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The Urheimat of the Nostratic Languages

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


The Names of Metals in the Turkic and Indo-European Languages

            Common names of metals in Indo-European languages don’t exist. Indo-European community was formed during the times when people yet know any metals. Turkic languages have common names for almost all used metals, though Turks as ethnoi were formed simultaneously together with Indo-Europeans. As shown by studies, the Turks in the 4th – 3rd mill BC occupied the territory between the Dnieper and the Don to the south-east of the Indo-Europeans and were more closely related to the metallurgical and metal-working centers of that time. Archaeological evidence suggests that the development of metallurgy in Eastern Europe began under the influence of the more advanced cultures in the Balkans:

            Copper Age was characterized by forming Balkan-Carpathian Metallurgical Province. This system of related manufacturing hotbeds occupied mining and metallurgical centers of the Northern Balkans and Carpathians, where extremely bright farming and animal husbandry Eneolithic cultures of Gumelniţa–Karanovo, Vancea-Pločnik, Tisapolgar-Bodrogkerestur, Petreşti were localized. Widely known Trypilla culture in the south-west of the USSR was only the eastern province of the block and did not know their own industry: its masters used imported copper. Since the formation of the province a large proportion of products from the Balkan and Carpathian centers was sent further to the east in the Eastern European Steppe and Steppe-Forest (CHERNYKH E.N., KUZMINYKH S.V. 199: 136.)
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            Thus, the Turks became acquainted with metals through Trypillians. At that time, words for the names of silver and copper were spread among them which were common. As for the copper, the Turkic languages had for it two words which were used in various ways for the name of the copper, brass and bronze. Common word for tin needed to make bronze, was absent the Turkic languages, and even closely related languages used different words for the metal. All this suggests that the Turks didn't know metal technology in the Bronze Age, but nevertheless Indo-Europeans became acquainted with most metal just is through the Turks.
            While a great bulk of Turks has departed on the East at the end of the 3rd mill. B.C., ancient Bulgars crossed the Dnepr and have made contact with Indo-Europeans. This fact is testified by numerous Chuvash-Indo-European lexical correspondences.
>           Some Indo-European ethnoi have borrowed also names of some metals from Bulgars, having transferred these names on other metals. Such phenomenon is widely known, similar names of absolutely different metals can exist in different languages. For example, the word altyn means “gold” in the majority of Turkic languages, but Yakut altan means copper, while gold refers to the word which in other Turkic languages means “silver”. Similar examples can be given rather a lot. We shall also have in view of this phenomenon in our study.

            The name for ore in the German languages (Ger. Erz, etc.) is considered to be borrowed from Shumerian urudu "copper" by an unknown way. Obviously the intermediaries were Trypillians, by origin Semites, who occupied area to the South of Indo-Europeans along the rivers Southern Bug and Dniester. There is arad "bronze" in Hebrew. Whether also Slavic names of ore (ruda) can concern here, is not clear.

            The names for silver and sulfur. Originally Indo-Europeans have borrowed from Bulgars the name of sulfur which could be named by them according to its yellow color sarpur “yellow chalk” (Chuv. sară "yellow", pură "chalk"). The Latin name of sulfur sulpur is considered as “Wanderwort” of Mediterranean origin (WALDE A.1965). and presented in Germanic names of sulfur (Ger., Schwefel, Eng. swefl, Goth. swibl etc) were developed from *sarpur. Germanic words could be borrowed from some unknown language (KLUGE FRIEDRICH. 1989: 659). The origin of Slavic names of sulfur (sera, sira, siara, etc.) is not clear. Probably, they are reduced forms from sară “yellow”. Native sulfur has pale color and reminds silver on view therefore the name of sulfur in some languages has been transferred on silver – Ukr. sriblo, Bulg. srebro, Pol. srebro, Laus. slobro, slabro, Ger. Silber, Eng. silver, Goth. silubr. Probably Alb. sёrma "silver" belongs here too. Germanic and Slavic names of silver and sulfur are not connected with each other by specialists and the name of silver is told to be borrowed from some Middle Eastern language (eg, Assyrian sarpu “silver”)(Ibid: 606). However, phonetically *sarpur is closer to the Indo-European names of silver and sulfur, although it is possible that the Turk and Assyrian words are dating back to Nostratic times when sulfur and silver could be known, but in this case too, the Turkic etymology of the word is transparent.

            The other name for silver. Turks called silver kümüĺ (Chuv kěměl) and judging from all this word was also borrowed from the Trupillians. Commercial and cultural exchange existed between Turks and Trypillians already at that time. The tracks of Trypillian influence can be find among the words having sense “commodity”, “goods”, “payment”. Widely spread word tovar in different forms had many senses in Turkic, Indo-European, Finno-Ugric languages – “salt”, “linen”, “axe”, “cattle”, “sheep”, “goods” etc. The correspondence to it exists in Hebrew – toar “product, ware”, davar “a word, a thing, something”. The Trypillians could have also the word *kemel, corresponding Hebrew “to pay”, as there is in Chuvash the similar word kěměl and has sense “silver”. Silver was used as money at that time and therefore Hebrew word changed its sense it the Proto-Turkic language. This word was borrowed by Ancient Italics and used for the name of silver dish or plate (Lat caměl-la “plate for liquids”).

