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The Urheimat of the Nostratic Languages

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

Migration of Indo-European tribes in the light of the phonetic features of their languages.

            When the Turks left their territory, migration of the Indo-Europeans followed. As the first, Hittite-Luwian speakers moved in the direction of Balkan Peninsula and later to Anatolia where they entered around or after 2000 BC. After them the Celts, Illyrians, Italics advanced westward, and the Greeks migrated towards the Balkan Peninsula following the way of the Hittite-Luwians. The Indo-Aryans went to the southeast, but the Slavic, Baltic, Germanic, and Iranian tribes remained in Eastern Europe for a long time. Such presumption can be plausible as the Slavic, Baltic, Iranian, and Germanic languages share some mutual characteristic features. One of them in contrast to the other Indo-European languages is transforming the ancient Indo-European voiced aspirated stop bh to b. These two sounds were fallen together in the Slavic, Baltic, Iranian languages but b was evolved to p in Germanic. Whereas the consonant bh either has kept or evolved to different sounds in the other Indo-European languages.
            As it is known, according to the principle of reflection of palatalized velars or in the form of affricates and fricatives, either in the form of pure velars, all Indo-European languages are divided into two groups Satem and Centum. The Satem group includes Indic, Iranian, Baltic, Slavic, Albanian, Armenian, Phrygian, Thracian. The Centum group does Hittite-Luwian (Anatolian), Greek (Hellenic), Italic, Germanic, Celtic, Tocharian, Illyrian (POKORNY JULIUS. 1954: 376).

            In principle, this separation could affect the location of individual Indo-European languages so that the two groups would have fairly clear geographical boundary, but hardly the such can be found. Indeed, one would assume that the division occurred on the principle "east-west" as it is supposed W. Porzig (PORZIG W. 1964: 319). In such case, the boundary could lay on the Dnieper, as most Satem language areas were located on the left bank, and all the Centum ones do on the right bank, but the location of the area of the Centum Tocharian language between the Satem Indic and Baltic languages contradicts this assumption. The complexity of the division of the Indo-European languages to the groups Satem and Centum due to involvement of other new data resulted that some scientists even refuse this division (VINOGRADOV V.A. 1982: 259). But all the contradictions can be resolved adopting and developing the explanation of this division proposed by Agnia Desnitsky:

            Proto-Albanian belonged to the Satem group languages, preserved the row of palatal guttural consonants and carried out their assibilation. However it was "inconsistent" Satemization as for it as for the Baltic languages (less for Slavic). This "inconsistency" can be considered as a feature of fairly wide transition band in the central part of the Indo-European area, which could consist apart from the Baltic and Proto-Balkanic of the Illyrian (with Messapian) and Thracian languages. The tendency to assibilation of palatal consonants was powerful innovation of the period prior to rupture of the territorial contacts between different parts of the Indo-European community. This innovation weakened moving from east to the central zone, meeting with the approaching from the west the tendency of the neutralization of the opposition of palatals and velars. (DESNITSKAYA A.V. 1966: 11-12).

            The wave of the assibilation of palatals, according A. Desnitsky, arose under the influence of Finno-Ugric languages, which include a rich set of sibilants s, s', š, and only two the gutturals k and q', while the Indo-European languages had one fricative s and a large collection of guttural voiced, voiceless and aspirated consonants (DESNITSKAYA A.V.1968: 12). Since the Albanian language manifested “inconsistent Satemization”, A. Desnitsky places it in the middle of the European area, where the influence of Finno-Ugric languages felt less. The central position of the Albanian language of Indo-European languages was further confirmed by two other facts which given by A. Desnitsky:

            The whole dialect area, which Proto-Albanian belonged, according the feature of the setting of the Proto-Indo-European scheme of three short vowels *e, *o, *a to the schema of two vowels *e, *a (in Slavic *o) opposed to the vast area in southwest and south of the Indo-European area (Celtic, Italic, Greek, Phrygian, and Armenian), where the three-part scheme was preserved, and Indo-Iranian region where three-term model was reduced to a one-term one *o (DESNITSKAYA A.V.1966: 10).

