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Thread: Schrijvers and the Germanic shift seen as an Uralic substrate.

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    Schrijvers and the Germanic shift seen as an Uralic substrate.

    The main purpose of this discussion thread is to gather the opinion of Jaska, a professional linguist specializing in Uralic studies, on Peter Schrijvers' theory as to the origin of the Germanic shift. To sum it up very brutally, Schrijvers defends that the Germanic shift results from a deep influence of Uralic phonology, marked by vowel harmony and consonantal gradation, on a pre-Germanic / NW-Indo-European language. In particular, I would like to know if for Jaska this theory does not fall under Petri Kallio's criticism of Wiik's theories (in his 1997 text "Uralic substrate features in Germanic?")

    https://www.routledge.com/Language-C.../9781138245372
    En North alom, de North venom
    En North fum naiz, en North manom

    (Roman de Rou, Wace, 1160-1170)

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    To provoke but with a serious undertone.
    Could the reverse also be true, Saami language has got some Germanic loanwords/constructs?
    Because frankly when we suppose that Germanic has a source in the Jastorf area why did they have to use Saami loanwords and constructs, makes no sense imo (no direct contact etc.)
    'Celtic' loanword in Germanic makes more sense imo; more close and the Celtic area's were more developed than the Germanic one (more prestige). The Saami area is somewhat in the periphery of outmost Northern Europe.
    Last edited by Finn; 05-05-2021 at 03:17 PM.

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    This is why Schrijvers' theory is of major interest. If he is right and the Germanic shift has developed into a bilingual Indo-European / Baltic-Finnish population, Jastorf's culture can no longer be defended like the Proto-Germanic area. I don't know what Schrijvers would have to say about the (assured? I don't know) presence of Celtic loanwords in Proto-Germanic, as he locates the cradle of the Italo-Celtic branch in northern Italy (in the last volume of "Celtics from the West"). On the other hand, the presence of a Germanic lexical substrate in Saami cannot be disputed. So, in short, this is all very confusing in my mind, and I don't want to risk expressing an opinion. I just hope Jaska brings some clarity to this mess.

    edit: by the way, why did I add an "S" to Schrijver's name? Don't know.
    Last edited by anglesqueville; 05-05-2021 at 03:50 PM.
    En North alom, de North venom
    En North fum naiz, en North manom

    (Roman de Rou, Wace, 1160-1170)

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    Quote Originally Posted by Finn View Post
    To provoke but with a serious undertone.
    Could the reverse also be true, Saami language has got some Germanic loanwords/constructs?
    Because frankly when we suppose that Germanic has a source in the Jastorf area why did they have to use Saami loanwords and constructs, makes no sense imo (no direct contact etc.)
    'Celtic' loanword in Germanic makes more sense imo; more close and the Celtic area's were more developed than the Germanic one (more prestige). The Saami area is somewhat in the periphery of outmost Northern Europe.
    The modern-day Saami area in the northernmost parts of Fennoscandinavia isn't their 'traditional' area. It is thought that various stages of pre-proto-Germanic and proto-Germanic were spoken in southwestern parts of Finland(where they had migrated from Scandinavia) in the first millenium BC where the proto-Saami had extensive contacts with them with no Finnish speakers anywhere to be seen as the Finnish language is a later intrusion from Estonia of the Roman Iron Age.
    https://www.sgr.fi/sust/sust266/sust266_aikio.pdf

    At least that's the traditional story. Finnish researchers have proposed alternative scenarios where the Finnics arrived in Finland at the same time or even before Saami speakers. I don't take these ideas very seriously as they do not seem to be backed by the level of evidence that should be required for such radical proposals to be taken seriously and there's the possibility of bias as well.
    All these contacts considered both in Finland and Estonia it seems quite unlikely to me that Germanics could have been fairly recent arrivals to Scandinavia from Jastorf. It just doesn't quite work out I think.

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    The problem goes even further, because regardless of whether we consider the Jastorf-culture the cradle of Proto-Germanics, or a bigger area which encompasses much of what was covered by the Nordic Bronze Age culture, both of these were centered around an area from Southern Sweden, over Denmark, to North Western Germany. This means either Scandinavia as a whole or directly North of the NBA settlements was Saami, in the Bronze Age already. Which kind of evidence do we have for that? Or even more, that the Uralic substrate did reach further South?

