Paleo-Balkan & Balto-Slavic - Common Proto Language

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  • Soldier of Macedon
    Here is a little expirement I have tried in the past and thought worthy of trying again. Basically, I will write a sentence in English, translate it in Macedonian, and then highlight the Thracian connection. Were this to have included the Baltic languages to supplement Macedonian it woud be an even larger sentence.

    Son, in the mud there is a beast, a white or golden dragon, quickly to the ford child!

    In mod. Macedonian, and directly below highlighted in red, Thracian correspondences in the same sentence:

    Sinko, vo kalta ima dzver, bel ili zlaten zmej, brzo na brodot chedo!
    Suku, vo chala ima zveri, bal ili salta zum, bruza ana burd kentha!

    The Thracian words can be found here:

    I have removed the suffixes ending in -s from the Thracian words for simplification. Of course, this alone does not prove that the Thracians even said it the way it is written above due to our lack of knowledge concerning grammar, syntax, etc. Nevertheless, it is an interesting comparison as it demonstrates how closely some Thracian words resemble Macedonian and other Slavic languages. With regard to the word for 'ford' in English, I wrote 'brod' because, although it developed a meaning which came to mean 'boat' in Macedonian, its older meaning was 'ford', as indicated below:

    Similarly, in Slavic languages, word brod comes from the linguistic root that means "river-crossing" or "place where river can be crossed". Although today "brod" in Croatian language literally means "ship", Slavonski Brod in Croatia, as well as Makedonski Brod in Macedonia and other place names containing "Brod" in Slavic countries are named after fords.

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  • Toska
    brzas = quickly in modern macedonian

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  • Soldier of Macedon
    Below are two examples of how words evolved in Paleo-Balkan (Thracian in this case) and Balto-Slavic from the initial PIE root:

    [I, Me] – eǵ’hom (PIE), eź’ham (PBS), asn (THR), jāzun (PSL), az’ (OCS), aš (LTH) es (LTV), jas (MKD), jaz (SLO)

    [Gold] – ghltom (PIE), saltas (THR), zalta (PSL), zelts (LTV), zlato (OCS, MKD)* also žolto for 'yellow'

    Neither Albanian or Greek words for "I, me" and "gold" are close to Thracian.

    It is interesting to note that in place of a voiced sound like 'z' or 'zh', Thracian often opts for the devoiced 's'. This is also true in the case of the word semela meaning 'earth', which stems from the PIE root dʰéǵʰōm; in today's Slavic languages it begins with 'z' as in zem(l)ja - interestingly, so does Phrygian (Brygian, according to Paleo-Balkan sound change) with its variant of zemelo. However, Thracian does not demonstrate this characteristic consistently, for there also exist words such as zilma for 'greenery' (zelen is 'green' in Macedonian) and bruzas for 'quick' (brza is 'quick' in Macedonian), where the sound is voiced rather than devoiced. This, of course, counts only if our assumptions about the intended sound for each of the letters is correct.

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  • Soldier of Macedon

    “The surmised ‘Slavic migration’ is full of inconsistencies. There is no ‘northern Slavic language’, it is rather only a variant of the southern Slavic… The first metallurgic cultures in the Balkans are Slavic… and connected with Anatolia… Slavic presence in the territory, nearly identical to the one occupied by them today, exists ever since the Stone Age… The Slavs have (together with the Greeks and other Balkan peoples developed agriculture… agriculturally mixed economy, typically European, which later enabled the birth of the Greek, Etruscan, and Latin urbanism. Germanic peoples adopted agriculture from the Slavs… The Balkans is one of the rare regions in which a real and true settlement of human groups coming from Anatolia is proven…].
    The above view was expressed by Mario Alinei, who was a professor at the University of Utrecht and the president of Atlas Linguarum Europae. Alinei suggests that the Slavic-speaking people of the Balkans have been in the region for much longer than that assumed by supporters of the 6th century 'migration' theory.

