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Thread: Albanian Linguistics

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    Albanian Linguistics

    I will dump relevant scientific linguistics work on the Albanian Language in this thread:

    "Under such circumstances we are obliged to concentrate our efforts upon investigations of the Albanian language hoping to find out whether there is any relic of a linguistic type of non-I.E. origin. Such a relic, according to Jokl ( see Cabej: 1970, 45), Baric (1955,58) etc. should be sought in the numeration system of Albanian, where besides the I.E decimal numeration (compare dhjetė ‘ten’, tridhjetė ‘thirty’, pesėdhjetė ‘fifty’ etc.), there are also relics of the vigesimal system, as njė-zet ‘twenty’, dy-zet ‘forty’; by the Arbereshe of Greece and Italy there are also encountered tre-zet ‘sixty’ and katėr-zet ‘eighty’. The vigesimal system is widespread in the non-I.E language of the Basques, who have resisted romanization. Relics of this system have also been preserved in French (quatre-vingts), particularly in popular French. Some traces of this numeration system are to be found in Danish as well: tresindstyve ‘sixty’, firsindstyve ‘eighty’ etc. It is worth emphasizing that Albanian is the only Balkan language, in which such vigesimal numerals have been preserved. In Albanian there should also be other traces of a Pre I.E. layer of words, which are not yet well investigated. Such a word is , most probably, lėpjetė ‘orach, dock’, which, like the Greek lįpaton, is of a Mediterranean origin. Of such an origin are also the words venė/verė ‘wine’ and shegė ‘pomegranate’ (see Cabej: 1976/a, I, 320 and II, 131, 280). Baric (1955,57), too, thinks that some Albanian ancient words like (h)ardhi ‘vine’, bisht ‘tail’, mal ‘mountain’, shegė ‘pomegranate’, sh-kurre ‘bush’ etc. are of Pre-I.E. origin. Mal has been acknowledged as a Pre-I.E. word by Solta as well (1980,20,48 sq.). It is to be noted that Albanian mal has also been connected with the Romanian mal ‘(river) - bank’ etc., as well with similar words outside of the Balkans, as for ex. in Lithuanian, Celtic etc. The word mal has generally been acknowledged as the second part of the Illyrian toponym Di-mall-um."

    - Shaban Demiraj
    Epirus, Pelasgians, Etruscans and Albanians, Pg 198
    Academy of Sciences of Albania

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    Therefore, from this point of view Albanian should have evolved
    from one of the ancient I.E. languages spoken in the eastern or western part
    of the Balkans. In such circumstances, one could not establish whether the
    Albanians are the descendants ofthe Illyrians, as some scholars have thought
    about, or of the Thracians or of Daco-Mysians, as some other ones have
    assumed. In this case one should exclude the possibility of considering the
    Albanians as descendants of another people or population inside or outside
    of the ancient Balkans, as there is no historical evidence for the immigration of
    such a people or population into the ancient Balkans. Otherwise, it should
    have been recorded, as in the case of thc incursion of some Celtic tribes, or of
    the Visigoths and Ostrogoths (see Chapter I, 13).

    On the other hand, one could not exclude the possibility that the forefathers
    of the Albanians, before settling on the eastern shores of the Adriatic and
    Ionian seas, might have inhabited somewhere in the eastern or central Balkan.
    However, having no sure information about the course of immigration of the
    I.E. tribes, that settled in the western Balkan, such an assumption remains
    rather ungrounded. At any rate, one should exclude the possibility of such a
    migration from east to west in the historical period starting from the Greek-
    Latin ancient times, because the migration of a somewhat large population in
    this case could not have remained unnoticed and unrecorded by the historical
    sources (see & 7). And still more groundless is the assumption of some
    scholars, who think that the forefathers of the Albanians have immigrated into
    their present country at a relatively late period (see Chapter I, 9-15).

