Σάββατο, 10 Οκτωβρίου 2015

Paleo-European languages of prehistoric Europe and Asia

The Paleo-European (or Old European) languages, is a designation for the (mostly unknown) languages that were spoken in Europe prior to the spread of the Indo-European and Uralic families which dominates the continent today. The term Old European is also often used more narrowly with reference to the unknown languages of the first Neolithic farmers in central Europe and the Balkan peninsula, who appear to have immigrated from the east around the year 6000 BC. The prehistoric Paleo-European languages are not attested in writing (but see Old European script for a set of undeciphered signs that were used in the Vinča culture, which may or may not have been a writing system, but are at any rate undeciphered). The only access to them we have are place names and especially river names that are found all over central and western Europe, and possibly loanwords in the Indo-European languages now spoken there. The area across which these Old European river names occur largely coincides with the area where material remains of the central European Neolithic (the so-called Linear Pottery culture) and its daughter cultures, such as the Beaker culture, have been found. The area of the Linear Pottery culture appears to coincide with the "core area" of the Old European Hydronymy where this network is densest. Basque – the only thriving Paleo-European languageAquitanian – a close relative of Basque Iberian – may be relative to Aquitanian and Basque, but not confirmed Tartessian – unclassified; possible relative to Iberian; if not relative to Indo-European. Other Paleohispanic languages can only be identified indirectly through toponyms,anthroponyms or theonyms cited by Roman and Greek sources. Most inscriptions were found written in the Phoenician and Greek alphabets. Very little-to-minimum evidence of Paleo-alphabets or hieroglyphics found present. Most were incompatible and indecipherable. Tyrsenian languages Etruscan - possibly not native to Italy but immigrated from the Aegean region in the Late Bronze AgeRaeticLemnian language – in Aegean areaPaleo-Sardinian language - possibly relative to the extinct native Iberian language of theIberian peninsula. Or alternatively an Afroasiatic branch or dialectorum from North Africa North Picene language Sicanian language Pre-Greek substrate Minoan Eteocretan may be a descendant of Minoan, but this is uncertain Cypro-Minoan Eteocypriot may be a descendant of Cypro-MinoanLanguage of the Phaistos Disc. Germanic substrate hypothesis British Isles Goidelic substrate hypothesis one of two Pictish languagesPre-Finno-Ugric substrate. Sometimes Caucasian languages are also included in Paleo-European but it is hardly justified, especially since the Caucasus is in Asia.There are many theories about these languages. The German linguist Theo Vennemann assumes that most languages of Neolithic Europe were related to Basque, and claims to have found evidence for this in the Old European hydronymy. Most of his colleagues, however, remain unconvinced. Jörg Rhiemeier, a German amateur scholar, speculates that some of them - those reflected in the Old European hydronymy - belonged to a language family (which he calls "Aquan") related to the Indo-European languages. Others, such as Octavià Alexandre, a Catalan amateur scholar, assume that most Paleo-European languages belong to a phylum calledVasco-Caucasian, a hypothesis that has not yet convinced most linguists, however. It appears as if the Mediterranean region was home to a substantial number of language families - four have survived unto today, and there is evidence for several others still existing in ancient times - while the area north of the Alps may have been dominated by a single large family, according to the evidence of the Old European hydronymy, in Late Neolithic times. This complies well with the results of archaeological research on the spread of Neolithic agriculture in Europe: it is widely assumed that in the south, the spread was cultural, i.e. the Mesolithic people adopted farming from neighbours already practicing it, while in the north, it was demic, i.e. by farmers moving in from the east, displacing or assimilating the Mesolithic peoples. Under this model, the Mediterranean Mesolithic linguistic landscape would have changed little but for the spread ofWanderwörter (migratory words) for agricultural concepts, while north of the Alps, the migrating farmers would have established a single new family, preserving from the Mesolithic languages only a few words pertaining to local wildlife and perhaps hunting techniques (though some Mesolithic languages may have survived for some time in residual zones). This is exactly what can be assumed on the grounds of the linguistic evidence. If anything can be said about the lost Paleo-European languages on the basis of what we find in the attested ones - Basque, the Caucasian languages and Etruscan -, we can say that the Paleo-European were synthetic languages with rich inflectional morphology and diversemorphosyntactic alignments (Basque and most Caucasian languages are ergative, Georgian split between accusative and active/stative, Etruscan is accusative). The Caucasian languages have very rich phoneme inventories and seem to always have had, but Basque and Etruscan have more moderate phoneme