Lives Journal 4

Radivoje Peshich

 

ON LANGUAGE AND SCRIPT

 

First speculations concerning the origin of a language arose as far as the deep past. The question, whether the language appeared spontaneously or whether it was created, has intrigued many, or whether it appeared by way of »consolidation« (thesei) or by way of »nature« (physei), as had been formulated by the ancient world.

The Biblical definition »In the beginning was the Word« found in The Gospel according to Saint John is very famous. Therefore, the creation of the world cannot be separated from the word. We want to clear up even more the said definition, formulated by The Gospel according to Saint John, when it speaks about word: »All things were made by Him; and without Him was not any thing made that was made«. The speculations on the language, however, originate as far as the pre-Christian era. The sacred Indic books Vedas, the chronology of which was dated back between the 25th and the 15th centuries B. C. contain inter alia the hymn to the Vaka (the Word Hymn) in which the Vaka (Word, i.e. the Word Goddess, the Word proper implying to be the Goddess) reminds to be the creator of all that exists and the judge of everything that exists. Very similar definitions are to be found as well in a group of late Vedic metaphysical treatises – the Upanishad (9th – 6th centuries B. C.).

We find the deductions of Chinese and ancient philosophers Lao Tse and Confucius (Kong Zi) between the 6th and 5th centuries B. C. of great interests. In his book »On benefaction« (Dao de jing), Lao Tse states the establishment of names was closely connected to Dao. Dao is real, but indeterminable creative power, preceding everything essential fin this case the Gods) and is completely independent, for: »Man follows the laws of the earth. The earth follows the laws of heaven. Heaven follows laws of Dao, and Dao follows itself.« Consequently, one side of Dao is nameless and cannot be expressed by words. The other one possesses names; it is »the mother of all things«. Confucius, however, thinks words do not stem from the independent Dao, but from communication between the master and the subordinates, i.e. between the one giving orders and the executors of such orders.

According to the Greek mythology, the creator of the language is the God Hermes. For the Greek philosophy, however, this myth has not been particularly popular.

The Sophists (from the 5th to the 4th centuries B. C.) considered the human laws to be established and to stem from the social agreement. For Parmenides, things have neither the beginning nor the end. According to Heraclitus, nature created names, words and language. Logos lies in fire as a process, which is the proto-cause of legal and reasoning power. According to him, logos is the base of eternal movement. It is the soul of nature and the nature proper. Accordingly, man should adjust to the logos, not to the conditions of a state and men. Consequently, language is in the very nature. Appellation (designation, sign) and action stem out of it.

The science knows today four basic hypotheses on the origin of language and on what it was in its first phase of development. We have to admit these hypotheses to refer only to its origin, not to its nature. One of these hypotheses, represented by Democritus and Plato maintains the language to have appeared out of imitation of sound, of all that represented nature. The second, the so-called onomatopoeic, exclamative one, first represented by the Epicureans, and in somewhat more complex sense, by Wilhelm von Humboldt, Jakob Grimm and others, leans upon the product of words (i.e. the language) as the expression of spiritual state of men. The third hypothesis denotes social and active conditions of the language. In the XIX century appeared the so-called hypothesis of instinctive cries out of which word originated. Finally, having in mind all these and similar hypotheses, the contemporary science concludes that two factors played an important role in the origin of the language: the biological (natural-historical) and the sociological (socio-historical) ones. Hence, language and thought appeared simultaneously and developed in mutual unity.

