Discussion in 'Etymology, History of languages and Linguistics (EHL)' started by CristAbe, Jan 21, 2008.
Why are the Batic languages not considered Slave?
Do you mean Slavic/Slavonic. It's simple they are not of Slavic origin, that is not belonging to the same language group as languages spoken in other surrounding countries that are Slavonic.
Take for example Romanian, it's a Romance language derived from Latin like Italian, Spanish and French so has no reason to be considered Slavic regardless of the geographical location of the country.
I'm no expert in any way, but I always had an idea that Latvian and Lithuanian belonged to the Slavic group. Whereas Estonian, without a doubt, belongs to the Finnish-Hungarian group. I never actually even heard the term "Baltic languages" as they belong to different lanquaqe groups anyway. Again-it's not my profession.
Baltic languages definitely exists as a group separate from Slavic languages. They all developed from a single Proto-Baltic language, which was separate from Proto-Slavic, the common ancestor of all Slavic languages. Both of these groups are subgroups of the larger family of Indo-European languages, and therefore share some similarities, since they all ultimately developed from a common Proto-Into-European language that was spoken thousands of years ago, and which was also the ancestor of Germanic, Romance, Iranian, Celtic, and many other language groups.
The similarities between Baltic and Slavic languages are indeed larger than between either of them and, say, Germanic languages, and this has led some linguists to hypothesize that both Proto-Baltic and Proto-Slavic developed from a common Proto-Balto-Slavic that existed a single language at some period. However, this hypothesis is controversial, and other linguists explain the Balto-Slavic similarities by intensive language contact at some point in prehistory, rather than a common Proto-Balto-Slavic language.
On a practical level, however, the difference between any given Baltic and Slavic language is immensely greater than between any two Slavic languages. Between even the most remote Slavic languages, there is always at least some fragmentary mutual intelligibility (and often much more than that), whereas the Baltic-Slavic mutual intelligibility is pretty much zero.
To get the idea, just look at the Lord's Prayer in Czech and Polish (both Slavic) and Lithuanian (Baltic):
That's a bit of cheating, since Czech and Polish aren't nearly the most remote pair of Slavic languages. The greatest opposites, at least from the standardized national languages, would probably be Polish and Bulgarian. Of course, even those two are immensely more similar than either of them would be with any Baltic language. A nice overview of the Lord's Prayer across the Slavic world can be seen here (including a few fictional quasi-Slavic constructed languages):
I thought that showing the similarities between Czech and Polish was good enough, especially since Poland is one of Lithuania's neighbouring countries. So one might think that those two countries' languages are related. Belarussian could also be used for a comparison, as Belarus is another neighbouring country of Lithuania.
Slovenian version is wrong! Somebody has copy-pasted Serbian text over there.
The simplest answer to the original question is the discrepancy of the core vocabulary.
In Slavic, there is a clear core vocab of hundreds of basic words. For example, Slavic 'name': Polish imie, Bulgarian ime, etc. Baltic 'name': Latvian vards, Lithuanian vardas.
One could continue the long list of evident discrepancies ...
According to V. Toporov, Slavic languages originate from the Baltic group, first appearing at the South periphery of the latter, as one of the dialects.
As for Czech, that is, as for all I know, an archaic version of the language... and the Glagolitic Mass composed by Janacek uses a language that probably is more comprehensible to Southern or Eastern Slavs than to Czechs.
However, right are those who say that the mutual intelligibility between Slavic and Baltic languages is virtually nonexistent.
There was a proto-Slavic language, very close to the first Slavonic texts attested, so that all Slavic languages do continue that proto-Slavic language. In other words, all descendents of that proto-Slavic language are called Slavic languages by definition.
Baltic languages are not descendents of that proto-Slavic language.
The reconstruction of that proto-Slavic language is reliable enough.
Some people believe that there was also a proto-Balto-Slavic language whose descendents are the proto-Slavic language and the Baltic languages. However, the reconstruction of the proto-Balto-Slavic language, if such existed, is very hard and unreliable.
