25 October 2008

The Continuity Theory in Portugal

Apenas Livros is a Portuguese publishing house with a catalogue that covers a wide range of areas in the human sciences, as you can see if you visit their beautifully designed web-site (link). This year (2008) they have started a collection called Teoria da Continuidade Paleolitica, directed by Xaverio Ballester. So far, they have published two short books in this series, both of them translated into Portuguese: an introduction to the Paleolithic Continuity Theory (PCT) written by Mario Alinei, and an application of the PCT to the Galician area (Galicia is a Spanish region in the north-west of the Pensinsula, closely related to Portugal). These are the titles:

- ALINEI, Mario. A Teoria da Continuidade Paleolítica das Origens Indo-Europeias: Uma Introdução. 2008. Apenas Livros, Lisboa.
- ALINEI, Mario and Francesco BENOZZO. Alguns aspectos da Teoria da Continuidade Paleolítica aplicada à região galega. 2008. Apenas Livros, Lisboa.

NOTE: These texts (as well as their original versions) can be found on the website of the PCT workgroup (see here).

Earlier this year Apenas Livros published another interesting book connected with the Continuity Theory:

- MORAIS, Gabriela. A Genética e a Teoria da Continuidade Paleolítica Aplicadas à Lenda da Fundação de Portugal, Irlanda e Escócia, Apenas Livros, Lisboa, 2008. (You can also read it here).

It is not surprising that in Portugal (and also in Spain) there is a growing interest in the Continuity Theory. In the last decades a series of studies, especially the ones about hydronymy, have shown the traces of archaic Indo-European (IE) languages in the Iberian Peninsula long before the arrival of the Romans, or even before the emergence of the Iberians (speakers of a non-IE language). On the other hand, the Celtic languages of the Peninsula, which were spoken mainly in the Central and Atlantic areas, show some clearly archaic features, which challenges the traditionally accepted theory of a late arrival of the Celts in Spain and Portugal. The Continuity Theory offers a more coherent framework for these data, with its proposal of a new chronology for IE and a new way of understanding the processes of language change, with concepts such as hybridization and continuity and the use of data from a variety of disciplines, especially anthropology, archaeology and population genetics. In this new paradigm, it is becoming clear that the Atlantic and Central areas of the Peninsula (present-day Portugal, Galicia, the Cantabrian regions of the north, and most of Castile and Extremadura), played an important role in the emergence of the Celtic languages. There is a new horizon in the study of pre-Roman languages in the Iberian Peninsula, and a lot of (multidisciplinary) research is still to be done. The books recently published by Apenas Livros are no doubt an excellent contribution in this line of research.

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