phonetic resemblances

Alexis Manaster-Ramer manaster at
Wed Jan 27 18:37:40 UTC 1999

----------------------------Original message----------------------------
Examples: Slavic, Romance, Germanic, Indo-European, Shoshonean
(later subsumed under Uto-Aztecan), Semitic, Malayo-Polynesian,
Finno-Ugric, Turkic, Mongolic, Tungusic (for these last five
see the paper by Sidwell and myself in JSFOu on Strahlenberg).
I am not as sure but I think the same is true for Athapaskan,
Algonquian (parts of it anyway), and many other of the
Native American language families that are universally

Finally, a particularly clear example is the Comecrudan
language family proposed by Goddard 1979 and embraced
by Campbell and as far as I can see universally accepted
(in my scheme, of course, it is part of a larger
Pakawan family).  The small number of attested forms
precludes any meaningful talk of regular sound correspondences
since these would have to have one example each.


On Wed, 27 Jan 1999, Larry Trask wrote:
> Obvious phonetic resemblances have
> frequently -- probably even usually -- attracted the attention of
> linguists to language families whose members are rather closely related.
> But I know of no case in which a genetic link has been demonstrated on
> the basis of phonetic resemblances, nor can I conceive of a way of doing
> this other than a rigorously statistical one.
> Larry Trask
> University of Sussex
> Brighton BN1 9QH
> UK
> larryt at

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