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The Urheimat of the Nostratic Languages

The Relationship of the Altaic and Turkic languages. Origin and development.


Slavs: Territory, Dialectal Split.

            The most part of experts, J.V. Kukharenko, L.D. Pobol and others, connect the Slavs with the Zarubintsi culture. However the scholars have no unity about its origin. One sees its roots in the Scythian, other does in the Milograd culture, others yet consider, that Zarubintsi culture has developed on the basis of several cultures. J.V. Kukharenko, considering the question about the origin of Zarubintsi culture, wrote:

            "The common for all these points of view is the unconditional recognition of the fact, that the Zarubintsi culture as such has developed in the basin of the Middle Dnepr on a local basis, and the origin of it, hence, has not been caused by any moving of the population from other places to this territory. In any way it is impossible to conform to it. The Zarubintsi culture has not developed and could not develop in the basin of the Middle Dnepr where it is not connected genetically with no one of the cultures of previous time. This culture has developed in the western areas of Polesye and Volhynia as a result of penetration of Venedian tribes from the north-west, from Pomorze. The appearance of the Zarubintsi culture in the Middle Dnepr area was resulted by the resettlements of Zarubintsi tribes from the west” (KUKHARENKO Yu.V., 1960: 289-290.)

            Such Kuharenko’s sureness is based on the fact that the Zarubintsi remains are connected genetically and without chronological break with anterior relics only in Western Polesye and in Volhynia. Contrariwise, such connection is not visible on the other areas of the spreading of the Zarubintsi culture. Moreover, this culture arises somehow suddenly on mixed basis in the basin of the Middle Dnepr area (Ibid, 293, 297). J.V. Kuharenko notes, that the opinion about the expansion of the Zarubintsi culture to the basin of the Middle Dnepr from Polesye and Volhynia has been already expressed earlier. And this process was connected with the beginning of the movement of Slavic tribes from their previous settlements which were defined so:

            In M.I.Artamonov's opinion, Veneds (in the true sense this word) were carriers so called The Culture of Face Urns, or Pomorie culture, which arose as the special phenomenon on the Kashub Heights on the basis of the ancient Lusatian culture (Ibid, 297).

            Supporting Artamonov's opinion, J.V. Kukharenko believes that expansion of the Pomorian Veneds was "a major factor in formation of the Zarubintsy culture on huge spaces to the east from the river Vistula" (Ibid., 298). The opinion about possibility of Slavic sources in the Pomorian culture can be found also in V.V. Sedov’s works. He specifies that, since 550 BC, the Culture of Underklosh (“podlkoshevyi” in Russian) interments was formed in the eastern areas of the Lusatian culture (on the banks of the Vistula) resulting the moving of the tribes the Pomorian culture. This culture may be considered as early actually Slavic which branch became the Zarubintsi culture later (SEDOV V.V., 1990-1: 83). J.U. Kukharenko, and, in certain measure, V.V. Sedov considered, that the expansion of the Pomorians has resulted the appearance of the Przeworsk culture, but such opinion has no reliable confirmation, and the majority of modern-day scholars consider this culture as Germanic. This should be so, as it arose though under Celtic influence, but on some substratum basis. (BARAN V.D., Otv. Red, 1985: 26). The early Przeworsk clayware was hardly differed from the pottery of the late Lusatian culture (Ibid, TRET'YAKOV P.N., 1952: 132).
            The relics of the Przeworsk culture on territory of the Ukraine are spread only in the basin of the Western Bug and the Upper Dnestr and the main area of this culture corresponds to the territory of the latest settlements of the Germanic tribes. But as to the formation of the Zarubintsi cultures, obviously, we have to agree substantially with Yu.V. Kuharenko when he describes this process as gradual Slavic movement upwards the Vistula, then across the Western Bug in the Pripyat's basin and further eastward to the Dnepr. This movement began from the area east of the Low Vistula till the Upper Neman where we located Slavic ancestors after they left their Urheimat on both sides of the river Vilia. After occupying the southern part of the basin of the Upper Dnepr, the Slavs moved northward to the basin of the Desna and to the region of Gomel and Mogiliov widening their Zarubintsi culture at the beginning of the 1st mill AD (SHMIDT E.A., 1990: 113).
            Slavic movement was stretched for some centuries. The earliest relics of the Zarubintsi culture in Western Polesye are dated by the 2nd century BC, and on the banks of the Desna and the Seym they appear only toward the 1st and even to the beginning of the 2nd century AD (KUKHARENKO Yu.V., 1960: 297. ZAVIERNIAYEV F.M. 1970). The linguists and archeologists mark that the widening of the Zarubintsi culture eastward and northward had peace ful character:

