The ancient Slavic hydronymy

RajvoSa97

New Member
Bosnian/Serbian/Croatian
On various portals i saw that consensus is that the most archaic Slavic hydronymy is located in Ukraine, on the Pripet river, in the middle Dnieper and south on the Dniester.

If really existed the Balto-Slavic common proto-language, why are this hydronyms (https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/lt/b/b7/Baltic_hydronyms_location_map.png) classified as strictly Baltic, and not Balto-Slavic. If all this area was Baltic hydronymy, where actually lived the ancestors of Slavs in this time?
 
  • The rose areas are those "where Baltic hydronyms are not numerous and part of them is doubtful".

    Hydronyms don't necessarily persist over centuries and millennia: even with the stable ethnic composition of the population new names may appear from time to time, especially in case of smaller rivers; with population shifts, newcomers often bring hydronyms from their original homelands. Let's recall that several rivers, like Danube, Dnieper, Volga etc., each have several attested ancient names. In the yellow area from the map you cite, the main river of Latvia is called Daugava in Latvian (transparently: "plentiful (river)", i. e. probably a newer name) and Dvina in Slavic (with no obvious etymology, i. e. probably one of the older names given by some previous population, or else a forgotten Slavic root).

    The archaic character of the hydronyms in the area east of the Carpathian mountains means that, of all the lands currently populated by Slavs, it contains the largest amount of non-trivial names, with rarer roots and suffixes, which suggests that this area has been inhabited by a Slavic-speaking population longer than elsewhere, whereas in newly conquered lands new hydronyms were assigned from a much narrower standard repertoire active at the time of conquest. This however, doesn't necessarily mean that north-western Ukraine was the homeland at some earlier period: population movements may have erased Slavic hydronyms in that other area. For example, the lands between Vistula and the Black Sea in the 1–4th centuries were populated and dominated by East Germanic speakers (Goths etc.), but very few if any hydronyms are traceable to these languages there: the population moved elsewhere and the new masters of these lands brought their own names. By the way, all major river names are non-Slavic, or at least not etymologizable from the Slavic languages of the 2nd millennium: Slavic are only names of the tributaries and local rivers and lakes.

    Finally, Slavs emerge in the records in the first centuries of our era: earlier authors didn't mention any nation clearly associable with later Slavs. This may suggest that Proto-Slavic may have been spoken in some smaller area, be it in north-western Ukraine or other part of eastern Central Europe. The Kievan "Primary chronicle" of the early 12th century, for example, traces Slavs back to the Danube, not to the adjacent land with those archaic hydronyms.

    P. S. "Balto-Slavic" doesn't mean that there is continuity between Baltic and Slavic languages at their attested stages, as it exists within Baltic and within Slavic. It just means that these two groups share many non-trivial innovations (e. g. in prosody, which is the most difficult part of pronunciation to master, cp. the Serbo-Croatian pitch accent and accentual mobility, and hence can hardly be secondarily acquired in either branch). What is important to remember in this context, is that Central and Eastern Europe in the 1st millennium BC and surely before that was inhabited by a number of different peoples and it is therefore quite possible that Balts and Slavs were parts of some larger continuum, whose intermediate elements have died out with no traces in later languages — imagine that of all Slavic languages only Slovene and Polish persist: millennia later many aspects of their descendants will be quite different, while one still will be able to feel their affinity.
     
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    A personal illustration how those hydronymic things work. I live in Saint Petersburg, a city founded in 1703 in the place of a Swedish fortress built among mostly Finnish villages. As of 2018, the name of the main river, Нева/Nʲeva, is unchanged (it's etymology is unknown, it may be even Indo-European, with the meaning "new" — the Corded Ware culture was widespread not far from here: Corded Ware culture - Wikipedia and the river itself emerged a few millennia ago when waters of the Ladoga lake found a new way to discharge into the gulf of Finland); only one noticeable river, Охта/Oxta, still bears an unchanged Finnish name Ohta, and its tributary Оккервиль/Okkʲervilʲ may be named after a Swedish estate or may continue a very distorted Finnish word. The name of another noticeable river, Карповка/Karpovka, looks Russian, but actually is a distorted Finnish Korpijoki. Most other river names are new. The area not far from my house is called Ульянка/Ulʲjanka, which looks derived from the Russian name Ульяна/Ulʲjana (<Juliana), but in reality is a Russified Finnish Yljälä. The rivers in my district, from east to west, are Красненькая/Krasnʲenʲkaja, Дачная/Dačnaja, Новая/Novaja, Дудергофка/Dudʲergofka, Ивановка/Ivanovka and Сосновка/Sosnovka, of which Dudʲergofka is named after a Swedish Duderhof estate, others are Russian and new, but Sosnovka in some Internet sources still has its aboriginal name Mitkazi mentioned (apparently taken from one of non-Finnish Baltic-Finnic languages). Thus, for some 100 years, mostly in the course of the 18th century, with the influx of a new ethnic group, the old hydronyms first remained in use among the original population and then simply vanished.
     

    RajvoSa97

    New Member
    Bosnian/Serbian/Croatian
    A personal illustration how those hydronymic things work. I live in Saint Petersburg, a city founded in 1703 in the place of a Swedish fortress built among mostly Finnish villages. As of 2018, the name of the main river, Нева/Nʲeva, is unchanged (it's etymology is unknown, it may be even Indo-European, with the meaning "new" — the Corded Ware culture was widespread not far from here: Corded Ware culture - Wikipedia and the river itself emerged a few millennia ago when waters of the Ladoga lake found a new way to discharge into the gulf of Finland); only one noticeable river, Охта/Oxta, still bears an unchanged Finnish name Ohta, and its tributary Оккервиль/Okkʲervilʲ may be named after a Swedish estate or may continue a very distorted Finnish word. The name of another noticeable river, Карповка/Karpovka, looks Russian, but actually is a distorted Finnish Korpijoki. Most other river names are new. The area not far from my house is called Ульянка/Ulʲjanka, which looks derived from the Russian name Ульяна/Ulʲjana (<Juliana), but in reality is a Russified Finnish Yljälä. The rivers in my district, from east to west, are Красненькая/Krasnʲenʲkaja, Дачная/Dačnaja, Новая/Novaja, Дудергофка/Dudʲergofka, Ивановка/Ivanovka and Сосновка/Sosnovka, of which Dudʲergofka is named after a Swedish Duderhof estate, others are Russian and new, but Sosnovka in some Internet sources still has its aboriginal name Mitkazi mentioned (apparently taken from one of non-Finnish Baltic-Finnic languages). Thus, for some 100 years, mostly in the course of the 18th century, with the influx of a new ethnic group, the old hydronyms first remained in use among the original population and then simply vanished.

