Author Topic: Croatian toponyms  (Read 1614 times)

Offline Daniel

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Re: Croatian toponyms
« Reply #30 on: September 16, 2017, 02:53:01 PM »
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Someone who claims to be able to systematically "explain" all the Croatian toponyms (and there are such people, most of them knowing almost nothing about linguistics) is more than likely a pseudoscientist.
There's no direct relationship between those two positions. Someone might have the right answer, and they might claim they do. Many others do not. Just like many other domains.

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I think that valid explanations include demonstrating that the same or similar element reappears in some (descriptive) meaning or tracing the elements back to a proto-language, ideally both.
Sure. But those are hypotheses rather than "evidence" per se. It's very hard to prove etymologies, as I've said a lot here. (In general, like most of science, all you can really do is falsify the wrong etymologies.)

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But the problem is that "experts" on Illyrian languages agree on almost nothing about the Illyrian grammar or phonology. They don't agree even on whether it was a centum or a satem language. And the things they agree on appear completely baseless to me. For instance, most of the "experts" agree that PIE *bh turned to *b in Illyrian. And, if so, how exactly would you explain away the element *puk in the Croatian hydronyms (if not from *bhogj)?
Sounds like a hard problem (for empirical reasons) to me, not like the wrong methodology. There are some things we will never know. That doesn't mean alternative methods are better.
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Offline FlatAssembler

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Re: Croatian toponyms
« Reply #31 on: September 17, 2017, 06:43:20 AM »
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There's no direct relationship between those two positions. Someone might have the right answer, and they might claim they do. Many others do not. Just like many other domains.
I think you didn't understand what I was trying to say. Once you appear to be able to assign etymologies to randomly generated nonsense words, that means your methodology is wrong. And I think that's exactly what's going on in the minds of those who claim to be able to explain all of the Croatian toponyms.
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In general, like most of science, all you can really do is falsify the wrong etymologies.
How exactly? Does the fact that the element *puk reappears in many Croatian hydronyms prove that the hydronym Bosut doesn't actually come from *bhogj (which is the mainstream etymology)? I think that Bosut might have actually meant "strong waterer" (PIE *bel-sewh1-nt), and that it's in fact related to hydronyms such as Sava, Sutla and Sunja. Mainstream etymology connects it to the hydronym Bosna.
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That doesn't mean alternative methods are better.
And do you think that I am doing pseudoscience instead of the actual science?
« Last Edit: September 17, 2017, 07:05:24 AM by FlatAssembler »

Offline Daniel

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Re: Croatian toponyms
« Reply #32 on: September 17, 2017, 08:54:21 AM »
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I think you didn't understand what I was trying to say. Once you appear to be able to assign etymologies to randomly generated nonsense words, that means your methodology is wrong. And I think that's exactly what's going on in the minds of those who claim to be able to explain all of the Croatian toponyms.
That's different from what you said. But, sure, fair enough, if someone thinks they can identify the meaning of any random word...

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How exactly? Does the fact that the element *puk reappears in many Croatian hydronyms prove that the hydronym Bosut doesn't actually come from *bhogj (which is the mainstream etymology)? I think that Bosut might have actually meant "strong waterer" (PIE *bel-sewh1-nt), and that it's in fact related to hydronyms such as Sava, Sutla and Sunja. Mainstream etymology connects it to the hydronym Bosna.
Theories must be falsifiable. That is, there should be some imaginable evidence that could show it to be false. Otherwise they aren't predicting anything. And often we do falsify theories but finding such evidence. However, there are cases where we cannot easily find that evidence (say, by sending a probe into a black hole) and therefore are not yet (or potentially ever) able to actually falsify the theory. In that case we must look for another way to falsify it, or just accept that we cannot actually, in practice, falsify it, at least at this time.

With etymologies, we can only do so much. There are certainly some problems (it's easy to find them: find the hard ones, then go a few thousand years earlier, and keep going until you can't) that we probably won't ever be able to solve, at least without finding new data.

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And do you think that I am doing pseudoscience instead of the actual science?
No, I didn't say that. I was just commenting that, basically, you can't negotiate with the facts. If they don't support an answer (at this time, perhaps ever) then there's not much you can do. It's great to explore new methods, but at some point you will indeed hit a wall you just can't get past. I don't know if the Croatian toponyms (well, probably some of them!) fit into that category. But you can't bend the rules either way. You can look for new evidence and new arguments, of course.
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Offline LinguistSkeptic

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Re: Croatian toponyms
« Reply #33 on: September 19, 2017, 07:12:38 AM »
Daniel, I really don't understand you. FlatAssembler pretends to know some ancient hypothetical unattested language, and uses it to explain away the Croatian toponyms. And you are assuring him he is doing the right thing. What's wrong with you guys?

