Kurultaj 2016 in Hungary -photos
Max Fasmer struggles to solve the mysterious Eastern Slavic word sobaka ‘dog’, but finds nothing else except the Turkic word köpek ‘dog’, offered by Trubačev (Fasmer III, 1987: 702-3). After that, he confidently leaves but a little room for the Russian sorok ‘forty’ to come from Turkic kırk ‘forty’ (Fasmer III, 1987: 723). He offers even a k < s change. This k ~ s is a dialectical case within Proto Turkic, and not related to the loaning process to this or that language. Thus, for instance, kan- “to be deceived, to be fooled” ~ san- “(falsely) suppose, assume”, kemik “bone” ~ sümük ‘bone’. That Turkic has both k- and sforms is cause of the reverse cases as in Russian kon(ec) ‘end’ (1) ~ Turkic son ‘end’, Hungarian szűn ‘to end’.(2) And this k ~ s is universal, not unique to Turkic (See Celilov 1988: 111-3). Cf. at least the famous satem vs. centum differentiation within the IE group. The Russian language has an example even from Arabic (Semitic): savan ‘cerement’ < Arabic kafan ‘cerement’.(3) Examples are endless between any two languages.
What makes the Russian sobaka so crucial is that it occurs only in the Medean language in a closer or identical form: spako, given by Herodotus in I/110. A Turkic mediation from Medean to Russian seems plausible, but such a definition would be basically wrong. The source of sobaka is not Medea, but Turkland. Turks probably had both *kopak (V) and *sopak (V); the second form reached Eastern Europe together with sorok, and there are likely many other examples waiting to be discovered. So, what is the nature of relation of (proto or not) Turkic and Medean? In accordance with the classical rules and regulations of the relevant scientific branches, nothing definite can be said for reasons, such as the distant geography of their lands and Urheimats, linguistic separateness, racial differences, the very time interval, etc.
Another word of the Medes forces one not to rule out a Turko Medean relationship so hastily. The Mags of the Medes are reported to be both a tribe and a religious caste or clergy. Their name is the source of the modern/widespread/Western word magy (> magic). But sources are doubtful in naming a standard form; rather we have alternate forms of mag and mug (sometimes and today in Persia mog). Much has been written on the /travelling/ history of this word. Mair took it to China to make the Chinese word wu ‘magician’ (Mair 1990: 27-47). This is true but there is more. The Chinese wu would be associated with the Pasific-origin American word woodoo. Many languages have that word in a close form; their common feature is to be located in a zone open to Eurasian linguistic interaction from Korea and China (> the Pacific?) to Ireland. Interestingly, ancient habitants of this westernmost isle of the Old World had this word in mogh form, which might have been totally free of Greek mediation (magi). Our reason to think so is the existence of another word in English loaned perhaps from early Celtic inhabitants: bug. (4) Interestingly enough, Turkic has the same word: bög “a poisonous spider, tarantula” (Clauson 1972: 323). Mahmud of Kashgar’s dictionary from the 11th century, the eventual source of Clauson, gives also the form böy (Kaşgarlı Mahmud 1995, III: 141).
Thus we came to Turkic. Unlike the European languages having the Medean word Mag via literary channels, except the doubtful (to me) Irish case that we pointed to above, Turkic has both bağı and böğü/büğü forms meaning ‘magi’. This is associated with the Middle Eastern mag and mog/mug variations. These phonetic changes are very normal and universal. What happened in the Middle East (likely -a- > - o-/-u-) might have happened in Turan, too. It happened in the West: English seems to have a sound complex b - g (big, bag, bug, bog) meaning approximately “puffed up” (Liberman 2005: 185). Interestingly enough, among Eurasian languages having mag-kind words, only Turkic has two phonetic variations for the same or similar meaning (indeed, there are semantic differences: bağı is more related to illusion, while böğü is directly ‘magi’. That is, the former is more material, and the second one has a spiritual content). This phonetic coincidence between Turkic and Ancient Zagros languages (5) on the same word(s) would intimate an organic relation between them.
A comparison between Turkic, of which the earliest textual records from the 7th century in the Northeast of Asia, and the language of the Medes, who reigned for three centuries in the west of what is today Iran between the 8th and 6th centuries BC, would be rejected by those who, on the other hand, know well that Indo European studies started with the comparison of the Sanskrit of India, and the Latin and Ancient Greek of Europe. It is unbelievable that most of the modern age scholars oppose searching for linguistic relics of the so-called Uralo-Altaic languages outside their lebensraum known to us at the beginning of the Middle Ages, when the Huns marched upon Europe, for geographical reasons. UraloAltaic linguistic geography is today very different from how it was 1600 years ago (or indeed we suppose so); why then should we imprison those people before the Hunnic march in their so-called Uralic and Altaic Urheimats? Why should not we compare any language with the so-called Uralic and Altaic ones with the intent to look for genetic relationships, especially when we deal with agglutinative languages, which were used to be spoken in the Zagros region before the Persian invasion? Even if we overcome these geographical obstacles, in the conventional view, there appear time gaps. For instance, Erzart’s warning that between Sumerian and reconstructible forms of Turkish (sic!), Hungarian or Sino-Tibetan there exists a gap of two thousand years is very meaningful in this sense (Edzart 2003: 2). Should we abstain from comparing languages for chronologic reasons, or should we keep in mind those distances in making comparison between languages? If so, why do we relate Bengali and Irish peoples’ speeches?
The Medean language would be found classified among the Indo-European languages. (6) According to what? Most of the linguistic data, namely the two words mag and spako, were given above. The Medes are associated with the Persians but by our contemporaries, and not by the contemporaries of the Medes. Herodotus describes a totally different nation. The Medes were entirely different from the Persians. The latter were simply of low degree people, and were slaves of the former. The very separateness can be best visible in the famous address of Astiages, the last Medean ruler, to his commandant Harpagos given in Herodotus I/129. After Astiages was overthrown a new age started in Iran in ethnic and linguistic sense. It was a sharp transition costing sea-like blood of the Mag class, who had formerly represented the national identity of the Medes, who were offshoots of the previous Zagros people like Manna, Kuti, Lullubi, etc. While their ethnic separation from the Persians is fixed, and while their ties to the natives of the region seem to indicate continuity in identity, how can we include the Medean language that we virtually do not know in the Iranic family?
Diakonoff’s decision on Mede ethnic identity is by no means understandable: “Curiously enough, within the Median tribal union proper only one out of the six tribes was called “the tribe of the Arya”, although Arya was the general name by which all Indo Iranians without exception called themselves. Could it not be presumed that in spite of all Median tribes speaking Iranian, only one traced its origin to the immigrant Arya, while the rest were regarded as being autochthonous even though from time immemorial they had lost their original language and had amalgamated with the Arya? The very name of the Medes, Māda, has so far received no sufficiently transparent Indo-European etymology. All this probably point to an early, slow and long process of gradual Iranisation of the local autochthonous population of the Iranian highlands, especially in their eastern area.” (Diakonoff 1985: 57)
In another place he determines the present day Iranian population as grandsons of the non-Persians: “It is the autochthones of the Iranian Plateau, and not the Proto-Indo-European tribes of Europe, which are, in the main, the ancestors, in the physical sense of the word, of the present-day Iranians.” (Diakonoff 1985: 42) So, who are the Medes? We do not know their language, and we know, in turn, their anthropologic features, which have nothing to do with the Persians/Aryans. How then can we ascribe to them an Iranic language?
Pre-Iranic languages of the Zagros region left very few relics, mostly personal names. Like the structure of their language, agglutinative like Turkic and Hungarian, those words are also easily recognizable — precisely and only — in Turkic. Since B. Landsberger’s Ankara career in the pre-war period, there emerged interest in ancient Middle East languages of non-Semitic stock, namely what we call the Zagros group, and some Turkish scholars in academic milieu tended to compare their languages with Turkic. However, they were of history-archaeology branch, and professional linguists abstained from or could not dare to deal with these questions. Albeit not much in quantity, the results are impressive in any case. Ağasıoğlu from Azarbaijan and Zahtabi from Azarbaijan of Iran added many. I tried to collect them, as far as I could, in my book İran ile Turan (Karatay 2003: 65-76). This is, however, beyond my areas of expertise, too, since I am a historian of Medieval Eastern Europe.
Therefore, today we see a block, know that it is a virtual iceberg, and have no any idea about its hidden parts in the deep. Working groups composed of linguists (of various languages, not only Turkic) and experts of the ancient Middle East should and can manage this responsibility. Perhaps an international working group should be employed for this study.
