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The Urheimat of the Nostratic Languages

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

Iranian Place Names in Ukraine and Poland

            While finding place names of Iranian origin it turned out that one can talk with the highest degree of confidence about Kurdish ones which were represented by more or less distinct clusters that could confirm their origin. The remaining cases are probabilistic in nature. List of place names of Iranian origin is being supplemented and corrected during the research that requires constant adjustment illustrative maps and it's pretty hard work, which also harms their quality. In this regard, the new additions and removal of random coincidences will be placed in the Google Map (map's screenshot below). If necessary, just it is to be had in mind, therefore it is recommended reading to use this map

            During the analysis of opaque toponyms of Ukraine it turned out that about 250 of them may have Kurdish roots, and most of them are located on the territory of Khmelnitsky, Vinnitsa and Ternopil Regions (48, 44 and 38 units, respectively). However there are on the Urheimat of the Kurds between the Desna and Upper Oka and the surrounding areas only a few place names supposedly of Kurdish origin. The following list may have accidentally consonant words, but there are quite convincing interpretations:
            The village of (v.) Atiusha to the north-east of the town of (t.) Baturyn in Chernihiv Region – Kurd ateş “fire”;
            the river (r.) Beriushka, the left tributary (lt) of the Kleven’, the right tributary (rt) of the Seym, rt of the Desna, lt of the Dnieper – Kurd birûsk “lighting, thunderstorm”;
           v. Buklata north of the city of Kursk – курд bûk "невеста", lat "бедный";
           v. Chepelivka to the north of Stary Oskol – Kurd. çepel "dirty";
           r. Esman’, rt of the Ret’, lt of the Desna, r. Esman’, rt of the Kleven’, rt of the Seym, r. Osmon’, rt of the Svapa, rt of the Seym – Kurd e’sman “sky”.
            v. Kerbutivka north-west of the town of Konotop – Kurd ker "daef"", kêr "needful", bût, pût "idol"
            r. Kharaseya, rt of the Svapa, rt of the Seym – Kurd xarû “clear”, eşîya “a thing”, xur “swift stream”; com. Ir xur, xor “the sun” and saia “to shine”;
            r. Navla, rt of the Desna – Kurd newal “valley”;
            r. Ret’, lt of the Desna, r. Retik, rt of the Ret’ – Kurd rêtin “to pour”;
           r. Tim, rt of the Sosna, rt of the Don and the village of Tim in the riverhead и – курд. tim “side”;
            v. Vorgol on the river Vorgolka, rt of the Kleven’, rt of the Seym – Kurd war “place”, gol “lake”; the village lies really on the bank of a lake;
           t. Zamglai and r. Zamglay, the tributary of the Desna – Kurd. zong "swamp" and leyi "a strem". There is near these places one of the largest boggy systems of Ukraine.
            r. Zvan, the strait between the Kleven’ and Seym, the name is consonant to Zhvan in the West Ukraine – Kurd jwan “meeting” or cwan “beautiful”.
            Only these two matches: r. Sozh, the rt of the Dnieper – Osset. soj “fat, lard", (however this name can be explained by OE socian “to boil”) and r. Resta, rt of the Pronia, rt of the Sozh – Osset rast “strait” can be noted in the Urheimat of the Ossetians located in the basin of the Sozh.
            Nothing relevant was found in Sogdian (Yagnobi) Urheimat between the Desna and Iput' found nothing relevant, but the used dictionary of the Yagnobi language was quite poor.
            The area bounded by rivers Seym, Desna, Dnieper, and Psel (possibly Sula) defined as the Urheimat of Afghans. Here or there are place names which can have not only Iranian but namely Afghan origin:
            Only these two matches: r. Sozh, the rt of the Dnieper – Osset. soj “fat, lard", and r. Resta, rt of the Pronia, rt of the Sozh – Osset rast “strait” can be noted in the Urheimat of the Ossetians located in the basin of the Sozh.
            Nothing relevant was found in Sogdian (Yagnobi) Urheimat between the Desna and Iput' found nothing relevant, but the used dictionary of the Yagnobi language was quite poor.
            The area bounded by rivers Seym, Desna, Dnieper, and Psel (possibly Sula) defined as the Urheimat of Afghans. Here or there are place names which can have not only Iranian but namely Afghan origin:
