Κυριακή, 5 Μαΐου 2013

The genesis of the Balkan Peoples (VIII. Albanians and Rumanians )

Vladimir Georgiev 

Whether the Albanians are the successors of die Illyrians or the Thracians is a problem that has long been debated. Today the Albanians dwell in a region that was known in antiquity as Illyria. For that reason the Albanians have often been regarded as the heirs of the ancient Illyrians, although there are no other data supporting such a claim. In the same way, the Bulgarians might be considered as Thracians if the other Slavonic peoples and languages were not known. 

But many linguists and historians, e.g. H. Hirt, V. Pârvan, Th. Capidan, A. Philippide, N. Jokl, G. Weigand, P. Skok, D. Detschew, H. Baric', I. Siadbei, etc. have put forward very important considerations indicating that the Albanians cannot be autochthonous in the Albania of today, that their original home was the eastern part of Mysia Superior or approximately Dardania and Dacia Mediterranea, i.e. the northern central zone of the Balkan Peninsula, and part of Dacia. 

Now, however, when it is clear that Daco-Mysian and Thracian represent two different IE languages, the problem of the origin of the Albanian language and the Albanians themselves appears in quite a new light. The most important facts and considerations for determining the origin and original home of the Albanians are the following. 

1. The Illyrian toponyms known from antiquity, e.g. Shköder from the ancient Scodra (Livius), Tomor from Tomarus (Strabo, Pliny, etc.), have not been directly inherited in Albanian: the contemporary forms of these names do not correspond to the phonetic laws of Albanian. The same also applies to the ancient toponyms of Latin origin in this region. 

2. The most ancient loanwords from Latin in Albanian have the phonetic form of eastern Balkan Latin, i.e. of proto-Rumanian, and not of western Balkan Latin, i.e. of old Dalmatian Latin. Albanian, therefore, did not take its borrowings from Vulgar Latin as spoken in Illyria. 

3. The Adriatic coast was not part of the primitive home of the Albanians, because the maritime terminology of Albanian is not their own, but is borrowed from different languages. 

4. Another indication against local Albanian origin is the insignificant number of ancient Greek loanwords in Albanian. If the primitive home of the Albanians had been Albania itself, then the Albanian language would have to have many more ancient Greek loanwords. 

5. The Albanians are not mentioned before the 9th century a.d., although place names and personal names from the whole region of Albania are attested in numerous documents from the 4th century onwards. 

6. The old home of the Albanians must have been near to that of the proto-Rumanians. The oldest Latin elements in Albanian come from proto-Rumanian, i.e. eastern Balkan Latin, and not from Dalmatian, western Balkan Latin that was spoken in Illyria. Cf. the phonetic development of the following words: 

Vulgar Latin caballum 'horse' Rum. cal, Alb. kal 

Vulgar Latin cubitum 'elbow' Rum. cot. Alb. kut 

Vulgar Latin lucta 'struggle, fight' Rum. lupta, Arum. lufta, Alb. luftë 

Therefore Albanian did not take shape in Illyria. The agreement in the treatment of Latin words in Rumanian and in Albanian shows that Albanian developed from the 4th till the 6th century in a region where proto-Rumanian was formed. 

7. Rumanian possesses about a hundred words which have their correspondences only in Albanian. The form of these Rumanian words is so peculiar (e.g. Rum. mazare = Alb. modhullë 'pea(s)') that they cannot be explained as borrowings from Albanian. This is the Dacian substratum in Rumanian, whereas the Albanian correspondences are inherited from Dacian. 

The above arguments are well known, but they have not been regarded as sufficient for a definitive solution of the problem. The most important fact to be revealed has been the separation of Daco-Mysian from Thracian. It has thus been established that the phonemic system of Albanian is descended directly from the Daco-Mysian. 

Let us consider some examples. The most typical features of the historical phonology of Albanian are attested in Daco-Mysian. Besides, in Daco-Mysian there also appear the intermediate phonetic changes that explain the peculiar phonetic development of Albanian. Here are some samples: 
(детаљно) 
http://groznijat.tripod.com/vg/vg.html 

In this way it has been definitively proved that Albanian is descended from Daco-Mysian. Therefore the primitive home of Albanian is a Daco-Mysian region, probably Mysia Superior (Dacia Mediterranea) or western Dacia. This fact enables us to explain the numerous typical agreements between Albanian and Rumanian. 

Rumanian and Albanian took shape in the Daco-Mysian region; 

Rumanian represents a completely Romanised Daco-Mysian and Albanian a semi-Romanised Daco-Mysian. [4]


 (The Slavonic and East European Review 44, no. 103, 1960, pp. 285-297) 

Those readers who understand Greek can also check this article out, which I wrote in Dec. of 2012: http://hellenikathemata.blogspot.com/2012/12/blog-post_25.html
Miltiades Bolaris

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