    Yes, it's all like that, but, for example, it is already know that eastern Balts actually lived in Russia, until river "Kama" in ancient times. It's like a consensus among the linguist and archaeologists.
    On the other side, it's known that Western Balts lived in ancient times near the area of "Amber road" near the Baltic sea. And those 2 groups (or subgroups of Baltic languages) we can trace even in ancient history. But in these times, it's like we can't locate Slavs. Some says it's related to Komarov culture, or Chernoles culture, but those are just hypothesis without any clear proof, while on the other side, it could be said that Western and Eastern Balts without any doubt lived in these areas and this is what modern linguists claim.
     
    Yes, it's all like that, but, for example, it is already know that eastern Balts actually lived in Russia, until river "Kama" in ancient times. It's like a consensus among the linguist and archaeologists.
    On the other side, it's known that Western Balts lived in ancient times near the area of "Amber road" near the Baltic sea. And those 2 groups (or subgroups of Baltic languages) we can trace even in ancient history. But in these times, it's like we can't locate Slavs. Some says it's related to Komarov culture, or Chernoles culture, but those are just hypothesis without any clear proof, while on the other side, it could be said that Western and Eastern Balts without any doubt lived in these areas and this is what modern linguists claim.
    Yes, the localization of Balts is much more secure than that of Slavs. But Balts didn't move anywhere in the last two millennia, their territory simply shrank, except for the spread of Latvian to the north of Daugava onto the Livonian land. In contrast, Slavs conquered a huge area, assimilating its previous dwellers, from the Alps to the upper Volga and from the Baltic coast to Thrace, plus during much of the 1st millennium they were on the way of various migrations of major powers, from Goths (Oium - Wikipedia) to Avars (Avar Khaganate - Wikipedia). That's actually the reason why Slavic language evolved so fast in that period comparing with the very modest change of Baltic, which was spoken in much quieter areas and without any significant assimilation of foreign speakers, so that newer generations of Balts tended to speak as their parents did. As a result, we don't know with any certainty where the Slavic homeland was located: it may have been in north-western Ukraine, but if not, its traces have been shaded by all those disturbances.
     

    Awwal12

    Senior Member
    Russian
    the lands between Vistula and the Black Sea in the 1–4th centuries were populated and dominated by East Germanic speakers (Goths etc.)
    Although "dominated" is undoubted, "populated" is pretty doubtful. There is a strong opinion that Goths were a ruling minority amongst the chiefly Slavic and Iranian population (not something uncommon in the early Middle Ages and the late Antiquity).
     
    Although "dominated" is undoubted, "populated" is pretty doubtful. There is a strong opinion that Goths were a ruling minority amongst the chiefly Slavic and Iranian population (not something uncommon in the early Middle Ages and the late Antiquity).
    I wonder how it was possible to evaluate that and to develop a strong opinion. At least, when East Germanics invaded the Roman empire, they counted hundreds of thousands (e. g. the first wave of perhaps 90.000 people: Gothic War (376–382) - Wikipedia) and we have no evidence that they had Slavs among them (though we have this evidence for Alanians). What I find more probable is that there were several cores populated primarily by East Germanics, and a number of subordinate territories populated by Slavic and Iranic speakers in the East and remnants of Central European peoples in the West.
     
    Jordanes (Jordanes - Wikipedia), a Gothic historian, locates Slavs in the following areas in the middle 6th century:
    (34) Within these rivers lies Dacia, encircled by the lofty Alps as by a crown. Near their left ridge, which inclines toward the north, and beginning at the source of the Vistula, the populous race of the Venethi dwell, occupying a great expanse of land. Though their names are now dispersed amid various clans and places, yet they are chiefly called Sclaveni and Antes. (35) The abode of the Sclaveni extends from the city of Noviodunum and the lake called Mursianus to the Danaster, and northward as far as the Vistula. They have swamps and forests for their cities. The Antes, who are the bravest of these peoples dwelling in the curve of the sea of Pontus, spread from the Danaster to the Danaper, rivers that are many days' journey apart.

    (119) After the slaughter of the Heruli, Hermanaric also took arms against the Venethi. This people, though despised in war, was strong in numbers and tried to resist him. But a multitude of cowards is of no avail, particularly when God permits an armed multitude to attack them. These people, as we started to say at the beginning of our account or catalogue of nations, though off-shoots from one stock, have now three names, that is, Venethi, Antes and Sclaveni. Though they now rage in war far and wide, in punishment for our sins, yet at that time they were all obedient to Hermanaric's commands. (120) This ruler also subdued by his wisdom and might the race of the Aesti, who dwell on the farthest shore of the German Ocean, and ruled all the nations of Scythia and Germany by his own prowess alone.

    (247) He rivalled the valor of his grandfather Vultuulf, although he had not the good fortune of Hermanaric. But disliking to remain under the rule of the Huns, he withdrew a little from them and strove to show his courage by moving his forces against the country of the Antes. When he attacked them, he was beaten in the first encounter. Thereafter he did valiantly and, as a terrible example, crucified their king, named Boz, together with his sons and seventy nobles, and left their bodies hanging there to double the fear of those who had surrendered.
    https://people.ucalgary.ca/~vandersp/Courses/texts/jordgeti.html

    It appears to me that Jordanes regards Goths and Slavs as geographically separated.
     