            … Baltic ethnic element in the basin of Upper Dnepr did not recede in large measure northwestward while Slav advancing northward. Perhaps, Slavic movement proceeded as natural gradual penetration with assimilation of Baltic element during various time on several parts of this territory (TOPOROV V.N., TRUBACHIOV O.N. 1962: 173).

            Owning to the force of unknown circumstances, resistance to newcomers here was less strong, than in the Scythian-Sarmatian South and the Old Lithuanian North. This has led to strong subsidence Zarubintsi’s tribeson this territory of and to gradual assimilation of local population by them. Already in the 1st century AD Zarubintsi’s tribes settled on the banks of the Sozh where they (as it took place a little earlier on the Dnepr) subsided on sites of ancient settlements of the Milograd kulture (KUKHARENKO Yu.V., 1960: 299).

            Little by little Zarubintsi’s tribes occupied the territory from the Vistula up to the Upper Psel, the Seym, and the Oka. Here, on already known us areas, the original unitary language of the population split into several distinct dialects. The map of the whole Slavic territory with areas of separate tribes according to primary Slavic dialects is shown below. The western frontier of Slavic territory has been established on the Vistula according to historical data:

            All ancient authors were agree in opinion that the Vistula was the frontier of Germany and Sarmatian land, and there is no reason to assume, that this their opinion has no real basis (NIDERLE LUBORЪ., 1956: 32).

            The hypothetical areas of two main tribes of the Elbe Slavs of the Bodrichi and the Lutichi, the Pomorian Slavs and the Lusatian Slavs are shown on the map too. Their location is accepted in view latest Slavic settlements assuming consecutive movement of Slavic tribes westward. Having established the western Slavic frintier on the Vistula, we received some "free" areas, where homelands of the some Slavic tribes could be placed. Thus the homeland of the Lusatians Slavs has been placed in immediate proximity to the homeland of Poles and Czechs, then for the Elbe and Pomorian Slavs practically did not remain any other variants.
            The question about the origin of the Macedonian language remains unresolved. If the primary Slavic dialect, from which Macedonian language developed later, ensued from Proto-Slavic simultaneously with other primary Slavic dialects, the Macedonian Urheimat should be located somewhere in the adjacency to the homelands of Serbs/Croats and Slavic Bulgarians as Macedonian language is most similar to Serbian-Croatian and Bulgarian languages. Then Macedonian Urheimat had to be in the area between the Upper Desna, the Ugra, and the Zhizdra. In this case, Macedonian language should have many the common words with South-Russian dialect, at least more, than the number of South-Russian-Bulgarian isoglosses, but in reality it is not so. We can assume, that the mentioned area was Bulgarians Urheimat, and Macedonian homeland was a little south – between the Desna, the Seym, and the Upper Oka that is on area were we located Bulgarian homeland. However for such assumption Bulgarian language has not enough common words with the South-Russian dialect. Dissolution of this question can call doubts about accommodations of the Bulgarian language to the graphic model of Slavic languages and in general the validity of the model, but we have other evidences that Bulgarian homeland was in the Upper Oka. Earlier we came to a conclusion that Mordvinic ethnos remained all time on the region adjacent to its Urheimat between the Upper Oka and the Don. If the Urheimat of Slavic-Bulgarians, really, was on the left side of the Oka, they had to have the Mordvinis as east neighbors. In that case specifically Mordvinic-Bulgarian correspondences are to exist. They could be language correspondences, but we have other convincing data. Investigating Slavic and Mordvinic epic songs, Russian scholar A.I. Maskaev has revealed common Mordvinic-Bulgarian motives, in particular in the epos about the building of some big city. We could assume that this city could be mentioned above Gelonos. Denying the possibility of intermediary of Russian or other peoples (anything similar are not present in Russian and others epic), A.I. Maskaev have boldness to declare the following:

