PIE vs. Proto-World (Proto-Language)

Rick Mc Callister rmccalli at sunmuw1.MUW.Edu
Sun Aug 22 19:35:42 UTC 1999

	I don't see how the first inhabitants of Australia could have
lacked language and then leave descendants who did possess language. If
they lacked language, they would have either died out or we'd see some
pecularity in their genetic ability to form language or some unique traits
in their languages.
	Cavalli-Sforza indicates there was later wave, as you suggest,
which probably accounts for the dingo, superior tools [I believe stone
tools were introduced] and [I believe] greater human density while various
animal species went extinct.
	I seem to remember that Tasmania was separated by the Bass Straight
before this occurred. The Tasmanians DID have language but their technology
was comparable to that of the earlier Australians: no dingo, no stone
tools, no fire drill, etc.
	Language diversity is concentrated in N. Australia and while this
is most likely related to outside contact, it doesn't necessarily indicate
that Pama-Nyungen [sp?] languages spring from later arrivals. It could just
be the case that the first P-N speakers picked up the new technologies and
adapted them to local conditions earlier than anyone else.
	In an attempt at list relevance, this may well have been the case
for IE: adapting Middle Eastern based agricultural technologies to
temperate climates.

>If a long date is ever established, perhaps the first inhabitants didn't
>have modern language, though they did have art. Australian languages are
>oddly bunched, with many small families in Arnhem Land and Kimberley (just
>where you'd land from Asia) and one huge, close family occupying all the
>rest, which therefore can't represent the ancient population. Aborigines are
>a genetic mix: there was a second wave around 10 000 BP. (Old memory of
>mine: I don't know what mtDNA says about this mix.) It's just possible that
>these brought speech along with the dingo.

>Nicholas Widdows

Rick Mc Callister
Mississippi University for Women
Columbus MS 39701

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