            v. Shaboltasivka to the south-west of the city of Novhorod-Siverski – Afg šabel “an afge, point” and Pers tus “birch”.
            t, Nezhyn – Afg., Pers nišan “a sign, feature”;
            v. Varva on the river Uday near the town of Pryluky – Afg. vavra “a kind of vulture, carrion-eagle”;
            r. Tarapunka, rt of the Liutenka, lt of the Psel can be translated as "black mushroom" common Iranian tar(a) means "black" and pongo, ponka, fank does any round object. Earlier the word meant simply "mushroom", and it is present in this sense in many languages (except for Iranian also Lat fungus, Mord panga, etc.), but only Iranian word Iran is well suited to its attribute.
            vv. Keleberda on the bank of the Dnieper in Čerkasy Region opposite Kaniv and next to Komsomolsk – Kurd. kele “head”, and berd “stone” suit phonetically good, but rather one have to find an attribute to Afg. kālə “a house”, maybe berta"back" and bertaraf could be used for the explanation meaning "single settling";
           Place names of Iranian origin can also be found in other area of the common Iranian territory but no certain system in their spread is visible. Frequent changes of the population resulted to the loss of old names, or, at best, contributed to their transfer of one object to another. Confidently speaking about Iranian place names is possible only in individual cases.
            There is near the town of Zolotonosha in Cherkasy Region the rivers Irkley, lt of the Dnieper, and the village Irkleyiv on it, and almost opposite another Irkley flows into the Tiasmin, rt of the Dnieper. Both rivers flow in the ravines, so the Kurd erq "a ravine" and leyi – "a stream" approach to natural conditions very well. This is the area of the Afghans, but similar words were not found as in Pashto and in other Iranian languages. The name of the village of Shengury, located near the village of Kobeliaki in Poltava Region, can be associated not only with the Kurds. şengari "good" or Pashto šəngara "a girl who ran away to marry a loved one", but also with other similar words of Finno-Ugric language family (eg Moksha syangiarya "green"). This village is located in the area of formation of the ancient Persian language. Different variants can be in such situation. Whether the similar word was not found Persian, or the areas of the formation of some Iranian languages were defined inaccurately, or the village founded by the Iranian migrants from more northern areas and was given its name by, or the word is of Finno-Ugric origin, as Mordvinians Moksha inhabited these places at some time? Maybe, quite unexpected explanations are also possible. It is risky to made far-reaching explanation in a situation where statistical data are very scanty. Below are a few examples.
            T. Balakleja in Kharkiv Region and a village of the same name in Poltava Region – the first part of the word from Kurd. belek “white”б leyi - “a stream”; but rather the word has Ukrainian origin (Ukr balakliy “a chatterbox”;
            t. Merefa in Kharkiv Region – com. Ir. mar- /mer- “to die, dead” and Pers afy “a snake”;
            v. Murafa near the town of Bohodukhiv in Kharkiv Region – words mor/mur/mar and afi/api have the same meaning in Iranian “a snake”;
           r. Obesra, lt of the Kleven', rt of the Seym – common Iranian ab, ob “water”;
            р. Sev, lt of the Nerussa, lt of the Desna – Yagn. sāw, ос. saw "black" cf. Tara;
            р. Tara, lt of the Sev, лlt of the Nerussa, lt of the Desna – common Iranian tar- "dark"; cf Sev.
            r. Tuskar’, rt of the Seym – Pers. tuska “alder-tree”;
            Place names of Kurdish origin on the Right-bank Ukraine are concentrated mostly in the Khmelnitskyi region and surrounding areas of Ternopil and Vinnitsa regions on a relatively small afforested land area with black soil, being bordered by the Dniester in the south and by clearly marked large forest tracts in the west and north what is clear seen on a forest map of Ukraine to the 1st mill AD (GENSIRUK S.A. 2002). The river Zolota Lypa is a border of the western forestland, while a strip of forest stretches from the town of Zolochiv to the north-east up to the town of Kremenec’, whence it extends eastward through the town of Shepetivka to the city of Zhitomyr. Though the eastern forest tract is not articulated as clearly now, the territory to the south of Vinnycja and Khmel’nyc’kyj Regions remains significantly more wooded than Ternopil’ Region and the western part of Khmel’nyc’kyi Region.

