Illyrians Still on the Map

The Illyrians were a group of Indo-European tribes, who once inhabited western Balkans.

Starting from the 2nd century AD the Illyrians were gradually wiped off from the map;  and The Illyrians were mentioned for the last time in the 7th century. With the disintegration of the Roman Empire, Gothic and Hunnic tribes raided the Balkan peninsula, forcing many Illyrians to seek refuge in the highlands. With the arrival of the Slavs in the 6th century, most Illyrians were Slavicized.

Follow the link to see where the Illyrians once lived.

Links:

The Ancient Greeks on the Map

Around 600BC Ancient Greek dialects were spoken not only in today’s Greece but also all around the shores of the Black Sea. Ancient Greek includes the forms of Greek used in ancient Greece and the ancient world from around the 9th century BC to the 6th century AD.

The language was spoken on other locations, too. Follow the link to see where.

Links:

  • Greek tribes on the map 600BC. Be sure to switch the map base layer to ‘political boundaries’ so that you will see the Greek areas shown in light gray.

 

Anatolian Languages 1500 BC

The most ancient Indo-European texts were written in Anatolian languages in the 18th century BC. This branch of the Indo-European family spread over the territory of modern Turkey and northern Syria.

The Anatolian languages were spoken 3½ millenia ago, and the following link show some migrations of the tribes.

Links:

Julotta or to Awake Early in the Morning

In Swedish language there is the specific work for the Church worship held early in the Christmas day’s morning. The word is julotta.

The word julotta consists etymologically of two words:

  • jul Christmas
  • otta archaic word for the earliest time of the day, the hours before dawn that are related to activities such as work or other. More generally it refers to early morning.

So the word otta has nothing to do with number 8 ‘åtta’, but because the meaning of the word otta is not known commonly, people have thought that julotta is the Christmas Day’s worship at 8 o’clock. And yes, the word is commonly misspelled julåtta.

On the contrary the etymology of otta goes back to the ancient Sanskrit word aktú, which means darkness or ray.

And finally some Swedish speaking finns have adopted the word as a verb meaning ‘to wake up early in the Christmas day’s morning  (to clean up the living room)’.

Links:

  • Conjugate the Swedish verb julotta.
  • Wikipedia article about julotta.
  • Swedish (Finland) definition of julotta, including the verb julotta as used in Åboland, Finland.

 

Ancient Alphabets Made Easy

I was developing years ago verb conjugation for Ancient Scandinavian, Runic Swedish, and Gothic languages.

All these ancient — now extinct — languages were written in a an ancient script more that a thousand years ago. Although the grammar books transliterated the texts to modern alphabet, I wanted to also write the verbs forms in the original script.

The Gothic alphabet as it appears in the Gothic Bible of Wulfila
Runic inscriptions on a stone

Years ago that was hard. Either there was no font that supported Runic or Gothic scripts. Or there was no standard for encoding them.

Fortunately things have changed, and modern webbrowsers make use of such standards as webfonts and Unicode. Thanks to that I get the Runic and Gothic texts written as they should.

Read mode:

Back to the Basics

Today I took the opportunity to visit one of the public libraries in Espoo.

Although there’s a great number of language related sites and pages in the Internet, the language books are still the primary source of information when it comes to grammar and language details.

From all the interesting books there, I picked the book A Guide to Old English by Bruce Mitchell and Fred C. Robinson…

“§87 Like MnE, OE has two types of verbs — weak and strong. The weak verb forms its preterite and past participle by adding a dental suffix, the strong verb by changing its stem vowel; cf. MnE ‘laugh, laughed’  and ‘judge, judged’ with MnE ‘sing, sang, sung’. The strong verbs are nearly all survivals from OE; new verbs when made up or borrowed today join the weak conjugation. Thus the strong verb ‘drive, drove, driven’ survives from OE. When in the thirteenth century ‘strive’ was borrowed from the French, it followed the pattern of ‘drive’ because the two infinitives rhymed; hence we get MnE ‘strive, strove, striven’. But we conjugate the comparatively new verb ‘jive’, not ‘jive, jove, jiven’, but ‘jive, jived’, i.e. as a weak verb.”

A Great Walk through Time

Map showing when the humans reached different parts of the world
Map showing when the humans reached different parts of the world

Roughly 200,000 years ago the humans migrated from Africa. And 10,000 years ago they reached the outmost parts of their origin.

With this timespan in mind, the languages that are covered on Verbix website(s) weren’t even born when the humans already had travelled around the globe.

It would be fascinating to know what and how they spoke.

European Languages 7000 Years Ago

After the latest ice age, Europe got free from the ice and the population could move to new areas from the refuges — or the inhabited areas during the ice age.

The language situation in Europe around 5500BC. IE = Indo-European languages, Bs = Basque languages, SU = Ugric languages
The language situation in Europe around 5500BC. IE = Indo-European languages, Bs = Basque languages, SU = Ugric languages

During this era Europe underwent the neolithic revolution, the time when people switched from hunter gathering to domestication. It is assumed that the Indo-Europeans brought the domestication to Europe and therefore won terrain over the other linguistic groups.

 

Language Sites I Miss

I was cleaning my old PC from files that I downloaded years ago.

The main language groups of the Indo-European family of languages
The main language groups of the Indo-European family of languages

Guess what I found? Well, old files from The Indo-European Database website. I kept spending time on this site in the beginning of this millennium. The site that focused on Indo-European languages featured language overviews, linguistic maps, and much more.

Unfortunately this website no more exists.

 

Languages in the Past

The languages are not static; the languages evolve, new languages appear, and some languages disappear. Besides these changes the speakers might also migrate from one place to another.

This has happened in the history, and this goes on today.

Languages in the history, heatmap
relative number of different languages on the area over time

Based on information of people migrations, I compiled a map that shows languages of Europe. This is not a typical map that shows what language is spoken where and today. Instead it’s a ‘heatmap’. The darker color, the more there have been different cultures and languages in the area.

Links: