Kentum/satem (was: The future of Sturnan)
|From:||Jan van Steenbergen <ijzeren_jan@...>|
|Date:||Monday, April 29, 2002, 7:00|
--- Christopher wrote:
> Yes. (Yes.) Not yet, but there was for Sturnan once. Probably
> southeastern Europe (but I'm just guessing at what I'll do for the
Then you ought to have a look at Albanian and remnants of old Balkan
languages like Thracian, Illyric etc.
> What do kentum and satem mean?
"Kentum" and "Satem" both mean "100" (in Latin and Sanskrit, both
derived from PIE *khmthom. They are used to make a primary division
of the Indo-European languages into two categories: satem languages
and kentum languages.
Originally, this division seemed to correspond with a division into
north-western (kentum) and south-eastern (satem) languages. But then
Tocharian was discovered, clearly a kentum language but spoken in a
north-western region of China, and the whole theory had to be
modified. The most widely supported theory (the so-called "gulf
theory" now makes the following distinction:
- the satem languages constitute the more innovative group, that is
located more or less in the centre of IE territory;
- the kentum languages, located at the periphery, broke off earlier
from the family; they didn't take part in the innovations of the
satem languages and more or less preserved the original IE phonology.
The kentum languages include:
the Germanic languages, the Italic/Romance languages, the Celtic
languages, Greek, Hittite, and Tocharian.
The satem languages include:
The Indian and Iranian languages, the Slavonic languages, the Baltic
languages, Albanian, and Armenian.
Another group, the Paleo-Balkan languages (Illyrian, Phrygian,
Messapic, Venetic, Thracian, and a few others) are almost unknown to
us, except for a few inscriptions. They seem to have characteristics
of both kentum and satem languages, though (if I'm informed well)
usually they are rather connected with the latter.
My own Hattic language (and its relatives) follows the gulf theory.
It fills the empty place at the northern periphery, between Tocharian
and the Germanic languages.
Hoping to be of service,
"You know, I used to think it was awful that life was so unfair. Then I thought,
wouldn't it be much worse if life were fair, and all the terrible things that
happen to us come because we actually deserve them? So, now I take great
comfort in the general hostility and unfairness of the universe." --- J.
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