The primitive Sardinian language
” There are thousands of words attributed to the First Large Linguistic Koiné. I guess the koiné is produced when the man began to stammer some form of language: in short, he began at least 100,000 years ago, but perhaps many millennia before. On it no scholar can say nothing, except on the basis of etymological science which, if well managed, if equipped with a balance method, is able to produce illuminating glimpses of how a word was born and how people formulated the concept that gave birth to the word.
There are a few rules to determine which Koiné belongs to a Sardinian word or Latin or Greek or Semitic (first, second, third koiné?). A rule certainly regards to the vastness of the geographical expansion of the word. If a word belongs to Sardinia, Italy, to half Europe, Russia, to Middle East, well, it’s primitive. Otherwise, there would be great difficulty in proving the expansion on whole continents and you will not be able to trace the focus. Obviously, this case does not relate to the words which, by virtue of the Italian Renaissance and the rediscovery of Greek culture, they went to fill and approve the erudition of elites in half Europe.
Some primitive words are then shared not only in Europe, in the Mediterranean, in the Fertile Crescent, but even in China and Japan. In this case we have the thankless task of discerning whether the focus of the speech is the Far East or the Mediterranean or Mesopotamia, or continental Europe. An example is caccu (see below).
For certain words a sufficient reason to postulate their placement in the First Koiné may be the primitiveness of the concept, especially when it’s expressed with a monosyllable (eg. Lat. sūs), because – just what we know about Sumerian language – the primitive language expressed itself exclusively by monosyllables. Many words presented here, although not monosyllabic, are still to be subdivided according to ancient monosyllabic bases.
Below I produce only a handful of Sardinians terms (as well as Latin, Italic, Germanic) concernig to the First Koiné, so that you understand the phenomenon.
AEDĒS, ancient aidēs, Lat. ‘heart and home’, ‘house’, ‘room’, ‘temple, abode of the gods’. The Indo-Europeanists are wrong in suggesting an etymology from Lat. aestŭs ‘ardor, blaze of fire’, aestās ‘summer’, Gr. αἴθω ‘to light the fire’, Skr. édah, idhmaḥ ‘wood burning’. Instead its base is Sum. e ‘home, temple’ + de ‘to shape, create’: e-de = ‘built house, temple erected ‘(obviously in contrast to the huts of branches, habitual residences of the people). This is in opposition to Semitic bait ‘home’, which usually, at least in the beginning, was a hut, a tent.
AÈNA, avèna Sardinian ‘avena, oats’ (Festuca elatior). The name of this plant has been compared to Lat. avēna, with the claim that the Sardinian term derives directly from that source. That’s not true. The same Latin word was then approached to Lit. avižà, Lettonian àuza, anc.Pruss. wyse, Asl. ovĭsŭ, but they ignored the origin. It’s in Akkadian language that we have the source of this pan-European and Mediterranean phytonym: it is, for the Sardinian aèna and Lat. āvēnā, ḫāwû, amû ‘animal litter’,’junk’, whence the Sardinian phytonyms enárgiu, avenárzu, enárzu.
AGŌ Lat. ‘I do’, ‘I make’ (duratively), ‘push ahead of him’ (cattle), ‘go’, ‘to advance’; agmen ‘marching army’; agilis ‘advancing quickly’; quid agis? ‘what are you committing?’. See the parallel Gr. ἄγω, as well as the Armenian acem ‘I lead’, Irl. -aig ‘he leads’, Skr. ajati, Avest. azaiti ‘he leads’. The verb faciō is instead used to indicate the momentary action. The archaic base of agō is Sum. ag, aka ‘to make’.
ALALÁ, αλαλή is the war cry of the ancient Greeks, but also a cry in general, which can be of joy, pain, etc. It is considered onomatopoeic (Rocci, Frisk), but in reality it is a Sumerian exhortation (alala, a.la.la) meaning ‘to work!’.
ANDÀRE It. ‘move on foot or by means of locomotion’. According to DELI, the etymology of the word is controversial, to say, still unknown. Indeed, it is clear, having base in Sum. du ‘to go’ (see Italian dialect du-ma!, an-dù-ma! ‘let’s go’, Sardinian an-do ‘I go’). The prefixed particle an- has Akkadian bases from an, ana (with similar meaning to Gr. ana).
ARCHÉ Gr. ‘principle, beginning, origin, first cause’. See also Sardinian surname Arca. The etymological basis is Akk. (w)arḫu ‘moon’, ‘the first day of the month’, ‘start of the lunation’.
