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Re: slit fricative

From:Thomas R. Wier <artabanos@...>
Date:Friday, August 31, 2001, 16:24
Rob Nierse wrote:

> Wier responded: > > > When is this Gothic pidgin supposed to be present? The last Gothic speakers > > died out in the Crimea sometime in the late 1600s, IIRC, and I am not aware > > of any studies or even reports about Gothic as a language at that time. > > It is supposed to be present in the seventeenth century. I know it died out, > so I had to invent an alternate timeline. And I'm not very good at conculturing. > To be frankly, I have no idea why they survived in this alternate time.
I don't know why they died out in our world either, but I do know that the area was subject to intense geopolitical conflict in at the time between the Ottoman Empire and Russia. You might say something like: the last speakers were not, afterall, massacred by the Tsar's troops in the Russo-Turkish war of 1686, that they were smart enough to see where the wind was blowing, and that they decided collectively to work in the employ of the Tsar's service locally. As an ally of the tsars and a counterweight to the Tatars who also lived in the Crimea, this would give them the geopolitical advantage and would at least guarantee them a modicum of protection from ethnic cleansing.
> > It could > > well be that by that time, Gothic phonology had changed quite radically, and > > could well have already shifted the original [T] to something else, precluding any > > need to worry about what [T] shifts to. > > Hmm, I never thought of this. At first I thouht it should not have changed much, > because of these accounts: > "A Venetian named Joseph Barbaro, who lived in Tana (an Italian commercial > settlement at the mouth of the Don river) between 1436 and 1462, wrote that > his German servant could talk with a Crimean Goth aseasy as a Florentine > with a Genovese. A German chronicle mentions thefact that, in the 16th century, > merchants from Nürnberg, thrown by a stormon the Crimean coast, have found > a young native who could answer to theirquestions asked in German. > > I checked the Gothic list and came across the following words: > > bruder = brother (Go. bróþar) > goltz = gold (Go. gulths) > statz = earth, ground (Go. staths 'place') > tzo = thou (Go. thu)
I find it really hard to believe that these first accounts are referring to the descendent of ancient Gothic as recorded by Wulfilas. It seems far more likely, based both on the accounts and the words you provide here -- which without exception undergo the same soundshifts as High German -- that these accounts refer to speakers of varieties of some kind of High German. This is historically reasonable: the German _Drang nach Osten_ started as early as Frederick Barbarosa in the 10th century, and continued right up until, well, 1945. During that time, speakers of high German colonized the Baltic states, and where these Germans did not actually control territory, as in Russia, they formed a distinct minority with distinct legal rights (the "Ius Magdeburgicum"). In Russia, in particular, the tsars (particularly Peter the Great and Catherine the Great) had a policy of inviting Germans to settle in their cities (to instruct Russians in industry) or their hinterlands (to pacify rebellious non-IE peoples). Most of these formal invitations occurred well after the fifteenth century dates given above, but it certain that High German speakers were in the employ of the Russian imperial government, such as it was, by that time.
> In about 1750 a Jesuit from Vienna named Mondorf ransomed a prisoner > from the Turkish galleys who turned out to be from the Crimea and whose > native language bore a resemblance to German. If this wasa corrupted form of > Gothic, this means that there were stillpeople speaking (something like) > Gothic as recently as 250 years ago."
This record is different. The claim here is not that it *is* German, but that it seems *related* to German. This implies a much greater time-depth of separation between it and modern high German (or low German, for that matter), and therefore provides a better target if one is searching for the offspring of ancient Gothic. =================================== Thomas Wier | AIM: trwier "Aspidi men Saiôn tis agalletai, hên para thamnôi entos amômêton kallipon ouk ethelôn; autos d' exephugon thanatou telos: aspis ekeinê erretô; exautês ktêsomai ou kakiô" - Arkhilokhos


John Cowan <cowan@...>Crimean Gothic (was: slit fricative)