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    RajvoSa97

    New Member
    Bosnian/Serbian/Croatian
    and we have no evidence that they had Slavs among them (though we have this evidence for Alanians).

    It could be because Slavs and Germans looked the same for Romans, and they could not make difference. On the other side, Alans were well-known Iranic people in this time to Romans.

    Also, what makes me curious is, since there was surely some kind of contact between pre-Slavic population (or Early Proto-Slavic, call it whatever), how Scythians simply didn't assimilated them? Scythian artifacts are founded in Slavic cultures, also Iranic loanwords and some kind of substratum probably. So, if the Scythians were really rulers and masters of Eastern Europe, and early Slavic population was "weak" until the Avar period when Avars "educated" them in fighting and battles, how it happened that Slavs assimilated Scythians (or Sarmatians)? And not vice versa?
     
    It could be because Slavs and Germans looked the same for Romans, and they could not make difference. On the other side, Alans were well-known Iranic people in this time to Romans.

    Also, what makes me curious is, since there was surely some kind of contact between pre-Slavic population (or Early Proto-Slavic, call it whatever), how Scythians simply didn't assimilated them? Scythian artifacts are founded in Slavic cultures, also Iranic loanwords and some kind of substratum probably. So, if the Scythians were really rulers and masters of Eastern Europe, and early Slavic population was "weak" until the Avar period when Avars "educated" them in fighting and battles, how it happened that Slavs assimilated Scythians (or Sarmatians)? And not vice versa?
    Slavs, as Jordanes explained in #8, "have swamps and forests for their cities". Scythians, Sarmatians and Alanians were mostly steppe dwellers, as later Turkics. Compare the relationship between Turkics and Ukrainians in the 2nd millennium: they didn't share the same habitats.

    Consider this map:
    https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/b/b4/Pontic_Caspian_climate.png
    The climatic boundaries were somewhat different in the beginning of the 1st millennium, yet the principle is the same.
     
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    RajvoSa97

    New Member
    Bosnian/Serbian/Croatian
    Slavs, as Jordanes explained in #8, "have swamps and forests for their cities". Scythians, Sarmatians and Alanians were mostly steppe dwellers, as later Turkics. Compare the relationship between Turkics and Ukrainians in the 2nd millennium: they didn't share the same habitats.

    I mean the pre-Slavic (or Early-proto-Slavic) contacts with Iranic cultures. Valentin Sedov proved it without any doubt. Also, it's considered that Slavs in ancient times absorbed Sarmatians and Scythians. Even in later clearly Slavic cultures such as "Prague-Korchak, Penkovka and Kolochin culture complex), some kind of Scythian artifacts are founded.
     
    I mean the pre-Slavic (or Early-proto-Slavic) contacts with Iranic cultures. Valentin Sedov proved it without any doubt. Also, it's considered that Slavs in ancient times absorbed Sarmatians and Scythians. Even in later clearly Slavic cultures such as "Prague-Korchak, Penkovka and Kolochin culture complex), some kind of Scythian artifacts are founded.
    My impression is that these were boundary contacts, exactly as with Turkics in the first half of the 2nd millennium: Ukrainians too have absorbed some amount of sedentary Turkic element (Укро-Тюрки), yet Turkics never attempted to move to the forests in that area, that was simply a completely different way of living.
     

    RajvoSa97

    New Member
    Bosnian/Serbian/Croatian
    My impression is that these were boundary contacts, exactly as with Turkics in the first half of the 2nd millennium: Ukrainians too have absorbed some amount of sedentary Turkic element (Укро-Тюрки), yet Turkics never attempted to move to the forests in that area, that was simply a completely different way of living.

    Also Avars. I think there are no their graves into forest zone? As far as i know, clear avar burial sites are located in the area with least forest presence.
     

    Awwal12

    Senior Member
    Russian
    At least, when East Germanics invaded the Roman empire, they counted hundreds of thousands (e. g. the first wave of perhaps 90.000 people
    When they invaded the Empire, Romans were defeated by the barbarians, so the exaggerated numbers of the invaders are very much expected. Plus, mind you, it wasn't a conquest - it was an armed migration, so the actual number of Gothic troops here must be nearqly equal to their adult male count.
     
    When they invaded the Empire, Romans were defeated by the barbarians, so the exaggerated numbers of the invaders are very much expected. Plus, mind you, it wasn't a conquest - it was an armed migration, so the actual number of Gothic troops here must be nearqly equal to their adult male count.
    The Roman estimation in that citation was 200.000. Do we have any reliable numbers, especially for Slavs? I honestly have no idea how those estimations might work. Anyway, I'd like to repeat, the above citations from Jordanes seem to suggest that he considered Goths and Slavs to have been geographically somewhat separated.

    Perhaps, I should clarify my statement you disagree with: when writing "populated" I didn't mean of course the expulsion or assimilation of all other dwellers, just the fact that Goths lived there and, as masters of these lands, must have had their names for at least some of the rivers, yet no Germanic hydronyms are cited from that area as far as I imagine.
     

    RajvoSa97

    New Member
    Bosnian/Serbian/Croatian
    yet Turkics never attempted to move to the forests in that area, that was simply a completely different way of living.

    Why do you think that?

    Part of Hunnic empire and also Avar khaganate was in the forests. Even perhaps they weren't Turks, they surely were nomadic people at the beginning. People can adopt new way of life and climate conditions IMHO. The best proof for it are Indo Europeans. All of them were steppe people, and later, Germans, Balts and Slavs (for example) didn't have problem to live in other conditions. Germans in cold scandinavia, Balts and Slavs in the Eastern Euro forests. Why Turks couldn't adopt forest way of life (at some point) ? Although indeed, there are some points which indicate that for example Avars lived separated from Germanics and Slavs. Also, for example, Oghuz Turks conquered Byzantium, they indeed preserved some steppe tradition, but they didn't have problem to adopt new things and traditions from the ex-Byzantines.
     
    Why do you think that?