    6. As it was pointed out in Chapter III, a series of data indicate that the
    forefathers of the Albanians, at least since the ancient Greek-Roman period,
    have lived in the eastern Adriatic and Ionian sea-shore areas. It suffices to
    recollect the ancient loanwords from the Greek Doric dialect and from Latin
    (see Chapter Ill, 28-33), a number of ancient Albanian place-names,
    which have undergone changes according to the evolution of the Albanian
    phonological system (see Chapter Ill, 34-83), the early christianization of
    the forefathers of the Albanians (see Chapter Ill, 7-27), as well as the
    ancient dialectal differentiation of Albanian (see Chapter Ill, 3-6).
    Of course, in ancient times, particularly during the Roman domination, as
    well as during the Bulgarian and Serbian occupations in Middle Ages, Greek,
    Roman, and Slavic enclaves have also appeared in the areas inhabited by the
    forefathers of the Albanians. But the fact that the native element did resist
    hellenization, romanization, and slavicization, at least, in the areas inhabited at
    present by Albanians, clearly shows that the natives represented the largest
    part of the population in these areas (see Chapter Ill, 84-91). Otherwise,
    we should have to admit that a few uncultured tribes have succeeded in
    assimilating some hellenized, latinized, and slavicized populations, which had
    not only a cultural superiority but also a significant social-political and
    administrative support. Therefore, that would be an unusual, or rather
    impossible, phenomenon.

    Pg 190-192
    The Origin of the Albanians: Linguistically Investigated
    Shaban Demiraj
    2006

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    Such a chronology might be confirmed by the analysis of one substantive
    and one verb from among the Latin loans of Albanian: mjek < médicus and
    beko-j < benedicere. The substantive mjek 'physician' has retained the accent
    upon the initial syllable as in Latin, whereas the verb bekö-j, as compared to
    Latin benedico - benedicere, has transposed the accent upon its final stem
    like the other Albanian verbs. Moreover, in both of these words the unstressed
    syllables have been reduced and fallen away. Such gradual reductions are an
    internal development of Albanian. Taking into account the fact that such
    reductions have not taken place even in the oldest layer of the Slavic loanwords,
    it might be affirmed that the above-mentioned reductions have been
    accomplished prior to the contacts of the Albanians with the Balkan Slavs.
    And this would indicate that the above-mentioned stressing of Latin loans in
    Albanian goes back to relatively ancient times.

    Pg 203
    The Origin of the Albanians: Linguistically Investigated
    Shaban Demiraj
    2006

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    "Nevertheless, there is a considerable number of inherited words
    used as navigation and fishing terms in Albanian, as for ex. det 'sea',
    gji (deti) 'gulf', va 'ford', valė 'wave', anije 'ship' from anė (now enė; ,compare enėt e mėdha 'large ships', enėt e vogla 'small ships'), leshterik 'alga' etc.

    For more details see Qabej: 1972, p. 19 sq. "

    Pg 93
    The Origin of the Albanians: Linguistically Investigated
    Shaban Demiraj
    2006

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    Scholars have also connected the name of the Illyrian tribe Taulant- with the Albanian word dallėnd-yshe < dallėnd-ushe (7) 'swallow', in which —ushe is a relatively late suffix. The ancient Greeks called this tribe by their corresponding word khelidon 'swallow'. In this case, too, between taulant and dallėnd-yshe one can observe phonetic changes in harmony
    with the evolution of the Albanian phonological system.

    (7: For this word see Ēabej: 1987, p. 157 sq.)"

    Pg 196
    The Origin of the Albanians: Linguistically Investigated
    Shaban Demiraj
    2006
    Last edited by Johane Derite; 10-08-2018 at 03:24 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by bpr View Post
    In this case, too, between taulant and dallėnd-yshe one can observe phonetic changes in harmony
    with the evolution of the Albanian phonological system.
    Later on in the same page:

    "The consonantic cluster /-nt-/ has evolved to /-nd-/, as in the Latin loans prind < parent-em , argjend < argentum etc. Later on, the initial /t-/ has evolved to /d-/ probably under the influence of the following /-d-/, and finally the intervocalic /-l-/ has regularly evolved to /-ll-/. Thus, the historically phonetic correspondence between Taulant- and dalland-yshe seems quite normal."