Why I am insistent on Medea, rather than others like Gutium or Sumer is due to the very Turkic relation of the mag case. There is a universal semantic group consisting of the notions magnitude, God, ruler, hero, fighter, clergyman, droid, might, capability, possibility, richness, demon, ghost, bugbear, etc. Interestingly, many Eurasian languages have similar/cognate words for these notions. The oldest word that we have from this family is the Sumerian adjective mah ‘great’. Hindustani mahA, baDA, Greek mega, Latin magna, Hungarian magas, English big and Turkish bög> büyük are entirely of this group, and have the same meaning, except the Hungarian word that tells about height, which does not deviate from the essential ‘grand’. For God examples, Turkic has Bayat, Mongolian Bogdo, Slavic Bog and Old Iranic Baga. For ruler, lord, hero, warrior etc. Turkic has beg and böke, Mongolian boko (< Tr.), beyi-jin, Tunguz begin, Chinese piak, po, Slavic voda, Polish pan (< Tr. bayan), Iran baga, paiti, Sansk. pat, Latin magister, etc. The English auxiliary verb may has *mogh or *mag forms in Proto-Germanic. The word might also be of the same root. This Germanic root has mogu in Slavic as counterpart. But there are other languages, too, having such a word in the meaning of might and capability: Turkic bek, Mongol böke, Tunguz beki, Korean phek, mainly meaning “substantial, hard, mighty, strong”. For the bug and bugbear case we have, for instance, Turkic büke, bög, Mongol buk, mogay, Hungarian bogár, Russian buka, pugalo, and English bug, bogey, bugbear, etc., as above stated. What is very very interesting in the table that supplemented my book Bey ile Büyücü “Lord and Magician” (Karatay 2006: 147) is that only Turkic has equivalents for all of the associated notions, not missing even one term. They are entirely of the same phonetic appearance, that is, they are offshoots of the same word. How can we comment on such a case? Does Turkic keep the most ancient vocabulary of humanity? If not (not of course), why is Turkic so consistent in keeping Sumerian and Medean traditions?
Last year, the title of one of my conference papers was “About Frog”. Many lecturers and students came out of curiosity. I tried to explain why the Turkic words for prince and frog, respectively bäg and baka, are similar to each other on the ground that the Sumerian words are the same: nyir “prince, frog”. The Grimm Brothers of Germany recorded a story coming from the very deep history of humanity, and regarding the fact that many peoples and cultures have such tales; this figure is, indeed, widespread and has some linguistic base. I could not scan all languages in the world, but did scan several ones in Eurasia, and I found that only Turkic continues this Sumerian tradition of associating lord or prince with frog. Perhaps there are other languages, too. We should look for all of them. However, this does not change the Turkic affinity with the Sumerian.
Turko-Sumerian studies have a long history, through which a huge volume of works has been produced in both the West and Turkic countries. Hungaro-Sumerian studies, too, have an extensive history. I have not yet read even half of these Hungarian studies, and thus cannot have a judgement; but in the days when O. N. Tuna was lecturing in the US about his Turko-Sumerian relations, Hungarian scholars, too, were forwarding concrete result for ‘direct’ relations between Hungarian and Sumerian (Zakar 1971: 215). It is very unfortunate that the two branches are still not in cooperation, or at least not in communication. Many non-scientific attempts, which can easily gain popular support, caused these studies to be degraded in the general academic view. However, this is not failure of scientific studies, but of scholarly milieus, which could not separate science and fiction from each other. These studies question the very conventional bases paved for the last two centuries, thus, even though you forward solid academic products and proposals, it is not easy for the traditional/conventional minds to accept those innovations. This failure is even greater than equalizing all studies in this area in a fake-science group.
In some cases, accepting the Turko-Sumerian relations is not sufficient. If you do keep allegiance to the Altaic theory, namely, accept the existence of the Turkic Urheimat in the Altaic ranges and beyond, then you have to look for migrations from Far Asian inlands to Iraq in vain. This is the case in some highly respected books produced in Turkey in the recent times. As far as I know, we still do not know of such a migratory movement towards the Middle East, and, as a matter of fact, the Sumerians seem to live there from immemorial times on.(7)
Some researchers claimed about 800 words common in Sumerian and Turkic, some reduced it to lower numbers, but we should best consider the results of O. Nedim Tuna, who found only 168 words (His essay-like work was published as a booklet by Turkish Linguistic Society in 1997). He did not repeat and eliminate previous studies; instead he went on the phonetic rules that he had discovered. He was an academic member of the University of Pennsylvania, and presented his findings in several scholarly gatherings from 1970 to 1974. Prof. Denis Sinor of Indiana, for instance, advised him to ‘immediately’ publish this ‘impeccable’ work. However, this did not change the course of the orientation in the US, and did not have an immediate effect on Turkey’s then poor and politically infected linguistics, but in the course of time scholars started to examine his results in a “calm state of mind”, and to realize the very subtlety of this study, produced by a professional and very capable linguist in accordance with all scientific rules of this category of research.
However, there arose problems in applying these results to ‘humanity’. Sinor and others hearing these results directly from Tuna seem to have forgotten at all, since they never referred to such a possibility in their Altaic studies. (8) It is very engrossing that Prof. Tuna, whose expertise was Mongolistics, is also known as a serious defender of the Altaic theory. This theory in its customary form contradicts with the proposal of Sumero-Turkic affinity. We will never know Tuna’s thoughts about how to overcome this problem, but he clearly says that those Sumerian words are loanwords from Turkic. This does not solve the question on historical grounds, as mentioned, due to the lack of any movement to Iraq before six or seven millenniums. One of his pupils, now a respected professor of linguistics, told me that Prof. Tuna said to him in his last days: “We have likely worked in vain to reconstruct the Proto-Altaic; what we have done was to reconstruct the Proto-Turkic.”
This is the crucial point: to be or not to be for the Altaic, and thus Uralic family. It seems, as if, that people try to find relatives in this lonely planet, and more members in the family means more power in international affairs (!). (9) What would change if Hungarian had represented an independent case and did not belong to the Finno-Ugric (or Altaic) family? The misconception of the Indo-European students to ascribe genetic affinity to the speakers of IE languages, that is, making Swedes and Indians relative and excluding Finns from any proximity with their Scandinavian neighbours, could be the political reason provoking those kinds of conceptions. We think we can shape the past arbitrarily. Thus, for instance, students of ancient Eurasia created an Iranic realm from the Carpats to the Altais and beyond, and from the Urals to the Iranic shores of the Indian Ocean. Nobody has needed to explain how those Iranic peoples succeeded in spreading across such vast areas, and how they were able to disappear without any trace, except in Iran and its eastward extensions, as well as the Ossetes of the Caucasus. I have been searching for proofs of Iranic identity of the Saka/Scythians for about ten years in the books of the claimants, without getting any satisfactory result. They make claims without providing any evidence. This has turned to be a confessional issue, rather than a scientific one. You must accept that those people were of Iranic stock, because it must be so. I have to refer to Marcantonio’s questions (2009: 89):
Q: Why does Hungarian have so much Turkic elements?
R: Because they lived in close relation with the Turks for a long time.
Q: How do we know that the Hungarians lived in close relation with the Turks for a long time?
R: Because Hungarian has so much Turkic elements.
This is my adaptation:
Q: How do we know that the Scythians were Iranic people?
R: Because Iranic peoples were living in Eurasian steppes in those times.
Q: Who were the Iranic peoples living in the Eurasian steppe region?
R: The Scythians.
On the other hand, some people think the factual past can be changed. Chairs of seven Bulgarian institutes of history (the concerned institute of the Academy of Sciences and history departments of universities) officially protested against me for including the Proto-Bulgars among Turkic peoples of the past. This was shocking and indeed tragic, since nobody in Bulgaria, Russia or any other country had claimed by that year (2001) the independence of Proto-Bulgars from Turkic ethnic and linguistic realm. (10) This was an impossible mission. There are unfortunately many other examples of making history by historians, and not by its actors, and unfortunately many of them have succeeded in gaining worldwide currency.
We cannot have our scientific efforts subjected to arbitrary presuppositions. Science is made for the sake of science, and we wish it to be good for humanity. If the Turks are offshoots of Gog and Magog, let it be so. Just as, a Medean affinity of Turks proposed in my thesis would mean a relation with one of the most cruel personalities of history, Astiages, (11) although Turkic rulers were always of tolerant and humanist character to other people, as ordered by the steppe traditions. I should not strive to change this ‘fact’, if it is a factual fact. Kramer tries to connect the Jews with the Sumerians via the Prophet Abraham (May peace be upon him), whose ancestors supposedly had ‘some’ Sumerian blood (Kramer 2002: 393-4). Recently some studies appeared in Turkey to make the Prophet Abraham (May peace be upon him) ancestor of Turks, and thus to make the Prophet Mohammed (May peace be upon him), his grandson, a Turk. Such indirect ways would lead to nowhere. Direct ways are sufficient to enlighten all obscurities and to solve all problems of history. Thus, attempts to look for traces of Turkic or Hungarian, or any other language, in Sumerian should not have the motive of tying one’s own nation with this brilliant nation of the very ancient times. Reasonable minds like Tuna and others never claim a Turko-Sumerian genetic relationship. The common discourse is that there neighbouring relations occurred; thus those Sumerian words recognizable in Turkish are simply loanwords. As a matter of fact, the two languages are not related (but also not much indifferent) in structural sense.