            The name for iron. Turkis use words jez, zez, čes (Chuv. yěs) for the name of copper or brass which derived from ancient forms jerz/zerz. Primary sibiliant sonoric rz/rs almost did not keep in Turkic languages though it exists in Czech (ř) till now and existed in Polish (it was kept in a spelling rz). It has transformed to z in Turkic languages in most cases. Indo-Europeans have borrowed the word in the primary form *jerz/zerz from Turkic at the time when the "know-how" of iron technology was unknown, and used it for the name of metal which was used to the manufacturing of tools and weapon, that is copper and bronze. Later this word has been transferred on the name of iron in the some Indo-European languages. But Latin words aes, aeris (obvious it is derived from *ears) have kept primary meaning "copper". Ancient Germen have added the suffix -an to the root jerz and Old-Germanic word has taken the form *jerz-an and later it has turned to isarn in North-Germanic, eisarn in Gothic, to Eisen in German, to iron in English. The primary Turkic form for the name of copper is kept in the word zerz “rust” which exists in Lusatian (Sorbian) languages. This form was transformed in Slavic *zelz-o with the meaning “iron” (Ukr zalizo, Rus żelezo, Bulg, Pol żelazo, etc). On the other hand, the ancient Turkic word zerz in lightly altered form has kept in Ukr. žers-t’ “tin-plate” (similar Russian word žes-t’ has lost r). Baltic names of iron were obviously borrowed from Slavic (Let. gelezis, Lit. dzиlzs). Some linguists connect also Greek calkos “copper, bronze” to last words but this seems to be doubtful. Most likely, the Greek word"rust" can be corresзond to the root jerz.

            The other name for silver. Turks called silver kümüĺ (Chuv kěměl) and judging from all this word was also borrowed from the Trupillians. Commercial and cultural exchange existed between Turks and Trypillians already at that time. The tracks of Trypillian influence can be find among the words having sense “commodity”, “goods”, “payment”. Widely spread word tovar in different forms had many senses in Turkic, Indo-European, Finno-Ugric languages – “salt”, “linen”, “axe”, “cattle”, “sheep”, “goods” etc. The correspondence to it exists in Hebrew – toar “product, ware”, davar “a word, a thing, something”. The Trypillians could have also the word *kemel, corresponding Hebrew “to pay”, as there is in Chuvash the similar word kěměl and has sense “silver”. Silver was used as money at that time and therefore Hebrew word changed its sense it the Proto-Turkic language. This word was borrowed by Ancient Italics and used for the name of silver dish or plate (Lat caměl-la “plate for liquids”).

            The name for gold. In etymological dictionaries, the Indo-European names of gold (Old-Slavic. *zolto, Germ. *gultha) are deduced from the root *ghel “yellow, green” (KLUGE FRIEDRICH. 1989: 271-272. VASMER M. 1964: 103-104). This is very doubtful as Indo-European front vowels e does not change usually in labialized back vowels o or u. We shall consider the assumption, that Germans and Slavs have borrowed the name of gold from Bulgars. The word yltan is used by Chuvash for the name of gold. Initial vowel y was difficult for pronunciation for Germen and they could add ptothetic consonant gh before it, that is typical for Indo-European languages. The new word ghyltan has received the form of an adjective, and obviously was used in such function. Later the noun ghulta was formed from the adjective which have developed to Old Eng gold, Goth gulth, Germ Gold. Slavic word could not be borrowed directly from Bulgarish as then it would have the form vylto for in Slavic languages the prothetic v should be before initial. On the contrary, the transition gh in z is possible. The name of gold have borrowed from Germanic also by the Iranians, but they have transferred it on the name of yellow color. The closest to Germanic form was kept in the Ossetic language – zäläd. Other Iranian languages use for the name of yellow color the word zard. Gold refers to zar in these languages though the other word tilo/telo exist which origin is not clear for the present.

            The name for copper, brass. There is in German a word of not clear origin Messing "brass" (KLUGE FRIEDRICH. 1989: 475). Similar words are presented in other German languages. Many Slavic languages have the word misa “a bowl”. One can relate it to the German word as there is dialectic form midnycia “copper bowl” in Ukrainian (mid’ “copper”). Maybe, both Slavic and German words are borrowed from Iranian languages where words mes, mis "copper" are presented. Iranians borrowed this word from Finno-Ugrians which have for the names of different metal such words: vask, vas, veš’, bes etc. The origin of Finno-Ugrian words can be connected with Sumerian guskin “gold”, also they must be primary. The word for the name of copper was borrowed from Iranians by Turkic, Slavic and Germanic folks. Maybe, the German word Messer “a knife” has the same origin.

            The other name for copper. Turkic language have their own word baqar (Chuv pǎxǎr) for copper. Old Italics borrowed this word from ancestors of Chuvash and used it for the name of copper beaker (Lat bacar “goblet”). Similar words are present in English and German, but they were borrowed from Latin.

            The explanation Turkic name for iron is very difficult. Turkic peoples use the word demir/temir calling iron and iron ware. According to its meaning, this word had to appear later as the names of other metals. But satisfactory etymology of the word demir doesn’t exist. There is Hebrew word demis “money”. The Trypillians could have it in the form *demirz “money”. First things of iron were considered by people as some costly thing therefore one can suppose that the borrowed from Trypillans word meant just “a costly thing” during long time but after emergence of iron this sense was transferred on the iron things.

            It is also difficult to gave explication of Turkic name of lead. It has different but similar forms in particular languages. Some of these words can be near to the initial form – Kaz qorğasyn, Karach.-Balkar qorğašyn, Tat korgošun, Uzb korgašin, Kirg korgošun and other similar. Perhaps the word is compound and consist two partial words kur/kor and gošyn/gašyn. Hebr kur “a forge, melting pot” suits good for the first part therefore the second partial word must have appropriate sense. Nothing better as košer “applicability, suitability” was nor found in Hebrew. Thus, the name of lead can have meaning “suitable for fusing




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