Author Topic: Croatian toponyms  (Read 2907 times)

Offline Daniel

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Re: Croatian toponyms
« Reply #45 on: September 26, 2017, 01:30:40 AM »
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How do you know?
He sent me a private message to clarify that.
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FlatAssembler clearly asserted that "yos-eh2" would mean "where a lot of springs are" in Proto-Indo-European.
Vowels are not very stable. It's either a variant within PIE, or a change on the way to Proto-Slavic. I'm not actually sure which he's claiming. Maybe he will clarify. Regardless, the methodology is sound, assuming the lexical data backs it up. I've been commenting on the methodology, not the lexical data, because I'm not an expert on PIE roots (and I'm not spending a lot of time looking things up for this discussion).

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Can you explain me how? And how exactly can "issa" and "iasa" be derived from "yoseh"?
FlatAssembler, do you care to comment? What sound changes do you propose? Or are you hypothesizing that it might be plausible?
(Initial glide and final glottal fricative are lost, and there are some minor vowel changes. Those are common types of changes. I'm not sure about whether there's a difference between "s" and "ss" in those cases, whether it's supposed to be a geminate in "issa" or just written orthographically that way. The most suspicious part of the derivation is the geminate, actually, if that's the case. Usually those are generated from multiple consonants, when one fully assimilates to the other, rather than spontaneously from a single consonant. But maybe this is just orthographic.)

yeseh > issa is certainly possible, and not very extreme, given enough time. After all, "father" and "padre" are cognates in English and Spanish, from Proto-Indo-European. My instincts say that's a plausible derivation, but I do not off the top of my head have any information about whether those sound changes are independently proposed by others. If so, the hypothesis is reasonable. I'm assuming FlatAssembler isn't just making things up.

As I have said repeatedly, my comments are about methodology in general, and I have not commented on the specific derivations, sound changes, or lexical claims, because I don't have all of the facts (and don't have enough time to look them up and sort through them myself).

FlatAssembler, if you can post a clear etymology along with all of the relevant sound changes and sources, I'd be happy to check that over. However, since this is just a forum online and not a term paper, I'm willing to discuss generalities about methodology without checking those details. But both to answer LinguistSkeptic's question, and for me to give you better feedback on your proposal (and for you to double-check and clearly organize your ideas), posting a specific hypothesis with all of the relevant details outlined would be reasonable.

If on the other hand, you do not have a specific proposal for exactly how all of the sound changes occurred, then:
(1) That's something to work on.
(2) I will stand by what I have said: your idea seems like a reasonable hypothesis, assuming various details hold up and are consistent with other information. Pursue it, and see what happens. I can't say whether it's right.
(3) And because it's an etymology with no way to independently confirm that your hypothesis is right, it may never be possible to say whether it's right. But we can check if some basic things eliminate it as a possibility, and so far I don't see that.

So, LinguistSkeptic, you see, I'm not saying he's right. I'm saying I can't falsify his claims based on what he has presented. If nothing else, this is a reasonable exercise for something learning about historical linguistics. Even better if it involves specific sound changes (assuming enough data is available to figure that out).
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Offline LinguistSkeptic

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Re: Croatian toponyms
« Reply #46 on: September 26, 2017, 11:17:04 AM »
Why bother? This is obviously some guy who likes to write some linguistics technobabble just to sound smart and won't respond to the arguments as they are made. If he had anything smart to say, he would have already responded.

Offline Daniel

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Re: Croatian toponyms
« Reply #47 on: September 26, 2017, 02:32:50 PM »
At least he's contributing something, and trying out some ideas. You have yet to contribute anything here, aside from questioning the existence of Latin. Rather than criticizing other users, why not contribute something yourself? And do you really think your replies here come across as welcoming and genuine?

"Why bother?" is how I feel about replying to you, LinguistSkeptic. At some point, I'll stop; maybe I should have already.
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Offline FlatAssembler

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Re: Croatian toponyms
« Reply #48 on: September 28, 2017, 12:07:13 AM »
Here is the personal message I've sent to Daniel. I'll repost it here, just in case an expert in Croatian toponymy comes to this forum (which I consider extremely unlikely):
Quote from: FlatAssembler
Thanks for your effort to explain linguistics to LinguistSkeptic.

I believe I have explained why I think *yos-eh2 would mean "where a lot of boilings (=springs) are" in PIE in the same personal message I mentioned *yes in. It's an ablaut of "to boil" plus the collective noun suffix. The same morphosemantic construction is seen in a rare Croatian word "virje".

