Replacing the Homin- Stem in Primate Taxonomy

Before the 1990’s, human beings and the great apes (chimpanzees, bonobos, gorillas and orangutans) were usually classified in two separate taxonomic families: Hominidae and Pongidae (respectively). But as the very close genetic relationship between human beings and the great apes became apparent, it was generally agreed that they should all be classified in one single family. The name chosen for this combined family was Hominidae. Moreover, it has generally been agreed that chimpanzees, bonobos and gorillas should be included with human beings in the same subfamily. The name being used for this subfamily is Homininae. And it is generally agreed that chimpanzees and bonobos should be included with human beings in a taxonomic tribe (the level below subfamily) called Hominini.

I certainly have no problem with any of this taxonomic re-evaluation given that it is quite clearly required by scientific evidence – except for one thing: the use of the homin– stem that is used to form the names of these taxonomic groupings. Using the homin– stem for these groupings suggests that the great apes are human. This to me is clearly untrue. It makes as much sense as saying that all felids are lions, or that all perissodactyls are horses, or that all stars are suns, or that all sports are forms of hockey. But it is no stretch at all to say conversely that human beings are apes, which is quite evidently the case.

What I would strongly suggest is to replace the homin– stem with the simi– stem which is derived from Latin simia “ape” and which is already being used for the infraorder Simiiformes (the infraorder that includes all monkeys, apes and human beings). The only instance of the homin– stem being retained should be for the subtribe Hominina which includes the genus Homo and its extinct bipedal predecessors (such as Australopithecus). The following cladogram shows the names that I am proposing:

Superfamily Simioidea (replacing Hominoidea)

                Family Hylobatidae (gibbons)

                Family Simiidae (replacing Hominidae)

                                Subfamily Ponginae

                                                Tribe Pongini

                                                                Genus Pongo (orangutan)

                                Subfamily Simiinae (replacing Homininae)

                                                Tribe Gorillini

                                                                Genus Gorilla (gorilla)

                                                Tribe Simiini (replacing Hominini)

                                                                Subtribe Panina

                                                                                Genus Pan (chimpanzee & bonobo)

                                                                Subtribe Hominina

                                                                                Genus Australopithecus

                                                                                Genus Homo (human being)

Having said this, I would personally favor reorganizing the subfamily Simiinae (former Homininae) as follows:

                                Subfamily Simiinae

                                                Tribe Simiini

                                                                Subtribe Gorillina

                                                                                Genus Gorilla

                                                                Subtribe Panina

                                                                                Genus Pan

                                                Tribe Hominini

                                                                Subtribe Australopithecina

                                                                                Genus Australopithecus

                                                                Subtribe Hominina

                                                                                Genus Homo

About the Genitive Singular Ending in PIE

Current reconstructions of the nominal declension of Proto-Indo-European usually have *-es as the ending of the genitive singular of consonant stems. I contend that this ending was actually *-os.

As far as I can tell, there are two reasons why linguistic experts mistakenly believe that the genitive singular ending of consonant stems in PIE was *-es instead of *-os.

First, the genitive singular of most Germanic nominals, consonant stems as well as a-stems, has the ending –es. But rather than continuing an original PIE *-es, this is actually derived from the PIE genitive singular ending of the o-stems: *-os-jo. This *-osjo ending became *-asja in Proto-Germanic, this then becoming *-esja due to the –j-, after which the –ja element was dropped, leaving –es. At some point in this development, this originally o-stem ending was extended to the consonant stems. This same development is seen in the demonstrative pronoun *þes (> English this) which derived from an original PIE *tosjo through *þasja > *þesja – Gaulish sosio is obviously cognate (but with s– instead of t-).

Second, the genitive singular of Latin third declension nominals consistently has the ending –is, this presumably continuing PIE *-es. But this –is ending is actually derived from an original PIE *-os through the expected shift to *-us followed by a further shift to –is. The fact that –u– often shifted to –i– in Latin should be obvious enough. Some words in which this occurred are: religiō from *relugiō (cf. Celtic *lugjon ‘oath’), lacrima from *lacruma (from earlier *dakruma), and tībia from *tūbia (this from *tuk-bia – cf. Germanic *þeuhą from *teukom (> English thigh)). [By the way, some Latin nominative singulars ending in –is may have ended in *-os originally (as well as *-us), particularly in cases where all cognates have reflexes of an original *-os (or *-us) instead of *-is.]

Ancient Egypt: Black or White?

The racial composition of Ancient Egypt has been the subject of considerable debate for several decades. Two radically opposed groups have actively participated in this debate: the “Egypt was white” group and the “Egypt was black” group.

