IE, Genetic Data, Languages of Anatolia

Wolfgang Schulze W.Schulze at
Mon Feb 8 11:30:18 UTC 1999

Miguel Carrasquer Vidal schrieb:

> I tend think of North Caucasian (NEC/NWC) as the
> primary candidate for the original language of the steppe lands.
> The Northern Caucasus is a "residual zone", in Johanna Nichols'
> terminology.  It contains the linguistic residue of the peoples
> that were once dominant in the neighbouring "spread zone" (the
> steppe).

Do you have any LINGUISTIC proof or at least some indications that would
justify such an assumption? According to my knowledge neither West nor East
Caucasian languages had ever been spoken in "the steppe". I would be eager to
learn about your findings such as place names and other toponyms (I do not
refer to so-called "North Caucaisan" loans into PIE because non of them has
ever been substantiated). By the way: Wouldn't you assume that
"Proto-North(!)-Cauacsian" speakers living in the steppe had developed an
autochthonous term for the "horse" (which is not the case! The horse-word is
a loan word in all EC (though, sometimes the source language remains opaque)?

> At the outer layer we have Russian, then Mongol
> (Kalmyk) and Turkic (Nogai, Karachai, Balkar etc.), then Iranian
> (Ossetian), and the inner layer is formed by NWC and NEC.  This
> suggests that before IE, the steppe was peopled by North
> Caucasians.  And if there's indeed a genetic link between North
> Caucasian, Yeniseian and Sino-Tibetan (the Sino-Caucasian
> hypothesis), that's indeed what we would expect.

IF (I say IF) the Caucasus once reprensetd something like a residual zone:
Why do you propose a scenario of immigration from the North? Couldn't it as
well be that Proto East Caucasian speakers (I don't talk about "North
Caucasian", see my last email) have penetrated the region from the South (via
what now is Derbent and Eastern Georgia)? Is it just to support (horribile
dictu) Sino-Caucasian? No serious specialist of either Sino-Tibetian or
East/West Caucasian would ever defend such a hypothesis.... Quoting L.
Bloomfield we may say: Sino-Caucasian belongs into the museum of superstition
(and not onyl Sino-Tibetian)...
| Prof. Dr. Wolfgang Schulze
| Institut fuer Allgemeine und Indogermanische Sprachwissenschaft
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