I think, however, we should keep in mind other probabilities, too. Languages are vital organisms. Creatures are continuously renewed; everyday thousands of cells in our body die, and many others are produced to replace them. If the renewal activity is superior, we grow up; otherwise we age and ultimately die. In linguistic systems, some words are left to replace new ones, or they undertake new meanings. Their former meanings die. Let us call this reincarnation of words. This continuous process makes the appearance of a certain language in different ages or phases very different. New members of the vocabulary or ex-members with new duties differentiate the later phase from an earlier phase. In longer terms, this separation would make any two phases unrecognizable to each other. Thus, present day Chinese do not understand Han-shu, in spite of the fact that any deep cultural interference on their language have not happened for the last two millennia. Thus, how can we know that many Sumerian words, which are today not associated with Turkic, were not once forgotten words of ancestors of Turks? Turkic has a comprehensive dictionary written 10 centuries ago by Mahmud of Kashgar. A comparison of its content, or say the Drevnetjurkskij Slovary’, with the word treasure of today’s Turkic languages would suggest the degree of deviation within 1000 years. I suggested to some of my linguist friends in Turkey that they undertake such a (preferably doctoral) study, but nobody has the intention to do so for now (There is an estimation in this regard; see below. But Turkic is famous with its conservatism, and durations and rates might be much different compared to other languages).
Therefore, potentially, the share of common elements in Turkic and Sumerian might be much above than what we know or guess. We cannot judge the unknown, however. New studies might lead to new and fascinating results. One of our trials provided us with really unbelievable results on linguistic relationships between Turkic and Sumerian. Tuna pointed to the Sumerian giš “wood, tree” and Orxon Turkic yış “forest, mount” (Tuna 1997: 7). This word survives today in four eastern Turkic dialects in forms such as cıs, cis (read Tr. c as Eng. dj). This Sumerian word has other meanings, too, as expected (Halloran 2006: 17, 24). Of its meanings, such a development would be guessed logically:
tree > wood > (wooden) tool > work (with tool)
male organ → to urinate
According to Tuna, the Turkic word was derived from the first (step of) meaning. What about with the other meanings? He indeed invented another correlation, but missed the rest of the meanings in this example. He collected many examples for Sumerian g ~ Turkic ø, like Sum. gud ~ Tr. ud ‘ox’, Sum. gaz ~ Tr. ez ‘to crush’, etc.(12) Thus, one would go to Turkic ış/iş ‘work’. Its vocal being parallel to the giš ~ yış case, this word in olden texts mostly occurs in ış form (Clauson 1972: 254). We do not have in records a ‘tool’ meaning, but Clauson gives ‘thing’, which may be related to the previous step in the Sumerian case. Turkic seems to contain the third step, too. There is no any record for iş ‘penis’, but there exists surely related işe- and çişe- ‘to pee’, çiş ‘urinating’ words (cf. Ostyak kǒs, Cheremish kəž ‘to urinate’). The second form is reserved for children. The equation çişe- & çiş = işe- & x would remind that iş once used to mean ‘urinating’. Regarding that -e is a productive suffix in Turkish to produce denominal verbs, the root would mean, once upon a time, directly “tool, thing” (See Karatay 2007a: 134). Another result that we can deduce from the existence of such two forms of relations between Turkic and Sumerian as respectively g ~ ø and g ~ y (> c, j in Norhern -Kipchak and Altai- dialects, and d in Bulgar) is that Turkic keeps memories of different layers of the ancestral lands. That is, ancestors of Turks were neighbours of the Sumerians for a long time. This example shows that there is much work to do in this area.
If there are Uralic, Altaic and Uralo-Altaic families, and if there are definite relations with Sumerian, a historical explanation would be complicated, as stated above. As a matter of fact, the current doubtful approach in the majority of the scholarship in this area of research seems to stem from this complication. If, say, Sumerian (or Kiengir) country was situated in the Anau or Kelteminar sites, in Turkmenistan, our (their) job would be easier. But if the two North Eurasian language families are really not families, if Turkic is independent of the so-called Altaic group, and if Hungarian has no genetic relationship with Finno-Ugric languages, even with its sisters Vogul and Ostyak, namely the Ugor branch, as some recent studies show, then there would not be any obstacle before us to look for other possibilities. I cannot speak on the assertion regarding Ugric relations with the Finno-Perm group; Italian colleagues especially, brilliant Angela Marcantonio being the outstanding figure, have produced interesting material on the absence of Finno-Ugric group. Marcantonio rules out even genetic connection of Hungarian and the Ob-Ugric twins. I tried only to make a lexical comparison of Finnish and Hungarian to see what exists between them with my own eyes. My results were very far from the results of William Jones’ Sanskrit, Latin and Greek comparisons in India 223 years ago. The two languages seem totally alien to each other.
Historical association of Turks and Mongols, together with many common words and morphological resemblances, has provoked scholars to develop the Altaic genetic relation theory, which has a history of three centuries. This is not the place to discuss the positive and negative features of the theory, but we must remember these immediate objections: Common vocabulary of Turkic and Mongolian is not of the basic word stock, but of those easily borrowable kinds. Common words between Turkic and Manchu-Tunguz are much less; they belong to a great degree to the group shared by Turkic and Mongolian. This reminds one that those words are loanwords, which passed from Turkic to Manchu-Tunguz via Mongolian. If Turkic and Mongolian have not even one common number (except the unexplained Tr. tört and Mo. dörben ‘four’),(13) how can we speak of any family genealogy? In genetic relations, simply the deeper we go, the closer we get. Mongolian and Turkic get increasingly distant in olden layers, and are closer in the closer ages.
Another problem is with Turkic itself, with its above-said conservatism. Even the best speakers of English would be gravelled before the texts of King Alfred (9th century). But even Turks of Turkey, whose language has moved away most from the Kök Türk language of the 8th century, known to us thanks to three inscriptions in Central Mongolia, can easily understand a significant part of those inscriptions. Turkish has faced much foreign influence and severe crisis over the last 1000 years, and its vocabulary dramatically changed with borrowings from Persian, Arabic, (few) Armenian and from all Mediterranean languages, plus the current impact of the American language. In spite of this, we can understand the Kök Türk language. Therefore, the Kök Türks would equally or (likely) better understand the language of Turks of the 5th century BC (the distance is the same: 1300 years). And Turkic of the Saka age would not be very strange to the present day Turks. Turks of the Saka age could easily understand language of Turks from the 18th century BC (the Sumerian age), the Kök Türks would realize the close similarities, and present day Turks would see some similarities from a linguistic point of view. This is either Sumerian, or, a more possibility, its neighbour(s) that sent so many words to Sumerian. (14) The only difficulty here is that Turks before the Kök Türks seem to speak in the R dialect. W. P. Lehmann in his warning to Zakar about Hungarian words in Sumerian says that “two related languages would share 65 % of their vocabulary after a thousand years had elapsed” (Zakar 1971: 219). Therefore, indeed Lehmann confesses that Turkic or Hungarian wealth in Sumerian is potentially more than what we know. If we find a satisfactory number of commonalities, then we can easily estimate in more and more presence of them in olden times.
Those neighbours can be either those in the Zagros Mountains, or those in Northern Mesopotamia, mainly the Subars. This is the key word, I think, to understand the very complicated ethnic and linguistic schema of Eurasia regarding the so-called Finno-Ugric and Altaic families, and the place of Turkic and Hungarian among them. We should again and again think about Constantine Porphyrogenitus’ Sabartoi Asphaloi. Priscus never tells that Sabirs/Suvars came from midlands of Central Asia. They were in West Siberia. And their existence in that region was recorded earlier by Ptolemeus. It is not very clear why historiography respects Priscus, who tells about human eating birds, and ignores such a magnificent geographer as Ptolemeus.
Interestingly enough, Turkic and Hungarian have almost the same structural features, except for the insistence of Turkic to put verbs at the end of the sentence. The Hungarian decimal system is based on Turkic on ‘ten’ after 30: negyven “four tens”, ötven “five tens”, etc., ven being the Bulgaric or Proto-Turkic form of on. In Turkic only 80 and 90 are made with on: seksen “eight tens”, doksan “nine tens” (this is so for Ostyak, too, 10 being yaŋ; as well as Vogul having pen). Suffixes are even to a great extend similar: Tr. yaz-ın ~ Hu. nyár-on “in the summer”; Tr. bol-du-m ~ Hu. vol-ta-m “I was, I became”; Tr. İstanbul-(r)a ~ Hu. Istanbul-ra “to Istanbul” (Turkish has lost r, but keeps in certain places: içre > içeri “to inside”; taşra > dışarı “to outside”, nere “to where?”, bura “to this (place), here”, ora “to that (place), there”); causative and passive forms are produced in Hungarian exactly like Turkic by adding respectively -t and -l to the verbal root: mozogni “to move”, mozdítani “to have st. moved”, mozdulni “to be moved > to move”; indulni “to start”, indítani “to have st. started”. Turkic has plural suffix k- for some cases, while this is the regular Hungarian plural suffix (see below). Again, this is not the place to discuss Hungaro-Turkic affinities. There is a tremendous literature especially in Hungarian on this issue, and these samples will suffice. A bulk of common words in Hungarian and Turkic seem likely not to be borrowings from Turkic, but rather the heritage of common ancestors.
