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Thu Aug 23, 2012, 05:55 PM

Family Tree of Languages Has Roots in Anatolia, Biologists Say

Biologists using tools developed for drawing evolutionary family trees say that they have solved a long-standing problem in archaeology: the origin of the Indo-European family of languages.

The family includes English and most other European languages, as well as Persian, Hindi and many others. Despite the importance of the languages, specialists have long disagreed about their origin.

Linguists believe that the first speakers of the mother tongue, known as proto-Indo-European, were chariot-driving pastoralists who burst out of their homeland on the steppes above the Black Sea some 4,000 years ago and conquered Europe and Asia.

Full: http://mobile.nytimes.com/2012/08/24/science/indo-european-languages-originated-in-anatolia-analysis-suggests.xml

11 replies, 4264 views

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Response to alp227 (Original post)

Thu Aug 23, 2012, 06:09 PM

1. The answer to this question is like the lost ark to some people.

Makes me want to know a dozen languages and try to find out myself.

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Response to alp227 (Original post)

Thu Aug 23, 2012, 06:22 PM

2. I love this stuff!

 

Thanks for the post!

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Response to alp227 (Original post)

Thu Aug 23, 2012, 06:41 PM

3. Thanks. Were they hybrids between Homo neanderthalensis or Denisova hominin & Homo sapiens? nt

 

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Response to jody (Reply #3)

Thu Aug 23, 2012, 07:13 PM

4. Way, way too recent for that. (nt)

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Response to alp227 (Original post)

Thu Aug 23, 2012, 08:21 PM

5. As someone who has researched and discussed the origins of languages, thanks for posting ths.

I still find the Pontic Steppe theory more plausible. Still this is something to look into.

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Response to alp227 (Original post)

Thu Aug 23, 2012, 09:36 PM

6. Research is overly simplistic

There is much better computerized research that is much broader and more comprehensive. It is attempting to build a universal language database that is searchable insny ways.

That research is tracking the migration of language out of Africa. Going back to proto homosapien, more or less. Research strongly suggests migration out of Africa in two waves, with relics of the first migration mostly found around the edges.

I have been interested in this field since jr high, have done research in related area, ex got a PhD in a sub field.

One of the first things this global research shows is that the Indian subcontinent is not the origin of the IE languages.

The base for most human languages is probably closer to Bantu and related languages.

I will try to remember to post some links to intro articles on this research.

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Response to unc70 (Reply #6)

Thu Aug 23, 2012, 11:08 PM

7. That sounds intriguing! Please do! n/t

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Response to alp227 (Original post)

Fri Aug 24, 2012, 04:49 AM

8. Do I need to mention the world's oldest Structure Göbekli Tepe?

is located in Anatolia.

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Response to alp227 (Original post)

Fri Aug 24, 2012, 09:26 PM

9. Not this shit again, glottochronology is bunk. PIE was spoken in Ukraine, period.

The IE languages and the Uralic languages (Finnish, Saami, Hungarian) are clearly related, and so that makes the Anatolian Hypothesis geographically impossible.

IMO Indo-European, Uralic, Altaic (Turkish, Mongol, etc.), and Eskimo-Aleut are likely related to each other. Their verbal subject-agreement suffixes seem to be cognante and have 1st and 2nd person pronouns derived from m- and t- stems (me/thou).

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Response to Odin2005 (Reply #9)

Sun Aug 26, 2012, 01:11 PM

10. Some of the "evidence" is probably spurious.

For example, cross-linguistically the phonemes used in desinences from from a very small set of the available options in most language. Nasals and dentals predominate. This is true in Semitic as much as it is in IE--the distribution's a bit different, but when you have a complex set of phonemes reducing quickly to a small set, it makes reconstructing the complexity difficult.

Then again, some include Semitic in the large protolanguage that produced PIE.

The Ivanov/Gamkrelidze "out of Anatolia" hypothesis isn't incompatible with deep relationships to other language families. I mean, I know Ivanov wasn't a dolt and suspect the same about Gamkrelidze. They push for the glottalic "new look" of PIE, which is what largely enables a clear reconstruction of "Nostratic" (or it's analogs in other scholar's views). Even if the PIE homeland is Anatolia it's not implied that the pre-PIE protolanguage originated in Anatolia.

I find the Cavalli-Sforza kind of argument problematic for I/G. I/G has to prsuppose a certain directionality of language spread and cultural contacts. There is this in the genetic record. But what we can tell about the inner-relatedness of IE languages and cultural contacts isn't really compatible with I/G. The entire horse thing (and I still remember Ivanov talking about horse-training when I took Hittite with him) is a problem unless there are lots of Wanderwoerter that just happen to have just the right anomalous phonological shifts to make them look like "good PIE".

Part of the issue can be resolved using various untestable (at least at the moment) hypotheses. For example, PIE started in Anatolia and spread north over the Caucusus while the Vinca picked up agriculture and did the spreading N and W, only to have PIE swamp Vinca culture and whatever language was affiliated with it's descendents.

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Response to Igel (Reply #10)

Sun Aug 26, 2012, 01:45 PM

11. I don't think it is spurious.

It's not just some random features taken and ran with by crackpots, these are strong morphological cognates. I have no use for the Nostratic nonsense, but IMO IE and Uralic are certainly related.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Indo-Uralic_languages#Some_possible_cognates

A few is a coincidence, that many is a pattern.

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