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 Post subject: Haida and Na-Dene
PostPosted: Sun Mar 20, 2016 10:23 am 
Smeric
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I am aware that the Haida language has been more or less universally accepted to not belong to Na-Dene. What I'm wondering is, what about the Haida people? Since the original proposal of Na-Dene, it has been found that they represent a population distinct from Native Americans proper (who arrived earlier) and from the Eskimo-Aleut (who arrived later). But what about the Haida? Are they Native American proper or Na-Dene? Or perhaps a distinct population group? A quick Google search didn't reveal anything scientifically grounded.

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 Post subject: Re: Haida and Na-Dene
PostPosted: Mon Mar 21, 2016 6:20 am 
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If I remember correctly, I think I read somewhere once that they originally came from Northeast Asia and shared ancestry with the Ainu, but that's probably just me mixing them up with some other ethnic group since I remember clearly that throat singing was somehow relevant but I can't find anything about the Haida having ever had any kind of tradition of throat singing... although I did find something about how no outsider has ever heard traditional Haida music, but well. So yeah, I'm probably mixing up the Haida and Inuits, since I don't really have much interest in any languages/culture/history of the Americas.

One thing, though, that I absolutely have to cling to is how "language" in Haida is "kil". I mean, that's some straight-up Ural-Altaic shit right there; Mongolian "хэл", Finnish "kieli", Estonian "keel", Chuvash "чĕлхе", Kazakh "til", Turkish "dil", etc. I know it's probably a coincidence, but I think it's still interesting. If the Haida came from Northeast Asia, it could well be a loanword from the Mongols if they didn't originally have a word for language, but no one would ever even consider that a serious possibility. I don't know if I do either.


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 Post subject: Re: Haida and Na-Dene
PostPosted: Mon Mar 21, 2016 1:22 pm 
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Vlürch wrote:
If I remember correctly, I think I read somewhere once that they originally came from Northeast Asia and shared ancestry with the Ainu, but that's probably just me mixing them up with some other ethnic group since I remember clearly that throat singing was somehow relevant but I can't find anything about the Haida having ever had any kind of tradition of throat singing... although I did find something about how no outsider has ever heard traditional Haida music, but well. So yeah, I'm probably mixing up the Haida and Inuits, since I don't really have much interest in any languages/culture/history of the Americas.

One thing, though, that I absolutely have to cling to is how "language" in Haida is "kil". I mean, that's some straight-up Ural-Altaic shit right there; Mongolian "хэл", Finnish "kieli", Estonian "keel", Chuvash "чĕлхе", Kazakh "til", Turkish "dil", etc. I know it's probably a coincidence, but I think it's still interesting. If the Haida came from Northeast Asia, it could well be a loanword from the Mongols if they didn't originally have a word for language, but no one would ever even consider that a serious possibility. I don't know if I do either.

I recall reading one anthropologist who posited ancient contact between the Haida and Siberian peoples from Kamchatka. I wouldn't rule it out--the Haida were the premier canoe-builders of the Pacific Northwest, master craftsmen from a region of master craftsmen.

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 Post subject: Re: Haida and Na-Dene
PostPosted: Mon Mar 21, 2016 3:54 pm 
Avisaru
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Vlürch wrote:
If the Haida came from Northeast Asia, it could well be a loanword from the Mongols if they didn't originally have a word for language, but no one would ever even consider that a serious possibility. I don't know if I do either.

A lot of languages don't have a separate word for 'language'.


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 Post subject: Re: Haida and Na-Dene
PostPosted: Mon Mar 21, 2016 6:04 pm 
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Zaarin wrote:
I recall reading one anthropologist who posited ancient contact between the Haida and Siberian peoples from Kamchatka. I wouldn't rule it out--the Haida were the premier canoe-builders of the Pacific Northwest, master craftsmen from a region of master craftsmen.