    The most important patrilineages for Proto-Germanics are clearly I1 and R1b-U106. For the Uralics, includings Saami and Finnish people, its N. Where is there any kind of proof for an Uralic substrate in Scandinavia, let alone in Denmark and Northern Germany? There is nothing of that kind. The pre-Germanic inhabitants of Scandinavia which formed the real substrate were already Indoeuropeans or at least steppe-derived, like Battle Axe/Corded Ware/Single Grave people and Bell Beakers, then Unetice-influenced Nordic Bronze Age. Where is the Uralic substrate in that equation?
    There is no Uralic substrate, but at best for the theory an older, pre-Indoeuropean one, related to either BBC or CWC, if they were not fully IE in the region, or even older, local Neolithic, possibly forager influenced people. These Neolithic substrate was of importance in Scandinavia and Northern Germany. An Uralic substrate didn't exist. A contact zone of importance was not present either in the crucial time.

    Whether you let the Proto-Germanics stem from CWC-BAC, Single Grave, BBC, Unetice, NBA or Jastorf, doesn't matter, the Uralic substrate hypothesis doesn't work out and won't help. The only possible way for Uralics having had an influence on Germanics is by intensified contacts in the Iron Age. But that's a wholly different level. Its however certainly possible, because Finland itself might prove to be a situation in which a people at least related to Proto-Germanics in some way being assimilated by incoming, N-heavy Uralics. But Uralic substrate? Rather not. For that one would have to prove that Uralics were present in pre-Iron Age tims in the first place. So far, its difficult to prove their presence in Europe at all, especially before the Bronze Age, yet alone in any area close to the cradle of Germanics.
    Last edited by Riverman; 05-05-2021 at 03:55 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by anglesqueville View Post
    This is why Schrijvers' theory is of major interest. If he is right and the Germanic shift has developed into a bilingual Indo-European / Baltic-Finnish population, Jastorf's culture can no longer be defended like the Proto-Germanic area. I don't know what Schrijvers would have to say about the (assured? I don't know) presence of Celtic loanwords in Proto-Germanic, as he locates the cradle of the Italo-Celtic branch in northern Italy (in the last volume of "Celtics from the West"). On the other hand, the presence of a Germanic lexical substrate in Saami cannot be disputed. So, in short, this is all very confusing in my mind, and I don't want to risk expressing an opinion. I just hope Jaska brings some clarity to this mess.
    Schrijver c.s. do n't take the context in account, have a to "technical" approach imo.

    Because even if the proto-language is something of the outmost North a Indo European- Saami language who or what brought it to the Jastorf area? And did this replace a language in Northern Germany that can't be called 'Proto Germanic"?

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    This is all great, but I would like to have an authoritative opinion on the strictly linguistic matter of the problem. By the way, I'm not defending Schrijver's theory, I'm just trying to understand (also taking into account the fact that Schrijver is not exactly an average amateur).
    En North alom, de North venom
    En North fum naiz, en North manom

    (Roman de Rou, Wace, 1160-1170)

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    Quote Originally Posted by anglesqueville View Post
    This is all great, but I would like to have an authoritative opinion on the strictly linguistic matter of the problem. By the way, I'm not defending Schrijver's theory, I'm just trying to understand (also taking into account the fact that Schrijver is not exactly an average amateur).
    We deliver some questions and dilemma's for the "authoritative" Angles!

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    I keep it brief today, some ideas I have, similarities IMO are more likely to be due to a loose type of Sprachbund, both groups influencing each other but also due to a third party ancient Scandinavian tongue, perhaps the substrate in Saami, it might have influenced Germanic phonology ( the vocabulary not so much though)

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    Quote Originally Posted by Pylsteen View Post
    I keep it brief today, some ideas I have, similarities IMO are more likely to be due to a loose type of Sprachbund, both groups influencing each other but also due to a third party ancient Scandinavian tongue, perhaps the substrate in Saami, it might have influenced Germanic phonology ( the vocabulary not so much though)
    Saami have a fairly high percentage, even in their yDNA, which might be non-Germanic IE. I didn't follow the most recent results, concerning individual samples and subclades of Saami. Anything new in this respect?

    I also don't think you need anything more than that to refute it, if its simply, physically impossible to have taken place. The Sprachbund or intensified contacts hypothesis on the other hand might have some credibility, just like mentioned before. The influence is that undefined and uncertain anyway, that even if its there, how can you date it properly by the means of a linguistic method? How could that refute the available evidence of Uralics being absent from the whole macroregion?
    Last edited by Riverman; 05-05-2021 at 04:34 PM.

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