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Answers to unsolved linguistics problems Answers to unsolved linguistics problems
by Joseph Gatt
2021-01-16 11:26:48
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Short answers to common unsolved linguistics problems.

Problem: why is Basque an “isolate language” with no clear connection to any other language?

Answer: European languages have three roots. First, there's the Indo-European root that originated in the Tigris and the Euphrates, in Mesopotamia, Sumeria, Babylonia, whatever you want to call it.

Interesting fact: the Bible claims that the Tower of Babel was built to reach God, and to prevent construction workers from finishing the Tower that would reach God, God punished the Babylonians by making them “speak 70 different languages.” Last time I counted, there are approximately 70 languages spoken in Europe today. But, there are around 800 Indo-European languages, Persian being one of them, along with many of the languages spoken in India.

langui0001_400So the first origin of European languages is the Mesopotamian origin, where the Mesopotamians, Sumerians and Babylonians learned how to farm, explored, moved out. Because they had superior farming skills, they often either embraced or enslaved the Nomadic tribes of Europe.

The last surviving nomadic tribe of Europe that was never enslaved or embraced by the descendents of Mesopotamians were the Basques, perhaps because the Basques resided in the Pyreneans Mountains where farming is difficult and no one really ventures.

The Basques probably learned farming from the descendents of Mesopotamians (or perhaps they taught themselves how to farm, unlikely because they have no bordering rivers) but probably had a culture and belief system that was so rigid that they rejected any Mesopotamian interference.

And the Basques survived Roman and Arab invasions, perhaps because they were way up there in the mountains and no one ventured there.

So Basque is the last surviving language among ancient European hunter-gathering Nomadic tribes.

The second origin and influence on European languages is the Semitic influence. This Semitic influence came from multiple sources. First from Coptic Egypt where the Greeks traded, the Romans conquered, and where many items were borrowed (including cotton and the alphabet).

Other Semitic influence includes that of the Hebrews who moved to Europe in exile. Other Semitic influence is that of the Arabs who conquered Spain, Portugal and Southern France.

Final influence is the Mongolian influence. The Mongols conquered Eastern Europe and left their traces in Hungarian, Finnish and Turkish languages. Turkish by the way is not a language of European origin, but of Semitic origin, and I'll get to that in a second.

Problem 2: The Greeks and the Armenians eat “Arab food” and dance to “Arab music” but speak European languages. The Turks eat “Arab food” but speak a hybrid Semitic-Mongolian language. In Finland the language is a hybrid Germanic/Mongolian language, while Hungary is a hybrid Slavic/Mongolian language. Central Asians speak hybrid Arabic/Mongolian languages, except for Tajikistan where it's a hybrid Persian/Mongolian language. Afghans also speak hybrid Persian/Mongolian languages.

Let's say I'm an Arab and I try to conquer Greece and Armenia. I take my armies there, fail miserably. The Greeks and the Armenians enslave my Arab soldiers.

In any Master/Slave relations around history, slaves have tended to adopt the master's religion and language (because slaves serve the master). But masters tend to adopt slave's gastronomy and music (because the slaves are the ones cooking and singing).

So that's why Armenia and Greece have many “Oriental” features in their food and music, but preserved European languages and religions (both Armenia and Greece, non-Slavic peoples, adopted Slavic religions, namely Orthodox Christianity).

Now the Mongols conquered Central Asia, Turkey, Finland, Hungary and a few other places (including Persia). In some places, like Persia, the King was a Mongol, so were his main advisers, but the rest of the people were “free subjects.”

In Central Asia, Turkey, Finland and Hungary, the Mongols did the following: they (the Mongols) were in great numbers, the “freed” many locals, that is many Turks and Uzbeks and Kazakhs were free, while a big chunk of the population was enslaved.

Now this mix of free Mongols with free Turks gave place to intermarriage and mixing, and to a hybrid language being formed.

Before the Mongols in Central Asia, there were people of Central Asian descent (namely of Chinese descent) who were enslaved by Arab masters and were forced to speak Arabic, before the Mongols came in.

Turkey on the other hand was probably a European (Mesopotamian or Sumerian) people who were enslaved by Arabs (and forced to adopt Arabic) before being enslaved again by the Mongols, where a hybrid Arab/Mongol language emerged.

Problem 3 (final problem): how do families of languages emerge?

In the old days there were nomadic tribes of hunter-gatherers. Those tribes, contrary to popular belief, were very weak. One cold winter and they all died out. One storm, blizzard or drought and they all died out.

Agriculture emerged around major rivers (the Nile, the Tigris, the Euphrates, the Niger, the Congo, the Ganges and the major Chinese rivers). Agricultural societies became “civilized” and by “civilized” I mean they organized around disaster prevention (they were ready in case of drought or storms or floods or earthquakes). Not always, an example would be major floods of the Chinese rivers that wiped out vast numbers of the Chinese population, and that resulted in the European plagues (because flees were feeding off dead Chinese bodies before those fleas were accidentally carried to Europe).

But farmers tend to be better prepared for disasters than hunter-gatherers, and that's why their civilizations survive longer.

There haven't been many major conquests around the world. There have been the Greek conquests, the Roman conquests, the Arab conquests, the Mongolian conquests, and that's pretty much it until the Spanish and Portuguese conquests of the 15th century, then the French and British conquests of the 19th century.

The Greeks, Romans, Arabs and Mongols enslaved the people they conquered. The 19th century British and French colonizers tended to leave local populations alone, and mainly used conquered lands to establish trading ports, only interacting with local Africans and Asians if necessary (only those who would help with ports and trade).

The Spanish and Portuguese on the other hand decimated local populations through germs (not guns) that is the Spanish and Portuguese brought the flu with them, and the local Aztecs, Incas and Mayas' immune systems could not tolerate the flu. And through germ genocide, Spanish and Portuguese are the dominant languages of Latin America.

Same things for the British and French in North America. French and British germs decimated the local First Nations and Native Americans, and thus French and English are the dominant language.

I could say more about the topic, but those would be details. I'll save those for another date.

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