I'm talking about borrowings before historical times, of course.
Any good explorations of this question?
One pre-Hellenic language may be called the -nthos/-ssos
language, manifest in a variety of place names in southern
Greece and Crete and words like asaminthos (stone bath),
terebinthos (a kind of tree), huakinthos (a kind of flower),
olunthos (a kind of fig), plinthos (brick), minthe: (mint, the plant),
kuparissos (cypress tree), narkissos (a kind of flower), etc.
This suggests that this language had a noun-forming suffix ("<>
thing") with a form *-(n)t- or *-s-
This language may also have had the derivative suffix *-a:n, or *-
a:nV, as evident in the name of the Mycenaean deity a-ta-na po-
ti-ni-ja (classical Athe:ne: Potnia), the name Dictynna, etc., also
in the same region.
It may also have had a suffix *-o:s, apparent in such names as
Mt. Athos, the bronze giant Talos, etc. I've seen the theory that
Talos was originally a sun god; in that case, his name would
originally have been a word for "Sun". Since words for "Sun" tend
to be relatively stable, this could be an important clue as to the
relationships of this pre-Hellenic language.
I note the similarity Atho:s ~ *Atha:na: (classical Athe:ne:); this
could mean that that deity's name could originally have been
"The Mistress of Mt. Athos".
I recall doing some work some time ago trying to compare some
Greek vocabulary to some of the forms listed in Diakonov and
Starostin's Hurro-Urartian as a Northeast Caucasian Language
and some of Starostin's work on reconstructing North
Caucasian. One interesting bit was Greek selas (light) and
sele:ne: (< *sela:na: -- Moon, literally, "shiner"); that book
claimed that there were more such words to be found. I recall
making the comparison of Greek sk and ks with the "ch" (tS)
sound in some words, such as ksulon (wood) with something.
However, I'd have to unearlth the notes I'd made on that before
saying much more.
On the subject of North Caucasian comparisons, I've some
attempted Etruscan - North Caucasian comparisons; there may
be a widespread North Caucasian substratum in the eastern
And this point, I wonder if this discussion might be more
suitable for the "nostratic" list, also at Yahoo. Shall I make a copy
for there also?
E.W. Barber, home page http://www.oxy.edu/~barber/
some interesting work on textile vocabulary, identifying several
putatively pre-Greek words; I don't recall the details, however.
But I recall this curiosity: Greek has a suffix -nx, -ng- associated
with some noisemakers: salpinx (trumpet), surinx (panpipes),
larunx, pharunx, ... This may be from a different pre-Greek