On the “Egypt was white” side, we find Arthur Kemp, an important contributor to pro-white activism. His epic work March of the Titans: a history of the White Race dwells considerably on evidence apparently indicating that the pharaohs were white: among other things, the mummies of some of the pharaohs clearly have red hair.

On the “Egypt was black” side, we find Cheikh Anta Diop. This renowned Senegalese gentleman is recognized as a leading figure in the development of Afrocentrism, this being essentially a pro-black movement. The University of Dakar in Senegal was renamed Cheikh Anta Diop University in 1987 (the year after Diop’s death).

As is usually the case, the truth in this matter is in the middle, between the two extremes.

Ancient Egypt was indisputably one of the more attractive places to live in Antiquity. The Nile River produces a long but relatively narrow band of fertile soil that stretches for hundreds of miles from the heart of the Sudan to the Nile Delta on the Mediterranean Coast. The Nile Valley was probably a magnet for humans from the most remote prehistoric times.

The earliest human inhabitants of the Nile Valley were probably rather dark-skinned. But as lighter skin tones evolved, the skin color of the Nile Valley inhabitants probably came to approximate the skin tones that presently prevail in North Africa and the Middle East, this being best described as light brown.

But then, a general drying tendency around 5500 years ago (i.e. c3500 BCE) caused areas that had been relatively wet to become arid. The area of the Sahara had been “green” up until this time, but quickly became the desert that exists today. This drying event caused some people in the northern half of the African continent to migrate to more hospitable locations, and one of these was the Nile Valley.

Although most of the people who immigrated into the Nile Valley at this time may have been relatively light-skinned folks from the areas to the west and to the east of the Nile Valley, it may well be that some of them were rather dark-skinned peoples from areas to the south and southwest of the Nile Valley.

From this time on, light brown skin probably continued to prevail among the people in the north of Ancient Egypt (and some of these light brown people may have had red hair). But the influx of considerably dark-skinned folks into the southern part of Ancient Egypt probably resulted in moderately brown skin tones in this area. And this difference in shades of brown could easily be the basis for the historical division between Upper and Lower Egypt.

By the beginning of the Early Dynastic Period around 3150 BCE, the basic racial composition of Ancient Egypt had been produced: light brown folks in the north and moderately brown folks in the south. Which is to say that the racial composition of the Ancient Egyptians was neither white nor black.

Later population movements between north and south probably produced a gradual levelling of skin tones, especially in those periods when Ancient Egypt was unified under one dynasty. But it may well be that the immigration of Canaanites, Libyans, Persians, Greeks, Romans and Arabs at various times would cause a shift towards lighter skin tones, especially in the northern areas where the immigrants would tend to stay.

Moreover, I think it likely that there was an emigration of the darker-skinned folks of Upper Egypt to more southerly areas beginning from the Third Intermediate Period. This due to the strong possibility that the lighter-skinned rulers who ruled from the northern areas near the Mediterranean coast from this time on were not as conciliatory towards darker-skinned folks as previous rulers. (Yes, I’m saying that these rulers may have been racists.)

This migration of the darker-skinned folks of Upper Egypt probably contributed to the establishment of the Kingdom of Kush which maintained itself until the fourth century CE. And it just might be that the conquest of Egypt by the Kushite rulers in 744 BCE had something to do with the reasons for these particular population movements. It is also interesting to note that the capital of Kush was moved from Napata to the much more southerly Meroë sometime around the middle of the sixth century BCE.

The current racial composition of Egypt was probably achieved by the end of the Roman period and probably wasn’t altered significantly by the Arab invasion in the seventh century CE.

I started thinking about this Ancient Egyptian race issue as I looked through the list of pharaohs on Wikipedia: List of pharaohs – Wikipedia The list includes images for many of the pharaohs, usually consisting of a picture of a statue or statuette that has been identified as such and such a pharaoh. Granted, perhaps some of the identifications are mistaken, and Wikipedia certainly is not without (ahem) “mistakes”, but I do think that most of the images represent the likenesses of genuine Egyptian pharaohs.

