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Re: THEORY: A possible Proto-World phonology

From:Marcus Smith <smithma@...>
Date:Friday, June 30, 2000, 1:11
Raymond Brown wrote:

>>>10) VSO word order found in Celtic and Semitic > >This is a hoary chestnut. If I could have a pound - or even a dollar - for >every theory I've come across citing this as evidence, I'd be pretty weel >off by now.
This is the main type of evidence for the Na-Dene family -- or more accurately, for connecting Haida to Athabaskan-Eyak-Tlingit. Similarities in word order. Similarities in morpheme order on verbs -- with enough discrepencies to make one wonder if they are really that similar. Also some unusually syntactic traits such as "promiscuity" -- that is, plural marking on the verb may be associated with any 3rd animate argument regardless of grammatical role. (What? Aleut has that too?! Well, we'll just ignore that! Don't want areal features fouling up our pretty picture!)
>>[*] I quote "Na-Dene" because I don't believe it is really a family. I've >>done some investigation into the question, and I think the entire idea is >>misguided. Mainly because there are virtually no possible cognates in the >>"core vocabulary". > >Aw, you're not going to let a little thing like that spoil a good theory, >are you ? ;)
I'm just a spoil-sport. :-) One the other hand, I did a lot of work to connect Quenya and Sindarin into the proposed Amerind family. That was fun, and showed me just how rediculous mass comparison can be. I found 50 "cognates" which is better than Greenberg did for some of his languages. Marcus