Edited by Vira Konchak
A great variety of languages on earth is fraught with mysterious riddle – why so many languages, and not a single language for all Mankind? This question has long been interested people and they found him an answer, calling in the help their own fantasies. Thus was born the legend of the Babylonian confusion of tongues, when God, angered by the audacity of people intenting to build a tower up to the sky, mixed languages of builders, thus they did not understand each other and were no longer able to continue their plan. What a convincing answer to this question is absent, as before and people are looking for it, calling for help own imagination, says the recently published book of the Dutch scientist Salomon Kroonenberg (KROONENBERG SALOMON. 2014). Meanwhile, this question is important for the reconstruction of prehistoric ethnogenetic processes, so they have to be analyzed by a more reliable tool as human imagination.
A graphic-analytical method allows research the origin and development of languages in prehistoric times by means of available lexical material collected from dictionaries of various types. The idea of the method consists in geometrical interpretation of interrelations between cognate languages on the basis of quantitative estimation of mutual linguistic units in pairs of languages within one language family or group. The greater cognation of languages is usually connected with the greater amount of mutual linguistic units and these are exactly mutual words that are most suitable for statistical processing. This method is based on a supposition that the inverse proportionality exists between the amount of mutual words in a pair of languages and the distance between natural habitats where these languages were formed. To put it simply, the closer to each other the carriers of two cognate languages lived, the greater amount of mutual words they had in their languages. It is clear that only old words are to be regarded which a person could use in prehistoric times, but not those which arose up later at higher levels of civilization development. It is not easy to determine the old words, possible though. There are various methods for this purpose.
Hence, having chosen the needed words from all the languages of the family under research we proceed to estimate. At first, a common lexical stock should be defined, which is one of the characteristics of the linguistic community, but does not reveal any information about the level of cognation between different languages, therefore should be excluded from the calculation. The rest of the words can be common to two or more languages, but we count the amount of the mutual words in pairs regardless whether they exist in other languages or not. After such a calculation in all possible pairs of languages the graphic model of cognation is constructed. The graph reflects the location of areas where each of the languages was spread on the common territory of the whole language family. Each area corresponds to a tight accumulation of knots of the got graph. This accumulation is formed by the ends of ribs (segments) with length inversely proportional to the amount of mutual words in the pair of languages. The amount of ribs is equal to the amount of pairs of languages, and the amount of knots is one unit less than the amount of languages. The process of the graph construction is simple and only needs some elementary knowledge in geometry.
As a next step, we have to find a suitable place for the received graph. The suitable territory should consist of areas with more or less distinct natural boundary-lines such as rivers or mountain ranges. Natural barriers complicate contacts between the people in the areas and, accordingly, prevents from exchanging with new arisen words that results in the split of a primary language. The more distant one from another the situated areas are, the larger amount of differences arise in the languages of their inhabitants. There are very few places on the earth’s surface with accumulation of natural areas, which we will name ethno-forming areas therefore search for them is not complicated. A lot of people think that any kind of graphical model can be placed in any kind of place, but this is a fallacy. The same as the two nets, formed of triangles and squares, cannot be superposed, it is similarly impossible to superpose a graphic model upon an incongruous place in a map. Thus, the fact of correct placing the graph in a map is meaningful in itself.
As the result of the conducted studies, such a general picture of the forming and development of languages follows farther: few separate primitive ancestral languages appeared in some human civilization seats; then they were subjected to complex processes of splitting; at first, some cognate languages of lower level arose from one ancestral language. The same process of forming new languages of higher level began, when the speakers of these new languages occupied new large territory, separated by geographical borders to natural areas. Such processes could be repeated one or more times, even within the same natural areas, if the former population went away. Otherwise, some languages which speakers remained constantly in a small territory could not be split anymore. Thus, the longer certain community of people lived within a certain territory, the more original features their language obtained. Hereupon, the genetically related languages could have greater or lesser amount of mutual features.