Here are some of these images. I think you might agree that their facial features are much more typical of black folks than white folks:

Huni-StatueHead BrooklynMuseum – List of pharaohs – Wikipedia

Kairo Museum Statuette Cheops 03 (cropped) – List of pharaohs – Wikipedia

Khafre statue – List of pharaohs – Wikipedia

MenkauraAndQueen-CloseUpOfKingsFace MuseumOfFineArtsBoston – List of pharaohs – Wikipedia

Kneeling statue of Pepy I – List of pharaohs – Wikipedia

Mentuhotep Closeup – List of pharaohs – Wikipedia

Statue Senusret II Lille – List of pharaohs – Wikipedia (look at the width of the nose)

Mentuhotep VI – List of pharaohs – Wikipedia

ColossalSandstoneHeadOfThutmoseI-BritishMuseum-August19-08 – List of pharaohs – Wikipedia

Hatshepsut – List of pharaohs – Wikipedia

Amenhotep iii british museum – List of pharaohs – Wikipedia

CairoEgMuseumTaaMaskMostlyPhotographed – List of pharaohs – Wikipedia (look at the lips)

RamsesIIEgypt – List of pharaohs – Wikipedia

RamassesVIFragmentarySarcophagusHead-BritishMuseum-August19-08 – List of pharaohs – Wikipedia

Of course, I would not say that these pharaohs were all black. But I do definitely think that they tend to have black features. In fact, what I am saying is that these pharaohs were brown – I might even call them mulattos.

One aspect of the Ancient Egypt race issue is the Ancient Egyptian language. This is usually classified as an Afroasiatic language along with the Semitic languages (Akkadian, Hebrew, Arabic, etc.) and the Berber languages. But a very significant amount of Ancient Egyptian vocabulary and much of its grammar can’t be attributed to an Afroasiatic origin.

On the other hand, a linguist from the Congo called Théophile Obenga (associated with Cheikh Anta Diop) has attempted to demonstrate a relationship between Ancient Egyptian and the language families of Sub-Saharan Africa, especially the Niger-Congo languages (which includes the widespread Bantu languages among which are Swahili, isiZulu and Shona).

These two positions on the Ancient Egyptian language don’t necessarily need to be mutually exclusive. Again, the truth of the matter seems to be somewhere in the middle.

It is certainly more than likely that the original inhabitants of the Nile Valley spoke an Afroasiatic language related to both the Berber languages and the Semitic languages. But if considerable numbers of dark-skinned folks from the south and southwest immigrated into the Nile Valley during the drying event 5500 years ago, they certainly brought their Sub-Saharan languages with them, and it is not unlikely that these Sub-Saharan languages combined with the Afroasiatic language to produce a mixed language.

So, here is my definitive statement on the Ancient Egyptian race issue: Ancient Egypt was a mixed-race civilization, a mulatto civilization. It was neither white nor black but ranged from light brown (in the north) to brown (in the south).

Woks Teuteko

In one of my posts called “Sa Frenkish Spraaka“, I mentioned that I had worked on a conlang derived directly from Proto-Indo-European. I hereby present what I have so far – see the PDF below. I am calling this conlang Woks Teuteko “Tribal Language”. [May 3, 2022 : It has recently occurred to me that the name should be Woks Teuteka because wôks is a feminine noun.]

I should mention that I have tended to favor PIE words that are attested in the Celtic, Italic, Germanic and Greek languages, generally avoiding words that are found only in the Balto-Slavic and/or Indo-Iranian languages; in other words, I have favored the South Indo-European dialect over the North Indo-European (see my post called “The Movements and Expansions of Indo-European Language Groups“). And I should also say that I have tended to ignore the evidence of Albanian, Armenian, Tocharian and Anatolian simply due to the strangeness of those languages.

I used Wiktionary extensively in my research (despite the occasional instances of nonsensical etymologies, some of which are truly outrageous), but I also made much use of The Oxford Introduction to Proto-Indo-European and the Proto-Indo-European World by Mallory and Adams – truly an outstanding work. I also referred occasionally to other resources, such as the excellent Sanskrit Heritage Dictionary – https://sanskrit.inria.fr/DICO/index.fr.html

The entries for nouns are in the nominative singular followed by the nominative plural and genitive singular in brackets, then by the gender (m, n, f). Only masculine forms of adjectives are given. Verbs are presented in the infinitive, with the 3rd person singular of the Indicative Present and the 3rd person singular of the Perfect following in brackets.

I have added etymological material to a good number of the entries, but many of the entries still don’t have any such material simply because searching for it is really rather time-consuming. And there is also the fact that I have had to develop much etymological material myself, not only because such is often lacking but also because I sometimes have reason to disagree with what I find. I also haven’t noted all the genders of nouns yet…

This language is very far from being finished, and I think it probably never will be. But I do intend to keep working on it, and I will probably post updated versions of it now and again (sooner or later).

