Skip to comments.New Indo-European Language Discovered
Posted on 06/21/2012 5:14:04 PM PDT by Renfield
A linguistics researcher at the Macquarie University in Australia has discovered that the language, known as Burushaski, which is spoken by about 90,000 people who reside in a remote area of Pakistan, is Indo-European in origin.
Prof Ilija Casules discovery, which has now been verified by a number of the worlds top linguists, has excited linguistics experts around the world.
An entire issue of the eminent international linguistics journal the Journal of Indo-European Studies is devoted to a discussion of his findings later this month.
More than fifty eminent linguists have tried over many years to determine the genetic relationship of Burushaski. But it was Prof Casules painstaking research, based on a comprehensive grammatical, phonological, lexical and semantic analysis, which established that the Burushaski language is in fact an Indo-European language most likely descended from one of the ancient Balkan languages.
Prof Casule said that the language is most probably ancient Phrygian.
The Phrygians migrated from Macedonia to Anatolia (today part of Turkey) and were famous for their legendary kings who figure prominently in Greek mythology such as King Midas who turned whatever he touched into gold. They later migrated further east, reaching India. Indeed, according to ancient legends of the Burushaski (or Burusho) people, they are descendants of Alexander the Great.
Tracing the historical path of a language is no easy task. Prof Casule said he became interested in the origins of Burushaski more than 20 years ago.
People knew of its existence but its Indo-European affiliation was overlooked and it was not analyzed correctly. It is considered a language isolate not related to any other language in the world in much the same way that the Basque language is classified as a language isolate, he added.
The remoteness of the area that was independent until the early 1970s when it became part of Pakistan, ensured Burushaski retained certain grammatical and lexical features that led Prof Casule to conclude it is a North-Western Indo-European language, specifically of the Paleobalkanic language group and that it corresponds most closely with Phrygian.
Prof Casules work is groundbreaking, not only because it has implications for all the Indo-European language groups, but also provides a new model for figuring out the origins of isolate languages where they reside in the linguistic family tree and how they developed and blended with other languages to form a new language.
Map of Burushaski speaking areas (llmap.org)
Well. I'm certainly glad that's settled. Now perhaps we can get on with things.
Beam TV broadcasts in that area and the old language will die out quick.
Wasn’t he an old-time 1st-baseman for the Sox — Lenny Burushaski?
Herodotus has a story (2.2) about the Egyptian king Psammetichus wanting to know which was the oldest language, so he had two babies raised by a shepherd who was told not to utter any words in their presence but to take note of the first word they said. One day the children came to him and said "bekos" (accent on the "o"). Psammetichus investigated and discovered that bekos was the Phrygian word for "bread," and so he concluded that Phrygian was the oldest human language.
If it's in Herodotus, it has to be true.
The question is how a relative of Phrygian would wind up in Pakistan. The Persians used to transplant populations--conceivably they could have transplanted some Phrygians to that area. But that only works if the language is a descendant of Phrygian--it may be more like a cousin.
Good logical deduction. They could be also from Alexander’s armies?
That doesn't rule out a Balkan language showing up, but it's more likely that Balkan language would have already been transplanted (along with the women) to the East by the Persians, and then again by Al Iskander.
So, a double-whammy.
Rather like Hungarian ~ which has several major roots. The Dravidian component had to have been transplanted to a number of places first because that is one big hike! Or sled ride, or maybe donkey trip, or goat wagon trek!
The Phrygian religion included the cult of the Great Mother goddess Cybele, served by priests who castrated themselves.
Midas was a king of Phrygia. Maybe they should look for ruins of ancient muffler shops in this part of Pakistan.
There are more than 70 known inscriptions in Old Phrygian from the 8th to 4th centuries B.C., and about 110 in Late Phrygian from the 2nd and 3rd centuries A.D. The language seems to have died out about the 5th or 6th century.
The idea that the Uralic or Finno-Ugric languages (Hungarian, Finnish, Estonian, and others) and the Dravidian languages have any connection seems to be a minority view. The homeland of the Uralic languages and the homeland of the Dravidian languages, even assuming the latter were more widespread before the Aryan invasion of the Indian subcontinent, are pretty far apart. The only distant language which is sometimes thought to be related to Dravidian is Elamite, and that seems to be unproven.
Harappan is thought to be connected to Dravidian and Elamite too, but it’s also unproven.
|GGG managers are SunkenCiv, StayAt HomeMother & Ernest_at_the_Beach|
Thanks Renfield for the topic and ping, this has been another great week for topic variety, if only they'd post themselves! ;')
The way to become famous forever would be to decipher the Indus Valley script. If it were easy it would have been done already.
The grammar and forms don't resemble any of the Indo-European languages I have studied. I think if it were descended from Phrygian the Indo-European features would be a lot more obvious.
I did read the wikipedia entry and did come to basically the same conclusions as you did.
I don’t like this Indo-European theory either. I like the hypothesis that Burushaski is Dene-Caucasian (of which Athabaskan is a part), much better.
Here’s some random info on the language:
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