How to make a (pseudo-)Paleo-Balkanic conlang?

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Zythros Jubi
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How to make a (pseudo-)Paleo-Balkanic conlang?

Post by Zythros Jubi » 09 May 2018 18:13

Recently I've read A Concise Historical Grammar of Albanian by Vladimir Orel and The Language of Thracians (in its English translation, see: http://groznijat.tripod.com/thrac/) by Ivan Duridanov, as well as several papers by other Bulgarian scholars such as Bilyana Mihaylova. They came up with a hypothesis that the Thracian and Pelasgian (pre-Greek substrate) languages are closely related, and are characterized by a Grimm law-like sound shift (i.e. IE *t>*th *d>*t *dh>*d), intact PIE *s, plus Satemization (actual realizations are unknown, Duridanov supposed *k' *g' *g'h > *θ *ð *ð); in addition, syllabic consonants turned into *uC/iC. In contrast, in Proto-Albanian the first set of sound changes is absent, instead *Dh > *D ; only the other three are present, with *k' *g' *g'h > *ts *dz > Alb. th dh/d, and PIE *s > early Proto-Albanian *s (complex changes afterwards).
I wonder the relationship between Thracian-Pelasgian (if these two form a coherent group), Illyrian and Dacian: according to Duridanov's reconstruction (see Wikipedia entry for Thracian language & Dacian language), such a consonant chain shift is absent in Illyrian and Dacian. Perhaps the three groups were particularly close, and the chain shift occurred relatively late.
Anyway, has anyone here attempted to create a Paleo-Balkanic conlang, or Paleo-Balkanic-based one? I want to make one spoken in Rhodopes (Smolyan Province, Dospat and Sarnitsa, Chech region in Greece etc., less than 500,000 native speakers; perhaps as a descendant of Bessian; high proportion of Muslims) with typical Balkan Sprachbund characteristics: suffix for definiteness, merger of dative and genitive, substitution of infinitive by subjunctive (at least in some dialects, cf. Serbian and Albanian), synthetic future, 11 = "one on ten", and so on. The crucial question for me is the choice of PIE root: I'm unsure how related Thracian and Pelasgian are lexically, and according to Duridanov et al., Thracian is close to Balto-Slavic especially Baltic in terms of lexicon; Orel also pointed out that Albanian has numerous cognates with Germano-Balto-Slavic, then with Balto-Slavic, particularly Baltic, relatively rare with Germanic and Slavic alone; notably, somewhat more cognates with Greek-Armenian and Indo-Iranian. I also suppose the conlang to have more loanwords from Greek and Southern Slavic than Latin.
Any suggestions for choice of PIE roots and derivational affixes, and the proportion of roots of uncertain etymology/substrate (cannot be traced to PIE)? How about the reflex of *k', *s or *ts or *θ? I want to have voiceless aspirate changed to fricatives because of Greek influence.
Lostlang plans: Oghur Turkic, Gallaecian Celtic, Palaeo-Balkanic

Zythros Jubi
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Re: How to make a (pseudo-)Paleo-Balkanic conlang?

Post by Zythros Jubi » 10 May 2018 04:31

As for Proto-Albanian homeland, Orel said it was marshy land, not mountainous nor coastal, with few valleys; I guess Pannonia or Wallachia may fit. In terms of indigenous vocabulary, words for cattle and sheep herding is abundant; in PA there are much more Latin loanwords than Greek ones.

Then it comes the question, what will be my con-protolang called: I intended to name it Proto-Thraco-Pelasgian, but it may lead to confusion, like Mecislau's Proto-Ob-Yeniseic.
Lostlang plans: Oghur Turkic, Gallaecian Celtic, Palaeo-Balkanic

Ælfwine
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Re: How to make a (pseudo-)Paleo-Balkanic conlang?

Post by Ælfwine » 17 Jul 2018 01:00

Look into Romanian. A lot of early sound changes in it could be attributed to Dacian, which is thought to be close to Illyrian.

a > ə for example, in certain environments, seems common.
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Zythros Jubi
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Re: How to make a (pseudo-)Paleo-Balkanic conlang?

Post by Zythros Jubi » 29 Oct 2019 10:31

I've decided to change its location to Deliorman, Gerlovo and Dobruja, in NE Bulgaria and SE Romania
Lostlang plans: Oghur Turkic, Gallaecian Celtic, Palaeo-Balkanic

Salmoneus
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Re: How to make a (pseudo-)Paleo-Balkanic conlang?

Post by Salmoneus » 29 Oct 2019 23:49

How I would make a pseudo-Palaeo-Balkanic conlang would be to begin by assuming the Thraco-Cimmerian hypothesis. The Greeks believed that the Thracians were related to the Cimmerians (i.e. they're later migrants into the area than the Dacians and Illyrians). Cimmerian would probably have been a language intermediate between Balto-Slavic and Indo-Iranian - I'd probably begin with Balto-Slavic and make it more Indo-Iranian. Then from Proto-Cimmero-Thracian I'd evolve Thracian with more influence from Greek, while of course trying to get it to match the small number of attested words and names that survive.

[I wouldn't worry about Pelasgian. Nobody knows anything about pre-Greek, and every pre-Greek hypothesis seems radically different, from 'just like Greek but slightly different' all the way to 'weird totally-non-IE language'. (although, of course, ultimately there must have been multiple pre-greeks, either simultaneously or in sequence, so all these ideas could be right...)]

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