August 19, 2021: posted three additional documents after the wordlist – one with pronouns, demonstratives, articles, interrogatives; one with declension tables; and the full conjugation of a verb.

August 25, 2022: I just uploaded a new version of the “berono conjugation” document (as well as a new version of the wordlist) – it is now prefaced with some explanatory remarks.

You may also be interested in my Continental Celtoid conlang called Vindonian (Vindonag) (also with etymologies): https://vellaunos.ca/2021/04/18/vindonian-wordlist/

A Dictionary of Canadian French

Here is a dictionary of the variety of Canadian French that is my first language. This variety of Canadian French largely represents the varieties of Canadian French that have commonly been spoken by French Canadians in Manitoba for almost 150 years. It is closely related to Québécois French but is quite distinct from it, and it differs considerably from the standard French that is taught in schools and used in official documents.

The orthography used in this dictionary attempts to phonetically represent this Canadian French language as accurately as possible. All verbs are given in the infinitive with the first person singular of the present indicative following in brackets. Genders of nouns are given, as well as some comments on usage and a few sample phrases.

I will probably update this dictionary before very long. I may also produce conjugation tables of some of the more important verbs in the near future.

[The original 03-07-2021 version has already been replaced with an expanded 04-07-2021 version.]

Modern Archaeological Revisionism

Modern archaeology endeavors to interpret prehistoric cultures according to the values and ideals of modern civilization. This amounts to a kind of archaeological revisionism in which the basic realities of prehistoric societies as they really were are disregarded in favor of values and ideals that simply did not exist in these prehistoric societies.

A common mantra of modern archaeology is “pots aren’t people”, meaning that the distinct pottery of a particular culture doesn’t necessarily indicate a distinct ethnicity. But again, this mantra completely disregards the way things generally were in prehistoric cultures. Although it certainly is true that pots aren’t people, it is also just as true that people made pots, and the people who made pots in prehistoric societies made them according to the ways of their common cultures, which were normally based on common ethnicities, these being normally based on common biological descents.

In prehistoric times, a common ethnicity was normally based on common biological descent, and a common culture and language were usually shared by people of a common ethnicity. Although there were probably minor exceptions to this – we may even speak of mixed ethnicities – such minor exceptions were certainly not the rule. This means that cultures and languages in prehistoric times were normally shared by people of a common biological descent. To argue against this means arguing against the way things naturally were in prehistoric societies.

Moreover, common biological descent in the more advanced cultures of prehistory were usually reckoned in the male line, such cultures being evidently patriarchal. Because of this, there is a clear correlation between such advanced cultures and the presence of the particular Y-DNA haplogroups that prevailed in such advanced cultures. In other words, there is a clear correlation between pots and people (even though pots aren’t people). And this is a matter of undeniable archaeological fact.

For example, the prevailing Y-DNA haplogroup in the Neolithic farming cultures of prehistoric Europe (Starčevo, Cardial, Linear Pottery, Cucuteni-Trypillia, etc.) was G2a. Likewise, the prevailing Y-DNA haplogroup in the Yamnaya culture of the Pontic Steppe (and its predecessors – Samara, Repin, Khvalynsk – and successors – Catacomb, Poltavka) was R1b, and the prevailing Y-DNA haplogroup in the contemporaneous Corded Ware culture of Northern Europe (as well as its easterly extensions – Middle Dnieper, Fatyanovo-Balanovo, Abashevo, Sintashta) was R1a.

(On the other hand, there were no prevailing mt-DNA haplogroups in any of these advanced cultures and no correlation can be made between one particular mt-DNA haplogroup and any distinct advanced culture, all advanced cultures normally having a diverse assortment of mt-DNA haplogroups. The reason for this is that biological descent was not reckoned on the basis of female lines at all in patriarchal cultures, and women were therefore routinely transferred from one ethnic culture to another.)

The prevalence of one particular Y-DNA haplogroup in the advanced cultures of prehistory certainly does not mean that other Y-DNA haplogroups did not exist in these cultures; for example, the I1 and I2 Y-DNA haplogroups that prevailed in Mesolithic Europe are occasionally found in the aforementioned cultures. But the prevalence of one particular Y-DNA haplogroup in these cultures is the undeniable reality, and this naturally indicates particular ethnic groups most definitely speaking particular languages (rather than pluralistic societies speaking multiple languages).

None of this is meant to suggest that the values and ideals of modern civilization are bad or wrong. But disregarding the natural realities of prehistoric societies and the obvious archaeological facts in order to impose the values and ideals of modern civilization upon them is a most misguided form of revisionism.