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  • Soldier of Macedon
    The school of thought which promoted a commonality between Thracian and Illyrian languages is still prevalent among some, for example:

    Sorin Paliga (2002) - "According to the available data, we may surmise that Thracian and Illyrian were mutually understandable, e.g. like Czech and Slovak, in one extreme, or like Spanish and Portuguese, at the other."
    Others such as I. I. Russu argue that there should have been major similarities between Illyrian and Thracian, and a common linguistic branch (not merely a Sprachbund) is probable.
    Not much has been determined in the study of Paeonian, and some linguists do not recognize a Paeonian area separate from Illyrian or Thracian. The place of Ancient Macedonian is also undetermined. Paliga (2002) states: "It is therefore difficult to say whether the ancient Macedonians spoke an idiom closer to Thracian, Illyrian, Greek or a specific idiom."
    This is just to demonstrate that the idea of a common Paleo-Balkan language family is not a new phenomenon. The lack of further and adequate investigation on this possible commonality on the part of Western scholars led them to search for other theories without having concluded this one. A compilation of surviving words from all Paleo-Balkan languages would then prove to be valuable if one considers a common ancestor for all of them.

    One of the difficulties when comparing them to others is due to lacking sentences or paragraphs in the Paleo-Balkan languages. This leaves open a number of possibilities. Are the words we have at our disposal today mere Greek or Latin interpretations? Did Paleo-Balkan languages borrow grammar in addition to vocabulary from their neighbours? Are the case endings and suffixes authentic or loans? Another factor to consider is that PIE languages did not have definite articles, but rather, relied heavily on the following case endings; nominative, accusative, dative, ablative, genitive, vocative, locative and instrumental.

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  • Paleo-Balkan & Balto-Slavic - Common Proto Language

    The purpose of this thread will be to explore the possibility of a common linguistic branch that split from Proto Indo-European around the time of the satem sound change, which came after the commencement of the centum sound change. This branch would include the (Paleo-)Balkan and Balto-Slavic language families, and for the sake of simplicity the suggested Common Proto Language will be referred to here as BSB.

    If a BSB group existed since early antiquity, it would have as neighbours Celtic and Latin speakers on the west, Indo-Iranian speakers on the east, Greek speakers on the south and Germanic speakers on the north. These varying elements would influence perhipheral components of the BSB group, leading to a departure from certain commonalities, in some cases drastically. The western limit of the BSB group would generally correspond to the satem-centum line of distinction. The process of satemisation would have likely originated in the 'Scythian' areas and spread from that central location outwards. Although all of the BSB group would be affected by satemisation, the process would not complete before it began to break away into sub-groups, and as a result of diffusion the peripheral Balkan and Baltic areas would not evolve as much as the central areas. Each sub-group would develop its own characteristics resulting from interaction with different peoples, many of whom would be speakers of centum languages, further increasing its influence over satemisation in some areas. Among the group in the 'Scythian' areas, however, the latter would be more prevalent due to its insular location in which foreign interaction would be more common with speakers of satem languages instead. This may have also contributed to a secondary and more advanced level of satemisation in those parts.

    One of the most significant distinctions between the Hellenic language and the BSB group is the development of Proto Indo-European aspirated consonants bh, dh and gh. In Hellenic, they develop as unvoiced consonants:

    bh -> ph (φ)
    dh -> th (θ)
    gh -> kh (χ)

    However, the Paleo-Balkan and Balto-Slavic languages take a different path of development, where the aspirated consonant largely becomes a voiced stop.

    bh -> b (β)
    dh -> d (δ)
    gh -> g (γ)

    All of these differences generate changes in pronounciation, as indicated in the below comparison of cognates between the two opposing linguistic groups along with the modern Macedonian and Hellenic languages.

    [To bear, gather] - bher (PIE) -> βερε, bere (Anc. Maced.) -> bere (Mod. MK)
    [To bear, gather] - bher (PIE) -> φερε, phere (Anc. Attic) -> fere (Mod. GK)

    [To leave] - dhenh (PIE) -> [Murderer] - δανῶν, danon (Anc. Maced.) -> [Drowned or Strangled] - udaven (Mod. MK)
    [To leave] - dhenh (PIE) -> [Dead] - θανών, thanon (Anc. Attic) -> [Death] - thanatos (Mod. GK)

    Modern Hellenic generally displays the same characteristics as ancient Hellenic (ph/f, th, kh), while modern Macedonian displays the same characteristics as ancient Macedonian (b, d, g), at least where it concerns these words and consonants. This would therefore mean that the ancient Macedonians pronounced the name of their country as Μακεδονία with a hardened voiced stop d, just like in Macedonian today, and unlike either ancient or modern Hellenic sound laws which produce the th and dh consonants.

    I would like to note that this is a theory which is still at a developing stage and by no means concrete. It may prove to be incorrect, it may not, but I will continue to add further information, and I would appreciate it if all posts on this thread are specific to the topic at hand.