In the famous dialogue with Phaedros, Socrates questions the basic characteristics of good speech concluding »the speech leads soul by help of logos«, where the speech discloses and as well hides points of view, consequently, knowledge of speech simultaneously means discernment of similarities and differences. Plato's basic intention in this dialogue is, to establish definition of true speech to enable cognition of fundamental problems. Much later, the followers of Noah Chomsky shall try to answer the same question: how is thought embodied in the language and how much can we discern out of its structure by help of thinking. At the beginning of the XX century, F. de Saussure established the foundation of the contemporary linguistics and Jacques Derrida contributed to the study of the designated through the difference system. Studying myth, Max Müller applied, for example's sake, the method of the language and etymological analyses and concluded that the myth was conditioned and given by means of the language. He asserts the language has power over thought in all the spheres of social activities. Another connoisseur of these subjects, W. von Humboldt, discussing language said »that feelings and actions in a man depend exclusively on how subjects are presented to him by the language. He weaves the language out of himself in the same way the language is woven into him and every language makes a circle of another language around the nation it belongs to.« In the treatise on the origin of language, Herder says: »Man with his innate common sense, acting freely for the first time, discovered language«. In his work on religion of primitive peoples, D. G. Brinton (Religions of Primitive People, 1897) wrote »that Eskimos consider man to be made of three parts: a body, a soul and a language.« Alexandre Moret, in »The Egyptian mysteries« reminds us of similar comprehensions, where in images of physical body of ancient Egyptians, on one side stands his Ka, and on the other his name being his spiritual body twin, his alter ego.

Regardless of the extent of acceptability of these hypotheses and conclusions, we are at the same time facing the complex question of origin and character of script, which should be the written equivalent of words, i.e. of language. Certain historical data offer several primeval sources. Taking them as departure points, we can discern several forms of written words. But how had man accomplished them, or the first of them, still represents a question to which many answers have been given. The first script is considered very young as compared to the speech – word – language. The science discerns its appearance at the beginning of the III millennium or in the last century of the IV millennium B.C., though even earlier traces exist as well.

The last fifty years or so of peace in Europe, which should be kept by all means, enabled fast and versatile progress in all the spheres of life, art and science. The archaeology has made fruitful progress accordingly. As expected, the new archaeological discoveries achieved results completing our image of prehistoric world. This instigated exceptional interest for written traces of the prehistoric man. In many regions of Europe new petroglyphs pertaining to the Paleolithic, as well as incisions on stone, ceramics and other materials from the period of Neolithic were discovered. As far back as the years between the two World Wars in the 20th century, the founder of the Serbian archaeology, prof. Miloje Vasich, pointed out to the traces of script he had discovered on the material from the Vincha site.

Though a number of archaeologists from our country and abroad showed interest for this exceptional material, no systematic research was carried out. If any interest for research was shown at all, it was directed to Mesopotamia, and not to the authentic and autochthon spiritual creation on the Balkans. This may have been caused by the enrooted cognition in the science of pictography as the first literacy. When the material pertaining to the Neolithic literacy was classified into a system, an alphabet, and called the Vincha script, it changed the concept of the sources and movement of the European culture, not from the south towards the north, as asserted up to now, but in the opposite direction. It did not expand only from the north to the south, but also from the north to the west, from the north to the east and from the north to the north. The Vincha script, as a character script, appeared earlier than other known systems, both pictographic and character scripts in Mesopotamia, Egypt and Greece. It means Europe did not import its culture; Europe is the cradle of culture, which shall later develop in the centers in the south, in the east and in the west.

Many wonder whether even a possibility of character literacy could have existed in such a deep past. The Athenian Academicians dedicated great attention to the appearance and development of the script. According to their deductions fire, water, earth and air were four principles i.e. elements of the universe or the letters. For the old Indic tradition, space and time were interrelated in the same way, as were sound and form. Consequently, space is analogue to the form and time to sound. As a result, man himself, human reason and human feelings create form, meaning, man is biologically literate. He does not need teachers to be literate. He is instigated by his impulse to express himself instinctively, that is, by his clear mind. It will depend on the state of his spirit whether he will express himself by points or dashes, vertical or horizontal ones, scattered or organized into one whole. He cannot draw a picture, however, if he in the process does not start from an only point, an archetype, in order to acquire the first element out of which a structure arises later. A drawing, a pictographic script represents a finished structure preceded by a creative process made of elements.

The Etruscans called the alphabet »elemental«, meaning a system accrued from elements. The traces of letters in the Neolithic and the Paleolithic confirm this theory of precedence of the character over pictographic script, which in essence has »Hvodic« nature as a means of secret communication.