    Part of Hunnic empire and also Avar khaganate was in the forests. Even perhaps they weren't Turks, they surely were nomadic people at the beginning. People can adopt new way of life and climate conditions IMHO. The best proof for it are Indo Europeans. All of them were steppe people, and later, Germans, Balts and Slavs (for example) didn't have problem to live in other conditions. Germans in cold scandinavia, Balts and Slavs in the Eastern Euro forests. Why Turks couldn't adopt forest way of life (at some point) ? Although indeed, there are some points which indicate that for example Avars lived separated from Germanics and Slavs. Also, for example, Oghuz Turks conquered Byzantium, they indeed preserved some steppe tradition, but they didn't have problem to adopt new things and traditions from the ex-Byzantines.
    These are the empirical data for the discussed region, i. e. for what is now Ukraine: in the course of the written history (since the 9th century and till the 17th century) the distribution was such. I may hypothesize that when nomads penetrated to areas located far from the steppe, their descendants of course adopted the new way of living, but at the forest/steppe boundary nomads only made forays to the forest. Likewise, Iranic place names are only attested in the steppe zone of Russia.
     

    Awwal12

    Senior Member
    Russian
    Perhaps, I should clarify my statement you disagree with: when writing "populated" I didn't mean of course the expulsion or assimilation of all other dwellers, just the fact that Goths lived there and, as masters of these lands, must have had their names for at least some of the rivers, yet no Germanic hydronyms are cited from that area as far as I imagine.
    Because the local population had its own names for all of those objects even before Goths arrived and had no particular reasons to change them (in fact, it's a pretty strong argument for the ruling minority theory). I cannot recall many Norse toponyms in Russia as well.
     

    RajvoSa97

    New Member
    Bosnian/Serbian/Croatian
    When looking for Prussian hydronyms, and Slavic, it appeared actually that those hydronyms have common innovations according to some. It would be useful to know, what kind of relations actually happened between Slavic and Prussian. I mean, according to previous linguistic sources (Toporov, Ivanov, Martynov) it happened that Slavic developed from the West Baltic, and according to this scheme it would make sense that Prussian and Slavic hydronyms are close. But, if in modern linguistics it's thought that Balto-Slavic from the beginning splitted into West Baltic, East Baltic and Slavic, how it happened then that Prussian hydronyms are so "closely related" with the Slavic ones?

    Also, for example word "wheel"; in Prussian *kelan, in Slavic *kolo but in the East Baltic languages "ratas". Totally different word between East and West Baltic, while between Prussian and Slavic pretty close. Although, some linguists (specifically Kortlandt) thinks that originally East Baltic was slightly closer to Slavic, then to West Baltic, though East and West Baltic are structurally similar because they were not affected by Iranian substratum that transformed Slavic in radical way.
     
    When looking for Prussian hydronyms, and Slavic, it appeared actually that those hydronyms have common innovations according to some. It would be useful to know, what kind of relations actually happened between Slavic and Prussian. I mean, according to previous linguistic sources (Toporov, Ivanov, Martynov) it happened that Slavic developed from the West Baltic, and according to this scheme it would make sense that Prussian and Slavic hydronyms are close. But, if in modern linguistics it's thought that Balto-Slavic from the beginning splitted into West Baltic, East Baltic and Slavic, how it happened then that Prussian hydronyms are so "closely related" with the Slavic ones?

    Also, for example word "wheel"; in Prussian *kelan, in Slavic *kolo but in the East Baltic languages "ratas". Totally different word between East and West Baltic, while between Prussian and Slavic pretty close. Although, some linguists (specifically Kortlandt) thinks that originally East Baltic was slightly closer to Slavic, then to West Baltic, though East and West Baltic are structurally similar because they were not affected by Iranian substratum that transformed Slavic in radical way.
    That's a rather broad topic, which would be better to split into separate threads. In short, I don't think the available evidence allows to tell anything conclusive about the genetic relationships between Slavic, West Baltic and East Baltic. Prussian looks like a Baltic language: one can point to a number of aspects common with Slavic and opposed to East Baltic, but the amount of similarities with East Baltic is larger in order of magnitude, and often there is no evidence that these similarities are archaisms lost in Slavic. I also wouldn't say there are clear signs of Iranic substrate in Slavic other than a number of loanwords: Iranic and Slavic developed in very different ways, both phonetically, grammatically, in word-formational patterns etc. Once again: the languages involved in the discussion of Balto-Slavic relationships are just casual survivors of the considerable linguistic diversity present in Central and Eastern Europe in the 1st millennium BC. I am afraid the information necessary to resolve the Balto-Slavic question is lost forever (as, alas, is very often the case in historical linguistics: this science deals with exhaustible evidence).

    Kelan and ratas continue Proto-Indo-European words. That one of them disappeared is purely casual: compare the English wheel and the German Rad.

    The scholars you mention (Ivanov, Toporov, Martynov, Kortlandt) belong(ed) to the kind of people who like(d) to built far reaching concepts based on scarce and/or doubtful evidence. Very often it was just guesswork: what if so and so? Some of their hypotheses eventually turned out right, but more often these were based on wrong assumptions or impossible to prove.
     

    RajvoSa97

    New Member
    Bosnian/Serbian/Croatian
    That's a rather broad topic, which would be better to split into separate threads. In short, I don't think the available evidence allows to tell anything conclusive about the genetic relationships between Slavic, West Baltic and East Baltic. Prussian looks like a Baltic language: one can point to a number of aspects common with Slavic and opposed to East Baltic, but the amount of similarities with East Baltic is larger in order of magnitude, and often there is no evidence that these similarities are archaisms lost in Slavic. I also wouldn't say there are clear signs of Iranic substrate in Slavic other than a number of loanwords: Iranic and Slavic developed in very different ways, both phonetically, grammatically, in word-formational patterns etc. Once again: the languages involved in the discussion of Balto-Slavic relationships are just casual survivors of the considerable linguistic diversity present in Central and Eastern Europe in the 1st millennium BC. I am afraid the information necessary to resolve the Balto-Slavic question is lost forever (as, alas, is very often the case in historical linguistics: this science deals with exhaustible evidence).

