phonetic resemblances

Alexis Manaster-Ramer manaster at
Fri Jan 29 21:48:56 UTC 1999

This is from Alexis Manaster Ramer --

> >Sally Thomason says in part:
> >
> >"Larry Trask and Rich Alderson and a few others are doing a
> >great job of explaining why phonetic resemblances are not considered
> >by historical linguists to be either necessary or sufficient to
> >establish genetic relationships,"
> >
> >I would like to emend that to say "by some but not all historical
> >linguists and by many but again not all linguists who do little if any
> >historical linguistics but like to comment on it".
> >
> >Since Sally and I disagree about many things, but I think
>> she will accept that Joseph Greenberg, Eric Hamp,
>> Ives Goddard, Lyle Campbell, and I are all historical
>> linguists.  Now, it is obvious that Greenberg and I
>> do not agree with her genealization.

> >Moreover, as I have pointed out, Ives Goddard and
> >Lyle Campbell, argue for a Comecrudan
> >language family strictly on the basis of
> >phonetic similarities (among lexical items only,
> without any morphological comparisons at all!),
>  I also noted that Eric Hamp, one of the
> >two or three most distinguished historical linguists
> >alive, has argued quite specifically that language
> >comparison typically begins with items that are
> >phonetically similar, even if it does not end
> >there.  This was in 1976. To be sure, more recently
>> he has made statements much like Sally's generalization,
>> but I think that that was just in the heat of battle,
>> as it were.
> >
> >AMR
> >

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