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Re: [ontolog-forum] (OT) German

To: edbark@xxxxxxxx
Cc: "[ontolog-forum]" <ontolog-forum@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
From: "John F. Sowa" <sowa@xxxxxxxxxxx>
Date: Tue, 15 Jan 2008 16:49:33 -0500
Message-id: <478D2A6D.2010007@xxxxxxxxxxx>
Ed,    (01)

I didn't say that:    (02)

 > So to say that the back-country language of central Spain was
 > "Iberian" and "totally unrelated to (modern) Basque" is presumptuous.    (03)

Basque (or an early form of it) was undoubtedly in Spain (and
southwestern France) for a very long time.  A Celtic language,
now called Celto-Iberian was also present in Spain when the Romans
conquered it.  But nobody knows how much of the territory was
controlled by each group and what other languages might have
also been spoken on the Iberian peninsula.    (04)

 > We should also note that several important syntactic structures
 > of modern French, for example, are quite different from those
 > of Latin.  So it is not safe to say that (modern) Basque is
 > unrelated to the language the Romans documented, just because
 > it doesn't exhibit some of the syntactic structures they commented on.    (05)

The differences between Latin and the Romance languages are trivial
compared to the differences between Basque and any Indo-European
language.  The use of prepositions instead of noun inflections,
for example, has happened to all of the Romance languages and
it's similar to what happened from Anglo-Saxon to Middle English.    (06)

 > In the 4 centuries of Roman occupation, the British Celtic tribes
 > of the north reportedly regarded the Picts as a different people,
 > whose language and customs were totally foreign.    (07)

Since there is so little evidence about the language of the Picts,
it's hard to say anything for certain about them.  I would even be
willing to accept that they spoke some language that was derived
from whatever the builders of Stonehenge spoke, which could well
have been related to Basque.   But after a thousand or more years
of independent development, it would have diverged far from Basque.    (08)

 > But the Stonehenge builders do show consistency in practices and
 > some wares with other "Iberian" (i.e. pre-Celtic) sites in France
 > and Spain.    (09)

That would be evidence of trade, but not of a common language.
There were many common wares and cultural practices among the
native Americans, despite the many different language families.    (010)

 > And there is evidence of trade among the Iberian peoples of the
 > Atlantic coast in "Phoenician times", i.e. 900-500 B.C.  After
 > the Phoenician colonies were created in Spain around 700, it
 > seems more likely that the Phoenicians learned the Atlantic trade
 > routes from the Iberians.  We know, for example, that tin was
 > imported into Spain from Cornwall before the Phoenicians arrived.    (011)

That is true.  The Phoenicians controlled the shipping trade in
the Mediterranean and northern Atlantic for many centuries. They
probably took sailors from many different ports along the way,
and it's possible that various kinds of "pidgin" mixtures arose
that combined Celtic and Phoenician (perhaps even Basque) terms.
But such pidgins rarely become established as a creole language,
except among sailors and traders along the trade routes.    (012)

 > The Basque people themselves say that their land and their
 > language are older than every invader.    (013)

That is certainly true.  Lots of invaders, such as the Visigoths,
called themselves "conquerors of the Basques", but their language
died out while the Basques remained.    (014)

John    (015)

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