4.15. Illyrian

While it seems impossible to give Krahe’s “Illyrian theory” a shaped linguistic form, if it refers to the indigenous Balkan languages, it could be as a whole connected with one of the early Palaeo-Balkan communities referred to in this text; i.e. Palaeo-Balkan including Albanian, or only Graeco-Armenian, or just Graeco-Thraco-Phrygian dialects.

Strictly speaking, only the ‘southeastern Dalmatian onomastic area’ offers some concrete chance of containing names that belong to the indigenous language of the actual Illyrian tribes that lived in the south-east Dalmatian region (today’s Albania) at least since the 4th century BC in Graeco-Roman historiography. Indo-European etymologies exist for some of the stems repeated (Simone 2018):

·       Gent- (< *gentis ‘lineage, descent’) in Lat. Gentius, Gentilla, Gk. Genthios, Gentheas, Genthena, etc.

·       Teut- (< *teutā ‘people, community’) in Lat. Teuticus, Teuta(na), Gk. Teutios, Temi-teuta, Teutaia, etc.

·       Trit- (< *tri-tos ‘third’) in Lat. Et-Tritus, Gk. Tritú-mallos.

Traditionally linked with Albanian because of the distribution of its modern speakers, there is no clear data to support this connection, and there are in fact phonological incompatibilities of the few clear onomastic taxa with Pre-Proto-Albanian. Although this does not rule out a previous, Pre-Albanian phonological stage compatible with the language ancestral to “Illyrian” in a quite early stage, the posited Albanian–Celtic (and potential Albanian–Celtic Germanic) isoglosses (Trumper 2018) and toponymic data (Orel 1998) support a central-east European Albanoid Urheimat, while the earliest potential Doric Greek loans of Albanian origin may point to a secondary homeland in the Balkans as early as the 7th century BC (Witczak 2016).