Offline Daniel

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Re: Croatian toponyms
« Reply #34 on: September 21, 2017, 11:52:59 AM »
It is hypothetical, which is to say, by hypothesis. And a widely accepted one in linguistics.

LinguistSkeptic, your reply here isn't really contributing anything and as far as I can tell is only intended to be argumentative. If you have a sincere question about this (like why Proto-Indo-European is considered a reasonable hypothesis-- a topic I've taught classes on), that would be appropriate to ask, although probably best to start your own topic on it rather than sidetracking this one.
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Offline LinguistSkeptic

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Re: Croatian toponyms
« Reply #35 on: September 21, 2017, 07:59:17 PM »
Why? In the OP, FlatAssembler asserts, without arguments, that, in a language called PIE (whatever that meant), there was a word "yos" meaning "spring". He then supposes that Illyrians borrowed that word from "PIE" and named cities after it. A question that naturally comes to mind is how he knows about the word "yos" in "PIE".

Offline FlatAssembler

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Re: Croatian toponyms
« Reply #36 on: September 21, 2017, 08:45:33 PM »
Just because you have no idea how it works doesn't mean it doesn't work at all. Get educated, and then return to this forum. Otherwise, THIS is how you sound now:
http://linguistforum.com/linguist's-lounge/airplanes-don't-exist-(a-parody-of-the-conspiracy-theorists)/

Offline Daniel

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Re: Croatian toponyms
« Reply #37 on: September 21, 2017, 11:09:57 PM »
Proto-Indo-European is a widely accepted linguistic hypothesis (by the vast majority of linguists, who know something about the subject). You can read about it here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Proto-Indo-European_language

There's nothing more to discuss on the topic, unless you have questions about it.
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Offline LinguistSkeptic

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Re: Croatian toponyms
« Reply #38 on: September 22, 2017, 07:44:22 AM »
So, why does FlatAssembler suppose that the PIE word "yos" existed and meant "spring"? And why do you accept that?

Offline Daniel

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Re: Croatian toponyms
« Reply #39 on: September 22, 2017, 08:10:53 AM »
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So, why does FlatAssembler suppose that the PIE word "yos" existed and meant "spring"?
It's a hypothesis. There are dictionaries of proposed Indo-European etymologies. Wiktionary has a number of entries and that's quick to access. There are other more comprehensive published sources.
FlatAssembler, that is a reasonable question: what is your source for 'yos'?
I'm not seeing it on a quick search. But my area of expertise/interest in this is not about lexical items in PIE. I'm not too familiar with all of the proposed roots. I assume you have a source for it, and you might be able to explain this to LinguistSkeptic.

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And why do you accept that?
I haven't "accepted" anything. I've just given advice about methodology.

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The alternative you seem to be proposing (by implication) is that we assume everything is wrong. If we do that, then there's very little to try to understand. Science is full of hypotheses, many of which are built on other hypotheses.

You wrote elsewhere that you don't like assuming things (e.g., hypotheses) as facts. That's fine. But there's also a big difference between that and actively rejecting everything. A reasonable approach in science is making contingent predictions (layered hypotheses). It's possible that the foundations of an argument are false, in which case the secondary argument is also false. That's how science works. But that doesn't mean we shouldn't do science. That means that, yes, if "yos" isn't a relevant root for whatever reason, the hypothesis proposed here is also incorrect. But by exploring these possibilities we may learn something.