            The conclusion arises, that the Mordvinic-Bulgarian community in an epic song is more likely explained by long adjacency of these peoples during ancient time (MASKAYEV A.I., 1965: 298).

           Left: Settlements of Slavic tribes in the end I mill. BC – in the beginning of I mill. AD.

           Bodr – the Bodriches, Bulg – the ancestors of modern-day Bulgars, Br – the ancestors of Belorussians, Cz – the ancestors Czeches, Lus – the ancestors of the Lusatian Slavs,
           Lut – the Lutiches, NR – the ancestors of speakers of the northern Russian dialect, P – the ancestors of Poles,
            Pom – the Pomorian Slavs, SR – the ancestors of speakers of the southern Russian dialect, Slv – the ancestors of Slovenes, Slvk – the ancestors of Slovaks,
           S/Cr – the ancestors of the Serbs and Horvats, U/Т – the ancestors of the Uliches and Tivers (?), Ukr – the ancestors of Ukrainians.

            Interesting confirmation of Common Slavonic territory was found in the work of the Polish botanist K. Moshinsky also engaged in Slavic linguistics. According to his research , in the settlement of the Slavs did not have to grow these trees: beech, yew, ivy, fir, larch, and sycamore. This conclusion scientist came because the names of the trees in the Slavic languages have non-Slavic origin, ie are borrowed from other languages. Obviously, they were borrowed by Slavs from localpopulation after their settlement in the larger space . Moshinsky drew a map of the spread of these trees in Eastern Europe at the beginning of the 20th century. For two thousand years, the climate in Europe has not changed , so we can assume that the total area of the spread of beech, yew, fir, larch, and sycamore must not interfere with the territory of Slavs. As you can see on the map, overlay still holds for yew and sycamore, beech, and a bit of larch, but mainly on the Elbe Slavs teritory, whose language is virtually unknown to us. It is possible that they had their names for these kinds of trees, but we 'll never know.

Right: Map of Slavic peoples territory (marked with red dots) at the beginning of the 1st mill AD and distribution of tree species:

Marks: Black horizontal line – beech (Fagus silvatica); red horizontal line – ivy (Sorbus torminalis); yellow horizontal line – yew (Taxus baccata); purple vertical line – larch (Larix decidua Miller); green vertical line – sycamore (Acer pseudoplatanus); blue vertical line – fir (Abies alba).
            The hypothetical area of the forefathers of the Slavic tribes of Uliches and Tivers is shown on the map, but we have not reliable bases for such assumption for the present, except for the common reason that this area should be populated with some Slavic tribe which descendants were dissolved among other ethnoi (probably among the Romance population of Balkan peninsula).
            Connecting the Zarubintsi culture with the Slavs, experts subdivide it to some separate local groups. Yu.V. Kuharenko believed, that such groups were three – the Polessian group, the group of the Upper Dnepr and the group of the Middle Dnepr (KUKHARENKO Yu.V. 1964). E.V. Maximov has divided all area of wide-spreading of the Zarubintsi culture to five regions:
            1. The area of the Middle Dnepr from the mouth of the Desna up to the mouth of the Tiasmin.
            2. The Pripiat’ Polesye (the rivers Goryn’ and Styr’),
            3. The area of the Upper Dnepr, mainly its right side from the Berezina up to the Pripyat, and also on the river Sozh.
            4. The basin of the Upper Desna – the territory of the Briansk Region.
            5. The basin of the Southern Bug – on the banks of the Southern Bug from the mouth of the Desna up to the river Selnitsia and on the river Sob .
            We see that local groups of Zarubintsi culture do not correspond to the areas of formation of particular languages and cover two of them or more, the borders of local groups don’t follow the rivers. However the division of a whole culture to separate variants will be always conditional as the speaker of similar Slavic dialects could have very similar material culture. The following observation, however, is interesting:

