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The Urheimat of the Nostratic Languages

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

The Language and Cultural Contacts of the Population in Eastern Europe

            Linguists and ethnologists unanimously suppose that the contacts between Finnish people and the Indo-Iranian part of the Indo-European community were most active and continual (KHALIKOV A.Kh. 1990.: 53). They believe also that the Iranians contacted more with speaker of the ancient Eastern Finnish dialects and less with the Western ones. The same way there are no doubt about the fact that the Mari, Hungarian, and also the Udmurt, and Mordvinic languages fell under the greatest influence of Turkic languages. This can be explained by close contacts between the ancient Finno-Ugric peoples and Turks. The settlements territory of the Indo-European, Finno-Ugric and Turkic speakers were located in such way that the Mari (Cheremis) and the Hungarians of all the Finno-Ugric peoples were indeed the nearest neighbors to the Turks, and the ancient Iranians were close neighbours to western Finno-Ugric peoples.
            Now, having the settlements areas map of the speakers of concrete languages, we can check possible closer mutuality of the languages belonged different language families, which areas adjoined each other. It is minded such pairs as the Iranian – Veps, Mordvinic – Iranian, Armenian – Turkic, in particular, Armenian – Oghuz (Gagauz), Mari - Turkic and Turkic - Hungarian ones, etc. Remaining within the framework of lexical-statistical studies, we can estimate quantitatively the connections of the Finno-Ugric languages with some Indo-European and Turkic ones.
            Some Indo-European languages have the largest number of Finno-Ugric matches. The amount of such matches in pairs of Indo-European and Finno-Ugric languages was calculated and one can see that the number of common words in the pairs is in general constantly decreasing with distance ranges between their areas.
            Iranian-Mordvinic linguistic connections are known better than the Iranian-Veps ones, although they are usually considered within the framework of the relations of the Finno-Ugric languages with the Indo-Iranian, and sometimes even appear only Indo-Mordvinic or Indo-Hungarian parallels without Iranian matches. It creates the impression of the same position of the Indian and Iranian languages to the Finno-Ugric ones. This approach reflects the fact that modern linguists are in thrall to old ideas and conclusions, formed back in the past century on the basis of the first general research and unsubstantiated concepts, when it was considered self-evident the existence of the Indo-Iranian community. Here is a typical example of such a review: "Contact and even ethnic mixing of the Indo-Iranians with the Finno-Ugrians continued in the forest-steppe zone of Eastern Europe during the whole time" (HARMATTA J., 1981, 79). However, considering the Indo-Finno-Ugric and Iranian-Finno-Ugric linguistic relations separately, the presence of mutuality between, for example, the Mordvinic and the Indian words such match can be found also in Iranian. This is understandable, since the area of the Iranian language was closer to the Uerheiman of the Mordvins than the area of the Indo-Aryans.
            The area of the Veps language was also adjacent to the Iranian one as the Mordvinic area was. Thus there are in Veps language some interesting matches to Iranian words (s. Table 7).

azrag – spear for fish
ос. arc, Kurd erş – spear, Tal ox – arrow
čopak – swift
Pust, Gil čabuk, Pers čabok – swift
hobdä – to powder
Kurd heweng, Tal həwəng, Gil hawang, Pust hawanga – mortar.
kanz – family, kund – community
Numerous Iranian kand, kant, gund – village, town.
kezr – wheel
gerd – the root in many words of Iranian having the sense "to turn", "neck" a.o.
kötkšta – to slaughter
Kurd kotek, Pers kotäk, Gil kutək – hit
l’öda – to hit
Taj latma – hit, Shug – lat – to strike, Kurd lîdan – to hit
Gil bеk, Kurd bak, Taj bok – fear
rusked – red
Pers räxš Tal rəš Yagn raxš a.o. – red
t’üukta – to drip
Kurd tika, Gil tikkə – drop
toh’ – birch bark
Kurd tûz, Pers tus; Taj tús – birch

