Is Tartessian Indo-European?

Discussion in 'Etymology, History of languages, and Linguistics (EHL)' started by Triginta Septem, Jun 7, 2013.

  1. Triginta Septem Member

    Las Vegas, Nevada, USA
    English - America
    If you don't know, Tartessian is a Paleohispanic language commonly thought to be an isolate. It's not easy to classify because of two things: 1. There are very few surviving texts, and 2. The language uses no spaces, so figuring out just where a word ends is a difficult job. But one word has been identified as a verb, because of it's repetition and changing endings. Now I'm very aware that this is a rather crazy thing to do based on so little, but I'm wondering if two of its forms - bare and barenti - are from PIE? A PIE verb with a similar form, *bʰére- ("to bear, to carry"), which is quite widely-spread among the Indo-European languages, has the forms *bʰéroh2
    *bʰéronti. With a few simple sound changes (bʰ>b, e>a, o>e?), this seems to be rather plausible. These words were also written on grave stones, so a reading of "this grave carries/holds..." would be possible (well, maybe not with those tenses). I know this is hardly proof of relation, and that this could quite easily be due to chance, but I figured the striking resemblances were worth sharing.

    EDIT: One short text reads "akolios narketi". Again on a grave, and matching the 3rd person singular ending of PIE, this could mean something like "Akolios (a name?) rests" (i.e. "here lies Akolios"). Also note the masculine PIE ending "-os".

    EDIT (again): Also on a grave is "lakenti ra?a kasetana", using again the 3rd person plural ending. "Lakenti" to me seems rather close to PIE *legʰonti (>Eng. "lay"), which again makes perfect sense at a grave. "Ra?a kasetana" could be a name, probably feminine with the ending "-a".

    EDIT (again again, and probably not the last time before someone decides to respond...): I found in a Gaulish-Norwegian dictionary "casidanos - kasserer, bankmann". This could be related to "
    kasetana" (the t here, by the way, is believed to have also been the symbol for d), making a woman named Ra?a (the ? is a character that looks quite like an upside-down Phoenician h, so the name could maybe be pronounced Raha, and could be the Tartessian version of Hispano-Celtic name Rapa) a banker (cashier?)... The word apparently has something to do with money, but it would be helpful to know the PIE root. That would help in both establishing sound correspondences and understanding the term's use here a little better. Apparently, the Tartessians were known for their metal, so the meaning seems to work.

    EDIT (again x3): Okay, so "casidanos" is actually a loan from Latin (at least in the "danos" part, which is from Lat. "dannus", meaning "judge or government official") and the Norwegian is probably unrelated to either, so I suppose the meaning of that text is still a mystery (but it could easily be the name Rapa plus some description)...

    EDIT: I messed up on that. "Dannus" was the Latin loan of Gaulish "danos", with that definition. "Casidanos" is in fact Gaulish, not Latin. Not sure that implies any more relation to "kasetana"/"kasedana", though. It could be a loan, actually.

    EDIT: I don't know how I missed this, but the use of the ending "-enti" would imply a plural subject, not singular. This means that "ra?a
    kasetana" could be plural (neuter?) or that an "and" is implied ("ra?a and (the) kasetana"). Is it possible, though, that this is instead either a mistake or a more polite form (compare the use of "you" for "thou" in many IE languages)?

    EDIT: If I am right about any of this, I now believe "
    lakenti ra?a kasetana" is "(here) lay Ra?a (and?) the treasurer" and "akolios narketi" is "(here) Akolios rests". I have finished transcribing a longer text now. It reads as follows: "lokobo niirabo toaraiaikalte lokonanenarekakisiinkoloboiitero bare betasiioonii". The spaces were put were I feel a word definitely ends, based on repeated endings and roots. "Loko-" appears twice, and the ending "-bo" appears 2 or 3 times. The sequence "ii" appears a few times, too. Perhaps it's an ending. It could be the o-stem genitive. Again this is on a grave, so I'll go ahead and guess that "bare" is "I (the grave) hold", as some others have. Now to figure out the rest...