    Kelan and ratas continue Proto-Indo-European words. That one of them disappeared is purely casual: compare the English wheel and the German Rad.

    The scholars you mention (Ivanov, Toporov, Martynov, Kortlandt) belong(ed) to the kind of people who like(d) to built far reaching concepts based on scarce and/or doubtful evidence. Very often it was just guesswork: what if so and so? Some of their hypotheses eventually turned out right, but more often these were based on wrong assumptions or impossible to prove.

    Yes, but linguistics is proved as useful science. Linguists actually proved the proto-IE area in the steppes already before archaeologists. And actually, when Marija Gimbutas postulated Kurgan hypothesis, it turned out that linguists were true. So, most people believe in linguistic hypothesis.
     
    Yes, but linguistics is proved as useful science. Linguists actually proved the proto-IE area in the steppes already before archaeologists. And actually, when Marija Gimbutas postulated Kurgan hypothesis, it turned out that linguists were true. So, most people believe in linguistic hypothesis.
    How did linguists prove the steppe origin?
     

    RajvoSa97

    New Member
    Bosnian/Serbian/Croatian
    How did linguists prove the steppe origin?

    Not exactly the steppes but proposed homeland of IE proposed in past by linguists weren't so far from those Yamnaya area.
    Anyways, this thread of hydronyms were mainly in the course of existence (or non-existence) of Balto-Slavic proto language. Some says it's Proto Balto Slavic, other says it's proto Baltic, but there can't be 2 truths. And when there is discussions about Balto-Slavic problem, the Lithuanians and Latvians, as a rule, shows the Baltic hydronyms from the time before spread of Slavs as arguments. So they say, if the Krivichi and Radimichi, for example, are assimilated Balts and evem their tribal names are perhaps of Baltic origin, then like there was no Balto-Slavic proto-language. But, also there are some arguments about existence of BS too.
     
    Anyways, this thread of hydronyms were mainly in the course of existence (or non-existence) of Balto-Slavic proto language. Some says it's Proto Balto Slavic, other says it's proto Baltic, but there can't be 2 truths. And when there is discussions about Balto-Slavic problem, the Lithuanians and Latvians, as a rule, shows the Baltic hydronyms from the time before spread of Slavs as arguments. So they say, if the Krivichi and Radimichi, for example, are assimilated Balts and evem their tribal names are perhaps of Baltic origin, then like there was no Balto-Slavic proto-language. But, also there are some arguments about existence of BS too.
    Let's perhaps discuss specific examples of hydronyms used to substantiate these ideas (I mean their impact on the validity of the Balto-Slavic concept, not the Baltic substrate in Krivichians and Radimichians; by the way, these discussions among Balts and Belarusians are usually meant to promote the special origin of Belarusians, opposed to the lowly Slavs, but the irony is that Krivichians were perhaps the largest of several components in the future Russian people, both in the North-West and in Central Russia).
     

    RajvoSa97

    New Member
    Bosnian/Serbian/Croatian
    Let's perhaps discuss specific examples of hydronyms used to substantiate these ideas (I mean their impact on the validity of the Balto-Slavic concept, not the Baltic substrate in Krivichians and Radimichians; by the way, these discussions among Balts and Belarusians are usually meant to promote the special origin of Belarusians, opposed to the lowly Slavs, but the irony is that Krivichians were perhaps the largest of several components in the future Russian people, both in the North-West and in Central Russia).

    In principle, the Baltic Sea coast itself was probably not the epicenter of the distribution of the Balts. And this region does not affect the outcome of the Slavs (or does it affect?) But now the question is about the Baltic (non-Baltic-Slavic or IE) hydronyms in the basin of the Dnieper, Volga and Oka, how do we explain them?

    This is in general. And about the special case of Daugava / Dvina, about the greater likelihood and the obligatory, therefore obscure, Slavic nature, this is more than doubtful. If the Dvina root does not have an explicit interpretation then this does not automatically mean that this root is not Baltic, and all the more does not mean that it is Slavic and does not say anything about the period of names and their distribution. Along the long river, the name could be somewhat even within the limits of one ethnos, not to mention how anyone during what periods could call one or another hydronym. Even at the same historical time and point-to-localized toponyms, one people could call it different names. For example: Jelgava - Mitava, Liepāja - Libava, Cēsis - Wendene, Ventspils - Vindava, Klaipeda - Memele. These are not German and Baltic names,
    The etymology of the Dvina is not fully elucidated, and it is tied to both the origin of FU and the ancient European early IE, when there were no balts and slavs, not even Balto-Slavs.
     
    In principle, the Baltic Sea coast itself was probably not the epicenter of the distribution of the Balts. And this region does not affect the outcome of the Slavs (or does it affect?) But now the question is about the Baltic (non-Baltic-Slavic or IE) hydronyms in the basin of the Dnieper, Volga and Oka, how do we explain them?

    They are explained as traces of the former Baltic population. Immediately west of Moscow Baltic was still spoken a millennium ago: Galindians - Wikipedia. Archeological cultures attributed to Balts were widespread in all the areas you mention immediately before the Slavic expansion: Balts - Wikipedia

    This is in general. And about the special case of Daugava / Dvina, about the greater likelihood and the obligatory, therefore obscure, Slavic nature, this is more than doubtful. If the Dvina root does not have an explicit interpretation then this does not automatically mean that this root is not Baltic, and all the more does not mean that it is Slavic and does not say anything about the period of names and their distribution. Along the long river, the name could be somewhat even within the limits of one ethnos, not to mention how anyone during what periods could call one or another hydronym. Even at the same historical time and point-to-localized toponyms, one people could call it different names. For example: Jelgava - Mitava, Liepāja - Libava, Cēsis - Wendene, Ventspils - Vindava, Klaipeda - Memele. These are not German and Baltic names,
    The etymology of the Dvina is not fully elucidated, and it is tied to both the origin of FU and the ancient European early IE, when there were no balts and slavs, not even Balto-Slavs.
    If we encounter in English a name Mississippi, but are unable to explain it through attested English words, this indeed doesn't preclude us from assuming it was some Proto-English lexeme not preserved in the modern language. But to move forward we need additional evidence.

