Remote Origins: 'Water Towns', Olbicella, and the root *alb- (Origini remote. Il caso delle “città d’acqua”, di Olbicella e della radice *alb-)
Perono Cacciafoco, Francesco
Date of Issue2011
School of Humanities and Social Sciences
This paper outlines a new applied epistemological aspect of the New Convergence Theory (NCT), aimed at developing a potentially 'homogeneous' vision among the different approaches in the field of Indo-European Linguistics. This work tries to reconstruct an Italian and European 'macro-area' (or 'micro-area') characterized by places names linked to the root *alb-, with a delineation of the 'semantic steps' produced, over time, by the same root, following a potentially 'all-embracing' approach. It seems that Paleo-Ligurian place names of the type Alba, old European river names Albis and the like, as well as their ablauting forms Olb- (> Orb- in Romance Ligurian), do not reflect directly the proto-Indo-European adjective *albho-, 'white'; rather, they all seem to continue a pre-proto-Indo-European extended root *Hal-bh-, 'water', cognate with the Sumerian ḫalbia (> Akkadian ḫalpium, 'spring', 'well', 'water mass', 'water hole'). A further analysis of the same *Hal-bh-, moreover, leads to a comparison with the proto-Indo-European root *Hal-, 'nourish'. The proto-Indo-European suffixed form *HwaH-r-, 'water', then, seems to exhibit a similar diffusion. As told above, this work is aimed at the 'reconstruction' of a toponymic 'macro-area' (or 'micro-area', depending on the points of view) related to the root *alb- and to the 'semantic steps' linked to the same root, with regard, especially, to the Northern Italy (and, secondarily, to Europe), developing – remaining in the specific case of pre-Latin (pre-Indo-European, proto-Indo-European, and Indo-European) Toponymy – this onomastic aspect of the New Convergence Theory (NCT) in relationship to the different approaches of the Indo-European Linguistics (the Indo-European / Glottological, the pre-Indo-European, the pan-Indo-European, the pan-Semitic, the Paleolithic Continuity Paradigm / Paleolithic Continuity Theory / Teoria della Continuità, the Vasconic Substratum Theory, the Glottalic Theory, for example). The New Convergence Theory (NCT), indeed, is mainly aimed at developing a potentially 'homogeneous' vision among the different above mentioned approaches in the field of Indo-European Linguistics, without emphasizing any one in particular, but trying to outline an 'all-embracing' reconstruction that takes into account each of the scientific achievements of the other considered Theories. This paper, therefore, is a theoretical work with applied implications both in the ambit of Toponymy / Toponomastics, and in the field of Semantics, with a specific focus on the delineation of an 'ideal map' related to the notion of 'water' and on the identification of 'water places' in the analyzed area.
Linguistics and Multilingual Studies
Path: Studies, Sources, and Images for a Territory
© 2011 The Author (published by Editrice Impressioni Grafiche). This paper was published in Path: Studies, Sources, and Images for a Territory and is made available as an electronic reprint (preprint) with permission of Editrice Impressioni Grafiche. One print or electronic copy may be made for personal use only. Systematic or multiple reproduction, distribution to multiple locations via electronic or other means, duplication of any material in this paper for a fee or for commercial purposes, or modification of the content of the paper is prohibited and is subject to penalties under law.