Mmh...
Richard W wrote:
Vlürch wrote:
If the Haida came from Northeast Asia, it could well be a loanword from the Mongols if they didn't originally have a word for language, but no one would ever even consider that a serious possibility. I don't know if I do either.

A lot of languages don't have a separate word for 'language'.

Sure, but it probably wouldn't be the only loanword. I don't know any other words in Haida that seem "Ural-Altaic" like that, but then again, I don't really know any other words in Haida... I tried to look for Haida dictionaries and/or grammaries online, but it looks like there aren't any except the stuff on Wikipedia and other stuff that doesn't go in any depth (or I'm too tired to google and just didn't notice the relevant results, heh). If only there was a native Haida speaker on this forum... is there?


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 Post subject: Re: Haida and Na-Dene
PostPosted: Mon Mar 21, 2016 6:11 pm 
Smeric
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Vlürch wrote:
is there?

One of the 24 remaining native speakers almost all of whom are above 50 and most of whom are in their 70s and apparently speak a simplified form of the language? I don't think so. :P


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 Post subject: Re: Haida and Na-Dene
PostPosted: Mon Mar 21, 2016 6:42 pm 
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Vijay wrote:
Vlürch wrote:
is there?

One of the 24 remaining native speakers almost all of whom are above 50 and most of whom are in their 70s and apparently speak a simplified form of the language? I don't think so. :P

I didn't realize that Haida was in such bad shape. :( That would explain why pretty much everything I've ever seen on Haida is based on fieldwork from the late nineteenth/early twentieth centuries.

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 Post subject: Re: Haida and Na-Dene
PostPosted: Tue Mar 22, 2016 3:02 pm 
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Vijay wrote:
Vlürch wrote:
is there?

One of the 24 remaining native speakers almost all of whom are above 50 and most of whom are in their 70s and apparently speak a simplified form of the language? I don't think so. :P

Vijay... VIJAY? :o But yeah, it's unfortunately seriously unlikely...


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 Post subject: Re: Haida and Na-Dene
PostPosted: Tue Mar 22, 2016 3:39 pm 
Smeric
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Vlürch wrote:
Vijay... VIJAY? :o

You didn't know I was here? Now I'm honestly wondering what brought you here. :D (I was banned for a few weeks from UniLang at one point there, I said it. I've mentioned this forum a few times here, I think, but I finally named it lol, and I've gotten kind of sick of it, plus I don't want to get banned again if I can help it. That's why I don't post nearly as much there anymore as I used to).


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 Post subject: Re: Haida and Na-Dene
PostPosted: Tue Mar 22, 2016 5:35 pm 
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I'm currently in a field linguistics class and our consultant is a Haida speaker (probably the last native speaker of the Masset dialect). I wish I had more to contribute to this discussion, but I will say that the language does seem quite different from other Northwest Coast languages that I am familiar with. Complex consonant clusters, while they do exist, seem fairly rare. The language also lacks labio-dorsals, which are omnipresent on the Coast, and it has a velar nasal, which is very rare. On the other hand, it does have some classic NWC phonological features like uvulars, ejectives and lateral obstruents.

Its also worth noting that the main scholar of the Haida language, John Enrico, still seems to advocate for a Haida-Na-Dene relationship, but I haven't yet read any of his papers on the topic.

EDIT:
Zaarin wrote:
I recall reading one anthropologist who posited ancient contact between the Haida and Siberian peoples from Kamchatka. I wouldn't rule it out--the Haida were the premier canoe-builders of the Pacific Northwest, master craftsmen from a region of master craftsmen.

I wanted to add something about canoes. Words for different types of canoes are very similar in a lot of languages along the coast: Proto-Nootkan *ƛa:la(y’) “long canoe”, Proto-Salish *ƛ’ay’~ƛ’lay’ “river canoe”, Quileute ƛ’aalay (probably a Nootkan borrowing) and Haida ƛuu, ƛuuway. I haven't yet checked any other languages or language families, but I'd be curious to know how far this root has spread and whether the Haida form is really connected to the other three.


