) Germanic developments

    Apparently not (before the Hansa of course).

  102. Trond Engen says:

    I think IE came to central & western Europe only once

    So do I. Or at least only once before the westward expansion of Slavic. And as long as you allow the first wave to be a complex one with different mechanisms at different times in different parts of Europe. But I’m not too confident in that belief. And it’s worth noting the difference between “IE came to central & western Europe only once” and “all European branches of IE were formed just where they were located at the advent of history”. Some branches certainly expanded, contracted, or moved about.

    Let’s not forget Harvað-fells.

    Given that the Carpathians (like the Beskides, BTW) have a straightforward Albanian etymology, I wonder if this “rock” word goes back to the last common ancestor of Albanian and Germanic (“West IE”?) and was lost in Germanic except as a poetic attribute of mountains, which was then also forgotten except in one story…

    It’s those illusive elyrians. And I keep being reminded of Germanic-Balto-Slavic-Albanian isoglosses. That’s Hamp, isn’t it?

    Should we be wary about the concept of East Germanic? How well do we know the dialects of other tribes than the (Wulfila) Goths? The different tribes settling for a while between the Baltic Sea and the Carpathians came from different places at different times, had different lifestyles and different interactions with different neighbours.

  103. David Marjanović says:

    How well do we know the dialects of other tribes than the (Wulfila) Goths?

    Apart perhaps from the names of their kings, not at all. Don’t trust anyone saying they actually spoke East Germanic farther than you can throw them.

    illusive elyrians.

    🙂

  104. David Marjanović says:

    Here is the paper I was thinking about. I didn’t even remember what language it was in… anyway, it’s from 1985, so almost certainly outdated compared to the accessible pdf linked to above which cites it.

  105. For future reference, it’s Wolfram Euler, “Gab es ein Ostgermanisches Sprachgebiet in Südskandinavien? (Zur Frage Gotisch-ostgermanischer Runeninschriften in Südschweden und Dänemark),” North-Western European Language Evolution 6.1 (1985): 3–22.

  106. if Finnish has any Germanic loanwords that show specific East (or otherwise non-North) Germanic developments

    Yes, if barely. Maybe the most commonly cited example is Fi. miekka ‘sword’ (< *meekka). This looks nominally simply like archaic Proto-Germanic (*mē₁kijaz), but other loanwords establish a few contrary facts:
    – word roots of the shape CVVCCA (at least; possibly CVVC syllables in general) were still disallowed in Finnic by the time of *ē₁ > *ā in NWGmc. E.g. Fi. katsoa ‘to see, to watch’ < *kacco- < *kaćć-o- ← NWGmc *gātijan- ‘to watch, to guard’;
    – Gothic /eː/ seems to have been indeed an innovation, from something like PGmc */ɛː/; since early on, before the rise of vowel length, Pre/Proto-Germanic *ē₁ gets substituted as Finnic *ä and not *e. E.g. Fi. väkä ‘hook’ ← PGmc *wēgō (or, rather, PreGmc *wēgā) ‘balance’.

    Another likely case is Fi. keihäs ‘spear’, forming a neat doublet with kaira ‘auger’, both of which continue Germanic *gaizaz. But the first attests to *ai > *ei versus retention of *z (substituted as *š > *h), while the second attests to *z > *ʀ versus retention of *ai, which would therefore seem to require two different Germanic source varieties.

    With this little evidence though, we clearly don’t need to assume East Germanic sitting right next to Finnic; occasional trade connections (or raids) along the Baltic will suffice.

    Unfortunately, “pre-” can also be used to mean a language unrelated to an existing language but spoken in the same place, as in “pre-Celtic place names”

    We really ought to think of something better here. Maybe sub-?

  107. Trond Engen says:

    With this little evidence though, we clearly don’t need to assume East Germanic sitting right next to Finnic; occasional trade connections (or raids) along the Baltic will suffice.

    Thanks, I thought I remembered as much, but couldn’t think of examples.

    I’m thinking that since control with the trade at the southern Baltic shore is the usual motive given for the first Gothic migration, a total lack of loans in Finnish would be disturbing. Without these few words one would be forced to ask if the changes that set Gothic apart happened on its way further south and east. Instead they give evidence for changes while the language was still within borrowing range of Finnish.

  108. David Marjanović says:

    “Gab es ein Ostgermanisches Sprachgebiet in Südskandinavien? (Zur Frage Gotisch-ostgermanischer Runeninschriften in Südschweden und Dänemark),”

    Whoever digitized the paper didn’t know German capitalization rules; the original title is in all-caps… the adjectives ostgermanisches and gotisch should be in lowercase.

    Instead they give evidence for changes while the language was still within borrowing range of Finnish.

    That narrows it down to about 200 years, right?

  109. Sub-Roman is an old-fashioned term for ‘post-Roman’ formerly used in the history of Britain, the idea being that after the departure of the legions in the 4C, British culture remained to some extent Roman, but deteriorated.

  110. With this little evidence though, we clearly don’t need to assume East Germanic sitting right next to Finnic; occasional trade connections (or raids) along the Baltic will suffice.

    Indeed. So it doesn’t help determine whether the prospective East Germanic speakers were in Götaland or Poland at the time, but at least they hadn’t left the Baltic.

    Now two words are not much to deduce anything from, but the auger / spear doublet suggests that Finnish contact with NWG could have been more friendly / trade-based, involving shorter distances, and that with EG more warlike. (Doesn’t have to be East Germanic tribes raiding the Finns, maybe they went raiding the Wends together).

    We really ought to think of something better here. Maybe sub-?

    Or ante- as in antediluvian? Ante-Indoeuropean languages seems like it should be easily understood to be the languages spoken in the current IE areas before IE arrived.

  111. David Marjanović says:

    I’m for ante-!

    So it doesn’t help determine whether the prospective East Germanic speakers were in Götaland or Poland at the time

    Add a bit of archeology, and it does! Page 27 of this Google Book:

    Germanic mēkja- can be connected with the Celtic type of longsword (Markey 1999: 155), which was not introduced to Finland until the third century AD, and, interestingly enough, from Poland rather than from Scandinavia (Suominen 1979: 74-77).

    Interestingly, the Proto-Finnic (“Late Proto-Finnic”) form is reconstructed as a vowel-harmonized *mëëkka with [ɤː] (a being [ɑ]) without any comment. Is there really evidence for this back-and-forth sound change?

    While I’m at it, p. 33:

    The Present and the Future of Germanic-Finnic Loanword Studies

    Just as the ancient Germanic peoples were much more interested in the rich south than the poor north, things have not really changed in two millennia (cf., most recently, Green 1998 including chapters called “Contact with the Celts”, “Germanic loanwords in Latin”, and “Latin loanwords in Germanic”, whereas Finnic is only mentioned in passing). Yet I am not in a position to complain because many Finnish scholars long used to have a similar dismissive and often even racist attitude towards our own northern neighbours, the Saami.

    Next page:

    While the following generation was largely lost to generative linguistics

    🙂

  112. Trond Engen says:

    Please! You’re adding new information faster than I can digest. I’m not halfway through Parpola’s article yet.

  113. Eat faster!!

  114. Add a bit of archeology, and it does!

    It also indicates that the borrowing is much later than I hoped — I take it as read that the Vandals followed the other prospective East Germans to Poland in the second(?) century BCE, and stayed there while the Goths and Cimri continued south. I was trying to elucidate whether there might be traces of the dialect split that date from before that.

    But I just checked the IE trees in Nakhleh-Ringe-Warnow and they have Gothic splitting off from the other Germanic languages in 0 AD or so, which sort of predicts that there won’t be any such traces.