           Left: Table 7. Veps-Iranian lexical correspondences

            The Iranian-Mordvinic (Mokhsa and Erzia) correspondences are well known, here only some examples of the less known ones:
           Moksha patsia "wing" – Pers bazu "hand, arm", Os bazyr "wing", Pust bâzu "hand, arm”, Kurd bazik "wing";
           Moksha kichkor, Erzia kichkere"wry, curved" – Tal, Gil. kəj, Pers käj, Yagn kaja "wry, curved";
           Mokhsa, Erzia pench "spoon" – Kurd penc "hand", Tal penjə "paw", пушт. panja "paw";
           Mokhsa, Erzia pona "wool, hair" – язг. pon "feather", Shung pum "down";
           Erzia torkhtav "turbidmuddy" – Gil tarik, Pust tаrik, Tal toik "dark".
           The number of Indo-European-Turkic matches in the Armenian, Greek, Germanic, Baltic, Indian, and Iranian languages is about the same and counts two or three dozen words. Turkic words in Slavic languages are of later origin (MENGES KARL H., 1990: 117). The Armenian language has more than two dozen isolated matches to Turkic roots. Some deal of them might have been borrowed already in historical times from the Turkish and Azerbaijani languages, but among them are the ones who by their sound structure shows very old borrowing. This is primarily Arm. antař "forest", which exactly corresponds to Gag. andyz "grove of bushes." The issue of mutual crossings of r and s, z in Turkic languages, known as the phenomenon of the rhotaczm-zetacizm, is very complicated, we will consider it later, but these phenomena have already occurred in prehistoric times. Other Turkic languages also have words andyz but of different sense (eg Balk, Bashk, Kum andyz "the plant Carlina"). The similarity of the senses of the Armenian and Gagauz words may indicate the ancient Armenian-Gagauz (Oghuz) contacts, when the speakers of the ancient languages populated neighbouring habitats on the left bank of the Dnieper. The boundary between them took place either on the river Psel or on the Sula. The boundary between steppe and forest-steppe goes along the Psel, so perhaps it is this river separated the cattle-breeding nomadic Oghuz from the hunting tribes of the Ancient Armenians. Those ancient contacts are also confirmed by the isolated pairs of Arm gjul "village" – Gag küü "village" and Arm gor "lamb" originated which from the Turk. gozy/kuzy "lamb", as well as some other parallels.
            But there is another interesting match, which undoubtedly binds just three areas – the Turkic, Finno-Ugric and Indo-European ones. The Armenian language has the word kamur, Greek has γαφυρα, the Mari language has kuwari, which all have the same meaning "bridge, dam" and all they originated from the ancient Turkic word *kobur which now exists in all Turkic languages (except, perhaps, Khakas) and has the forms köpür, küper, kövür (Chuv kěper, Karach, Bulk köpür, Tat küper, etc.)

            The above examples fit well within the scope of the ancients, so far unexplained Armenian-Turk relations, which about, for example, H. Birnbaum said, referring to the observation of Baudouin de Courtenay:

            Armenian is ranked to the Aryan-European branch of languages, and indeed he belongs to it by many its sides, but at the same time it can be put by some particulars of his parts and in general and by some key features next to the languages, if not Turk-Tatar or Turanian, then at least to languages very close to the latter. For example, the Armenian language at decline reflected the external, physical, spatial world mostly by Tatar manner (Cases Locativus, Ablativus, Instrumentalis), but the reflection of public relations is a continuation of Aryo-European forms (Genetivus, Dativus, Accusativus). (BIRNBAUM H. 1993:13.)