On Proto-Indo-European -je/o- and Germanic Preterite-Presents

Proto-Indo-European had a suffix –je/o– that was attached to some verb roots. I recently realized that the translation of such –je/o– verbs in English usually requires a preposition. I believe such a prepositional value was the meaning of this –je/o– suffix. Here are a few examples:

spekj-je/o– “look at”

seh2g-je/o– “look for, seek”

ghwedh-je/o– “pray to”

legh-je/o– “lie down on”

It seems to me that these verbs would probably have taken the dative case in Proto-Indo-European, rather than the accusative case. Here are the verbs above used with objects in the dative case:

spekjjō kjunei – “I look at a dog” (not “I look a dog”)

ghwedhjeti deiwōi – “He prays to a god” (not “He prays a god”)

*

The Germanic preterite-presents are a small group of special verbs in which the present tense continues the Proto-Indo-European perfect.

A clear example of the sense development of these verbs can be seen in the verb *witaną “to know”. The 1st person singular of the present indicative of this verb was *wait “I know”. This developed from PIE *woid-h2e “I have learned” which is the perfect of the verb root *weid– whose meaning was “to learn”. The same development is seen in Greek oida “I know” – also from *woid-h2e. The meaning of *witaną “I know” developed from the meaning “I have learned”.

The other Germanic preterite-presents can be understood similarly. Another example is the verb *duganą “to be useful”. This verb derives from the perfect of a PIE verb root *dheugh– which I believe meant “to help”. The sense development here is that if something has helped, it is useful. By the way, the PIE word for “daughter” – *dhugh-tēr – is derived from this root. Its original meaning was “helper”, specifically “(mother’s) helper”.

Vindonian Wordlist

The PDF below is a wordlist of the Continental Celtoid conlang called Vindonian that I have been working on for at least a year now. Most entries include significant etymological material (and some commentary).

(For an explanation of what I mean by “Celtoid”, see my article called “Celtic and Celtoid”: https://vellaunos.ca/2021/03/26/celtic-and-celtoid/ )

This wordlist is certainly not complete, and many inconsistencies and errors may well be found in it. But here it is nonetheless…

December 25, 2021 – significant modifications to the orthography (bh > v, dh > ð, gh > h), the phonology (initial z > s, initial sV > tsV, full disappearance of intervocalic -s-, all double consonants reduced to single consonants) and the morphology.

You may also be interested in my other conlang called Wôks Teuteka which is derived directly from Proto-Indo-European (also with etymologies): https://vellaunos.ca/2021/08/02/woks-teuteko/

Some Interesting Etymologies

Here a few of the more interesting etymologies that I’ve come up with in the course of the research that I’ve been doing for the Vindonian language that I’m creating. Following are entries from my Vindonian wordlist, along with some commentary…

glaghu (glaghwa) m : rain [< *glagwon < *glaghwom ‘clatter, rattle, pitter-patter’; B glav; W glaw] {cf. PGmc *klakkōną > Eng clack & Fr claquer; cf. also Lat clangere (clangō) ‘clang, sound out’}

The usual reconstruction of the Proto-Celtic is *glaw-, but this would be the same as the Proto-Celtic word for “coal” (*glaw-, not *glow-). Note the complete disappearance of medial -g- in Brittonic. [Added August 21, 2022] I eventually realized some time after posting this that Latin clangere does not belong in this etymology due to its initial c- instead of g-. Instead, Latin clangere is related to Gaulish *clocca ‘bell’, OIr cluiche ‘game, play’ (< PrCelt *klokjon) and PrGmc *hlahhjaną > Eng laugh.

gníjom (gníjed) : create [< *gnīje/o– < *gnēje/o– < *g’neh1-je/o-; G neI anmanbe gniIou ‘I do not create by names’ (Châteaubleau); OIr gníid ‘make, do’] >>> genjom

adnajom (adnajed) : recognize [< *ati-gna– < *ati-gnina– < *g’ṇh3-na-; PBrit *ati-gna-bute/o– > B anavout, anavezout & W adnabod, nabod; OIr ad-gnin < *ati-gnina-] {cf. PGmc *kunnaną (< *g’ṇh3-na-) > Eng can, Du kunnen, Ger können} >>> gnájom

This etymological discussion for gníjom should be compared with the discussion of gniIou on page 182 of Xavier Delamarre’s Dictionnaire de la langue gauloise in which gniIou is related to Old Irish ad-gnin ‘know, recognize’ rather than Old Irish gníid (or gniïd). As indicated in the second entry above (adnajom), Old Irish ad-gnin is in fact related to Breton anavout and Welsh adnafod. A Gaulish cognate to these would probably have been either *adgnināmi or perhaps *adgnāmi (or possibly *adgnināIou/*adgnāIou).

