Jump to content

Native (Specific) language for Iberians


Recommended Posts

Currently, we are using Basque for Iberians. I think this is a great improvement over using Spanish, but I also think that we should take this a bit further. In this sense, I would like to propose the following procedure to determine the native, specific name of an Iberian entity:

  1. If this word is known in Iberian language, use it.
  2. If this word is known in Celtiberian language, use it. Celtiberian is a contemporaneous, neighbour language of Iberian, spoken in the center of the Iberian Peninsula.
  3. If this word is known in Aquitanian language, use it. Aquitanian is a contemporaneous, neightbour language of Iberian, spoken in the north-east of the Iberian Peninsula. It is also the ancestor of Basque.
  4. If this word is known in Proto-Basque, use it. Proto-Basque is a reconstructed ancestor of the Basque language prior to the Roman conquest.
  5. If this word is known in Basque, use it. If there are several synonyms you can use, give preference to non-Latin-based words, and among those, choose the ones that are the most common closer to the south-east (where Iberian was originally spoken).

Most words will come from Basque anyway, but following these steps we can have some more ancient words that are either Iberian or closer to Iberian than a Basque word.

So, based on that process, I propose the following changes:

  • Iltiŕ for the Civic Center. Iberian word for “city” or “town”. There is also iltun, but we only need one word, and the less ASCII the better :)
  • Aŕs for the Fortress. Iberian word for “city” or “castle”. Also, the current word, Castro, means “hill fort”, which as far as I know was not something Iberians did.
  • Andere for a Woman. Aquitanian word for “woman”.
  • Organa for Trader. Proto-Basque word for “cart”.
  • Zezen for Revered Monument. Proto-Basque word for “bull”.

Sources: Wikipedia.

Edited by Gallaecio
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hi folks,

I'm the "colleague" that GunChleoc kept referring to regarding the Basque/Old Irish translations. Since I'll be working on the Gaelic localization with her, might as well pick up another account :)

I agree that not using Spanish is preferrable to begin with.

Using Iberian is something that we can probably forget about to begin with. We can read the script but apart from a half dozen translations which seem probable, we don't know the meaning of any of them (ignoring "decipherments" by fringe "linguists" like Arnaiz-Villena). The il-/ir- root in any case (if it means settlement) seems to have been a Sprachbund (i.e. shared across language boundaries) with Proto-Basque so that's not a problem for using Proto-Basque.

Celtiberian is somewhat better attested and readable but if we're mainly using some form of Basque, mixing the two will turn into an evil headache very fast. It would be like saying "For the Saxons, because Saxon is poorly attested, let's use a mix of Finnish and French". There will be endless posts and arguments about which feature to pick from which language.

There won't be much usable material from Aquitanian, most of it comes from funeral stelae which follow the Roman pattern of "erected by X for Y" so we mostly have a bunch of names.

On the bright side, procuring Proto-Basque is not impossible (I'm working on it, I already have the short list, I just wanted to double-check a couple of things before posting). Fortunately a lot of work has been done on reconstructing it and in any case, some phonetic changes and loanwords aside, Basque is an unusually conservative language (the reason for why we can read the little Aquitanian we have so easily).

Zezen, by the way would be a bad choice for "monument", the Basques of old sacrificed goats, not cows :)

  • Like 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Pleasure :)

Perhaps it might make sense to split them into Iberians and Vascones? I think merging them will be something of a major headache down the line. I'll post the basic set of translations shortly. Haven't gotten round to doing the sound yet.

Edited by akerbeltz
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Ok, here's what I've got so far - I'll post them with comments for now in case anyone has some good suggestions. The general principle is that I'm working off the work of Larry Trask and Koldo Mitxelena who did the lion's share of the reconstruction of Proto-Basque based on internal reconstruction and general comparative linguistics wherever possible (i.e. I'm ignoring all the crazies).

What is it? Zer da?

Amusingly the reconstruction of first item appears to be identical to modern Basque. Yay, easy one.

My lord? Enne andotsa?

Ene is generally seen as the more ancient possessive and single n is the result of old fortis *n. It's normally written as N in linguistics but we don't know the exact value so I'm doubling it as nn and will assume long /n:/ with historical lenition of /n/ > zero and /n:/ to /n/. *Andotsa is a reconstructed form seen as a male counterpart to the attested ander- root for a woman/lady.