    Another point of curiosity is when southern Scandinavia ‘became’ Proto-Germanic-speaking. The best models in Nakhleh et al. have the ancestor of Germanic branching off from the Balto-Slavic ancestor in 2000BC, or splitting off on its own from Core PIE in 3000BC and coming into contact with BS in about 1000BC — but of course that doesn’t mean there weren’t other branches, like the ‘Nordwestblock,’ that have since been lost.

    Never the less, as I understand the single migration/adoption wave idea it would mean that IE spread into northern and central Europe, presumably along with the Corded Ware culture in the third millennium BCE — and presumably already breaking up into dialects along the way. Which means that there are 2000 years of differentiation between then and the first glimpses of the Germanic tribes in recorded history — as these things go we should expect each village to have its own dialect by then.

    So if we find that around 500 BCE the whole of Southern Scandinavia has a language uniform enough that all loans into Finnic represent ‘exactly’ the same phonological developments from PIE, something must have happened. Elite dominance in connection with the introduction of bog iron smelting, perhaps?

  115. Trond Engen says:

    The whole of Southern Scandinavia? Don’t forget Saami.

    I too have wondered about the uniformity of not only North Germanic but the whole of Germanic until about the year 0. It looks like there must have been a quite recent spread, not only south and southeast but north. Considering the almost total absence of Ante-Germanic substrate toponyms in Non-Saami Scandinavia, we may instead look at koineization. The articles we’ve been studying in this very thread suggest that the increase in trade following the establishment of the Roman Empire caused language change for the peoples on the northern margin of Europe, so why not also across Germanic Scandinavia?

    Or maybe rather (or also) with La Tène, half a millennium earlier, If Roman Era fur trade caused Saami to replace Aikio’s Proto-Laplandic and Finnish to replace Saami, Scandinavian iron production starting with La Tène metallurgy in Central Europe could indeed be a similar gamechanger, introducing a Bog Standard Scandinavian. La Tène is closely connected to the Celtic expansion in Central Europe (also on a substrate of mostly related languages), but the period also saw migrations in Iberia, Italy, and the Balkans.

    We might also toy with the idea that similar revolutions happened during the flourishing, expansive periods of Hallstadt, Urnfeld, Beaker, and, eh, whatever waves can be identified in the Neolithic.

  116. Trond Engen says:

    (The above comment awaiting moderation has an ugly-looking link. I remember editing it, but I must have done a really bad job.)

    Well beyond bedtime, as usual. I have now finished Parpola’s article — a well argued, detailed account of how Uralic spread with a trade network based on metals from the Volga-Kama region. Four times, no less. Time to go substrate hunting in Stockholm Swedish (= Rusian?).

  117. (I fixed the ugly-looking link and some typos. My secretary will send you the bill in the morning.)

  118. So if we find that around 500 BCE the whole of Southern Scandinavia has a language uniform enough that all loans into Finnic represent ‘exactly’ the same phonological developments from PIE,

    Finnic phonology is on the minimalistic side when looking from a pre-Germanic POV though. Things we can expect to get levelled away, especially early on, include stress/tone, all voicing contrasts, almost all varieties-of-velar contrasts, syllabic consonants, any possible straggling laryngeals-as-/h/ or /ʔ/, non-initial length, about half of the non-initial vowel quality contrasts, and about half of any one given consonant cluster. A fair bit of the time, we can’t even tell Germanic loans apart from Baltic ones (or from multiple Germanic candidates) by anything other than semantic criteria, sometimes even if the G and B words clearly have no relationship to each other. (There are even proposed loanwords where the nearest applicable IE reflexes are from Latin; one is Fi. hera ‘whey’ < *šera.)

  119. Finnic phonology is on the minimalistic side — I didn’t realize that that much would be lost.

    I think I saw an example where /z/ was borrowed as something different from /s/, which might serve to detect the EG devoicing of *-az — on the other hand I think the oldest stratum has *-az as -as so perhaps the other thing was later as well.

    Considering the almost total absence of Ante-Germanic substrate toponyms in Non-Saami Scandinavia

    Just yesterday I happened to get a link to Ante Aikio’s 2004 essay on Saami substrates in my Academia.edu flow, and there are hundreds of words and toponyms that are clearly neither IE or Uralic. It would indeed be remarkable if there were no traces of that substrate inside the Corded Ware expansion limit.

    On the other hand Aikio dates the final adoption of Saami in Lappland to 0 – 500 AD, which is thus also his date for the latest ante-Saami stratum of animal names and toponyms; if the ante-IE languages in Scandinavia were pushed north and inland as early as 2300 BCE and replaced by IE languages in the area where Proto-Germanic was established later, there would be a much greater loss of non-IE toponyms there. In Denmark the common view is that ante-IE lexical material might be found in the names of certain larger islands (Fyn, Als, Mors, …), but not for anything smaller.

    Looking at maps there seems to be areas in the interior of Southern Norway that weren’t settled by Corded Ware people (initially at least) and where the Saami expansion never reached. Are toponyms there purely IE?

    koineization — my thought as well, though I used another word. Southern Scandinavia as a patchwork of sister dialects/languages of Proto-Germanic that were leveled to a koine for the usual trade-related reasons. But hard to prove apart from an appeal to the UP, since loan words and toponyms from such hypothetical languages would look much the same as PG at our resolution.

  120. David Marjanović says:

    Bog Standard Scandinavian

    Bog iron ore creating a bog standard! I love it.

  121. Trond Engen says:

    Actually I don’t buy it. Or rather, I don’t know how to know, since the relative unity of North Germanic, and of Northwest Germanic too, in the Viking Age, almost one and a half millenium later, must be explained with other means. Was there a koinéization event with the increase in long distance trade (as well as military mobilization) after the establishment of the EEC (Empire Européen Carolingien)? The border fort of Dorestad grew to an important international trade hub, just as the Frisians expanded along the north sea coast. Scandinavians learned using the sail in the 8th century, arguably from the Frisians.

    I might argue that Frisian traders&raiders moved to Saxony after Frisia was subdued by Charles Martel in the battle of Boarn in 734, and that Viking raids started after Charlemagne beat the free Saxons (and East Frisians) in the battle of Lauwers in 785. The first Frisian settlements north of the Elbe are dated to around the year 800, as are the oldest permanently settled Scandinavian towns.

  122. Trond: There is actually one scholar who has made a (to my mind convincing) case that Proto-Nordic spread across Scandinavia from Northern Germany sometime around 500 AD, replacing earlier Germanic varieties and other non-Germanic (perhaps even non-Indo-European?) languages in the process: Here’s the reference:

    Dahl, Östen. 2001. The origin of the Scandinavian languages. In The Circum-Baltic languages: typology and contact. Volume 1: Past and Present., ed. by Östen Dahl and Maria Koptjevskaja-Tamm, 215-235. Amsterdam/Philadelphia: John Benjamins.

  123. Trond Engen says:

    Etienne: You reply very well to my comment in moderation!

  124. Trond Engen says:

    Regarding substrate features in Scandinavian. Almost total absence isn’t full absence There are a few names of bigger islands along the west coast that are considered Non-IE. I also remember a study from some 10 years ago concluding that many river names are from a non-Germanic variety of IE. I have time and again made a point of noting that every other river has a name interpreted to mean “the noisy” or “the running” with a new verb for “be noisy” or “be running”.

  125. Trond Engen says:

    I should read that Dahl article.

    My first thought is that a 500 AD dispersal on a Non-Germanic substrate would seem hard to square with the spread of Runic inscriptions from the 2d century, and also with Aikio’s dating of Proto-Scandinavian loans in Saami. I’m thinking more along the lines of repeated koinéification events. But string those events close enough together, and you have a huge area of linguistic convergence.