            Taking into consideration that the location of the Armenian Urheimat in close proximity with Turkic region (Birnbaum uses instead of "Turk" adopted in the West, the term "Turko-Tatar" or simply "Tartar" – VS), one can just understand the why of ancient Armenian-Turk relations.
            Turkic influences extended, obviously, not only to the neighbouring areas but even further, down to the settlements of the ancient Italics and even Greeks. The area of arising Italic language was located not far from the Turkic region on the right bank of the Dnieper, so Latin words of unknown origin can have matches in the Turkic languages.
            Turkic influences extended, obviously, not only to the neighbouring areas but even further, down to the settlements of the ancient Italics and even Greeks. The area of arising Italic language was located not far from the Turkic region on the right bank of the Dnieper, so Latin words of unknown origin can have matches in the Turkic languages.
            The Turk-Italic lexical parallels have sometimes match and in the Greek language. Turkic influences on Greek are evidenced also by other facts. Greek suffixes of approximation and removel (-de and -θen) perform the same function as Turkic postpositions -da, -de and -dan, -den applied for the formation of Locative answering the question where? where from?. Separate Greek-Turk lexical relations are scanty and this is understandable because the Greek area was separated from the Turkic territory by the Armenian habitat. Therefore Armenian as mediator between the Greek and Turkic languages could have correspondences to Greek-Turkic lexical parallels. However, as we shall see, Greek-Bulgar direct contacts were reflected also in languages.
            In general, compared with the Indo-European and Finno-Ugric languages, Turkic languages have more common words evidencing on higher level of culture and social relations among Türks and, in particular, on the existence advanced agriculture and especially cattle-breeding. These are the words: ajgyr "a stallion", akja "money" (the primary meaning, apparently, "cost", "price"), alma "apple", altyn "gold", arpa "barley", at "a horse", bajtal "a mare ", balta "an ax ", beg "lord", boz "an awl", bosaga "threshold", bög "dam", buga "a bull", buzagy "a calf ", geči "a goat", gemi "a boat", dary "millet", demir "iron", ejer "a saddle", inek "a cow", it "a dog", jaby "a horse", jaj "a bow", jal "a mane", jelin "udder “, jigit "rider", jorga "amble", kazan "a pot ", kamčy "a whip", kiš "to neigh", kömür "coal", köpür "a bridge", kul "a slave", kürek "an oar", mal "cattle", öj "home", teker "wheel", tojnak "a hoof ", ujan "bridle", üzenni "stirrup ", etc. Perhaps some part of those words, but very little, has been spread to all Turks in later times, but the vast majority of words having similar meaning in Indo-European and Finno-Ugric are spread in no more than two or three languages. The explanation for this may be the geographical features of the Turkic areas where there are not only more favourable conditions for development of agriculture and livestock, but also opportunities for closer contacts with the ancient agricultural cultures of the South Caucasus and Asia Minor.