kaffom (kaffed) : find [< *kaffe/o– < *kasφe/o– < *kaspe/o-; B kavout < MB caffout; C kavos ‘find, get, have’; W caffael, caffel ‘get, obtain’ (merged with cael)] {cf. PGmc *haspijǭ > Eng hasp} >>> kaghom

kaghom (kaghed) : have, contain [< *kage/o– < *kagh-; B kaout; W cael] >>> kaffom

It is usually thought that the Breton and Welsh verbs without a medial consonant (kaout/cael) are modified forms of the verbs with -v-/-ff- (kavout/caffael). My opinion is that these are in fact two separate verbs – only Breton has kept them totally distinct. Note the development of -ff- from -sφ- in the first verb above.

kuls (kulsa) m : vagina [< *kultson < *kuls-tom; B kourzh ‘vulva’] {cf. PGmc *hulistrą > Eng holster}

I think the semantic connection between “holster” and “vagina” is clear enough.

uzar : cold [< *usaros < *h1eus– ‘burn, singe’; W oer; OIr úar] {meaning of *h1eus– transferred in Celtic from sensation of heat to sensation of cold; W and OIr < *usaros rather than **ougros; for G month name Ogronios >>> aireine; OIr úacht ‘cold(ness)’ < *us-axtus (not **ouxtus); cf. Lat ūrere (ūrō) ‘burn’, Gr heuein (heuō) ‘singe’, PGmc *uzjǭ ‘fire’ > *aimuzjǭ > Eng ember; no relation to Lat auctumnus, autumnus < *h2eug– ‘increase’; possible relation to Latv auksts ‘cold’ < austs (with intrusive –k-) < *aus– or *aus-sk– ?< *h1ous-(ske/o-)}

I have believed for a long time that the form *ougros as the origin of Old Irish úar and Welsh oer did not in fact exist, all evidence for it being either unconvincing or mistaken.

varedom (vareded) : help, assist [< *warete/o-; B gwarediñ ‘shelter, protect’; W gwared, gwaredu ‘save, redeem, deliver, rid’; OIr fo-reith ‘help, aid, succour’] {cf. PGmc *wardāną > Eng ward, as well as PGmc *warjaną ‘ward off’, *warnōną ‘warn’, *warōną ‘watch’} {alternatively explained as from *worete/o– < *uφo-rete/o– ‘run beneath’, which would be a calque of Lat succurrere, on the basis of the (probably artificial) OIr form, but *worete/o– would normally have become **goured– in B and **gored– in W}

There are a few examples of words being artificially modified due to a resemblance with other etymologically unrelated words, such as Old Irish fo-reith in this instance. Such artificially modified words can obviously be misleading. Another example of this would be Old High German weralt “world” which appears to be from wer “man” + alt “age” but is in fact from Proto-Germanic *weruldiz. I dealt with this Proto-Germanic term in my post called “Vellaunos” – https://vellaunos.ca/2021/03/27/vellaunos/

zof : wonderful, delightful [< *soffos < *sosφos < *sos-pos; W hoff ‘dear, fond, favorite’; ? cf. OIr subaigidir (< *sosφ-age/o-) ‘delight in’] {cf. Lat sospes ‘saving, delivering’ < *sos-pets; cf. also PGmc *samftijaz (< *som-p(e)ti-) > Eng soft, Ger sanft}

At first, I thought that the Welsh hoff might be from the Latin sospes, but I eventually realized that Lat sospes probably would have become **sosb in Welsh. Note also that this word shows the development of -ff- from -sφ-, as in kaffom above.

nedjom (nedjed) : fly [< *netje/o– (?); B nijal < MB nigal; C neyja < MC nyge; W neidio ‘jump, leap’] {g in MB & MC for [ʒ] or [dʒ]; W naid < *neid; no relation to G duscelinatia < *dus-kelin(o)-at(o)-ja}

zedjom (zedjed) : flap [< *setje/o-; B hejañ ‘shake, wave’; W hedeg ‘fly’]

zontjom (zontjed) : direct, point to [< *sontje/o-; B heñchañ ‘conduct, direct, guide’] {cf. PGmc *sandijaną (< *sont-eje/o-) > Eng send}

These three terms show the development in Breton (and Cornish) of the affricates -tsh- and -dzh- (later -sh- and -zh-) from -tj- and -dj-, this development not occurring in Welsh.

