Historical query

Robert Blust blust at hawaii.edu
Mon Oct 16 21:21:25 UTC 2000

Dear Fay,

Actually, most of the work you are asking people to do was done a long
time ago.  In 1981 at the 3-ICAL in Den Pasar, Bali, I presented a paper
titled `Variation in retention rate among Austronesian languages', based
on a sample of 55 languages.  For reasons that I am not going to enter
into here, the retention percentages were calculated from PMP (not PAN) to
the modern languages.  These were then converted to retention rates by
making variable assumptions about separation time.  Over time my data base
was expanded to over 230 languages.  This study became, in effect, too big
to publish (at least with the data included, which is the only way I would
want it).  A short version is scheduled to appear in a volume edited by
the archaeologist Colin Renfrew, but I have a lot of unpublished material
and analysis for anyone who is interested.

Bob Blust

On Sun, 15 Oct 2000, Fay Wouk wrote:

> I'm posting this message for Vince Sarich, who does not subscribe to this
> list. He is interested in getting a comparison of retention rates of PAN
> vocabulary in a variety of modern Austronesian languages, so as to get an
> idea of the existing range. He wants to get some idea about whether
> retention rates vary significantly between language families as compared to
> within language families. He has some I-E estimates, and would like to see
> how the PAn figures would compare.
> To that end, he asks any interested historical linguists to refer to
> Blust's 200 word basic vocabulary list, in Appendix 1 of his paper PAn
> subgrouping, p. 82-87, in Selected Papers from the Eighth International
> Conference on Austronesian Linguistics. This list contains 164 PAn
> reconstructions.
> For the language of your choice, could you say how many of those 164 proto
> terms have reflexes in the modern language?  Could you further say how many
> of those modern reflexes have undergone radical semantic shifts. The
> determination of what constitutes a reflex and what is a radical semantic
> shift will be based on your expertise on the history of the language and
> knowledge of regular (and accepted irregular) sound changes that have
> occurred.
> Please send the information (language name and the 2 numbers requested)
> directly to Vince at v.sarich at auckland.ac.nz.  A summary of results will be
> posted to the list.
> thanks,
> Fay Wouk
> Fay Wouk
> Institute of Linguistics
> University of Auckland
> ccu1 at auckland.ac.nz

More information about the An-lang mailing list