Etymology and ideology : substratum heritage and the Slavic influence on Romanian

Author: Paliga, Sorin
Source document: Opera Slavica. 2020, vol. 30, iss. 4, pp. 5-22
Extent
5-22
  • ISSN
    1211-7676 (print)
    2336-4459 (online)
Type
Article
Language
English
Abstract(s)
The paper focusses on the influence of ideological (political) issues on linguistic studies, specifically on the long debated issue of substratum heritage of Romanian. Though often downplayed, the ideological (in most cases political) dimension of humanistic studies is obvious, and it explains some of the approaches to history and, in our case, to historical linguistics that one observes. The general situation is described through some case studies. In the second half of the 19th century, the field was dominated by the outstanding personality of Bogdan Petriceicu Hasdeu. After his death, there was no significant approach to the complex and difficult problems related to the substratum of Romanian, or to other problems in comparative analyses. No consistent and coherent approach to these issues emerged until the late 1960's, i.e. almost a century later! Between 1969, when the first relevant analysis was published, and the 1980's, when most such studies were published, little of value appeared, despite the volume of material published. Their results were more amateurish than reliable. Though the study of the substratum heritage it is often associated with extreme nationalism or other forms of political extremism ('extreme right' or 'extreme left' or whatever), including those recent variants labelled 'thracomania' or 'dacomania' and other amateurish approaches to the topic, the problem of Romanian's substratum heritage is nonetheless a complex, difficult and fascinating one. It will continue to present a challenge as long as there is no consensus among linguists. Substratum influence has more often been underestimated than exaggerated; the number of substratum elements seems to be considerably higher than the currently accepted 200 hundred words, a total that seems to have been uncritically copy-pasted from one author to another. This paper tries to give a new impetus to research in the field. The author has discussed other aspects of the field elsewhere.
Document
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