  126. I could well believe that whatever grouping of IE languages that existed in Scandinavia up to the first century AD or so was confined to Svealand and parts south by lack of technology that would allow agriculture further north. So that if iron and runes suddenly allowed a rapid expansion carrying Proto-Germanic as a koine, it could overrun the old IE frontier and encounter ante-IE languages that had not yet given way to varieties of Saami — while in other areas Saami and near-Proto-Germanic were already in contact.

    But just because it’s possible doesn’t mean it’s true, I have no idea whether it can be made inte a falsifiable theory.

  127. Trond Engen says:

    Lars: Sorry, I didn’t notice your comment until now.

    Looking at maps there seems to be areas in the interior of Southern Norway that weren’t settled by Corded Ware people (initially at least) and where the Saami expansion never reached. Are toponyms there purely IE?

    Apparently not a single trace of Ante-IE toponymics in inland Norway. Big lakes, rivers, characteristic mountains, all are Germanic, or at least IE. And there definitely was a non-Germanic inland people in central Scandinavia until medieval times, with archaeological finds from a separate population in the mountains and wide forests, the Finns of the sagas. With that name they were probably Saami or Para-Saami by the time they enter history, but who knows. They left no linguistic trace in the landscape. But there are a few common Germanic words that might be from Finnic and old loans from this culture: No. kote “small hut” (Eng. ‘cot’) and kunte “purse” (Eng. ‘cunt’) comes to mind. It strikes me now that the phonology doesn’t look Saami, so maybe the Southern Scandinavian Finns were Finnic even in our modern sense, being finnicized by Parpola’s Stockholmers!

    There is a strange Norwegian foundation myth in the Orkneyinga Saga, telling of king Nor and his brother Gor from the land east of the Baltic Sea, Nor by the Northern route and Gor by the Southern route. Maybe that was taken over from the Finns?

  128. David Marjanović says:

    Bog iron ore is itself such a word that could, phonologically, have reached Finnic from Baltic just as well as from Germanic, and the Germanic option is preferred because the semantics fit even better: Proto-Finnic *rauta “iron” is thought to be be from Old Norse rauða, accusative of rauði “marsh ore”, because the best Baltic has to offer is Lithuanian rauda “red” (a noun, perhaps “redness”?) or Latvian rauds (adjective, masculine, so presumably the feminine form is rauda…?). Of course the Germanic and Baltic options are cognate, of course marsh ore is named after staining everything red (though it’s rather blackish as a lump), and of course Old Norse boasts of a feminine noun rauða “red color, blood, yolk”.

    My first thought is that a 500 AD dispersal on a Non-Germanic substrate would seem hard to square with the spread of Runic inscriptions from the 2d century

    I very much agree. From all I’ve read, the runestones are continuous enough that people have traced the sound changes from Proto-NW-Germanic to Old Norse one by one.

    What I don’t understand is why the inscription on the golden horn of Gallehus in Jutland, whose language is indistinguishable from Proto-NW-Gmc., is dated to 400 AD. That would leave just about 50 years for all West Gmc., North Sea Gmc. and Anglo-Frisian innovations to happen before the Angles & Jutes quit that very area. Or is that just supposed to be the date when the treasure was buried and not the age of the inscription?

  129. David Marjanović says:

    maybe the Southern Scandinavian Finns were Finnic even in our modern sense, being finnicized by Parpola’s Stockholmers!

    Wow. 🙂

  130. An idea I kind of like is that the Finnic (as opposed to finny) tribes are the descendants of people who switched from Germanic to some kind of Uralic which they mangled in the process.

  131. runestones are continuous

    The stones, yes, but some of the earliest runes are found on objects in Denmark, and then nothing there for several hundred years while runestones grow more numerous in Sweden — and then appear in Denmark starting in the 800’s. (Cf. the myth that the Danes came from Svealand).

    It isn’t hard come up with a scenario to fit that, for instance a Proto-Germanic expansion from Denmark or Northern Germany in the first centuries AD, explaning the uniformity of Germanic at that stage, with North Germanic then developing along with runestones in central Sweden for a few hundred years until they expanded into all of Scandinavia with a homogenous Norse language.

    Norway/Iceland, the west of Jutland, Gotland and the Swedish speaking areas east of the Baltic are relic areas in respect to the ‘East Nordic’ monophthongization which is the earliest detectable isogloss in North Germanic, that fits an expansion from Sweden around 800.

    why the inscription on the golden horn of Gallehus in Jutland, whose language is indistinguishable from Proto-NW-Gmc., is dated to 400 AD

    Part of it may be that the language isn’t quite as archaic as the few second/third-century inscriptions that exist, but I don’t remember the details. Another point is that all early runic inscriptions found in southern Jutland are on gold objects which unlike stones cannot be relied on to stay in one place, so it’s possible that WGer was already developing there but not attested in writing.

  132. I think I saw an example where /z/ was borrowed as something different from /s/, which might serve to detect the EG devoicing of *-az

    Examples like *gaizaz >> keihäs are probably morphological. The Finnic languages have no words ending in **-Ah, while words ending in *-As are regularly inflected with a stem in *-Ah-. Loaning as *keišäš(-) followed by analogical remodelling to *keihäs : *keihäh- sooner or later seems entirely possible.

  133. Quoting some of Dahl’s main claims, for general benefit:
    Whereas considerable attention has been given to the temporal ordering of the changes [from Proto-NWG to Old Norse], the role of space has largely been neglected. Indeed, even in recent works, attempts are made to date inscriptions from the transitional period relative to each other on the basis of their language. Yet, of course, major changes of this kind must take considerable time to spread over such a large area.
    Indeed, one may go further and question the plausibility of the idea that such a radical and specific set of changes could apply in such a uniform way to a set of dialects spoken at considerable distances from each other. (Notice in particular the improbability that such a idiosyncratic and typologically uncommon tone accent system as the one found in the Scandinavian languages would spread uniformly.)

    (…)
    What, then, is the alternative? To me, it seems much more natural to think of the implementation of the changes enumerated above as part of a process of language shift, more specifically, the spread of a “prestige dialect”. Thus, the explanation of the uniform language that we find in the runic inscriptions from the 11th century onwards, in written documents from the 13th century onwards and indirectly in later spoken and written Scandinavian dialects is that at least the ruling classes in the central parts of the Scandinavian countries were using a common language which had spread very recently. The final result of this spread was the obliteration of the dialects or languages spoken earlier in the peripheral parts of the area. Consequently, instead of increasing linguistic diversity (by giving rise to the split between West and East Nordic) as suggested by the traditional account, the outcome was a decrease in diversity, a unification of the languages spoken in Scandinavia.
    The period in which the transition from Early to Late Runic occurred is a “dark” period with little known about linguistic or non-linguistic developments. This makes it difficult both to map the details of the linguistic situation and to discuss their societal preconditions. In any case, it is fairly obvious that the conditions for the spread of a common language in Scandinavia were rather different towards the end of the first millennium than they were in its first half. An important technological factor that made possible more efficient communications between the different parts of Scandinavia was the introduction of sailing ships around 600 C.E. Larger political entities start to arise approximately at the same time. The first settlements of an urban character arose in the 8th century. We may thus assume that conditions were created for a mobile élite, whose members would be more tightly connected to each other than to other groups in the places where they happened to live — thus preparing the ground for the spread of a trans-regional language. The question is then if we can identify when and where this spread began. Earlier research tended to focus on the Mälar provinces as a centre of political power during the centuries before the Viking Age, but lately the role of Denmark as the dominating power in Scandinavia at least from the 8th century on, if not earlier, has come to the fore. In this perspective, the Mälar provinces are naturally seen as a peripheral part of the Danish sphere of influence, rather than as a centre in their own right. Consider in this context the statement by the historian Peter Sawyer that “the wide currency of the Scandinavian tongue, which was known as the Danish tongue even in Iceland…may itself be a consequence of Danish overlordship in the north, comparable with the spread of Latin or English in the Roman and British empires” (1991:285). Although one should perhaps not draw too far-reaching conclusions from the use of the adjective ‘Danish’ in the denomination of the language, Sawyer’s formulation is interesting in that it implies a rather different picture of the genesis of the Scandinavian linguistic unity than the traditional “cracking monolith” model, viz. one where the common language spread with Danish hegemony rather than being there from time immemorial.