ARUSPEX, haruspex Lat. ‘who sees the future’. The etymologists have focused research on the entrails (the victims), approaching the Lat. hernia and being wrong. It is also wrong Semerano OCE II 424 who believes it from Akk. aḫrû ‘tomorrow’. The etymological basis is Sum. arua ‘votive offering’ (see Frera HM 53) + -spex < spiciō.
AURÒRA. Equivalent to Greek Ἕως, the rosy-fingered goddess. It is no coincidence the Romans made it the hypostasis of gold (aurum > Aurora) for the splendor with which it appears. But aurum > Aurora was only a paronomasia, as the Latins had lost its old meaning, which instead turns out even in the Sumerian language, from a’u ‘man who drags ships, boats’ + ru ‘structure, architecture (for a building) ‘+ ra ‘sun, splendor of the sun’: a’u-ru-ra had the meaning of ‘She who pulls the boat of the Sun’. Gr. Ἕως has the same origin, by Sum. e ‘take out’ + u ‘sleep’, meaning ‘(the one who) brings out of sleep (the Sun)’. Aurora was seen originally as the consort of the Sun God.
AUSPĬCĬUM (Lat. for avispicium) is the ‘observation of the birds of omen’, and has, after all, the same basis of vātēs ‘seer, who investigates the future, poet, prophet’. The etymological basis is Akk. awûm ‘to talk, reveal’, ‘say something, talk to someone’, ‘think about something’; awātum ‘word’, ‘sign of good wishes’, ‘formula’, ‘start talking’, ‘to order, command’ said of king or god.
AVO, avus Lat. ‘grandfather’, which appeared before 1374 with Petrarch in the pl. ‘ancestors’ (1581 T.Tasso); is considered by DELI a learned word, originally from Lat. āvu(m), in turn with origin from Indo-European with the sign ‘old’. I do not argue the origin is that one, but it’s also shared by the Semitic field, specifically by Hebr. āv ‘father’ ( אׇב ).
BABÁY is one of the names of Sardus Pater worshiped in Punic-Roman temple of Antas (Sardinia). Babay is a Šardana name, still alive in the ancient Sardinian babbu, babbáy ‘father’ with all the consequences of the case: < Sum. Babaya < ba-ba-ya ‘old man’.
It should be noted that Baba and Babay (also called Nintu or Geštinanna, mainly Ninkhursag) is a large female divinity corresponding to the Sumerian Inanna of Uruk and other centers such as Nippur. She was the great mother goddess who presided over the universal fecundity of humanity, of flocks, fields; but in which personality, perhaps especially in some major cities such as Uruk, there are significant astral aspects. From those latter depend on connections with Anu and all the identification with the morning star and the sunset (Paolo Matthiae, 262-263). Baba was also the main goddess in Lagash, the second city of Sumerians, where she at early spring was honored for several days.
BABBU ‘father’, also ‘Eternal Father’, a Sardinian word; Tosc. babbo. In medieval chartas (CSP 15 , 262; CSNT 15.63 ; CBSS 33) prevails patre to appoint his own father, at least in official grants of Judges, who obviously, if for no other use of courtly language, were influenced by Latin language. This word is connected with Akk. abu ‘father’; b- was added for influence of Sardinian babay ‘father’ and Sum. babaya ‘old man’. The word was later confused with Akk. babu ‘ little boy, baby’ which contributed to expel from Sardinian language the homophone Akkadian bābu ‘door’ (of the house, temple, royal palace, city). But babbu has an original, etymological, semantic attachment with the Sumerian Babay or Baba (see above) who pointed to the Great Universal Mother, the corresponding Phoenician Astarte. In Baltic mythology is the goddess Baba Yaga, that anthropologists say to be a reminiscent of the ancient Slavic goddess of death and regeneration. Linguists of that area argue the Slavic word baba means ‘grandmother’, ‘woman’, ‘pelican’. This etymology connects to the avian nature of Baba Yaga, comparable to the archetype of the vulture-goddess or the goddess-owl of European prehistory, which personifies death and regeneration (Gimbutas 281). Note the amazing transformation of this name, first female, who then came to denote a male entity, including the name which still in Sardinia they appeal to both the parent and the Eternal Father.
BABY Engl. ‘bambino’, from Bab. bābu ‘small child’.
CUT (to cut) Engl. ‘tagliare’. It has the etymologic basis in Sum. kud ‘tagliare’.
