|From:||Andreas Johansson <andjo@...>|
|Date:||Saturday, August 16, 2003, 20:03|
I just read an old Scientific American article on the first human settlements
in the Americas, in which was quoted a linguist who asserted that the
variation among Native American languages is so great that the original
immigrants must have arrived 30k years ago or more.
Now, you don't need to be a linguist to note that there's nothing to say that
there weren't several groups of early immigrants, who may've spoken languages
which separated long before their speakers crossed to the Americas. (Or simply
have no common ancestor, if human language arose multiple times
independently.) But what does people think of thirty thousand years as an
estimate of the time it takes from one language splitting in two and the
relationship between the respective descendants getting totally obscured?