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Thread: Is Basque an Indo-European language or not?

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    Is Basque an Indo-European language or not?



    I've read some of Gianfranco Forni's texts on how Basque actually is an Indo-European language. Is it true, or not? And if not, can you debunk it in detail?

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    No no ... nothing to do with any indo-european language


    Sent from my iPad using Eupedia Forum

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    Can you debunk Gianfranco Forni's "Evidence for Basque as an Indo-European Language"? It looks pretty legitimate to me.

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    4 out of 5 members found this post helpful.
    Actually, if the scientific consensus is that Basque is NOT an Indo-European language, it is Gianfranco Forni that must debunk the most credited scientific hypothesis with very nice arguments and evidences, not the other way around. This is a discussion for professional linguists in a scientific field, not for amateurs like us.

    As for how to debunk it, well, Basque is so profoundly non-IE that it's easy to see how much it is apart from the others. For starters, Basque is a heavily agluttinative and intensely ergative language, unlike IE languages (even those that have ergative alignment only use it sparsely, in restricted situations). Besides, through regular sound changes and correspondences you can easily prove that IE languages have hundreds of cognates among each other, but that could never be done (not using regular sound rules) to Basque. Usually these fringe authors of "innovative" hypotheses will resort to the notion that it's not "exactly" IE but related to it in a much more ancient genealogical connection, which is very convenient because they know that as language families become older and older the connections between the languages that belong to them become thinner and thinner to the point that it's very hard to tell coincidences and demonstrable cognates apart. It all becomes conjectural, which is what they need to propose something that is so little substantiated.

    BASQUE NUMBERS: 1 bat, 2 bi, 3 hirur, 4 laur, 5 bost, 6 sei, 7 zazpi, 8 zortzi, 9 bederatzi, 9 hamar.
    ARMENIAN NUMBERS (one of the, if not the most phonologically innovative IE language): mek, yerku, yerek, chorss, hing, vets, yote, oot, eenë, tahssë.
    PORTUGUESE NUMBERS: um, dois, três, quatro, cinco, seis, sete, oito, nove, dez.

    The Portuguese-Armenian connection is much more strongly and easily demonstrated than any of them to Basque, especially if you know the reconstructed forms of PIE made on the basis of dozens of different IE languages, which clearly fits the development pattern from PIE to Portuguese and to Armenian, but not to Basque. For example, it's much easier to realize how the numeral 6 became seis in Portuguese and vets in Armenian when you see that the common reconstructed form was probably *swek's (palatalized kj). The one numeral in Basque that looks "Indo-European" is also 6, "sei", but even that is very suspicious as an argument in favor of its being IE, because if all the other numbers look so extremely different, which would suggest very profound and innovative phonological developments from PIE to Basque, how is it possible that sei was preserved so unchanged? Also, there is of course no regular sound rule that would make swek's become sei and also affected equally other Basque words.

    As far as I can see here (http://euskararenjatorria.net/wp-con...ticle-JIES.pdf), Forni basically seeks and finds Proto-Celtic or PIE roots that look similar to Basque words and assumes them to be at the root of the modern Basque forms, but then he derives some sound rules that supposedly explain them, but as I could see some of them explain part of the word's development, but not the rest, and in other cases the sound rules work in some situations and not in others, or are inferred without the demonstration that the same phenomenon also happened in at least a dozen other words in the same position in the syllable.

