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Old July 6th, 2018, 02:06 AM   #1
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Pre-Indo-European toponyms


So, what do you guys think, are there any Pre-Indo-European elements reoccurring in modern European toponyms?

The ones that are usually cited are *alb~alp, supposedly meaning "mountain", *alt, supposedly meaning "clear water" and *borm~boru~voru, supposedly meaning "warm water".
I think those could very well be Indo-European in origin.
The root *alb~alp could easily come from the Indo-European root *h2elbh (white), in the sense "covered by snow". It's true that the only attested Indo-European language with a sound change *bh>p is Tocharian, but do we really expect that, if such a language existed in 2nd millennium BC Europe, it would be attested?
The root *alt could very easily be related to the Latin word "altus" (high), in the sense "a river high in the mountains". The Latin word itself comes from the Indo-European root *h2el (to grow).
The root *borm~boru~voru, if those toponyms are indeed related (which seems doubtful to me), could be derived from the Indo-European roots such as *wer (to burn) or *gwher (hot).

Though, I think there are some Pre-Indo-European toponyms in modern-day Croatia. The element *karr~kurr repeats itself in hydronyms (Krbavica, Karasica, Krapina, Korana, Krka…). I think it meant "to flow" and that it got assimilated into Illyrian vocabulary. For instance, the river name "Kr-ap-in-a" could be from it and the Illyrian word "ap" (water), also reoccurring in hydronyms (Col-ap-is, Ser-ap-ia, Sal-ap-ia…), itself coming from the Indo-European root *h2ep (water). I think that it's possible that it's the source of the Late Latin fish names such as Carrassius and Carpa.
The river name "Una" also has no obvious Slavic nor Illyrian etymology (connection with the Indo-European root *unt, meaning "wave", is phonetically difficult, if not impossible), but assuming it's Pre-Indo-European, it could easily be related to the Etruscan word "una~ona", meaning "stream". Assuming its ancient name was *ona, it would give "Una" in Croatian by regular sound changes.

I would like to hear your thoughts.
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Old July 6th, 2018, 02:38 AM   #2

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Sardinia , comes from the Sherdana sea people.
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Old July 6th, 2018, 02:40 AM   #3
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Do you have some idea what the name "Sherdana" meant?
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Old July 6th, 2018, 02:03 PM   #4
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It's probably easier to start with hydronyms, an area which still receives much attention. You should find this interesting


How old are the river names of europe?

https://bop.unibe.ch/linguistik-onli...view/1749/2969
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Old July 6th, 2018, 02:50 PM   #5
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The most likely common areas of proto-European habitation are Denmark, southwest Britain, Ireland, Britagne region, southeast France, coastal Spain/ Portugal, Balkans. (This is backed by the common dolmen rock monolith distribution) Inland areas were kind of winter kill zones for the pre-technological inhabitants of Europe. Oceans were an especially vital source of warmth for the ancient people in northerly places like Europe.

I would narrow the search to these regions. You might find a pattern.

Last edited by Jangkwan; July 6th, 2018 at 02:56 PM.
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Old July 6th, 2018, 04:52 PM   #6
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*alb~alp. karr~kurr , Kr-ap-in-a - κόλπος / κόλπον "bosom"
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Old July 9th, 2018, 03:40 PM   #7

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The hypothesis of "Old Europe" https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Old_European_hydronymy used to be strong.

Then, it was considered a pre-Indoeropean people existed who named many rivers through the continent. Rivers are well regarded as the most conservative element of toponomy, and as such was the proof of this pre-IE substrate.

Today, the hypothesis goes more in the line of some archaic IE forms mixing with some unknown real pre-IE languages.
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Old July 10th, 2018, 04:01 AM   #8
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Here's the thing about Europe. Its not Africa or southern India. It gets fairly cold in the winters, especially for ancient humans.

The dolmen rock monoliths were there to mark the regions that were sheltered from Arctic cold fronts. It was common culture for huntergatherers who were roaming the continent. A way of giving them awareness that they were standing in an area that was warm and sheltered from cold, and where they wouldn't be chilled to death in winter.

This common culture for huntergatherers spanned across Europe to India, where we find that Dolmen rock monoliths in southern India. This indicates that even northern India was somewhat unsafe in winter for ancient humans. Thus, this was a culture that was adept at surviving in areas that would be overwhelmed by cold in winter time, through understanding where it was possible to hide from the arctic winds through an understanding of ocean currents and geography. It makes all the difference to know where to stand in winter and that was their advantage.

However the Steppes and Tundra regions are vastly colder and finding a shelter zone that was survivable was impossible for the ancient humans of the dolmen culture.

So my final conclusion is that there were areas that are climatically equivalent to the dolmen viscinity regions, where they were in the midst of deadly winter cold but had small shelter zones. People lived precariously in these regions, finding a competitive advantage in their ability to find and know the pockets of shelter. These areas, stretching from Europe, through Anatolia, Iran, to India, coincides with the ancient distribution of the Indo-European language. In other words, its possible for the Indo-European language to be deeply associated with the proto-European language (with Europe being the likely source of the language, which has a whole other set of reasons but i will leave it be for now).

Last edited by Jangkwan; July 10th, 2018 at 04:07 AM.
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Old July 10th, 2018, 04:32 AM   #9
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Ancient cultures lived near rivers and most rivers are formed from the melting snow and Ice of the Mountains, that is why most creation stories involve Ice Giants and they formed from the clouds, or Nephele, Nibiru , Niflheim. Nephilim.

νέφος - Cloud
νεφέλη - Fallen Clouds

Rivers relating to words meaning 'burning or fire' , for they formed from melting Ice & Snow and ICE was more valuable then Gold in Ancient times, useless for Food preservation and Wine Cooling, thus cultures where Ice was abundant flourished.

Last edited by Magus; July 10th, 2018 at 04:37 AM.
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Old July 10th, 2018, 05:44 AM   #10
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Just a small request. Can you phoneticize your Greek and Phoenician script into standard English pronunciations?
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