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 Post subject: Re: Haida and Na-Dene
PostPosted: Wed Mar 23, 2016 2:27 am 
Avisaru
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Vlürch wrote:
One thing, though, that I absolutely have to cling to is how "language" in Haida is "kil". I mean, that's some straight-up Ural-Altaic shit right there; Mongolian "хэл", Finnish "kieli", Estonian "keel", Chuvash "чĕлхе", Kazakh "til", Turkish "dil", etc. I know it's probably a coincidence, but I think it's still interesting. If the Haida came from Northeast Asia, it could well be a loanword from the Mongols if they didn't originally have a word for language, but no one would ever even consider that a serious possibility. I don't know if I do either.


I don't personally buy this at all, but there was a guy a while back who wrote a paper arguing that the Miwok languages (and possibly related languages in central California) are not only Uralic, but can specifically be assigned to the Ob-Ugric phylum. I can't seem to find the paper at the moment, but if you Google "Cal-Ugric" you get a lot of related results. If there were Uralic speakers in California, it would stand to reason that you might find some further up the coast toward the Bering Strait.


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 Post subject: Re: Haida and Na-Dene
PostPosted: Wed Mar 23, 2016 3:30 am 
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Vlürch wrote:
One thing, though, that I absolutely have to cling to is how "language" in Haida is "kil". I mean, that's some straight-up Ural-Altaic shit right there; Mongolian "хэл", Finnish "kieli", Estonian "keel", Chuvash "чĕлхе", Kazakh "til", Turkish "dil", etc. I know it's probably a coincidence, but I think it's still interesting. If the Haida came from Northeast Asia, it could well be a loanword from the Mongols if they didn't originally have a word for language, but no one would ever even consider that a serious possibility. I don't know if I do either.


Sorry to be a thrower of cold water, but in general when you find one exciting apparent match, it means very little.

Also, look closer at your list... the striking match is with Finnish/Estonian. Which is the western edge of Uralic. Why would the closest match be with the people farthest from Haida territory? Languages far closer are much less promising: Nivkh dif, Manchu gisun, Yukaghir aʒu:, Chukchi йиԓыйиԓ.


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 Post subject: Re: Haida and Na-Dene
PostPosted: Wed Mar 23, 2016 7:32 am 
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zompist wrote:
Vlürch wrote:
One thing, though, that I absolutely have to cling to is how "language" in Haida is "kil". I mean, that's some straight-up Ural-Altaic shit right there; Mongolian "хэл", Finnish "kieli", Estonian "keel", Chuvash "чĕлхе", Kazakh "til", Turkish "dil", etc. I know it's probably a coincidence, but I think it's still interesting. If the Haida came from Northeast Asia, it could well be a loanword from the Mongols if they didn't originally have a word for language, but no one would ever even consider that a serious possibility. I don't know if I do either.


Sorry to be a thrower of cold water, but in general when you find one exciting apparent match, it means very little.

Also, look closer at your list... the striking match is with Finnish/Estonian. Which is the western edge of Uralic. Why would the closest match be with the people farthest from Haida territory? Languages far closer are much less promising: Nivkh dif, Manchu gisun, Yukaghir aʒu:, Chukchi йиԓыйиԓ.


To be fair, Nivkh, Yukaghir and Chukchi aren't considered candidates for Altaic. Yukaghir has been connected to Uralic and Eskimo-Aleut, but Fortescue has dropped Chukchi and Nivkh out of even that.

Your point remains, though. Although, again to be fair, Finnish and Estonian aren't just the westernmost of that lot, they're also the only Uralic ones, and although they happen to be in the west, they came from the east. So the logical thing to do would be to look at the Samoyed cognates.

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 Post subject: Re: Haida and Na-Dene
PostPosted: Wed Mar 23, 2016 12:39 pm 
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Salmoneus wrote:
So the logical thing to do would be to look at the Samoyed cognates.