    For example, he explains sei (6) based on the sound rule that /s/ was preserved and final /s/ often droped (*sek's > *sek > *sei), but I couldn't find an explanation on how final /k/ was supposed to have fallen, and why the reconstruction must be *sek's and not the more reliable *swek's (which would invalidate his etymology, because he also states that /sw/ became a /b/, so we would have *bei, not *sei), and how become a diphthong /ej/. Besides, that same sound rule is contradicted by the following number 7 (zazpi), which supposedly is also IE and thus should've come from *septm (where is the preservation of /s/ as in sei)? Where's the supposed sound rule - with some exceptions - of preservation of the vowels? How is it explained that -ptm became -zpi? Also, sometimes he uses the more "convenient" modern Basque form instead of the reconstructed Old Basque/Proto-Basque form, which would clearly be more complicated to explain as an IE form: e.g. bi "two" instead of the reconstructed old form biga, so that he can derive bi from dwi, even though this form is assumed to have been a numeral prefix, and not the number "two" in PIE (that would've been *duwos, also inconveniently less similar to bi).

    You don't prove a language belongs to a language family just through mass comparison of words and juxtaposing roots and words that look similar, then deriving ad hoc explanations to justify how and why they changed (but did he really demonstrate that the exact same process happened in other words? It didn't look like he was so systematic). It's an interesting proposal, but I was not very convinced. I'd like to see it peer-reviewed by scientists. Was it, though?

    Another problem, I think, is that Basque looks similar to the Iberian language, for which we have really ancient inscriptions, and the Iberian numerals of 2000-2500 years ago looked strikingly similar to those of Basque and even discounting 2 milennia of continuous phonetic evolution they were still not any more similar to Indo-European numerals: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Iberian_language#Numerals

    EDIT: Another example of how Basque "functions", gramatically, in an agluttinative way that is alien to IE: its possessive pronouns formed by adding a regular suffix -re, instead of the complex fusional pattern (with remnants of ablauts and all) you find in IE languages. Thus you have: ni-re, hi-re, zu-re, etc. > nire, hire, zure. That couldn't me more different from IE patterns, with a fusional genitive declension of the personal pronouns: PIE *h1moi/*h1méne, *nos/*nsero-, *toi/*teue >>> English my/mine, our/ours, thy/thine.
    Last edited by Ygorcs; 13-07-18 at 22:27.

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    I don't know if it was reviewed by other linguists before, but I mentioned on another forum on linguistic topics that Basque isn't Indo-European, and somebody brought up Forni's proposal. I'm still looking into the Basque language however, and I have been for quite a while now, which is why I'm so interested in IE Basque proposals.

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    The answer is no - moving on now...

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    1 out of 3 members found this post helpful.
    Quote Originally Posted by ToBeOrNotToBe View Post
    The answer is no - moving on now...
    Precisely.
    "Basque is geographically surrounded by Romance languages but is a language isolate unrelated to them. It is the last remaining descendant of one of the pre-Indo-European languages of Western Europe, the others being extinct outright.["
    https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Basque_language

    All done now

    mmmmmmmmm dooouuughhhnuuuutz

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    0 out of 1 members found this post helpful.
    But my question is ... Why Forni does state that Basque is an indoeuropean one !? Bhoo Could you link me something about this theory!?

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    Quote Originally Posted by PelayoelGonzalez View Post
    Can you debunk Gianfranco Forni's "Evidence for Basque as an Indo-European Language"? It looks pretty legitimate to me.
    Legitimate? Gianfranco Forni is not even an academician. As said by Ygorcs, it is Gianfranco Forni that must debunk the most credited scientific hypothesis with very strong arguments and evidences, not the other way around.

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    1 out of 3 members found this post helpful.
    Quote Originally Posted by PelayoelGonzalez View Post
    Can you debunk Gianfranco Forni's "Evidence for Basque as an Indo-European Language"? It looks pretty legitimate to me.
    Gianfranco probably has legitimate evidence that the Basque language has been surrounded by IE for 5000 years. Then again, very little would surprise me nowadays, language research probably attracts the least intelligent students.

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    1 out of 1 members found this post helpful.
    I have little to add here, since Ygorcs explained it all quite eloquently and detailed.

    Basque is indeed a non-Indo-European language (no doubt about this?). There are loanwords from Indo-European, Romance mainly, which is unsurprising given how the Basques have been surrounded by Romance speakers for about 2000 years.

