Is Old High German Close to Old Persian?

I am going to republish this older piece that has been called into question. Supposedly this language is totally made up. However, that is almost certainly not true, although I am looking into it at the moment. A Croatian professor even wrote a 27,500 word dictionary of this language. I am enclosing here 97 different references that discuss this language in the hopes that this puts an end to the Gan-Veyan controversy once and for all.

Beatrix writes:

Robert,Is it true that 1,000 yrs ago a German & a Persian spoke basically the same language?

No, it is not  true at all that Old German and Old Persian were the same language 1,000 years ago.

However there are some Croatian dialects such as Archaic Islander Čakavian spoken on the islands off the coast of Croatia that are quite similar to Persian or Iranic. They are actually closer to Kurdish and Zazaki though. They are actually completely separate languages, as the lexical similarity with Croatian is only 4%! There is a theory that the pre-Slavic Croatians may have come originally from Persia, and there may be something to that.

These ancient tongues are the remains of the pre-Slavic languages spoken in this area before the Slavs came. The language that these tongues are closest to is called Liburnian. The Liburnians inhabited that region thousands of years ago. Liburnian is an ancient Indo-European language.

I did a study on one of those old languages, an Archaic Islander Čakavian tongue called Gan-Veyãn. I obtained a short dictionary of Gan-Veyãn and went through half of it from M-Z looking on my guesses as where the roots seemed to have originated. The results were remarkable and are listed in order with the language with the most roots first and the language with fewest roots last.

  • Indic
  • Persian
  • Avestan
  • Hittite
  • Akkadian
  • Basque
  • Tocharian
  • Sumerian
  • Lithuanian
  • Aramaic
  • Hurrian
  • Etruscan
  • Gothic
  • Russian
  • Ukrainian
  • Celtic
  • Kurdish
  • Armenian
  • Latin
  • Arabic
  • Mittani
  • Apian
  • German
  • Geez

I will go down the list now and describe these languages.

Indic means all of the Indo European or IE languages related to Hindi.

Persian is well known.

Avestan is best described as Old Persian.

Hittite is an ancient IE tongue formerly spoken in Turkey.

Akkadian is a language isolate formerly spoken in Iraq by the people of that name who had a kingdom there.

Basque is the well known language isolate and pre-IE language spoken in northeastern Spain. Although it formally has no relatives, I would say it is related to NE Caucasian languages like Chechen. In fact the placename Iberia has deep connections to the land of Georgia.

Tocharian is an ancient IE languages formerly spoken by Caucasian people who lived in what is now Xinjiang in far western China where the Uyghurs now live.

Sumerian is an ancient tongue, a language isolate formerly spoken in the Sumerian Kingdom in Iraq.

Lithuanian is interesting because for some reason it is one of the most archaic living IE languages.

Aramaic of course is the language of Jesus spoken in the Levant, Mesopotamia, Iran and Turkey. It is still spoken by Assyrian Christians in Syria, Iraq, Iran and Turkey to this day.

Hurrian is an ancient IE language like Hittite formerly spoken in Turkey.

Etruscan is an ancient language isolate formerly spoken in Italy.

Gothic is the ancient Germanic language of the Visigoths who lived not only in Germany but also in Poland, the Czech Republic, Slovakia and Hungary.

Russian and Ukrainian are well known. This ancient language may have roots close to these two Slavic languages because in a way Russian and Ukrainian are ancient Slavic languages being heavily based on Old Church Slavonic, a liturgical language that originated in northeastern Greece with roots close to Old Slavic or even Proto-Slavic.

Kurdish is the well known Iranic language of the Kurds.

Armenian is a living language, but it is rather ancient and archaic as IE languages go.

Latin is well known and these islands were part of the Roman Empire for a while.

Arabic is well known and quite a few languages along the European coast of the Mediterranean Sea have some Arabic in them.

Mittani is a language isolate formerly spoken around northern Iraq and Iran that nevertheless seems to have some relationship with Indo-Iranian languages.

Apian is an ancient IE language formerly spoken in Italy.

German is well known. How German words got into this language is a head scratcher but Croatia itself is quite close to Germany as a former part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire which had German as an official language.

Geez is the ancient language of the Ethiopian and Egyptian Coptic Christians which was thought to be long dead. However a family in Cairo was recently discovered who spoke Geez at home.

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12 Comments

Filed under Afroasiatic, Arabic, Armenian, Balto-Slavic, Balto-Slavic-Germanic, Basque, German, Germanic, Indic, Indo-European, Indo-Hittite, Indo-Iranian, Indo-Irano-Armenian, Indo-Irano-Armeno-Hellenic, Isolates, Italo-Celtic-Tocharian, Language Families, Linguistics, Russian, Semitic, Slavic, Tocharian

12 responses to “Is Old High German Close to Old Persian?

