Re: [tied] Proto Romanian Cradle

From: Piotr Gasiorowski
Message: 13071
Date: 2002-04-07

Dear Paul,
I shall reply by means of interlinear comments:
----- Original Message -----
From: Paul Alesu
Sent: Sunday, April 07, 2002 1:23 AM
Subject: [tied] Proto Romanian Cradle

> The subject is the “plausible scenario” of proto Romanian emerging
in the mountains South (Southwest) of Danube and then the speakers migrating to today Romania.

> The question is have you real proves for this
scenario? Has anyone?
There is no hard proof either way. There is some circumstantial evidence, and each of us has to decide which interpretation of it makes the most sense.

> 1. The simple fact of Romanian being a romance language is not
proving for this scenario.
No, but the fact that Romanian is particularly close to Dalmatian and to the Latin substrate in Albanian suggests a historical connection. Close, I mean, in terms of shared phonological innovations and lexical peculiarities. Romanian also shares a number of non-Latin isoglosses with Albanian. I would say that Romanian appears to be the descendant of a West Balkan Latin dialect that absorbed a local substrate related to Dacian, while Albanian is the very same Dacoid language strongly influenced by West Balkan Latin, but not to the point of losing its identity. The adstratal influence of South Slavic is strong in both.

> 2. After leaving some place, people have some nostalgia that often
generates some customs that are transmitted from generation to generation. One example is the girl name Dacia that is used today in Italy, Spain and Americas. While I do not know the story behind this name, it makes sense that the habit was started by nostalgic Dacians. It seems that the Romanian customs do not point to anything like that. By the way, the name Dacia is fairly popular in USA too. Actually, according to the census, more popular than Valentine.
I don't follow: do you think was it started by nostalgic Dacians who emigrated to the USA, or what? First names spread like viruses; in our times they are given according to the latest fashion rather than ancient family traditions. I suspect the name became popular among Italian-speakers thanks to the feminist writer Dacia Maraini (b. 1936). It appears to be a pseudo-Classical modern name; if it were genuinely old, it would be something adjectival like Dacisca, Dacica or Daca.

> 3. In this scenario Dacians are basically foreigners to proto
Romanians and their ancestors, so there should be some linguistic traits about this “foreignership”.  Something like the English word “dagger” and the French “dague” which probably came from the Latin “daca” that meant “Dacian knife”.  Only foreigners (in relation to Dacians) could call it “_Dacian_ knife”. Are you aware of some “foreignership” traits related
to Dacians in Romanian?
If the scenario is true, Dacian was no longer spoken in Dacia when the Proto-Romanians colonised the country. It had been dead for several centuries.

> 4. A migration, even a slow migration, which according to this
scenario happened not too long ago, something like seven centuries, should be remembered in folklore. It is not.
It may have been considerably earlier than that; anyway, there is no reason to expect that it would have been remembered for ages, especially if the migrating people were transhumant shepherds who moved with their flocks to the highland pastures in summer and to the lower areas in winter and often moved in search of good pasturage. Migration was, so to speak, their way of life. The nomadic Rom people apparently had no remembrance of their Indian homeland by the time they appeared in Europe.


> 5. As this scenario puts it, proto Romanians and their language
survived in the high mountains South and Southwest of Danube protected of Greek and Roman influence and shielded from barbarians. The same thing could be accomplished, with no travel at all, in the high Carpatians North of Danube. No Greek or Roman influence. The migrating barbarians could not reach them because their big and swift horses, very good in the plains, were worthless in the mountains.
The "barbarians" were not all steppe cowboys riding swift horses. Consecutive waves of Celtic, Germanic and Slavic migrations penetrated the Carpathians without much difficulty. Some of the "free Dacians" apparently lingered on in the northern Carpathians but were linguistically absorbed by the Slavs in the end. It seems, however, that until the tenth century Slavic colonisation was sparse in mountainous areas southwest of the Danube, so that the the Proto-Romanians and the Proto-Romanians were able to maintain their linguistic identity there.

> 6. I understand that “no prove” is not equivalent with prove.
However, the lack of proves should raise some big questions. Does it?
See the first comment.