    I do not think, however, that the Basques, had been surrounded by Indo-Europeans for that much longer, and that contacts with the Celts were relatively recent. For one, there's relatively few Celtic loanwords, and you have the situation that Basque has "native" vocabulary for metallurgy, for example burdin ("iron", originally maybe just generic "metal" or "copper"/"bronze"?) and arotz ("smith").

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    Partially true: Not IE, but related to it.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Taranis View Post
    I have little to add here, since Ygorcs explained it all quite eloquently and detailed.

    Basque is indeed a non-Indo-European language (no doubt about this?). There are loanwords from Indo-European, Romance mainly, which is unsurprising given how the Basques have been surrounded by Romance speakers for about 2000 years.

    I do not think, however, that the Basques, had been surrounded by Indo-Europeans for that much longer, and that contacts with the Celts were relatively recent. For one, there's relatively few Celtic loanwords, and you have the situation that Basque has "native" vocabulary for metallurgy, for example burdin ("iron", originally maybe just generic "metal" or "copper"/"bronze"?) and arotz ("smith").
    Basques are not Indi¡o-Europeans, and their language doesn't descend from PIE.
    BUT: They are related sideways, like (second) cousins, from a common ancestor, the 'grandfather' of Proto-Indo-European.
    What G. Forni actually found, is an lexical relationship of Basque with PIE, i.e. he found that many basic words in Basque have an IE-like etymology, even though the choice of more or less synonymous PIE(-like) roots is often different from other, IE, languages. But he erroneously concluded that it IS an IE language. This is impossible for typological reasons: PIE is flective (it has conjugations and declensions), while Basque is an agglutinative language. According to von Humboldt-Gabelentz, language typology is a one-way street: isolating > agglutinating > flecting. The cycle may start again, when an IE language e.g. looses all flection: English is well on its way.

    Note that Iberian and the Basqueoid substrate language in western Europe are related to Basque. I call those 'Paleo-European' languages. They came to the West from the Eastern Mediterranean during the migration of the early Neolithic farmers to western Europe around 5,500 BCE. The Iberians came actually later, but from the same stock. In S. Europe this coincides with the Cardial/Impresso pottery, in N. Europe with LBK (Linear Band Keramik) pottery.

    Extensive details can be read in three articles of mine on the Academia.edu website. Eupedia won't allow me to mention the links until I have 10 posts.

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    2 out of 2 members found this post helpful.
    Quote Originally Posted by Ygorcs View Post
    Actually, if the scientific consensus is that Basque is NOT an Indo-European language, it is Gianfranco Forni that must debunk the most credited scientific hypothesis with very nice arguments and evidences, not the other way around. This is a discussion for professional linguists in a scientific field, not for amateurs like us.

    As for how to debunk it, well, Basque is so profoundly non-IE that it's easy to see how much it is apart from the others. For starters, Basque is a heavily agluttinative and intensely ergative language, unlike IE languages (even those that have ergative alignment only use it sparsely, in restricted situations). Besides, through regular sound changes and correspondences you can easily prove that IE languages have hundreds of cognates among each other, but that could never be done (not using regular sound rules) to Basque. Usually these fringe authors of "innovative" hypotheses will resort to the notion that it's not "exactly" IE but related to it in a much more ancient genealogical connection, which is very convenient because they know that as language families become older and older the connections between the languages that belong to them become thinner and thinner to the point that it's very hard to tell coincidences and demonstrable cognates apart. It all becomes conjectural, which is what they need to propose something that is so little substantiated.

    BASQUE NUMBERS: 1 bat, 2 bi, 3 hirur, 4 laur, 5 bost, 6 sei, 7 zazpi, 8 zortzi, 9 bederatzi, 9 hamar.
    ARMENIAN NUMBERS (one of the, if not the most phonologically innovative IE language): mek, yerku, yerek, chorss, hing, vets, yote, oot, eenë, tahssë.
    PORTUGUESE NUMBERS: um, dois, três, quatro, cinco, seis, sete, oito, nove, dez.