What is your goal in this conversation? Do you want to learn more about hypotheses? Or do you want to just keep suggesting that any given hypothesis might be wrong? If so, you're correct. And your point has been made. And you should probably avoid the whole field of Historical Linguistics, because it's full of this stuff. That doesn't mean we can't learn anything, but apparently you don't like uncertainty, and that's most of what there is. On the other hand, there are different levels of uncertainty, and if you have trouble believing Latin was ever a spoken language, then basically all hope is lost for you finding less documented areas of Historical Linguistics (e.g., most of it) to be insightful. In that case, I am having trouble figuring out why you're here. I'm attempting to treat your questions as genuine questions, but if your position is simply that you're skeptical, then why should I try to convince you otherwise? Am I making any progress? If not, I don't mind if you don't agree with me, but why are we still discussing it? Should we continue?
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Offline LinguistSkeptic

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Re: Croatian toponyms
« Reply #40 on: September 24, 2017, 11:04:07 PM »
So, one thing should be clear by now: FlatAssembler is a liar. And what do you mean you didn't accept anything? You said his etymologies were reasonable.
« Last Edit: September 24, 2017, 11:05:45 PM by LinguistSkeptic »

Offline Daniel

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Re: Croatian toponyms
« Reply #41 on: September 25, 2017, 12:29:59 PM »
Personal attacks will not be tolerated here.

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He's not "lying". He might be wrong. But at least he's argued for his case. You've just said you don't believe anything.

https://indo-european.info/pokorny-etymological-dictionary/i%CC%AFes.htm
That is an entry for the root *yes (spelled differently) in a very well respected dictionary of Indo-European etymology (by Pokorny). There's nothing to argue with there. His proposal was that with a small (and reasonable) change, that could be the etymological root relevant to Croatian toponyms.

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By "reasonable" I did not mean "correct". I meant that the methodology was reasonable. I have said repeatedly that I am not an expert in this particular domain of etymologies (e.g, Croatian toponyms) and there may be some specific reasons why this proposal is incorrect. But as a general approach, the right elements seem to be there. I don't know whether it's right, but I don't have any reason to dismiss it.

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Now, why are we still discussing this? You, LinguistsSkeptic, haven't contributed anything positive to the forum except to disagree with just about everything you come across, including basic facts (like Latin being spoken in Rome). What is your goal here? If you don't have one, I can ban you, and save everyone the trouble. If you do have one, what is it, and how do you hope to accomplish it? Since you do not seem to believe or trust anything we have to say, I don't see how these discussions can accomplish anything. Do you agree or disagree?
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Offline LinguistSkeptic

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Re: Croatian toponyms
« Reply #42 on: September 25, 2017, 11:35:29 PM »
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His proposal was that with a small (and reasonable) change, that could be the etymological root relevant to Croatian toponyms.
I just don't get the rules of the game here. What are those reasonable changes you allow? This guy obviously cited a non-existent Indo-European root. And, instead of dismissing it, you are making up excuses for him. What would it take to change your mind?
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What is your goal here?
My goal here is to have fun, and to perhaps learn something new that might help me learn foreign languages more easily.

Offline Daniel

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Re: Croatian toponyms
« Reply #43 on: September 25, 2017, 11:49:49 PM »
No, the root he was referring to was *yes, not *yos. *yos is a derivation that could have occurred later.
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What would it take to change your mind?
Specific evidence against that. Show that the PIE root *yes became *yis in Proto-Slavic, or something along those lines. Until then, it's a valid hypothesis (which may indeed be proven false later).

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My goal here is to have fun, and to perhaps learn something new that might help me learn foreign languages more easily.
Fun sounds good, and is welcome. But that's not what's happened so far. As for learning languages, Linguistics isn't about learning languages. It's about studying how they work. Although some people enjoy both (including me), learning linguistics is not a direct route to learning languages, so for that you might find more help elsewhere.
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Offline LinguistSkeptic

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Re: Croatian toponyms
« Reply #44 on: September 26, 2017, 12:22:37 AM »
Quote from: Daniel
No, the root he was referring to was *yes, not *yos.
How do you know?
Quote from: Daniel
*yos is a derivation that could have occurred later.
Here is what FlatAssembler wrote about it:
Quote from: FlatAssembler
Issa, the ancient name for the island Vis, is widely stated to have an unknown, perhaps Pre-Indo-European, etymology. However, it can easily be derived from *yos+*eh2, in the sense "where a lot of springs are". There were spas there in the Roman times. And it appears that all the ancient names for the places in Croatia where the Roman spas were share the same root. Daruvar was called Balissa (I believe Bal means bright, from *bhel) and Varazdin was called Iasa.
FlatAssembler clearly asserted that "yos-eh2" would mean "where a lot of springs are" in Proto-Indo-European. Can you explain me how? And how exactly can "issa" and "iasa" be derived from "yoseh"?
« Last Edit: September 26, 2017, 01:14:59 AM by LinguistSkeptic »