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The Substratum Phenomena in Ethnogenetic Processes

The Substratum Phenomena in Ethnogenetic Processes


First review of substrate phenomena in histories of languages has been made in a paper published 15 years ago (STETSYUK VALENBTYN, 2000: 55-60). A little later, proper texts in the English, Ukrainian, and Russian languages have been successively published on several of my websites with my subsequent updates and additions. Judging by counters, these texts have been read by thousands of readers. But in all that time I have not received any comment about my work. You might think that the unusual nature of the results makes people doubt their authenticity. However, in different languages thousands of popular books are being published, which proved an exceptional antiquity of a some language and its speakers and their great achievements in the past. Èăå people believe in such unscientific nonsense. When I try to convince of the correctness of their my friends, they tend to seek out the objection and no one is trying to find its own confirmation of my conclusions. Although sometimes it is very simple, we need only look in the dictionary.

Map of Ethno-producing areas in Eastern Europe illustrating alternation of substratum influences.
At different time parent languages were separated in dialects which later developed in individual languages on the same areas. Prent-day names of people were given their ancestors. Number on areals corresponds such periods: 1. Uprising Indo-European languages 2. Uprising of Germanic and Iranian languages. 3. Formation of Slavic languages. 4. East Slavic tribes durind Kiev Rus'.

While researching ethnogenetic processes in Eastern Europe, it was observed that certain areas are characterized by their special, though not numerous linguistic and cultural features that continue existing after superposition, ie at layering of aliens speaking other language on remains of the local population, or at conquest of its territory by people standing on a higher cultural level, but not necessarily more numerous. In any case, the aliens fell under spiritual influence of the local community. They perceived existing place names, the necessary vocabulary for new conditions and often also liked customs and rituals. Thus, the culture and language of the native population is the substrate, which affects the further development of the culture and language of the new population of the territory.

Superposition principle is clearly seen in the case of Ukraine. A large number of Ukrainian place names can be explained by means of the German, Iranian, Slavic, Turkic languages. Information on this topic is covered in the section Prehistoric Place Names of the Eastern Europe. Especially great cultural influence on the Ukrainians was made by ancient Bulgars, they also Scythians, which are the ancestors of modern Chuvashóû. Ukrainian surnames of hypothetical Bulgarian origin give reason to assume that the Bulgars were living in close proximity with the Ukrainians for a long time, until the historical time. Other we were to think that some names appeared more than two thousand years ago. Obviously Bulgars were of part of "black hoods," among which were Turkic tribes of Torqs, Berendeys, Pechenegs, Kovuys. Chronicles evidences of them extend to the 13th century, then their remains, obviously, scattered among the Ukrainian population. Therefore Bulgar origin of some Ukrainian surnames has nothing surprising.

Exactly knowing what Ukrainian territory was inhabited by Bulgars in prehistoric times, you can carry targeted searches for cultural and social relations between Ukrainians and Chuvashes. Such connections can be found in the folk song, dance, embroidery, handicrafts. Discovered analogies can characterize not only the continuity and interaction of cultures but also to estimate the time of occurrence and source of borrowing new beliefs, customs, and the timeframe for their existence.

The importence of linguistic substratum was well understood by A. Meillet. He explained the reasons for its influenceon ụ̀ the language of aliens. One of the reasons he had seen in using inherited speeking manner by native population, which is not lost when learning a new language, and emphasized that the influence of the substrate affects primarily in the pronunciation of "new sounds, as a rule, are not reproduced with absolute precision". In addition, the language of newcomers accepted names of plants, animals, customs, which do not have exact equivalents in their language (MEILLET A. 1954^: 63-54).

However, the importance of linguage substratum was long contested by other linguists, including Julius Pokorny, since the influence of the language of the previous population on the language of aliens affected often only in few generations after the invasion and conquest that was seemed impossible. Later, agreeing with the phenomenon of the influence of the substrate, Pokorny explained this delay by the fact that the conquered people stayed on lower social levels until some time and their language was neglected by the higher strata of society, most of whom were strangers. However, after the infiltration of the local population to invaders, relation to their language was changing and began its influence despite it may could lost some its features. This, in particular, could explain the dismemberment of the Latin language under the influence of different substrate in Spain, France, the Balkans (POKORNY JULIUS, 1968, 178-180).

Despite the movement of large masses of people in Eastern Europe during several thousand years, there are places where the population has long been ethnically homogenous. Genetic research in this area may assess the impact of substrate on ethnogenetic processes.


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