5

I have been reading the latest paper on Thracian by C. Brixhe (on the latest Handbook of Comparative and Historical Indo-European Linguistics) and I am really baffled by the conclusion.

In the 6th century this language is surprisingly close to Greek. And, since the particularly close relationship of Greek and Phrygian has been long since proven, it is not toward a prehistoric Thraco-Phrygian unity (cf. 3) that these new documents point. Rather, in the period between Proto-Indo-European and the emergence of Greek, Thracian, and Phrygian, it is probably necessary to posit a linguistic conglomerate to which the populations which were later to develop into Greeks, Phrygians, and Thracians belonged. They must have arrived in the Balkans in the same migratory wave at a period when they were linguistically still relatively undifferentiated (Brixhe 2006a: 141−142, 2006b: 57). From this it appears that Thracian may well not have belonged to the satem group of Indo-European languages (4).

I consider Brixhe a legendary linguist on the field of Greek dialectology, Phrygian and Thracian. However, it feels like the material found in Zone has not been assesed by anyone else (correct me if I'm wrong). There seems to be a number of inscriptions held behind locked doors and the only we get are some examples of dedications to Apollo and Bendis.

Can we have been so wrong about Thracian in the past? Considering that those new inscriptions come from the southmost part of what is called Thrace, is it possible that we are rather dealing with a different IE language, than what was spoken in the Bulgarian Thrace?

  • Can anything really meaningful be said about such a fragmentary language? I don't think so. – Alex B. Aug 25 '18 at 19:38
  • @AlexB.: Normally not. However, there seems to be a good amount of inscriptions from Zone that are rumored to be game changers. I am just not sure we are really dealing with the Thracian we a read in Bulgaria and the attestations made by ancient authors. The pre-Zone Thracian material doesn't seem to particularly close to Greek, at least not in the same proximity as Phrygian is. – Midas Aug 25 '18 at 19:43
  • 1
    Wikipedia quotes an earlier proposal that Thracian "was a centum language in its earlier period, and developed satem features over time." This comes from a web page, so take it how you will, but apparently Brixhe isn't alone with regard to the centum/satem issue. – b a Aug 25 '18 at 19:51

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.