2023, Volume 20, Issue 2

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Juan Luis García Alonso
University of Salamanca
Salamanca, Spain

Mount Parnassos and the Labyrinth: From Korinthos to Knossos, from Zakynthos to Halicarnassus

Voprosy onomastiki, 2023, Volume 20, Issue 2, pp. 9–40 (in English)
DOI: 10.15826/vopr_onom.2023.20.2.014

Received on 29 September 2022
Accepted on 15 March 2023

Abstract: This paper revisits the Greek *-nthos- and *-ssos/*-ttos names and analyzes them in the context of the language contacts between the Pre-Proto-Greek peoples arriving in Greece and the Pre-Greek populations already in place. It starts overviewing the prehistoric process of formation of the Greek language from Proto-Indo-European. A few concepts are defined, such as Pre-Proto-Greek, Proto-Greek, Common Greek and Pre-Greek. After an update on the main hypotheses regarding the dates of entry into Greece, the author stresses the role of the Pre-Greek substratum in the shaping of Proto-Greek due to the implicit phenomenon of language shift completed by the Pre-Greek population, and proceeds to an initial analysis, on the basis of the limited data available, of the Pre-Greek language(s), making use of Pre-Greek onomastics as the main, albeit indirect, source of information. With these names on the table, it is postulated that the phonological structure of the Proto-Greek plosive consonants (the fact, in particular, that the inherited voiced aspirated plosives appear as voiceless aspirated plosives in Greek) may show the effect of Pre-Greek, whose linguistic affiliation has given rise to several conflicting theories and many doubts. Even if the Anatolian hypothesis has seduced many researchers, a non-Indo-European option seems preferable. After considering different Pre-Indo-European proposals (Beekes, Facchetti, Schrijver), conclusions are drawn about possible coincidences between the Pre-Greek and Etruscan phonological systems and what this may imply. Schrijver’s recent suggestion that perhaps the language of the Minoans could be distantly related to Hattic is also considered. This could constitute an alternative explanation to the toponymic coincidences between the two regions: they could be sharing a pre-Indo-European substratum.

Keywords: Pre-Greek and Greek onomastics; Proto-Indo-European and Pre-Indo-European substrates; Pre-Proto-Greek; Proto-Greek; Pre-Greek; aspirated voiceless stops; Pre-Greek toponymy; Anatolian languages; Etruscan; Hattic.


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