Similarly, one may ask why Slavic languages are not considered Germanic or why Germanic languages are not considered Slavic. Actually, all these languages are considered indo-european (IE) along with many other languages.
Contrary to what seems to be the mainstream opinion, to be found here:
Now, I am the first one to question the information found on Wikipedia, but given the fact that you sound so assured, could you please point out where exactly the mainstream reconstruction of (Proto-) Balto-Slavic fails.
In particular, Toporov mentions the following problems, questioning the hypotetical Proto-Balto-Slavic language:
- absence No Proto-Slavic hydronimic areal isochronous to the Proto-Baltic one;
- absence or non-identifiability of the Proto-Slavic loans in the Proto-Valtic and v.v.;
- different attitude of the Finno-Ugric languages ot the loans from the Balcti and Proto-Slavic;
- predominant closeness of the Slavic to the Prussian.
Difference between Austrian German and Icelandic (Germanic languages) is probably bigger than differenceness in any combination of two languages from "Balto - Slavic Group", but similarness neither geography are not the only relevant criterias for segmentation of particular languages.
There are couple of faults in Slovak version too.
Author of that site is post mortem already.
I see big diffrence between Baltic and Slavic languages. I think Baltic languages should be consideret as sepertated group.
And like some of you mentioned that Lithuania and Latvia had Slavic neighbours .Today's Belorussia is Slavic but in the far past (they were not Slavs they were Balts "Guds" (which was tottaly diffrent from today's Belorusians who are Slavs) Latvia (Lithuanian Neighbour which was under Germans control in past.(Livonia)...and other Lithuanian Neighbours today (Kaliningrad) which was (East Prussia) allmost 1000years it was German lands until 1945 when Russian occupated that territory.
The question is not how to consider them in our epoch, but their origin: are the both groups independant descendants of some proto-language (or group), or Slavic languages have precipitated from the Baltic languages group.
If I'm not mistaken, in his relatively recent (2008) book titled "Povijesno-poredbena gramatika hrvatskoga jezika" (Historical-comparative grammar of the Croatian Language), Ranko Matasović, a rather well-known (at least in these parts) Croat linguist, as his official stance in the book also adopts the view of Proto-Slavic being one of three nodes (in comparative sense), the other two being Eastern Baltic and Western Baltic.
This idea of proto-Slavic emerging as a sort of a koine from some fringe "Baltic" dialect may go well with the idea of the Slavs emerging historically as an ethnic/political entity on the Roman limes.
OK, the Proto-Slavic is reconstructed till some degree as we see here (I'd not call this reconstruction Proto-Slavic rather than Old-Slavic), but there's no any reconstructions further in past. E.g. let's take word rydati 'to cry', from which older form it descends? Or we can take lipa 'lime-tree', rǫka 'hand', ablonь 'apple-tree' etc, - from which older forms they directly have arisen?
So the main question is: what language is ancestor of Proto-Slavic?
Which language joins Proto-Slavic with Proto-Indo-European? As you can not derive directly rydati from *raudātavai, even not speaking how to derive lisa 'fox' from *laupāsā '[animal] who steals [hens]'.
That's a very good question.
But this is not always the case. While I've seen etymological dictionaries and books on Proto-Slavic stopping at what I guess is the form that can be deduced by only going from daughter languages (without looking at reconstructed parent languages), such as listing *rǫka, Matasović in his book cited above for example gives *rankā, which is obviously an earlier form. Although he calls this praslavenski (basically, Proto-Slavic), rather than what he calls predslavenski (basically, pre-Proto-Slavic, the state between Balto-Slavic and Proto-Slavic), it's obviously an early rather than late Proto-Slavic form. It's similar with other words, he lists *lējpā instead of *lipa etc.
This is certainly useful, and I think he does it on purpose as he stresses listing of cognate Baltic forms. I'm certainly glad, but I wonder what other linguists would have to say about that. I'd certainly like to know which other books or etymological dictionaries do this.
