Haida related to Miwok, not Na-Dene?

Geoffrey Caveney geoffreycaveney at GMAIL.COM
Thu Jul 25 11:50:37 UTC 2013


It is common for phonemes to be borrowed and spread due to areal influence,
and I think it is likely that is what happened here: Haida innovated
uvulars before Proto-Haida-Miwok unstressed vowels, due to the influence of
Tlingit and its substantial inventory of uvular consonants. Before this
happened, I propose that the phonological inventory of Proto-Haida-Miwok
was substantially similar to that of Proto-Miwok. As for the historical
split, my hypothesis is that Proto-Haida-Miwok split not only from Yokuts,
but also even from Costanoan, before Haida split from Miwok. At the level
of the core lexicon, Proto-Miwok is closer to Haida than it is to Costanoan.

Geoffrey Caveney


On Thu, Jul 25, 2013 at 7:00 AM, Ryan Denzer-King <
johndillinger43 at hotmail.com> wrote:

> I'm intrigued by this idea.  But what is the implication?  That Haida
> innovated uvulars before unstressed vowels?  What would the phonological
> inventory of Proto-Haida-Utian look like (or Proto-Haida-Yok-Utian,
> depending on your assumption about the historical split)?
>
> ------------------------------
> Date: Wed, 24 Jul 2013 21:25:45 -0400
> From: geoffreycaveney at GMAIL.COM
> Subject: Re: Haida related to Miwok, not Na-Dene?
> To: ATHAPBASCKAN-L at LISTSERV.LINGUISTLIST.ORG
>
>
> I have one more observation to add regarding the comparison of Haida to
> Proto-Miwok. Among the strongest lexical comparisons, the following rule
> holds:
>
> Where Proto-Miwok *k- occurs before a stressed vowel, Haida has a velar
> stop.
> Where Proto-Miwok *k- occurs before an unstressed vowel, Haida has a
> uvular stop.
>
> Haida *tl'a**k'úl *'liver' ; Proto-Miwok **k**ý**l*la 'liver'
> Haida *s**kuj *'bone' ; Proto-Eastern Miwok **k**ý**č*(:)yč- 'bone'
> Haida *-**gan *'my' ; Proto-Miwok **kán*ni 'I'
> vs.
> Haida *hl**Gahl *'black' ; Proto-Miwok **kul*... 'black'
> Haida *Gáal *'night' ; Proto-Miwok **kaw**ý**:l* 'night'
> Haida *sGwáansang *'one' ; Proto-Miwok **keng*:... 'one'
> and perhaps also
> Haida *qung* 'moon' ; Proto-Miwok **kom*é- 'moon'
> Haida *q'ul**u:** *'knee' ; Proto-Miwok **kol**ó* 'foot'
>
> Geoffrey Caveney
>
>
> On Wed, Jul 24, 2013 at 10:43 AM, Geoffrey Caveney <
> geoffreycaveney at gmail.com> wrote:
>
> Hello,
>
> I recently shared some observations with the Haida language list, and I
> would like to share them with this list as well.
>
> I am well aware of the long-standing controversy about whether Haida is
> related to the Na-Dene languages or not. I agree with the current standard
> position that it is not -- what is especially lacking in Haida - Na-Dene
> comparisons are any convincing sets of correspondences in the core lexical
> vocabulary. But that has made me curious: if Haida is not Na-Dene, then
> where did it come from?
>
> Recently I have found a surprisingly substantial set of correspondences in
> the core lexical vocabulary between Haida and the Miwok language of the San
> Francisco Bay area in California. Miwok belongs to the Utian language
> family, and many linguists believe it is part of a broader family called
> Penutian, which some believe Tsimshianic belongs to as well. But I find a
> much stronger set of correspondences between the Haida and Miwok core
> lexicon, than I do between Haida and Tsimshian or any other Penutian
> language, or indeed between Utian and Tsimshianic.
>
> A correspondence that caught my attention was that between a pair of the
> 1st person singular pronominal forms. There is the Haida form *díi*, and
> also the Haida morpheme *-gan *in the alienable possessive form *gyáagan *'my'.
> Southern Sierra Miwok has the 1st person singular suffixes *-nti-, -te-, *
> and *-kan *in different series that follow nominal themes. In fact *-nti-
> *and *-kan *occur in dialectal variation in Series 1. (See Broadbent
> 1964:43, online at
> http://www.yosemite.ca.us/library/southern_sierra_miwok_language/page_43.html
> .)
>
> But it is a whole series of correspondences in the core lexical vocabulary
> that makes the most convincing case for Haida being related to Miwok. In
> particular, a substantial number of Haida forms with a uvular or velar stop
> in onset position correspond to Miwok forms with *k- *in onset position.
>
> The Proto-Miwok and Proto-Eastern Miwok forms below are cited from the
> article "Comparative Miwok: A Preliminary Survey" by Broadbent and
> Callaghan in *IJAL *in 1960 (IJAL 26.4:301-316), which I thank Matt
> Faytak for bringing to my attention. It should be noted that 4 of the 5
