Re: Basque, where did they come from?

Scott Ellis (
Sun, 20 Aug 1995 21:39:26 -0500

On 18 Aug 1995, Allan Dunn wrote:
> Allan MacKinnon ( wrote:
> : On 12 Aug 1995 wrote:
> : > Bryan Cowan ( wrote:
> : > : As I understand it, the Basque language is in a different language family
> : > : (I once read it was a *Na-Dene* language or something like that).
> : > To me the Dene people are the "Navajo." Very curious...Explain? I'm lost!
> : I don't believe that it was a Na-Dene language as that was native to
> : North America, along with Amerind and some other language. The language
> : that the Basque speak is supposedly of the same language family as
> : Sumerian and Etruscan which I think was comtemporary with Na-Dene and
> : Indo-European.
> I don't believe that Sumerian and Etruscan are any more related to
> Basque, than Na-Dene (although there is more of a possibility of the
> diffusion of some vocabulary). I believe they are all the mystery
> languages that don't fit into either the indo-european/semetic languages
> of Europe or of the Middle East. Also, what do you mean by contemporary?
> The Athabascan (among the other languages related to Na-Dene) possibly
> came over the bridge at an earlier date than the IE speaking peoples,
> probably long before either language could even be identified as such.
> As to whether either of these proto-proto speakers ever mixed, who can tell?

All of this sounds like Greenbergian linguistics, though I'm not sure
which particular exponent of this school you would want. Check out
recent work of Merritt Ruhlen: According to my amateur linguist roommate,
the Dene-Caucasian Linguistic Superfamily is quite a recent postulate.
He also says that according to the Greenbergians, Inuit is far more
closely related to Indo-European than Dene is to Basque, so we're talking
distant kin here.

sae - He came to understand that he was responsible, not only for what he
did, but also for what he saw. (Robert Stone)