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Re: Old European-contact conlang

From:Carl Banks <conlang@...>
Date:Tuesday, October 7, 2008, 14:54
Daniel Prohaska wrote:
> Dear all, > > I'm currently developing a conlang family of a population that migrated out > of eastern Africa, through the Middle East, Anatolia, the Balkans, along the > Danube, then into what is southern France today across the Pyrenees, then > towards the southern tip of the Iberian peninsular. Then they develop > seafaring capabilities, settle on the Canary Islands and from then on become > a kind of Atlantic version of a Polynesian-type spread across the isles of > the Atlantic. This migration goes on between 35 000 and 20 000 years ago. > The language will be more or less from scratch, but I want to incorporate > Nostratic and Old European loan words.
I think that's stretching it a bit. If the Nostratic hypothesis is correct, you're still looking at only, at the very limits of credulity, 12000 years ago. Now double that to get into the time frame you're looking at. If you're going for realism you're going to have to borrow from pre-pre-pre-pre-pre-Nostratic. So, I guess start with some Nostratic, IE, Uralic, or whatever roots and start postulating some sound changes and see what you come up with. It might be cool if you can "solve" a puzzle or show a heretofore unknown "relationship" between two roots. Then borrow it into your own conlang. As for Old European (I assume you mean the languages spoken in Europe before Indo-European languages took over), there's even less to work with. Basque and Iberian are the only such attested languages I'm aware of. However, there might be some Celtic and Berber borrowings, and I remember one odd theory that some river names were borrowed from earlier languages. So, maybe find a Celtic word of obscure, probably non-IE origin, and postulate to be a borrowing from an earlier Druidic language, throw in a couple sound changes for realism, and look, it also shows up in your conlang.
> I would also be interested in any > conlang that has been constructed for a similar time frame and area that > "my" population could have come in contact with. I would like to incorporate > culture-specific loan words that are not already "coloured" by my own ideas, > to give them a fresh, "foreign" feel.
Can't help you there; my language exists on a fictional Old World continent west of Europe in the year 1234, and the continent has all kinds of weird stuff like telepathic fairies who run a major telecommunications network. So not very realistic. Actually it probably is related to some Old European languages, but it evolved into something that looks like a lot like sound changes applied to random syllables. But I'd be happy to supply you a few random words and what they evolved into.
> I'd appreciate any feedback and ideas in the matter. I've got some rough > ideas on the basic phonology and a Swadesch list that I'll post in the near > future.
Sounds interesting. Good luck Carl Banks