To the Use of Etymological Methods in the Research of the Origin of Slavs
Introduction. This article is written in the development of the theme of the application of linguistic methods to historical research, more specifically, to the research of the circumstances of the origin of the Slavic ethnic group. These circumstances have not yet been clarified to the extent excluding clashes of opinions, down to opinions opposite to each other. In particular, the range of supposed dates for the appearance of the Common Slavic language varies from the 3rd millennium BC to the middle of the 1st millennium AD. The article describes an attempt of restricting this range. Methodology and sources. The main ethno-defining trait is a common language: the Old Russian lexeme ɪазыкъ meant both “ethnos” and “language”. Usually a common language is, according to O. N. Trubachev, the result of convergence of many originally different dialects. The search for the probable time of the Common Slavic language origin has been accomplished under the following assumption: the factor consolidating dialects into the Common Slavic language (“Slavic Koine”) were kinds of economic activities that spanned a number of tribal groups, including the group of speakers of the actual Proto-Slavic dialect that initiated these activities. The type of this production can be tried to determine by the ancient original Slavic industrial terms. Then, assuming the possibility of migrations of Proto-Slavs from the territory where the Common Slavic language was formed, to the territory inhabited by foreign-speaking tribes, we have searched for the names of local flora and fauna borrowed in Slavic languages, as well as foreign-speaking place names; in the languages of ethnic groups currently living in the territory of the formation of the Common Slavic language, we must, accordingly, find traces of Slavic names of local flora and fauna, as well as toponyms, Slavic by origin. Results and discussion. Examining Slavic vocabulary, we have found there: a) Common Slavic names of copper, lead and silver, i. e. metals that have been simultaneously found in Old Europe exclusively in the Balkan-Carpathian metallurgical province of the 4th millennium BC; b) the original Slavic terms related to mining and metallurgy; c) the original Slavic names of crops and a number of other plants native to the Eastern Mediterranean and neighboring areas, as well as the names of the agricultural inventory; d) Finno-Ugric borrowings of the names of Northern European fish and Finno-Ugric place names in the absence of German borrowings. In the languages of peoples living in the Eastern Mediterranean one can find zoonyms, phytonyms and place names with unclear etymology, which, upon closer examination, can be explained as borrowings from dialects of the Proto-Slavic language. Conlcusion. The totality of the observed lexical data leads to the conclusion that the ancestral home of Slavs was localized in the Eastern Mediterranean. This data does not correspond to any of other Indo-European (IE) languages other than the Baltic languages, which suggests, in particular, that only Proto-Slavs and Proto-Balts were directly related to the Balkan-Carpathian Metallurgical Province of the 4th millennium BC and that the languages of the respective groups were being formed in the Balkans and the Eastern Mediterranean at that very time.
Authors: Georgiy M. Telezhko
Keywords: ethnogenesis, Slavs, Illyrians, Balts, Thracians, Germans, homeland, mining vocabulary, copper, lead, silver, crops, etymology, original terms, borrowed terms
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