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Paleo-Sardinian
Nuragic
RegionSardinia
EthnicityAncient Sardinians
Extinctc. 2nd century AD
Language codes
ISO 639-3None (mis)
GlottologNone

Paleo-Sardinian, also known as Proto-Sardinian or Nuragic, is an extinct language, or perhaps set of languages, spoken on the Mediterranean island of Sardinia by the ancient Sardinian population during the Nuragic era. Starting from the Roman conquest with the establishment of a specific province, a process of language shift took place, wherein Latin came slowly to be the only language spoken by the islanders. Paleo-Sardinian is thought to have left traces in the island's onomastics as well as toponyms, which appear to preserve grammatical suffixes, and a number of words in the modern Sardinian language.

Monotower Nuraghe
Monotower Nuraghe

Pre-Indo-European hypothesis

The Swiss linguist Johannes Hubschmid proposed six linguistic layers in prehistoric Sardinia.[1]

There is toponymic evidence suggesting that the Paleo-Sardinian language may have had connection to the reconstructed Proto-Basque and to the Pre-Indo-European Iberian language of Spain.[2] Eduardo Blasco Ferrer concluded that it developed in the island in the Neolithic as a result of prehistoric migration from the Iberian peninsula.[3] The author in his analysis of the Paleo-Sardinian language finds only a few traces of Indo-European influences (*ōsa, *debel- and perhaps *mara, *pal-, *nava, *sala), which were possibly introduced in the Late Chalcolithic through Liguria.[4] Similarities between Paleo-Sardinian and Ancient Ligurian were also noted by Emidio De Felice.[5]

Bertoldi and Terracini[citation needed] propose that the common suffix -ara, stressed on the antepenult, was a plural marker, and they indicated a connection to Iberian or to the Paleo-Sicilian languages. Terracini claims a similar connection for the suffix -ànarV, -ànnarV, -énnarV, -ònnarV, as in the place name Bonnànnaro. A suffix -ini also seems to be characteristic, as in the place name Barùmini. A suffix or suffixes -arr-, -err-, -orr-, -urr- have been claimed to correspond to the North African Numidia (Terracini), to the Basque-speaking Iberia and Gascony (Wagner, Rohlfs, Blasco Ferrer, Hubschmid), and to southern Italy (Rohlfs).

The non-Latin suffixes -ài, -éi, -òi, -ùi survive in modern place names based on Latin roots. Terracini sees connections to Berber. Bertoldi sees an Anatolian connection in the endings -ài, -asài (similar claims have been made of the Elymians of Sicily). A suffix -aiko is also common in Iberia and may have a Celtic origin. The tribal suffix -itani, -etani, as in the Sulcitani, has also been identified as Paleo-Sardinian.

Etruscan-Nuragic connection

The linguist M. Pittau[6] argues that the Paleo-Sardinian ("Sardian") language and the Etruscan language were closely linked, as he argues that they were both emanations of the Anatolian branch of Indo-European. According to Pittau, the "Nuragics" were a population of Lydian origin who imported their Indo-European language to the island, pushing out the Pre-Indo-European languages spoken by the Pre-Nuragic peoples.

Some examples of Nuragic names of Indo-European origin might be:[7]

Other hypothesis

Nuragic populations, ancient tribes of Sardinia, speakers of Paleo-Sardinian language or languages are shown in yellow and red.
Nuragic populations, ancient tribes of Sardinia, speakers of Paleo-Sardinian language or languages are shown in yellow and red.

Archeologist Giovanni Ugas suggested that the three main Nuragic populations (Balares, Corsi and Ilienses) may have had separate origins and so may have spoken different languages:

The common subdivision of modern Sardinian into the three dialects of Gallurese, Logudorese and Campidanese might reflect that multilingual substratum.[11] Other Paleo-Sardinian tribes of possible Indo-European stock were the Lucuidonenses from the north of the island, who might have been originally from Provence, where the toponym Lugdunum is attested, and the Siculensi, perhaps related to the Siculi from Sicily, from the Sarrabus region.[12]

See also

Notes

  1. ^ Heinz Jürgen Wolf 1998, p. 20.
  2. ^ Eduardo Blasco Ferrer, ed. 2010. Paleosardo: Le radici linguistiche della Sardegna neolitica (Paleosardo: The Linguistic Roots of Neolithic Sardinian). De Gruyter Mouton
  3. ^ Blasco-Ferrer 2010, p. 161, 162.
  4. ^ Blasco-Ferrer 2010, p. 152, 161, 162.
  5. ^ Mary Carmen Iribarren Argaiz, Los vocablos en-rr-de la lengua sarda: Conexiones con la península ibérica
  6. ^ Pittau, La lingua sardiana o dei protosardi, Cagliari 2001.
  7. ^ Massimo Pittau, Appellativi nuragici di matrice indoeuropea
  8. ^ Ugas 2005, p. 18.
  9. ^ Ugas 2005, p. 29.
  10. ^ Ugas 2005, p. 255.
  11. ^ Ugas 2005, p. 253.
  12. ^ Ugas 2005, p. 254.

References

Further Reading