As for the geminates in Illyrian, I've actually been thinking a little about that. You weren't the only person who noticed that, several explanations have been proposed for the geminate in the toponym Pannonia (from PIE *pen). It probably has something to do with long and short vowels. Namely, that some consonants were geminated after a short vowel (as in the Middle English, more or less). Since *i couldn't be long in PIE (only *o and *e could be long), that would explain away the geminate in "Issa".

Though I doubt you can explain those things so that LinguistSkeptic could understand.

Offline Daniel

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Re: Croatian toponyms
« Reply #49 on: October 01, 2017, 04:14:18 AM »
All I can really comment here is that the etymology seems plausible, among many possibilities. As I've said I don't know this data well.

The biggest potential problem with the argument was why there's a geminate form, an your answer for that is actually very nice, makes sense. It is of course hard to know when you're finding a theory that supports the evidence, and when you're just finding any evidence that supports a predetermined hypothesis. But as far as I can tell here, the evidence so far lines up.

The remaining problem at  this point is that I'm not sure what is considered the standard for 'burden of proof' in etymology/toponomy studies. Looking at some recent publications could give you an idea of whether your ideas measure up, and indeed they might.

So, scientifically speaking, I cannot at this time falsify your hypothesis, so it stands as a possibility.
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Offline LinguistSkeptic

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Re: Croatian toponyms
« Reply #50 on: October 01, 2017, 12:48:50 PM »
FlatAssembler, why don't you try your method of guessing the meaning of unknown words on some living language, like German, and tell us how it works?
Daniel, I just don't get how you can call what he is doing "scientific". He is making wild guesses based on questionable (if not just obviously wrong) premisses.
« Last Edit: October 01, 2017, 12:52:10 PM by LinguistSkeptic »

Offline Daniel

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Re: Croatian toponyms
« Reply #51 on: October 01, 2017, 02:46:28 PM »
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FlatAssembler, why don't you try your method of guessing the meaning of unknown words on some living language, like German, and tell us how it works?
It works well. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Grimm%27s_law
Unfortunately most easily available data sets like that have already been 'solved' (although fieldworkers still apply the comparative method to new data as it becomes available to them to construct proto-languages for less studied families around the world). But that's the sort of thing you get as a homework problem in a textbook.
As I have said, ancient etymologies like these are unverifiable, which is the biggest problem. FlatAssembler may be right (and no matter how many times you question it, that doesn't change). The best that can be done at this point is to show that FlatAssembler's ideas are as plausible as any others.

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He is making wild guesses based on questionable (if not just obviously wrong) premisses.
Well, yes. That's a good way of describing science, especially historical linguistics. Though you left out the systematic aspects (such as applying common patterns in sound change, or genuine efforts to self-falsify your theories, and considering alternative hypotheses).

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Science --
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Science (from Latin scientia, meaning "knowledge") is a systematic enterprise that builds and organizes knowledge in the form of testable explanations and predictions about the universe.
In this case we're talking about languages/etymologies (not the whole universe), and the biggest problem in applying that definition is the question of falsifiability, in that from a practical perspective it will be hard to find any evidence to potentially falsify these hypotheses (given how little data is available). But we could potentially find evidence. In fact, that's not so unusual for science: there has never been, and probably will never be, a direct observation of a black hole, because by definition light cannot escape them, so we cannot observe them. But they can be studied indirectly, based on theoretical predictions (sometimes "wild guesses based on questionable premises"!), and by observing related things like a 'missing' large object with enormous gravity. Croatian toponyms are not quite that bad (given the right data we actually could figure out the truth of the matter, rather than literally never being able to observe it), but they have some of the same problems. And that's science. If you prefer only working on the easy problems where the data is clear, that's fine. But you'll find that only applies to introductory textbook problems, rarely real life, and certainly not to things that haven't already been solved. Croatian toponyms is an obscure, understudied, and difficult topic. And you are correct that there are many potential problems in proposing etymologies. But so what? Unless you have a better method, why are you complaining? FlatAssembler wants to study that. I'm offering the best advice I can. You're just repeating that the topic is difficult?

It's easy to criticize in science (most theories are wrong). It's harder to contribute. Try contributing something. Otherwise, as I have said, I don't know why you're here.
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Offline LinguistSkeptic

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Re: Croatian toponyms
« Reply #52 on: October 01, 2017, 08:32:50 PM »
But he's not just proposing where the words come from. He is claiming to be able to reliably guess what the words meant in some extinct language. So, for German, do you think he would be able to guess that, for instance, "Gift" means "poison" or that "dick" means "fat"?

