Re: Pama-Nyungan, was Re: Indo-European family tree
|From:||Doug Dee <amateurlinguist@...>|
|Date:||Saturday, October 1, 2005, 0:22|
In a message dated 9/30/2005 7:23:17 PM Eastern Daylight Time,
>Could they [proto-Pama-Nyungans] have had . . .
>just some kind of particularly attractive cultural
>feature(s) that was felt to be superior?
That has been suggested by others too. I was recently reading _Australian
Languages_ (ed. by Claire Bowern & Harold Koch) and the chapter by Geoff O'Grady
and Ken Hale says:
"Dixon lists four causes of Punctuation: (a) natural causes; (b) material
innovations; (c) development of aggressive tendencies; and (d) territorial
expansion. . . . We would like to consider a fifth factor here, namely, the spread
of intellectual wealth, including, for example: ever more complex kinship
systems; intricate and demanding verse in song cycles; auxiliary languages [like
Damin]; together with an impressive battery of ritual law, iconography,
itineraries and maps. Appropriately arrayed at some source, or some several sources
- and perhaps abetted by material innovations and a succession of charismatic
personalities - the promotion and movement of intellectual wealth could have
had an enormous effect on the linguistic map of a land mass like Australia,
even to the extent of enabling a single language family to diffuse and
ultimately cover the territory now associated with Pama-Nyungan, despite the existence
there of antecedent cultures and linguistic traditions. Hale was firmly
convinced of this possibility after spending a week at Warrabri [now Alekarenge] in
1960, where Kaytetye young men, some of them already fully competent on
Warlpiri, were being initiated and essentially recruited by Warlpiris armed with
some of the most dramatic cultural and linguistic wealth known to the Centre. "
It's a rather pleasant proposal in a way: a language spreading across a
continent without force or coercion or much population replacement, just because of
admiration for its associated culture, verse, etc.