I will walk


Fairly easy one. The modern dubitative/conditional element -ke is generally accepted to have started life out as a future tense marker. As far as be know the other elements have not changed i.e. the first person marker n-, present tense -a- and the root -bil- 'go, walk'.

I will go out against %sen buruz nabilke

This may be a translation problem. Going against someone involves the someone, plus a genitive marker (the root of which is reconstructed as -en) plus the word head + instrumental -z. Or would it be ok to translate "I will go out against them"?

I will build Daraikeda

Ok, this involves the root eraiki 'build'. Most verbs beginning with e- and ending in -(k)i are seen as ancient and most likely were all conjugated synthetically (as opposed to periphrastically). So while modern Basque would use the periphrastic construction eraikiko dut, I'm treating it as a synthetic verb. So d- is the third person absolutive, -a- the present again, -rai- the root, -ke- the future and the reconstructed ergative ending -da (modern -t).

I will work land Lur darabilkeda

I'm still thinking about this one, tricky, as many agricultural terms are borrowed. At the moment I'm going with "I will use/work ground". The first root is same as modern Basque, the verb is like the above verb, with the root erabili 'use'.

I will gather together Biltu daituzkeda

Modern bildu would have been *biltu 'collect', the verb again uses the elements described above with the root -u- ('have') plus plural markers -it- and -z-.

I will herd Zaintu daituzkeda

Like above with *zaintu < modern zaindu.

I will fish Arrantzan daihardukeda

Elements as above, with the verb iharduki 'be busy with something'.

I will attack! Eraso daukeda I will repair Berri daukeda I will hunt Enizi daukeda I will heal Oso daukeda

As the verb above but minus the plural markers. Most items appear not to have changed much except for the loss of intervocalic -n- so ehiza is reconstructed as *enizi.

I will retreat! Atzea nabilke

Nabilke as above. The modern form would be atzera but the allative ending -ra is likely modern and historically it is only -a.

I will garrison Zani daukeda

Pretty much as above.

Battle cry (irrintzia) / Goa!

There's a choice of either the generic gora > *goa 'upwards!' or that haunting ululating cry the Basques do.

I will march!

This is my biggest headache. There's nothing workable that springs to mind that doesn't involve a loanword. My current thining is to take a Latin word and give it a phonetic workover as if the Basques had borrowed it back then.

Any comments welcome - I wanted to post these and get feedback before recording so I don't have to re-record.

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 7 months later...

Hi. I just joined the forum because I realized that the game was now using Basque (or rather quasi-Basque) for the Iberian faction and honestly, while I consider this development a clear improvement over the totally anachronistic usage of Castilian Spanish, I see that some stuff does not seem to be properly translated. This may be explained in some cases because of the usage of proto-Basque reconstructions and such (would not be my choice because they are controversial but whatever) but in other cases it is clearly just wrong.

For example "caballero cantabri" is still in Castilian but worse: mixed with a plural Latin form that is inconsistent in both languages. I'd use the Basque form "zaldun" for "knight" or "horseman" but I'm a bit uncertain about what to do with the word "cantabro": should the game use the original documented Latin form "cantaber" (not the plural "cantabri", please) or the modern Basque form for the modern Spanish regional Cantabrians which is just transliteration of Spanish in the form "kantabro". In any case I'd use zaldun(-a) for horsemen (which directly derivates from "zaldi": horse and I believe is attested in Iberian as well). Cantaber zaldun or kantabro zaldun would be my choices here.

Another issue I have is the priestess: "emakumezko apaiz" is a most strange sounding phrase (priest of the woman type, literally). Apaiz is a Christian word derived from Latin abbas (abbot) and now used for priests (abbot is said abate for some reason). Personally I'd use sorgina instead, which now means witch but is quite apparent that in antiquity meant priestess in the context of Paganism and, in some legends, even magical beings that were courtiers to Mari (the Basque goddess as recorded in legends, although arguably the name Mari is a Christian loan - quasi-santeria, you know). The phrase would be <goddess>-ko sorgina (sorry but I can't recall the name of the historically chosen goddess right now, fill in the blank for me). Alternatively maybe use apaizesa (but not my choice because it implies all kind of "barbarisms").

