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From:Emily Zilch <emily0@...>
Date:Wednesday, July 7, 2004, 19:14
{ 20040707,0759 | Doug Dee } "According to _The Concise Compendium of
the World's Languages_, "some authorities" hold that Mapudungu (aka
Mapuche or Araucanian), spoken in Chile and Argentina, is Penutian. I
don't know if that's a mainstream view."

That view of including Mapudungu was never mainstream. In fact, the
nature of Penutian itself is a highly-charged subject. To quote Lyle
Campbell's 1997 American Indian Languages: The Historical Linguistics
of Native America (Oxford Studies in Anthropological Linguistics),

"William Shipley, who worked for years trying to demonstrate the
Penutian relationship, now declares Penutian dead - though not all
contemporary scholars agree with this pronouncement." (pp.68)

Campbell certainly does, though: he does *not* list Penutian as a
viable family in the section on North American languages (or elsewhere)
and in the section Distant Genetic Relationships: The Proposals,
exhaustively reviews previous research on Penutian and its
methodological flaws in light of modern research and methodologies. He
begins the section by stating, "Like Hokan, the Penutian grouping is
broad and influential, and opinions vary considerably concerning its
potential validity as a genetic unit. Both hypothesis were first framed
by Dixon and Kroeber (1913a, 1913b, 1919)." (p. 310)

===> The above-referenced Kroeber, of course, is the father of Ursula K
le Guin.

"Although very influential, the Penutian proposal has been
controversial from the beginning. As mentioned in Chapter 2, Dixon &
Kroeber's methods left much to be desired, since they rely heavily on
mere juxtaposition of short word lists for evidence. This prompted
criticism of both the methods and the proposed hypothesis (see
Frachtenberg 1918:176, Shafer 1947:205)." (p. 311)

He goes on to show how Sapir explanded this already unverified grouping
into a laaaaarge family tree (relying *heavily* on typological
similarities with *some* R/L evidence):
- Californian (i.e. D&K's grouping of Miwok-Costanoan, Yokuts, Maidu &
- Oregon with Taklema, Kalapuya & a Coastal subgrouping: Coos, Siuslaw
& Yakonan
- Chinook
- Tsimshian
- Plateau with Sahaptian, Waiilatpuan/Molala-Cayuse,
- Mexican, comprised of Mixe-Zoque & Huave.

Later notions of Mapudungu and sychlike came from Heinz-Jürgen Pinnow's
"Die nordamericanischen Indianersprachen"; a review by Voegelin &
Voegelin is available in LANGUAGE 43, pp. 573-83.

Kroeber himself came to doubt Penutian and especially Sapir's
exposition of a greater grouping. More modern work by Shafer, Shipley,
Berman & Hymes is examined over further pages, but I'll stop here -
it's a long, complicated affair that runs until page 322 and lists
estimated probability and confidence in each stage of the proposed
family tree in percentages. I will end with his closing note:

"The prevailing attitude today, even among some Penutian specialists,
is that the languages involved in the various versions of the Penutian
hypothesis have not successfully been shown to be related; therefore,
one should not put much faith in the original Penutian hypothesis and,
by implication, certainly not in the broader Macro-Penutian proposals
(see Shipley 1980, Whistler 1977). However, the evidence that at least
some of these languages share broader genetic relationships is also
mounting, and most scholars do not discount entirely the possibility
(probability?) that the near future will see more successful
demonstrations of these family relations."

He closes by mentioning Victor Golla's intuition that many of these
languages, perhaps even many of the Sapirian-P group, are related, but
that the ordering of these relations is the problematic bit: for
example, he would dissassemble D&K's original grouping (Sapir's
"California Penutian") because this is misleading, they aren't actually
closely related but belong in separate groupings.