It is unclear whether Balkan languages formed at some point a genetic unity, or different Yamna communities just settled in neighbouring regions in the Balkans. Nevertheless, it seems common ground to speak about an ancestral Graeco-Armenian community, which split into Armenian and Graeco-Phrygian, which in turn split into Graeco-Macedonian and Phrygian.
Common features of Palaeo-Balkan languages include (Hajnal 2003):
· Vocalisation of word-initial laryngeals before consonants.
· Relatively systematic vocalisation of LPIE *-iħ as *-i̯ă (Albanian less clear, although cf. zonjë ‘lady’ from *desi̯ās-potni̯ă), in contrast with the more widespread *-ī alternative.
· Formation of identity adjectives and patronymics in *-eii̯o-.
· Spread of locative plural in *-si, in contrast with the alternative *-su.
· Relevance of sigmatic preterite(-aorist?) formations.
· Outcome of 3p.sg. in *-(e)s < *(e)st, and plural *-(e)san < *(e)s-n̥t (pointing to a loss of final consonant).
Lexical correspondences include (Martirosyan 2013):
· *an(e/ō)rio- ‘dream’ cf. Arm. anurǰ-kՙ, Gk. anar- onar-, Alb. adërrë <*andërrë.
· *bhe/or-(e)n- ‘load (“that is borne”), freight’, cf. Arm. bern, Gk. phernḗ, Alb. bárrë. Probably a European isogloss retaining the original meaning; compare for a cognate with shift in meaning NWIE *bhornā- ‘child, baby’ in Goth. and ON barn, Lith. bérnas.
· *sk(h)odoro- or *sk(h)orodo- ‘garlic’, cf. Arm. xstor, sxtor, Gk. skór(o)don, Alb. húrdhë, also húdhër.
Common features of Graeco-Armenian include:
· Trend to devoicing of voiced stops (with further developments in the different branches).
· Development of *s → *h (also in Phrygian), although it may have been due to parallel developments.
· e-augment: a Graeco-Aryan feature that was kept or expanded in Greek, Phrygian, and Armenian.
· Formation of specific verbs in *-nu- restricted to these dialects.
· Productive -n-presents beside root aorists (also present in Indo-Iranian and Tocharian).
· Instrumental singular in *-bhi; locative (singular) Arm. -oǰ ~ Gk. -othi.
· Innovative inflectional class in -olā-.
· Verbal suffix *-sk- in forms restricted to past time.
· Certain verbal reduplications not found in other branches.
Other common words include the following (Martirosyan 2013):
· *agu(s)i̯ā - cf. Arm acu ‘garden-bed’, Gk. aguia ‘street, road’.
· *aleu̯r̥ ‘flour’, cf. Arm. alewr, aliwr, Gk. aleuron, aleuros.
· *ām-(ō)r, gen. am-(e)n-, cf. Arm. awr, gen. awur, Gk. ēmar, Dor. améra.
· *an(t)ēr ‘cave’, cf. Arm. ayr, Gk. ántron.
· *ar- ‘to fix, put together’, cf. Arm. ar-ar-i ‘make, create’, Gk. ararísko ‘fit, equip’.
· *bha-ti-, cf. Arm. bay ‘speech, word, verb’, Gk. phásis, phátis ‘declaration, enunciation, rumour’.
· *dhesó- (<*dhhs-ó-) as the name of god, cf. Gk. theós, Arm. di-k ‘gods’ (plural). It substituted the common PIE *deiu̯o-.
· *du̯ā-ro- cf. Arm. erkar ‘long’, Gk. *du̯ārós; maybe here Cilician Τβερημωσις, Τβερασητας, Hitt. tuwala-.
· *egwhi- ‘viper’, cf. Arm. iž, Gk. ekhis. Maybe here also Skt. áhi, Av. aži, although probably from LPIE *n̥gwh-i- ‘snake’.
· *k(e)r-iā- ‘band’, cf. Arm. sari-kՙ, Gk. kairía, keiría (see above §184.108.40.206. Graeco-Aryan for shared verb *k(e)r- ‘to tie, bind’).
