The nature of the prehistoric languages of the British Isles is particularly difficult to address: because of the lack of ancient data from certain territories; because of the traditional interpretation of Old European names simply as “Celtic”; and because Vennemann’s re-labelling of the Old European hydrotoponymy as non-Indo-European has helped distract the focus away from the real non-Indo-European substrate on the islands.
Alteuropäisch and Celtic
An interesting summary of hydronymy in the British Isles was already offered long ago, in British and European River-Names, by Kitson, Transactions of the Philological Society (1996) 94(2):73-118. In it, he discusses, among others:… Read the rest “European hydrotoponymy (VI): the British Isles and non-Indo-Europeans”
There is overwhelming evidence that the oldest hydrotoponymic layer in Italy (and especially Etruria) is of Old European nature, which means that non-Indo-European-speaking (or, at least, non-Old-European-speaking) Etruscans came later to the Apennine Peninsula.
Furthermore, there is direct and indirect linguistic, archaeological, and palaeogenomic data supporting that the intrusive Tursānoi came from the Aegean during the Late Bronze Age, possibly through the Adriatic, and that their languages spread to Etruria and probably also to the eastern Alps.
The following are translated excerpts (emphasis mine) from Lenguas, genes y culturas en la Prehistoria de Europa y … Read the rest “European hydrotoponymy (V): Etruscans and Rhaetians after Italic peoples”
In his recent paper on Late Proto-Indo-European migrations, when citing Udolph to support his model, Frederik Kortlandt failed to mention that the Old European hydrotoponymy in northern Central-East Europe evolved into Baltic and Slavic layers, and both take part in some Northern European (i.e. Germanic – Balto-Slavic) commonalities.
From Expansion slavischer Stämme aus namenkundlicher und bodenkundlicher sicht, by Udolph, Onomastica (2016), translated into English (emphasis mine):
NOTE. An archived version is available here. The DOI references for Onomastica do not work.
(…) there is a clear center of Slavic names in the area north of the
… Read the rest “European hydrotoponymy (IV): tug of war between Balto-Slavic and West Uralic”
The study of hydrotoponymy shows a prevalent initial Old European layer in central and northern Germany, too, similar to the case in Iberia, France, Italy, and the British Isles.
The recent paper on Late Proto-Indo-European migrations by Frederik Kortlandt relies precisely on this ancestral layer as described by Jürgen Udolph to support a Danubian expansion of North-West Indo-European with East Bell Beakers, identified as the Alteuropäische (Old European) layer that was succeeded by Germanic in the North European Plain.
The Proto-Germanic homeland
The following are excerpts are translated from the German original (emphasis mine) in Udolph’s Namenkundliche Studien … Read the rest “European hydrotoponymy (III): from Old European to Palaeo-Germanic and the Nordwestblock”
The first layer in hydrotoponymy of Iberia is clearly Indo-European, in territories that were occupied by Indo-Europeans when Romans arrived, but also in most of those occupied by non-Indo-Europeans.
Among Indo-European peoples, the traditional paradigm – carried around in Wikipedia-like texts until our days – has been to classify their languages as “Pre-Celtic” despite the non-Celtic phonetics (especially the initial -p-), because the same toponyms appear in areas occupied by Celts (e.g. Parisii, Pictones, Pelendones, Palantia); or – even worse – just as “Celtic”, because of the famous -briga and related components. This was evidently not tenable at the … Read the rest “European hydrotoponymy (II): Basques and Iberians after Lusitanians and “Ligurians””
These first two posts on Old European hydro-toponymy contain excerpts mainly from Indoeuropeos, iberos, vascos y sus parientes, by Francisco Villar, Universidad de Salmanca (2014), but also from materials of Lenguas, genes y culturas en la Prehistoria de Europa y Asia suroccidental, by Villar et al. Universidad de Salamanca (2007). I can’t recommend both books hardly enough for anyone interested in the history of Pre-Roman peoples in Iberia and Western Europe.
NOTE. Both books also contain detailed information on hydrotoponymy of other regions, like Northern Europe, the Aegean and the Middle East, with some information about Asia, apart … Read the rest “European hydrotoponymy (I): Old European substrate and its relative chronology”