- Arthur Jones <arthurobin2002@...> wrote: Date: Mon, 13 Mar 2006 13:13:59 -0800 (PST)
From: Arthur Jones <arthurobin2002@...>
I would like to add a few thoughts to those already presented by Brothers Oscar, Konrad, and Lamanomila.
First, as to the possibility raised by Oscar that there might be villages in Andorra where remnants of Gothic are still spoken: What a sensation. I scoured the Crimea in search of remnants, found precious few.
Also, a tiny village in southern Poland, tucked away in the mountains near the Slovak border right between the sources of the Oder and the Vistula, by the name of Wilamowice (Wilmisau), their moribund language is a mysterious grab-bag of Middle Low Frankish, Middle High German, and what are probably remnants of Gothic
(examples: to buy= buygjan (cf. Gothic bugjan: no modern cognates inother Germanic languages, all crowded out by kaufen, kopen, koepa, etc.);
mikielusiu = bigger
drynkja = drink (Goth. drigkan)
huot = head )goth. haubith)
dumjan = think, decide (Goth. domjan; Russian dumat'; but Polish uses a different root here)
ju = you (plural; cf. Goth. jus)
starwan = starve, die
and many other usages, most of which they rationalize by postulating a migration of Vlaams (Flemish) speakers there in the 13th Century. There is no other record of such a migration. Polish linguists also speculate on Old English, Old High German, or Gothic influences.
However, the juxtaposition of the village between sources of Oder and Vistula would suggest that it was a station on the "Amber Road" from ca. 200 BC at the latest and far afterward. The Amber Road is attested to have gone up those two rivers from the Baltic south coast to their sources, then joined into one road over the mountain passes HighTatras), and down to the Danube near present-day Bratislava. (See, for example, Peter Heather, "The Goths", 1998; and Green's great book on Germanic Languages and Cultures in the Ancient World). If so, this would have exposed the locals to a few centuries of a wide variety of Germanic dialects passing through, setting up amber polishing workshops and jewelers' houses, and could have been an important confluence, or interface, between Pannonian forebears of Bavarian, on the South side, and Eastern Germanic, primarily Gothic, on the Northern side.
The difficulty here is that the Wilmisau dialect is almost extinct (fewer than 100 speakers left), and it has proven difficult as well to obtain reliable and detailed research on the topic. The most recent book, "The Making of a Language: The Case of the Idiom of Wilamowice", by Tomasz Wicherkiewicz, 2003, costs about 100 Euros. I cannot afford it.
Believe me, if I ever am in a position to write something that crucial, and which could help save a dying language, I will provide it at no cost to serious scholars as a sort of human duty.
But back to the Pyrenees: Oscar, could you please elaborate a little on this wonderful find? Names of villages, perhaps a few sample words or expressions?
I would be eternally grateful, as would all of us, I am sure.
Now, to Lamanomila and the missing Gothic syntax:
First, I sort of resent your challenging Wulfila because in his infinite wisdom he may have translated the Greek into Gothic word for word, or perhaps have given his assistants a glossary, told them to do it Berlitz-style, and then he added the master's touches of inflections for case, gender, number, person, tense, etc. Sort of like the world-renowned artist, Mr. Kincade, who adds "touches" to a mass-produced painting and selling the whole canvas as a signed masterpiece. What the hell, it worked for Rubens, didn't it? But if we doubt the perfection of the Wulfilan syntax, then we run the risk of doubting the divine inspiration for the original work.
1. Collate common syntactic usages of the oldest attested forms of other Germanic languages: Old Norse, Old Saxon, Old English, Old High German: superimpose the closest corresponding passages/phrases/words found in attested Gothic; compare.
2. Also collate comparable sentences and phrases for the oldest attested Slavic forms. Remember, up to 30 % of Slavic vocabulary was "borrowed" from Gothic. Could there have been a parallel superstrate influence on Slavic syntax as well, which would show us something of the syntax in use at the time in Gothic?