The word is reconstructible into PU as "tongue". I have Sammallahti's reconstruction (from 1988) handy and he gives *käxli for PU going to *keəj in Proto Samoyedic. Here x stands for the Uralic laryngeal and is seen to have been something like /ɣ/.


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 Post subject: Re: Haida and Na-Dene
PostPosted: Wed Mar 23, 2016 1:10 pm 
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Vijay wrote:
Vlürch wrote:
Vijay... VIJAY? :o

You didn't know I was here? Now I'm honestly wondering what brought you here. :D

Google, lol.
CatDoom wrote:
I don't personally buy this at all, but there was a guy a while back who wrote a paper arguing that the Miwok languages (and possibly related languages in central California) are not only Uralic, but can specifically be assigned to the Ob-Ugric phylum.

Heh, that'd be interesting but probably impossible.
CatDoom wrote:
If there were Uralic speakers in California, it would stand to reason that you might find some further up the coast toward the Bering Strait.

Mmmh...
zompist wrote:
Sorry to be a thrower of cold water, but in general when you find one exciting apparent match, it means very little.

Yeah, I know. That's why I said there would have to be more similarities, although of course there's always the possibility of brief random contacts that only resulted in a few loanwords or stuff.
zompist wrote:
Also, look closer at your list... the striking match is with Finnish/Estonian. Which is the western edge of Uralic. Why would the closest match be with the people farthest from Haida territory? Languages far closer are much less promising: Nivkh dif, Manchu gisun, Yukaghir aʒu:, Chukchi йиԓыйиԓ.

True, but distance isn't necessarily on the way if travel isn't. One insanely unlikely explanation would be some kind of ancient arctic culture that spread all around the world in the north and gradually scattered south for some reason. I don't think it's even a very plausible theory, but I mean, there could have been a loosely connected, possibly multi-ethnic nomadic civilisation of whalers/reindeer herders/whatever that was constantly moving all around the arctic circle, leaving random influences in random places. I'd really want to somehow say something about the vikings being evidence of something like that as a remnant and/or revival, but it wouldn't really make sense since they were relatively recent compared to what the mysterious culture would have to have been. Even if it's really unlikely, it could well have happened on a much smaller scale in any number of migrations.
Salmoneus wrote:
Finnish and Estonian aren't just the westernmost of that lot, they're also the only Uralic ones, and although they happen to be in the west, they came from the east. So the logical thing to do would be to look at the Samoyed cognates.

What about Greenland?


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 Post subject: Re: Haida and Na-Dene
PostPosted: Wed Mar 23, 2016 2:29 pm 
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Salmoneus wrote:
To be fair, Nivkh, Yukaghir and Chukchi aren't considered candidates for Altaic. Yukaghir has been connected to Uralic and Eskimo-Aleut, but Fortescue has dropped Chukchi and Nivkh out of even that.


I know; I included them because they're on the route from Uralic to Haida territory.


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 Post subject: Re: Haida and Na-Dene
PostPosted: Wed Mar 23, 2016 3:14 pm 
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zompist wrote:
Salmoneus wrote:
To be fair, Nivkh, Yukaghir and Chukchi aren't considered candidates for Altaic. Yukaghir has been connected to Uralic and Eskimo-Aleut, but Fortescue has dropped Chukchi and Nivkh out of even that.


I know; I included them because they're on the route from Uralic to Haida territory.


OK... but I don't see why that's significant? They're also on the route from Na-Dene to Ket territory.



