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 Post subject: Re: Haida and Na-Dene
PostPosted: Wed Mar 23, 2016 8:37 pm 
Smeric
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I'm not very familiar with South America, but that theory certainly makes sense for North America.

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 Post subject: Re: Haida and Na-Dene
PostPosted: Wed Mar 23, 2016 9:32 pm 
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 Post subject: Re: Haida and Na-Dene
PostPosted: Wed Mar 23, 2016 11:13 pm 
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Xephyr wrote:
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.


I may not have stated the original point clearly enough, which was that hunter-gatherers don't form empires, thus the language diversity is higher.

So far as I know, IE spread by agriculturalists in Europe, and by pastoralists in Central Asia (i.e. among Iranian, Indic, and Tocharian populations; of course they adopted agriculture when they conquered agricultural regions).

The Bantu had agriculture, cattle, and iron weapons. In most of southern Africa they replaced hunter-gatherers— assumed to be Pygmies and Khoisan, though for all we know other groups existed but disappeared.


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 Post subject: Re: Haida and Na-Dene
PostPosted: Wed Mar 23, 2016 11:45 pm 
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But only the Dene-Yeniseian were hunter-gatherers! Everyone else has (or are descended from those who had) reindeer herding pastoralism. Why should that not benefit them like goat/sheep pastoralism did the Indo-Aryans & Tocharians and cattle & agriculture did the Bantu? Because if it does (and according to Vajda, for the Paleo-Siberians it did), then we should not expect to find a high level of linguistic diversity, and if we do find such a high level then Salmoneus' surprise is well-founded. (Unless we don't, by optimistically rooting for lumping hypotheses.)

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 Post subject: Re: Haida and Na-Dene
PostPosted: Thu Mar 24, 2016 2:18 am 
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Reindeer are not horses... I'm sure they provide more sustenance than foraging, but do they provide any military advantage?


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 Post subject: Re: Haida and Na-Dene
PostPosted: Thu Mar 24, 2016 8:47 am 
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Salmoneus wrote:
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.

To be honest, "barren and uninhabitable" describes only the most extreme parts of Siberia, which, for all we know, may not have had as harsh conditions as they do now until relatively recently. I mean, some people stuck to their homes for as long as they could even during the last ice age while others continued moving about all over the place, so it makes more sense to me for the people who stayed to have developed highly divergent languages due to isolation and to be more influenced by whatever other languages they came in contact with. Adding to that the possibility of a civilisation or two (or more) that continued to live as nomads in the northernmost parts of the world throughout the ice age, using the ice to spread over an even larger area, I'm pretty sure small populations would have settled many of the most habitable regions for an easier life independently of one another, which would probably overlap with the people who already lived there because the most habitable regions would naturally be inhabited already, and as a result their languages would influence one another unless one group killed all of the other group or they became assimilated. The former seems unlikely, and the latter could result in a creole that eventually becomes so different from either parent language that it's difficult to see/hear clear similarities.

I'm pretty tired since I slept only a couple of hours, so I'm not sure if that made any sense. I might be having brain farts and typing practical gibberish right now...
Xephyr wrote:
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 TM&T

I feel stupid asking this, but what's TM&T?

I keep hearing from second-hand specialists (eg. people who are on good terms with super-professional linguists) that there's no one in the world that takes the Altaic, much less the Ural-Altaic, theory seriously, and the main reason for the dismissal seems to be that people who consider the (Ural-)Altaic family an actual thing are "naive", "ignorant" or even "delusional" and "racist", and it's compared to how some religious people reject the existence of evolution. I mean, even fucking Wikipedia pushes that shit. I don't remember the last time I came across anyone who unironically considered the Ural-Altaic family a real thing, or even Altaic.

Personally, though, I'd understand if people made fun of me, considering I think it's possible that there's some underlying cause for words for concepts of divinity, "big blue" and/or "mysterious things" to be similar in unrelated languages like Sumerian dingir (god, sky), Proto-Turkic *t`aŋgiri (god), Māori Tangaroa (the god of the sea), Lakota Wakȟáŋ Tȟáŋka (the great spirit), and maybe even Galo taŋar (mist), Amis taŋal (head), or that those languages are all related somehow, maybe by them having had contact with one another and/or an as-of-yet-unidentified language that introduced those words to them. Hell, no matter how unlikely and ridiculous, I think it's even a possibility that all the mythologies/religions in the world actually originate from contact with an extraterrestrial civilisation that influenced them independently of one another in the same general direction, or that they encountered actual divine beings. Of course, that's one of those things that can't be proven or disproven, so it isn't a good argument (or an argument at all, really), but who's to say there wasn't an advanced widespread civilisation at some distant point in the past that left fragments of its culture around or something?

...although, on the other hand, there's Yamdena taŋar (to bark), Madurese teŋel (deaf), Semelai tiŋal (remain), Lavukaleve taŋalu (one hundred), etc. so it probably is a coincidence and the only reason there seems to be any kind of connection between the big blues and stuff is interpretation... but still, it's interesting to think about, and I do think there's some really fine line that somehow connects all, or at least most, of them.
8Deer wrote:
Interestingly, Haida Gwaii was one of those inhabitable areas, so maybe Haida is really ancient.

For some inexplicable reason, it does seem ancient; from what little information there is about it, it seems to have that quality of a language that the dinosaurs would have spoken if they had spoken.
zompist wrote:
Reindeer are not horses...

das racis
zompist wrote:
I'm sure they provide more sustenance than foraging, but do they provide any military advantage?