The question about Pre-Proto-Slavic is very important directly in aspect of existing or no existing of Proto-Balto-Slavic language (which is denied by some linguists), because whenever you go from Proto-Slavic to Proto-Indo-Europen you get into Proto-Baltic (PB). From *rǫka you get into *rankā, which is Proto-Baltic, from lipa you get into *leipā, which again is Proto-Baltic, from golova/glava you get into PB *galvā, and so on. So finally you have to state that Pre-Proto-Slavic = Proto-Baltic which yields in existence of Proto-Balto-Slavic (PBS) language.
The main cause which made splitting of Slavic from PBS was the enormous Iranian influence on PBS south-east tribes, which made the biggest impact on verb inflexion system, therefore it's so different from Baltic one. Some pronouns (nas, vas) are also loaned from Iranian (Scythian).
May ruka be a baltic loan?
Baltic languages are only considered slavic because of Soviet occupation.If you want to know Baltic languages are not slavic and end of the topic.I don't see no point that it should be considered as slavic.
Ruka can not be a loan, as it observes all Slavic sound changes from [an] to (BS *ranka>*ronka>*rouka>*ruka).
Nas, vas are definitely loans from Iranian (cf. Sanskrit nas, vas 'us, you'), as Balto-Slavic forms are *mans, *vans (Latvian mūs, jūs, Old Latvian muns, vuns), which according Slavic sound changes would give Slavic *mus, *vus or even *muh, *vuh (cf. teh 'them') and not nas, vas.
Ruka may be a loan, but it can't be proven for sure. Nas, vas are not loans. Where did you get it?
Re: vas, nas
We are talking about the accusative plural, right?
How about Slavic 1st person acc. plural nas = Latin nōs? (PIE long ō, ā > a, granted, just like in Indo-Iranian).
Phonetically, the only problem would be keeping the final -s from disappearing due to the law of open syllables?
Is that why it has to be Iranian influence? Why can't the Baltic form be considered an innovation?
Scholars cannot agree when the forebears of Lithuanians and Latvians came into contact with the Baltic Finns, the ancestors of the present-day Finns and Estonians. Linguistic facts seem to suggest that their friendly relations back to very ancient times.
The Finnish linguist Lauri Hakulinen has estimated that Baltic loan words in Modern Standard Finnish account for 1.1 per cents, i.e. eleven words out of a thousand are of the Baltic origin. Some linguists, archaeologists in particular, maintain that the Balts and Finns became neighbours as early as the 2nd millennium BC. Others push that date forward to the very last centuries BC.
Judging from the level of civilisation reflected in the Finnish words of the Baltic origin, the Lithuanian linguist Kazimieras Buga (1879 - 1924) placed the first Finnish - Lithuanian contacts between the year 1000 and 500 BC.
Here are a few typical examples of Finnish words of Baltic origin:
Fin. ahingas harpoon, Est. ahinga cf. Lith. akstinas thorn, prick.
Fin. ansa loop, snare, Est. aas cf. Lith. asa.
Fin. hammas tooth, Est. hammas, cf. Lith. zambis wooden plough, Latv. zobs tooth.
Fin. heimo relative, relatives, Est. hoim, cf. Lith. seima, Latv. saime family.
Fin. keli road, cf. Lith. kelias.
Fin. kirves axe, Est. kirves, cf. Lith. kirvis.
Fin. morsian bride, Est. mors, cf. Lith. marti daughter-in-law.
Fin. paimen shepherd, cf. Lith. piemuo.
Fin. talkoot (collective) assistance, help, Est. talgug, cf. Lith. talka.
The semantics of Baltic loan words - the presence of terms of relationship, agriculture, animal husbandry, the absence of loan words denoting weaponry or discord - testifies to the friendly character of Baltic - Finnish relations.