            We do not know, how early Zarubintsi population called the settlements and cemeteries, but the essence of ancient Greek names (polis – necropolis) is surprisingly precisely shown in Zarubintsi topography – a settlement was located on one cape, the place for alive, a burial ground was on the next cape, the place for died (Ibid., 59).

            It is possible, that the described tradition on places of the extension of the Zarubintsi culture existed since those times when Proto-Greeks had here had their settlements. However the Zarubintsi culture never covered all the determined territory of settlements of the Slavs. As show the archeological data, it was settled for a long time and gradually, for that time when any eastern group of the Slavs achieved the basin of the Desna, the western Slavs could already cross the Vistula. Though Yu. V. Kuharenko, L.D. Pobol, and some other experts put the common chronological range of existence the Zarubintsi culture from the 3rd century BC up to the 3rd and even the 5th century AD (KUKHARENKO Yu.V., 1964: 48, POBOL L.D., 1983: 21), others remove for it a narrower period – from the end of the 3rd century BC to the 2nd century AD (MAKSIMOV E.V., 1982:173). Thus only one of five possible regions of the Zarubintsi culture on the Upper Dnepr remained all chronological range, but the Southern Bug region and the Upper Desna region were formed at the start of our era (Ibid., 173). We cannot ignore as well other facts which stay in focus of other archeologists:

            We adhere to the point of viewthat the Zarubintsi culture of the Upper Dnepr in the middle or in end I century AD experiences sharp crisis. At this particular time disappear Zarubintsi burial grounds in Pripiat’ Polesye, on middle and upper Dnepr, there are no also later materials on settlements (KOZAK D.N., TERPYLOVS'KIY R.V. 1986: 35).

            Similar sights were stated also by Yu. V. Kuharenko and E.V. Maximov whereas L.D. Pobol proved, that the Zarubintsi culture has not disappeared here in the first centuries of our era, and proceeded also during later period, in the first half of the 1st mill. AD (POBOL L.D., 1983: 24). V.V. Sedov considered too that classical Zarubintsi antiquities (the 1st cent. BC – the 1st cent. AD) on the Upper Dnepr were transformed first in the Late Zarubintsi culture and then the Kiev culture was arisen out of them (the 3rd – the 4th century AD)(SEDOV V.V., 1990-1: 83).
            Thus, the question about of the existence Zarubintsi culture period is inconsistent, and it can be that common Slavic territory drawn on the map existed very short time. During this small period all Slavic dialects could not be formed simultaneously though the model of cognate relations is adhered to this territory precisely. In that case we may take into account some language substratum stayed on different areas and this substratum already reflected inversely proportional dependence of quantity of the common features on distances between areas. Thus that fact is important, that For-Slavic population has not departed on new places but has been assimilated by the Slavs, and its language, obviously, rendered significant influence on language of newcomers. Archeological researches of settlements, hillforts and tumulus burial grounds in Vitebsk region show, that these remains were left by the Baltes in one cases, others were left by the Slavs, the third belonged to the mixed population ( LEVKO O.N., 1990: 39). Such situation existed almost on all eastern part of common Slavic territory and by such conditions the common Slavic language, having accepted in each area different features of Baltic language substratum was split to Slavic dialects which developed in particular languages later according to an arrangement of geographical areas. In such way the process of the partition of Slavic languages has been accelerated and consequently it was absolutely unessential that all Slavic folks occupied the territory shown on the Map 12 constantly during several centuries. It is necessary to tell, that before to be divided into the specified dialects, Proto-Slavic unitary language was divided at first in two primary dialects, a frontier between which became Dnepr.