Really, the whole area is sort of weird. Do we have any analogous areas in the world with so many seemingly unrelated extensive language families? There are places like New Guinea and California where there are many more families, but mostly they're small families pressed together - it's easy to imagine them deriving from a parent in isolated little territories. But the Siberian languages each occupied a respectable area, so they'd expanded, but not to the point of overrunning the others. So you've got Korean on its peninsula, and then Japanese in the south of the neighbouring archipelago, and Ainu in the north of the archipelago, and Nivkh straddling the straits connecting the archipelago to the mainland, and Chukotko-Kamchatkan up the coast, and Eskimo-Aleut on the opposite coast having crossed over. And then inland you've got Yukaghir, and then at the far west and far east of the region you've got Dene-Yeneseian. And then there's Uralic, Mongolic, Tungusic and maybe Turkic around the edges. All this in an area where you'd think there'd be simplicity: barren and uninhabitable until relative recently, and a series of coherent climatological bands that ought to encourage big huge language families covering the whole area, just like Uralic did to the west.
And indeed, somehow there seems to have been plenty of movement somewhere. Dene-Yeneseian for one, and Vajda thinks that Ket shows borrowings from Eskimo-Aleut too. [Which could be from Asia before EA went east, or it could be from Alaska or Kamchatka before Yeneseian went west, as apparently is a popular theory now] There must have been some pretty complicated movements at some point to avoid the bottlenecks blocking up, unless we assume that EVERYONE came from the west relatively recently.

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 Post subject: Re: Haida and Na-Dene
PostPosted: Wed Mar 23, 2016 3:59 pm 
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Salmoneus wrote:
Really, the whole area is sort of weird. Do we have any analogous areas in the world with so many seemingly unrelated extensive language families?


Yeah, if you don't pay attention to Greenberg & Ruhlen. :)

The Paleosiberians were hunter-gatherers, fishermen, and reindeer herders. So it's best to look at other areas where hunter-gatherers predominate, such as Australia and Amazonia. Both are characterized by very high language diversity. (In the case of Australia, the situation is obfuscated by wide-scale borrowing. I don't know if this applies to Siberia.)

Taking the long view of humans, the weird thing is single language families taking up whole continents. To get that you have to have agriculture or pastoralism.


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 Post subject: Re: Haida and Na-Dene
PostPosted: Wed Mar 23, 2016 5:36 pm 
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Quote:
The Paleosiberians were hunter-gatherers, fishermen, and reindeer herders. So it's best to look at other areas where hunter-gatherers predominate... the weird thing is single language families taking up whole continents. To get that you have to have agriculture or pastoralism.

Your explanation seems to kind of contradict itself-- aren't reindeer herders pastoralists? According to some video somewhere by Edward Vajda, prior to the "Reindeer Revolution" (which is hard to find much mention of on the internet, it seems) the only Siberian people that are still around were the Dene-Yeniseians, and that the rest of the Paleosiberians came from the south afterward (then the Altaics after them, obv). So everyone except the Ket & co. are (or were) pastoralists.

I'd guess the answer is more that there aren't that many families. But what the fuck do I know? If you take a few rather modest lumping hypotheses then it goes down to 5: Core Altaic, Koreo-Japonic, Chukotko-Amuric, Dene-Yeniseian, and Ural-Yukaghir. Dunno about you, but I'm pretty optimistic about at least some of these. (For example, I haven't read all that much on it, but I tend to hear from outsiders that Core Altaic "was disproven decades ago" or some dismissive thing like that, whereas I almost never see that same attitude from actual specialists in TM&T.) Five phyla aren't that many for such a large area, are they?

EDIT: Oops. Originally wrong "Ural-Yeniseian" instead of "Ural-Yukaghir".

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 Post subject: Re: Haida and Na-Dene
PostPosted: Wed Mar 23, 2016 6:16 pm 
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Honestly I don't know much about reindeer herding, but for discussing language group expansion, the question is whether it allows empires, as horse nomadism does.


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 Post subject: Re: Haida and Na-Dene
PostPosted: Wed Mar 23, 2016 6:27 pm 
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Right, it's about as easy to go to war with reindeer as it's with fish nets or bear traps. Reindeer herding can give you a competitive edge over neighbours who don't have it but it's also a technology that's not too hard to adopt. As a result, it's quite likely that it'll soon diffuse to your linguistically unrelated neighbours and give them similar advantages for expansion than what you have.