    Finno-Ugric languages don't have initial dw- nor even initial consonant clusters. A suitable Proto-Indo-European root has not been suggested so far either. The pre-Indo-European and pre-Finno-Ugric substrate origin of this name cannot be excluded.

    What's wrong with the Latvian names you mention?
     

    RajvoSa97

    New Member
    Bosnian/Serbian/Croatian
    They are explained as traces of the former Baltic population. Immediately west of Moscow Baltic was still spoken a millennium ago: Galindians. Archeological cultures attributed to Balts were widespread in all the areas you mention immediately before the Slavic expansion:

    But then it really raise question about "Balto-Slavic" unity.

    For example, how this hydronyms happened? According to your theory is that some Balto-Slavs lived on those lands, then they left, and the Balts came to take their place to leave their toponyms? If we include Balto-Slavic concept in that, then it is confusing. But if there was no Balto-Slavs there (also in previous Milograd culture and near others), but clearly Balts, from where could actually proto-Slavs came? South of these lands are already Iranic Scythian herders.
     
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    Let's count. The Balto-Slavic unity (rather arbitrarily, I must admit) is believed to have split sometime in the first half of the 1st millennium BC, i. e. at Homer's time. This means that when Slavs began moving to the north(-east) onto the Baltic lands in Eastern Europe, they had been speakers of a separate language for more than a millennium (plus, Slavic had most probably separated from Baltic already being a distinct dialect within that original continuum, maybe even not contiguous with what later became Baltic: as I had written above, there were other, extinct, languages in Central and Eastern Europe that could have been parts of the same major branch). If an average modern Russian speaker looks at the list of major rivers of, say, Croatia — Popis rijeka u Hrvatskoj prema dužini – Wikipedija — he'll only recognize the names Dobra, Glina and Mirna (perhaps also Krapina, Kupčina and Orljava), plus the suffixes -ina, -ava and -ica. So, for some 14 centuries the Croatian and Russian hydronymic pools have diverged to the stage of only minor congruence.
     
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    By the way, I suspect we mean different things speaking of Balto-Slavic. Imagine the Romance language area, from Portugal to the Black sea, where once a single language (with local differences) was spoken. Now imagine only two–three cores remain alive, perhaps Spanish (~East Baltic), Catalan (~West Baltic) and Romanian (~Slavic), with no intermediate dialects between West and East and no Latin as a common written language, just naturally developing dialects of illiterate people. This area split around 400 C. E. after the dissolution of the empire, so imagine that one language (Romanian~Slavic) gets attested 1600 years later, i. e. now, and two others some more centuries later, i. e. sometime in the 25th century. What you'll see is the approximate analogy to the Balto-Slavic situation.

    There was no separate Balto-Slavic people opposed to Balts or Slavs. There must have been a continuum, the rather independently evolving descendants of which, many centuries later, become known as Slavs and Balts. The Balto-Slavic hydronymy is the one shared by both branches after all those centuries of independent evolution (like the above Croatian and Russian Dobra(ja), Mirna(ja), -ica etc.), whereas the separate Baltic and Slavic hydronymies are the elements that became different after those centuries.
     
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    RajvoSa97

    New Member
    Bosnian/Serbian/Croatian
    By the way, I suspect we mean different things speaking of Balto-Slavic. Imagine the Romance language area, from Portugal to the Black sea, where once a single language (with local differences) was spoken. Now imagine only two–three cores remain alive, perhaps Spanish (~East Baltic), Catalan (~West Baltic) and Romanian (~Slavic), with no intermediate dialects between West and East and no Latin as a common written language, just naturally developing dialects of illiterate people. This area split around 400 C. E. after the dissolution of the empire, so imagine that one language (Romanian~Slavic) gets attested 1600 years later, i. e. now, and two others some more centuries later, i. e. sometime in the 25th century. What you'll see is the approximate analogy to the Balto-Slavic situation.

    There was no separate Balto-Slavic people opposed to Balts or Slavs. There must have been a continuum, the rather independently evolving descendants of which, many centuries later, become known as Slavs and Balts. The Balto-Slavic hydronymy is the one shared by both branches after all those centuries of independent evolution (like the above Croatian and Russian Dobra(ja), Mirna(ja), -ica etc.), whereas the separate Baltic and Slavic hydronymies are the elements that became different after those centuries.

    I understand, but this Balto-Slavic unity is very, very doubtful. If we take in mind archaeology, hydronymy, toponymy, even mythology, not just linguistical reconstructions. The areas preceding the future proto-Slavs are full of typical Baltic hydronymy according the linguistics. Those cultures are: Milograd, Yukhnovskaya, Strizhovskaya, Dnieper-Dvin and Upper Oka. All of them are full of this hydronyms, which can means, that Baltic-type of speaking is already formed in this time?!
    Well, i think that arguments for Balto-Slavic unity (in general) aren't very strong.
     
    I understand, but this Balto-Slavic unity is very, very doubtful. If we take in mind archaeology, hydronymy, toponymy, even mythology, not just linguistical reconstructions. The areas preceding the future proto-Slavs are full of typical Baltic hydronymy according the linguistics. Those cultures are: Milograd, Yukhnovskaya, Strizhovskaya, Dnieper-Dvin and Upper Oka. All of them are full of this hydronyms, which can means, that Baltic-type of speaking is already formed in this time?!
    Well, i think that arguments for Balto-Slavic unity (in general) aren't very strong.
    There are no doubts in the existence of shared linguistic innovations in Baltic and Slavic (partly inherited, partly induced by contact that lasts, with interruptions, until today: for example, the Baltic-Russian bilingualism is sometimes credited for the strengthening of the aspectual opposition in Lithuanian and Latvian over the last century: Lithuanian even sometimes borrows both verbal pairs, like in the recent fotkinti/sufotkinti from the colloquial Russian фоткать/сфоткать "to photograph"). I can't see how the former presence of Balts with their specific hydronymy in the areas you've mentioned should contradict the Balto-Slavic theory: we don't know the hydronymy from the time when the Milograd/Yukhnovo/other cultures existed, we only know the names that have been inherited by the new Slavic-speaking population of these areas in the second half of the 1st millennium CE or in the first half of the 2nd millennium.