            Learning from their agriculture, Turks sharer obtained experience further to the northwest and northeast. This is evidenced by some of the lexical data, as the spread of cultivated plants is mainly accompanied by borrowing their names. Thus, Gr. αλφι, Alb el'p "barley" originated from Turkic arpa "barley." Sir Gerard Clawson suggests that the Turkic word can be borrowed from the Indo-European . (CLAUSON GERARD, Sir. 1972). This view is connected with the idea of Altaic Urheimat of Turks and that they allegedly could not engage in agriculture earlier the Indo-Europeans. The word arpa as the name of barley is common in Turkic languages and was also borrowed by some Finno-Ugric people (Hung. árpa “barley", Mari. ärva "chaff"). This word is present in only two Indo-European languages, Greek and Albanian. Finno-Ugric neighbours of Turks have borrowed from them, together with millet, and its name: common Turk. dary "millet" – Hung. dara "grits", Mari. tar "millet". But the Turkic word itself apparently comes from Georg keri "barley" (Abkh. a-k'ar). In addition to barley, north-eastern neighbours of the Turks borrowed from the oats and onion. Common Turkic sulu/sula/suly "oats" (from the Georg svili "rye") have matches in Mari. šülö "oats", Mord. suro "millet", Khanty sola "oats". Turkic sogan/sugan "onion" has such matches: Hung. hagyma, Udm. sugon, Mari. šogan, Komi sugon "onion". These loan-words are undeniable, but considering their borrowing after the first appearance of the Turks in Europe means recognizing the cultural backwardness of the Finno-Ugric people, not knowing farming at earliertime. Language contacts were diverse. For example, words meaning rye in some Caucasian languages were borrowed not from Georgians, but from Turks (Darg susul, Agul sul, Lezgi. sil, Arch solx, etc.) Similarly, Chech sula "oats" was borrowed also from them. The Finno-Ugric word for the name of mountain ash (Mord. pizel, Komі pelys, Udm pales’, Mari pyzle), changing the meaning entered in the Indo-European – Gr. φασηλοσ "beans", Alb. bizele "peas." The similar words are present in Tatar and Bashkir, but they no doubt borrowed from the Finno-Ugric.
            Indo-European and Finno-Ugric names of horse were borrowed in different forms from the Turkic languages, where the root is represented by common Turkic jaby, jabytaq, javdaq "a horse" or "a horse without a saddle" (Turkm jaby, Chuv jupax, Uzbek javdaq etc .) The West Finnish languages modified Turkic jaby as Veps hebo, Est hobune, Fin hepo "a horse". Another example could be also in Mari čomo "a colt". J. Pokorny saw the origin of Indo-European names of horse in PIE *ekuos . However, taking into account the Gr. ιπποσ, Arm ji(p), Celt ebol, it is reasonable to argue that these names of a horse, as well as Latin. juba "a mane", have been directly borrowed from Turkic. On the other hand, the presence of sibilants or guttural in horse names in other Indo-European languages (Latin equu, Lit ašwa, Ir asp, Toch. yakwe) compel presuming possibility of different ways of penetrating the Turkic original word in the Indo-European community.
            The intertribal exchange trading existed already at that time. This is no surprise as the Tasmanians and Australians, retaining longer than other peoples primitive-communal way of life, had exchange trade (CHEBOKSAROV N.N., CHEBOKSAROVA I.A. 1985: 20). M. Tovkaylo wrote in his dissertation:

