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manaster at manaster at
Wed Jan 28 14:03:11 UTC 1998

----------------------------Original message----------------------------
> >I would like to hear from others on this point, but
> >it seems to me that we should add this to Scott's
> >remarks:
> >
> >Even if ALL the evidence presented by someone for
> >theory X is refuted (or if no evidence was ever
> >presented in the first place, as happened with Sapir
> >several times), that does not mean that X is false
> >or incapable of being shown true or even unworthy of
> >further effort.  There is of course no way of knowing
> >whether the effort will be rewarded or not, but
> >SOMEBODY has to keep trying to classify the languages
> >of the world.  I think that perhaps the current
> >crisis in this field has to do in part with false
> >perceptions of the history of the field.  If more people
> >knew about the story of how various classifications
> >were worked out in the course of this century (e.g.,
> >Vietnamese as Mon-Khmer, Pama-Nyungan as Australian,
> >Algic, Anatolian as Indo-European, Eskimo-Aleut, and so on),
> >perhaps there would be more appreciation of just how
> >much of an evolving, progressing field this is and how
> >much realistic work remains to be done--instead of the
> >caricature which we are daily fed by the extremists
> >on both sides.
> >
> >AMR
> >
> >On Fri, 23 Jan 1998, Scott DeLancey wrote:
> >>
> >> ....In principle, it isn't necessarily bad logic.  Lacking any
> >> evidence
> >> for a relationship between two languages, the null hypothesis must
> >> be that there is no relationship....

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