    (…)
    At the end of the Viking Age, there may already have been significant dialect variation within the prestige language. At this point, however, there are grounds for assuming a second wave of influence on the language of the Mälar region from Denmark. The role of cultural and commercial centre passed at the millennium shift from Birka to the newly founded town of Sigtuna. As has been proposed in various recent works, this might be seen as the beginning of an intensive period of Danish political and cultural influence, one consequence of which might be the rapid spread of runic stones in Uppland (another being the introduction of Christianity). This is the period of the (mainly phonological) changes that supposedly led to the definite separation of East and West Nordic such as the monophthongization in East Nordic of the old diphthongs, e.g. ai > e. Here, even the traditional accounts describe this change as a spread, starting in Denmark and later continuing to Sweden. According to Wessén (1968:32) the development in Uppland was rather confusing, starting with some monophthongal spellings in the beginning of the 11th century, then going back to diphthongs, and ending up with monophthongs at the end of the century. Wessén ascribes the initial monophthongs to Danish influence. We may interpret these vacillations as a reflection of the competition between two language varieties where the more conservative one, representing the local tradition, for a short time managed to make its way into the written language but then had to yield to the innovative variety coming from the south. Apparently, however, the older varieties survived for a relatively long time in less central parts of Sweden, as was noted above: the diphthongs that disappeared in Uppland in the 11th century still survive in many peripheral dialects.

    At this point it’s worth noting that the “Proto-Norse” loans in Finnic and Samic could in most cases very well be also from non-Nordic NWG lineages; they are dated as Norse and not Proto-NWG mostly on the basis of the F/S internal chronology.

    One interesting unexplained phenomenon is that in both Samic and Finnic, PG *w can turn up as *p when loaned, in the former also *j > *ć, without any clear motivation (*arwiz → F *arpi ‘scar’; *hagjaz → S *aɣćə > *āvćë ‘bird cherry’, though *rv and *ɣj > *vj were well available). I have wondered if this might represent transmission thru a third language that had fortited prevocalic *w-, *j- > *b-, *ɟ-. Maybe this could have been a feature of one of the “para-Nordic” dialects Dahl hypothesizes?

  134. Thanks, that’s very useful.

  135. 1- j.: Allow me to second our cyberhost: very useful. Thanks. One thing I might add is that Dahl rejects in this article the notion that Proto-Germanic was originally spoken in or near Scandinavia: following the work of this scholar

    https://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/J%C3%BCrgen_Udolph

    he sees Proto-Germanic as having been originally spoken in Thuringia/neighboring parts of Saxony.

    Also, for the sake of “la petite histoire”, I should mention that I had the pleasure of meeting Dahl in person about five years ago, and after I told him how interesting I had found the article he told me that he was a little disappointed that it had not caused more scholarly discussion.

    Which is a pity, as I think there are other instances of unrecognized language spreads which would deserve to be more closely examined, and Dahl’s article definitely could serve as a template when it comes to methodological issues.

    2-John Cowan: the idea that Proto-finnic is basically “Uralic spoken with a Proto-Germanic accent” is an old one: see this article:

    Posti, Lauri (1953): From Pre-Finnic to Late Proto-Finnic. Finnische-Ugrische Forschungen: 31, pp. 1-91.

  136. Very useful indeed. The chronology is a bit later than I imagined, but the point about sailing ships is very persuasive. And of course I like the idea of the Danes imposing their language on the Swedes, twice over!

    John’s point remains about the contrast between a unitary Proto-NGer in runic inscriptions up to 400 and the Jutes el al. leaving for England in 450 with a language reflecting much more than 50 years of divergence between North and West. Does Dahl say anything about that?

    EDIT: Just saw Etienne’s post — so maybe the East Germanic tribes like the Cimri never moved very far, and the guys Strabo found in Jutland were using the same name for reasons of their own. Or were colonists from the Central European tribe.

    That makes it easier to understand the West/North divide as well, since there would have been a continuum along the way from Thuringia to Denmark, and a Proto-NGer expansion could be the thing that drove the Jutes et al. into the sea. (Rabid Danes coming from the north, Germany already full — only one way to go).

  137. Trond Engen says:

    Yeah, thanks, excellent! I like the point about “Danish tongue”.

    The regional dialect differences that are (barely) visible with the advent of written sources in the 11th-12th centuries are mainly phonological. As such they could be typical for a koiné with a local substratum.

    j: One interesting unexplained phenomenon is that in both Samic and Finnic, PG *w can turn up as *p when loaned, in the former also *j > *ć, without any clear motivation (*arwiz → F *arpi ‘scar’; *hagjaz → S *aɣćə > *āvćë ‘bird cherry’, though *rv and *ɣj > *vj were well available). I have wondered if this might represent transmission thru a third language that had fortited prevocalic *w-, *j- > *b-, *ɟ-. Maybe this could have been a feature of one of the “para-Nordic” dialects Dahl hypothesizes?

    A tiny piece of evidence for intervocalic hardening: Some Northern Norwegian dialects have åga as the definite form of å “(small) river” < *áhWa:- “water”, meaning (to my mind) that at some early point there must have been a process of intervocalic hardening in this region (or just preserved there). Add the fact that in that very same region the toponyms No. Mo = Sa. Måefie / Mueffie Proto-Scandinavian *mōhwaz (> ON mór ‘heath’), and what you get is confusion.

    But the idea of looking into the para-Nordic languages through irregularities in Finnish and Saami loans is intriguing. I suggest adding river-names to the pool of evidence.

    Etienne: Dahl […]sees Proto-Germanic as having been originally spoken in Thuringia/neighboring parts of Saxony.

    The meticulous work on the Germanic-Finnic relationship in recent years would seem to speak against that, or at least suggest that the languages spoken in Scandinavia were pretty close to (the various stages of) Proto-Germanic.

    I think there are other instances of unrecognized language spreads which would deserve to be more closely examined, and Dahl’s article definitely could serve as a template when it comes to methodological issues.

    I can’t speak for the methods, but waves of replacement (or fast convergence) of related dialects by new lingua francas or elite varieties, i.e. without any significant migration from the center, seem to have happened everywhere we look in pre-modern times (China, Greece, Middle East, Iran, ), so why should it be any different where we can’t see. Parpola has made a good argument that this happened over and over again in the (Para-(Para-(Para-(Para-))))Proto-Uralic Upper Volga region. I’ll also note the remarkable fact that the Iranian languages are still one single family, with no final agreement reached on internal classification, in spite of them having been spread across half a continent and probably not having been a single language for, well, 4000 years. Conversely, I wonder if such events of regional dialect replacement. or koinéification, or maybe I’ll coin ‘hyper-convergence’, could be a main force in the break-up of dialect continuums. As such, the linguistic monocultures of the modern national states are just more of the same.

  138. David Marjanović says:

    I have wondered if this might represent transmission thru a third language that had fortited prevocalic *w-, *j- > *b-, *ɟ-. Maybe this could have been a feature of one of the “para-Nordic” dialects Dahl hypothesizes?

    Hm. Theo Vennemann thinks (p. 191–194 here, in German) that Gothic had turned *w and *j into the fricatives [β] and [ʝ] (likely with voiceless allophones, and *j possibly as an affricate as suggested by the reflex of *jj), which would explain a few otherwise strange things about spelling and syllable separation in the manuscripts. So perhaps we’ve found East Germanic in Scandinavia after all.