    P. S. Actually, except the details of the Ruki sound law - Wikipedia there are no ancient discrepancies in the phonetic developments of Baltic and Slavic: all the modern differences either are demonstrably results of later changes or can be safely regarded as such until the opposite is proven.
     
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    RajvoSa97

    New Member
    Bosnian/Serbian/Croatian
    There are no doubts in the existence of shared linguistic innovations in Baltic and Slavic (partly inherited, partly induced by contact that lasts, with interruptions, until today: for example, the Baltic-Russian bilingualism is sometimes credited for the strengthening of the aspectual opposition in Lithuanian and Latvian over the last century: Lithuanian even sometimes borrows both verbal pairs, like in the recent fotkinti/sufotkinti from the colloquial Russian фоткать/сфоткать "to photograph"). I can't see how the former presence of Balts with their specific hydronymy in the areas you've mentioned should contradict the Balto-Slavic theory: we don't know the hydronymy from the time when the Milograd/Yukhnovo/other cultures existed, we only know the names that have been inherited by the new Slavic-speaking population of these areas in the second half of the 1st millennium CE or in the first half of the 2nd millennium.

    P. S. Actually, except the details of the Ruki sound law - Wikipedia there are no ancient discrepancies in the phonetic developments of Baltic and Slavic: all the modern differences either are demonstrably results of later changes or can be safely regarded as such until the opposite is proven.

    Yes, but there are doubts about existence of some Balto-Slavs and their specific hydronyms. I think that philologists never found even 1 hydronym which can be called "Balto-Slavic". so are those Balto-Slavs actually proto-Balts? For example, in 2000 BC, what type was spoken; Balto-Slavic type, or Baltic type?

    we don't know the hydronymy from the time when the Milograd/Yukhnovo/other cultures existed, we only know the names that have been inherited by the new Slavic-speaking population of these areas in the second half of the 1st millennium CE or in the first half of the 2nd millennium.

    But this hydronyms which are inherited by new Slavic-speaking population are actually classified as Baltic proper, or Baltic with Slavic suffixes, which means that Slavicization happened. If toponyms are classified as Baltic before Slavs came there, then who lived there before Slavs? I guess Balts.
     
    How do you imagine detecting the Common Balto-Slavic language in the hydronymy? This is only possible if such names got attested at the Balto-Slavic stage via loans into a language where they stopped changing the Baltic and Slavic way (as e. g. happened with ancient Germanic loans in Finnic that has retained their ancient look: modern Swedish kung - Wiktionary : Finnic kuningas - Wiktionary, modern Swedish ost - Wiktionary : Finnish juusto - Wiktionary, modern Swedish sår - Wiktionary : Finnish sairas - Wiktionary, modern Swedish skön - Wiktionary : Finnic kaunis - Wiktionary). Since we have neither such loans, nor attestations in the ancient Greek literature, we only possess toponyms in the forms they took while changing in the evolving living languages, namely which we know as Baltic and Slavic. During this evolution not only phonetic but vocabulary changes took place: for example, Polish and Ukrainian have replaced a few centuries ago the older word for "city" gród/horod with the newer miasto/mʲisto (earlier just "place"), the older Slavic word for "village" (Reconstruction:Proto-Slavic/vьsь - Wiktionary) is likewise replaced in many modern languages. Exact matches in river and lake names between separate modern Slavic languages aren't that frequent either. That's the natural evolution. Some words, in contrast, persist, e. g. the Balto-Slavic word for "lake" (Reconstruction:Proto-Balto-Slavic/éźera - Wiktionary) is retained in all modern languages.

    So, 3000 years ago it was Balto-Slavic, 2000 years ago these were Proto-Baltic and Proto-Slavic (still somewhat mutually understandable: "table" Lithuanian stalas : Proto-Slavic *stalan; "lake": Proto-Baltic *eźeran : Proto-Slavic *ezera; "head": *galwā in both; "hand/arm": *rankā in both; *nagā "hoof" in Baltic, "foot/leg" in Slavic; akī "eyes" in both etc.), 1000 years ago these were Baltic and Slavic proper.
     

    RajvoSa97

    New Member
    Bosnian/Serbian/Croatian
    Yes. This is the concept where, for example, term "monkey" means all primates which are not human and his immediate ancestors. In this concept, the intermediate ancestors of humans were not monkeys, but primates, which are also the ancestors of monkeys.

    Actually, this concept of paraphyly (paraphyletic groups) is the only argument which can be in favor to Balto-Slavic theory.
     
    A paraphyletic group is the one that includes the ancestor and some (not all) of its descendants. There is, by the way, nothing wrong in it other than that cladistic algorithms are based upon an (arbitrary) agreement that all taxa are sister ones, which greatly simplifies computation, but often causes nonsense (for example, in this paradigm Latin can't be regarded as the ancestor of Romance languages, only as a sister lineage). You apparently mean that the Balto-Slavic is actually Baltic, but that's not true: the attested Baltic languages have their own set of innovations, and for example the verbal system is considerably rebuilt. In reality, these taxa only exist when we have gaps: when you have the history of the languages at your disposal, or numerous intermediate dialects, it becomes quite difficult to draw boundaries (e. g. French and Sicilian are clearly two very distinct and mutually absolutely not understandable languages, yet they are united via an uninterrupted chain of dialects).

    Could you formulate the points you are defending and rejecting? Or the precise questions you're asking?
     