            Forests of Ukraine at the 1st mill AD

            When moving to forested terrain Kurds obviously sought out to settle open forest areas which they called by the word Maydan. This is confirmed by the numerous villages of Ukraine and Poland called "Maydan" (or that contain that word in the name), which are located in open areas of woodland. It means not only "square" but also "lowland, surrounded by forest" in the Ukrainian language, and in Russian does "forest glade". It is believed that this word is borrowed from the Turkic languages (MELNYCHUK O.S., Ed.1989: 361), but original words with initial m are absent in the Turkic languages, they are either borrowed or derived from the previous b. Sure, the Turks have borrowed this word from the Iranian peoples which have the word majda "small, low", and majdan could be derived from it. However, we must bear in mind that due to the prevalence of the word, not all locations with the same name may have Iranian origin.
            Let us briefly consider some place names that have been recorded on that territory. There are in Ternopil and Vinnytsia Regions several settlements having stem juryn, there is also the river Jurin, lt of the Dniester, and this gives us reason to allow the origin of the names of the Kurd. çoran "to flow".
            Another left tributary of the Dniester Barysh with slow flow can origin from Kurd bariş "calm, quiet”. The village on the banks of the river has the same name. Yet the names of several villages match the names of nearby rivers or streams. There are in Khmelnytsky Region villages, Baglai, Buglai, and, Baglayky. These names can stem from Kurd. beq "a frog" and leyi "a stream”. Afg buglaj "a heron" fits too, but other place names having probable Afghan origin on the Right Bank Ukraine are not found.
            There are in Khmelnitsky and Vinnitsa Regions two rivers Zhvan and yet Zhvanchyk and several villages of the same name. Kurdish jwan means "meeting, appointment". Phonetic match is full, but the motivation of naming is questionable. Kurd. cwan "beautiful" is suited better. It is also not entirely clear motivation the naming of the river Seret, which has the tributaries of the Seret Left and Siret Right. Kurd. sereta "beginning" is not really suitable for the name of the river, but at the opposite end from the origins of the Seret, on the whole periphery of the Kurdish territory, there are at least three villages named Kitaygorod (Kytai-town), which can be "extreme, borderline settlement" stemming of the Kurd. kutayî "ending, the end." On the other hand, the name of the Seret can have Thracian origin (serita) from Indo-European root *ser- “to flow” (YANKO M.P., 1998: 117). However, there is in the Kurdish language yet the word siret "path", which also may be suitable for the name of the river. The names of villages Nara, Naraivka in Ternopil, Khmelnitsky and Vinnitsa Regions can be understood as a "family home" considering Kurd. nar – "fireplace" or “hearth” and e'yal "family."
