Afroasiatic, Eurasiatic, etc. (was Re: Japanese from Tungus)
|From:||Jörg Rhiemeier <joerg_rhiemeier@...>|
|Date:||Sunday, January 30, 2005, 17:27|
On Fri, 28 Jan 2005 14:44:57 -0600,
"Thomas R. Wier" <trwier@...> wrote:
> Jörg Rhiemeier <joerg_rhiemeier@...>
> > Ray wrote:
> > > As far as I know, that Japanese and Korean are related is not proven.
> > I agree to that. I am also skeptical about their inclusion into Altaic,
> > which I think has been done mainly for typological reasons. (Greenberg
> > does not include Japanese and Korean into Altaic, but he nevertheless
> > includes them into his Eurasiatic macrofamily.) [...]
> > Indeed. In the case of Celtic and Semitic, we of course know that
> > the Celtic languages are Indo-European and acquired their "Semitic"
> > features secondarily, possibly from an unknown substratum. (And the
> > Semitic languages are known to be Afro-Asiatic, which probably did
> > not display all of the "typically Semitic" features, either.)
> Might I point out, however, that finding lautgesetze is not the end-all-
> be-all for hypothesizing genetic relationships. A case in point is
> Afro-Asiatic. Although it is widely recognized as a genetic unit,
Though there are still people around who doubt it. Lyle Campbell,
for instance, considers it not fully proven.
> it is not because of an abundance of cognates or shared lautgesetze, but
> rather primarily the bizarre morphological typology that all (or most all)
> the AA languages share.
You mean the triconsonantal roots thing, I guess. But there also
seem to be similarities in morphology (pronouns, verb affixes, etc.),
though these are not much greater than those between IE, Uralic and
> The time-depth of AA is usually held to
> be considerably older than Indo-European, more something on the order
> of 7-10k YBP. AA is thus more comprable to Eurasiatic than to traditional
> language families like IE.
Yes. I'd say 8,000 to 10,000 years before now, thus indeed comparable
> Anyways, this does not, of course prove that Japanese and Korean must
> thus be related to Altaic, which is a separate question. But I have to
> disagree with Ray, in that such a relationship cannot be discounted on
> the grounds that most of the similarities are typological. In this
> particular case though, although I am by no means an expert in the
> languages in question, the kind of typology being invoked as evidence
> is so widespread that I would think it constitutes a much weaker parallel
> than in the case of AA.
Yes. Agglutinating SOV languages with converbs aren't that unusual.
> Joerg also wrote:
> > Personally, I think that there is some evidence for a distant
> > relationship of Indo-European, [etc ...]
> > A. Europic
> > 1. Indo-European
> > 2. Etruscan? [...]
> > The inclusion of Etruscan is uncertain as there is so frustratingly
> > little known of the language, though it looks in many ways similar
> > to IE without actually being IE.
> I agree that this is rather odd. In looking through my grammar of
> Etruscan, that by Bonfante and Bonfante, there were no particularly
> obvious similarities other than, say, a nominative-accusative alignment,
> which of course many many unrelated languages have.
Yes. Nominative-accusative alignment means nothing, of course!
And what regards Etruscan morphology, there seem to be different
opinions. Miguel Carrasquer posted some Etruscan morphemes to the
Nostratic mailing list once, and I posted them here on Nov. 17, 2003:
The source is, apparently, the book _De Etrusken Spreken_ by
R.S.P. Beekes and L.B. van der Meer. These morphemes look a lot
like an "Eurasiatic" language most closely related to IE. I am
no expert on this and cannot tell whether it makes sense or is
> > The Nostraticists consider Eurasiatic to be a subbranch of Nostratic;
> > the additional members of Nostratic would be Kartvelian, Sumerian,
> > Elamo-Dravidian (if those two are related at all) and Afro-Asiatic.
> > The inclusion of the latter two seems especially doubtful to me.
> Actually, John Colarusso (certainly no Nostraticist) thinks that
> Indo-European and Northwest Caucasian, though not Northeast
> Caucasian, might be related to Indo-European, and he has come up
> with a number of cognates and sound change, including the word
> for "horse". He calls this grouping "Pontic", for its putative
> homeland near the Black Sea.
I have heard of that. However, to me the NWC languages look very
dissimilar to IE. There are perhaps some phonological similarities,
but that reeks of areal or substratum influence.
> Also, someone as conservative as Eric
> Hamp has said that it is possible that Kartvelian is related to IE,
> based on their similar systems of verbal ablaut, and a number of
> shared typological properties like syllable structure.
I have a somewhat easier time relating IE to Kartvelian than to NWC,
and consider Kartvelian to be a strong candidate for the next-closest
kin of Eurasiatic. But again, the phonological similarities might
be due to areal or substratal influence.