DO Engl. ‘fare, agire’. Basis in Sum. du(-g) ‘to build, make’; also ‘to speak’ as in frases aš du(g) ‘to speak a curse (to curse)’, di du(g) ‘to speak a case (to judge)’, anir du(g) ‘to speak a graon (to moan)’, ĝiš du(g) ‘to make the penis (to love)’, maškim du(g) ‘to make the clerk of the court’, ecc. From these examples we note an identity of action and form of Sumerian and British verb.
DREARY Engl. ‘fosco, tetro, deprimente’, Germ. traurig; cfr. Akk. adāru ‘to be afraid, be upset, worry’.
EARTH Engl. ‘terra’, Germ. Art; base in Akk. erṣetum < *arṣatum ‘land’
EWE Engl. ‘pecora’. Base in Sum. u ‘ewe’.
NET Engl. ‘rete’; Germ. Netz, Goth. nati, Anglos. net(t), etc. Semerano OCE II 674 refers it to Lat. nassa and nōdus, and recalls the basic Semitic corresp. to Akk. nadûm (to throw the network in the water). While giving some validity to Semerano’s instructions, it is preferable Akk. nêtu ‘to surround, encircle’, where you can see the effects of the ‘network’ rather than the needs determining that use.
PAN. According to Greek myths, mankind learned from the Satyrs the music, which was originally an imitation of birdsong, the sound of the wind, the murmur of the sources. The Greeks transformed everything into myth and poetry. But the fact remains that those pan-Mediterranean terms had a more archaic language of their own. For example, Pān (Πάν) has the etymological basis in Akk. pan, panû, penû ‘face, appearance’ (the appearance of the Sun, the face of the Sun, because Pān was actually the original god of Arcadia, hypostasis of the Sun). Not surprisingly, the famous panic (πανικός) arrived at sundial hour, when the sun shines and warms us in the highest degree, recalling the unsustainable dreadfulness of the God. We also have the Hebraic correspondence, pāne, pānīm ‘face, appearance’; cf. Hebr. Penû ’El ‘ face of God’, at whose shrine the Israelites went to worship the shining face of God, the Sun, with its strict judicial power.
SAME Engl. ‘identical’, ‘the same’. Base in Sum. sa ‘equal to’ + me ‘to be’: sa-me = ‘to be equal to’.
SET (to set) Engl. ‘put, place’, ‘to regulate’, ‘place’ (ex. a trap), ‘fix, establish’; cf. Sd. séttiu, sédiu ‘right position’, ‘way of being’; torrare a séttiu is cosas ‘put things right’, assettiái ‘put in place’; cf. It. assettare ‘put in place, fix’, assetto ‘accommodation or disposal coordinated to the conduct of an operation’. Base in Sum. se ‘to set, dwell’, ‘live’ + du ‘build’, ‘plant’, ‘hold firmly’: se-du = ‘firmly establish’, ‘settle firmly’, then Lat. sēdēs ‘where you live’, ‘chair’, ‘throne’, sedēre ‘sit, stand still’.
SHE Engl. ‘she’ (dem. pron. of 3rd person, and independent pronoun) < Akk. šī ‘she’.
SUN Engl. ‘sun, It. sole’, etymological basis in Sum. šun ‘to shine, to (be)come bright’. See also the Sardinian surname Sonnu, which doesn’t correspond to substantive sonnu ‘sleep’ < Lat. somnus, but has etymological basis in Sum. šun ‘shine, to become bright’ (see Germ. Sonne ‘sun’). Then it pointed in origin the sun, and then the Sun God.
Examined the essential apparatus of examples of First Linguistic Koiné words, we must now embed archaic Sardinia in that area. For thousands of examples rattled off in the six volumes of my Semitic Series, and even in this volume, anyone is able to understand and argue that the current Sardinian language is the oldest in the Mediterranean world (perhaps together with Hebrew and Arabic ones), a language that has never died since its introduction to the origins of civilization. We need to understand why the language-leader (what we call improperly Sumerian), as it’s dead after three millenniums since it was written, enjoys the advantage of having invented the graphemes, while Sardinia, before appeared in her territory the so-called “Phoenician” alphabet, she did not know, or not used, cuneiform spellings of Mesopotamia, although fully enjoyed the cultural climate of the Mediterranean from archaic ages, ie from the beginning of the Paleolithic.