            Some scholars believe the name of the town of Zhmerynka derives from ethnonym "Cimmerians". M. Vasmer finds this explanation unconvincing (Vasmer Max, 1967, T2, 58), but considering the other facts, it seems plausible, especially because the modern Kurdish language has a lot of words like this place name such as gemaro "siege", qemer "month" etc. Not far from Zhmerinka flows the river Murafa, the etymology of the names discussed above.
            As we cannot consider all place names of Kurdish origin in detail here, only a few additional examples are given below:
            v. Baznikivka, to the south-west of Kozeva in Ternopil’ Region – Kurd. baz, “a falcon,” nikul, “a beak”;
            v. Balakiry, east of Horodok in Ternopil’ Region – Kurd.bala, “top,” kûre “hearth”;
            v. Bashuky, at the sources of the river Horyn' – Kurd.başok, “hawk”;
            v. Chepeli near Brody in L’viv Region and northeast of Khmel’nyk in Vinnycja Region, and the village of Čepelivka in Khmel’nyc’kyj Region in the suburbs of Krasilov – Kurd. çepel, “dirty”;
            v.Hermakivka (Germakivka), southeast of Borščev in Ternopil’ Region – Kurd. germik, “warm place”;
            v.v. Velyki and Mali Dederkaly on the outskirts of Kremenec’ in Ternopil’ Region – Kurd. dederi, “a tramp,” kal, “old”;
            v. Dzhulynka, to the north-east of Bershad’ in Vinnycja Region – Kurd. colan, “cradle”;
            v. Kalaharivka (Kalagarivka), to the south-east of Hrymajliv in Ternopil’ Region – Kurd. qal, "to kindle,” agir, “a flame”;
            v. Kilikiyiv, to the north-east of Slavuty in Khmel’nyc’kyj Region – Kurd. kelek, “ferry”;
            v. Kokoshynci to the north of Hrymayliv in Ternopil’ Region – Kurd. kok, “fat” “soup”;
            v. Kokutkivci to the north-west of Ternopil’ – Kurd. ko, “curve,”kutek “cudgel;”
            v. Mikhyrinci to north-east of Volochys’k – Kurd. mexer “ruins”;
            v. Mukhriv to the east of the town of Novohrad-Volynski – Kurd. “wool, hair”, xarû “clean, pure”;
            v. Palashivka to the west of Čortkiv in Ternopil’ Region – Kurd. pelaş, “straw”;
            v. Tauriv to the west of Ternopil’ – Kurd. tawer, “rock;”
            vv. Zyan'kivtsiin Khmelnytskyi and Vinnytsia Region – Kurd. zang, “ravine;”
            The band of Kurdish place names extanded along the left bank of the Dniester to the town of Mogyliv Podilsky and then turns to the town of Haysyn and it becomes network in the right-bank forest-steppe after the town of Uman.
            Undoubted presence of the Ancient Kurds on the Right Bank Ukraine immediately raises the question by which way they got there. We may assume keeping in mind the general movement of the Iranian tribes from the territory of their initial settlement between the Dnieper and the Don to the south and south-east that the ancestors of the Kurds came to the Azov steppes, and from there crossed the Dnieper and later moved to the northwest, displacing previous settlers that is the Thracians to the south-west, and the Bulgars – to the west. The band of Kurdish settlements from Haysyn and further along the river Dniester to the west can mark this path, but the presence of place names of Kurdish origin in Chernihiv, Kyiv and Zhytomyr Regions gives reason to consider another option.

