Notes on some Pre-Greek words in relation to Euskaro-Caucasian (North Caucasian + Basque), by John D Bengtson and Corinna Leschber

John D. Bengtson
Santa Fe Institute, Evolution of Human Languages Project 

Corinna Leschber
Institute for Linguistic and Cross-Cultural Studies, Berlin

Journal of Language Relationship • Вопросыязыковогородства • 19/2 (2021) • Pp. 71–98 • © John D. Bengtson, Corinna Leschber, 2021

A “Pre-Greek” substratum underlying the Indo-European Greek language has been sus-pected for a long time. There is no reason to suppose that there was only one “Pre-Greek” language; the region where Greek was and is spoken may have been multilingual, with lan-guages of diverse origins. In the following study a limited number of etyma are examined that seem to bear witness to a widespread Euskaro-Caucasian language (or language family) associated with the spread of agriculture out of Anatolia. Greek words like ἀκαρί ‘mite’, μαστός ‘breast, teat’, β/μύσταξ ‘upper lip, mustache’, ξύλον ‘wood, timber’, and ψῡχή‘breath’ are basic and not likely to be cultural loans, and could reflect genuine relics of a Euskaro-Caucasian Pre-Greek language. The examples discussed here are probably part of a much larger subset that a thorough study of Furnée’s and Beekes’ total list of “Pre-Greek” words might yield.

Keywords: Basque language; North Caucasian languages; Euskaro-Caucasian hypothesis; Pre-Greek language; linguistic substrates.

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