            That is, there were three areas – the area A, which has kept all three of the ancient Indo-European short vowels, the area B included the Albanian and characterized by displaying them in two vowels, and the area C where they reflected to one vowel.
            The second fact is very important also for determination of the order of migration of speaker of particular Indo-European languages from their Urheimat.

            Indo-European voiced aspirated stops *bh, *dh, *gh in Proto-Albanian switched to simple voiced stops b, d, g, and coincided with the voiced stops which were preserved from the Indo-European states. In this respect, the Proto-Albanian language has evolved the same way as a lot of languages, including Baltic, Slavic, Germanic, Illyrian and Thracian, Celtic, and Iran. On this basis, these languages were objected to Italic, Venetian and Greek lost of voiced aspirated row, but have retained the distinction of three rows. An important innovation of the vast area, stretching from the Iran language area on the east to the Celtic area on the west, was uniting two rows of the Indo-European stops (simple voiced and aspirated voiced) into one row. Only the German dialect area in the centre of this area did not carry out this innovation, having carried out the movement of the consonants and maintaining the original distant relationship between the three rows of the Indo-European stops (Ibid: 11-12.)

            However one need to do some clarification here. There were in Indo-European language not three but four rows of stops – voiced aspirated, the voiced plain, unvoiced aspirated, and unvoiced plain but unvoiced aspirated stops were very rare, so Desnitsky said about the three series, although included in consideration also unvoiced aspirated stops in a later paper (DESNITSKAYA A.V.1968). But the most important is the unity of voiced aspirated and voiced plain stops in one row of voiced plain stops Celtic, Slavic, Baltic, Iranian, Armenian, Thracian, Albanian and Illyrian just as well in the Germanic voiced aspirated became voiced plains stops, i.e. voiced aspirated stops did not survive in these languages. Voiced aspirated stops preserved in Greek, Italic, Indic (one can not say sure about Tocharian and Hittite-Luwian ), another thing is that they reflected in each language in different ways later. This implies that the ancestors of Italians, Greeks, and Indo-Aryans would have been among the first to leave their Urheimat and so saved the old Indo-European sound composition. Having lost contact with each other and got into the neighbourhood with native speakers of another sound structure, they could fall under the different language influences and therefore, e.g., Greek voiced aspirated bh, dh, gh moved in φ, θ, χ, and Latin ones did in the f , h. The languages of other Indo-European peoples, who remained in their old places of settlements, developed by more or less common phonetic laws, and so all they have lost aspirate bh, dh, gh (including the Germanic languages, although there was a certain movement of consonants). Taking into consideration the location of the primary ranges of individual Indo-European peoples and places of their more recent settlements and the time they arrive to them, we can assume that the first left their Urheimat of the Hittites, then the Italics, Greeks and the Indo-Aryans did. The Hittites, who inhabited the southern-most area, the first of the Indo-Europeans at the end of the 3rd millennium BC appeared in Asia Minor, using, obviously, a waterway along the Dnieper and the Black Sea:

            The archaeological cultures of the last quarter of the 3rd mill. BC in Asia Minor came the really dramatic changes. These changes suggest the emergence of new ethnic elements that can be identified with the ancient Anatolians – but rather about their appearance from the west than from the east. (DIAKONOV I.M. 1968: 26-27).

