Odp: Bell Beakers in the Ukraine? and Germanic loanwords in Finno-

From: Piotr Gąsiorowski
Message: 86
Date: 1999-10-15


----- Original Message -----
Sent: Thursday, October 14, 1999 12:27 PM
Subject: [cybalist] Bell Beakers in the Ukraine? and Germanic loanwords in Finno-Ugric

Dear Piotr,
I have 2 particular questions to your message (fragments of interest are made Bold):
-- Original Message -----
Sent: Wednesday, October 13, 1999 11:57 PM
Subject: [cybalist] Odp: proto-Indo-European geography.
[4] It all depends on your chronology. If you mean Bronze Age Proto-Germani or Proto-Balto-Slavs, I'd say it's highly unlikely that they lived in splendid isolation. The first really indigenous neolithic culture of Northern Europe, the Funnel Beakers, already covered much of the region, including almost all of modern Poland. The same is true of the later Globular Amphorae; and the Corded Ware complex extended from the Volga to Scandinavia and the Rhine. This testifies to the existence of trading networks and lively contacts even before the advent of the bronze axe. The Bell Beakers of the Bronze Age are found from Iberia to the Ukraine.{1} The languages of Northern Europe (Germanic, Baltic and Slavic) share a lot of vocabulary and display other similarities which are apparently due to areal convergence. There are numerous early loanwords from Iranian in Slavic, from Slavic in Baltic, from Germanic in both, and from Iranian, Baltic and Germanic in Finno-Ugric.{2} The so-called Old European hydronymy is also remarkably uniform. The North European Plain must have been, in some sense, a single cultural area.
{1} Is it really so, not a mistyping?! Could you point Bell Beakers' settlements or burials on the territory to the East from Hungary? What is age of them?
{2} I'm very interested in information concerning contacts of Finno-Ugric and IE (particularly Germanic) people.
It is possible to divide Finno-Ugric languages into 5 geografical (and apparently genealogical of different rank) subgroups:
(1) Ugric, (2) Permic, (3) Volga, (4) Balto-Finnic and (5) Laponic subbranches.
In which of them can be found Germanic loanwords? I believe it is possible to state when it happened (Eneolithic, Early Bronze, Late Bronze, Iron Age, Viking time or later). Which of Germanic languages (Proto-Germanic, East-Germanic, Hochdeutsch, Africaans etc.) were the sources?
Thank you in advance,
Dear Sasha,
{1} It's a sloppy mistake on my part, and thanks for pointing it out. The easternmost Bell Beaker burial I've read of was discovered near Sandomierz on the Vistula, in southeastern Poland. There is a belt of BB sites extending from Silesia to the upper Vistula, but not beyond the latter. And while we're at it, one could also object to calling the BBs a Bronze Age culture. Its carriers used copper and bronze, and played a crucial role in the dissemination of bronze metallurgy in Europe (with your correction: from Ireland and Spain to Poland), but are traditionally regarded as belonging to the latest phase of the neolithic, since the most important material in their technologies was stone.
{2} There are HUNDREDS of old Germanic loanwords in Baltic Finnic (plus much less numerous ones in Saamic, i.e. Lappic). While some of them may be attributed to the historical Scandinavian languages, others are so archaic that they must be much older than Old Norse. They resemble fossilised Gothic or early Runic words (which makes them virtually Proto-Germanic) rather than Hochdeutsch or Afrikaans. Here are a few characteristic examples (taken from Raimo Anttila's Introduction to Historical and Comparative Linguistics) involving standard Finnish:
kuningas 'king' < *kuningaz (OEnglish cyning)
ruhtinas 'prince' < *druxtinaz (OEnglish dryhten)
rengas 'ring, loop' < *xrengaz (OEnglish hring)
laiva 'ship' (borrowed also from Finnish into Lithuanian) < *flauja- (Greek ploîon, ONorse fley)
patja 'matress' < *badja- (Gothic badja-, English bed; cf. Finnish peti 'bed', a more recent loan)
kattila 'kettle' < *katila-
Features like the absence of umlaut, no raising of /e/ before a nasal (rengas), the faithful retention of unstressed vowels and of the nominative ending -s (in the first three examples) prove that the borrowing took place very early. Many of the Germanic loans are words connected with the social order, technology, magic/religion, housekeeping and cooking, but there are also body parts and even kinship terms (such as tytär 'daughter', sisar 'sister' and äiti 'mother', cf. Gothic aithei). Anttila notes that the loans "cluster roughly in the same areas as the French ones in English". One possible explanation of that is that the community speaking Proto-Finnic "absorbed a Germanic-speaking upper class".
By the way, a brilliant Finnish scholar called Petri Kallio has recently proposed that the name Suomi 'Finland' derives from the satemic PIE dialect of the Battle Axe people, who called Finland *g'ho:m 'land' as they settled there (3200-2300 BC). Their early Baltic Finnic Comb Ceramic neighbours picked that up as *ćo:me  which developed regularly into *so:mi > suomi. No kidding.
Piotr Gasiorowski