phonetic resemblances etc.

Alexis Manaster-Ramer manaster at
Sun Jan 31 02:24:16 UTC 1999

----------------------------Original message----------------------------

On Sat, 30 Jan 1999, Miguel Carrasquer Vidal wrote:

> ----------------------------Original message----------------------------
> Alexis Manaster-Ramer <manaster at> wrote:
> >          Mamulique   Garza      Comecrudo
> >
> >sun       atl        ai         al
> >moon      kan        an         eskan
> >water     aha(?)     axe        apanekla
> >road      --         aie        aaul
> >man       (kessem)   knarxe     na
> >woman     kem        kem        kem
> >sky       --         apiero     apel
> >
> > [...]
> >
> >(A) The "historical sound law" Goddard alludes to is never stated. He is,
> >of course, talking about the relation between ai and al and that between
> >aie and aaul.  But there is no single sound law that can be invoked here.
> >Presumably (I have forgotten to ask him), he is talking about the
> >relationship between Garza "i" and Comecrudo "l", but there surely a
> >problem given that Comecrudo "l" also "corresponds" to Garza "r" (as in
> >apiero : apel).
> Not necessarily.  The correspondence might be between apel and
> api(j)-.

That is a priori true, but we can be quite sure that Goddard
did not have this in mind.  So my basic remains: as far as he
himself knew, he had not formulated explicitly ANY sound laws
and the one he hints at seems to have a major counterexample.
And of course the more important methodological point is that
he does not even try to account for the other sound laws
that would be needed or for the morphology, in particular
for what the -panekla part of apanekla is.  As it happens,
I have accounted for that, and more generally, IF one
accepts my results (which Ives so far does not), then
several of the things which he assumed without much evidence
if any do turn out to be correct.  The more you accept of
my analysis of the larger Pakawan family of which Comecrudan
is a part and the more you look at sources for Comecrudo
other than the one Ives did (he actually ignored most of
what we know of this language for the purposes of the
Comecrudan comparison), the more he is seen to be right.

But that is exactly my point. Goddard (like Trask, Thomason,
Campbell and, on his off days, Hamp) are entirely wrong
in their methodological pronouncements, according to which
this whole Comecrudan proposal would have be laughed to
scorn or "shouted down" (to use Campbell's words re
Greenberg) or simply ignored (as most people still do
Nostratic and Pakawan and many other proposals).  But
when Goddard did this little bit of classificatory work
(as far as I know, though I could be wrong, his sole
substantive contribution to this area of research), he
was right, much as Hamp was right about the history of
IE studies in 1979 and was almost certainly right to
support and expand Swadesh's comparison of Eskimo-Aleutian
with Chukchee-Kamchatkan.


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