    (Importantly, while the symbols used look like IPA symbols, some of them are used quite differently; it took me a few dozen more pages to figure out what exactly they mean.)

    An idea I kind of like is that the Finnic […] tribes are the descendants of people who switched from Germanic to some kind of Uralic which they mangled in the process.

    In that case we should expect Germanic substrate words in Finnic, identifiable as such by their meanings. Instead, they all seem to fit super- and adstrates better as far as I’m aware.

    However, a Balto-Slavic-like substrate (perhaps already in Proto-West Uralic) should actually be expected e.g. from the fact that the purest living descendants of the Yamnaya people – up to 30 % or so of their genome is derivable from them – are the Estonians. And indeed, landscape words like Finnish järvi “lake” ~ Lithuanian jaura “marsh” may point in that direction. (The order *wr → **vr wasn’t allowed in Finnic, but *vr is found in Saami “lake” words which I can’t find right now.)

    Proto-Germanic as having been originally spoken in Thuringia/neighboring parts of Saxony.

    AFAIK this is based on negative evidence, the lack of geographic names that can’t be explained as Germanic.

  139. David Marjanović says:

    East Germanic tribes like the Cimri

    I’ve never heard they’re supposed to be East Germanic.

  140. David Marjanović says:

    From Kallio’s article on “The Prehistoric Germanic Loanword Strata in Finnic” here, p. 234:

    So what can the Germanic loanwords in Finnic tell us about the linguistic map of prehistoric northern Europe? First of all, they totally destroy the theory advocated by some German scholars (e.g. Udolph 1994) that Germanic was spoken nowhere in Scandinavia until the Iron Age (see Koivulehto forthcoming). Second, they similarly disprove the idea still cherished by many Russian scholars (e.g. Napol’skix 1990) that Finnic did not arrive in the East Baltic area until the Iron Age (see Koivulehto 2004). In brief, the Germanic loanwords in Finnic show that both Germanic and Finnic were present in the Baltic Sea region during the Bronze Age.

    “Koivulehto forthcoming” is a book chapter with the unsurpassable title Die Urheimat der Germanen.

  141. linguistic monocultures — I don’t think it could happen to the same degree a thousand years ago, except maybe in China, because school books hadn’t been invented; if the fishermen out on the islands or the trappers up in the mountains didn’t see any point in changing to your elite variety until a few hundred years had passed, that was how it was. Only the people who wanted to be in with the elite would bother, but of course they were the ones writing the books and carving the stones, and the end result was the same.

    (Nor did specialized import businesses to separate trade goods from trade languages exist, so you’d have to be very central and very uninterested in trade goods to be able to get along in only one language).

  142. I’ve never heard they’re supposed to be East Germanic

    Cimri was a typo for Cimbri, if that makes a difference. I cannot find where I saw the claim now, and as you said the other day, never trust a tribe that claims to speak East Germanic farther than you can throw it. (The Vandals are claimed by Wikipedia to be East Germanic, but that’s another story).

    The point remains that Noreia where the Cimbri first appeared is much closer to Thüringen than to Himmerland, which is interesting under the hypothesis that they were in fact Germanic and Udolph wasn’t talking through his hat.

  143. Also I can now blame David for ruining my sleep patterns for another weekend.

  144. David: I agree with Kallio’s last two sentences. But the first one does not follow from his article: whether (some form of) Germanic was spoken in *Scandinavia* before the iron age or not is entirely irrelevant: if, following several scholars, we assume Proto-Finnic was initially spoken in Estonia and/or Latvia, and that Proto-Germanic, originally spoken in Thuringia/Saxony, had initially spread northwards along the shores of (say) the Vistula (and perhaps, simultaneously, along the shores of the Elba) and then eastwards along the *southern* shore of the Baltic, where it encountered Proto-Finnic (and further East Proto-Saami, which if Ante Aikio is to be believed was spoken in the vicinity of Ingria/Southwestern Finland/The gulf of Finland), we can account for the Germanic elements of Finnic (+ Saami) without needing to assume a previous spread of Germanic in Scandinavia.

    In support of the above scenario I will offer the following piece of circumstantial evidence: if Proto-Germanic was indeed originally spoken in Denmark or Southern Sweden it is hard to see how it could have spread southward along the Rhine and Elba: as Dahl points out, the population density of Denmark/Southern Sweden in Roman times and earlier was not very different from that of present-day Alaska. A South-to-North spread, on the other hand, is much more plausible, not least because it mirrors more recent linguistic history in that part of the world: Old Norse and its daughters have been spreading northwards at the expense of Saami languages, heavily influencing the surviving languages: Norse languages, in turn, at a later date, have been heavily influenced by Low German, itself now being replaced by High German, which in earlier centuries heavily influenced it…and further East, East Slavic/Russian has been spreading northwards at the expense of various Uralic languages, with, again, the surviving ones having borrowed a substantial East Slavic/Russian element. And further West, you’ve Scottish Gaelic, which after being transplanted to Scotland from Ireland lost ground to Scots, with the latter losing ground at a later date to English.

    In short, from Russia to Scotland by way of Scandinavia, it’s the same (pre-modern) pattern: languages spread from South to North, as does linguistic prestige and thus (most) linguistic borrowing.

  145. David Marjanović says:

    Oh. On p. 40 of this journal issue, downloadable as a single pdf here, Proto-Uralic *jäwrä “lake” is mentioned. A loan in the other direction, then?

    as Dahl points out, the population density of Denmark/Southern Sweden in Roman times and earlier was not very different from that of present-day Alaska.

    Given the stream of people coming out of there in late Roman times, I wonder. Not just the Migration Period or the legendary origin of the Goths, but also various Marcomanni and Quadi going south and clashing with the Roman border.

    General directions like the ones you mention often depend on climate or suchlike: south to north or uphill when it’s warm, north to south or downhill when it’s cold. And then there’s the Eurasian steppe, where all migrations of the last 2000 years or so were east-to-west (Huns, Alans, Avars, Hungarians, Turks, Mongols), while the ones before were west-to-east (Tocharian, Indo-Iranian, further Iranian).

    There don’t seem to be Germanic place names on the east side of the Baltic Sea, which is instead part of the area with plentiful Baltic hydronyms.

  146. Trond, Lars: there was some discussion (right here at the Hattery) on the topic of pre-modern language spread among the later comments found here:

    http://languagehat.com/muskogean-and-lambs-quarters/

    I hope you both find them illuminating.

  147. Trond Engen says:

    I haven’t slept for a couple of weeks.

    David M.: From Kallio’s article on “The Prehistoric Germanic Loanword Strata in Finnic”

    I, too, went back looking for that quote and was thinking about how to elaborate on it. Short: The arguments for linguistic replacement may be valid without a Thuringian homeland. Especially if what was replaced was closely related dialects.

    (next comment up:) So perhaps we’ve found East Germanic in Scandinavia after all.

    Kallio (p. 233):

    However, only a few Germanic loanwords, after all, came from this direc-
    tion, whereas all the rest came from the west, more precisely from Svealand and Gotland based on archaeological evidence (for which see Salo 2008: 123–167).

    Goths on Gotland after all, and southeast Sweden, as well as in Prussia?

    As I’ve mentioned a couple of times, I believe North Germanic may have replaced more West Germanic dialects in Jutland, causing the hard edge between the Scandinavian and German continuums. In The Voyage of Ohthere, Ottar tells how he sails from Skiringssal towards Hedeby with Denmark on his port for three days. I think this is the first time Denmark is mentioned. Later he, confusingly, passes between “the Danish islands” on his port side and Sjælland and Jutland on his starboard. So a somewhat mangled recount. Or “Danish islands” reflecting that Skåne, or SkadinahWijo, was under “Danish” control at the time.

