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EUSKARA - The Language of the Basque People

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Author Topic: EUSKARA - The Language of the Basque People  (Read 2514 times)
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« on: November 28, 2008, 09:06:16 am »

Hypotheses on connections with other languages

The impossibility of linking Basque with its Indo-European neighbours in Europe has inspired many scholars to search for its possible relatives elsewhere. Besides many pseudoscientific comparisons,
the appearance of long-range linguistics gave rise to several attempts at connecting Basque with geographically very distant language families.

Many hypotheses on the origin of Basque are controversial, and the suggested evidence is not generally accepted by most linguists. Some of these hypothetical connections are as follows:

Iberian: another ancient language once spoken in the peninsula, shows several similarities with Aquitanian and Basque. However, there is not enough evidence to distinguish areal contacts from genetic relationship. Iberian itself is considered an isolate.

Georgian: The Georgian hypothesis, linking Basque to South Caucasian or Kartvelian languages, seems now widely discredited. The hypothesis was inspired in part by the ancient Georgian kingdom of Kartli, which the Greeks and Romans referred to as Iberia.[citation needed] According to J.P. Mallory, in his 1989 book "In Search of the Indo-Europeans," the hypothesis was also inspired by a Basque place-name ending in -adze.

Northeast Caucasian languages, such as Chechen, are seen by some linguists, like Michel Morvan, as more likely candidates for a very distant connection.

Dene-Caucasian superfamily: Based on the possible Caucasian link, some linguists, for example John Bengtson and Merritt Ruhlen, have proposed including Basque in the Dene-Caucasian superfamily of languages, but this proposed superfamily includes languages from North America and Eurasia, and its existence is highly controversial.

Vasconic languages: This theory, proposed by the German linguist Theo Vennemann, claims that there
is enough toponymical evidence to conclude that Basque is the only survivor of a larger family that once extended throughout most of Europe, and has also left its mark in modern Indo-European languages spoken in Europe.
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