As in the case between Turkic and Mongolian, there is not an impressive amount of common basic vocabulary between Finnish and Hungarian, as before said. If Hungarian stands closer to Turkic, and if Mongolian is not likely a genetic relative of Turkic, then we should reconsider the classical classifications of Uralic and Altaic. The case is not so simple. I hope to make a comparison of Hungarian and Mongolian in regard to Turkic, or hopefully someone else will do it in near future, without paralyzing with the classical theories. This is not to say that Hungarian (perhaps say: Ugrian) and Turkic compose a family independent of Finno-Perm and Altaic, although A. Marcantonio separates even Hanti and Mansi from Hungarian, as before stated (Marcantonio 2002: 7; 2009a: 54). Perhaps, there are several families independent of each other, but bound with the frame of agglutinative structure: Finno-Perm, Ugric, Samoyedic, Turkic, Altaic, etc.
Pronouns are very irregular and messy in Hungarian, in contrast to Turkic, which has perhaps the most regular, organized and simplified pronoun system in the world. Pronouns are not shared by the two languages, except the third singular person: Tr. o and Hun. ő. The third plural is made in the same way, by adding the plural suffix. This can be explained if one assumes that Hungarian was made of different languages. There is no intermediary language, as far as I know. Creoles and pidgins go to a certain language as a base. English is full of Latin origin words, but even their absolute majority does not separate English from the Germanic family. Today Persian vocabulary is mostly composed of Arabic and then Turkic words. This, however, never influences its affiliation. Chuvash is, in spite of its very distance from Common Turkic, a Turkic language. They do not change their categories, because they retain basic vocabulary, basic grammar rules and basic structures. Scholars hesitated for a while in classifying Chuvash. What would happen if Chuvash had more borrowings from regional languages (except Russian), and Hungarian had more Turkic elements? Would they resemble each other? Structurally there is nothing to prevent such a development. Thus, what we should do is to estimate in which circumstances Hungarian was formed.
Wikipedia, relying on a Hungarian source gives such a proportion for word roots in the Hungarian lexicon: Finno-Ugric 21 %, Slavic 20 %, German 11 %, Turkic 9.5 %, Latin and Greek 6 %, Romance 2.5 %, other of known origin 1 %, others of uncertain origin 30 %. If we exclude European languages, proportions would be such: Finno-Ugric 35 %, Turkic 16 %, of uncertain origin 49 %. The core lexicon was estimated such by Budenz (late 19th century): 62 % Finno-Ugric, 25+10 (?) % Turkic. Rédei’s UEW makes 28+20 % of the core words Uralic, and the remaining 52 % ? (Marcantonio 2002: 40).
Except the far standing Chuvash and Yakut, the Turkic languages and dialects have a surprisingly common vocabulary; linguistic unity has been saved to an amazing degree. What makes Turkic languages (to some degree) not mutually intelligible is the great extent of phonetic changes (of recent ages), rather than changes in grammatical rules or vocabulary. Thus, the total vocabulary of Turkic language(s) is not of great amount, albeit Proto-Turkic had the richest word treasure compared to all other proto languages (in Décsy’s opinion).
In the Finno-Perm languages, the case is not so. There are mostly independent languages tied to each other with very old genetic relations, if any. The sum of individual word treasures of all Finno-Perm languages is very high, compared to all Turkic words. Thus, potentially any Ugric or Hungarian word can find its phonetic and semantic equivalent or relative in any Finno-Perm language. The fact is, however, that common vocabulary of the so-called Finno-Ugric family is not so great (Moreover, many of those common words have ties with Turkic: Hu. fej, fő, Fin. pää ‘head’ ~ Tr. baş, Chu. puś; Hu. fél, Fin. puoli ‘half’ (cf. Rus. Serb. pola ‘half’) ~ Tr. böl-, Chu. pül- ‘to divide’; Hu. fúr, Fin. pura “to twist” ~ Tr. bur-, Chu. pĭr- “to twist”). Hung. föz- ~ Tr. piş- ‘to cook’ is interesting in wider context. The Hungarian word is of the expected Bulgar form. The Common Turkic form, on the other hand, is associated with Ugric *pišä ‘to prepare food’ and Slavic peč (< *pektì) ‘to bake’, which has several Indo-European relatives. (Fasmer 1987, III: 256-7; Derksen 2008: 393).
Therefore, it is very easy to find a Finno-Perm relevant case for a Hungarian word. This is done much in comparing Turkic with Indo-European languages, and some scholars ‘found out’ that almost there was no such a language as Turkic, since almost all words, including numerals, were borrowed from Indo-European languages, that is, from Iranic ones. In this attitude, the total sum of vocabularies of individual IE languages amounts to millions, and any Turkic word would have a corresponding case in any IE language. From a certain position one may see nothing, and from another point everything may be clear. We must ask for what is the situation for the above-mentioned English bug, Russian buka and Turkic bög. Who borrowed from whom? Constitutionally, Turkic borrowed. Even if there were not the Russian word, many scholars would directly mark this Turkic word as a loanword from IE, had they realised. Then, what is the case with Turkic words like büg ‘big’, bod ‘body’, kap ‘keep’ (Hu. kap), yaka ‘neck’ (Hun. nyak), til ‘tongue’ ~ ‘tell’, tiş ‘tooth, teeth’ (Other Germanic counterparts agree with the IE root *dent, but not the English word(s) so), tovrı ‘true’ (cf. Slav. dobro ‘good’), bor ‘beer’ (Hung. bor), etc. (A good literature and interesting samples are given in Bikkinin 2002). Therefore, the more diversification in the languages being examined, the more chance one has to find corresponding cases for subject words in a given language. The proportion of the words common between Hungarian and Finno-Perm languages are, as far as I know, far less than those between Hungarian and Turkic, and those between the Ob-Ugric languages and Hungarian are also less common words, compared to Turkic.
In these circumstances, the twofold share of the Hungarian words from Finno-Ugric stock compared to Turkic ones stems from cooperation of, indeed, many languages against one language. But the mystery would be solved by taking into consideration the parentless words, which compose half of the eastern assets of the Hungarian core language. The case is such: As above said, the very unity of (Common) Turkic is troublesome in the scientific sense. It is mostly due to the continuous amalgamation of people from different parts of the Turkland, the Eurasian steppe region. Members of any tribe could be met potentially in any point of the vast country (Interestingly, it is the case in Anatolia and Azerbaijan, too; nowhere is there an accumulation of any tribesmen group. During the conquest of these new homes, all Oğuz tribes were almost equally spread in Anatolia and Azerbaijan). This genetic homogeneity led to linguistic homogeneity, too (for a while, until their definite settlement under the Mongols and then Russian rule). But when some Turks remained or get out of the region full of action, as in the cases of the Cuvash and Yakuts (Sakha), and also perhaps the southern tribe Khalach, their languages start to differ from the common Turkic language. Even though they preserve their original grammatical features (but not totally), their vocabularies differentiate from each other. This is due to two main reasons: Firstly, the independent performances of the linguistic shift processes. The Yakuts, for instance, did not need to ask other Turks for which words and meanings to kill, and which words and meanings to create (from existent sources). Secondly, neighbourhood relations. The more they borrowed words from different languages, the more their vocabularies grew away from each other.
Are we to believe that half of the Hungarian core lexicon is of uncertain source? This is impossible. They are to a great degree ancestral words of the Hungarians; their sources are grandfathers of the Hungarians. The Turkic words that are not met in other languages are words of Turkic; I have not heard something else. Thus, those Hungarian words not found in any (Eurasian) language are words of the Magyars. If we try to forcibly include Hungarian in Ugric or Finno-Ugric, or even Turkic or Altaic families, then the bulk of its vocabulary would be parentless. Independence of languages should be respected. This does not mean that we will give up looking for the origins of those words. But, the wrong departure will take one to wrong points. If there are so many words alien to any language around, and if they constitute the essential layer of the language, should we then accept that those so-called FinnoUgric words in Hungarian are loanwords? Chuvash also has many words from the surrounding languages. After discussing about Chuvash’s interaction with the surrounding Finno Perm languages, Johanson arrives at the opinion that it is not a typically Turkic language displaying only minor deviations from Common Turkic, and not also a Turkicized Finno-Ugric language (Johanson 2000: 176-7). A Finno-Ugric substratum, in his opinion, caused this language to move far away from Common Turkic.
So, what is the case with Hungarian? Why do not we speak of substratum(s) in this language? If Hungarian is ‘radically’ different from its closest relatives, Vogul and Ostyak, in phonology, syntax and vocabulary (Marcantonio 2002: 69, 75-7, who cites Abondolo, a traditionalist scholar in the Finno-Ugric studies), than the Ugric substratum would not be of primary significance. Or, in better words, the constituent element would be of different source. It does not seem, at first glance, to be Turkic, too. However, share of Turkic correspondences in Hungarian is by no means less than any other regional language. If Hungarian shared outstandingly common vocabulary, grammatical rules and other features with any of the regional languages, we would easily suppose a substratum. If the share of the words with uncertain origin would not be so much, that substratum was surely Turkic, which is, as above said, not in a backward position compared to the Ugric twins in regard to contribution to making of Hungarian linguistic entity.