nit (nitta) m : nest [< *nitton < *nisdom; B neizh; W nyth] {cf. Lat nīdus; cf. also PGmc *nestą > Eng nest} >>> rattom for -sd- > -tt-

rattom (ratted) : scrape [< *ratte/o– < *rasde/o-; B razhañ; W rhathu] {cf. Lat rādere (rādō) < *rasde/o-; cf. also Lat rōdere (rōdō) ‘gnaw’; cf. also Skr radati} >>> nit for -sd- > -tt-

These two terms show the development of -tt- from -sd- (probably) in Proto-Celtic, this later becoming -th- in Brittonic.

jegom (jeged) : say [< *jeke/o-; Late G (Châteaubleau) Iegumi, Iexsete, Iexstumi, IegiIinna] {voicing of intervocalic –k– to –g– in Late Gaulish as also in Brittonic} {cf. Lat jocus ‘joke’; cf. also PGmc *jehaną ‘speak, say’} >>> monegijom

The Châteaubleau tile interestingly shows the voicing of the k sound to a g sound in late Gaulish, as also happened in Brittonic.

ander : original, primeval, primordial, primitive, pristine [< *anderos < *ṇdheros; G brixtia anderon “by the magic of the primeval ones” (Chamalières)] {cf. PGmc *underaz > Eng under; cf. also Skr adhara ‘low, inferior’}

andern (anderne) f : virgin [< *andernā < *ander(o)-nā “pristine one”; B annoar (annoared, annoarezed) ‘heifer’; W anner (aneirod, anneri, annerau) ‘heifer’; G andernados “of the (sorority of) virgins” (Larzac); OIr ainder ‘virgin, maiden’ > Ir ainnir ‘girl, maiden, lass’] {for the –ernā ending, cf. PGmc *þewernǭ ‘servant girl, maid’} {The word andernados on the lead tablet of Larzac is usually thought to refer to the “infernal ones”. The word ueronadas which also appears on Larzac is usually thought to mean “upper ones” (uer– < *uφer), apparently the antonym of andernados. But just as I connect the word andernados with the word anderna “virgin”, I also connect the word ueronadas with a possible *uerona “married” (literally “manned”), this being a derivative of uer “man”: mnas ueronadas would mean “married women” (literally “manned women”). Rather than an infernal/upper opposition, there may actually be a virginal/married opposition.}

The first of these two entries relates to my recent post about Proto-Celtic ītselos (https://vellaunos.ca/2021/03/27/proto-celtic-itselos/) in which I pointed out that Latin īnferus is certainly not an exact cognate of English under, Sanskrit adhara or Gaulish anderos (under ‘anderos’, p. 47, Dictionnaire de la langue gauloise – “andero– est l’exact équivalent phonétique du Latin īnferus…”). The second entry already has its own rather full commentary…

Sa Frenkish Spraaka

One of my interests since childhood has been languages. One of my favorite articles from the 1972 edition of Collier’s Encyclopedia that we had when I was a kid was the one on Latin. The best part of that article was its good description of the phonetic development of Latin from Proto-Indo-European.

The languages that I have been interested in over the years have included the following: Latin, Ancient Greek, Sanskrit, Avestan, Gothic, Old English, Old Saxon, Old High German, Gaulish, Welsh, (Old) Irish, Sumerian, Akkadian, Ancient Egyptian, Hebrew, Arabic, Ojibway, Cree. I have acquired many reference works on all of these languages (many of which I no longer have). Unfortunately, I’ve never studied any of these languages enough to gain any kind of fluency.

Along with my interest in actual historical or current languages, I’ve worked on a few artificial, or constructed, languages (i.e. conlangs). The first one, called Reshish, was created entirely from scratch. The few words I remember from this language are him ‘earth’, har ‘sky’ and tom’lael ‘cut’ (actually, this last word was “influenced” by Greek a-tomos ‘uncut’).

After I discovered the Gaulish language (mostly due to a website that Christopher Gwinn used to have), I decided to try to recreate Gaulish, or at least something like it. This “reconstruction” was called Danuvjâcon (i.e. Danubian): the reasoning for this name was the idea that the Proto-Celtic language had developed somewhere in the area of southern Germany/Austria/Hungary and that Gaulish was a direct continuation of Proto-Celtic. Although I still believe that Proto-Celtic originated somewhere in Central Europe, others prefer to think that it developed in the Atlantic regions (where the Celtoid languages remain to this day).