It is also interesting that Latvian seems more similar to Russian and Slavic languages than Lithuanian language does. It might be just my impression, but if there's some support for such a distinction, it would support the line of thought of Jānis Endzelīns, that the similarities between the Baltic and Slavic languages are there due to intensive language contacts. Lithuanian is after all the more archaic of the two living languages of the Baltic group and has generally received less foreign influences than Latvian.
Some hypothetic reconstitutions of Proto-(Pre-)Slavic words offered by Matasović above are not dead, being also now in live use within Baegnjunski archidiom of northernmost Croatia e.g. lejpa (linden), rauka (arm) etc. This same mini-language includes also some hundreds of words identical or very similar to West-Baltic ones, and partly also a similar grammar especially in pronouns. One cannot list them all in this post, but I add down their main examples widely used also in Kaykavian and Chakavian. Their decreasing similarity to Baltic group is: mostly Prusiskan, then Yatvingian (Sudovian), Lithuanian, and Latvian as much different. Among Slavs, the decreasing similarity to West-Baltic is: mostly Baegnjunski, Kaykavian, Chakavian, Slovenian, Ikavian, BCS-standards, and less in others.
The most striking West-Baltic/Kaykavian links are their same pronouns kai, ikai, nikai, nekai (what & derivates), menei, tebei, sebei (me, you, him), and other identic (*also Chakavian) are: iz* (from), na* (on), pare* (vapours), priki* (contrary), sestra* (sister), struja* (current), winjaga (vine); also many similar ones: berza/breza (birch), brate/brat* (brother), gara/gar* (heat), galva/glava* (head), kadan/kada* (when), kmets/kmet (serf), lazina/blazina* (coverlet), leds/led* (ice), lezja/lezjat* (recline), medu/med* (honey), mestan/mesto* (site), milon/milni (dear), nadele/nedela (Sunday), nage/noge* (legs), ponedele/ponedelek (Monday), pazina/pažnja (watch), pekare/pekar* (baker), pimpa/pimpek (pizzle), raks/rak* (cancer), škadan/škodan* (nuisible), twaja/tvoja* (yours), warta/vrata* (door), wesels/vesel* (merry), wetra/vetar* (wind), zeljan/zelje (cabbage), zwerins/zveri* (beasts) ...etc.
Some of the examples of similarity between Baegnjunski and Baltic are focusing on pronunciation, correct? Because, pretty much all the other words exist in other Slavic languages also, proving that they are just as related. Sometimes, similar pronunciation of a common root are nothing more than parallel, coincidental development (an example is the pronunciation of English "house" and German "Haus"--their similar pronunciation is a kind of coincidence only).
Also, isn't it believed that the Slavic and Baltic languages began to diverge around 3,000 years ago? The days of the week, for example, are largely cultural terms of the Middle Ages. Nedela and Ponedelek are results of Christianity--they would have replaced previous terms. Cabbage is also suspect, since it probably was not eaten by early proto-Baltic or proto-Slavic speakers since it is a vegetable of Mediterranean origin unknown in non-Mediterranean Europe over 2,000 years ago--the standard Slavic "kapusta" comes from Latin "caput" (head).
You have probably not well understand my above post: It do not pretend at all that actual Baegnjunski descended directly from Proto-Baltic even before 3 millenia, but these similarities may be much younger, because the ancestors of these Baednjoki were undoubtely original Slavs and they immigrated in their actual Croatian area from north in 7th/9th century AD. Formerly, they were probably the near neighbors of Western Balts and so they inherited a considerable number of their loanwords, e.g. the most indicative pronouns kai, ikai, nikai, nekai (what etc.) mostly lacking in other Slavs except Slovenians. The cabbage terms as zelje, zeli etc. are usual and distinctive of southwestern Slavs i.e. Slovenians and Croats (including Kaykavian, Chakavian etc.), but absent eastwards in Bosnians, Serbs and most other Slavs where the modern derivatives of Slavic 'kapusta' widely prevail. E.g. in Croats 'kupus' occur also in parallel with a changed pejorative signification as a bad mixture or a ripped old book etc.