Ethnic substrata are hardly or rarely to influence linguistic sight of any language. French is simply a Latin language; native Gauls and Frank and Bourgond immigrants do not have representative capability in French, compared to their ethnic contribution in making of the French nation. Russian has very little from the assimilated Nordic, Finnic and Turkic peoples; only the centuries-long Golden Horde rule stuck several hundred Turkic (and few Mongolic) words to Russian. Legitimacy of the Bulgar Turkic in today’s Slavic Bulgarian language is almost of ignorable character (while the Hungarian language has ten times more of them). On the other hand, Persian has quite many Arabic words, with almost non-existing Arabic blood. The same is true for Turkish, too. Serbian would cease to be a language without its Turkish vocabulary, while Serbians do not seem to have any Turkic gene. Thus, it would be wrong to relate word stock and ethnic substratum with each other. Turkism in Serbian or Arabism in Turkish reveals themselves at the first glance. They do not belong to the basic layer of the concerning languages; those words are of easily loanable kinds. If we can decide to what degree the Turkic or Ugric wealth of Hungarian is of loanable character, and to what degree they belong to the category of basic vocabulary, we can healthily select the true nominee for the substratum.
Turkic loanwords in Hungarian, estimated to be about 450 for the pre-Ottoman times, are classified mainly as those concerning agriculture and political organization (Róna-Tas 1996: 110-1). There may be twofold mistakes in such an assumption. Firstly, why should we attribute loaning-borrowing relation to all common words? Could not they inherit those words from their own ancestors? This is so bilaterally. Denis Sinor thinks that Ugric *palγV “city, town” (> Vogul pēl, Ostyak pūgel, Hung. falu) passed to Turkic to produce balıq ‘city’ (> Mong. balgasun, Man.Tung. falga) (Sinor 1981: 101). I am sure, all Hungarians were surprised when they firstly heard of the English word wall (< Latin vallum?), since their language has fal for this meaning. City ~ castle ~ wall ~ soil mixture ~ mud ~ swamp, etc. are semantically related words, and almost all Eurasian languages have some words of *pal/*bal kind belonging to this semantic group. This was expressed 1000 years ago by Mahmud of Kashgar (1995, I: 379). Thus Latin palus ‘march’ or English pool or Turkic bal ‘mud’ comes altogether to a common point (This was dealt with in: Karatay 2008). Even not so, why should we exclude the Greek polis ‘city’ from those six words occurring in Ugric, Altaic, Turkic and Hungarian languages? Who did borrow from whom? Loaning-borrowing is an easy explanation, but in many cases cannot explain problems.
Secondly, if we create such categories as agriculture, statecraft, etc., then it would be easy to attribute a ‘shopping’ relation between languages, with the pretext that speakers of this language were huntercollectors, being in a primitive social organization level, and thus learned agriculture and social organization from the speakers of that language. But here, in the Hungaro-Turkic case is a mistake. We should say that, I think, “words from these two categories are remarkable”, and not that “common words are of these groups”. If the forest people could learn carpentry from the steppe people, then one could easily decide that Hungarian ács ‘carpent’ < Turk. ağaç ‘tree’. What would it be if the Hungarian word was in a different form? And can these words be easily classified as loanwords from Turkic:
ájul ‘to faint’, alá ‘under’, alacsony ‘low’, áltat ‘to deceive’, anya ‘mother’, atya ‘father’, apa ‘father’, árt ‘to harm’, arat ‘to harvest’, ásít ‘to yawn’, bagoly ‘owl’, bolygat ‘to mix’, csap ‘to hit’, dilis ‘mad’, (be)dugaszol ‘to bung’, piszkos ‘dirty’, bogár ‘insect’, bő ‘plenty’, bú ‘worry’, csal ‘to deceive’, csat ‘to add’, csatáz ‘to fight’, csavar ‘to turn’, de ‘but’, elem ‘first, elementary’, első ‘first’, ér ‘to catch up, to arrive’, ér ‘to mature’, kap ‘to take’, kés ‘to be late’, előre ‘forward, onward’, ész ‘intellect’, faj ‘race’, fel ‘up’, ás ‘to squash, to dig’, fáz ‘to be cold’, fej ‘head’, fele ‘half’, fől ‘to cook’, fúr ‘to twist’, gyár ‘to produce’, gyökér ‘root’, gyúr ‘to mold’, ha ‘if’, hág ‘to rise, to go up’, hin ‘to believe’, hosszú ‘long’, hűl ‘to be cold’, ír ‘to write’, kék ‘blue’, kell ‘to need’, kép ‘picture’, kerül ‘to come’, kés ‘knife’, kever/kavar ‘to mix’, kicsi, kis ‘small’, ejt ‘to tell’, tölt, tel ‘to full’, más ‘other’, szab ‘to fix’, szab ‘to cut, to harvest’, szál ‘to stay’, tan ‘to know’, válta ‘to take’, nyak ‘neck’, nyál ‘saliva’, nyal ‘to lick’ (cf. Fin. nuola ‘to lick’), nyár ‘summer’, ócska ‘old’, sárga ‘yellow’, seregle ‘to crowd together’, söpör ‘to sweep’, sok ‘many, much’, sor ‘order’, szél ‘wind’, szó ‘word’, szomor ‘to be sorry’, szűn ‘to end’, szűr ‘to filter’, térd ‘knee’, toll ‘feather’, töm ‘to full’, tűr ‘to endure’, úsz ‘to swim’, van ‘to exist’, vál ‘to happen, to be’, vaj ‘oil’, vet ‘to throw’, vás ‘to be eroded’, vég ‘edge’, na ‘here, behold’, szor, szer ‘times’, vol ‘to become, to be’, öl ‘to kill’, szám ‘number’, etc.
Turks and Persians cohabit in Iran for 1000 years (much more than the alleged Hungaro-Bulgar cohabitation in Etelköz and Kuban basin), but did make very few loanings of this kind in basic terms, except a few colour names. It seems to be common wealth coming from deep history. A simple example: K. Rédei proposes the Proto-Ugric root *tV1mpз- ‘hit, beat’ for the Hungarian word dob- ‘to throw’ (Marcantonio 2002: 111). Should we include in this examination the Turkic verb döv- ‘to beat, to hit’?
J. Laakso of Vienna, who has a merciless review of Marcantonio’s book, gives on her university website the list of common Finnish and Hungarian words. The first two columns are her, and the third one belongs to me:
Finnish.............................. Hungarian....................... Turkish (not Turkic)
elä- ‘live’.......................... él- ‘live’...................... yaşa- ‘live’ (lambdacism)
ime- ‘suck’.......................... emik (cf. csecsemő 'baby')...... em- ‘suck’
ui- ‘swim’........................... úszik ‘swim’.................... yüz ‘swim’
katoa- ‘disappear’................... hagy- ‘leave’................... ay(rıl)- ‘leave’
kuole- ‘die’......................... hal- ‘die’...................... öl- ‘die’
mene- ‘go’........................... men-, megy- ‘go’................ ---
nuole- ‘lick’........................ nyal- ‘lick’.................... yala- ‘lick’
niele- ‘swallow’..................... nyel? (nyelv “tongue, language”. ye- ‘eat’
pelkää- ‘be afraid’.................. fél- ‘be afraid’................ belin ‘panic, terror’(Clauson 1971: 343)
puno- ‘plait’........................ fon- ‘plait’..................... ---
tunte- ‘know’........................ tud- ‘know’...................... ---
anta- ‘give’......................... ad- ‘give’....................... at- ‘throw’
juo- ‘drink’......................... iszik, iv- ‘drink’............... iç- ‘drink’
syö- ‘eat’........................... eszik, ev- ‘eat’................. ye- ‘eat’
kulke- ‘go forth’.................... halad- ‘advance’................. Çuv. ülem ‘next, after, in
future’; Com. Tr. ileri ‘advance’
kuuntele- ‘listen’................... hall ‘hear’...................... kul(ak) ‘ear’
kytke- ‘link, tie together,connect’.. köt ‘tie’........................ kat- ‘add, mix, join’
kadu- “sew or stitch very firmly” (Clauson 1971:596)
löytä- ‘find’........................ lel- ‘find’...................... ---
lyö- ‘hit, strike’................... lő ‘shoot’....................... ---
lykkä- ‘shove, push’................. lök ‘push’....................... ---
näke- ‘see’.......................... néz ‘look’....................... ---
pitä- ‘keep, hold; like’............. fűz ‘tie, connect’............... bağ- ‘tie, connect’
sula- ‘melt’......................... olvad- ‘melt’ (?)................ sulu ‘liquit’
teke- ‘make, do’..................... te(sz) ‘do’...................... ---
tuo- ‘bring’......................... toj- ‘lay an egg’................ tavuk (Hung. tyúk) ‘hen’
vetä- ‘pull’......................... vezet ‘lead’..................... it- ‘pull’
vie- ‘take away’..................... vi(sz) ‘take away’............... ---
ole- ‘be’............................ val-, vol- ‘be’.................. ol- ‘be’
Of 28 items, only nine have no any Turkic connection, in regard to my knowledge, and from the resting 19 verbs only one or two are absent in Turkish (belin existed in Old Anatolian Turkic). In the majority of these cases, Turkic stands closer to Hungarian than Finnish. In some cases relations are not clear like sula and olvad. And in some cases Turkic verbs are closer to Finnish as in the cases vetä- ‘pull’ and ole- ‘be’. Of the nine unrelated cases, four are compulsory, because Turkic has no l- and n-, unless we find a phonetic correspondence. Finnish has these verbs, and Turkish has replies for them. Turkish has its own list for Hungarian correspondences, however Finnish has no any reply. That is, the majority of the corresponding verbs in Hungarian and Finnish are shared also by Turkish, but Turko-Hungarian correspondences outside this list are not shared by Finnish. This case clearly locates Hungarian very close to Turkish, thus Turkic. On the other hand, there is clearly a remote relation between Turkic and Finnic, comprising also Hungarian, based on the b- ~ p- equation.
