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Kretschmer identified both Illyrian and Messapic as satem languages due to the change from IE o to a.

Illyrian language - Wikipedia

That sounds like complete nonsense to me. How does the argument go?

How does he know that PIE 'o' always changed into 'a' in Illyrian? I have studied Croatian toponyms quite a bit, and a generally accepted etymology is that Colapis, the ancient name for the Kupa river, meant "winding water", that "col" (winding) comes from *kwol (an ablaut of *kwel, meaning to turn), so, if that's true, not all 'o'-s changed to 'a' in Illyrian.

And even if we take for granted 'o' changed to 'a' in Illyrian, how does it follow that Illyrian is a satem language?

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    How do you know that Kretschmer had the beliefs attributed to him on Wikipedia a half century after he died? Did you find an actual article written by Kretschmer: or are you asking for a bibliographic source, e.g. "what are the writings of Paul Kretschmer?".
    – user6726
    Mar 19, 2023 at 20:03
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    That entire Wikipedia article is really, really poorly written. A lot of it contradicts itself, and some parts don’t make any sense at all. If its representation of Kretschmer’s identification is accurate – and given the state of the article, that’s a big if – then it’s bunkum, yes. The change of o to a may have some level of correlation with the centum/satem split, but it is most certainly not a reliable predictor of whether a language is centum or satem. Mar 19, 2023 at 23:08
  • certainly if that is Kretschmer's argument it's bogus. An o > a shift is also found in Germanic, Tocharian, and Anatolian. Preservation of the distinction between o & a is only found within centum (specifically Greek, Latin, and Celtic), but the two shifts clearly do not always coincide
    – Tristan
    Mar 20, 2023 at 9:19
  • cp. Old English collenferhþ "proud," (full of ferhþ), German Quelle "well, source", Freudenquell (offspring), or differently the Waal, Wacal in Roman sources. Use the source, Luke. The idae that *kʷol- is generally agreed on has little merrit if hardly anyone knows anything about it for lack of attestation while Roman scribes are known to hear what they want to hear.
    – vectory
    Mar 23, 2023 at 23:01
  • To the opposite however, "roman. /ǎ/ [...] in slav. /o/" in loans, cf. pòreč (Bichlmeier, Sava). See also Labe, interlape etc.
    – vectory
    Mar 23, 2023 at 23:02

1 Answer 1

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I assume Kretschmer has Albanian in mind when he speaks of Illyrian. Albanian presents the shift PIE *o > a: *nókʷts > natë etc., and it is a satem language.

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