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[cybalist] Re: Proto Germanic

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  • Mark Odegard
    ... From: David James I recently read that approximately 30% of the Proto Germanic vocabulary was of non IE origin and that much of this non IE vocabulary is
    Message 1 of 4 , Mar 2, 2000
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      I recently read that approximately 30% of the Proto Germanic vocabulary was of non IE origin and that much of this non IE vocabulary is retained in modern Germanic languages. Does this indicate that the original Germanic tribes did not speak a IE language and that perhaps they were conquered by or mixed with IE speakers, eventually adopting their language whilst retaining a large part of their non IE vocabulary. Alternatively was the non IE element due to borrowings from non IE neighbours.
      Finally, would anyone like to speculate as to the original homeland of the Germanic tribes. My own guess is that they inhabited the Baltic Sea area or southern Sweden.
       
      I suspect others will also respond. Rick McCallister maintains a web site giving what is close to an exhaustive list of all non-IE words found in ancient Germanic:
       
       
      Many of these words occupy some interesting semantic areas. The seafaring words and certain words relating to kingship, e.g., the ancestors for the English words 'king' and 'ship', are particularly intriguing.
       
      The literature usually identifies Denmark and the adjacent coastal areas along the Baltic and North Sea in Germany, and often, also the southern tip of Sweden as the proto-Germanic homeland.
       
      The story usually goes that pre-proto-Germanic was a minority language which replaced the original language of a more numerous autochthonous group. A substantial amount of the original language's vocabulary was retained, and perhaps, even at little grammar. Depending on what school you follow, the phonological peculiarities found in Germanic are probably related to the substratum language. In other words, what became Germanic was spoken with a foreign accent.
       
      There is no good evidence for what language this substratum was related to, though Uralic and Vasconic have definitely been ruled out.
       
      Mark.
    • Piotr Gasiorowski
      ... From: David James To: cybalist@eGroups.com Sent: Thursday, March 02, 2000 12:40 AM Subject: [cybalist] Proto Germanic I recently read that approximately
      Message 2 of 4 , Mar 3, 2000
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        ----- Original Message -----
        Sent: Thursday, March 02, 2000 12:40 AM
        Subject: [cybalist] Proto Germanic

        I recently read that approximately 30% of the Proto Germanic vocabulary
        was of non IE origin and that much of this non IE vocabulary is
        retained in modern Germanic languages. Does this indicate that the
        original Germanic tribes did not speak a IE language and that perhaps
        they were conquered by or mixed with IE speakers, eventually adopting
        their language whilst retaining a large part of their non IE
        vocabulary. Alternatively was the non IE element due to borrowings from
        non IE neighbours.
        Finally, would anyone like to speculate as to the original homeland of
        the Germanic tribes. My own guess is that they inhabited the Baltic Sea
        area or southern Sweden.
        Enough questions for now!
        Thank you in advance.
        Regards David.


        As for the Germanic homeland, Southern Sweden and Denmark plus perhaps a piece of Northern Germany is most specialists' educated guess. From rather early on some Germanic groups expanded southwards across modern Germany and southeastwards (the southern coast of the Baltic, central and southern Poland), reaching the Danube already in deep antiquity. They were strongly influenced by the Iron Age culture of the Central European Celts and are sometimes difficult to distinguish from the latter. The extreme geographical position of the Germanic branch is responsible for a large proportion of substrate loans. The classification of the "donor" language(s) is a moot question. You can have a look at this site:
        for a large glossary of potential substrate words in Germanic. Don't believe everything you will find there (about Vasconic and Afroasiatic being the main sources of borrowings), but the list is instructive.
         
        Piotr
      • John Croft
        David James ... vocabulary was of non IE origin and that much of this non IE vocabulary is retained in modern Germanic languages. Does this indicate that the
        Message 3 of 4 , Mar 4, 2000
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          David James
          >
          > I recently read that approximately 30% of the Proto Germanic
          vocabulary was of non IE origin and that much of this non IE vocabulary
          is retained in modern Germanic languages. Does this indicate that the
          original Germanic tribes did not speak a IE language and that perhaps
          they were conquered by or mixed with IE speakers, eventually adopting
          their language whilst retaining a large part of their non IE
          vocabulary. Alternatively was the non IE element due to borrowings from
          non IE neighbours.
          >
          > Finally, would anyone like to speculate as to the original homeland
          of the Germanic tribes. My own guess is that they inhabited the Baltic
          Sea area or southern Sweden.
          >
          > I suspect others will also respond. Rick McCallister maintains a web
          site giving what is close to an exhaustive list of all non-IE words
          found in ancient Germanic:
          >
          > http://www.muw.edu/~rmccalli/subsGerIntro.html
          >
          > Many of these words occupy some interesting semantic areas. The
          seafaring words and certain words relating to kingship, e.g., the
          ancestors for the English words 'king' and 'ship', are particularly
          intriguing.
          >
          > The literature usually identifies Denmark and the adjacent coastal
          areas along the Baltic and North Sea in Germany, and often, also the
          southern tip of Sweden as the proto-Germanic homeland.
          >
          > The story usually goes that pre-proto-Germanic was a minority
          language which replaced the original language of a more numerous
          autochthonous group. A substantial amount of the original language's
          vocabulary was retained, and perhaps, even at little grammar. Depending
          on what school you follow, the phonological peculiarities found in
          Germanic are probably related to the substratum language. In other
          words, what became Germanic was spoken with a foreign accent.
          >
          > There is no good evidence for what language this substratum was
          related to, though Uralic and Vasconic have definitely been ruled out.
          >
          > Mark.

          Thanks Mark and David for raising this point. A couple of extra
          cultural factors that people may find interesting.

          Firstly, in the cultures of the area, the area considered to be the
          homeland of Proto-Germanic was from about 7,000 BCE until 5,000 BCE the
          homeland of a very destinctive Ertbolle culture, which although they
          were pottery making are frequently described as "sub-neolithic" - being
          largely if not entirely a hunter gatherer people.

          The Ertbolle culture is considered to be a culture derived from the
          earlier mesolithic Maglemosian culture, which stretched from Britain to
          Denmark and the Baltic at the time the ice sheats were melting and the
          North Sea was disappearing.

          There was a megalithic culture that spread through Denmark and North
          Germany, part of the first western group of Neolithics, and the route
          taken for the spread of megaliths in the area seem to be up the Irish
          Sea, around the west coast of Scotland and across to Scandinavia (a
          reverse Viking route).

          IE appearance in the area has been linked to the spread of battle axe
          cultures through the forested region north of the Eurasian Steppe.
          Linked by traditional pottery, and associated with the spread of
          ploughs, horse and cart, and later with the introduction of metals, the
          "Northern" culture which was exclusively found in the area of the
          supposed Germanic homeland, was independent fo Urnfield and later
          Haalstaat cultural distributions although they seem to have borrowed
          heavily from these directions.

          Given this scenario, I would suggest that the 1st Northern culture be
          recognised as Protogermanic. The Ertbolle culture then would have in
          all likelihood been the source of proto-Germanic loan words. Three
          sources occur here

          1. Megalithic first farmers via Scotland (if megalithic was a culture
          not a religion)
          2. Magdaleinian --> Maglemose --> Ertbolle (hence Vasconic if
          Magdaleinian was a Basque related language)
          3. Ertbolle related to Saami (hence Uralic - perhaps, if Saami did not
          later adopt a Uralic language from Finnish neighbours).
          4. A wholly extinct substrata unrelated to 1-3 (my favourate theory
          given the lengths of time we are talking about (eg Magdaleinian to
          Saami = 18,000 years)

          Hope this helps

          John
          >
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