Re: Do Basque words for farm animals resemble Indo-European ones?
10 Nov 1996 06:11:49 GMT

That's an interesting idea, Jonathan. If Indo-European was introduced
into Europe by the first agriculturists, as Renfrew claimed ( - does he
still claim it? - ) then Basque words for agriculture might well be
predominantly Indo-European. If Indo-European spread - or was imposed -
relatively late, as most linguists, I believe, think, then the Basques
would already have had their own words, some perhaps with clear Basque
etymologies, for agricultural things.

However, the Basques might have preferred to invent Basque words for
agricultural items and activities. Perhaps they encountered Indo-European
at the same time as agriculture, but blocked out foreign language terms
while they accepted foreign technologies and ideas. That would not be a
terribly unusual pattern, and it is consonant with their still speaking a
non-IE language. So it would be interesting to know just which semantic
domains in Basque do have Indo-European loans, and which don't, to see if
we can make sense of the pattern. Mary