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Thread: Germanic and Italic language families

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    Germanic and Italic language families



    In A Grammar of Proto-Germanic by Winfred P. Lehmann, it is argued that the Germanic language family shares more vocabulary with the Italic family than with the Celtic language family.

    The relationship of the Germanic language group to other language groups can only be determined by evidence in the languages. The closest language groups to Germanic are the Balto-Slavic, the Italic, and the Celtic. Yet, unlike Indo-Iranian, Greek, and Armenian, which have the augment as a common innovation as well as extensive verbal inflection, these four western groups lack any common phonological or morphological innovations. They share common vocabulary items, more for instance between Germanic and Italic than between Germanic and Celtic. Some of these may be attributed to a relatively late date, such as the name of a grain, either wheat or spelt, Lat. far, ON bǫrr, and the name of the goat, Lat. haedus, Go. gaits, as well as that of the male goat, Lat. caper, ON hafr.
    Concerning the relationship between Venetic language and the Germanic languages, Wikipedia says:

    Some important parallels with the Germanic languages have also been noted, especially in pronominal forms:[6]

    Venetic: ego = I, accusative mego = me Gothic: ik, accusative mik(Latin: ego, accusative me) Venetic: sselboi sselboi = to oneself Old High German: selb selbo(Latin: sibi ipsi)

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    te Italo Celtic family

    To me it seems like Celtic arrived first in western Europe during the early bronze age or even earlier and that the Urnfield spread both the Germanic parent language and Lustatian to the north and Italic to the south and west.
    Celtic and Italic common features are (from what I read) more the result of long neighbourhood than the result of a common origin (except the fact that they are both western IE languages).
    In my opnion, this neighbourhood not only took place at the southern border of the Celtic family (region of the Alps) but also at the north of it, namely the near the Benelux region where there are evidences to some linguist that some sorts of Italic languages where spoken there. Bernard Sergent alo spoke about a "Macro Italic family" in northern France. This also fits quite well with the high frequencies of R1b U152 in Belgium and near the Rhine river. It really looks like the Gaulish language developped while being surrounded by Italic-like languages in its northern and eastern side.

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    1 out of 1 members found this post helpful.
    This is interesting, but I have a few notes here:

    Quote Originally Posted by spongetaro View Post
    In A Grammar of Proto-Germanic by Winfred P. Lehmann, it is argued that the Germanic language family shares more vocabulary with the Italic family than with the Celtic language family.

    The relationship of the Germanic language group to other language groups can only be determined by evidence in the languages. The closest language groups to Germanic are the Balto-Slavic, the Italic, and the Celtic. Yet, unlike Indo-Iranian, Greek, and Armenian, which have the augment as a common innovation as well as extensive verbal inflection, these four western groups lack any common phonological or morphological innovations. They share common vocabulary items, more for instance between Germanic and Italic than between Germanic and Celtic. Some of these may be attributed to a relatively late date, such as the name of a grain, either wheat or spelt, Lat. far, ON bǫrr, and the name of the goat, Lat. haedus, Go. gaits, as well as that of the male goat, Lat. caper, ON hafr.
    The statement "these four western groups lack any common phonological or morphological innovations" is certainly incorrect, as for instance Celtic and Italic language have the common innovation of *p > *kw before *kw (eg. Latin "quinque", Irish "cúig", vs. Greek "pente", Lithuanian "penki", Hindi "panca". There's also the common innovation of the o-stem genitive as *-i.

    However, I would agree with Lehmann's assessment on the absence of such commonalities regarding Celtic/Germanic, or Germanic/Italic.

    Also, I'm puzzled that he brings up the example of "caper" and "hafr", as there is a cognate in Celtic (Irish "gabhar", Breton "gavr", Welsh "gafr" - which all mean "goat") and Greek "kapros" (which means 'boar', rather than 'goat'). At the flip side, I might tentatively bring up Old Irish "boc", Breton "bouc'h", Welsh "bwch", English "buck" and German "Bock".

    I must add, I have never done a comparison of Celtic/Italic/Germanic in terms of similarity fo vocabulary, and I'm not sure of it's merit, it has "glottochronology" all over it.

    Quote Originally Posted by spongetaro View Post
    Concerning the relationship between Venetic language and the Germanic languages, Wikipedia says:
    I agree this is an interesting convergence of Venetic and the Germanic languages, but it does not apply to the other Italic languages. Besides, Venetic shares the innovation with the Italic languages to develop PIE *bh-, *dh-, *gh- to *f-, *f-, *h-. So, I would interprete this, if there's some form of relationship, I would say we are talking about a Germanic-Venetic contact, not Germanic-Italic.