It is assumed that one of the original ancestral languages was so called Proto-Nostratic language that split to six (or more?) separate languages which later on evolved to the Proto-Indo-European, Proto-Uralic, Proto-Semitic-Hamitic (Afrasian), Proto-Dravidian, Proto-Kartvelian, and Proto-Turkic languages. The constructed graphic model of the six languages of the Nostratic macro-family allowed to determinate the natural areas of their arising. They located in East Anatolia and Transcaucasia near and around three lakes – Van, Sevan and Urmiya (Rezaye). The Biblical mountain Ararat lies in the center of this territory. Somewhat north in the valleys of the Caucasian mountains the Caucasian languages were formed (the Abhazo-Adyghe, the Nakh, the Dagestani and so on). Possibly, the migration of some North-Caucasian language speakers to Central Asia led to the fact that the China-Tibetan languages have similar features to the Caucasian ones.
Obviously, toward the end of the 6th mill B.C. the most part of the Nostratic languages speakers started to settle apart to new territories. The Kartvelies, the ancestors of the modern Georgians and, possibly, some other peoples stayed in the old Urheimat. The Proto-Semitic-Hamitics and Proto-Dravidians moved southward and the Proto-Indo-European, Proto-Uralic and Proto-Turkic languages speakers moved by turns through the Derbent passage-way to the North Caucasus and gradually settled further in the East-European plain north of the Black Sea. They did not stay in the North Causasus like some unknown people, who spoke some North-Caucasian language, that already occupied this territory. In due course, the Indo-European, Uralic and Turkic people got assimilated to the autochthons but engrafted their more developed languages to them. The constructed graphic models of languages for each of these three families allowed locate the territories, where their speakers settled, and the natural areas, where the languages of higher level developed. The whole territory of Eastern Europe from the Vistula to the Ural is quite distinctly separated into scores of ethno-forming natural areas by a river net.
Hence, the Indo-Europeans settled in the basin of the Middle and Upper Dnepr in areas bounded by its tributaries and the tributaries of the Prip'yat and Desna. This is the territory where the Indo-European dialects were formed which, in the course of time, developed to the following languages: Greek, Italic, Germanic, Slavonic, Baltic, Tocharian, Celtic, Illirian, Thracian, Phrygian, Armenian, Iranian and Indian. The greater part of the Uralic language speakers did not reach the Ural and settled in the basin of the Volga. In the natural areas of its right-bank part the following primary Finno-Ugric languages formed: Finnish, Estonian, Veps, Lappish (Saami), Mordvin, Mari (Cheremis), Hungarian, Udmurt, Komi, Hanty (Ostiak), Mansi (Vogul) and also some two or three languages that disappeared later on. The part of the Uralians that crossed the Volga and moved northward had already no close contacts with the rest of their relatives, therefore their languages developed independently and gave start to languages that nowadays are known as the Samoyed languages. The Turkic people populated the territory between the Low Dnepr and the Don and the common Turkic language also underwent the process of splitting. The territories of the Indo-Europeans, Finno-Ugers and Turks are correlated with certain archaeological cultures. For example, Turkic territory may be connected with the Culture of Corded Ware. It should be pointed out that at that time the Turks were at higher cultural level than the Indo-Europeans and Finno-Ugers, as they ran the productive economy more actively in breeding cattle and farming. Accordingly, the Indo-Europeans and Finno-Ugers borrowed a lot of words of cultural and social meaning from the Turks.
