Re: [tied] Re: Daci

From: Piotr Gasiorowski
Message: 12707
Date: 2002-03-17

----- Original Message -----
From: mbikqyres
Sent: Friday, March 15, 2002 4:09 PM
Subject: [tied] Re: Daci

> Albanian history books make Albanians the last survivors of Illyrian people. As far as I know this is still what the major part of historicians and linguists think. The problem with the Illyrian language is the same as with the Dacian, Thracian etc, there is a little left behind. This produces a lot of new theories. Personally I don't mind if the ancestors of Albanians were Illyrians, Thracians, Dacians or any other old people of Balkan as long as this little Balkan is the place of our origin. So they would not be called "immigrants" as like, among others, our slav neighbours, as Serb nationalists, even academists, call the Albanians of Kosovo, producing an excuse to expell the entire Albanian population, of this Balkans region, because it is occupying "their heart".
Hi, Alvin,
Perhaps you won't like what I'm going to say, but I find this "as long as" condition alarming. A scientific hypothesis should be evaluated according to scientific criteria, not according to whether it's psychologically comforting or politically advantageous. I happen to be of the opinion that the approximate "homeland" of the Albanians for a few centuries before they arrived in modern Albania was somewhere to the northeast, perhaps overlapping the highland areas of northern Macedonia and Kosovo, but I'd loathe to see such an opinion being used as an argument in a political squabble over historical rights.
Do you mean that you _would_ mind an argument, no matter how reasonable, if it implied that the Albanians were immigrants from some more distant location? Is it a bad thing to be an immigrant people? Nobody's ancestors have lived in the same region since the dawn of time. If first-comers had special rights, the descendants of the "immigrant" Anglo-Saxons should be asked to leave Great Britain to the Welsh and return to their continental cradle (where, unfortunately, other "immigrants" are now living). The Serbs are of course "immigrants" themselves, just like everybody else (in a sufficiently deep historical perspective).
What puzzles me is why any nation's emotional attachment to a piece of country should be interpreted as an exclusive right of ownership justifying even the brutal persecution of anyone else who happens to love the same land. "Great Serbian" chauvinism has inflicted enough damage, criminal as well as intellectual, but the best response to it is rational thought, objectivity and general civility, not a similar (even if toned down) attitude on the other side.
> Coming back to history, since Albanian was not written, even forbidden time after time by different occupators (my surname is a Turkish one because it was forbidden to speak Albanian in the city of my ancestors, people only spoke Albanian at home, also within the family), like Piotr have said before, it is hard to say how the old Albanian looked like. As you know Albanians do not call themselves Albanians but Shqiptarë and the land Shqipëri (Tosk), Shqypni (Geg).
Still, Proto-Albanian sound changes are reconstructible and have been reconstructed. While some details may be unclear, we know enough to constrain speculation to a considerable extent. The fact that the oldest Albanian sentence comes from the mid-15th century and that the more ancient stages of Albanian are not directly documented is no excuse for sloppy etymologising.

> But old river names in present day Albania like Drin or Shkumbin are full of meaning even in today Albanian whether this is a coincidence or not. If I am not mistaken the old name was Drinoi or Drinos, and this is associated with Albanian word 'ndrin', 'to shine', 'to reflect' also 'it shines', 'it reflects' and that is what the water does :)
The Illyrian river names Drinus and Drilo (Ptolemy's <dreinos> and <drilo:n>) can hardly be related to the <dritë> ('light') word-family in Albanian (which includes the verb <ndrit> 'shine'), derived from PIE *derk^- 'look, notice' (*drk^-to- > drit-; cf. Skt. drs.t.a- 'seen, visible', OE torht 'bright, splendid'). Drei-no- and Dri-l-on- pattern with other hydronyms in *dr-, like Drava and Drama (< *drowos, *dromos), so *drei- is perhaps an extension of the root *der- 'run, flow swiftly' (alongside *dreu-, *drem-).
> If I am still not mistaken the old name for Shkumbin river was  Scumpi. Shkumbin is associated with the phrase "shkumë bin". Shkumë 'foam' , bin-bjen 'to bring', 'brings'. Also this furious river brings foam with it because it has to beat the rocks on it´s way down from the mountains.
But names in Shk- = Lat. Sc- cannot be Proto-Albanian, since PAlb. *sk- > h-. They represent originally _non-Albanian_ forms borrowed after the change of inherited *sk- > h-. I don't know the etymology of Scumpi (if the ancient form is indeed like this, which I haven't been able to verify), but I suspect <shkumë> is a relatively late Romance loan (*scuma <- Lat. spu:ma influenced by Gmc. *sku:m- 'froth, scum'), cf. Fr. écume (OFr. escume), Sp. escuma, It. schiuma 'foam, froth'.

> An other exemple would be the city of Kruja, in central Albania, once the capital of Arbëresh-ë, as Albanians were called at that time. The name of the city is said to derive from the one of these forms 'kro' or 'kru'. Both of them 'kru-a' and 'kro' are the Albanian names for 'water source'. Also it was the water source which brought the people there and made them build around it.
OK, but how old is the _name_ Croia/Krujë? Is there any evidence of it before the 12th century? <krua> itself seems to me to be an archaic loan from Doric Greek (krá:na: 'spring, fountain-head' [Att. kré:ne:] -> *kron- > krua, with regular diphthongisation before a historical nasal). The example of <mokën/-ër> 'millstone' < ma:kHaná: shows that such Doric loans were absorbed before the change of a: > o.

> Also I personally see a connection to the word 'door' in the name of the harbour city of Durrës (Durrahium or Dyrrhachium). Though in today Albanian it is called 'der-' it might have been called 'dur' in proto-Albanian. So, the harbour was the door between inside (land, home) and outside (sea, other countries).  Or is there any better explanation through Latin or Old Greek ?
PAlb. *u does not produce modern <e>. I have no etymological dictionary of Albanian to hand, but the most likely derivation of Alb. derë seems to be < PAlb. *dvör- < PIE *dHwo:r 'gate, door'. Dyrrhachium (<durrakHion>) is not directly related to that. The zero grade *dHur- does not occur in Albanian, and its presence in Illyrian (assuming that the Romans adapted a local name that contained it when renaming Epidamnus) would prove nothing about Illyrian-Albanian connections, since it occurs in several other branches of IE (OE duru, Gk. tHura, etc.).