            … the location of Late Neolithic settlements may indicate also a possible means of local communities to control over natural crossings, therefore, over ways of moving and intertribal exchange, which gave them certain advantages in social development and the opportunity to expand their influence (TOVKAYLO M.T. 1998: 14)

            No doubt the first product of exchange was the salt, because its deposits were present not everywhere, but need for salt increased in the Neolithic Age in consequence of the increasing role of plant foods in human diet. Other items of exchanging were livestock, dried and salted fish, tools and handicrafts. This is evidenced by words of different meanings which existed in the western Turkic languages and in the language of the neighbouring people and which can be combined by total sense "commodity, an object of exchange". Actually, this word is just tovar “a product” that has in the Armenian language a form tavar meaning "sheep", "flock of sheep". The Turkic languages have such forms: Kum tuuar "flock of seep", Tur tavar "property", "cattle", Balk., Kr-Tat. tu'ar "the same", Chuv tăvar "salt", tavăr "to return the debt", "revenge", "answer", etc. Chuvash words are very significant. The Chuvash ancestors, that is the Bulgars settled area close to the Gulf of Siwash, where long existed salt business. Thus, salt was for the Bulgars the main item of export therefore obtained meaning "commodity". The second Chuvash word stays semantically and phonetically a bit distant. But in principle, at first it could mean "to pay back", "to offset" that is semantically close to the "price" that could evolve from the meaning of "product exchange". Many Iranian languages have a word tabar/teber/tevir "an ax", and the Finno-Ugric words of this root have a meaning of "textile" (Saam tavyar, Mari tuvyr, Khanty tagar). Obviously, they all had the same origin as the instruments of labour, as products have been traded. The Slavic tur “aurochs”, Lat taurus, and Gr. τυροσ, "ox" have been referred here though competent professionals (Vasmer, Walde and Hofmann, Menges) of these relationships hold back. At last, Ger teuer, Eng. dear, Dt. duur) can be referred here too.
            Turkic cultural influences were expanded mainly in the Finno-Ugric area, and wider on the left bank of the Dnieper. In addition to agriculture terminology, the Finno-Ugrians and Indo-Europeans took from the Turks the names of some household items, weapons: common Turkic balta (old form survived into the Chuv purta) "an ax" have such matches: Hung bárd "an ax" (balta is late loan-word), Komi, Udm purt "a knife", O-Ind. parasu, Toch peret (Osset färät "an ax" is probably taken from Tocharish), Yazg parus "an ax", Gr. παλτον "a spear, dart", Lat barda "an ax", bardicium "a spear, hatchet", Ger Barte "hatchet", O-Sax barda; common Turkic damar "sinew" was transformed into other languages in words meaning "string", "an arrow" "a spear", etc: O.Ind tomara "a spear, dart”, Khanty tamar "a blunt arrow" (for a squirrel, so as not to spoil the pelt), Veps tomar "an arrow", Osseti tomar "to direct" (from "an arrow" – V. ABAYEV), maybe Gr. τομοσ "acute"; common Turkic čana (also Georg čana) "sledge", čanah "jaw" have such matches: Saami soann, Est saan, Mansi sun, Hung szán, Osset dzonyg "sled", Arm sahnak. K. Menges said the last word was common to the whole northern part of the Nostratic area . Turkic loan-words on agriculture in Indo-European are very rare and on livestock industry almost none at all. However the Finno-Ugric languages have loan-words more concerned agriculture than livestock. For example, one can say only about Turk. ökuz/öguz/öküz (a proto-form *ökör) presented in Hung. ökör. We can draw two conclusions from these facts. First, before moving to Eastern Europe, the Indo-Europeans, Turkic and Finno-Ugric peoples were already really familiar with the basic types of domestic animals, and, secondly, the Indo-Europeans, in contrast to the Finno-Ugric peoples, have yet another source of cultural influences than Turkic area.
            The possibility of the existence of such a source is said for example, the Indo-European and Turkic names of an apple as the fruit of the cultivated plants, which have reason to compare. Turkic alma "an apple" was borrowed in the Hungarian language in the same form, it takes the form ulma in Udmurt , and umar’ does in Mordvinic. An undisputed name of an apple and an apple-tree, common for the all Indo-European languages is absent. The closest to Eastern Europe centre of the origin of apple trees lies in the Caucasus and Asia Minor and obviously this species does not grow here at the time of arrival the Nostratic tribes in Eastern Europe, but they could not bring it with them as yet not engaged in the cultivation of fruit plants. It is therefore very likely that the name of an apple and an apple-tree was loaned in the Turkic and Indo-European languages at a time when the fruit was brought to Eastern Europe later by immigrants from Asia Minor or the Caucasus.
