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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,
paul-bennett@NC.RR.COM writes:

>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. Doug