So, what is the case? Turks contributed to or participated in making of the Hungarian language in ethnic (as shown by genetic studies) and linguistic senses. This is never restricted with and not necessarily related to the relations on the Bulgaric realm in the second half of the first millennium AD. And compared to the Frank, Bulgar, etc. examples given above, Turkic existence here is very determinative. However, this does not solve the actual question. From whom are half of the Hungarian words, other than those words having equivalents in Turkic, Ugric and Finno-Perm languages? There does not seem any source east and west of Volga. One explanation would refer to the theory of linguistic shift. Other related or (once) neighbour languages lost their words, but Hungarian managed to keep alive. Thus, those words do not have living relatives. Although for a plausible part of the concerning word stock this is true, the ratio of undefined words in Hungarian is too high to suppose such a possibility for the whole case.
Another explanation would test our curiosity. We have examined all northern languages for potential neighbourhood relations, but did not have a look at Middle Eastern languages. Otherwise, Hungarian would be supposed to be a totally free language, with no bonds with any language. Even this, however, cannot be the explanation, since all languages seem to relate with each other in a way or another. Non-expectable equivalents in remote and unrelated languages can be found for any term in any language (One of my friends managed to find correspondences between the Maya language of the Yucatan peninsula and Turkic; I keep, however, my objection that this does not indicate any genetic relation. Even a migratory movement is hardly possible). If some people tried and found Sumerian correspondences for some Hungarian words, they should not be criticized for their dealing with Sumerian, but for their methods and (scientific) suitability of their results. István Fodor starts his fierce critique of Zakar with the warning that Hungarian belongs to the Finno-Ugric family (Fodor 1976: 115). So, can we make this study after freeing Hungarian from the Finno-Ugric? Turko Sumerian relationships are at such a level as to challenge the Turko-Mongolian relationships (albeit there are several correspondences between Mongolian and Sumerian, discovered by Tuna (1997: 45). What would be if Hungaro-Sumerian relations would have such a degree? We have to look at all possibilities.
If Hungarian ezer ‘thousand’ comes from Iranic hazar, as alleged (Ligeti 1986: 167), if we give chance to Iranic language(s) to give the remote Hungarian such an important word, why should not other languages also have a chance to be examined? Even this very conventionalist example is in favour of our theory. Avesta and Sanskrit were almost easily understandable with each other in the first half of the first millennium BC. It is very senseless that their words for ‘1000’ are different. Other IE languages, too, do not have such a word, as far as I know. Hazar is an Iranic word, but does it eventually belong to the Ari vocabulary? Or Iranians borrowed it in Iran from the natives? Diakonoff says, as above cited, that ancestors of the Iranians were natives of Iran to a great majority. In these circumstances, can linguists claim all Persian or Iranic words to be of Aryan stock? Like the above examined Russian word sobaka, this Hungarian word would take us to the pre-Persian Iran and Iraq. Shall we re-examine the so-called Iranic loanwords in Hungarian? Otherwise, without interrogating the classical approaches, which are bankrupt to much degree, we cannot advance from the current position. Ezer is likely a pure Hungarian word inherited from their ancestors from the Zagros region.
In this way, on the Iranic context, we can find another agreement for the equation Hun. f- = Fin p- = Tr. b-: Hun. fa ∼ Fin. puu ‘tree’. Turkic has the widespread word bağ ‘wineyard, garden’. It is claimed to be a “very early” loanword from Persian (Clauson 1972: 311). The same is told for bor ‘wine’, too (Clauson 1972: 354). This word is very common among Turkic languages and exists in Hungarian, too, but not known to the IE languages. Otherwise, the English word beer would not be a disputed word, and would be tied with it. The only measure taken here is the ‘official’ linguistic hierarchy: If a word occurs both in Turkic and Iranic, it is certainly of Iranic, or even ‘Persian’ origin. For the very clear and definite cases of the recent ages, this cannot be said, and those ‘Neu Persischen’ words are classified as loanwords from Turkic or Mongolian. Why not for the earlier ages? If Persian can be as humble as borrowing words from Turkic and Mongolian in the last millennium, what prevented it from doing so in earlier times? Here I do not claim that bağ is from Turkic to Persian. Persians likely borrowed it from natives of Iran, whom they destroyed or assimilated.
The pretext that those suggesting such ideas as relationship between Sumerian and Turkic or Hungarian, including O. N. Tuna, are not Sumerologs and do not know Sumerian cannot be used in this discourse. How can we expect this or that famous and capable Sumerolog, who does not know (ancient) Turkic or Hungarian, to develop such ideas? If Sumerologs have not been able to produce a competent glossary, this is their defect. If there is no problem with the glossaries, then everybody can handle them. These en bloc approaches would lead to nowhere, except preserving the status quo. It is very unfortunate to witness that there are scholars trying to prevent scientific developments. If it is a crime that amateurs deal with such advanced studies, let then professionals have their words, but not with such words as: These are amateur hobbies; this is a popular and nationalistic tendency; there is a great gap between those languages; morphology is not sufficient to compare languages, etc.
Even attributing the Turks a significant vocabulary of agricultural stock, in order to explain the concerning Hungarian words, would reverse the conventional ideas. Really, Turkic, language of the so-called steppe dwellers, or indeed wanderers, has interestingly a rich vocabulary of agriculture (A nice doctoral study was produced by Bülent Gül in 2004). Those words are Turkic with great majority, and not loanwords. When and where did they develop this culture? There is no any land in and around the commonly estimated Turkic Urheimat convenient to agriculture, except the Turkistan valleys in the south and the (mid-) Volga basin in the west. Neither the Mongolian steppes, nor any part of Siberia can produce such an agriculturalist society. Did the Turks learn cultivation in the Farghana valley? The very intensive sight of Turko-Sanskrit relations in ancient times, indicated by the championship of Sanskrit among all languages in loaning words to Turkic (of 313 loanwords in Proto-Turkic, 166 from Sanskrit?), in Décsy’s opinion (1998: 90), reminds such a possibility, but I will offer another alternative.
Of course, ethnonym may have nothing to do with ethnos in many cases, but we have to use them in ethnic studies. Many people wrongly look for the word ‘Türk’ in their search for Turkic origins. This is only partially true and applicable. The Chinese chronicle Sui-shu says that the land of the forefathers of the (Kök) Türks was in the upper side of the Western Sea, and they were destroyed by their neighbours. (15) This has long been disputed. For such a significant and great case, the Isik or Balkash Lakes are not likely. If so, where was the Aral or Caspian in directional sense? Gumilev, without any polemic, solves this question by referring to a chronological knowledge: Kök Türks reached the “West Sea” in 555 in their westward march according to Chinese sources. They were on the Aral coasts in that year. Thus, in his opinion, the West Sea is Aral (Gumilëv 2002: 53). Selecting one of the two, Aral or Caspian, does not serve and change my purpose in this term. The given geographical location is important and there is no any significant difference between the two great lakes, especially in steppe terms. I would prefer both in order to say that ancestors of the Kök Türks had lived on the steppes north of Aral and Caspian. Once upon a time they migrated eastward to the Mongolian steppes, and thus called that direction ilgerü ‘forward’ (Clauson 1972: 144). This signifies the direction to go. In favour of this, backward was westward. Türk homeland in the west of Turkistan is supported by early Islamic narrations, especially those told in the anonymous Mujmal al-Tawārīh (Togan 1981: 17-19). It is very engrossing that the most important epic of the Turks, the Tale of Oğuz Khan, which contains traces of very ancient times, has the region around the Caspian Sea as scene. Nothing is done in the east.
Greek and Latin geographers of Antiquity give some information about ethnic features, at least about ethnonyms of the Volga banks. According to Pomponius Mela (1st century AD), after the Amazons on the Maeotis coast, “The Budini inhabit the city of Gelonos. Next to them Thyssagetae and Turcae occupy endless forests and feed themselves by hunting.” (Pomponius Mela 1998: 67). The same is repeated in Book VI/19 of his contemporary Plinius the Elder: “We then come to the river Tanais, which discharges itself into the sea by two mouths, and the banks of which are inhabited by the Sarmatæ, the descendants of the Medi, it is said, a people divided into numerous tribes. The first of these are the Sauromotæ Gynæcocratumeni, the husbands of the Amazons. Next to them are the Ævazæ, the Coitæthe, the Cicimeni, the Messeniani, the Costobocci, the Choatræ, the Zigæ, the Dandarii, the Thyssagetæ, and the Tyrcae, as far as certain rugged deserts and densely wooded vallies, beyond which again are the Arimphæi, who extend as far as the Riphæan Mountains.” (Pliny 1855: 14-15. ) The editors write Iyrcae in the text, but had to explain in footnotes as: “The more common reading is “Turcæ”, a tribe also mentioned by Mela, and which gave name of modern Turkistan”.
