An alternative theory, suggested by Eric P. Hamp, is that Phrygian was most closely related to Italo-Celtic languages. Inscriptions. The Phrygian epigraphical material is divided into two distinct subcorpora, Old Phrygian and New Phrygian. These attest different stages of the Phrygian language; are written with different alphabets and upon ...
The Phrygian language. Phrygian is one of the oldest and least attested Indo-European languages. It is far from being completely understood and decipherment is still in progress. Unlike other poorly attested languages, Phrygian has written records in the Phrygian and later the Greek alphabet.
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Phrygian is attested by two corpora, one from around 800 BC and later (Paleo-Phrygian), and then after a period of several centuries from around the beginning of the Common Era (Neo-Phrygian). The Paleo-Phrygian corpus is further divided (geographically) into inscriptions of Midas (city) (M, W), Gordion, Central (C), Bithynia (B), Pteria (P), Tyana (T), Daskyleion (Dask), Bayindir (Bay), and "various" (Dd, documents divers). The Mysianinscriptions seem to be in a separate dialect (in an alphabet with an additional letter, "Mysian-s"). The last mentions of the language date to the 5th century AD and it was likely extinct by the 7th century AD. Paleo-Phrygian used a Phoenician-derived script (its ties with Greek are debated), while Neo-Phrygian used the Greek script.
Its structure, what can be recovered from it, was typically Indo-European, with nouns declined for case (at least four), gender (three) and number (singular and plural), while the verbs are conjugated for tense, voice, mood, person and number. No single word is attested in all its inflectionalforms. Phrygian seems to exhibit an augment, like Greek, Indo-Iranian and Armenian, c.f. eberet, probably corresponding to PIE (Proto-Indo-European) *e-bher-e-t (Greek épʰere with loss of the final t, Sanskrit ábharat), although comparison to examples like ios ... addaket 'who does ... to', which is not a past tense form (perhaps subjunctive), shows that -et may be from the PIE primary ending *-eti.
It has long been claimed that Phrygian exhibits a Lautverschiebung of stop consonants, similar to Grimm's Law in Germanic and, more to the point, sound laws found in Proto-Armenian,i. e. voicing of PIE aspirates, devoicing of PIE voiced stops and aspiration of voiceless stops. This hypothesis has been rejected by Lejeune (1979) and Brixhe (1984). The hypothesis had been considered defunct throughout the 1980s and 1990s, but has been revived in the 2000s, with Woodhouse (2006) and Lubotsky (2004) arguing for evidence for at least partial shift of obstruent series, i.e. voicing of PIE aspirates (*bh > b) and devoicing of PIE voiced stops (*d > t). The affricates ts and dz developed from velars before front vowels.
Phrygian is attested fragmentarily, known only from a comparatively small corpus of inscriptions. A few hundred Phrygian words are attested; however, the meaning and etymologies of many of these remain unknown. A famous Phrygian word is bekos, meaning "bread". According to Herodotus (Histories 2.2) Pharaoh Psammetichus I wanted to determine the oldest nation and establish the world's original language. For this purpose, he ordered two children to be reared by a shepherd, forbidding him to let them hear a single word, and charging him to report the children's first utterance. After two years, the shepherd reported that on entering their chamber, the children came up to him, extending their hands, calling bekos. Upon enquiry, the pharaoh discovered that this was the Phrygian word for "wheat bread", after which the Egyptians conceded that the Phrygian nation was older than theirs. The word bekos is also attested several times in Palaeo-Phrygian inscriptions on funerary stelae. It may b...
1. Woodhouse, Robert. "An overview of research on Phrygian from the nineteenth century to the present day". Studia Linguistica Universitatis Iagellonicae Cracoviensis, Volume 126 (2009), 167-188, DOI 10.2478/v10148-010-0013-x.
1913 Related to Italo-Celtic (H. Pedersen) 1914 Between Italo-Celtic on the one hand and Slavic and Armenian on the other (A. Meillet) 1917 Related most closely to Celtic (J. Charpentier) 1922 Related to Phrygian and, more distantly, to Armenian (E. Hermann) 1923 Related in the first instance to Thracian and Phrygian,
t. e. In historical linguistics, Italo-Celtic is a hypothetical grouping of the Italic and Celtic branches of the Indo-European language family on the basis of features shared by these two branches and no others. There is controversy about the causes of these similarities.
154 Italo-Celtic origins and prehistoric development of the Irish language The account given here differs from Meiser’s (2003: 55) in the following respects. There is no reason to assume a long vowel subjunctive or thematic optative in Italo-Celtic.