3. Factor in pre-Germanic syntax: for example, Hittite. We have no evidence that Hittite or Lydian were syntactically "tainted" by influence from their neighbors (what a risky statement I just made!) but to me, their syntax is little short of awful. but it may hold clues.
4. Factor in some of the oldest attested examples of syntax in Gaulish (there are good examples on headstones and other stone writings), and Tocharian (using the oldest texts available), which would have been the most closely comparable to Proto-germanic. But in syntax? Who knows? I think it's wise to check it out, though.
Arthur A. Jones
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- --- In email@example.com, Arthur Jones <arthurobin2002@...>
> The difficulty here is that the Wilmisau dialect is almostextinct (fewer than 100 speakers left), and it has proven difficult
as well to obtain reliable and detailed research on the topic. The
most recent book, "The Making of a Language: The Case of the Idiom
of Wilamowice", by Tomasz Wicherkiewicz, 2003, costs about 100
Euros. I cannot afford it.
Nor me. You might be able to peek at a few pages on Google Books
though [ http://books.google.co.uk/books?q=%22Idiom+of+Wilamowice%
22 ]. Or if that doesn't work, I think Amazon has a similar
tantilisation device. I searched for "gothic", but most of the
relevant pages were "access restricted". All very intriguing
though. I found 'huot' used twice = NGH 'hat', Go. 'habaiÃ¾' "has"
(rather than 'haubiÃ¾' head), 'starwa' = NHG 'sterben' "to die".
> 2. Also collate comparable sentences and phrases for the oldestattested Slavic forms. Remember, up to 30 % of Slavic vocabulary
was "borrowed" from Gothic. Could there have been a parallel
superstrate influence on Slavic syntax as well, which would show us
something of the syntax in use at the time in Gothic?
30% seems a surprisingly lot to me. Doesn't match my experience of
delving in Russian etymological dictionaries. But I'm not an
expert. Wilhelm Streitberg believed that Gothic had a very similar
system of verbal aspect to Slavonic, but I've just read an article
by Philip Scherer ('Aspect in Gothic', Language 30:2, 1954) that
completely refutes the idea of a formal system of aspect at least,
although certain verbs might be perfective or imperfective due to
their inherent meaning, while others are aspectually indifferent.
He also says the 'present' tense of certain prefixed verbs in Old
Bulgarian (=Old Church Slavonic) would always have a future meaning,
although they aren't always necesarily perfective. He has examples
of verbs in both perfective and imperfective contexts, both verbs
that are always simple, always prefixed with ga- or another prefix,
and verbs that appear either in simple or prefixed form. Which
leaves me wondering why Streitberg concluded that there was a formal
aspect system in Gothic. The one thing lacking from Scherer's
article is a statistical breakdown of particular verbs, which might
show whether there was a general tendency towards a particular
prefixed verb being perfective, while its simplex counterpart was
imperfective--even if the rule wasn't always strictly followed.
Does anyone know if such studies have been done? It's also been
claimed that there is a perfective/imperfective distinction made
between the use 'wairÃ¾an' and 'wisan' as auxiliaries for the past
passive. I don't remember Scherer mentioning this, but it's
something else worth scrutinising. If there is any distinction
made, and I'm not sure of that, I don't think it can be a simple one
to one match, with one auxiliary perfrective and the other
imperfective. E.g. all perfective, I think (but I'll have to check
atgibanos wesun imma bokos
galagiÃ¾s was in kararai
But then sometimes there does seem to be a distinction made, e.g.
haitans was "was called" (imperfective)
haitans warÃ¾ "was given the name" (perfective)
Streitberg has some figures which suggest a definite tendency, if
not complete strictness:
was warÃ¾ ist
imperfect 7 17
aorist 69 42 50
perfect 4 42 50
It would be interesting to see how these compare overall with the
Old Bulgarian translation.