            The Greeks moved behind the Hittites, probably, in the same way, the Italics traced by land. Movement of the Indo-Aryans were supposed to be prevented by the Phrygians and Armenians, therefore, the latter have migrated in such a way that did not prevent the movement of the Indo-Aryans, while staying still not far from the Indo-European area. The Tocharians still had to stay on their Urheimat, when it Italics, Greeks and the Indo-Aryans left their ones (PORZIG V., 1964, 319). The Albanians were involved in this movement of Indo-European people, and been occurred somewhere in the centre of the Indo-European area as a result of relocation have , what may explain the localization of their homeland by Agnia Desnitsky:

            The outpouring of the relation of Albanian with the North-Indo-European languages (Baltic, Slavic, Germanic) give reason for searching For-Balkan homeland of the group of Indo-European tribes to which belonged also the ancestors of the Albanians, somewhere in the neighbourhood of the settlement area of the North-Indo-European tribes (DESNITSKAYA A.V. 1984: 220).

Voiced Voiceless Ind Gr Lat Germ Balt Slav Celt Iran
b b β b p b b b b
bh bh φ f b b b b b
p p π p f p p (0) p
ph ph φ p f p p p p
d d δ d t d d d d
dh dh θ d đ d d d d
t t τ t þ t t t t
th th θ t þ t t t, th t
g g γ g k g g g z
gh gh χ h g k g g z

           At left: Reflection of stops in individual Indo-European languages

            Taking into account this conclusion, we can assume that the ancestors of the Albanians in the general migration of Indo-European from their homeland on the east of the Indo-European territory moved westward and settled in its centre. We can also assume that they took the old Hittite area by passing on the right bank of the Dnieper River near Kiev. Previously, this could make the Phrygians and Proto-Armenians, departing later somewhere near southward because they stayed still in the area of Indo-European linguistic influences. Obviously, these effects were smaller than on Albanian, as Armenian as well as left the Satem language. Thus the Albanians settled in the triangle between the river Teterev, Ros, and Dnieper. As a result the process of the Satemisation of Proto-Albanian was terminated because the powerful Dnieper border prevented contacts of the Albanian language with the languages of the Satem group, and Western influences took over in this language. In contrast, the Balts and Slavs moving eastward after the departure of Tocharian ancestors came into direct contact with the Satem Iranian language, and later with the Finno-Ugric languages therefore palatalized velar k', g' of their language transited is in front sibilants. That is, these languages, primarily belonging to the Centum group, came under the process of Satemisation later than others Satem languages. V. Abayev thought so cited to V. Georgiev, who expressed the opinion that the assibilation of palatals occurred in Indo-Iranian language no later than the 3rd mill BC, while this process occurred in Slavic "in an era not so distant from the earliest written records" (ABAYEV V.I. 1965: 141). Now we can find explanation for the fact why the Albanian language has so many common words with the Germanic and Baltic languages (see data on the number of common words in the Albanian and other Indo-European languages above) in the assumption that ancient speakers of Proto-albanian language settled in close proximity to the settlements of the Germanic and Baltic tribes.
            The fact that the ancestors of the Albanians to settle on the Urheimat of the Hittites in the triangle between the river Ros’, Teterev, and the Dnieper, is the warrant for further assumptions. Some researchers, in particular, D. Telegin argue that the greatest concentration of the Thracian (Dacian-Thracian) hydronyms can be found in the basins of the Southern Bug, Ros’, Teterev (the river Ibr, Yantra, Alta, etc.) (TElEGIN D.Ya. 1990-1.) I. Zelezniak believed just the same earlier. (ZHELEZNIAK I.M. 1987). Thus, the Thracians would populate the area north of the Ros’, but we have placed here, not without reason, the Hittites. This contradiction can be resolved if we identify the Albanians with the Thracians but not with Illyrians. Thus, the Thracians, or the Proto-Albanians at the time of the parting of the Indo-European language occupied area between the Desna and the Seym. When their language have separated from Proto-Indo-European, they followed the Phrygians and Proto-Armenians crossing the Dnieper and occupied the abandoned area of the Hittites, while the Phrygians and Proto-Armenians settled south of Ros’. They stayed here till the third quarter of the 2nd mill BC, and then began to move to Asia Minor through the Balkans.

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