Offline Daniel

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Re: Croatian toponyms
« Reply #53 on: October 01, 2017, 10:21:51 PM »
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But he's not just proposing where the words come from. He is claiming to be able to reliably guess what the words meant in some extinct language.
Semantic reconstruction is extremely difficult. So, yeah, it's a lot of guesses. That's what it is. If you don't like it, do something more precise, like sound change (which actually can be very precise), or better yet something like racecar engineering where things matter down to the millimeters. That's simply not how this works, and it doesn't matter how many times you criticize it, you won't change it. So if you don't like it, move on.

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So, for German, do you think he would be able to guess that, for instance, "Gift" means "poison" or that "dick" means "fat"?
Given what information? If in 1,000 years data from 5 languages descended from German was available with a root reconstructed as *gift, and in one it meant poison, in another 'toxin', in another 'death', in another 'weapon', and in the last 'delivery', then probably yes. Without good data? No.
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Offline FlatAssembler

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Re: Croatian toponyms
« Reply #54 on: October 05, 2017, 05:35:32 AM »
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He is making wild guesses based on questionable (if not just obviously wrong) premisses.
Stulti semper sic statuuntur, quod non intellegunt, aspernantur et abutuntur!
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So, for German, do you think he would be able to guess that, for instance, "Gift" means "poison" or that "dick" means "fat"?
If you know a bit of German, you've probably noticed that German 'd' corresponds to English 'th'. So, you would indeed expect that German "dick" means "thick". As for "Gift", you can almost certainly guess from the context that the meaning of the cognate has changed.
False friends are rare. You just remember them a lot because they are rare. And, when they do occur, you can almost always recognize them by context. Toponyms usually offer a lot of context.

Offline LinguistSkeptic

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Re: Croatian toponyms
« Reply #55 on: October 06, 2017, 08:36:39 AM »
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Stulti semper sic statuuntur, quod non intellegunt, aspernantur et abutuntur!
The truth is, you can prove anything by that.
Person A: The Earth is flat. Here is evidence: X, Y, Z…
Person B: That makes no sense!
Person A: You fools always think that way: what you don't understand, you despise and abuse!
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False friends are rare. You just remember them a lot because they are rare. And, when they do occur, you can almost always recognize them by context.
I guess it helps a bit to lie to yourself.

Offline Daniel

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Re: Croatian toponyms
« Reply #56 on: October 06, 2017, 09:37:07 AM »
You are not contributing anything useful in this thread, LinguistSkeptic. Please stop replying unless you have something nice and/or constructive to say.
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Offline LinguistSkeptic

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Re: Croatian toponyms
« Reply #57 on: October 07, 2017, 12:00:38 AM »
If you think that warning FlatAssembler that his methods of guessing the meaning of unknown words don't work even on modern languages (when we know the "regular sound changes") is "not useful", then yes.
Also, if *yes meant "boiling" in PIE, how come it means "yes" today?
And let's say that his etymology of "Issa" is plausible. He's made countless etymologies he didn't explain.
Why does he think that Colapis comes from PIE *kwol-h2ep and that it means "the river with many meanders"? Why does he think that Andautonia comes from PIE *h2en-dheh2-ont-om and that it means "near that which flows"? Isn't such etymology, from so many words, extremely far-fetched? Why does he think that Krndija comes from *(s)ker-nt and that it meant "steep"?
Excuse me, to me it seems like he is just bombarding us with controversial statements we can't evaluate.

Offline Daniel

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Re: Croatian toponyms
« Reply #58 on: October 07, 2017, 06:58:11 AM »
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Also, if *yes meant "boiling" in PIE, how come it means "yes" today?
Because "dog" in English, "perro" in Spanish, "Hund" in German, "cane" in Italian, "skylos" in Greek, "kalb" in Arabic, "Gǒu" in Chinese-- those all mean the same thing. Sounds don't have meanings except by convention, and they change over time.
If you don't know this, then you have no business at all contributing to this technical discussion. If you'd like to know more about sound change, feel free to ask (elsewhere). Or take an intro class, read a book (or Wikipedia), etc.