    EDIT: I should call these "updates", really... While I was searching, I found that Hispano-Celtic has the dative plural ending "-bo" and in
    Celtiberian the same ending is "-bos". I could imagine these (along with the Tartessian "-bo") coming from PIE dative plural *-mos. This is supported by the fact that the scripts have no character for the m sound. It could have still been pronounced as a nasal sound, but the fact that no separate character exists leads me to believe that they were allophones in at least Tartessian (the language the script was first adopted by from the Phoenicians). Anyways, "lokobo niirabo" would then be "to/for the lokos (and) to/for the niiras".
    Last edited: Jun 8, 2013
  2. Triginta Septem Member

    Las Vegas, Nevada, USA
    English - America
    I'll get more done if I'm not recording my every thought before I'm sure of it and I've posted already a huge amount, so this is the last thing for now, but apparently "lokobo niirabo" is borrowed from "lugubo(s) nerabo(s)" in a Celtic language. As for the meaning, the "nera" part is probably "lord" or "chief" and "lugu" is probably the Celtic god Lugus. Because Lugus is obviously singular, I'm guessing "lugubos" would be acting as an adjective of "nerabos" So that makes the first two words "to/for the lords of Lugus". I notice a lot of Celtic influence, but I really don't think it's a Celtic language, as most have apparently thought...

    UPDATE: People are arguing over whether Tartessian is Celtic or not (the majority opinion is that it is not) and I really don't know. I haven't made much progress with the longer text, but I do know these two parts: "Lokobo niirabo", which I explained, and "lokon", which I have (I hope correctly) assumed is another form of "lokos", namely the accusative. In Proto-Celtic, the forms are *lugubos and *lugum. I was under the impression that "Lokobo niirabo" was borrowed as a set phrase, but if that were the case, I wouldn't expect it to have (at least) two forms used correctly... This might convince me that it is Celtic, but in other things it couldn't be. For one, the strange vowel changes that don't seem to follow perfectly any rules I come up with. So I really don't know what to think. Could it be that it split off of Celtic earlier than others, before some of the changes happened in them? Maybe there was a Proto-Celto-Tartessian language of some sort? What do you think?
    Last edited: Jun 8, 2013
  3. Roel~ Member

    Nederlands - Nederland
    Very interesting to read about your findings, and it shows more of the linguistical process too. I don't really know enough about this but I know some Basque, and I know that Basque is one of the only left Iberian languages spoken in the region of Spain and could it have possibly some relationship to Basque?
  4. Triginta Septem Member

    Las Vegas, Nevada, USA
    English - America
  5. Roel~ Member

    Nederlands - Nederland
    I think it's interesting. I have read about how Georgia was called Iberia in the past and Spain was called Iberia too in the past. I think that it's at least remarkable how these two remoted areas have had the same name and how there are theories within the Basque community that their grounder would have said that he was a king of Georgia who came with some people there. I thought it was a king but I am not completely sure.
  6. Triginta Septem Member

    Las Vegas, Nevada, USA
    English - America
    I had never heard about that. Apparently, though, it's not a widely accepted theory.

    About Tartessian, though: there do seem to be some rules that work. It would seem that all aspirated voiced plosives first become unaspirated and then merge with the voiceless (at least in writing). Then stressed e apparently became a. This is seen in lakenti "they lie" < *l
    égʰonti, barenti "they hold" < *bʰéronti "they carry, they bear", and maybe narkenti "they rest (in death)" < *nekonti "they die" (but I'm really doubtful of that one). The *-onti to -enti (and *oh2 to e) is likely by assimilation.

    Table form of some of my findings:
    Last edited: Jun 8, 2013
  7. Hulalessar

    Hulalessar Senior Member

    English - England
    The etymologies are apparently quite different:

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