  1. aircommodore

    Basque country is in northWESTERN Spain.

    Jim

    >

    • Dan

      Jim, why do you think so? I think it might be a complicated issue. Personally I prefer assigning cardinal directions with the help of linguistic maps, because I believe that languages and dialects are a good expression of political power and of movements of people. Also maps of transport routes are good or maps of cities or physical maps. It just seems that the “northern” is a good description. What do you think?

      http://www.muturzikin.com/carteseurope/europe.htm

  2. Rus

    Robert, this language is a hoax. It never existed. It has been created by some crazy (literally) Croat. This crazy mix of all languages was done on purpose. It is a fringe theory typical for post-Communist Eastern Europe. There are a lot of such pseudo-scientific theories there. Though it is the first time when I hear that someone invented a hoax language.
    See also the background:
    https://secretvisitors.wordpress.com/2011/06/08/dalmatians-in-the-south-pacific-and-australia/

    • It’s not a hoax. I know someone who speaks it.

      This is not the same language as the one invented by Lovric. Gan-Yevan is well documented. There are even quite a few Gan-Yevan speakers in the US.

      • Rus

        Everything leads to Lovric Jr. (it is very doubtful that the father had anything to do with the language, it is rather the crazy son who attributes his pseudo-linguistic deliria to the father). Gan-Veyan (what a ridiculous name! you spelled it wrong, by the way) is 100% Lovric Jr. invention. The only way to prove the opposite is to give independent (from Lovric) sources. But there is none. If such a strange language existed, it would be a linguistic sensation and even the one last speaker would draw a great attention (as it was with, say, Ubykh), but there are no mentions of it outside of self-publishing sites (wikis, blogs, etc.) in the internet.

        • It is not true. Gan Veyan is real. I know someone who speaks it. In fact, there are a lot of speakers even in the US. It is not a language anyway. It is considered to be a dialect of Chakavian, which is considered to be a dialect of Serbo-Croatian.

  3. Rus

    Let’s not confuse different things. There is the Chakavian dialect of the island of Krk. It is not much different from any other Slavic Serb-Croatian dialects. It might have some Romance influence, particularly lexical, from Dalmatian and Venetian, but not much, and these elements must be well-known. Any dialect on the Adriatic coast has more or less Romance borrowings. Krk is not situated somewhere in the Polynesia. It is a well-known island, everybody around knew and know well how the people have spoken there. They have spoken either normal Romance or Slavic at least for 1500 years. The famous tablet from Baška is written in pure Slavic.

    On the other hand, Gan-Veyan, this very crazy mix of all languages, has nothing to do with Chakavian as well with any known language. It is a pure invention of Lovric Jr. Nobody speaks this crazy mix, except of, maybe, the author himself, though most probably he also can not speak (literally) it, but rather can write in it. You might like to call it a conlang, not a hoax, but as the author pretends that this is a real language, then this is a hoax.

    It is no wonder that you might know someone from that island or the vicinity, as well there is no wonder that some people from there live in the USA. But they must speak normal Chakavian, open any book in Serb-Chroatian and you know it. But the people from there can not speak with such an enormous mix of words from Akkadian, Hittite, Old Persian, Sanskrit, Geez, and who knows what. Not to mention his crazy invented grammar. It is simply impossible, it is pseudo-science, period.

    • Mitjẽl Yošamýa: Gan-Veyãn and Cakavism of Baška, Zagreb 2005.

      The new voluminous monograph in 1,224 pages on this topic was elaborated by the late professor Mitjel Yoshamya, and published in Croatian, Zagreb 2004 (because of interest also reprinted 2006).

      But Yoshamya’s documents and publications are related to a quite divergent regional archidiom of non-Romance i.e. Palaeo-Balcanic (pre-Slavic) group including his Liburnian language that is intermediate between the old Illyrian & Thracian languages of Balkans, and the old Italic languages (as Venetic, Umbrian etc.).

      While medieval urban speakers of romance Dalmatian were mostly in coastal and insular towns of east Adriatic and allways written in Latin alphabet, – other Balkanic dialects persisted mostly as rural relicts in a mosaic with Slavic immigrants, and they were recently more or less slavicized and mostly written in another Glagolitic alphabet up to 18th century. Thus folk texts and poetry collected by the late Yoshamya (and his few successors) are in this half-slavicized Neo-Liburnic.