After these, indeed, there is no need to discuss what in reality the Herodotian Iyrcae is (IV/22): “To the north, beyond the Budini, is an immense desert of an eight days’ journey; passing which to the east are the Thyssagetae, a singular but populous nation, who support themselves by hunting. Contiguous to these, in the same region, are a people called Iyrcae…” (ed. Beloe 1840: 195). Disappearance of this people from the region just before Christ (but only according to the sources not mentioning them for a long time), I think, can be understandable with the Chinese account. If Pliny and Mela took this information from Herodotus, this is better in the sense that the actual Herodotian form is proven by the two late-coming authors. They read Tyrcae in Herodotus’ versions that they had, but the versions reaching us have the corrupt Iyrcae. As far as I know, nobody corrected the two authors after the 6th century to suit it to the “newly emerging” (Kök) Türk nation.
To sum up, all sources support each other in only one way: Turks, whether the Türk tribe or not, were in the Volga basin for 2500 years at least. We know eastward migration of the Türk tribe; many others also might have done the same thing before or after them. Some tribes like Suvar remained there. A group of Hungarian words of cultivation having Turkic correspondences are so close to the Common Turkic forms that even Oğuz Turks today can easily understand a great part of them. That is, there is no much gap of time before us in terms of habitation of the early Turks and Hungarians in ‘cultivated’ areas. 2000 years is optimal for this group of words. A narrow line between the steppe and the uncultivable forestry region was perhaps the land, where the Turks and Hungarians, perhaps their common ancestors used to live. This does not exclude the case that the steppe region also was dwelt by the Turks. Continuous amalgamation processes in the steppe eventually led to creation of Common Turkic language, and the agricultural regions kept the older, Proto-Turkic speech, which we call OğuroBulgaric. The great wave of Kipchakisation in the second half of the Middle Ages changed this linguistic sight. The Chuvash have kept that language even by our time. Thus the Hungarian correspondences are closer to the Oğuro-Bulgaric, rather than the Common Turkic.
We know but little about Oğuro-Bulgaric, an extinct Turkic dialect or language or group of languages. Chuvash directly descends from such a language, but we have no old records of Chuvash. It was surely very different in olden times from what it is today. If we knew better about Bulgaric, we would likely to discover secrets of much of the undefined Hungarian words. Bulgaric language is dead, and Common Turkic has lost hundreds or thousands of words for the last 2000 years. Thus, we can estimate that a significant number of the undefined Hungarian words could be explained with those lost words of Turkic, thus share of Turkic related words in Hungarian are indeed and potentially more than what we have today.
I am very opposing the humiliation of ancient authors. They were the cleverest people of their ages, and surely cleverer than most of the historians and linguists of the modern ages. They were closer to the narrated events and cases, and were witnesses of their own ages. If there seems in their words any contradiction or anachronism, it might be at first due to our lack of understanding. We have no right to attribute them ignorance and carelessness in advance. Their unusual or contradictory accounts may hide clues of some important facts unknown to us. After above enumerated indications, what should I understand from above cited words of Pliny the Elder: “…and the banks of which are inhabited by the Sarmatæ, the descendants of the Medi, it is said…” Who are the Elder’s those cocksure sources, who connected the Middle Eastern Medes and the truly Nordic Sarmatians? Might they know something that is totally alien to us?
The Sarmatians, who came from the Mid-Volga region, and who had nothing to do with the southerner tribes like As, Aors, Alan, etc., except being the leading tribe over them in a steppe confederation, may hold the key for opening some secrets of the steppe life that reached as far as Britain. (16) Some English words of obscure origin match with some Chuvash words (hir ‘girl’, çĭh ‘chicken’, suma ‘to count’ ~ ‘to sum’, beer etc.), with some Hungarian ones (tú ‘too’, nyak ‘neck’, haj ‘hair’, képes ‘capable’ ~ ‘to keep’, távol ‘long’ ~ ‘tall’, láb ‘foot’ ~ ‘to leap’, agg ‘too old’ ~ ‘age’, sző ‘to sew’), and some with (Common) Turkic as given above. Of course, there are sufficient examples that are common in any of the three or four languages concerned, like ‘neck’. In some other examples Latin replaces English: creare (> En. create) ‘to make, to produce’ ~ Hun. gyár ‘to produce’ ~ Tr. yar(at) ‘to create’; cavus ‘cave’ ~ Tr. kov, etc. I plan to prepare a comparative four column list hopefully to be published in this journal.
There should be a historical denominator (with English) to explain these connections, since there can be no any genetic relation between these languages. If not a Sarmato-Saxon neighbourhood in Saxony before the Völkerwanderung, which is very plausible, we may estimate on the Sarmatian regiments, namely comrades of Arthur, sent by Rome to defend the southern half of Britain. These words may be their legacy. Although it is possible to explain any personal name in any language, in common application this practice is reserved only to IE studies. For instance, in Diakonoff’s terms, if a Medean name can be explained in IE, it is of IE > Arian origin. May we experience this for Arthur? It would be right to think that the local Briton people called this hero as ‘Bear-man’ in their language, as suggested in etymologies of this name (Higham 2002: 78-80). As Higham expresses, these are very weak and ‘to be’ etymologies. But might not he have a name from his own language, if he is really from Sarmatia? His name reminds us one of the original forms to be (indeed same) Är-tur (“be, remain, stand as a heroic man”), an accustomed name from Turkic realm. This is only a ‘preliminary’ idea, but worth of elaborating.
Why insisting on the Sarmatians? It is because the Sarmatians’ homeland was the territory, where the Hungarian entity was borne. Curiously enough, from the same land came to Europe the Hungarian tribe Gyarmat, described by Constantine Porphyrogenitus (mid-10th century), and in the same land, Bashkiria, lives today the tribe Yurmatı. Common Turkic y- and Hungarian gy- turns to be ś- in Chuvash, which is said to save the archaic form. According to Ligeti, gy < Chuv. ĵ (1986: 19-20). Albeit hypothetical, this suggestion offers at most an early medieval form, and is out of scope of the Sarmatian age. Turkic related doublets in Hungarian like gyümölcs ~ szemölcs ‘fruit’, gyűrű ~ szérű ‘ring’ likely represents different ages. This is very normal. Turkish also has those kinds of words: Proto-Turkic and Bulgaric kor ~ Turkic koz, Bul. del- ~ Tr. deş-, Bul. belik ~ Tr. beşik. The sz- forms in Hungarian are perhaps relics of the Sarmatian age. The word gyümölcs is very interesting in this term. One should expect lambdacism at the end of the Chuvash equivalent, since the Common Turkic word ends in ş. But it is śiměś in Chuvash and žimis in Mongolian, instead of the expected śiměl and žimil respectively. The Mongolian one is clearly a medieval loanword from Common Turkic, and the former looks like a quasi-Kipchak effort. (17) Only the Hungarian form has lambdacism. A hypothetical semel in Proto-Turkic is associated with the Arabic samar ‘fruit’. There is a significant literature on Hungaro-Semitic linguistic relations, but Turkic still has nothing, as far as I know, in this area. I offered a few words like kabar ~ Ar. kabara “to grow bigger”, yer ~ Ar. dâr ‘earth’, etc. Turko Hungaro-Semitic relations pose another proof for Middle Eastern origins of the ancestors of the Turks and Hungarians (18) (I must stress here that their common ancestors came from the south, but the two peoples as ethnic structures in the sense of Turks and Hungarians appeared in the north. Thus their homeland was the mid-Volga and its surroundings, while their ancestors and ultimate origins were in the Middle East).
This would make us to tie these three ethnic names from Bashkiria. The pattern is classical. No tribe migrated en masse and totally in Eurasian history; almost all of them left back their cuisines. This was so for the Land-Conquering Hungarians of Árpád, too (cf. Magna Hungaria). And nobody should object on the ground that there passed much time from the Sarmatians to the contemporary Bashkirs, for almost all ancient and medieval ethnic names (like Burjan, Uysın or Subın) are today vivid in tribal or clan names of the regional Turks, mainly Kazakhs, Bashkirs, Karakalpaks and Uzbeks.
Like Ligeti (1986: 136), Róna-Tas also likes to bring the Mańśi name from the Avestan Manuš ‘man’ (1996: 303). It is unbelievable that this far northern people needed Iranic aid to have such a word as to signify ‘human creature’. This is not impossible, of course. For instance, Turkic has adam ‘man’ from the name of the prophet Adam, and insan ‘man’ from Arabic, but also has its own words. This suggestion is only a thought and preference. I do not deal with that preference. Róna-Tas objects that the second part of the word magyar cannot be the Turkic är “man, men, people”, since such a twofold expression as “men of men, people of people” would be illogical. He would be right if the two components were those Iranic and Turkic words. What want I to ask is why we do not incline to look for a Bulgaric plural –r at the end. This is the Bulgaric form, according to Pritsak (1955: 75). Common Turkic has a regular plural system with –ler/–lar. Chuvash has its own suffix. But there are some relics indicating that Turks once used various suffixes. One of them is –k, now the Hungarian plural suffix. As before stated, Turks add only plural suffixes to the end of the singular forms of pronouns or conjugations to turn them to plural: o ‘he’, o-n-lar ‘they’; gel-di “he came”, gel-di-ler “they came”; i-se “if he is”, i-se-ler “if they are”. In the first person –k and –z are used: ben ‘I’, biz ‘we’, biz-iz “we are”, dialectal biz-ik “we are”; gel-di-m “I came”, gel-di-k “we came”, i-se-m “if I am”, i-se-k “if we are”. These two plural suffixes today live in twin organ names like göz, diz, omuz, and like ayak, bacak, kulak, yanak, dudak. (19) That is, plural forms are interchangeable, alternate and even loanable. Cf. Bulgarian perdeta ‘curtains’ having Greek plural.
