.mw-parser-output .hidden-begin{box-sizing:border-box;width:100%;padding:5px;border:none;font-size:95%}.mw-parser-output .hidden-title{font-weight:bold;line-height:1.6;text-align:left}.mw-parser-output .hidden-content{text-align:left}@media all and (max-width:500px){.mw-parser-output .hidden-begin{width:auto!important;clear:none!important;float:none!important))You can help expand this article with text translated from the corresponding article in French. (December 2020) Click [show] for important translation instructions. View a machine-translated version of the French article. Machine translation, like DeepL or Google Translate, is a useful starting point for translations, but translators must revise errors as necessary and confirm that the translation is accurate, rather than simply copy-pasting machine-translated text into the English Wikipedia. Consider adding a topic to this template: there are already 6,158 articles in the main category, and specifying|topic= will aid in categorization. Do not translate text that appears unreliable or low-quality. If possible, verify the text with references provided in the foreign-language article. You must provide copyright attribution in the edit summary accompanying your translation by providing an interlanguage link to the source of your translation. A model attribution edit summary is Content in this edit is translated from the existing French Wikipedia article at [[:fr:Belge (langue antique)]]; see its history for attribution. You should also add the template ((Translated|fr|Belge (langue antique))) to the talk page. For more guidance, see Wikipedia:Translation.
Ancient Belgian
Native toLow Countries
Language codes
ISO 639-3

Ancient Belgian is a hypothetical extinct Indo-European language, spoken in Belgica (northern Gaul) in late prehistory. It is often identified with the hypothetical Nordwestblock.[3] While it remains a matter of controversy, the linguist Maurits Gysseling, who attributed the term to SJ De Laet, hypothesised a Belgian that was distinct from the later Celtic and Germanic languages.[4] According to the theory, which was further elaborated by Hans Kuhn and others, traces of Belgian can be found in certain toponyms such as South-East-Flemish Bevere, Eine, Mater and Melden.


The borders of the Belgian Sprachraum are made up by the Canche and the Authie in the south-west, the Weser and the Aller in the east, and the Ardennes and the German Mittelgebirge in the south-east. It has been hypothetically associated with the Nordwestblock, more specifically with the Hilversum culture.

The use of the name Belgian for the language is to some extent supported by Julius Caesar's De Bello Gallico. He mentions that the Belgae and the Galli spoke different languages. It is furthermore supported by toponyms in present-day Belgium, which, according to Kuhn, point at the existence of an Indo-European language, distinct from Celtic and Germanic languages.[4] Hans Kuhn also noted certain connections (suffixes, ethnonyms, toponyms, anthroponyms) between this language and the Indo-European languages of southern Europe, in particular with the Italic languages. Before their migration to the south, the Italics must have resided in central Europe, in the vicinity of the Germans and the Slavs, as shown by the large vocabulary common to these groups. Some of them may have migrated to the northwest, while the others headed for the Italian peninsula, hence the connection that has been made between the Umbrians and the Ambrones of the shores of the North Sea.[1][2]

Proponents of the Belgian language hypothesis also suggest that it was influenced by Germanic languages during a first, early Germanicisation in the 3rd century BC, as distinct from the Frankish colonization in the 5th to the 8th centuries AD. For example, the Germanic sound shifts (p → f, t → th, k → h, ŏ → ă) have affected toponyms that supposedly have a Belgian-language origin.

Characteristics of Belgian are said to include the retention of p after the sound shifts, a trait that it shared with the Lusitanian language. Names of bodies of water ending in -ara, as in the name for the Dender; -ănā or -ŏnā, as in Matrŏnā (Marne River and also the current Mater) and settlement names ending in -iŏm are supposedly typically Belgian as well.

According to Gysseling, traces of Belgian are still visible. The diminutive suffix -ika, the feminizing suffixes -agjōn and -astrjō and the collective suffix -itja have been incorporated in Dutch, sometimes very productively. In toponymy, apa, poel, broek, gaver, drecht, laar and ham are retained as Belgian loanwords.

See also


  1. ^ a b F. Ribezzo, Revue Internationale d'Onomastique, II, 1948 p. 43 sq. et III 1949, p. 45 sq., M.Almagro dans RSLig, XVI, 1950, p. 42 sq, P.Laviosa Zambotti, l.c.
  2. ^ a b Bernard, Sergent (1995). Les Indo-Européens: Histoire, langues, mythes [The Indo-Europeans: History, Languages, Myths] (in French). Paris: Bibliothèques scientifiques Payot. pp. 84–85.
  3. ^ Lendering, Jona (30 April 2005). "The Dutch Language". Archived from the original on 24 May 2012. Retrieved 22 December 2020.
  4. ^ a b Hachmann, Rolf; Kossack, Georg; Kuhn, Hans (1986). Völker zwischen Germanen und Kelten [People between Germans and Celts] (in German). pp. 183–212.