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Ancient Signs

Ancient Signs

The Alphabet & the Origins of Writing

My new print & ebook
shows that modern alphabets are based on ancient alphabets rooted in syllabic scripts of the ancient world (Sumer, Egypt, Iran, Anatolia, Crete, Cyprus)

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Hydra - See the figure inside?

Pharaonic LexiLine? Logo Language
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Pharaonic Egyptian 
Relation to Nostratic and (proto-) Indo-European


A short overview of Proto-Indo-European
- as this is currently seen by the Nostratic hypothesis -
based on the work of Benveniste, Origines de la formation
des noms en indo-european
(1935 !) and Allan R. Bomhard
(his new work is available from Signum publishers)

1) that there is a fundamental substratum of proto-Indo-European
in Old Kingdom Pharaonic Egyptian and

2) that the very archaic Baltic languages have best retained
many elements of proto-Indo-European which can be applied to Pharaonic
(this is not surprising in view of the work of Tomas Gamkrelidze and Victor Ivanov - as substantiated by Donald Ringe, Ann Tylor and Tandy Warrow;
and as described in
Noah´s Flood
by William B.F. Ryan & Walter C. Pitman III of Columbia University)

Eight Principles of proto-Indo-European
applied to Pharaonic Egyptian

The OLDEST Pharaonic hieroglyphic texts follow the following eight principles as set up by Benveniste and Bomhard for proto-Indo-European.
The additional comments are by Andis Kaulins and marked "AK".

1. No Initial Consonant Clusters
There were no original initial consonant clusters
(e.g. such as PRA- or PRE- or PRO- ). Rather, every word root, or
morpheme of meaning, had only one consonant
 Hence PRA- PRE- or PRO- came from PA- plus RA-, i.e. PARA-,
or variants such as PARI-, PERI- etc.

Comments by AK:

a. This conclusion of Bomhard is substantiated by
any statistical evaluation of the frequency of letter combinations
at the beginning of words for e.g. Latvian and Greek.
As an example, we find that 83 percent of all words
beginning with a letter P in Latvian are followed by a vowel
as compared to only 59 percent for Greek.

b. The frequency of consonantal clustering shows that
Greek has undergone far more change than the Baltic languages
in terms of the original PIE language. Please note that this is a one way street - interceding vowels tend to be lost, not added.

c. We thus have Latvian pa-ra-dis or pa-ra-di-sha-na or parastis "accustomed to, practice, showing" which then went inter alia to
Latin and English practice and Greek praktikos and hundreds of
other similar words derived from the combination of PA with RA,
with PA as a "prefix of being, or place"
and RA as a root of  "eye, see, sight, light, use,
eye (to hand) coordination".

There were two original syllabic types for roots:
consonant + vowel (CV) e.g. PA- or
consonant + vowel + consonant (CVC) e.g. PAR- 

Comments by AK:

a. An analysis of Baltic shows that roots of the form CVC can be further broken down into two single-syllabic separate morphemes of meaning, e.g. PAR "over" < *PA-IR = "extension of the self" - which is PA, i.e. the concept of "above" plus IR "is", "above is, over".

b. Moreover, based on a statistical evaluation of the Baltic languages,
it seems there were ONLY original syllabic root types of either
consonant + vowel (CV) or vowel + consonant (VC)
such as Latvian AB or AP and BA and PA.

c. Similarly, although the Nostratic hypothesis excludes initial vowels,
the Latvian prefix IE- "to, in" - i.e. a "directionally meaning" breath
suggests that an initial breath sound was also used.
We see this initial breath in Latvian words which apply to the "self"
and to words describing the "senses" of the self, ES, AUSS, OSna, ACS,
which mean respectively "I, (h)ear, nose, eye".
The same applies to the Latvian "directional" prefixes AIZ-, UZ-, IZ-
resulting from the attachment of the "self" term ES or ASH
to other root words, e.g. AIZDUO, UZDUO, IZDUO,
or AIZLIKI, UZLIKI, and IZLIKI - all words of different meaning in Latvian.
ES is also found as the reflexive particle (*e)SA- in Latvian,
i.e. the S-mobile, today without the initial breath-sound.

p - t - k - kw  b - d - g - gw  had NO Aspirates 

Comments by AK:

a. Latvian is the ONLY Indo-European language with NO aspirates.
Bomhard writes that voiced aspirates appear to be a late development
in Indo-European and subscribes to the system of Gamkrelidze,
Hopper and Ivanov in which the traditional consonants
p, t, k and kw, viz. b, d, g, and gw
are "characterized by plain voicing, without aspiration".

b. Initial letter distribution (BY PERCENT of 100 PERCENT
in Baltic based on the four-volume Lithuanian-German dictionary
of Kurschat and the four-volume (+2) Latvian-German historical dictionary
of Muehlenbachs and Endzelins gives the following results
(all numbers are percentages of dictionary pages with the Lithuanian
percentage given first and the Latvian percentage given second).

STARTING LETTER in Lithuanian and Latvian Words
Percentage of words (of 100%) in these languages
starting with the letters below: e.g. S/SH 12 % Lith., 18% Latv.
Lithuanian percentage is given first, then the Latvian percentage.

P (14%,13%)     B (4%,3%)     V (4%,6%)

T (3%,4%)      D (5%,4%)

K/TJ (10%, 6%) G/DJ (5,3) C/CH (1,2)

S/SH (12%,18%) Z/ZH (3%,4%)

N/NJ (7%,6%) M (3%,4%)

L/LJ (3%,4%) R (3%,3%)

A (9%,8%) I (10%,7%) U (2%,3%) O (0%,1%) J (1%,1%) E (1%,0%)

No F, No H, No Q


For words beginning with P, 48 percent in Latvian begin with PA-,
22 percent begin with PI-, 8 percent begin with PU-
and only 5 percent begin with PE- with 3 percent beginning with PO-.