    Etienne: These were times when the pull effect from the Roman Empire had peoples moving around and towards the Imperial borders to get better deals in the trade. Northwards movement of languages would rather be socio-linguistic, with peoples adopting southern tongues for the same reasons that they would break up and migrate southwards — parallel to your more recent examples. I also suspect we underestimate the population of Southern Scandinavia at the time. An early 3rd century attempt on a massive “Scandinavian” invasion in Jutland is unusually well documented archaeologically in Illerup Ådal. The oldest and largest weapon deposit, from 220 CE or so, consisted of huge amounts of gear captured from a single army. The objects show that the invading army was from a wide region in central Scandinavia, e.g. there were several combs apparently safely attributed to a known combmaker’s workshop in Western Norway. There were also weapons with early Runic inscriptions in Proto-Scandinavian.

  148. In that case we should expect Germanic substrate words in Finnic, identifiable as such by their meanings.
    I may be wrong, but I took John to be talking about the central Scandinavian “Finns”, not the peoples we now call “Finnic”.

    — As for Posti’s theory of Germanic influence giving Finnic its characteristics within Uralic, Kallio has later on given a relatively good refutation (“Posti’s superstrate theory at the threshold of the new millennium”): many of the parallels are completely phonetically natural, a la *mt > *nt, while there is a clear lack of Germanicisms in particular in the vowel system. (I could add that some of the features, e.g. loss of palatalization, have partial parallels in Mordvinic and Mari; these might have formed original “pre-adaptations” for further simplification later on.) On the other hand, per a slightly newer view of his, not published in full yet but already aired at at least one conference some years back, a Balto-Slavic substrate would be however indeed a reasonable assumption. Which really seems kind of obvious in retrospect: it’s been long known that the Baltic loans in Finnic are heavy on “simple” vocabulary such as toponymy, hunting, fishing, family terms, body parts…

  149. Trond Engen says:

    It’s not easy keeping up when half the new comments appear above your last, ex poste, so to say.

    Etienne: Thanks for the reference. Really good discussion, which I must have lost to summer holiday. Your point about the necessity of long distance communication for survival in marginal subsistence areas is extremely important. And very relevant here.

  150. David Marjanović says:

    http://languagehat.com/muskogean-and-lambs-quarters/

    A delightful thread! I had missed it entirely.

    An early 3rd century attempt on a massive “Scandinavian” invasion in Jutland is unusually well documented archaeologically in Illerup Ådal.

    I had no idea…

  151. j.:

    1-Where exactly does Kallio argue against Posti’s work?

    2-I don’t see how the partial loss of distinctive palatalization in Mari and Mordvinic constitutes a counterargument to the claim that its complete loss in Fennic is due to Early Germanic influence. Since the Uralic (proto-)languages of Northern Russia (before the spread of Russian) were in close contact, indeed in several instances probably formed dialect continua, such a change in Fennic (whether it was due to language contact or to language-internal factors, nota bene!) could easily have (partly) spread to/influenced developments in neighboring Uralic varieties.

    3-Posti had argued for Germanic as well as Baltic as being the cause of the Fennic changes, so it sounds like the change in scholarly position by Kallio involves a shift of emphasis, from Germanic to Baltic, rather than a shift in position.

    4-One piece of evidence which to my mind makes the theory of Germanic and/or Baltic influence upon Fennic likely is a grammatical innovation of Fennic: the rise of adjectival agreement in case and number with head nouns. This is unusual within Uralic, but tellingly, there exist varieties of Turkish spoken in the Balkans where language contact with various Indo-European languages has caused adjectives (which, in Turkish and in Turkic more generally, do not as a rule agree with head nouns) to bear case + number morphemes in agreement with their head nouns.

    Indeed, more broadly, such language contact phenomena as the impact of Russian upon Turkic languages of Russia/the former Soviet Union, or of German upon the Turkish of second-generation immigrants in Germany, could be expected to mirror to some degree the impact of Indo-European upon Uralic a few millennia ago…

    Trond, David:

    Two other arguments in favor of a Thuringian rather than a Scandinavian homeland for Proto-Germanic to my mind are:

    1-The Celtic loanwords in Germanic. In Continental Europe, immediately before Roman expansion, Celtic was spoken from Western France (Gaulish) all the way to Anatolia (Galatian). Geographically, Thuringia seems much closer to the middle of pre-Roman Celtic-speaking Continental Europe than Northern Germany or Scandinavia.

    2-If Northern Germany/Southern Scandinavia was the Proto-Germanic homeland, then it seems strange indeed that on the one hand we’ve Gothic, spoken by the Black Sea coast in the fourth century A.D., and on the other we’ve no evidence of any non-Ingveonic form of Germanic anywhere in England or Scotland: why would Proto-Germanic -on the basis of its vocabulary the language of a partly maritime culture- have expanded so far Eastwards but not Westwards?

    I cannot help but note -again- that if we look at the distribution of Germanic in 500 AD, on the eve of the Anglo-Saxon spread to the British isles, we’ve a language family stretching from the Black Sea to the North Sea, with the first written records attested at both ends (Runic inscriptions and the Horn of Gallehus in Jutland/Denmark, and Wulfila’s translation of the Bible in the lands of the lower Danube). From this point of view Thuringia, rather than Scandinavia, seems to be geographically the middle of Germanic-speaking Europe, and thus a likelier homeland.

  152. David Marjanović says:

    Geographically, Thuringia seems much closer to the middle of pre-Roman Celtic-speaking Continental Europe than Northern Germany or Scandinavia.

    I can’t see how loanwords are an argument for being close to the middle of the Celtic-speaking area. If Celtic extended close enough to Denmark, that should do the trick. And given the superstrate character of these loanwords, even direct geographic adjacency may not be necessary if the prestige of Celtic radiated far enough.

    The same of course holds for the Germanic loans in Finnic. But Thuringia is a bit too far in that case, don’t you think?

    why would Proto-Germanic -on the basis of its vocabulary the language of a partly maritime culture- have expanded so far Eastwards but not Westwards?

    Why not?

    From this point of view Thuringia, rather than Scandinavia, seems to be geographically the middle of Germanic-speaking Europe, and thus a likelier homeland.

    Turkic started at its eastern end; there are Middle Chinese loanwords in Proto-Turkic. Thanks to Kalmyk, the geographic center of the Mongolic-speaking world was probably never a Mongolic-speaking place for longer than it took the hordes to pass through. And the earliest parrots are all from Europe and North America.

    (The inscription on one of the two horns of Gallehus is by no means the oldest rune inscription, but the oldest ones are all from Denmark and northern Germany, so that doesn’t change your point.)

  153. David: I never claimed that it was impossible for Celtic loanwords to have made it all the way to Northern Germany/Jutland: my point is that Thuringia is much closer to regions known to have been Celtic-speaking than Northern Germany/Jutland is. Thus, this factor seems to point to Thuringia being a likelier candidate as a homeland for Proto-Germanic than Northern Germany/Jutland.

    Furthermore, while Thuringia is further South in relation to the Eastern Baltic area (where both Proto-Fennic and Proto-Saami were spoken) than Northern Germany/Jutland, it also lies further East (i.e. closer to the Eastern Baltic) than Northern Germany/Jutland. My scenario of an early spread of Germanic to the Eastern Baltic from Thuringia via the Vistula thus strikes me as about as likely (geographically) as a spread to the Eastern Baltic starting from Northern Germany/Jutland.

    (Just thinking out loud here…could Proto-Germanic owe its non-Indo-European maritime words to the language(s) once spoken along the Vistula and the Baltic sea along its delta?)