About using zezen for monument it sounds right to me. Unlike Akerbeltz I do not know of any reason to think that Basques "only sacrified goats". In fact in the legends I've read they usually sacrified red rams to Mari, by abandoning them at the entrance of a sacred cave. These practices are probably unrelated to Iberian ones and it is true that bull iconography is quite dominant in southern Iberia, where it may have replaced an older one of the deer (judging on cave art). Even in the Basque Country one bull idol (Mikeldi idol) is known, extremely eroded but clearly recognizable as a bull (with a circular element inside the legs) in spite of the horns being lost.

Another issue I have is the use of ezpata(-ri) and lantza(-ri), because these words are clear borrowings from Castilian Spanish or maybe Latin (spatha and lancea). However it is argued that Lat. lancea comes from Celtiberic. Yet this is not the case of spatha (from a Greek word cognate of spade) and the well-known word falcata (typical Iberian sword) again comes from Latin ensis falcata (sickle-shaped sword), so it seems impossible to find any genuine term. Personally I'd question if everything needs to be translated to more or less probable approximations to unknown ancient names or if it is better to just keep terms English (or whatever language the game is translated into) in some cases at least. For example "falcata warrior" or "falcata swordsman" would sound fine enought to me, giving historical flavor while not falling into unlikely execesses.

Also here, if you choose to keep ezpatari, I would reconsider "Lusitano ezpatari" because "Lusitano" is a modern Romance word, not even Latin (Lusitanus I presume). If you want to use Basque, it'd be "Lusitaniar ezpatari", semi-Latin "Lusitanus ezpatari" and my personal choice plain good English "Lusitanian swordsman" or "Lusitanian warrior", honestly.

Anyhow here, would I make the choice of skirmisher unit, I'd choose Balearic slingers (Balear habailari; in this case there is a genuine Basque term), because Lusitanians are more akin to the Celtic world than to the Iberian one (both ethnic groups were fighting each other for centuries until the Phoenicians first and later the Romans put them in line).

My two cents. I'll come back when I play more with the new version of the Iberian faction and get more ideas. Hope it helps.

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

The Basques are a people united ancient Aquitaine (part of Gallic confederation of Vercingetorix), were never part in any war in ancient Iberia.

It is an impropriety to adopt the Basque Iberian tribes.

From a linguistic point of view, is there any other language closer to Iberian?

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

It depends....

People in the Atlantic-western Iberia, spoke a Proto-Celtic language.

The center of the peninsula, spoke Celtiberian.

And the extreme east and southeast of the peninsula along the mediterranean spoke Iberian (non-Indo-European language).


As the largest War before 0 A.D. were the "Lusitanian Wars", I suggest that the Proto-Celtic language.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

It depends....People in the Atlantic-western Iberia, spoke a Proto-Celtic language.The center of the peninsula, spoke Celtiberian.And the extreme east and southeast of the peninsula along the mediterranean spoke Iberian (non-Indo-European language).


As the largest War before 0 A.D. were the "Lusitanian Wars", I suggest that the Proto-Celtic language.

But we're can find that words to substitute basque, I mean it's not supposed dead lenguage?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Still, Basque, proto-Basque, previous related languages that have been reconstructed somehow are closer (at least geographically) to Galicia and Portugal. It would be great to eventually have a Lusitanian civ, which would use the reconstructions that you are familiar with, but I dont think those Galician-Lusitanian language reconstructions are a better fit for the Iberian civilization than the ones we are already using.

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 4 years later...

Etymological dictionary for Basque language: https://s3.amazonaws.com/academia.edu.documents/30873859/lxwp23-08-edb.pdf?AWSAccessKeyId=AKIAIWOWYYGZ2Y53UL3A&amp;Expires=1546340201&amp;Signature=alC56zsJ9NFdEghRwnVXmJD6k0k%3D&amp;response-content-disposition=attachment%3B filename%3DEtymological_Dictionary_of_Basque_by_R..pdf

Some interesting words: Gudari, meaning warrior/combatant (Gudu- for combat). Burtzi, meaning spike/spear/lance. Aide nagusi, meaning clan chief. Buruzagi, meaning leader, chief. Eralle, meaning killer. These are the few words relevant I found and without any borrowing from IE languages.

  • Like 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.


  • Create New...