    RajvoSa97

    New Member
    Bosnian/Serbian/Croatian
    Paraphyletic concept is actually the concept which go in favor to Balto-Slavic theory, since it's based on grouping classification, which mean that the proto-language of Baltic languages is not the proto-language just of this group, but also of Slavic group. This concept doesn't contradict, by the way, fact that Latin is ancestor of Romance languages. Because Latin is not group of languages, but one unified written language.

    ahvalj said:
    You apparently mean that the Balto-Slavic is actually Baltic, but that's not true

    Hypotethical Balto-Slavic is surely not Baltic, but is it proto-Baltic? Those are questions that needs deeper researches.

    For example, whether mammals originating from reptiles, or reptiles and mammals have common ancestor which is not "reptile".

    Or, banal example, i already posted it in previous post, whether humans descend from monkeys or monkeys and humans have common ancestor which is not "monkey".

    Well, evolutions and linguistics aren't perhaps exact things to compare, but in my eyes of searching for this Balto-Slavic problem turns out very similar.
     
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    Paraphyletic concept is actually the concept which go in favor to Balto-Slavic theory, since it's based on grouping classification, which mean that the proto-language of Baltic languages is not the proto-language just of this group, but also of Slavic group. This concept doesn't contradict, by the way, fact that Latin is ancestor of Romance languages. Because Latin is not group of languages, but one unified written language.



    Hypotethical Balto-Slavic is surely not Baltic, but is it proto-Baltic? Those are questions that needs deeper researches.

    For example, whether mammals originating from reptiles, or reptiles and mammals have common ancestor which is not "reptile".

    Or, banal example, i already posted it in previous post, whether humans descend from monkeys or monkeys and humans have common ancestor which is not "monkey".

    Well, evolutions and linguistics aren't perhaps exact things to compare, but in my eyes of searching for this Balto-Slavic problem turns out very similar.
    The biological concept of paraphyly doesn't have anything to do with evolutionary interpretations, it only deals with boundaries of taxa and, hence, the names assigned to the resulting taxa: the organisms remain the same with the same estimated places on the phylogenetic tree. The biological algorithms for computing the evolution don't have a concept of ancestor: they only deal with branches, so that Latin would be a branch of its own, and Romance languages would be a single separate or several clustered sister branches of it — it's just a matter of convention to simplify the approach, since all that was originally developed for living organisms, which are indeed mostly sister branches.

    I still don't understand what your views or questions about the Balto-Slavic issue are. Perhaps, as I suggested, it's time to turn to specific examples.
     

    RajvoSa97

    New Member
    Bosnian/Serbian/Croatian
    The biological concept of paraphyly doesn't have anything to do with evolutionary interpretations, it only deals with boundaries of taxa and, hence, the names assigned to the resulting taxa: the organisms remain the same with the same estimated places on the phylogenetic tree. The biological algorithms for computing the evolution don't have a concept of ancestor: they only deal with branches, so that Latin would be a branch of its own, and Romance languages would be a single separate or several clustered sister branches of it — it's just a matter of convention to simplify the approach, since all that was originally developed for living organisms, which are indeed mostly sister branches.

    I still don't understand what your views or questions about the Balto-Slavic issue are. Perhaps, as I suggested, it's time to turn to specific examples.

    The main problem of this issue is:

    How can be proto-Slavic, very young proto language (even spoken in 8th century) and also Proto-Balto-Slavic, and on the other side there was no Proto-Baltic? :)

    That's why Toporov and Ivanov calls it proto language "Central Baltic" (because it was not one unified monolithic language), and not "Balto-Slavic", which is, in my opinion an umbrella term.
     
    Let me torment you a little. As far as I know, Ivanov and Toporov never cared to list the features that allowed them to nest Slavic within the Baltic evolutionary tree. Could you please do this? I mean which are the shared innovations, other than a number of lexemes, that oppose Slavic and Prussian to Lithuanian and Latvian?
     

    RajvoSa97

    New Member
    Bosnian/Serbian/Croatian
    That's because the common latest ancestors of East Baltic, West Baltic and proto-Slavic was not one monolitic language, but the one branch of Satem Indo-European that was immediately splitted into many branches.

    Quote: "The Balto-Slavic languages are most often divided into Baltic and Slavic groups. However, in the 1960s Vladimir Toporov and Vyacheslav Ivanov made the following conclusions about the relationship between the Baltic and Slavic languages: a) Proto-Slavic language formed from the peripheral-type Baltic dialects; b) Slavic linguistic type formed later from the Baltic languages structural model; c) the Slavic structural model is a result of the Baltic languages structural model transformation. This model is supported by glottochronologic studies by V. V. Kromer, although both of the most recent computer-generated family trees have a Baltic node parallel to the Slavic node. The term proto-Baltic is doubtful for every model and trying for the correct reconstruction, but the term Balto-Slavic is even more doubtful."

    The main thing about issue is that most of the modern linguists are actually agreeing with Toporov and Ivanov researches, just they don't want to use their terminology, which can be see in a), b) and c) examples above. They're replacing Toporov and Ivanovs linguistical source called "Central Baltic" with "Balto-Slavic".
     
    Yes. This is the concept where, for example, term "monkey" means all primates which are not human and his immediate ancestors. In this concept, the intermediate ancestors of humans were not monkeys, but primates, which are also the ancestors of monkeys.

    Actually, this concept of paraphyly (paraphyletic groups) is the only argument which can be in favor to Balto-Slavic theory.
    One more example of invalidity of biological evolutionary concepts in linguistics is polyphyly. A biological taxon is not allowed to be polyphyletic, since the convergent similarities its members exhibit are considered to be (almost always) less important than the inherent differences caused by independent origin. In contrast, Romance languages as a group, for example, are polyphyletic as they evolved independently from Latin, but at the same time they obviously share a huge amount of similarities, including very many of those not present in their ancestor — that is possible because laws of language evolution are different: unlike organisms, languages influence each other after separation and, besides this, their development is very much canalized by a shared heritage in the minds of their speakers.
     
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