I posted a wordlist and grammatical material for Danuvjâcon on a website that I once had (I think it was an Angelfire website). That website hasn’t existed for a long time but an Ancient Celtic conlang Yahoo! Group that I once belonged to might still have that information. Interestingly, I recently found a reference to Danuvjâcon on a Neo-Druidic website. In hindsight, I have to admit that Danuvjâcon was much more a product of what I thought Ancient Celtic should be, rather than what it probably was.

I have worked on two other conlangs in the past few years (off and on). One of them is an attempt at deriving a distinct Indo-European language directly from reconstructed Proto-Indo-European. It would essentially constitute its own branch of Indo-European and be a cousin of Sanskrit, Ancient Greek and Latin, if you will.

The big problem with this project is that there are often things and concepts for which no common word can clearly be reconstructed to Proto-Indo-European. Words for ‘father’ (pater), for ‘horse’ (ekwos) and for ‘carry/bear’ (ber-) are easy enough, but there are no common Proto-Indo-European words that can clearly mean ‘leg’ or ‘wall’ or ‘itch’.

Working on a Germanic conlang is much easier because the Germanic language family is much more homogenous than most other language families. For this simple reason, the conlang that I’ve been most successful with has been my West Germanic conlang.

The motivation to create a West Germanic conlang came largely from my discovery of the Old Saxon language through James E. Cathey’s Hêliand: Text and Commentary. After the text selections and the commentary on these is a section with a fairly complete description of Old Saxon grammar as well as a wordlist from the text. Along with Cathey’s Old Saxon resource, I’ve consulted reference works on Old English and Old High German as well as Gothic (Joseph Wright’s works for the last two), and Vladimir Orel’s A Handbook of Germanic Etymology. I’ve also consulted dictionaries of Modern German and Dutch, and I’ve made much use of the etymologies on Wiktionary.

I decided to call my West Germanic conlang “Frankish” but with the following caveat: it would be something like the Old Low Frankish which developed into Dutch rather than the West Central German (i.e. Franconian) dialect that the Carolingians apparently used (no High German consonant shift). Also, my version of “Frankish” is phonetically more conservative than Old Low Frankish probably was (especially in that the diphthongs ai and au are retained rather than becoming long e and long o). Still, I like to call my West Germanic conlang “Frankish” – sa Frenkish spraaka.

Here is a small sample of this “Frankish” language (for nouns and adjectives, the second and third columns are singular and plural; for verbs, the second column is the infinitive, the third column is the present third person singular, and the fourth column is the past third person singular):

apple                     appel                     apla

and                        and

beautiful              shoen                   shoena

big                          mikel                     mikla

bigger, more      maira                     mairen

bird                        fogel                      fogla

black                      swart                     swarta

bone                     bain                       baina

bread                    braud

break                    breken                 breketh                brak

bring                      bringen                bringeth               braahta

brother                broodar                broodra

cloud                     wolken                 wolkena

daughter             dohtar                  dohtra

day                         dag                         daga

dog                        hund                     hunda

drink                      drinken                drinketh               drank

ear                         aura                       auren

earth                     ertha

east                       aust

eat                         eten                      eteth                     aat

eye                        auga                      augen

father                   fadar                     fadra

food                      met

foot                       foot                       foeta

from                      fan

go                           gaan                      gaath                     ida

goose                    gans                       gensa

green                    groen                    groena

hand                      hand                      henda

have                      haven                   haveth                  haveda

head                      hauvid                  hauvda

hear                       heuren                 heureth                heureda

heart                     herta                     herten

house                   huus                      huuza

know                     witen                    wait                       wissa

language              spraaka                spraaken

light                       leoht

light                       liiht                         liihta

make                     maken                  maketh                makeda

month                  maanoth              maandha

moon                    maana

mother                 moodar                moodra

mouse                  muus                     myysa

mouth                  munth                  mundha

new                       neo                        newa

night                      naht                       nehta

north                     north

one                        ain

or                            oth

say                         sagen                    sageth                  sagda

see                         seen                      seeth                    sah

sister                     swestar                swestra

sky                         himil                      himla

son                         sun                         suna

south                    sunth

speak                    spreken                spreketh              sprak

star                        sterra                    sterren

sun                         sunna

take                       nimen                   nimeth                 nam

the                         sa                            dha

this/these           dhis                        dheza

three                     thrii

tongue                 tunga                    tungen

tree                       treo                       trewa

two                        twai

water                    watar

west                      west

white                    hwiit                      hwiita

with                       mid

wolf                       wulf                       wulva

word                     word                     worda

world                    werold                  werolda

year                       jaar                        jaara

young                   jung                       junga