Alexis on classification

Johanna Nichols johanna at
Wed Jan 28 03:02:59 UTC 1998

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Alexis writes:
>  Recent attacks on Altaic by
>Nichols are based on third-hands sources.
Could you supply some references?  I try to keep abreast of this
literature, but I have seen nothing on Altaic by Nichols that I would
describe as either recent or an attack.
ALmost all
>critics of Greenberg's Amerind, myself excepted, have had
>nothing more to say that that he got some forms wrong,
>but do not address the comparisons he makes at all.
This isn't an accurate characterization of the reviews and critiques I've
read, and I'm sure I've read most of them.  They do criticize the quality
of the data; they also discuss explicitly whether errors in the data
vitiate the comparisons; they  discuss the number and the quality of the
putative cognate sets and the density of language representation within
them; they discuss method more generally; and they ask whether, all in all,
Greenberg's material makes a case for Amerind or its subgroups.  I would
call this addressing the comparisons.
Johanna Nichols

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