· *oi̯u-kwi(d) ‘no’, possibly a parallel development, cf. Arm očՙ, Gk. ouk, oukí.
· *okwkwon- ‘eye’, cf. Arm. akn gen. akan, Gk. (Hesychius) okkon.
· *osrā ‘harvest, summer’, f. Arm. ara-, Gk. Lac. op-ára; this agreement is also found in (s)kl̥-ne/o- ‘harvest, mowing time’, cf. Arm. k`ałel, Gk. skállō.
· *obhel- ‘broom, sweep; increase’, cf. Arm. awel, Gk. ophéllo.
· *pr(ē/ō)kt-, cf. Arm. erastan-kՙ, ‘buttocks’, Gk. proktós ‘anus’.
· *pter- ‘feather, wing, blade’, cf. Arm. ter, Gk. pterón.
· *tumbo- ‘mound’, cf. Arm. tՙumb, Gk. túmbos.
· *u̯es-nu- ‘to clothe, to put on clothes’, cf. Arm. z-genum, Gk. hénnumi.
For a full reference of potential Armenian-Greek correspondences, see Danka and Witczak (1995), Kortlandt (2003), and Martirosyan (2013).
Interesting are the words of non-Indo-European (and thus probably substrate) origin found only in Graeco-Armenian, pointing to a common period in the Balkans, already separated from other Yamna settlers (Martirosyan 2013):
· *anth(-r)- ‘coal’, cf. Arm. antՙ-eł, dial. antՙ-(a)r-, Gk. ánthraks.
· *drepan-ā, cf. Arm. artewan-un-kՙ ‘eyelashes; eyebrow’, Gk. drepánee, drépanon ‘sickle’ (the human eyebrow is taken as sickle-shaped).
· *sep(h)-s- ‘to boil, cook’, cf. Arm. epՙem, Gk. epsō.
· *t(a)rp-ā ‘large wicker basket’, cf. Arm. tՙarpՙ / tՙarb, Gk. tárpē, tarpós ‘large wicker basket’.
· *gingl(u)m- ‘hinge’, cf. Arm. cłxni, Gk. gínglumos.
· *kalam- ‘aspen; plane’, cf. Arm. kałamax(i), Gk. kalamín-dar.
· *kast(an)- ‘chestnut’ c.f Arm. kask-eni, Gk. kástanon.
· *karid- ‘crayfish’, cf. Arm. karič, Gk. karís, -ídos.
· *gori̯o- ‘drain’, cf. Arm. kori, Gk. gorgúrion.
· *gw(e)m/bhuri̯ā ‘bridge’, cf. Arm. kamurj, Gk. géphura. For non-IE languages compare Hatt. ḫamuru(wa) ‘beam’, Abkhaz *qə(m)bələ-ra ‘beam over the hearth, cross-beam’.
· *mosgh-o/io- ‘young bovine’, cf. Arm. mozi, Gk. móskhos.
· *notii̯ā ‘wetness’, cf. Arm. nay, Gk. notía.
· *olur-, cf. Arm. oloṙn ‘pea, bean’, Gk. olurai ‘spelt; rice-wheat’, cf. Akkad. ḫallūru, hi/ullūru, etc.
· *osp- ‘pulse, legumen’, cf. Arm. ospn, Gk. osprion.
· *portho- ‘sprout, young twig’, cf. Arm. ort, Gk. p(t)órthos.
· *khsan-t(e)r- ‘wool-carder, comb’, cf. Arm. santr, Gk. ksaínō, ksantēs.
· *si/ekhu- ‘melon, gourd’, cf. Arm. sex, Gk. sikúa, sékoua.
· *keno-/ken(e)u̯o- ‘empty’, cf. Arm. sin ‘empty’, Gk. *kenu̯ós, Epic kene(u̯)ó.
· *srungh- ‘snout, nostrils’, cf. Arm. ṙungn, Gk. rhúgkhos.
· *ps(e)ud-e/o- ‘false, lie’, cf. Arm. sut, Gk. pseudos, psudos.
· skórp-i-, gen. (s)kr̥p-i-ós: Arm. karb ‘basilisk, asp’, Gk. skorpíos ‘scorpion; a sea-fish’.