> Miwok languages used in the reconstruction are Eastern Miwok, so in some
> cases such as 'bone' I believe the Proto-Eastern Miwok form is appropriate
> to use, as the Lake Miwok form may be irregular or not cognate at all.
>
> Haida *tl'a**k'úl *'liver' ; Proto-Miwok **kyl*la 'liver'
> Haida *s**kuj *'bone' ; Proto-Eastern Miwok **ky**č*(:)yč- 'bone'
> (Lake Miwok *kúlum *may or may not be related at all, so I don't believe
> it's necessary to restrict the comparison to the limited Proto-Miwok
> reconstruction *ky...)
> Haida *-**gan *'my' ; Proto-Miwok **kán*ni 'I'
> Haida *hl**Gahl *'black' ; Proto-Miwok **kul*... 'black'
> Haida *Gáal *'night' ; Proto-Miwok **kawy:l* 'night'
> Haida *sGwáansang *'one' ; Proto-Miwok **keng*:... 'one'
> S. Haida *k'aw *'cold' ; Proto-Miwok **ky(:)w*(e)... 'cold'
>
> Another possible sound correspondence is Haida /X-/ : Proto-Miwok */š-/:
>
> Haida *Xáng**ii** *'eye' ; Proto-Miwok **š**yn*t- 'eye'
> Haida *Xahl**a** *'to be startled' ; Proto-Miwok **š**él*... 'to be
> afraid'
>
> Regarding the lack (so far) of other regular sound correspondences, it is
> worth noting that in Haida forms with initial velar and uvular consonants
> make up such a large portion of the core lexicon (I count as many as 63 of
> them out of the 100 terms on the basic Swadesh list) that it is going to be
> difficult to find any numerous examples of correspondences with other Haida
> sounds. The best bet is Haida /d-/ and /t-/ with Miwok /t-/, a
> correspondence set I am still working on.
>
> It is curious to find so many lexical correspondences but not very many
> grammatical correspondences between Haida and Miwok. But borrowing is not a
> likely explanation given the geographical distance and lack of evidence of
> any contact between the two peoples. Also, I find by far the greatest
> amount of Haida-Miwok correspondences in the core lexicon and rather fewer
> correspondences in the rest of the lexicon, which points to a genetic
> relationship rather than borrowing.
>
> Between Haida and Na-Dene, on the other hand, one finds more structural
> and typological parallels but not lexical correspondences. Perhaps there is
> a clue here about the history of Haida: the people could have been speakers
> of a Miwokan language who migrated to the Haida Gwaii islands thousands of
> years ago, where the population of the area spoke Tlingit or a related
> language. The Haida language retained its core Miwok lexicon but adopted
> many structural features of Tlingit/Na-Dene. Of course there must have been
> lexical borrowings from Tlingit, Tsimshian, and other neighboring languages
> as well.
>
> The fact that the Haida people, as I understand, were a nation renowned
> for their prowess as seafaring warriors, is consistent with this
> hypothesis. If their origins were from the Miwoks of the San Francisco Bay
> area, they would have had to be highly skilled seafarers to migrate all the
> way from there to the Haida Gwaii. And to conquer and settle their new
> territory, they would have had to be successful warriors.
>
> By the way, if Haida does prove to be genetically related to Miwok, it
> would show how spurious were all the arguments of Greenberg and Ruhlen
> insisting for decades that Haida is related to Na-Dene. The crude division
> Greenberg made in his hypothesis of language relationships in the Americas
> was to distinguish Eskimo-Aleut and Na-Dene from everything else, which he
> called Amerind. If Haida is related to Miwok, even that crude division will
> be wrong.
>
> If Haida is related to Miwok, a natural question to ask is where it fits
> in with the other languages Miwok is related to: Miwok and Costanoan are
> definitely related in the Utian language family, and Yokuts is likely
> related, but more distantly, in the Yok-Utian family.
>
> The evidence I am finding shows substantially more comparisons between
> Haida and Miwok than between Haida and Costanoan. My tentative hypothesis
> right now is that, surprisingly, Miwok and Haida are even more closely
> related than Miwok and Costanoan are. Of course the amount of borrowing in
> Haida would obscure the closeness of its relation with Miwok. But when it
> comes to the very basic core lexicon of the 50 or so terms most resistant
> to substitution, I find the Miwok-Haida connection is closer than the
> Miwok-Costanoan connection, especially when the possibility of
> Miwok-Costanoan borrowing and areal influence is accounted for.
>
> I would be very interested to hear the thoughts and comments of
> Athapbasckan language list readers about these observations.
>
> Geoffrey Caveney
>
>
>
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