PIE vs. Proto-World (Proto-Language)

Rick Mc Callister rmccalli at sunmuw1.MUW.Edu
Sun Aug 8 03:30:27 UTC 1999

	The reason I'm harping on non-African languages is that
non-Africans supposedly have common ancestors who split off from Africans
no earlier than around 100,000 BP, at least according to my understanding
of what I've seen recently. Unless language arose after that point, then
non-African languages [and perhaps some African languages] developed from
whatever language they spoke.
	These groups did not leave Africa at the same time but evidently
split off from the same group in North East Africa. Although it's possible
that there were later outliers who arrived from other parts of Africa,
these would have most likely been swamped by the expansion of existing
families. In any case, the existing outliers all seem to have arrived
before surrounding languages. Basque is possible the only candidate for a
non-congener among non-African languages, in the sense that it's only
existing unclassified language near Africa. It may well have entered Europe
via the Maghreb. Even if they did, they may well have  descended from the
same population that gave rise to non-Africans and supposedly the bulk of
North Africans.
	In any case, I'm certain that Stefan will come back from Siberia
with proof linking Yeniseian to other Asian languages :>


>Well.  Niger-Kordofanian and Afro-Asiatic are widely accepted as valid,
>even though the published evidence in support of each is sparse.
>However, not only Khoisan but also Nilo-Saharan are at present little
>more than hopeful areal groupings.  Neither is supported by any
>significant body of evidence, and both are doubted by some specialists.

	My understanding is that Nilo-Saharan is accepted by most, but that
there are problems in fine details and possibly with the inclusion of
	Khoisan, as I said, seems to be somewhere between one and five
families with shared aspects of phonology and lexicon. The grammatical
features, as described by Encyclopedia Britannica, seem to divide it into 2
or 3 groups with 2 very divergent grammatical systems.

>> it seems that the onus of proof is on the polygenesists.


	Because bottlenecks and rapid expansions by given families very
likely wiped out any possible non-congeners.

>In comparative linguistics, the null hypothesis is always this:

>	No languages are related.

	I see what you're saying but I'm speaking from a pragmatic
perspective, taking into account only existing languages, Given that
Sumerian, Etruscan, Minoan, Pictish, et al. aren't around I don't take them
into account any more than I'd take into account Neandertals and
Australopithicines in an argument of mono- vs. poly-genesis of human


>And I cannot see that this is a wise move, or even a possible move.
>Doing so would render demonstrations of relatedness otiose, and require
>instead demonstrations of *unrelatedness*.  And it is a logical
>impossibility to demonstrate that two languages are unrelated.  The best
>we can ever hope for in this direction is to show that there exists no
>evidence to relate two languages -- but such an outcome clearly does not
>prove that those languages are unrelated.

>If we had no IE languages but Welsh and Albanian, I very much doubt that
>we could make a persuasive case that they were related, and we would
>have to conclude that there was no evidence to relate them, yet this
>would clearly not prove unrelatedness.

	I couldn't but you could :>
	Unfortunately, I fear that monogenesis will be proven by mass
extinction of possible non-congeners within the next 50 years or so.

Rick Mc Callister
Mississippi University for Women
Columbus MS 39701

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