The case is similar for words beginning with S,
where in Latvian 45 percent of words beginning with S begin with SA-
and only 6 percent with SE-.

(The percent of E- tends to increase with "newer" languages,
such as PE-, 15 percent in English and 16 percent in Greek,
or SE-, 12 percent in English and 5 percent in Greek.)

Note that the SA- form (45 percent in Latvian)
has gone over to a SU- form in Greek (48 percent of S-forms).
We find a comparable shift in initial U- in Lithuanian.


c. The only significant consonantal  shift between Latvian and Lithuanian is between s and k (an amazing result in view of satem - centum theory)
S-forms in Sumerian and Akkadian predominate, so S is older than K,
contrary to current "West-centered" satem - centum theory.

d. Moreover, on the above evidence, the predominant position given by old school linguists to the letter E in Indo-European must be questioned on the basis of Baltic, rather supporting the Nostraticists, as below.

4. The ORIGINAL VOWEL was a "schwa"
In terms of the modern vowels, this means that
the "A-form" - as in sofa - or "I-form" predominated
i.e. that vowel called a "schwa" by linguists (Bomhard) 

Comments by AK:

a. The Latvian evidence supports Bomhard in citing Kurylowicz,
Greenberg and Pulleyblank (who allege that the schwa became > *e )
Significantly,the Baltic schwa-forms are what we find in Hittite.

b. Bomhard states that the gradation from schwa to *e
is explained as follows: " *e may be assumed to have been
the normal allophone of schwa under stress."
Hence, for example, such an alleged hpyothetical Indo-European root
as e.g. *per- is correctly*par- < *pa-ir, as still found in Baltic.
Later the par- went to per- and this to ver- as in German.


Comment by AK:

The previous example *pa-ir shows the essence of Bomhard's next statement,
that "a verbal stem could either be identical with a root or it could consist of a root plus a derivational morpheme added as a suffix to the root: *CVC-VC-.
Any consonant could serve as a suffix."

Note here that *CV-VC-, *CV-CV, *VC-VC-, and *VC-CV- are all equally possible,
as is also true for these same combinations with *CVC.

Examples in Latvian using the above formulas:
PA-IET "go along" AP-IET "go around" PA-DUO "give over to" AT-DUO "give back" PA-RI "over, around" PA-IES "will pass by" *AP-IR >APAL "round" AP-IES "will go around" PAR-DUO "sell, give over to" PAR-IET "pass over, go over" Each of the above "agglutinations" are today "single" words.

6. Loss of Interceding Vowels
through the passage of time

Comments by AK:

a. Vowels between consonants tend to disappear with time,
but they have disappeared least in the initial syllable in Latvian
- because the stress accent in Indo-Europeanwas originally on the first syllable - as it still is in Latvian for all words
(this makes it unique among all Indo-European languages)
With stress on the initial vowel, the fist vowel
can almost not be zero-grade and thus retains a long life -
losing this characteristic only if the stress accent shifts to another syllable
(e.g. also if the vowel of the second syllable is longer than the initial vowel).

b. Examples: Latvian SANI "side(s)" (pronounced SAAH-NI) retains the initial A
since the A is long, whereas the Latvian words SAVADS "different"
where the first A is short and the second A is long (pronounced SAH-VAAHDS) finds cognates such as SVESHS "foreign, different".
The weaker initial A has been lost to the consonantal cluster SV.

7. Type 2 VERBAL STEMS could be further extended
by means of a DETERMINATIVE.

Determinatives or suffixes pointed to a nominal stem.

Comments by AK:

a. This we see particularly in Pharaonic Egyptian.
The suffix described by Benveniste as *ek-/*-k is the same as Latvian KAS "what, which", represented by the "cup-basket" hieroglyph k-.
(Indo-European e.g. Latvian KAUSS "cup" was used as the closest homophonic object word to represent the abstract similarly sounding KAS.)
In Pharaonic grammar it was used as the determinative for substantives
in the sense of possession

b. Pharaonic sn is thought to mean "brother" but sn=k "your brother"
Pharaonic ib is thought to mean "heart" but ib=k means "your heart"
In each case of possession regarding the substantive,
the "cup, basket" hieroglyph K ( = KAUSS = KAS) is used.

In this connection we point to some errors by Egyptologists: Please note that Pharaonic sn correlates to Latvian zen "son, boy" or znots "brother in law" < dzim-, dzem-, dzen- "to be born", i.e. "offspring". Pharaonic ib "heart" was actually rib, German Leib, originally "the ribs, under the ribs" The hieroglyphic reading has the synonym shrty where the 3 is an "R or L type of mixed-sound"
so that this was correctly Latvian sirdi "of the heart".

8. Verb morphology

Comment by AK:

Nostratic verb morphology and Pharaonic Egyptian involve the same principle. Bomhard gives the following athematic
Nostratic endings which, as Bopp suggested 200 years ago (!),
and as Bomhard writes
"can be nothing else but agglutinated personal pronouns".

To Bomhard's Nostratic List below, I have added the respective Pharaonic Egyptian and Latvian formulations. They are identical.





Pharaonic singular
personal suffixes









j "me"





k "you"

tu / kas




s "her"
f//v "him"


See also Naqada


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