            The Indo-European language had for the name of apples and apple trees the PIE word *abel (cf. Gmc *apli, OS ablŭko, Lith. abuolis, Lat. place name Abella, Celt. avallo, aval). The Greeks called apple μηλον and apple-tree did μηλεα, in Albanian apple is named molle; Lat malus, Hittite šamalu “apple”. Maybe Skt. ambla "sour" can be referred here too. If we compare all these words, we can conclude that all Indo-European words can have a common origin, if the original form was *amal, which also reminds Turk. alma. T. Gamkrelidze and V. Ivanov contradicted the possibility of a common origin of PIE and Trc names of apple seeing the proto-form of this word as *amlu and drawing to this root also Hittite šamalu (GAMKRELIDZE T.V., IVANOV V.V. 1984: 639), but the latter is obviously borrowed from Semitic as the similar word samar "fruit" is present in Arabic. In view of this all, the decision of the origin of the name of apple in the Indo-European, Turkic, and Finno-Ugric languages can be that way. All the mentioned names were taken from an unknown language, whose speakers live somewhere close to areas of the Turkic and Indo-European tribes (the Hungarian and Udmurt words were borrowed from Turkic and the Mordvinic one was from an unknown Indo-European). The only one place, equally close to these two areas, is the right bank country of the Dnieper River, the area of spreading the Tripilla culture in the 5th- 3rd mill BC. We can suggest that the Hittites borrowed the word šamalu not from the Semites in the Near East, but from Tripillian folk still in their Urheimat what is possible in principle if the Tripillian had word *hamal. Thus the possibility of Semitic origin of the Tripillian folk can be considered. (The Hittites and Tripillians were neighbours at their habitats).
            However, despite the higher level of culture of the Turks, they also borrowed something from the Indo-Europeans. Probably, the Indo-Europeans were the first in Eastern Europe begining to fatten domestic pigs, what might be indicated by the names of two Indo-European names of pig: *sûs and *porќos. One of them was borrowed by Turks: Chuv sysna, Kaz. šoška, Khak soskha, Kyrg čočko and Finno-Ugric peoples did the second one: Fin. porsas, Udm. pars, Komi pors, Mansi purys all meaning "a pig". The Turks have no common word for pig, some Turkic languages have words of another root: Gag, Azer. donuz, Kum. tonguz, borrowing from unknown source. The Turks, having nomadic way of life, could not breed pigs, which were not fit for migrations, but this animal was known them and they apparently met it at the Indo-Europeans.
            Certain enigma may be presence in the Finno-Ugric languages the word of Indo-European origin to daughter’s naming. PIE *dhugheter "daughter" (Ger. Tochter, gr. τυγατηρ, O.I. duhitar, etc.) is in good agreement with the Veps t'ütar, Erz. teyter’, Est. tütar, Fin. tytür "daughter". The word of the same root was found in the Yakut language meaning "woman" (d'axtar). This Yakut word, strikingly similar to the ancient Indo-European root, could not in any case be borrowed from Russian by the phonetic reasons and may be ones more evidence of the presence of ancient Turks in Eastern Europe.
            There is no doubt that the cultural ties of the population of Eastern Europe were not limited to the socio-economic sphere, and exchange of achievements in artistic and creative activities had to exist. This is a topic for specialists, but linguistics can give certain material. For example, the origin of the name of a musical instrument bandura is associated with the Lat pandura and Gr. πανδουρα "cittern" and its source are looked for in Lydia. (VASMER MAX. 1964. Volume 1, p. 120). Obviously not found, as the roots of words are in the language of the ancient Bulgars, as it is evidenced by Chuv. păntăr-păntăr – imitation of strum, strum of strings, păntărtat – 1. strum, strum, produce strumming sounds (of a stringed instrument), 2.pop, rattle (on drums) and like. What Chuvash words have a more common sense, means that the stringed musical instrument was borrowed bt Indo-Europeans (Greeks and / or Italians) from Bulgars, and not vice versa. At the same time they were also borrowed from the Bulgarian the word, which was attached to a specific meaning of a musical instrument, however how it was called by Bulgars themselves, remains unknown. The peoples of the Caucasus have names for musical instruments like the Latin word pandura, but the source of the borrowing, just as words bandura, difficult to define. Musical instruments with a similar name – Fr. tambourin (long drum), Tat. dumbra "balalaika", Cr.Tat. dambura "guitar", Tur. tambura "guitar", Kazakh. dombra (a type of balalaika), Mong. dombura are used by many Asian and European peoples. It is believed that their names have Arab origin (Ar. tanbūr "stringed musical instrument"). However Chuv. tĕmpĕr-tĕmpĕr "imitation drumbeat", tĕmpĕrtet "to rattle" (of drum) cast doubt on this, since the similarity of words păntăr and tĕmpĕr speaks to their common Turkic origin.

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

Common Turkic – Indoeuropean Heritage in Names of Plants

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