      I knew Yoshamya chiefly from his last years as retired professor, almost via phone and in rare occasions to meet him personally. My impression was that he was mostly not a “phantasist” but a realistic scholar very passionate in compilating all available data related to a certain topic that interested him.

      In his youth as faculty graduate, for a decade during WW1 and subsequent years he became an Asian adventurer riding (as cowboy) and working on archaelogy and ethnography at Baikal Lake, in Mongolia, in Caucasus etc.; then he advanced to a rigorous College professor teaching and writing on the protohistory, ethnogenesis and correlations of some Asian and Balkanic ethnic groups.

      Note: recent biogenetic analyses in his native area offer the similar data i.e. above a half of local population there are not original Slavs, but 2/3 ancient aborigines now culturally Slavicized.

      Re: M. Yoshamya: he was a retired professor of history & geography in Classical College (Zagreb); he was dead some years ago, and his new book appeared as a later posthume edition.

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  4. Rus

    Robert, this list is not much help. It is a known trick of pseudo-scientists: they often give a very lengthy reference list with very obscure and hard to obtain sources, but nothing in the list confirms what is said by the author. Moreover, most people have no access to the references listed. Most of these sources might be located somewhere in the libraries in Zargreb, but neither me, nor you, nor anybody around live in Zagreb. So we cannot easily check what is said in the references. Nevertheless, there is 99% probability that the checking is not worth doing as the sources most likely would not confirm Lovric Jr.

    And you were supposed to give independent from Lovric sources. But you in the first place gave the reference to the Lovric Jr.’s book. But exactly from this very book the alleged language came to the word. Nobody knew about the language before the book. Second, the list you gave is exactly from the web site which was created and edited by Lovric Jr. A big part of the list is self-reference. Thus there is zero trust to that site. It is a self-publishing wiki (called “Metapedia” to be precise). I’ve already seen the list and seen the description of the language. It is googled easily, just type the name of the language and the first result would be this Lovric’s site at metapedia. By the way, the language itself is mentioned in the net only just around 200 times. This discussion must add some 10-20. You may notice I do not name the language and do not give any links, as I do not unintentionally want to give a cheap advertisement to Lovric Jr.’s deliria.

    The best solution for this discussion is to contact some well-known linguist who specialized in Balkanic studies. It may be some linguist from Croatia itself. Or better you can contact any USA linguistic organization such as the Summer Institute of Linguistics (SIL), they are always very interested in small minority languages. Or any University with a Slavic or Indo-European department would suffice. Most important that these people would not have any connections with Lovric Jr., so no conflict of interest or agenda must be involved. The source must be independent.

    And I’d like to ask you another questions. How did you happen to know about the language? Did you find it at metapedia or similar self-publishing sites? You claim that you know somebody who speaks the language. Again, not any Serb-Croatian dialect, it is not a surprise, but that exact language “system” which has been “described” by Lovric Jr. at his site. What the name of that person? How one could contact him? Could he provide a video where he would speak this language? Could he contact the SIL for an additional research? I bet this person would create a linguistic sensation. Though I would repeat I’m 100% sure there are no such persons. This language is as real as Klingon.

  5. Rus

    And the “biography” you provided is made by the son himself. The user GeoLatina from la.wikipedia is Lovric Jr. himself. The pretence that he is not him but someone else is silly as it could be. I do not know their family relations, but the “via phone and in rare occasions” might be indeed true.
    From very scarce information in the net Lovric Sr. fought in the Austrian army during WWI, became a POW and lived a couple of years in Siberia. Then he returned home and was a school teacher for the rest of his life. So the “Asian adventurer” and “professor” part is another lie by the son. The son by some unknown reason thinks that the reference to the father would make the cause more plausible. I wish nobody such sons.

  6. Rus

    I spent too much time for that Croatian freak but once more. A close look to the list reveals that most of that is either about history or archeology of the region, or about Slavic dialects of the region. So no sensation here. They most likely say nothing about Mr. L-c work. Other sources are self-reference, so we discard them entirely. The rest are works by other Croatian pseudo-scientist who claim the Iranian origin of Croats. But as I said Mr. L-c is not alone, there are hundreds of such pseudo- scientist in Eastern Europe. One of their most beloved idee-fixe is either Aryan or Gothic origin of their people. They think to be Iranians is much cool than to be Slavs or anything else. Some East Europeans are also fond of this idea like some Hungarians and Bulgarians. And of course a Germanic (Nordic, “Aryan” or “Gothic”) origin is number one for every European right-winger with nationalistic complexes.

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