    Quote Originally Posted by spongetaro View Post
    To me it seems like Celtic arrived first in western Europe during the early bronze age or even earlier and that the Urnfield spread both the Germanic parent language and Lustatian to the north and Italic to the south and west.
    Celtic and Italic common features are (from what I read) more the result of long neighbourhood than the result of a common origin (except the fact that they are both western IE languages).
    I would like to ask, for you, what speaks against the more traditionally assumed Proto-Germanic homeland in the area of the Nordic Bronze Age?

    With "Italo-Celtic", it depends. I tend to think the grammatical features might be the result of either areal contact (or archaisms), but I don't think this applies to sound changes. I would rather argue that Proto-Celtic and Proto-Italic were very close at one point, but then developed very differently as they were geographically separated.

    In my opnion, this neighbourhood not only took place at the southern border of the Celtic family (region of the Alps) but also at the north of it, namely the near the Benelux region where there are evidences to some linguist that some sorts of Italic languages where spoken there. Bernard Sergent alo spoke about a "Macro Italic family" in northern France. This also fits quite well with the high frequencies of R1b U152 in Belgium and near the Rhine river. It really looks like the Gaulish language developped while being surrounded by Italic-like languages in its northern and eastern side.
    Sounds far-fetched. I'd like to hear that evidence Sergent has for this supposed "macro-Italic", because this is news to me. Is he refering to the so-called "Northwestblock"? If yes, then I would like to hear what evidence he has for identifying it as such.
    Last edited by Taranis; 24-01-13 at 22:07.

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    I would like to ask, for you, what speaks against the more traditionally assumed Proto-Germanic homeland in the area of the Nordic Bronze Age?
    According to Jürgen Udolph, hydronymy shows that the Proto-Germanic homeland is Central germany which would be very close to the Homeland of Italic and Celtic languages. I'm wondering if some territories usually attributed to the Celts might not have been originally germanic.


    Die Überprüfung dieser These anhand der Gewässernamen hat gezeigt, daß die Heimat germanischer Völker dort zu suchen ist, wo alte germanische Ortsnamen zu finden sind: das ist weder Schleswig-Holstein, noch Dänemark oder Schweden, sondern der Raum nördlich der deutschen Mittelgebirge.
    On this blog, the author makes the hypothesis that the Etruscan city Arretium might have been founded by Germanic people.

    http://paleoglot.blogspot.de/2008/06...till-bugs.html

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    Quote Originally Posted by spongetaro View Post
    According to Jürgen Udolph, hydronymy shows that the Proto-Germanic homeland is Central germany which would be very close to the Homeland of Italic and Celtic languages. I'm wondering if some territories usually attributed to the Celts might not have been originally germanic.
    I'd like to know to what language he attributes the river names in northern Germany and southern Scandinavia, if they are purportedly not Germanic. Because that would be the consequence if the place the Proto-Germanic homeland in the German midlands.

    On this blog, the author makes the hypothesis that the Etruscan city Arretium might have been founded by Germanic people.

    http://paleoglot.blogspot.de/2008/06...till-bugs.html
    Well honestly, that sounds totally far-fetched to me. There is not a single evidence for Germanic place names from the Italian peninsula from the Antiquity, and if we disregard the Cimbri/Teutones incursion (late 2nd century BC) which reached northern Italy, there is no Germanic presence in Italy until the Migration Period.


    In my opinion, even if the German form is problematic, in my opinion "Erz" is more probably a connected with English "ore", Icelandic "eir" (copper, bronze) and Gothic "aiz" (copper). it's clear that this word went through the rhotacism *z > *r which is a relatively late Germanic development, shared by Scandinavian and West Germanic, but not Gothic. So unless you argue that the High German consonant shift happened already in the mid-1st millennium BC, there is no way that German "Erz" and the Etruscan city name "Arretium" are connect.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Taranis View Post
    I'd like to know to what language he attributes the river names in northern Germany and southern Scandinavia, if they are purportedly not Germanic. Because that would be the consequence if the place the Proto-Germanic homeland in the German midlands.

    The names of waterways like: Haringvliet (Herringfleet) Rotterdam, and the: Moorfleet Hamburg, and so forth, are unlikely to be anything but downright Germanic. Maybe London's Neckinger and Peck rivers could be Celtic names(?) whilst London's Effra river could be a Germanic name(?)

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    Quote Originally Posted by Selwyn Greenfrith View Post
    The names of waterways like: Haringvliet (Herringfleet) Rotterdam, and the: Moorfleet Hamburg, and so forth, are unlikely to be anything but downright Germanic. Maybe London's Neckinger and Peck rivers could be Celtic names(?) whilst London's Effra river could be a Germanic name(?)
    I agree. I'm personally cautious with river names because we usually do not know how old they actually are if we just take a look at the modern names. We can look into Graeco-Roman sources for comparison, but, they were not everywhere. I've seen hydronomy being used to argument for obvious impossibilities, such as the claim that Anglo-Saxon was being spoken in pre-Roman Britain, or Slavic being spoken on the pre-Migration Period Balkans.

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