Re: [TIED] Celtic & Afro-Asiatic languages

From: Dennis Poulter
Message: 2538
Date: 2000-05-25

Many years ago when I was studying Arabic, and having a smattering of Welsh from my Welsh-speaking relatives, I too was struck by some similarities between the two :
1. the word order VSO
2. the frequent prefixing of such sentences with a meaningless particle (y/yr in Welsh, fa-, wa- in Arabic)
3. the construction of relative clauses; the use of the definite article (extended with the demonstrative in Arabic) as the link, and the use of a resumptive (is that the term?) pronoun in prepositional clauses to refer back to the subject of the sentence. This "resumptive" pronoun is also used in Arabic where the subject of the sentence is the direct object of the verb in the relative clause. I can't remember how Welsh does this.
4. the possessive construction, whereby the thing possessed is defined by being possessed and no longer takes the definite article, thus "the garden of the house", Arabic "Hadiiqat al-bayt", Welsh "gardd y ty".
At the time I just put this down to coincidence.
On the same subject, while looking through this site :  I noticed a fair number of Semitic sources for the non-IE substratum in proto-Germanic. One in particular that I noticed that was not attributed to Semitic was :

dan- "low ground, den" >
*dan-jam > denn [OE]

> den; Dene [OE] > Dane [cw, rc]

(I was researching dan, danu at the time). This makes a remarkable fit, phonetically and semantically, with the Semitic root /dny/ that I was proposing for dan- etc.

At the same site, there is mention of a Theo Vennemann, who claims that the megalith builders were Semitic-speaking.

So, what is going on here? We now seem to have Semitic contact/influence/borrowings in Basque, Celtic, Germanic, Greek, NE Caucasian, Kartvelian, Etruscan. Could it be that there is a Semitic substratum throughout western and southern Europe, right up to the Pontic region?