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 Post subject: Re: Haida and Na-Dene
PostPosted: Wed Mar 23, 2016 6:50 pm 
Lebom
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My understanding is that reindeer domestication happened relatively late, so maybe there just hasn't been enough time for reindeer-herding pastoralists to spread their languages.


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 Post subject: Re: Haida and Na-Dene
PostPosted: Wed Mar 23, 2016 7:34 pm 
Smeric
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Salmoneus wrote:
Really, the whole area is sort of weird. Do we have any analogous areas in the world with so many seemingly unrelated extensive language families? There are places like New Guinea and California where there are many more families, but mostly they're small families pressed together - it's easy to imagine them deriving from a parent in isolated little territories.

Re-reading your statement I realize what I was about to say isn't actually relevant, since the PNW is the same picture as New Guinea and California: lots of well-established language families, but small area. But I'll say it anyway. :P

The linguistic picture of North America as a whole is pretty weird. East of the Rockies, aside from a few smaller families and isolates, you basically have Algonquian, Iroquoian, Siouan, and Muskogean. Macro-Siouan, which Mithun considers "suggestive," would reduce that list further, and if Gulf is true at a very deep level then that would take care of several of those isolates (at the very least, a distant relation between Natchez and Muskogean seems likely). Meanwhile, West of the Rockies, you have a ton of language families; weirder still, they conveniently split themselves into three areal groups: California, the Pacific Northwest (with a transitional zone of some southern Athapaskan languages in Oregon that have features of both the PNW and California), and Eskimo-Aleut. Weirdest yet, two of those California languages are distant cousins of Algonquian.

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 Post subject: Re: Haida and Na-Dene
PostPosted: Wed Mar 23, 2016 8:00 pm 
Avisaru
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zompist wrote:
Honestly I don't know much about reindeer herding, but for discussing language group expansion, the question is whether it allows empires, as horse nomadism does.

I don't know much about horse nomadism, but isn't it the prevailing theory nowadays that the Indo-European expansion was driven more by domestication of sheeps/goats and less by marauding charioteers? See also: the famously nonexistent rhino-mounted Bantu shock troops.

gach wrote:
Reindeer herding can give you a competitive edge over neighbours who don't have it but it's also a technology that's not too hard to adopt.

And horse nomadism isn't?

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 Post subject: Re: Haida and Na-Dene
PostPosted: Wed Mar 23, 2016 8:13 pm 
Lebom
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Zaarin wrote:
The linguistic picture of North America as a whole is pretty weird. East of the Rockies, aside from a few smaller families and isolates, you basically have Algonquian, Iroquoian, Siouan, and Muskogean. Macro-Siouan, which Mithun considers "suggestive," would reduce that list further, and if Gulf is true at a very deep level then that would take care of several of those isolates (at the very least, a distant relation between Natchez and Muskogean seems likely). Meanwhile, West of the Rockies, you have a ton of language families; weirder still, they conveniently split themselves into three areal groups: California, the Pacific Northwest (with a transitional zone of some southern Athapaskan languages in Oregon that have features of both the PNW and California), and Eskimo-Aleut. Weirdest yet, two of those California languages are distant cousins of Algonquian.

I think the coastal migration theory best explains the diversity along the Pacific Coast. There were unglaciated refugia along the Northwest Coast during the last glacial maximum, so its probable that humans have been living there for longer than anywhere else in the Americas (well, except for the Alaskan portions of Beringia). Interestingly, Haida Gwaii was one of those inhabitable areas, so maybe Haida is really ancient. Then once the ice sheets melted, newcomers from the Interior could have followed rivers down to the sea.

South America seems to fit the same general pattern, with lots of small families and isolates along the Pacific Coast/Andes and larger families in the east. South American linguistic geography is just weird though.


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