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BY-NC-ND 4.0 license Open Access Published by Gorgias Press December 16, 2021

Notes on some Pre-Greek words in relation to Euskaro-Caucasian (North Caucasian + Basque)

John D Bengtson and Corinna Leschber


A “Pre-Greek” substratum underlying the Indo-European Greek language has been suspected 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 languages 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.

Published Online: 2021-12-16
Published in Print: 2021-12-01

© 2021 Gorgias Press LLC

This work is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.

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