A PIE root has had 6,000+ years to change, and it would be surprising if it did have any direct resemblance to the original form. Just look up the etymology of any word you'd like:
http://etymonline.com/index.php?term=interrupt
Interrupt comes from Latin 'inter' (between) + 'rumpere' (break)
https://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/rumpo#Latin
The verb rumpere in turn comes from the PIE root *Hrewp- 'break', possibly from *Hrew- 'to tear out, dig out'.
How do we know that? Comparative reconstruction. In fact, the reconstruction might be wrong but it's a reasonable approximation, and these proposed etymologies are constantly being refined by experts to get closer and closer to the facts.
Since you are not an expert, I would ask that you do not interrupt any more about you not understanding or you objecting to the idea of reconstruction.

It won't help if you keep insisting that evolution doesn't exist to a room of biologists, nor will it help if you keep insisting that god doesn't exist to a room of creationists. That's basically what you're doing here, and it needs to stop.

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Excuse me, to me it seems like he is just bombarding us with controversial statements we can't evaluate.
You cannot evaluate them because you don't have any expertise in this field. It would not make sense for you to tell physicists they are wrong because you don't understand, or biologists, or computer scientists, or whatever. Your understanding is irrelevant to others being correct.

And I am certainly qualified to evaluate the merits of FlatAssembler's methodology, although I have said repeatedly I don't know the lexical (vocabulary) details in question here. And in fact, they do not interest me very much: I consider that to be a 'homework' problem for FlatAssembler, to make sure all of the etymologies/sound changes/lexical meanings line up. Obviously FlatAssembler is wrong if those facts do not line up, so I am answering under the assumption that they do. Even if later it turns out that they do not, then my comments about methodology may be helpful for FlatAssembler in general and for continued research.

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Why does he think that Colapis comes from PIE *kwol-h2ep and that it means "the river with many meanders"? Why does he think that Andautonia comes from PIE *h2en-dheh2-ont-om and that it means "near that which flows"? ... Why does he think that Krndija comes from *(s)ker-nt and that it meant "steep"?
Those are reasonable questions. However:

1. I consider answering them to be FlatAssembler's job, in order to support the proposed hypotheses. That's background research and fact checking. I'm not especially interested in reading it either because it's easy to self fact-check on that. (If there is a specific question I will of course be happy to comment.)
2. This is an online forum, not an academic journal. I'm happy to assume the background assumptions are reasonable in order to answer the more general question. Just like there is no requirement here to support every post with a bibliography, I would not require FlatAssembler to post citations for all of the proposed etymologies and sound changes. Being capable of doing so, however, is something I have suggested.
3. LinguistSkeptic, there is no reason to believe that even if these details were documented you would accept any of this argument. You're attempting to waste our time by suggesting we do so. If you are sincere, then say so, and accept that if FlatAssembler can defend the data you'll accept the argument. Maybe in that case FlatAssembler will take the time to explain the details to you for one of the roots, let's say *kwol-h2ep: if FlatAssembler can do that, will you accept that the argument is plausible? If not, you have nothing more to contribute here, so stop interrupting (posting). If so, let's see if FlatAssembler decides to take the time to address your question after you have been interrupting so much.

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Isn't such etymology, from so many words, extremely far-fetched?
What does "far-fetched" mean? Many etymologies are complicated, even ones we have direct evidence for. Therefore your objection is irrelevant. It's either this "far-fetched" etymology, or some other one. Etymologies are not always transparent and easy; why would you expect them to be?
You are making a common incorrect statistical assumption that unlikely events never occur. In fact, unlikely events occur every day. (I believe I wrote about this in earlier posts to FlatAssembler by the way.) What is unlikely is that a specific unlikely event occurs, but your objection would apply to any etymology because indeed any etymology is unlikely (and many are complex).

--

LinguistSkeptic, in the end, your replies read like this:
"I don't believe in black holes. Name all of the stars in the sky with documentation."
"I don't believe in evolution. Name all of the species with documentation."
It doesn't matter what you believe, and your interrupting along those lines is getting in the way. Background assumptions are necessary for science, and unless you intend to discuss the core proposal and are willing to make some basic assumptions to do so, then there is truly no point in you participating in this discussion (or others). And that's fine: there are other productive things you can do elsewhere.
« Last Edit: October 07, 2017, 10:04:33 AM by Daniel »
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Offline LinguistSkeptic

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Re: Croatian toponyms
« Reply #59 on: October 08, 2017, 12:36:55 AM »
If you can explain me why FlatAssembler wouldn't think that "yes" meant something like "boiling" in English, then I would accept that some of his etymologies are true.
Though I can't really see how you can call an etymology you don't even understand (like Colapis coming from *kwol-h2ep and meaning "a river with many meanders") plausible, especially since FlatAssembler admits to have no expertise in the field.