    Re-reading Kallio, I find his comment on page 233 on the existence of trade links between Sweden and Estonia entirely compatible with my scenario. If Proto-Germanic spread from Thuringia via the Vistula, and then Eastwards along the Southern shore of the Baltic, it is not much of a stretch to imagine parallel expansion across the Baltic to the Eastern Swedish coast: perhaps these trade links Kallio mentions involved Early Germanic speakers on both the Estonian + Finnish coast on the one hand and the Swedish coast on the other, rather than (as he believes) between Early Germanic speakers in Sweden and Proto-Fennic speakers in Estonia/Finland.

    A point in favor of my scenario is the following: the Germanic loanwords in Fennic include a great many basic terms, and are not restricted to trade items. This seems to indicate much closer contact than mere trade relations across the Baltic.

  154. Where exactly does Kallio argue against Posti’s work?

    In an essay collection Facing Finnic, ed. Johanna Laakso, Castrenianumin toimitteita 59.

    On rereading: he admits that loss of palatalization indeed looks like a very good parallel between Finnic and Germanic; then throws out a suggestion that since centumization also involved depalatalization, both may have rather been due to a common Northwest European substrate. (Theories according to which PIE *ḱ *k were [k q] would not seem to leave much for this argument to stand on, though.)

    why would Proto-Germanic -on the basis of its vocabulary the language of a partly maritime culture- have expanded so far Eastwards but not Westwards?

    Perhaps there was, before the spread of Gothic, a para-Germanic dialect continuum stretching (south)eastwards, which was relative prone to being levelled out by a suitable incoming prestige dialect. While Britain was, at best, held by more distantly related Celtic varieties. I may be misremembering a thing here, but doesn’t Venetic show a couple of innovations similar to Germanic?

    Trying to route all the Germanic loans into Finnic by maritime trade is sketchy though, and your scenario sounds better than some other similar adjustments I’ve heard (e.g. one where Proto-Germanic forms in Estonia, at the northern frontier of Corded Ware, enters Scandinavia across the sea, and then spreads rapidly south). The relatively basic loanwords however do not seem to extend to the pre-Finnic, pre-Samic, pre-Germanic period. A later phase of expansion of Proto-Germanic to the eastern Baltic is indeed likely: as you may know, there are a number of known Proto-Germanic placenames in SW Finland, including a few that seem to be PG proper, i.e. pre-NWG.

    Meanwhile, do we have any kind of a terminus post quem for the Celtic-Germanic contacts? Is it out of the question that they involved contact between Celtic and pre-Germanic, and were independent from the later spread of Germanic proper southwards?

  155. In principle, any time up to the replacement of Continental Celtic by Latin.

  156. John Cowan: I’d push it back to an earlier date. In French toponymy there are various etymological blends, i.e. place names which contain a Latin root and a Gaulish suffix or the reverse, others combining a Latin root or affix with a Germanic root or affix…but tellingly, Gaulish/Germanic blends are unknown in French toponymy. Because there is good evidence that Gaulish still persisted in some areas at the time of the fall of the Western Empire, it has been claimed, reasonably enough to my mind, that at the time of the Germanic invasions Gaulish (in those areas where it was still spoken) lacked even local prestige, with Latin/Romance used for communication with outsiders, including invading Germanic speakers. Thus, the cut-off date isn’t so much the replacement of Celtic by Latin/Romance as the loss of prestige of Celtic compared to Latin/Romance.

  157. David Marjanović says:

    Furthermore, while Thuringia is further South in relation to the Eastern Baltic area (where both Proto-Fennic and Proto-Saami were spoken) than Northern Germany/Jutland, it also lies further East (i.e. closer to the Eastern Baltic) than Northern Germany/Jutland. My scenario of an early spread of Germanic to the Eastern Baltic from Thuringia via the Vistula thus strikes me as about as likely (geographically) as a spread to the Eastern Baltic starting from Northern Germany/Jutland.

    There remains the problem of lack of evidence for any Germanic presence from Lithuania to Estonia.

    then throws out a suggestion that since centumization also involved depalatalization, both may have rather been due to a common Northwest European substrate.

    Or two very different substrates! Palatalized consonants aren’t that common in the world. 🙂

    Meanwhile, do we have any kind of a terminus post quem for the Celtic-Germanic contacts?

    All the Celtic words in Germanic that contain plosives have undergone Grimm’s law, with one possible exception that may have gone in the other direction (breeches, MHG bruoch, Latin braccae thought to be from Celtic; also Russian брюки with, I think, /rʲ/ for Germanic laminal /r/; I forgot the attested Celtic reflexes).

    Of course dating Grimm’s law is a thorny issue. Many people like to say “500 BC”, but that’s just handwaving.

    doesn’t Venetic show a couple of innovations similar to Germanic?

    There’s the famous ego – mego “I – me”, evidently a product of the same analogy that produced PGmc. *eka ~ *ek – *mek, and there’s sselboisselboi, which has a parallel in OHG selbselbo. AFAIK that’s about it, and Venetic otherwise looks Italic and somewhat Celtic, but there isn’t a lot of Venetic left.

  158. I find it hard to imagine a late Proto-Germanic in Thuringia (just prior to the E-NW spit in 0 CE or later) that hasn’t picked up a single Celtic loanword in 500 years.

    On the other hand I find it hard to imagine that Pre-Proto-Germanic was totally cut off from contact with Celtic languages (traders), no matter its location, from 500BCE until Caesar ended their dominant position in 58 BCE (and even then it would have taken a while for Latin to take over).

    But it seems to me that everybody is talking about a terminus ante quem when loans must have ceased. The terminus post quem is probably harder to find evidence for — in principle the groups that became Celts and Germans could have maintained trade and word borrowing relations ever since the day one of them loaded their ploughs on their wagons and left the Core IE dialect diffusion area.

  159. j.: David beat me to the punch as to the Venetic-Germanic similarities. Which, please note, are not found in Celtic, Baltic, Slavic or the remainder of “Italic” (I’m using the term to refer to an areal grouping, since to my mind, as I pointed out here at the Hattery last year-

    http://languagehat.com/the-two-ways-to-say-celtic/

    -I do not believe that there ever existed a Proto-Italic). Furthermore, the fact that two such shared similarities are found in what is, after all, a very limited corpus, seems significant.

    Now, Venetic seems to have stretched all the way to Pannonia….and the latter location is sufficiently close to Thuringia to make it unsurprising that Venetic and Proto-Germanic shared some common innovation not found in the other Indo-European languages listed above. If you assume that Proto-Germanic was spoken in Northern Germany/Jutland, however, these two Venetic/Germanic isoglosses are much more surprising.

    David: your point about there not being any Early Germanic place-names in coastal Lithuania/Latvia/Estonia is fair, but seems to be a problem whether you operate with the theory of a Northern German/Jutlandish homeland or a Thuringian one (from whence Proto-Germanic speakers reached the Baltic via the Vistula): in either instance it is puzzling that a maritime Proto-Germanic-speaking culture left place-names in Coastal Finland and none along the Southern shore of the Baltic. But I cannot help but note that the mouth of the Vistula is geographically closer to Finland than Northern Germany/Jutland is…

  160. Trond Engen says:

    We have to consider the highly dynamic nature of Roman Age Europe. Trade exploded when Pax Romana lowered transfer costs. For generations Germanic elites (and no doubt others) travelled (or sent their sons) across the continent to serve and earn skills and experience, gold and expensive military equipment in the Roman Army — or in the armies of allied warlords operating outside the limes. This would (per me, upthread) have caused a southward movement of peoples and a northward wave of culture. The former is known as the Germanic migrations, the latter can be gleaned from countless graves all through Germania. I think it’s likely that this wave of trade and continental elite culture would have brought with it a language shift back in the old country, towards the acquired prestige dialect of the new trans-Scandinavian continentalized.elite.