At the beginning of the 2nd mill B.C. the Turkic peoples left their Urheimat in their majority gradually settling apart in the territory from the Carpathians to the Altai. Those Turkic tribes which reached the Altai came into contact with the Mongolian and Tungus-Manchurian languages local speakers. The rifer and more developed Turkic languages influenced considerably the languages of the aboriginals who were mainly occupied with hunting and fishing that is they were at quite lower level of cultural advance. Hereupon, the Mongolian, Tungus-Manchurian languages and also genetically related to them Japanese and Korean have the certain amount of mutual features with the Turkic languages. This is the ground for uniting them all to one so called the Altai language family, although the Turkic languages, as we have seen it, do not belong to it genetically. Besides, the family name "Altai" is groundless because the Mongolian and Tungus-Manchurian languages formed in the basin of the river Amur, the Korean language in the Korean peninsula and the Japanese arose in the Primorje (the area between the rivers Amur and Ussuri, and the Sea of Japan) where another cradle of human civilization was. By the way, the Chinese did not belong to this civilization because the seat of their culture was somewhere in Central China. Maybe, the Chinese language was influenced by the languages of other migrants from East Europe, possibly, the creators of Maycop culture in the North Caucasus.
When the most part of the Turkic people already left the territory between the Dnepr and the Don, the Indo-European tribes came in motion too. The Hettites, Illirians and Greeks moved to the Balkans, the Italics (ancestors of the Romans, Oscans, and Umbrians) finally settled in the Apennin-peninsula. As the second wave, the Phrygians, Ancient Armenians and Thracians (ancestors of the modern-day Albanians) moved to the Balkans, and the Ancient Indians together with the Tocharians reached the Middle Asia and then moved further to the Hindustan. The Slavs having their Urheimat in the very north of the Indo-European territory, moved westwards but stopped in the eastern banks of the Vistula, just as soon as their southern neighbours Celts went further to Central Europe. As a rule, any population does not leave its native places entirely and the people who stay were often assimilated by more numerous newcomers, although the language of the autochthons could have some influence on their languages. Such language influences of different substrata in the ethno-forming areas accelerate substantially the splitting of the common parent language of the newcomers. Thus, when the Germanic, Baltic, and Iranian tribes occupied areas left by other Indo-Europeans, they interfused with the previous population there. The Germanic people occupied the natural areas of the Celts, Illirians, Greeks, Italics and their parent Germanic language quite quickly split into five dialects, which later developed to the Gothic, present-day English, German, Dutch, Frisian, and North Germanic (Swedish, Norwegian, Danish) languages. At the same time the split of the Iranian and Baltic languages proceeded.
Those Turkic peoples which crossed to the right bank of the Dnepr (they were the Ancient Bulgars, ancestors of the Hazarians and the modern-day Chuvashians) slowly moved up north-westwards and, in the course of time, came into contact with the Germanic peoples which populated the basin of the Prip'yat’. The Bulgars lived in closer neighborhood with the ancestors of the present-day Germans what is definitely proven by numerous lexical correspondences between the Chuvash and German languages. This fact is quite a good proof of the results of our research moreover here is an additional argument in favour of them: the numerous place names that the Bulgars and the Old Germans left in the territory of the West Ukraine and which are kept to our times.
At that time, by the beginning of the 1st mill. B.C., all Iranian tribes remained in East Europe in the territory between the Dnepr and the Don. Some time later a great part of them moved along the eastern coast of the Caspian Sea in the direction of Middle Asia. Those Iranians who remained in the Pontic steppes became known in history as the Cimmerians. They made predatory raids to Asia Minor through the Caucasus until the Scythians forced them out there for good having populated the whole territory from the Dnestr to the Don. The Scythians came here not from the east, as it is generally accepted, but from the west. They were the same Bulgars who began a reverse movement eastwards from the west of Ukraine and crossed the Dnepr to its left bank. The movement of the Scythians eastwards seems more logical since they forced the Cimmerians out to the Caucasus. Besides, it can be proven by archaeology and linguistics. The majority of the Scythian names, which remained in historical sources in number of more than 200 units, were well decrypted by means of the Chuvashian language, however, a few of these names were quite difficult to find equivalents to in the Chuvashian. It appeared that these proper people’s names had the Iranian origin, Kurdish in particular. Moreover, a few tens of place names of the right-bank Ukraine, which could not be decrypted by Slavonic or Chuvashian, could be decrypted by Kurdish. Possibly, the ancestors of the present-day Kurds, whose Urheimat was in the former area of the Thracians, in the course of time, as well as the Thracians had done that before, got down along the Desna to the Dnepr and crossed it to its right bank. Here they had lived for some time in neighborhood with the Bulgars which can be confirmed by the Chuvashian-Kurdish lexical correspondences. Thus, some amount of the Scythians must also have been of Iranian origin but not all of them as it had been considered before.
