In his major criticism of Bor, the learned professor cites Bor:
…..the Veneti were rather uncertain about the pronunciation of several of the
letters, as is the case today in the coastal area of Adriatic (Primorska). They
easily confuse v with b (betatism); e.g. vog instead of bog.
Then he goes on with his criticism:…..This is, simply, a mistake……This is not
confusion of /v/ and with /b/; it is simply conditioned (i.e. environmentally
limited) sound change……but this does not mean that if they were producing
original inscriptions that they would not know when to write the grapheme for
"b" and when to write grapheme for "v". Bor, however, has two graphemes labeled
"B, V" on his alphabet table (189), and whenever one occurs, he is more or less
at liberty to interpret it as he pleases……on some occasions he interprets one of
these letters as "B" and explains it as /b/……on others, he labels it as "B" and
then explains it as /v/……Similarly, he interprets one of the letters as "V" and
then explains it as either /v/……or as /b/……Having explicitly stated that either
letter could stand for either sound, this approach shows a lack of consistency,
and suggests two things: either he, too, was confused; and/or he did not attach
a specific reading to a specific grapheme as a normal rule, but allowed
Other linguists would have no problems with Bor's readings of /b/ and /v/, in
the Venetic language; specially if they considered the original statement in
Slovenian: "Zamenjavali so ……radi v in b ……" which can be translated as: "They
were apt to interchange…..v and b…." Here are some examples:
Otto Jespersen (1969) in his book Language: nature, development & origin makes a
statement: "……for languages, especially the older ones are not distinguished by
William Dwight Whitney (1997) in his Sanskrit Grammar in the chapter titled
System of Sounds: Pronunciation, discusses the Sanskrit Devanagari alphabet.
This is interesting and important to note, because Sanskrit and Venetic were, to
a certain degree, contemporary languages. He writes:
-- "The semivowels r and l are very widely interchangeable in Sanskrit, both in
roots and in suffixes and even in prefixes….."
--"The y in Sanskrit, as in other languages generally, stands in the closest
relationship with the vowel i (short or long); the two exchange with one another
in cases innumerable."
--"The two sh-sounds……
the palatal) sh it is variously pronounced---more often,
perhaps, as s than as sh."
--"The very near relationship of s and sh (the two sh's ) sounds is attested by
their euphonic treatment,……and by their not infrequent confusion by the writers
--"From an early period in the history of the language, but increasingly later,
b and v exchange with each other, or fail to be distinguished in the
manuscripts. Thus the double root -forms brh and vrh, badh and vadh, and so on."
--"In the Veda, under the same circumstances as the y…….. v is to be read as a
Sir Monier Monier-Williams (1993) in A Sanskrit-English Dictionary shows
numerous examples where b and v are interchangeable, for example:
--"an unmarried man" is vanta or banta
--"barbarian" is barbara also written varvara
-"-mare", "female horse" is written in four different ways vadaba, vadava,
badava, badaba- despite the fact that Sanskrit has different graphemes for "b"
and "v". This occurred in Sanskrit, as noted by Jespersen (1969) where: "The
language of the old sacred hymns has become in many points obsolete, but
religion required that not one iota of these revered texts should be altered,
and a scrupulous oral tradition kept them unchanged from generation to
generation in every minute particular."
Different Perspectives ---To get a better perspective of this rather complex
subject, I wish to draw your attention to a different and less biased American
perspective, namely, "Refinements and Future Directions in Venetic Scholarship"
by Charles Bryant-Abraham, PhD, FSO, published in Journal of Ancient and
Medieval Studies vol. XVIII, 2001. Bryant-Abraham differs radically from
Priestly who is essentially defending a status-quo. Bryant-Abraham, on the
other hand, is of entirely different opinion, for he has the intelligence to
appreciate the value of the information presented by Slovenian scholars such as
Ambrozic, Jeza, Topolovsek, Savli, Bor and Tomazic and others as he writes:
"But indeed I do suspect that history is about to be written, or rather
rewritten. We stand on the threshold of a new world of insight into the
pre-history of Europe and the Mediterranean.
Indeed the high value of the ultra-conservative Slovenian dialects in the
decipherment of these inscriptions has the potential of so enhancing the
appreciation of Slovenian linguistics that those alpine dialects may yet come to
be collectively hailed as the `mother of Slavic languages'".
Ambrozic, Bryant-Abraham, Bor, Jeza, Savli, Tomazic, Topolovsek, Verbovsek and
others are not the only scholars that see the need for historical revisions. An
eminent historian and archaeologist Lord Colin Renfrew is also anticipating a
similar revision of pre-history. He is basing his assertions on the new
discoveries in the field of human genetics or `archaeogenetics' as he calls the
Conclusions:---With the dissection of the linguistic contributions of Bor and by
disparaging his work, Prof. Priestly thought that he will shatter the "Veneti"
theory. As far as I am concerned, he accomplished just the opposite. To
evaluate both sides of the story, I did some research of my own and came to the
conclusion that, basically, but not in every detail, Bor was right and that the
"Veneti" theory, which is a theory of continuity, is so far the best theory to
integrate the archaeological, genetic, geographic, historical, linguistic, and
We all should heed the advice of Jonathan Adams (1999): " Finding out what one
does not know is …… a vital part of scientific process; it is always better to
realize that there are grounds for uncertainty than to hold an unfounded belief
that one knows the answer. This uncertainty is reason for
open-mindedness…….rather than any sharp division into entrenched views."
Joseph Skulj (P. Eng.)
Hindu Institute of Learning (Toronto Canada)
Cc: Ambrozic A., Arko A., Bernik F., Cooper H.R., Hladnik M., Klopchic P.,
Lencek R.L., Milac M.M., Perdih A., Plut-Pregelj L., Priestly T.M.S., Rant J.,
Reindl D.R., Rihar F., Rogel C., Savli J., Stermole D.F., Stih P., Susel R.M.,