    The Portuguese-Armenian connection is much more strongly and easily demonstrated than any of them to Basque, especially if you know the reconstructed forms of PIE made on the basis of dozens of different IE languages, which clearly fits the development pattern from PIE to Portuguese and to Armenian, but not to Basque. For example, it's much easier to realize how the numeral 6 became seis in Portuguese and vets in Armenian when you see that the common reconstructed form was probably *swek's (palatalized kj). The one numeral in Basque that looks "Indo-European" is also 6, "sei", but even that is very suspicious as an argument in favor of its being IE, because if all the other numbers look so extremely different, which would suggest very profound and innovative phonological developments from PIE to Basque, how is it possible that sei was preserved so unchanged? Also, there is of course no regular sound rule that would make swek's become sei and also affected equally other Basque words.

    As far as I can see here (http://euskararenjatorria.net/wp-con...ticle-JIES.pdf), Forni basically seeks and finds Proto-Celtic or PIE roots that look similar to Basque words and assumes them to be at the root of the modern Basque forms, but then he derives some sound rules that supposedly explain them, but as I could see some of them explain part of the word's development, but not the rest, and in other cases the sound rules work in some situations and not in others, or are inferred without the demonstration that the same phenomenon also happened in at least a dozen other words in the same position in the syllable.

    For example, he explains sei (6) based on the sound rule that /s/ was preserved and final /s/ often droped (*sek's > *sek > *sei), but I couldn't find an explanation on how final /k/ was supposed to have fallen, and why the reconstruction must be *sek's and not the more reliable *swek's (which would invalidate his etymology, because he also states that /sw/ became a /b/, so we would have *bei, not *sei), and how become a diphthong /ej/. Besides, that same sound rule is contradicted by the following number 7 (zazpi), which supposedly is also IE and thus should've come from *septm (where is the preservation of /s/ as in sei)? Where's the supposed sound rule - with some exceptions - of preservation of the vowels? How is it explained that -ptm became -zpi? Also, sometimes he uses the more "convenient" modern Basque form instead of the reconstructed Old Basque/Proto-Basque form, which would clearly be more complicated to explain as an IE form: e.g. bi "two" instead of the reconstructed old form biga, so that he can derive bi from dwi, even though this form is assumed to have been a numeral prefix, and not the number "two" in PIE (that would've been *duwos, also inconveniently less similar to bi).

    You don't prove a language belongs to a language family just through mass comparison of words and juxtaposing roots and words that look similar, then deriving ad hoc explanations to justify how and why they changed (but did he really demonstrate that the exact same process happened in other words? It didn't look like he was so systematic). It's an interesting proposal, but I was not very convinced. I'd like to see it peer-reviewed by scientists. Was it, though?

    Another problem, I think, is that Basque looks similar to the Iberian language, for which we have really ancient inscriptions, and the Iberian numerals of 2000-2500 years ago looked strikingly similar to those of Basque and even discounting 2 milennia of continuous phonetic evolution they were still not any more similar to Indo-European numerals: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Iberian_language#Numerals

    EDIT: Another example of how Basque "functions", gramatically, in an agluttinative way that is alien to IE: its possessive pronouns formed by adding a regular suffix -re, instead of the complex fusional pattern (with remnants of ablauts and all) you find in IE languages. Thus you have: ni-re, hi-re, zu-re, etc. > nire, hire, zure. That couldn't me more different from IE patterns, with a fusional genitive declension of the personal pronouns: PIE *h1moi/*h1méne, *nos/*nsero-, *toi/*teue >>> English my/mine, our/ours, thy/thine.
    very good work Ygorcs! It's time to debunk the ever more "sensationalistic" theories in linguistic -

