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Re: European isolates

From:Ray Brown <ray.brown@...>
Date:Saturday, January 15, 2005, 18:38
On Saturday, January 15, 2005, at 06:14 , Thomas R. Wier wrote:

> Ray Brown: >> Aw - does it have to be even remotely a cousin of IE? Why must >> Basque & Etruscan remain the only European isolates? > > Actually, I think it's generally accepted that the pre-Latin > languages of Spain were non-IE, and probably not Afroasiatic > or related to Basque either.
Yes - I realize that Basque & Etruscan are strictly not the only European 'isolate' - I wasn't being entirely serious :) Also, of course, both Basque and Etruscan must have had cognates. We simply do not know what they were - tho an inscription found on the island of Lemnos/ Limnos appears related to Etruscan; see: Yes, the pre-Latin, pre-Greek and pre-Phoenician language of Spain hasno appearance of being IE nor has it any obvious resemblances to Basque. I think some still postulate an Afroasiatic origin, but there is no tangible evidence.
> Depending on whether we count > Asiatic Russia as European (given the arbitrariness of the > continental divide),
The Ural mountains are the boundary :)
> we might also include Gilyak, spoken in the Russian Far East.
An Asian isolate - and I suspect there are several other examples of Asian isolates. But to return to Europe, some hold that Pictish was non-IE. The still undeciphered 'Minoan' (the language of Linear A) shows no obvious relationship to IE, Semitic, Etruscan or other known language; and there are non-IE languages, attested in writing, on Cyprus and Crete, known as Eteocypriot and Eteocretan respectively. For Eteocretan, see: Yes, I know all sorts of people have claimed to have deciphered Linear A, Eteocypriot, Eteocretan and even the Phaistos Disk - but, alas, none so far are really credible. Ray ======================================================= ======================================================= "If /ni/ can change into /A/, then practically anything can change into anything" Yuen Ren Chao, 'Language and Symbolic Systems"