    This doesn’t really bear on the homeland matter, though, except that I think an out-migration from Thüringen must have taken place before the pull of the Roman Empire. Maybe aggressive La Tène expansion could have caused Germanic tribes with contacts in the Baltic region to maintain independence by taking over the iron sources of their trading partners. But there are hardly more substrate names in southern Scandinavia than in Thüringen, and of these, Thüringen is, if not small enough to be a sampling error, at least considerably smaller. And if we have to pick one of them as the site of an Iron Age genocide or forced exodus, it seems more likely to have happened in a small part of a tumultuous frontier region than all across non-Saami Scandinavia. Not to say that there wasn’t a genocide (or nearly so) in Scandinavia. I think the toponymic evidence forces us consider that. But it would have been earlier.

  161. David Marjanović says:

    Now, Venetic seems to have stretched all the way to Pannonia….and the latter location is sufficiently close to Thuringia to make it unsurprising that Venetic and Proto-Germanic shared some common innovation not found in the other Indo-European languages listed above. If you assume that Proto-Germanic was spoken in Northern Germany/Jutland, however, these two Venetic/Germanic isoglosses are much more surprising.

    By “Proto-Germanic” I mean, and quite possibly Udolph doesn’t mean, the last common ancestor of the attested Germanic varieties. There are Pre-Germanic loans in Finnic, even some older than Grimm and the a/o mergers, so the last few stages ancestral to Proto-Germanic should have been spoken in reach of the Pre-Finns; but before that, all bets are off, and Thuringia is as good a guess as any, if not better.

    in either instance it is puzzling that a maritime Proto-Germanic-speaking culture left place-names in Coastal Finland and none along the Southern shore of the Baltic.

    Well, in the southwestern corner of Finland there must have been an actual population of Germanic farmers, surrounded by hunter-gatherers and the sea. That makes sense if this population came from Sweden and went to the last place where agriculture was possible but not yet practiced. Farther south on the eastern shore, there were Balt(o-Slav)ic farmers and West Uralic ones. On the south shore, well, that’s where the East Germanic invasion went. Why did it go south and not east? Perhaps to be farther along to the trade routes to the Mediterranean world, including at least some of the sources for amber.

    “Italic” (I’m using the term to refer to an areal grouping, since to my mind, as I pointed out here at the Hattery last year-

    http://languagehat.com/the-two-ways-to-say-celtic/

    -I do not believe that there ever existed a Proto-Italic).

    Having read the open-access book linked to in the same thread (Jane Stuart-Smith, 2004: Phonetics and Phonology: Sound Change in Italic), I think it did exist, even though some of the similarities between Celtic and Italic are areal or coincidental.

    (The only point of criticism I have is one of phonemic detail. Stuart-Smith assumed that “getting rid of the voiced aspirates” was a single event, leaving us with very strange phonemes. This can easily be avoided without any impact on the rest of the reconstructions by assuming that the devoicing in initial position happened first, and then “all aspirates became fricatives” as a single event.)

  162. David Marjanović says:

    Trick for posting a comment with 2 links without burdening our esteemed host with having to free it from moderation first: post it with one link, then edit the other one in.

    Edit: it retroactively got into moderation. That’s strange.

  163. You can’t fool moderation!

  164. The best method may be to post without links while announcing that the links will be in the following post (which will, of course, be in moderation for some time). Or put your links as plain text so that people can cut and paste.

    If you wait for your post to come out of moderation it will probably have dropped off the list of recent posts.

  165. David Marjanović says:

    If you wait for your post to come out of moderation it will probably have dropped off the list of recent posts.

    I’m not sure the list of commented-on posts even has an end. 🙂

  166. I do not believe that there ever existed a Proto-Italic
    I have also noticed some weird things going on with Italic in particular; I should maybe compile a few of them in a blog post of my own at one point. (“Continental Celtic” has some room for dout as well, but as you note in the thread you link, most of it is poorly attested enough to not have much weight.)

  167. I’m not sure that most people refer to the list of commented-on posts when commenting. 🙂

  168. Let’s keep in mind that the Celtic loans in Germanic mostly relate to elite culture (administrative, diplomatic, military) – for such words to spread throughout Germanic, you don’t need physical adjacency, you just need an elite that looks up to the Celts and tries to emulate them, nobles spending time at Celtic courts, warriors serving under Celtic leaders, etc.; these words than can trickle down to the general populace from the local representatives of a mobile elite. From what I have seen concerning Germanic loanwords in Finnic, the range is much broader – from elite terms to trade objects to words related to body parts and geographical features, so presupposing a broader exchange and, in my opinion, physical proximity of the population, perhaps even mixed settlement.

  169. David Marjanović says:

    I have also noticed some weird things going on with Italic in particular; I should maybe compile a few of them in a blog post of my own at one point.

    Yes, please!

    Was Continental Celtic ever thought to be monophyletic?

    I use the list of commented posts as my only access to LH. That way I don’t miss anything anymore.

  170. Was Continental Celtic ever thought to be monophyletic?
    Yes, that was the time when almost nothing was known of it except for a few Gaulish words and names, before the discovery of Celtiberian. Then , the basic split was assumed to be between Continental and Insular Celtic, a view which is not held as widely anymore as it used to be. An overview of the current different classifications can be found here .

  171. Trond Engen says:

    David M.: I use the list of commented posts as my only access to LH.

    I always use it, but I usually enter through Language Hat proper.

    That way I don’t miss anything anymore.

    Except new posts before the first comment.

  172. January First-of-May says:

    I always use it, but I usually enter through Language Hat proper.

    I try to do the same, but tend to forget to use that list if I think that I have mostly caught up with the comments (e.g. if one of the last comments listed on the main sidebar is mine).
    Now that I know that moderated comments show up so often, I’ll try to check there anyway – thanks!

    A few weeks back there was a weird case when I commented in an old post that hadn’t received any replies for months (can’t recall which exactly, and Google isn’t helpful), and then someone else (David, IIRC) commented there too (on an unrelated matter) a few minutes later, even though my own comment stayed in moderation until the next day.
    I thought that maybe my comment showed up in the list of commented-on posts even though it was still in the moderation queue; I didn’t think of retroactive moderation after an edit, but it’s certainly a plausible explanation (it could, of course, also be that the post was linked in some recent comment, and the other guy just found it independently).

  173. David Marjanović says:

    Except new posts before the first comment.

    Those are, however, shown in the sidebar on Jabal al-Lughat, where I check every day, too.

  174. Re Сихиртя:
    Try googling for Древние народы Сибири. Этнический состав по данным топонимики. Сихиртя by А. М. Малолетко.

  175. I started reading… probably useful as a source for the available information (travellers reports, folklore, archeological data) on the Sikhirtya, but when he starts going into linguistic issues, I loose my respect for him faster than I can read. It’s not that his theories necessarily seem totally wrong – other people have assumed communalities between the languages of the peoples of the European Arctic and, say, Kushitic or Dravidic (after all, that’s what Nostratic is all about). But the way he takes 3-4 words from disparate families and says “hey, look at how similar they are” – that’s on such an amateurish level… and that of course also affects my reading of the other material (ethnographic, archeological) he presents – is he really reliable?

  176. Trond Engen says:

    Not reading Russian I don’t have much of value to add. My unfounded impression, however, (after browsing through the paragraph headers and running a passage here and there through Google Translate) is that it seems to be a thorough and interesting overview of ethnographic tidbits from old written accounts, but the speculations, as exemplified by the map of Ket migrations and the invocation of Semitic languages in the Levant, are too far out to be taken seriously.

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