Thus, a part of the Sarmatians, who remained at home during the first migration BC, joined the second campaign, which ultimately resulted in making of the Magyar nation, and the remaining part contributed to the Bashkirs. It is very inconvenient to look for mainly the ethnonym Magyar during our search for origins of the Hungarian nation. Widespread usage of this name, self-denomination of this nation, seems to be totally a product of the Central European days. As shown by their mentioning by early Islamic sources, Magyars were a numerous tribe in the Etelköz, but there were others, too, as given by Constantine Porphyrogenitus. Name of the ‘wider’ nation or the political entity was not Magyar, but, it seems, Onoğur > Hungar. This name (“Ten Tribes”) hides in itself a federal structure. In Europe, the most numerous member of the federation, the Magyar tribe ultimately gave its name to the others. Hungars en masse turned to be Magyars, but other nations did not realise or care about this process, and continued to call them as Hungars. There were other possibilities, too. If the Gyarmat tribe got crowded and grew stronger, then, as a rule of ethnology, all people belonging to the Ten (actually seven) Tribe Federation would start to call themselves as Gyarmat, while the rest of the world would continue to say Hungar. This is eventually the reason for
(1) the mysteriously stratified structure of the Hungarian language,
(2) presence of more similarities with the Oğuro-Bulgar type Turkic, rather than the Common Turkic, and
(3) associating words in English. And perhaps some Slavic words having counterparts in Turkic or Hungarian passed in the Sarmatian period.
This is a review article, and I cannot go in much detail in every matter mentioned here. I wrote much of them in my previous studies, and plan to write in detail on those, which are firstly recorded in this essay. It is not easy to create such a brief study. I must once more express two entities, which are keywords, in my opinion, in deciphering the acute problems of early Eurasian historiography, linguistics and ethnology: The Suvars and Sarmatians. The former would help enlighten eventual — deep — origins of the Turks and Hungarians, as well as the nature of the relations in the Mid-Volga region.
Today, after witnessing that remnants of great peoples of ancient or medieval times live as tribes, sub-tribes or clans under greater formations, we can easily say that ethnonyms survive many millennia In this way, it would not be surprising to find some ethnonyms occurring in ancient Middle East among the peoples of Medieval Eurasia. I do not mean only that we should care of the obscure ancient Turukku people at the northeast of today’s Iraq; I believe and wrote partially that there are at least one dozen peoples, whose names occur in the both regions. The second ethnic entity, the Sarmatians, might be the talisman, with which the silent or contradictory sources would tell the true story of the making of early Eastern Europe.
JOURNAL OF EURASIAN STUDIES Volume I., Issue 3., July-September 2009, Prof. in 2016
1- Offered IE cognates for this Slavic word are not convincing: Gr. Καινός ‘new’, Lat. recens “fresh, young, new”, Old Irish cét-‘first’ (Derksen 2008: 232).
2- Fasmer’s list of presumably related Indo-European words is phonetically not very satisfactory, and semantically none of them has to do with ‘end’ (II, 1987: 310).
3- Fasmer brings the Russian word savan directly from Arabic saban (III, 1987: 542), without referring to this case. That is, Semitic or any other language and linguistic family, too, has k ~ s within themselves.
4- Among many etymologies connecting it to ‘terror’, see the more recent and comprehensive examinations of Liberman (2005:184-8). The same views are repeated in Liberman & Mitchell (2008: 6-7).
5- In referring to the Ural and Altai terms, recruited from ‘mountains’, I prefer to call the agglutinative languages of the Ancient Middle East as the Zagros family. Iran is, albeit originally a geographical term, associated with the eastern branch of the IE family, and the word (South) Azerbaijan, that could easily and correctly mean the linguistic area described here, has today a more political and geo-strategic gravity. Thus, the Zagros region would refer exclusively to the area with agglutinative languages in very ancient times.
6- For instance Mallory (2002: 62). He never debates; he only accepts so and enlightens us.
7- I have to add Marcantonio’s views (2009b: 89), too, here, but partly. After separating Hungarian from the Ugric sisters, she looks for a new home for the Hungarians, and relies on its close relationships with Turkic. She believes that both Hungarian people and language are of Turkic, namely Central Asian origin. Hungarian and Turkic were surely produced in the Middle Eurasia in their current form, thus Marcantonio is right, but their ultimate origins are not there. Changing the shaped Hungarian’s geography to this or that region of Eurasia would not much influence genesis books of these people.
8- Sinor, however, differs from those more conventionalists by accepting probability of presence of Turks in Eastern Europe some 2000 or 2500 years ago, as showed by Pomponius Mela, Pliny the Elder and likely Herodotos (1990: 285). See below.
9- Marcantonio - Nummenaho - Salvagni (2001) and Marcantonio (2002: 35-7) tell about political atmosphere in Hungary under the Habsburgs, whose authorities were keen to prevent any connection between the Magyars and Turks.
10- This protest was published by the Bulgarian official news agency BTA. My proposal was, if Bulgarians did not want a Turkic relationship, to cut the relation between (Proto)Bulgars and Bulgarians. Indeed, it is an emprical fact that the Bulgars and Bulgarians have very few common; and those common elements are not enough to connect them in any sense.
11- This is not the case, however. Turks are not direct relatives of the Medeans. Ancestors of Proto Turks ruptured from the mass speaking agglutinative dialects and languages in the Zagros region. The Medeans represent the latest political formation of those people before being destroyed by the Persians. That is, ancestors of Turks and Medeans were common, but these cousins were greatly different from each other, when the Turkic ethnos apeared in the lower Volga region and Western Kazakhstan steppes with the amalgamation of the natives of the region with the immigrants from Middle East.
12- Hungarian saves gaz exactly so, and its South Slavic neighbors seem to have borrowed this word from them or from Bulgaric. Other Slavic languages do not have it. See Derksen (2008: 62) and Skok (1971:557). Skok refers to Mladenov’s reference to the Turkish verb gez- (kez-) “travel, walk about, traverse”. Regarding that the German treten and the South Slavic gaziti verbs, and perhaps some others in other languages, mean both to walk and to crush, the Turkic gez and ez might be cognate words. Cf. also in this phonetic context: Tr. öd, Hun. idő ‘time’, Slavic godь ‘time’.
13- In turn, cf. Tr. yetti ~ Hun. hét ‘seven’; Tr. on ~ Hun. -ven ‘ten’; Tr. yüz ~ Hun. száz ‘hundred’; even Tr. beş ~ Fin. viisi ‘five’.
14- This is better to call “linguistic shift”. Such an approach for Turko-Sumerian studies was firstly offered, as far as I know, in Karatay (2007b: 71).
15- 24 Tarihteki Cenûbî-Şimâlî Sülaleler, 885. I am grateful to Prof. Alimcan İnayet for providing me this Uighur translation of Chinese annals. Editors translated the sea as the Balkash Lake.
16- Among countless studies on Sarmatian connection of the Arthurian traditions, very notable to me is the essay of Littleton and Thomas (1978), with its wide range of comparizons.
17- Neither M. R. Fedotov in his Etimologičeskij Slovar’ Čuvašskogo Jazyka nor Clauson in ED takes this word. Moreover, medieval Kipchak sources record is with y- in contrast to the expected j- or ž- beginning. This word with so much and various associations deserves more attention.
18- Though I believe in macro families, this never means that Turkic or Hungarian have a particular genetic relation and affinity with the Semitic languages. This is very hard to say. I try to point here to the fact that ancestors of the Turks and Hungarians were in close contact with Semitic peoples in Mesopotamia, and the possible or claimed correspondences, except those that can be attributed to macro-family relations, keep memories of those days.
19- This case does not make these suffixes particular only to twin organs, because we have no any organ numbering more than two. Besides, the number two has no any particular place in Turkic comprehension, as it is the case in Arabic. Turkic plurals start with two.
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HUNGARIAN CALL THEMSELVES AS "MEGYER" INSTEAD OF MAGYAR - "MEGY-ER" IS MEGY=GO; ER=PERSON" IN ENGLISH "GOPERSON" AND IN TURKISH "GİT-ER" ; WHICH IS ALSO TO BE EXPLAIN AS "YÖRÜK" (Yuruks,Yorouks: from verb; yürümek: walk); it is not a ethnic name! They are Turkish people, who live in summer and winter different places, and they walk.)
in Hungary - from Kurultaj Turan