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    Quote Originally Posted by edsel View Post
    Basques are not Indi¡o-Europeans, and their language doesn't descend from PIE.
    BUT: They are related sideways, like (second) cousins, from a common ancestor, the 'grandfather' of Proto-Indo-European.
    What G. Forni actually found, is an lexical relationship of Basque with PIE, i.e. he found that many basic words in Basque have an IE-like etymology, even though the choice of more or less synonymous PIE(-like) roots is often different from other, IE, languages. But he erroneously concluded that it IS an IE language. This is impossible for typological reasons: PIE is flective (it has conjugations and declensions), while Basque is an agglutinative language. According to von Humboldt-Gabelentz, language typology is a one-way street: isolating > agglutinating > flecting. The cycle may start again, when an IE language e.g. looses all flection: English is well on its way.

    Note that Iberian and the Basqueoid substrate language in western Europe are related to Basque. I call those 'Paleo-European' languages. They came to the West from the Eastern Mediterranean during the migration of the early Neolithic farmers to western Europe around 5,500 BCE. The Iberians came actually later, but from the same stock. In S. Europe this coincides with the Cardial/Impresso pottery, in N. Europe with LBK (Linear Band Keramik) pottery.

    Extensive details can be read in three articles of mine on the Academia.edu website. Eupedia won't allow me to mention the links until I have 10 posts.
    So you're implying that Indo-European descends ultimately, through its mother or grandmother language, from a Neolithic Anatolian language of the ANF/EEF stock of early farmers? That would be interesting, but quite a bit hard to reconcile with the apparent movements from the steppe that look strongly correlated with the spread of Indo-European languages, because any significant EEF or ANF signal in those populations only appears in relevant ways after the dispersals from the Pontic-Caspian steppe had already begun with culutral diversification over a huge territory. The "South Caucasus" has always been seen to match up better with the strong CHG admixture in Pontic-Caspian Chalcolithic/Early Bronze Age cultures, not EEF or ANF...

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    1 out of 1 members found this post helpful.
    Quote Originally Posted by Expredel View Post
    language research probably attracts the least intelligent students.
    This is downright INSULTING. Who are you to assess people's IQ through their fields of interest ?

    Mods... please!!
    It is therefore worth while to search out the bounds between opinion and knowledge; and examine by what measures, in things whereof we have no certain knowledge, we ought to regulate our assent and moderate our persuasion. (John Locke)

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ygorcs View Post
    Actually, if the scientific consensus is that Basque is NOT an Indo-European language, it is Gianfranco Forni that must debunk the most credited scientific hypothesis with very nice arguments and evidences, not the other way around. This is a discussion for professional linguists in a scientific field, not for amateurs like us.

    As for how to debunk it, well, Basque is so profoundly non-IE that it's easy to see how much it is apart from the others. For starters, Basque is a heavily agluttinative and intensely ergative language, unlike IE languages (even those that have ergative alignment only use it sparsely, in restricted situations). Besides, through regular sound changes and correspondences you can easily prove that IE languages have hundreds of cognates among each other, but that could never be done (not using regular sound rules) to Basque. Usually these fringe authors of "innovative" hypotheses will resort to the notion that it's not "exactly" IE but related to it in a much more ancient genealogical connection, which is very convenient because they know that as language families become older and older the connections between the languages that belong to them become thinner and thinner to the point that it's very hard to tell coincidences and demonstrable cognates apart. It all becomes conjectural, which is what they need to propose something that is so little substantiated.

    BASQUE NUMBERS: 1 bat, 2 bi, 3 hirur, 4 laur, 5 bost, 6 sei, 7 zazpi, 8 zortzi, 9 bederatzi, 9 hamar.
    ARMENIAN NUMBERS (one of the, if not the most phonologically innovative IE language): mek, yerku, yerek, chorss, hing, vets, yote, oot, eenë, tahssë.
    PORTUGUESE NUMBERS: um, dois, três, quatro, cinco, seis, sete, oito, nove, dez.

