Arabic and IE

Alexis Manaster-Ramer manaster at
Sun Jan 31 23:37:00 UTC 1999

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

On Sun, 31 Jan 1999, Mohamed Diriye Abdullahi wrote:

> ----------------------------Original message----------------------------
> >At 02:12 PM 1/30/1999 EST, you wrote:
> >----------------------------Original message----------------------------
> >Robert Ratcliffe and Shilpi Bhadra are I am sure trying
> >to be helpful, but it is surely disinformation to tell
> >someone who is clearly a novice to the field that
> >Semitic is not related to IE period (as per Bhadra)
> >or at least not now known to be so related (as per
> >Ratcliffe) instead of saying that
> Why would it be disinformation?
Because many competent scholars have published important
evidnce that they ARE related.

> There is the hypothesis, now being banded
> by some, of AA being related to IE, Dravidian, among others, leading to, I
> suppose, to "proto-world." That is at the pro-levels and is just a floated
> hypothesis.

You are presumably referring to the Nostratic hypothesis, and
engaging in more disinformation by saying that this has any
connection to "proto-world".  This is a confusion not even
made by thebetter popular journalists who have written on this,
much less any responsible scholar, and represents an attempt
at creating guilt by association where there is not in fact
even any association to speak of (except for Greenberg
and Shevoroshkin maybe).

> But if someone says Semitic or Cushitic or any of the other
> branches of AA is not related to IE, I think that is a valid point.

Not if AA is itself related to IE.

> Yes,
> Semitic or any of the AA branches has nothing to do with IE. What is there
> to show that Semitic is related to AA? What reconstruction is there? Chance
> ressemblances are found in all languages; I can give a slew from Somali
> that look related to English; ex.  lug <>leg; san<>nose (by metathesis);
> il<>eye; lur<>lure; naag<>nag; etc. Giving yourself a semantic leeway and
> searching through a toolbox of phonetic processes, it is amazing what
> patterns we can imagine.
This is not a competent critique of the Nostratic hypothesis, I dont
think.  Or are you actually now saying that Semitic is not even
part of AA?

> On another level, I do not see even the reason, except an ideological one,
> the same one that puts Egyptology in oriental studies, to have an interest
> in Semitic by itself in comparison to IE.

Agreed, but I do not have such an interest.

>The Semitic group is just a small
> part  of the AA languages.

True, but this does not contradict the fact that many
competent scholars think that AA is part of Nostratic.


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