About the estimates of divergence times of Uralic languages
Merlijn de Smit
merlijn.de.smit at finska.su.se
Tue Sep 28 15:16:24 UTC 2010
In my opinion, the usage of those error bars is a bit dicey (supposing
they're based on the results of traditional comparative research).
Because the time estimates we have are basically a "best guess" on the
basis of language contact/loanword layers, associated dating of sound
shifts, linguistic paleontology, etc., e.g. we can "anchor" the dating
of PU to that of PIE (which has older written sources, horse terminology
with archaeological significance etc.) - and any reinterpretation of
such arguments can lead to large shifts in dating, as Kallio's article
shows. There is no single statistical method, and no underlying concept
of probability, underlying those error bars.
So I would suggest not using them at all - unless you're
methodologically absolutely required to do so ;-) If so, they look
rather too narrow than too broad to me, especially in case of Permic and
Obugric. But I'm not a specialist in either of those two, perhaps
someone else can comment.
Merlijn de Smit
> Hello everyone,
> I´m a PhD student in a research group called BEDLAN (Biological Evolution and the Diversification of Languages) where we analyse linguistic data with biological methods. For further information see http://kielievoluutio.uta.fi.
> The reason why I approach to you, the members of URA-LIST, now is that I have done lately timing analyses to the Uralic languages. An essential part in those analyses is the correct estimation of the calibration points. I have already gone through different sources (i.e. Sinor 1988, Abondolo 1998, Kallio 2006) where divergence times of languages have earlier been estimated and by now I have used the following calibration points:
> *Early Proto-Finnic: 2500 YBP (years before present) ± 500 years
> *Obugric 1700 YBP ± 200 years
> *Permic 1300 YBP ± 100 years
> Do you think that these calibration points with these error scales are appropriate or would you suggest us to use some other calibration points?
> I ask this as I believe research is done around this topic all the time and now I would like to hear your newest results about the divergence times of Uralic languages to see if, for example, the error scales of the timings could be narrowed. I was also hoping you could give me names of articles which I could read around this topic.
> I would appreciate your answers very much.
> With kind regards,
> Terhi Honkola
> Terhi Honkola
> PhD student
> Section of Ecology, Department of Biology
> University of Turku
> FIN-20014 TURKU
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