           Right: The whole territory of ZC and its vocal variants put on the areas of the Slavic languages.
The map is based on Kukharenko's work (KUKHARENKO Yu. V. 1964).
           The whole border of ZC is marked by red line on data of different scholars. The blue line marks local according Kukharenko, the green one does the border of Kiev culture

            Enough expressive traces of this division can be revealed in the lexical and phonetic phenomena of modern Slavic languages. These phenomena divided Proto-Slavdom to the western and eastern branches having illegible borders. Some lexical differences of the western branch in modern Ukrainian spelling are such: dbaty, zhebraty, znevazhaty, rolling, kachka, kokhaty, kryha, matsty, ozdoba, prahnuty, prykryj, rada, ropukha, skyba, skronja, slymak, stodola, strokatyj, tryvaty, trymaty, shaty, shkoda, shturkhaty, etc. These words were mainly borrowed from the Germanic and other languages. The eastern branch of Proto-Slavdom are characterized by such words (in Russian spelling): grust’, zhulit’, lukavyj, mel, molnija, pir, sluchaj, smotret’, tjerzat’, udobnyj, uzhinr, etc. A small group of words belonged originally to one branch of the Proto-Slavic language, but these words are presented now in the one branch and in one or two languages of the other branch (vada, kulik, lytka, khyba, khata, vorot, korpat’, luch). It is uneasily to establish the genesis of these words as even some resulted examples can cause doubt, but the stratigraphy of loan-words in Slavic languages is very complicated without the certain subjectivity. For example, the specified primary division of Slavic peoples can be confirmed by two different forms of some ancient Proto-Slavic words what was already noted by Smal-Stotski . For example, the west Proto-Slavic*popelъ (Ukr. popil, Pol. popiół, Cz. popel, Slvk. popol, Br. popel) correspond to the eastern Proto-Slavic *pepelъ (Rus. pepel, Bulg. pepel, Serb. pepeo); the west Proto-Slavic *sklo (Ukr. sklo, Pol. szkło, Cz., Slvk. sklo, Lus., Br. šklo,) did to the eastern Proto-Slavic *stьklo (Rus., Bulg. steklo, Serb. staklo, Slvn. steklo); the west Proto-Slavic*pъtakъ (Ukr., Br. ptakh, Pol., ptak, Cz. pták, Slvk. vták) did to the eastern Proto-Slavic *pъtica (Rus., Bulg., Serb., ptica, Slvn. ptíca), etc. For the first pair such assumption is more authentic, despite of presence Rus. popel, which can be loaned from Ukrainian, but the difference in the form of the second pair, obviously, has arisen later in the assumption Polish influences on Ukrainian and Belarus languages as the Old. Cz. Stklo was fixed. These examples show as it is dangerous to draw far-sighted conclusions on the basis of the individual facts while the statistical data are always more reliable.
            The deep analysis of the main phonetic features, which revealed themselves at the Proto-Slavic period, but didn’t captured all the Slavic generality, has been carried out by Polish linguist A. Furdal (FURDAL ANTONI., 1961). He considered that the first dialect splitting of the Proto-Slavic language occurred after the following changes:

1. χ + ě, i > š|s < i, ь, ę + χ.
2. sk + ě, i > šč|s'c’.
3. kv, gv + ě, i > cv, zv
4. tl, dl > l|kl, gl

            Displaying these changes of A. Furdal has made the geographical circuit of Proto-Slavic territory on which he has allocated four areas (See Fig. 10).

Fig. 10. The first dialectical splitting of the Slav languages.