The Finno-Ugric tribes remained aside from the great migration routes. Instead they moved gradually northwards in such a succession which was determined by the location of natural areas in their Urheimat. For example, Saami (Laps, Laplands), who occupied the extreme north of total Finno-Ugric territory, were the first in their movement northwards and at present they are the furthest northern Finno-Ugric people. Similarly, the ancestors of Mansi had their Urheimat in the extreme northeast, now the present-day Mansi occupy the same position in total Finno-Ugric territory as well. The same can be stated about the other Finno-Ugers, except for the Magyars. Their Urheimat, which was between the rivers Khoper and Medveditsa, lay alongside the great migration routes, therefore the destiny of history brought them to Central Europe. Since the most part of the Finno-Ugers did not tend to set out on far wandering, any of the Finno-Ugric people did not come into opportunity to populate wide abandoned territories therefore the Finno-Ugric languages did not split so numerously as the Indo-European ones. Some of them kept their wholeness, others only divided into few dialects or coherent languages.
Finally, concerning the Slavs; they had settled very tightly in the territory for a long time and kept the wholeness of their language for longer than other Indo-European peoples. Even after the Proto-Slavic languages had split, the new Slavic languages appeared to be more similar to each other than, for example, Germanic languages which had arisen considerably earlier. The splitting of the Slavic languages occurred at the beginning of the 1st mill AD, when the Slavs occupied the whole former Indo-European territory. They formed stratum upon the Baltic autochthons which replaced the Germanic and Iranian tribes and had already developed their separate languages. The diverse substrata speeded up the splitting of the Slavic languages, therefore the age of each of them counts about eighteen centuries.
1. Stetsiuk V.M. Opredielenie mest poselenij drevnich slavian grafoanaliticheskim metodom. – Izvestia AN SSSR. Serija literatury i jazyka. 1987. Nr 1. Moscow. (In Russian). The determination of settling places of Old Slavs by graphic-analytical method.
2. Stetsiuk Valentyn. Doslidzhennia peredistorychnykh etnogenetychnykh protsesiv u Skhidnij Evropi. U dvokh knyhakh. Kyjiv-Lviv. 1998 -2000. (In Ukrainian) The Research in Prehistoric Ethnogenetic Processes in Eastern Europa. In two books.
3. Stetsyuk Valentyn. Slidy pradavnioho naselennia Ukrajiny v toponimakh> Lviv 2002. (In Ukrainian). The traces of ancient population of the Ukraine in place names.
About the method
The applied method consists in the representation of the related languages by a graphic model that is a special graph. The special feature of this graph is that all its knots, with no exception, are connected between each other with ribs and these ribs have a fixed certain length. This graph can be applied to the description of the spatial associations of objects with common features the number of which depends on the distance between these objects. Especially, it can be used in linguistics, archaeology, biology, etc. and everywhere where objects have enough features in common.
The table-dictionaries have the following structure: the words of the same languages are placed in vertical columns, the words belonging to the same phono-semantic set can be found in horizontal lines. It is important to take into consideration that not all phono-semantic sets have corresponding matches in all languages. Many sets have the appropriate words in some languages only. If all the languages have the appropriate words for the same set, this set belongs to the common lexical stock of a language family. The common lexical stock has not been taken into the calculation, because it concerns mainly the time of the existence of the common parent language to be split in these languages.