I would like to emphasise, in support of koniecswiata's post above, that many of those words are also common in other Slavic languages.
Links between Slovenian and Kajkavian on the one hand and Western Slavic languages on the other one are well-proven (in fact, the prevailing theory about migration of Slovenes to the region where they live now include an earlier wave of possibly Western Slavs which overlapped with a younger one of Southern Slavs - a hypothesis, but a well-founded one).
On the other hand, examples like "galva/glava" = head (the first one Baltic, the second one Slavic) do not really reveal a great deal about "similarity" or "non-similarity", as applied liquida metathesis (glava) is typical for all Slavic languages, while the lack of liquida metathesis (galva) is a marker of Baltic languages.
So of that list above most examples only are of interest comparing Baltic and Slavic languages in the context of their relationship in the broader Indo-European spectrum: "galva/glava" could be seen as an indicator that Slavic and Baltic languages were closer to each other than to any of the other IE languages, which is the prevailing theory, but still not an uncontested one, as the discussion in this thread (and some others here in EHl, refering to similar topics) already has shown.
I believe that the (Proto)-Balto-Slavic is a myth, a total absurdity, created by people who wanted to prove something against any commonsense.
What is so close between the Slavic and the Prussian? Have they seen Prussian, or at least heard it?
I doubt it. I believe that Austrian German is somehow related to Icelandic, whereas Slavic languages and Baltic languages are not genetically related at all.
I don't think anyone has heard (Old) Prussian in quite a while, due to its unfortunate predicament of having become extinct several centuries ago.
I believe that the words similar in Slavic and Baltic languages are either loans, a result of contact of those peoples, or words derived directly from the Proto Indo-European.
This may be true, but Finno-Ugric languages and Baltic languages are genetically not related at all.
It is not extinct: it has partially been reconstructed. It could be heard just a few centuries ago.
And the fact that it can't be heard today makes it rather convincingly extinct.
It depends from what point of view you look at it. It may not be extinct if you really like it and there are people who speak it, at least to some extent.
No, it does not. The absence of native speakers makes it extinct.
Both are groups IE languages which makes them genetically related.
When contradicting what is largely consensus view in historical linguistics (the existence of a Balto-Slavic group with a common proto-language) I would have expected slightly more tangible arguments than "I believe".
What are your credentials?
It is not really a consensus view among linguists that there has ever been a Proto Baltic-Slavic language. There are linguists who highly deny it. You are right as to the second point, that these languages are related as members of the Indo-European group. What I had in mind was really that these languages are not more related than, for example, German and Polish. One might claim that there had been a Proto Germanic-Slavic group. Examples could be found, if one really focussed on it and studied the phonetics to prove the point.
What berndf said about it being extinct of course stands, but I feel I have to retract my earlier statements. Ok, one can probably hear Old Prussian today, from linguists and language enthusiasts. However, everything one can hear is based on extant literary evidence and later reconstructions. Hearing it offers no special additional insight that can't be had by seeing it, and while I don't know much about Old Prussian, I wonder how close such modern "reenactment" is to the original language. One can probably hear Proto-Indo-European the same way.
What I said about the extinction was just something a little bit funny, a light way to put things. I hoped it would be understood. In a way nothing is extinct if it exists. From the purely linguistic point of view, Prussian is considered extinct.
Prussian could still be heard in the XVIII c.
Remot from what?
Remote as not closely related.
To each other or to another language? If to another, then to which one?
Are you sure what Athaulf meant?
As far as I know Polish and Czech are closely related, as they both belong to the West Slavic Group. Languages in one group are closer related to each other than to other groups.
To each other. I think what he really meant was that Polish and Czech are closer related to each other than other Slavic languages. Polish and Czech are not the most remote Slavic language in relation to each other. There are some other languages which would better show the similarities or differences among Slavic languages: the contrast might be sharper.
