PIE vs. Proto-Language)

Patrick C. Ryan proto-language at email.msn.com
Tue Aug 3 06:42:28 UTC 1999

[ moderator re-formatted ]

Dear Ralf-Stefan and IEists:

 ----- Original Message -----
From: Ralf-Stefan Georg <Georg at home.ivm.de>
Sent: Thursday, July 29, 1999 1:14 PM

>> Pat responds:

>> There is no *tangible* way for us to ever know whether languages arose
>> monogenetically or polygenetically however most linguists, even when they
>> deny its recoverability, have correctly weighed the odds of mono- vs.
>> polygenesis, and subscribe to monogenesis. If a probablistically calculated
>> hypothesis is "ideology", then everything done in historical linguistics is
>> "ideology".

> "most linguists" ???????????????
> I'm flabbergasted. I would like to know *one* of those, who did/does what
> you claim "most linguists" do.

Of course, I have no real way of knowing but I presume this writer might:

"The hypothesis of the monogenesis of language is one that most linguists
believe to be plausible. Indeed, the appearance of language may define modern
<em>Homo sapiens</em>." Philip E. Ross (Staff writer) in "Hard Words", pp.
138-147, SCIENTIFIC AMERICAN, April 1991.

By the way, Larry is on record as favoring monogenesis.


[ Moderator's comment:
  Larry Trask is on record as favouring monogenesis as the more parsimonious
  position; he is also on record as believing the argument either way is too
  weak to defend against the other.

  Since Mr. Ross is unlikely to have conducted a statistically valid survey of
  linguists before writing the quoted material, I would be extremely hesitant
  myself to base any argument thereon.

  Let us agree to disagree, silently, on this question and move on.  It is
  irrelevant to Indo-European studies, and has taken enough of our time.
  --rma ]

PATRICK C. RYAN (501) 227-9947; FAX/DATA (501)312-9947 9115 W. 34th St.
Little Rock, AR 72204-4441 USA WEBPAGES:
http://www.geocities.com/Athens/Forum/2803 and PROTO-RELIGION:
http://www.geocities.com/Athens/Forum/2803/proto-religion/indexR.html "Veit
ek, at ek hekk, vindga meipi, nftr allar nmu, geiri undapr . . . a ~eim
meipi er mangi veit hvers hann af rstum renn." (Havamal 138)

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