    Migration of the Kurds to new settlements.

            The Kurdish settlements at their Urheimat are stretching along the river Desna, so we may assume that their ancestors went down to the Dnieper, crossed it and headed westward. This moving could last a long time, and some of the migrants could stay at intermediate stands, what explains the presence of Kurdish place names in the area of the Anglo-Saxons. We can talk more or less confident about such Kurdish place names which can mark the resettlement route of Kurds:

            t. Berdychiv in Zhytomyr Region – the most plausible interpretation, based on the Kurdish language: Kurd. berd "stone", çew "sand" is not only well suited phonetically, but also correspond to the peculiarity of the terrain around the town where for long are mined sand and gravel, there are in the town several companies of the stone processing industry;
            v. Byshiv in Makariv distruict of Kiev Region – Kuкd bişav “solution”, bişêv “to liquefy”;
            v. Chemkiv on the left bank of the Pripyat' near the mouth – Kurd çem “river”, kew “blue”;
            v. Devoshin to the northwest of Ovruch – Kurd. dewa “medicine”, şîn “misfortune”;
           v. Kharleivka to the west of the station Popelnia in Zhytomyr Region – Kurd xar“crooked”, leyi “rivulet, stream”;
            v. Kichkiry to the south of Radomyshl in Zhytomyr Region – Kurd keç “a daugther”, kerî “a part”;
            v. Narayivka to the soth-east of Yemychyn in Zhytomyr Region (yet three villages in other pegions) – Kurd nar – “fire”, e'yal “family”;
            v. Pyrky to the north of the mouth of the Prypiat – Kerd pîrq “laugh”;
            v. Singury to the south of Zhytomyr (see also above Shengury) – Kurd. sing "thistle" , ûre "seeds";
            v. Termakhivka to the north-west of Ivankiv in Kyiv Region – Kurd germ “warm”, term, “body, corpse”, ax, “ground”.
            The band of Kurdish villages, which stretches along the Dniester River on the east may indicate that the Kurds were obviously moved simultaneously with the Bulgars in the direction of the Dnieper River, forcing the remnants of the Thracians beyond the Dniester, and then turned to the Black Sea steppes, where they became known in history as the Cimmerians. Later, most of them, perhaps under pressure from Scythian Bulgars, walked through the Balkans to Asia Minor, and stayed some time in Cilicia. But a part of them remained near the Black Sea, because some names among the Scythian epigraphy can have good Kurdish interpretation.

Kurdich place names in Poland

            While analyzing place names of southeastern corner of Poland (namely in the Lublin province) a small cluster of names easily decrypted using the Kurdish language was found in a small. These are the names of Polish villages:
            v. Narol soiuth-west from Tomaszow-Lubelski – Kurd nar "fire", ol "a group";
            v. Paary in one kilometer from Narol – Kurd pa "level", ar "fire";
            v Pordysówka near Hamernia (see near) – Kurd fort «beast», isûl "custom";
            v. Rebizanty in two km from Paary – курд. reb "lord", zend "hand";
            v Hamernia in four km from Rebizanty to north-east – Kurd xumar "morose" or xawer "sun".
            As you can see, the first four words in one or another way are connected with the customs, religion (worship of fire was typical for Iranians). If the name of the village Hamernya is associated with the sun, then it can be included this group too, because the Kurds could worship not only the fire but the sun too. All five village chain stretched from south-east to north-west on the distance of twenty miles between the two large forests. The town Bilgoraj is a little away from them and its name could be coined by Kurd .belg "a leaf" and semantically close to it ray "a root". Far around the area found other place names which could be decrypted by means of Kurdish. It can not be accidental. Obviously, pagan temples have been focused in this area, where at certain times the local population came together to perform religious rites. The grounds for such an assumption given numerous names of villages nearest neighborhood containing the word maydan (Maidan, Maidanek, Maidan-Gurny, Maidan-Wielki, Maidan-Sopocki, Maidan-Nepryski)
           The detected group of place names of possible Kurdish origin gave rise to new searches, and it turned out that settlements called Maidan (or containing that word) are surprisingly numerous in Poland. They can be counted more than two dozen (about the same in Ukraine, mostly in the western regions).There are in Poland two distinct groups of place names – to the south of Lublin and to the east of Warsaw. We can assume that the popularity of this appellative is connected to the presence of ancient Kurds on the territory of Poland at a sufficiently large space. There are among mentioned clusters villages which names can also be decrypted using the Kurdish language, but they are too short, so the probability of random coincidences is high: Biszcza, Decie, Dyzin, Zynie, Ładzyń, Obsza, Otwock, Tyborów a.o.
            Some place names of supposed Kurdish origin would have to be found between mentioned Kurdish cluster in Lublin province and the main bulk of them in Ukraine which could mark the route of movement of migrants. We can assume that such settlements in the Lviv Region can be the town of Rawa Ruska (Kurd. rewa "a gift"), Belz (Burd. belg "a leaf"), Bišiv (Kurd. bişav "solution").