A whole treasury of drawings and incisions were discovered in the ice cave »Ledenjacha« near Maljevina, then in a cave near the village Zljeb (north of Vishegrad) and in Bratevljica near Kladanj. Very recently, incisions representing letters were found near Slunj on the mountain of Bugar. All expertises carried out up to now prove the traces of literacy to be chronologically determined in the early period of Paleolithic. Certain analogues with similar finds in Europe, particularly those in Peru, determine this chronology between 100,000 and 150,000 years B. C. There are ca. 300 unexplored caves in our country with traces of script.

In our country, the earliest Paleolithic script was identified on the site of Lepenski Vir where a whole treasury of stone sculptures of unique artistic expression was found, as well as incisions on stone and bone, representing engravings with approximately designated messages and incisions in which we were able to identify the morphology of letters. On the »Cerje« site, at the village of Govrlevo near Skopje in Macedonia, objects with incisions were found, the morphology of which precedes, by all means, the morphology of the Crete-Minoan script. In the vicinity of the village of Bela Voda, at Krushevac, we have discovered a huge rock with incisions, the chronology of which is not younger than 30,000 years, confirmed by analogues with similar sites in France, Malta, Korea and Peru.

My systematization of the Vincha script raised many questions, inter alia: how to explain the source of the Etruscan script to be in the Vincha script? The Vincha script acquired its name after the most important site of the Neolithic culture in our country. If the Neolithic culture ended in 3400 B. C, it does not necessarily mean that the literacy culture was interrupted in the later epochs. In any way, traces of that literacy, reaching up to the end of the second millennium B. C. exist. The Etruscans appeared at the beginning of the second millennium B. C. There are several theories on their arrival, one of which is from the Middle Danube Basin. If it is widely known that we find them on the Apennine Peninsula as already established civilization, at the beginning of the first millennium, it is obvious the first stages of their settlement, under presumption they came from another region, must have had characteristics of the civilization of the previous region. Consequently, the Slav literacy had not appeared at the time Cyril and Methodius introduced the Glagol script, but far earlier. The Glagol script was only a modern variant, for those times, of a script used by the Slavs up to that moment. The fact that the Blackfriar Hrabar recorded the Slavs to have written by »lines and dashes« is no convincing proof they had not have their own literacy even prior to those lines and dashes. For, the Slavs lived in these regions long before the arrival of Cyril and Methodius and long before the migrations, of which Porphyrogenitus and the dogmatic historiography have tried to convince us.

Traces of script are very important factor in resolving many unintentional or deliberate complex problems of the far past or of even earlier times. In his survey of the literacy development, Isaac Taylor lists the Pelasgi script as the first character (letter, alphabetic) script, and not the Phoenician script. The Pelasgi tree is very ramified. The Illyrians and the Thracians, inter alia, belong to that tree. The encyclopedian Alian points out to existence of »Iliad« in the language of the Bryggis, close relatives of the Dardanians, and that the Athenian edition appeared only in 560 B. C. (at the order by Peisistratos the Tyrant). Both the Bryggis and the Dardanians belong to the Pelasgi tree. The researches of Gregorius Dankowsky in 1829 are the best confirmation to what extent is the Pelasgi language related, affiliated or identical with the Slav language. Consequently, the script discloses the language, and the language helps to discover the language identify.