    The Portuguese-Armenian connection is much more strongly and easily demonstrated than any of them to Basque, especially if you know the reconstructed forms of PIE made on the basis of dozens of different IE languages, which clearly fits the development pattern from PIE to Portuguese and to Armenian, but not to Basque. For example, it's much easier to realize how the numeral 6 became seis in Portuguese and vets in Armenian when you see that the common reconstructed form was probably *swek's (palatalized kj). The one numeral in Basque that looks "Indo-European" is also 6, "sei", but even that is very suspicious as an argument in favor of its being IE, because if all the other numbers look so extremely different, which would suggest very profound and innovative phonological developments from PIE to Basque, how is it possible that sei was preserved so unchanged? Also, there is of course no regular sound rule that would make swek's become sei and also affected equally other Basque words.

    As far as I can see here (http://euskararenjatorria.net/wp-con...ticle-JIES.pdf), Forni basically seeks and finds Proto-Celtic or PIE roots that look similar to Basque words and assumes them to be at the root of the modern Basque forms, but then he derives some sound rules that supposedly explain them, but as I could see some of them explain part of the word's development, but not the rest, and in other cases the sound rules work in some situations and not in others, or are inferred without the demonstration that the same phenomenon also happened in at least a dozen other words in the same position in the syllable.

    For example, he explains sei (6) based on the sound rule that /s/ was preserved and final /s/ often droped (*sek's > *sek > *sei), but I couldn't find an explanation on how final /k/ was supposed to have fallen, and why the reconstruction must be *sek's and not the more reliable *swek's (which would invalidate his etymology, because he also states that /sw/ became a /b/, so we would have *bei, not *sei), and how become a diphthong /ej/. Besides, that same sound rule is contradicted by the following number 7 (zazpi), which supposedly is also IE and thus should've come from *septm (where is the preservation of /s/ as in sei)? Where's the supposed sound rule - with some exceptions - of preservation of the vowels? How is it explained that -ptm became -zpi? Also, sometimes he uses the more "convenient" modern Basque form instead of the reconstructed Old Basque/Proto-Basque form, which would clearly be more complicated to explain as an IE form: e.g. bi "two" instead of the reconstructed old form biga, so that he can derive bi from dwi, even though this form is assumed to have been a numeral prefix, and not the number "two" in PIE (that would've been *duwos, also inconveniently less similar to bi).

    You don't prove a language belongs to a language family just through mass comparison of words and juxtaposing roots and words that look similar, then deriving ad hoc explanations to justify how and why they changed (but did he really demonstrate that the exact same process happened in other words? It didn't look like he was so systematic). It's an interesting proposal, but I was not very convinced. I'd like to see it peer-reviewed by scientists. Was it, though?

    Another problem, I think, is that Basque looks similar to the Iberian language, for which we have really ancient inscriptions, and the Iberian numerals of 2000-2500 years ago looked strikingly similar to those of Basque and even discounting 2 milennia of continuous phonetic evolution they were still not any more similar to Indo-European numerals: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Iberian_language#Numerals

    EDIT: Another example of how Basque "functions", gramatically, in an agluttinative way that is alien to IE: its possessive pronouns formed by adding a regular suffix -re, instead of the complex fusional pattern (with remnants of ablauts and all) you find in IE languages. Thus you have: ni-re, hi-re, zu-re, etc. > nire, hire, zure. That couldn't me more different from IE patterns, with a fusional genitive declension of the personal pronouns: PIE *h1moi/*h1méne, *nos/*nsero-, *toi/*teue >>> English my/mine, our/ours, thy/thine.
    Actually, let me correct on this: There is so far unchallenged scientific consensus that Basque is not an Indo-European language. It takes only one successful take to change that.

    There exists language groups, where some languages among them have aggluttination and some don't. If IE doesn't contain aggluttinative language, Basque can be the one, that is. So, this is not really an argument - I wish this was the case... it would be so much easier to classify languages and if they belong to language groups, but that is not so.