I was actually most interested to get know what Athaulf meant from himself.
Unfortunately, Athaulf is no longer active in this forum, as a brief glance at his user profile reveals.
'Tėve mūsų, kuris esi danguje,
teesie šventas tavo vardas,
teateinie tavo karalystė,
teesie tavo valia
kaip danguje, taip ir žemėje.
Kasdienės mūsų duonos duok mums šiandien
ir atleisk mums mūsų kaltes,
kaip ir mes atleidžiame savo kaltininkams.
Ir neleisk mūsų gundyti,
bet gelbėk mus nuo pikto'.Amen
Lithuanian words (above) that I suspect were loaned from Slavic and the rest are original and natural Lithuanian words:
Sventas (Rus. sviatoj, Pol. swiety), although Lat. Saint, santo
Karalyste (Rus. korolj)
Valia (Rus. volja)
Zeme (Rus. Zemlja, Pol. ziemia) - not so sure on this one
Words cognitive with English (not loan words):
Kalte (Eng. guilt; Lat. culpa)
Other Lith. words cogn. with Eng.:
TILTAS (bridge), yet English "TILT" means "slope, slant" while old bridges are usually sloped or tilted.
GRINDINYS (pavement) reminds of English GRIND (ground) which looks like ground stones.
GRIEBT (to grip; to grab)
GRIEZT (to grit)
PERKA, PIRKT (buys; to buy) = perk = to become more interested (to buy?)
BITE (a bee)
MENUO - (moon)
AUGINT (augment, to grow, to increase) or should I say: augmenti, grauti, increasti
Not to mention there are tons of words in Greek, Latin. French etc. similar or identical to Liuthuanian. And you call it Balto-Slavic group. They should be separate languages.
Portuguese - Lithuanian
Cadeira - kede
Madeira - mediena
Colina - kalva, kalnas
Lithuanian - Russian
Zinoti - znati - to know
Eiti - idti - to walk, to go
Rukyti - kuriti - to smoke
Ash - ya(sh) - I (me)
Tu - ty - you
Mes - my - we
Stiklas - steklo - glass
Grybas - grib = mushroom
Stoveti - stoyati - to stand
Gelezhis - zhelezo - iron
Peilis (a knife) - pila (a saw)
Plaukti - plavati - to swim
Begti - bezhati, begati - to run
Duoti - dati - to give
Persekioti - presledovati - to persecute
Shokineti - skakati - to jump
Zhveris - zveri - wild ferocious animal
Vilkas - volk - wolf
Meshka - mishka (medvedi) - a bear
Shienas - sieno - hay
Diena - deni - a day
Naktis - nochi - a night
Vakaras - vecher - evening
Vanduo - voda - water
Gerkle - gorlo - a throat
Stalas - stol - a table
Ezheras - ozero - a lake
Gyventi - zhiti - to live
Ranka - ruka - a hand
Akis - oko (glaz) - an eye
Tamsa - temnota - darkness
Esi - jesti - is, are
Esti (like an animal) - jesti - to eat
Bezdeti - bezdeti - to fart
Debesys - nebesa - skies, clouds
Akmuo - kameni - a stone
Teketi - techi - to flow, run (river)
Shirdis - serdtse - a heart
Inkaras - yakori - anchor
Zhiema - zima - winter
Sniegas - snieg - snow
Ledas - liod = ice
and many more?
Remark: Some or all of these words could be borrowings from either language.
Lithuanian - Italian, French, Latin etc.
Saule - soleil, sole, sol - sun
Tu - tu, vous - you
Mano - mon - mine
Lit. - German
Naktis - nacht
Thus Lithuanian, imho, is a Centum-Satem language, neither one, and both, a pan-European language.
Please indulge in this article (not mine) for answer, although I have posted more proof in my posts on WR: http://www.lituanus.org/1967/67_2_01Klimas.htm
Separate names with a comma.