This non-sharing of cuneiform, is indirect index that Sardinia (although remained free in their own sea) was never a Great Power: she could not be so for geographical reasons. In fact, it’s known the beginning of writing (which for the fate of history was cuneiform) had direct relationship – so say correctly the Semitic scholars and other clear linguists – with the advent of the city, which had pivot function in imperial conquests. Any enlargement of the city was a function of enlargement of the conquests and consolidation of empire, from which came to the city a great abundance of tributes that had to be recorded (“ministry” of Finance) and administered (“ministry” of the Treasury), a mass of messages that had to be written, returned, sent by messengers on horseback (“ministry” of Foreign Affairs); moreover, the empire needed a modern road network for a rapid movement of armies, of carriages and goods (“ministry” of communications), and needed a well-trained army (“ministry” of the war).
Certainly Sardinia did not participate in this historical phenomenon, did not participate actively (if not sending elite troops to Pharaoh), and not even passively (for example, did not suffer the fate of the land of Canaan, which was continually crossed by the imperial armies). Nevertheless, arouses admiration the fact that Sardinia has remained clinging to the cultural climate of the Near East, sharing from the beginning, and for thousands of years, the same basic language. This enabled her to adapt gradually and keep alive her own knowledge, which was supported by a vocabulary of Sumerian-Akkadian mold, as this was freely modeled according to the different grammatical and cultural feel of Sardinian people.
The original language, the language of the Origins, the First Paleolithic language, it is difficult to mention it (if not carefully), being possible to argue its plancher only through etymological and anthropological considerations. However, we can indicate the origin of an ancient Sardinian word if – in light of its etymology – we are able to deduce the basic needs from which it had life. So, let’s see some of them and analyze them by the etymology.
ÁLIGA. One of these etymologies is Camp. áliga, Sass. aħa, Centr. and Log. arga ‘rubbish’. All linguists have derived it from Lat. alga (the sea vegetable). An ideological and short-sighted position, fueled by the fact Romans considered seaweed unnecessary, just calling it alga inutilis. An indication of any scientific value, this, because, if the ancients were marking the futility of seaweed, conversely were marking the usefulness of rubbish, which was used with great advantage in fertilizing the fields. So are lacking the conditions to create a parallel between the seaweed and garbage, because only we, citizens with lifestyle voted to waste, equalize and approve arbitrarily those ancient concepts and consider useless both the alga and áliga. As to its etymology, it’s not derived from Lat. alga (seaweed) but from Akk. ālu(m) ‘village, town’ + ikû(m) ‘field’ – construct state āl-ikû(m) – meaning ‘village field’, ‘a common place for rubbish’. This Sardinian construct state is upside down compared to Semitic one. It goes without saying the concept of aliga took off with the first crops, ie at the end of the Paleozoic Era.
GANGA, Gangas ‘amigdalitis or tonsilitis’ of man and pigs; it’s another lemma-guide. It’s a surname too. The dual Sardinian gangas is a Sumerian reduplication indicating totality or, as the case, plurality: it’s based on Sum. gan ‘being pregnant’, doubled in gan-ga = ‘two pregnant bellies’, ‘two pregnancies’. People must concede that the observation of human ailments dates back to the origin of language, that is, at least to 100.000 years ago.
MISCÈRA is a surname that was a Sardian pers. name, based in Akk. mīšu ‘night’ + erû(m) ‘eagle’, meaning ‘eagle of the night’. There is no doubt that personal names are as old as the civilization, dating back to the First Paleolithic.
Of names (then last names) of this type is full my volume I Cognomi della Sardegna.
MOLÍNU surname that was a Sardian feminine name, based on Sum. mul ‘to shine, radiate light’, ‘star’ + inun ‘butter’: mul-inun, meaning ‘bright butter’ (remember Engl. epithet honey). The butter, a milk product, has an antiquity dating back to the first domestication of cattle and sheep, which is obviously previous of agriculture.
MONAGHEDDU a surname that was a feminine Sardian name, based in Akk. mû ‘cosmic order’ + nâḫu ‘still, tranquil’ (celestial body) + ellu ‘(ritually) pure’, meaning ‘pure fixed star in the firmament’. From this name you understand in those days they distinguished from the fixed stars and mobile (planets). Saying that certain astronomical observations are documented only in the historical period (the Chaldeans), would be hiding behind a finger, as primitive observations of this sort date from at least the beginning of Neolithic. (…)”
Source: Historical Grammar of Sardinian Language, Salvatore Dedola
[2. 1 The First Great Linguistic Koiné; 2.2 The primitive Sardinian language]