    There are some problems, that are related to IE languages and spread of R1b in Europe which is as early as 14 000(maybe earlier, but that is not the main point). No idea what languages they were speaking at that point, as all of IE language groups we know now, spread much later(~10000 years later) and replaced or fused with R1b, that was there already. The first influx of R y-dna did not replace I y-dna, but clearly some time around that C y-dna in Spain was gone and blame might be on R1b. And the question is how much of these early R1b languages differed from others R1b speakers left behind to the east?
    The other question is when language becomes belonging to some group and when it belongs to some other group. These changes can happen to any language over time. For example, Germanic, have also some massive nonIE origin, but is still considered IE and not multiple origins. How is that different with Basque who has so much borrowings from IE? So, how and when one is considered as IE - what is criteria for one to belong to it and others not belonging?


    I find it interesting, that this question - whether Basque belong to IE or not has similar parallels of researching ties in other language groups and they have been found recent or very recent times: Ongan-Austronesian, Ket - Na-Dene, Yukagir-Uralic. All of them are isolated languages. So, maybe, there is something in the end with Basque - all that is needed is some decent research to be done.

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    Quote Originally Posted by laint View Post
    Actually, let me correct on this: There is so far unchallenged scientific consensus that Basque is not an Indo-European language. It takes only one successful take to change that.

    There exists language groups, where some languages among them have aggluttination and some don't. If IE doesn't contain aggluttinative language, Basque can be the one, that is. So, this is not really an argument - I wish this was the case... it would be so much easier to classify languages and if they belong to language groups, but that is not so.

    There are some problems, that are related to IE languages and spread of R1b in Europe which is as early as 14 000(maybe earlier, but that is not the main point). No idea what languages they were speaking at that point, as all of IE language groups we know now, spread much later(~10000 years later) and replaced or fused with R1b, that was there already. The first influx of R y-dna did not replace I y-dna, but clearly some time around that C y-dna in Spain was gone and blame might be on R1b. And the question is how much of these early R1b languages differed from others R1b speakers left behind to the east?
    The other question is when language becomes belonging to some group and when it belongs to some other group. These changes can happen to any language over time. For example, Germanic, have also some massive nonIE origin, but is still considered IE and not multiple origins. How is that different with Basque who has so much borrowings from IE? So, how and when one is considered as IE - what is criteria for one to belong to it and others not belonging?


    I find it interesting, that this question - whether Basque belong to IE or not has similar parallels of researching ties in other language groups and they have been found recent or very recent times: Ongan-Austronesian, Ket - Na-Dene, Yukagir-Uralic. All of them are isolated languages. So, maybe, there is something in the end with Basque - all that is needed is some decent research to be done.
    The issue is exactly that: that take on Basque as IE does not look convincing, much less successful not only to me, but also to actual experts in linguistics. Maybe a refinement of that hypothesis will come out to be more persuasive. Considering everything I said in my previous post, I think Basque as closely related to Celtic - therefore a younger nod in the tree even compared to other IE subfamilies - would mean a too recent connection to be really likely.

    Additionally, if your hypothesis about R1b expansion into Europe is eventually found to be true, then all it would prove is that Basque and IE are distantly related language families, not that Basque is IE, because it wouldn't have derived from PIE anyway, unless you want to name a R1b 14,000-year-old language "PIE", but that would be technically imprecise. PIE and the long gone ancestor of Basque would in fact derive from a common great-great-grandmother language or something like that. Basque certainly does not derive from LPIE spoken in the Early Bronze Age anyway. Besides, Basque is typologically very distinct from any IE language, the distinctions between the most distantly related IE languages cannot even begin to be compared to those between Basque and IE languages, let alone reconstructed PIE. Even the way morphology and syntax works is totally different in the very structure, one strictly agluttinative, the other classically fusional. PIE is just not old enough for us to expect that huge distinction to the point of making the identification of a phylogenetic relationship extremely hard, with a fusional language going completely agluttinative and totally changing most of its basic vocabulary (even pronouns) in the matter of some 3000-3500 years (considering Old Basque attestation). PIE is not Proto-Afro-Asiatic or Dené-Yeniseian, either, both much chronologically deeper and therefore allowing for more profound change. The similarities between the two branches - Basque and IE - are sparse and obscure enough that few linguists even entertain that possibility, and they suggest that indeed the best thing one can reasonably argue (but still quite speculative) is that they are two related language families, but that is not the same as claiming a "Indo-European Basque".