inventories, perhaps reflecting an old east-west cline. There is no direct evidence of the languages spoken in the Neolithic. Some proponents of paleolinguistics attempt to extend the methods of historical linguistics to the Stone Age, but this has little academic support. Criticising scenarios which envision for the Neolithic only a small number of language families spread over huge areas of Europe (as in modern times), Donald Ringe has argued on general principles of language geography (as concerns "tribal", pre-state societies), and the scant remains of (apparently indigenous) non-Indo-European languages attested in ancient inscriptions, that Neolithic Europe must have been a place of great linguistic diversity, with many language families with no recoverable linguistic links to each other, much like western North America prior to European colonisation. Discussion of hypothetical languages spoken in the European Neolithic is divided into two topics,Indo-European languages and "Pre-Indo-European" languages. Early Indo-European languages are usually assumed to have reached Europe in the Chalcolithicor early Bronze Age, e.g. with the Corded Ware or Beaker cultures (see also Kurgan hypothesisfor related discussions). The Anatolian hypothesis postulates arrival of Indo-European languages with the early Neolithic. Old European hydronymy is taken by Hans Krahe to be the oldest reflection of the early presence of Indo-European in Europe. Theories of "Pre-Indo-European" languages in Europe are built on scant evidence. The Basque language is the best candidate for a descendant of such a language, but since Basque is alanguage isolate, there is no comparative evidence to build upon. Theo Vennemann nevertheless postulates a "Vasconic" family, which he supposes had co-existed with an "Atlantic" or "Semitidic" (i. e., para-Semitic) group. Another candidate is a Tyrrhenian family which would have given rise to Etruscan
 and Raetic in the Iron Age, and possibly also Aegean languages such as Minoan or Pelasgian in the Bronze Age. In the north, a similar scenario to Indo-European is thought to have occurred with Uralic languages expanding in from the east. In particular, while the Sami languages of the indigenous Sami people belong in the Uralic family, they show considerable substrate influence, thought to represent one or more extinct original languages. The Sami are estimated to have adopted a Uralic language less than 2,500 years ago.Some traces of indigenous languages of the Baltic area have been suspected in the Finnic languages as well, but these are much more modest. There are early loanwords from unidentified non-IE languages in other Uralic languages of Europe as well. Tocharian, also spelled Tokharian, is an extinct branch of the Indo-European language family, known from manuscripts dating from the 6th to the 8th century AD found in oasis cities on the northern edge of the Tarim Basin (now part ofXinjiang in northwest China). The discovery of these languages in the early 20th century contradicted the formerly prevalent idea of an east–west division of Indo-European language family on the centum–satem isogloss, and contributed to re-invigorated study of the family. The term "Tocharian", based on an identification with the Bactrian Tokharoi of classical sources, is now generally considered a misnomer, but has become customary.The documents record two closely related languages, called Tocharian A ("East Tocharian", Agnean or Turfanian) and Tocharian B ("West Tocharian" or Kuchean). The subject matter of the texts suggests that Tocharian A was more archaic and used as a Buddhist liturgical language, while Tocharian B was more actively spoken in the entire area from Turfan in the east to Tumshuq in the west. A body of loanwords and names found inPrakrit documents have been dubbed Tocharian C (Kroränian). These languages became extinct after Turkic Uyghur tribes expanded into the Tarim Basin in the 9th century AD during the Islamicisation and Turkicisation of Xinjiang. Phonetically, Tocharian is a "centum" Indo-European language, meaning that it merges thepalatovelar consonants (*ḱ, *ǵ, *ǵʰ) of Proto Indo-European with the plain velars (*k, *g, *gʰ). Centum languages are mostly found in western and southern Europe (Greek, Italic, Celtic,Germanic). In that sense, Tocharian (to some extent like the Greek and the Anatolian languages) seems to have been an isolate in the "satem" (i.e. palatovelar to sibilant) phonetic regions of Indo-European-speaking populations. The discovery of Tocharian contributed to doubts that Proto-Indo-European had originally split into western and eastern branches. In traditional Indo-European studies, no hypothesis of a closer genealogical relationship of the Tocharian languages has been widely accepted by linguists. However, lexicostatistical and glottochronological approaches suggest the Anatolian languages, including Hittite, may be the closest relatives of Tocharian.As an example, the same Proto-Indo-European root *h₂wrg(h)- (but not a common suffixed formation) can be reconstructed to underlie the words for 'wheel': Tocharian A wärkänt B yerkwanto and Hittite ḫūrkis.
Πηγη: https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Paleo-European_languages
https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tocharian_languages

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