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Global Etymologies - Bengston & Ruhlen
Transcript of Global Etymologies - Bengston & Ruhlen
Multilateral vs. Bilateral: Convergence? P.I.E Balto-
Slavic Albanian East
Germanic Germanic Celtic Italic Armenian Tocharian Anatolian Greek Indo-
English Old High German Old Saxon Frisian Dutch English North-Asia Khoisian Congo-Saharian Nilo-Saharian Eurasia/Americas Niger-
Khordofinian S.E. Asia Pacific Pacific Austric Indo-Pacific Australian North Africa/Eurasia Uralic Afro-Asiatic Dravidian Proto-Sapiens Americas Non-
African Na-Dene Amerind African Eurasia/Americas Altaic Chukchi-Kamchatcan Eskimo-Aleut Italic Albanian Balto-Slavic Anatolian "A common criticism of work like ours is that, with around 5,000 languages to choose from, it cannot be too hard to find a word in some African language that is semantically and phonologically similar to, or even identical with, some word in an American Indian language."
- comparing families, not languages
- chances of convergence are very small (7 consonants, 3 vowels, 147 syllable types, 1/147, (1/147)^2, etc.
- their etymology for "female genetalia" shows 14 of 32
"such liberties are taken with semantic change that literally anything can be connected with anything else"
- constrained etymologies
- more conservative Semantics? "Another often-cited criticism of long-range comparison is the presence of errors in the data, errors that invalidate the overall hypothesis."
- one error does not invalidate
- perfect data is not needed Errors? "It is often alleged that one can find anything in linguistic data if one looks for it hard enough."
-Amerind words for females
(kuna/tuna) Looking too hard? Khoisan, Niger-Congo, Kordofanian,
Nilo-Saharan, Afro-Asiatic, Kartvelian, Indo-European, Uralic, Dravidian,
Turkic, Mongolian, Tungus, Korean, Japanese-Ryukyuan, Ainu, Gilyak,
Chukchi-Kamchatkan, Eskimo-Aleut, Caucasian, Basque, Burushaski, Yeniseian,
Sino-Tibetan, Na-Dene, Indo-Pacific, Australian, Nahali, Austroasiatic,
Miao-Yao, Daic (= Kadai), Austronesian, and Amerind.