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Thread: The Language of Southern Scandinavia in the Bronze Age

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    Post The Language of Southern Scandinavia in the Bronze Age

    The Language of southern Scandinavia in the Bronze Age:
    Fenno-Ugric, Baltic, Germanic, or ...?

    Claes-Christian Elert

    Abstract of a paper published in Studier i svensk språkhistoria 4 (utg. Patrik Åström), 1997, Institutionen för nordiska språk, Stockholms universitet, 106 91 Stockholm..

    Back to Claes-Christian Elert's Homepage in English

    The absence of any great dialect split in the Germanic language spoken in Scandinavia and northern Germany at the time of the earliest written sources (ca. 200-500 A.D.) indicates strongly that a Germanic language has been spoken over such a large area for only a short time. The late Bronze Age (ca. 700 B.C.) was a time of cultural change when the language(s) spoken earlier may have been replaced by the Germanic language.

    The paper reports recent work which has relevance, directly and indirectly, on the early spread of the Germanic languages: (1) on the history of the Indo-European languages (by Renfrew, Mallory and others), (2) on the prehistory of the Finno-Ugric languages by Finnish and Russian scholars (see Sammallahti 1995), and (3) on the genetic history and geography of European population (Cavalli-Sforza et al. 1994).

    According to models proposed by M. Nuñez and P. Dolukhanov speakers of a Proto-Uralic language populated the land that was laid bare along the periglacial line after the Ice Age, from the Rhine and eastward (eventually also Scandinavia),. See Figure 1


    ...


    Bild 1. Befolkningscentra under senpaleolitikum enligt P. Dolukhanov. 1 mediterrana centra (bl. a. Baskien och Georgien). 2 periglaciala centra.) (Efter Sammallahti 1995.) Fig. 1. Population centra in Late Palaeolithicum according to P. Dolukhanov. 1 Mediterranean centra (e. g. Basque Provinces and Georgia. 2 periglacial centra. (After Sammalahti 1995.). As a result of conquest or demographic efficiency the Proto-Uralic language and possibly population were replaced by speakers of a (Proto-) Germanic language. See Figure 2.

    Bild 2. Den successiva spridningen av indoeuropeiskt språk över tidigare (proto-) uraliskspråkiga områden från 6000 f. Kr. och framåt. (Efter Wiik 1995.) Fig. 2. The spread of IE languages over earlier (proto-Uralic) regions from 6000 BC and on. (After Wiik 1995.)

    Common features in the word prosody of the languages in the Baltic area have been explained as substrate or contact phenomena (Wiik 1995). As for the Saamis, recent DNA research confirms that genetically they differ sharply from the other population in Scandinavia and Finland (Cavalli-Sforza et al. 1994; Sajantila et al. 1995). The coincidence of genetic distance between the Saami and Finnish populations and a comparatively close relationship between their languages leads up to the traditional thought of a language replacement. This does not contradict (nor support) a later rise of Saami ethnicity among hunters/gatherers.

    On archeological, genetic and linguistic grounds the late Bronze Age language in Scandinavia could have been a Finnic or Baltic language (or both). However, from what can be inferred from parallels in history or ethnolinguistics a more complicated and varied language situation is the most likely one in subglacial Europe at the end of the Ice Age. This could be expected after human settlement during tens of thousands of years in southern Europe and, later, after 7-8 millennia, in Bronze Age Scandinavia. The better-known linguistic situation in early cultures, such as in southern Europe and Anatolia in the first two millennia B.C., shows a complicated pattern of IE languages together with various non-IE languages, most of them spoken over restricted areas. This is true also about cultures on a similar level in many parts of the world. There is archeological evidence in Bronze Age Sweden of a tribal community that could be compatible with a language pattern similar to that in the Mediterranean region (Larsson 1986; Nordström 1992; Wigren 1987).

    http://www.algonet.se/~elert/claeshome0628.html

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    Stukaraider
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    Post Re: The Language of southern Scandinavia in the Bronze Age

    The language was Venetian (Slavic). The name a lot of language simility is betwen slavic and Sweden language. But dont understand me wrong. Nowadays Sweden has mayotity of germanic blood. A small group of venets lived in the southern sweden in bronze age.

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    Post AW: Re: The Language of southern Scandinavia in the Bronze Age

    Quote Originally Posted by Stukaraider
    The language was Venetian (Slavic). The name a lot of language simility is betwen slavic and Sweden language. But dont understand me wrong. Nowadays Sweden has mayotity of germanic blood. A small group of venets lived in the southern sweden in bronze age.
    Been reading up on Savli's theories again, huh?
    "slavic" languages are absolutely arteficial (Read "slawenlegende"). The "glagolica", invented by a bunch of monks, is nothing but an ancient esperanto, creating new words, definitions and alphabet out of regional slangs.

    The craddle of European Civilization comes from the North. All blond people originate from the north. So if you see a blond-blue eyed Slovene, Russian, Czech, Polak ect., you can be 100% sure that his ancient ancestors originated from "Germanics" (Germanic = Nordic).
    "slovenja" was the settelment of the Langobards = Germanics/Teutons. "Poland" of the Goths and East-Vandals ect. ect. What do "slavs" tell us about their origin?
    Some silly story that they originate from some swamps in the east and popped out of no where into history.

    So you see my dear "Gorostan" [=Triglav], you are in reality a "Germanic" indoctrinated with panslav propaganda and historic fantasy stories. ~Dr. Brandt, former TNP and Skadi member

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    Post Re: The Language of southern Scandinavia in the Bronze Age

    From the toponymical point of view it is most likely that northern Germany
    was the Urheimat of the Teutons. Place names in Scandinavia can´t be
    traced back further than 1st millenium BC. So it´s justified to doubt the
    Germanic character of south Scandinavia before the Iron Age.

    For certain the language was not Uralic which is related to comb
    ceramics and TatC, both uncommon south of Svealand.
    Concerning Baltic and Slavic, both languages show some similarities, Baltic
    more than Slavic, with the Germanic language family (e.g. weak adjective
    declination, the construction eleven="one remaining", the meaning of "sour")
    but the contact must have been interrupted prior to the Bronze Age
    (no common word for "bronze".). A Balto-Slavic presence in Scandinavia
    would presuppose i) a Baltic/Slavic substratum in Scandinavia and
    ii) Baltic/Slavic loan words in all Germanic languages. Further,
    y-chromosome hg I1a in Scandinavia can´t be explained through
    mixing between north German Jastorf people and an original Balto-Slavic
    Bronze Age population. Apart from that, there is no cultural connection
    between the proto-Baltic "forest zone " and "lagoon coast culture"
    (Haffküstenkultur) and Scandinavia.

    The assumption of a closely related and now extinct IE dialect in
    Scandinavia is in line with the genetic and archaeological situation and
    must be considered seriously.

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