  Left: Kurdich place names in the Right-Bank Ukraine and Poland

            Large clusters of Kurdish place names are located quite far from the Carpathian Mountains, and on the other side of mountains the place-names of possible Kurdish origin were not found, but it is interesting that the name of the Carpathian Mountains Beskydy can be decrypted just by means of the Kurdish language. Beskid – a system of ridges in the northern outer strip of the Carpathians. They are located on the border of Poland and Czechoslovakia and Ukraine, between the river Morava in the west and the headwaters of the river San in the east. The mountain slopes are covered with beech and fir forests, alpine meadows are spread on the treeless peaks. There are in Beskids convenient passes at the altitude of 500-1000 meters, which were used in the most ancient times.
            The Ukrainian language has very much similar words with different but semantically similar senses. The very mountain range is called Beskіdi, Bieszczady, Bieszczady, but there are also words meaning "gulf", "rock", "mountain", "mountain range" – besked, besket, beskeda, beshket, beskeddya etc. Under the influence of Ukrainian these mountains are called Polish beskid, beszczad, but formerly known as Bieszczad, and the Polish beskid has meaning "mountain range, mountains covered with forests." Similar words in different variants with similar senses are also present in the Slovak and Czech languages. The generally accepted etymological interpretation of these words is absent. Most often they are associated with the Alb. (Thrak.) bejške "mountain pasture", "a series of high mountains", but the formant – (k)ed is not clear. Unsuccessful attempts to find the origins of the word in the Germanic languages were also made (see from ar FASMER or MELNYCHUK).
            However, the Iranian languages are best suited for explaining these words: beš / biš "forest" and gada / ğada / qät "a tree". Though, the only word beš was found in the Kurdish language, but the words gada / ğada / qät are present in Ossetian, Yagnob, Pashto and Persian closely akin to the Kurdish language, so it could exist in Kurdish, but disappeared. Both offered to decode words are related in meaning, but at first glance are not well suited for the name of the mountain. However, this is not the case. In the closely related languages, the word meaning mountain can mean also either the forest or tree, or tree and forest (eg Serb. gora 1. "forest", 2. "mountain", Bulg. gora "forest"). Thus, Old Kurdish *bešqät could mean "mountain covered with trees", what is corresponded with the meaning of some modern Slavic words of this semantic family. If words related to the words gada / ğada / qät in the Kurdish language never existed, then it is possible to take into account the Kurd. qad "boundary, limit, border". In this case, bešqad means "forest frontier", what is even better suited to the situation, because Kurdish place names are absent on the other side of the Carpathians, ie, Kurds did not dare to cross this border forest. Note that the Carpathians are covered with forests and a certain part of them is called Wooded Carpathians. If to talk about the Albanian word bejške, it could be a derivative of the Kurdish beš borrowed at a time when Proto-Kurds and Thracians were neighbors somewhere near the modern-day city of Vinnitsa.
           Multitudes of place names of Kurdish origin evidenc that the ancestors of modern Kurds since beginning of the 1st mill. BC, populating the relatively small territory in Podilla, over time settled on a fairly large space. Kurdish settlements strip that stretches along the Dniester River to the east may indicate that the Kurds obviously moved simultaneously with the Bulgars in the direction of the Dnieper, forcing out remnants of the Thracians beyond the Dniester, and then turned into Pontic steppes, where they became known in history as the Cimmerians. Later, most of them, perhaps under pressure from the Scythian-Bulgars, moved through the Balkans to Asia Minor and lingered awhile in Cilicia. However, some of them remained in region of the Black Sea, because names of supposed Kurdish origin found among of the Scythian names enough often.. A separate group of Kurds migrated northwestward to the territory of present-day Poland. Prior to joining the Slavs they had to live in close proximity to the Germanic tribes . The question of their future remains open.

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