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ygorcs View Post
    The issue is exactly that: that take on Basque as IE does not look convincing, much less successful not only to me, but also to actual experts in linguistics. Maybe a refinement of that hypothesis will come out to be more persuasive. Considering everything I said in my previous post, I think Basque as closely related to Celtic - therefore a younger nod in the tree even compared to other IE subfamilies - would mean a too recent connection to be really likely.

    Additionally, if your hypothesis about R1b expansion into Europe is eventually found to be true, then all it would prove is that Basque and IE are distantly related language families, not that Basque is IE, because it wouldn't have derived from PIE anyway, unless you want to name a R1b 14,000-year-old language "PIE", but that would be technically imprecise. PIE and the long gone ancestor of Basque would in fact derive from a common great-great-grandmother language or something like that. Basque certainly does not derive from LPIE spoken in the Early Bronze Age anyway. Besides, Basque is typologically very distinct from any IE language, the distinctions between the most distantly related IE languages cannot even begin to be compared to those between Basque and IE languages, let alone reconstructed PIE. Even the way morphology and syntax works is totally different in the very structure, one strictly agluttinative, the other classically fusional. PIE is just not old enough for us to expect that huge distinction to the point of making the identification of a phylogenetic relationship extremely hard, with a fusional language going completely agluttinative and totally changing most of its basic vocabulary (even pronouns) in the matter of some 3000-3500 years (considering Old Basque attestation). PIE is not Proto-Afro-Asiatic or Dené-Yeniseian, either, both much chronologically deeper and therefore allowing for more profound change. The similarities between the two branches - Basque and IE - are sparse and obscure enough that few linguists even entertain that possibility, and they suggest that indeed the best thing one can reasonably argue (but still quite speculative) is that they are two related language families, but that is not the same as claiming a "Indo-European Basque".
    Gianfranco Forni's text is one of the latest and most extensive work about this topic - it has some flaws, than can be defined as: data always can be bigger. John T. Koch bases his main defense that IE languages evolved from one node, which is not really true even according to the facts where IE languages are hybrid languages made from local and influx of new languages. Anyway, I would have expected some caution about this topic, than total dismissal.

    The problem with current IE language model as something that evolved from one node is that the center of PIE is located around R1a and more specifically - E Europe and expansion of IE languages in Europe also coincides with R1a expansion. And most of R1b was already in Europe and became IE speaking by language and cultural shift. And one of those IE language groups - Celtic, share a lot with Basque - numerical system, based on 20(IE has 10based system), some vocabulary and grammar, that is not shared with rest of IE. I actually started to search for this question if Basque is related to IE after studying Gaelic, which is really strange language as IE language.

    So, there are some questions about Basque language as very related to IE and it does not matter how this relatedness is defined - new IE branch or IE-Basque language family - as this dissolves current status of Basque as isolated language, that is not related to anyone near them.

    Also, related to them is question about pre-Celtic languages in Italy, which might be distinct IE languages or might be belonging to proposed Tyrsenian language family. Anyway, if Etruscian is defined as nonIE language, even if Latin now contains some of vocabulary of it, it rather begs for different system on how to classify languages, as current is not precise and if IE contains wildly different language groups it doesn't makes sense to exclude someone who differ from other IE languages only a bit more.

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