            The first area A – the large space in the west of Proto-Slavic territory where groups kv, gv and tl, dl were kept and has taken place transformation χ and sk in š and šč accordingly. This space, as considered A. Furdal, unequivocally correspond with the Polish, Czech, Slovak and Lusatian languages. The Polish scientist does not join the Ukrainian and Belarus languages to this group, though the some facts of preservation of groups kv, gv and transformations &#chi; in š are present in the Ukrainian and Belarus languages (for an example Ukr., Br. kvitka, Ukr. dial., Br. šaryj , etc). A. Furdal, as other scholar of his time, considered such facts as Polish influences though he noted, that groups kv, gv are presented in dialects of Russian, being not by the Polish influences. Further, A. Furdal allocated a small northern area B on the circuit which corresponds with the Novgorod and Pskov dialects characterized by the transformation tl, dlkl, gl, fragmentary preservation of groups kv, gv, šč and some other features. The obvious explanation to all these facts can be such. The preservation of group kv, gv and tl, dl and transformation &#chi; and sk in š and šč occurred in the western branch of Proto-Slavic languages which from were developed except the Polish, Czech, Slovak, Lusatian and other West Slavic languages also the Ukrainian and Belarus languages, and the Northern Russian dialects. The speakers of the North-Russian dialect having receded northward, their tongue, being developed on the its own laws, developed the phonetic features in modern North-Russian dialect specified by A. Furdal. As the groups kv, gv were kept in some variants of the South-Russian dialect, though in smaller quantity than in the Ukrainian and Belarus languages were, it is obvious that process of transition of the primary kv, gv in cv, zv began in the east of the Slavic territory under influence of the Finno-Ugric languages and further to the west occurred less intensively. Therefore the groups kv, gv were kept in Ukrainian and Belarus in the greater degree though the forms cv, zv in these languages could be widened partly by the influence of the Russian language during later period.
            The made conclusions are confirmed also by two other phonetic areas of A.Furdal's circuit. The large area D in the east of the Slavic territory which is characterized by the transition tl, dl l and by the palatalization of kv, gv in cv, zv, and also by transitions &#chi; in s’ and sk in s'c’ correspond to Southern Russian dialect and all the South-Slavic languages except for Slovene.The embodiment to this area the Ukrainian and Belarus languages, made by A. Furdal, is groundless as he himself recognized that the transition tl, dll had no precise borders, and its presence in different languages can be explained by simplification in the groups of consonants. The drop – out of t/d could occur in different places both at various times and everywhere have the same result which gives no warrant to the certain conclusions. And, at last, the transitive area C, which is connected by A. Furdal with Slovene, once again confirms that two primary branches of the Proto-Slavic language had no precise phonetic border, and, on the contrary, there was along the Dnepr a transitive strip, where phonetic phenomena have affected in different forms on the modern Ukrainian, Belarus, Slovene languages and The Northern Russian dialect.
            Primary division of the Slavic folks into the western and eastern branches is confirmed also by ethnography. Among a plenty of the common for all the Slavs of ceremonies, a number of the wedding customs are typical only for Poland, Moravia, Ukraine, Belarus, the North-western part of Russian, e.g. kindling fire at wedding and jumps through it, setting brides on a tub etc. On the same territories, ritual enmity between girls and married women is played (GURA A.V. 1981: 263). Some customs are typical only for the southern Russians and the southern Slavs (Ibid: 264). It is necessary also to pay attention that there is in house-building terminology of the Slavs nothing of the common, apart from such general words as "wall", "furnace", "threshold", "door" and "window". But the West-Slavic languages including Ukrainian and Belarus have such common terminology. This, on the one hand, confirms the specified division of the Slavic foks into two branches, and, on the another hand, denies the existence of a special East-Slavic language unity at the time of the advanced housing construction among the Slavs which can be attributed long before the period of the Kiev Rus’. This primary division of Slavic peoples is contradicted lexical peculiarities common only for the Ukrainian, Russian and Belarus languages, but it would be strange to think that similar words did not be arisen in the languages of the peoples having joint historical destiny. However this lexical community concerns already to later historical times.



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