Biology trumps linguistics?

Laurence Horn laurence.horn at YALE.EDU
Fri Aug 24 17:20:07 UTC 2012

On Aug 24, 2012, at 1:07 PM, Joel S. Berson wrote:

> "Family Tree of [Indo-European] Languages Has Roots in Anatolia,
> Biologists Say", by Nicholas Wade.
> NYTimes, today (Aug. 24), A8 (N.E. Edition).
> (The illustration's legend begins with an unfortunate sentence: "A
> new study suggests that the sprawling Indo-European family of
> languages originated in Anatolia, or modern-day Turkey."  Surely the
> I-E family did not originate in modern-day Turkey.)
Well, it did, if the study is right and if "modern-day" here is like "former", "late", or "legitimate" (as in the unfortunate congressman's reference to "legitimate rape" in the earlier thread):  an adverb in (non-intersective) adjective's clothing.  It would have been clearer if the caption writer had said "or what would become modern-day Turkey", but the sense is something like "in modern-day-ishly Turkey".  The "or" doesn't help.


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