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    Pyrrhus was raised and made ruler of Epirus by the Taulantii King Glaukias.

    (The Taulantii were an Illyrian tribe.)

    Pyrrhus raised, trained, and made a king by the Swallows

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    Another trait of the Albanian is that it retains /b/ when Latin has /f/ and Greek /ph/, thus showing its affinity to now dead Balkan languages like Illyrian, Macedonian and Thraco-Phrygian.

    For example:

    Sansk. /bharami/,
    Lat. fero,
    Greek φέρω,
    Alb. /bar/, /mbar/, /bie/ - the /r/ surfacing at the imperative "bjerė".

    Another clear example is that Phrygians in Albanian is Bryget.

    Ancient macedonian famously shares this feature:

    "Macedonian seems to have had a phonological feature that marks it as different from Greek dialects. This is the correspondence of a sound written with B, to Ph in Greek. For instance, this would appear as something like Bilippos in Macedonian, and Philippos in Greek. Crossland says that this change puts Macedonian closer in phonology to Illyrian and Thracian than to Greek".

    From pg 34 of
    Macedonia and Greece: The Struggle to Define a New Balkan Nation
    John Shea.

    The Crossland he mentions is Crossland, R. A., “The Language of the Macedonians”, Cambridge Ancient History**, , Cambridge 1982.*

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    "Now IE languages are mainly divided in Western (kentum) dialects and Eastern (satem), according to criteria of guttural palatal (k', g') change. The Albanian language changes them into interdental spirants, viz. *k' < th and g' < dh, but sometimes also occlusives (d), comp:

    Lat. acidus, Alb. i athėt;
    Gr. λέγω, Alb. mb+ledh, zg+ledh (zgjedh);
    Lat. gener, Alb. dhāndėr;
    Lat. hiems, Alb. dimėn, etc.


    In Northern IE dialects, the short IE /o/ opened into an /a/, while being retained as an /o/ in the Southern IE dialects. In this sense:
    Lat. nox, noxtis, but Alb. nātė (pl. nét);
    Lith. naktis, Germ. nacht, Irish innocht ("tonight");
    or Lat. os, ossis; Gr. ὀστεόν, Alb. asht (pl. éshtna).


    Albanian shares a lot of isoglosses with Baltic (Lithuanian, Latvian, Old Prussian), meaning sometime in the distant past they were neighbours, probably somewhere in North-Eastern Europe. Albanians also shares with the Balto-Slavic concordances of supradecimal numerals, 11-19:

    Alb. njė-mbė-dhjetė (unum supra decim), dy-mbė-dhjetė, tre-mbė-dhjetė... nėntė-mbė-dhjetė (19).
    Slavic jedinz-na deset, d"va na deset, etc. Same as in Lithuanian and Latvian.


    Albanian also shares concordances with Ancient Greek:

    Alb. balgė (dung), Gr. βόλβος > /*bholgwos/;
    Alb. darkė, drekė (dinner, supper); Gr. δόρπον < /*dhorkwon/;
    Alb. dhjamė (fat) , Gr. δέμος
    Alb. pelė (mare), Gr. πῶλος (colt), etc. "



    - Ēabej, passim.
    Last edited by Johane Derite; 10-13-2018 at 12:23 PM.

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    En or Enji ([ɛɲi]) is the Illyrian god of fire. The name continues to be used in the Albanian language for Thursday (enjte). Related to the Vedic fire god Agni

    From Proto-Albanian *agni, from Proto-Indo-European *h₁n̥gʷnis (“fire”)


    " En: An Old Illyrian god whose name lives on in the Albanian word for Thursday. With the coming of Christianity, En was demoted to demonic status. "

    - Pg 57
    The Routledge Dictionary of Gods and Goddesses, Devils and Demons
    Manfred Lurker
    Last edited by Johane Derite; 10-13-2018 at 02:30 PM.

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