"Moreover, you scorned our people, and compared the Albanese to sheep, and according to your custom think of us with insults. Nor have you shown yourself to have any knowledge of my race. Our elders were Epirotes, where this Pirro came from, whose force could scarcely support the Romans. This Pirro, who Taranto and many other places of Italy held back with armies. I do not have to speak for the Epiroti. They are very much stronger men than your Tarantini, a species of wet men who are born only to fish. If you want to say that Albania is part of Macedonia I would concede that a lot more of our ancestors were nobles who went as far as India under Alexander the Great and defeated all those peoples with incredible difficulty. From those men come these who you called sheep. But the nature of things is not changed. Why do your men run away in the faces of sheep?"
Letter from Skanderbeg to the Prince of Taranto ▬ Skanderbeg, October 31 1460

Illyrian number words and Albanian

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Illyrian number words and Albanian


Post by jay_albania_fan » Sun Nov 15, 2009 6:52 am

Much of Illyrian is not attested as whatever the Illyrians wrote, very little survived the times. Or should we say, very little has been recovered as of yet.

Despite the lack of much data, a descent amount of personal names were known and were recorded in the writing of others. Certain of these names certainly contain some of the number words for Illyrian. This is very similar to how number words can be drawn from Latin names such as Quintus (five), Sextus (six), Septimus (seven), Octavius (eight), and Decimus (ten). Here are some examples from Illyrian names:

The number two: Dimallum, Dibollia, Ditus. The di- would come from the PIE word for two. Compare Albanian dy or di.

The number three: Tripenta, Tribulium, Tritanerus. The tri- would come from the PIE word for three. Compare Albanian tre or feminine tri.

The number four: Katarbates. The katar- would come from the PIE word for four. Compare Albanian katër or katrë.

The number five: Pantia, Panto, Pantoni. The pan- would come from the PIE word for five. Compare Albanian pesë or pës.

The number six: Sestus. The ses- would come from the PIE word for six. Compare Albanian gjashtë. It clearly shows the loss of PIE medial -k- as in qsweks in Illyrian (Albanian) was early. Albanian gj clearly derives from Illyrian s- (thus PIE *s) in many positions.

The number seven: Stataria. The sta- would come from the PIE word for seven. Compare Albanian shtatë.

The number eight: Tattu, Tato, Tatus. The ta- would come from the PIE word for eight. Compare Albanian tetë.

The number nine: Neuntius. The neun- would come from the PIE word for nine. Compare Albanian nëntë, nândë, or nont

The number ten: Dasimius, Dasumius, Decomos. The das- and the dec- would come from PIE word for ten. Compare Albanian dhjetë or dhetë.

These forms are very close to what I would expect for Albanian at that time.

The source did not include any known or hypothetical Illyrian forms for one, twenty, or hundred. Although Tosk Albanian një and Gheg Albanian njâ come from PIE *Vni-oyno- which yields Proto-Albanian eni-ain which would later yield ni-ēn which yields njânV which then eventually lead to the modern forms. A capital V means some vowel.

I have found these in Blažek’s work Numerals from 1999. Many languages are included and various scholars are cited by Blažek for Illyrian such as Krahe, Mayer, Trubačev, Mann, and Katičič.

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