Lately, the theories of the alleged »Illyrian« origin of the Albanians are widely discussed. The said hypothesis does not fall within the domain of science, for neither the language nor the other traces connect the Albanians with the Illyrians or the Thracians. The Albanians originate from Albans (Afghani) the homeland of which is Azerbaijan on Caucasus. The Albanians living in to-days Albania, as well as the ones living in Kosovo and Metohija, acquired their first script in the second half of the XVIII century under the name of »The Elbasan script«. In 1840, Beitha Kukju (Butha Kukye) introduced the second script variant, named after him. These two variants of the Albanian script, according to the researches carried out by Johannes Friedrich, consist of Neo-Greek and Serbian letters. No traces of Albanian literacy prior to these dates exist, and in the science, it is widely known that the Illyrians and the Thracians were literate. The script used today by the Albanians is the Latin script introduced in 1908. The same applies to the language. When the science fails to react immediately with right arguments, constructions and confusions come to life causing even greater embarrassment, often with tragic consequences. The French, André Martinet, one of the greatest linguists of our times, expressly states, »that the Albanian language has not been recorded prior to the XVI century« and that »it exuberates with loan words from the Slav, Turkish, Greek and Romanian languages with only one tenth of indigenous words«. It is absurd to dwell on a certain »Illyrian« hypothesis on the origin of the Albanians, after all these facts.

There are many historical schools with diverse theses, but history is no theory. There are written histories as well, the argumentative documentation of which opposes as a whole the already accepted historical cognitions. One should wonder why many modern historiographers fail to consult them or why do they underestimate them completely, without offering in return any justifiable argumentation based on the scientific methodology. There is also forbidden historical literature, neglected and forgotten. There are historical researches anathematized from the start and it is certainly one of the causes of consequences of tragic scopes. The history of the Balkans has not been represented definitively in its right light. I wrote about the autochthony of the Slavs on the Balkans and emphasized the importance of the Tripolje culture as documented by the material from the site starting from the IV millennium B. C. The common characteristics, related to the Slav world, which the Tripolje culture discloses, have been found on very vast expanses, from the rivers the Dnestr and the Dnepr up to Crete. Some of the historiographers considered them Slavs. This was confirmed by anthropological researches, and in the most recent times, by a new method of research into the distribution of blood groups. If to all this. language and script are added, we shall come close to the conclusion suggesting the autochthony of the Slavs in the Balkans. The Venetis should also be included as they were distributed all over the Balkan region. It has been already confirmed that both Venetis as well as Antis were Slavs. Matej Bor and Jozhko Shavli published recently results of their researches of the history and the language of the Venetis. Their researches were restricted to the northeastern part of the Balkans and on the northern part of Italy. More complete historical survey of the Venetis having lived in the valleys around the rivers of the Danube, the Timok, and the Morava, up to the fountainhead of the Vardar have yet not been made.

Connections between the Balkans and the Near East existed as far as prehistory, as confirmed by many tribes found on the Apennine, the Balkan and the Asia Minor Peninsulas. During the last years, particular interest in the science was roused by the archaeological site of Ekrom near Jerusalem. A Philistine town was discovered, which showed an organized way of living on a high level. Great number of inscriptions on ceramic tables was found, which represent still a riddle for the researchers of this site. Having in mind that the Philistines were very close relations of the Pelasgi, or maybe the Pelasgi themselves, we have directed our research towards that direction. The morphology of their script reminds immensely of the Pelasgi i.e. of the Vincha script.

The prehistoric man, with his clear mind, was identified with nature, as a part of the nature. Level of his spiritual life could by no means be considered as being on a lower or primitive level. He lives in a researching epoch and is directed to himself. He keeps learning, being at the same time teacher to himself. Messages left about him are the messages to the future generations, which he had seen in his mind. He does not search for the truth, as it lives within him. He defends his life from lies, which lead towards destruction, the same as he does with his messages. Mankind should cognize them and accept them in the name of its survival.

The starting points of my studies are the researches in Etruscanology, followed by analogues with the Vincha culture signs and the systematization of the Vincha script. Here I have to emphasize the enormous help I had had in my researches from my knowledge of Sanskrit or, more exactly, from the constant improvement in that language. I tried to point out to my students the importance of the study of Sanskrit, not only for reasons of personal learning and possibilities of finding answers to forthcoming essential questions, but, above all, as an indispensable need to those remaining within the field of linguistic researches. Hence, learn Sanskrit.

 

Translated from Serbian by Olivera Popovich

(from the book: I accuse the silence, Beograd, 2001)  

 

 

Slovenian (gajica)

Slovenian (bohorichica)