Re: [tied] Re: Bangani

From: Piotr Gasiorowski
Message: 14849
Date: 2002-08-30

----- Original Message -----
From: richardwordingham
Sent: Friday, August 30, 2002 1:10 PM
Subject: [tied] Re: Bangani

>> Indo-Aryan was the dominant language of the area; a relatively small Centum-speaking population was absorbed and so was some of its vocabulary.

> This fits the Out of India Theory (OIT) nicely ...
I don't think it fits the OIT more than it fits any other homeland theory. What we know (provided that the Bangani substrate does not turn out to be an illusion) is that an isolated Centum language was probably spoken in that area until rather recently (note that this substrate is a local phenomenon, and that languages closely related to Bangani show no Centum loans; the Aryanisation of the Western Himalayas began, I think, about the eleventh century, and was a long process). The survival of relict languages in the Himalayas and the adjacent highlands is scarcely surprising, given the local conditions. Burushaski and the Nuristani languages are extant examples, and there were certainly more of them before the Tibetan and Indo-Aryan languages wiped them out (one example is Kusunda, an isolate of the Central Himalayas, which became extinct very recently).
My opinion is that as the Satem innovation spread in the eastern part of "Indo-Europia", it left a residue of isolated Centum dialects in the east: the "Hellenoid" languages (Greek, Macedonian, Phrygian) close to the Euxine, the Tocharian languages on the easternmost fringe, plus God knows what else.

> The Germanic invaders of France switched to Romance, which was the dominant language of the area.  But don't we regard the Germanic stratum in French as a superstrate rather than a substrate? ... <snip> ... These examples made me wonder whether the Centum element in Bangani was a superstrate or a substrate, or perhaps neither.

I used the word "substrate" in its OED sense:
[Substratum 5.] Linguistics. Elements or features of a language which are identified by linguists as being relics of, or due to the influence of, an earlier extinct language, usually of the same region.
But the terms "substrate" and "superstrate" are often used in a rather different meaning in discussions of the relative social status of languages in contact situations. I regret this confusion - we are still badly in want of precise terminology.