Well, they could have served as tributes from one tribe to another for a variety of purposes like agreements to protect each other from invaders and to share in times of famine, etc. which, while it doesn't provide a military advantage, does provide a more stable ground for the survival of diversity if it is continued over the years. They could also be given as gifts to more dominant cultures to retain autonomy even if their lands were conquered, because even if reindeer herding is relatively easy compared to horse archery and whatnot, how would someone who has never seen a reindeer in his life know that? And, even if they did, why would an expanding empire invest in adapting it alongside their already functional society when they could just have the people that already herd reindeers herd reindeers like they've always done, only taking the side profits (meat, warm clothing, etc.) and maybe recruiting/enslaving the herders for other work?


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 Post subject: Re: Haida and Na-Dene
PostPosted: Thu Mar 24, 2016 8:55 am 
Avisaru
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zompist wrote:
Reindeer are not horses... I'm sure they provide more sustenance than foraging, but do they provide any military advantage?

Does it have to? I am confused, because to me, you seem to be going back and forth over whether pastoralism's advantage-- the advantage that lets people form into large, sprawled, linguistically homogeneous areas-- is a military one or not. You acknowledged that the pastoral advantage had by the Central Asian Indo-Europeans and African Bantus was one of simple animal herding/husbandry, right? That's what allowed those two language phyla to spread out so quickly and eradicate the previous linguistic diversity of their respective zones. I'm proposing a similar situation for the Paleo-Siberians and their reindeer: no marauding charioteers, no rhino-mounted shock troops, and no reindeer-drawn war sleighs.

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 Post subject: Re: Haida and Na-Dene
PostPosted: Thu Mar 24, 2016 10:16 am 
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Vlürch wrote:
I feel stupid asking this, but what's TM&T?

Turkic, Mongolic, and Tungusic. And yeah, what you describe sounds like my experience, too: everybody agrees that Altaic is nonsense and pseudoscience and bunk and nobody believes it anymore... until you read stuff written by people who actually study those languages. Then all that (to put it strongly) blithe dismissal goes away.

(Personally I don't know what to think about Altaic. But I think I know enough to know that I don't know and that you probably don't either, if you know what I mean.)

Quote:
Personally, though, I'd understand if people made fun of me, considering I think it's possible that there's some underlying cause for words for concepts of divinity, "big blue" and/or "mysterious things" to be similar in unrelated languages like Sumerian dingir (god, sky), Proto-Turkic *t`aŋgiri (god), Māori Tangaroa (the god of the sea), Lakota Wakȟáŋ Tȟáŋka (the great spirit), and maybe even Galo taŋar (mist), Amis taŋal (head), or that those languages are all related somehow, maybe by them having had contact with one another and/or an as-of-yet-unidentified language that introduced those words to them.

Dunno about the other stuff, but the god/spirit part of Wakantanka is the "wakan" bit. "Tȟaŋka" just means "big"; it comes from Proto-Siouan *ihtąka.

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 Post subject: Re: Haida and Na-Dene
PostPosted: Thu Mar 24, 2016 10:25 am 
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Xephyr wrote:
Vlürch wrote:
I feel stupid asking this, but what's TM&T?

Turkic, Mongolic, and Tungusic.

Oh, duh. It's obvious now that you said it. :P
Xephyr wrote:
Dunno about the other stuff, but the god/spirit part of Wakantanka is the "wakan" bit. "Tȟaŋka" just means "big"; it comes from Proto-Siouan *ihtąka.

Interesting. I sure didn't jump into any conclusions prematurely, although now that I think about it, I kinda actually didn't jump into any conclusions... more like crawled into them... and I didn't really conclude anything, since I don't know enough about that stuff... but, at the same time, I kinda did get excited over that, but thankfully excitement doesn't kill and false assumptions can be corrected. Thanks.


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 Post subject: Re: Haida and Na-Dene
PostPosted: Thu Mar 24, 2016 11:38 am 
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zompist wrote:
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.)


Well, Amazonia has clusters of (apparently) small families in the most remote corners. But pretty much all of it is taken up by four big families, three of which are probably all one family, and which seem to have expanded dramatically relatively recently. And in Australia, it's all one family too, apart from the periphery, where again there are microfamilies.

But my point is that these two things - big families that look to have expanded relatively recently, and clusters of many, many seemingly unrelated families - seem the default modes, whereas what we see in east siberia - a small number of reasonably but not massively expanded families - is unusual. In north america, for instance, the same reindeer-fishing-hunting niche has been largely dominated by the Na-Dene and Algonquian families alone (and the Eskimo-Aleut in places), across a much larger area. And to the west, reindeer-herding spread Uralic across a vast area as well.[/quote]

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 Post subject: Re: Haida and Na-Dene
PostPosted: Thu Mar 24, 2016 11:47 am 
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Xephyr wrote:
But only the Dene-Yeniseian were hunter-gatherers! Everyone else has (or are descended from those who had) reindeer herding pastoralism. Why should that not benefit them like goat/sheep pastoralism did the Indo-Aryans & Tocharians and cattle & agriculture did the Bantu? Because if it does (and according to Vajda, for the Paleo-Siberians it did), then we should not expect to find a high level of linguistic diversity, and if we do find such a high level then Salmoneus' surprise is well-founded. (Unless we don't, by optimistically rooting for lumping hypotheses.)


The Chukotko-Kamchatkans managed to expand to cover a large area despite being hunter-gatherers - the reindeer were only introduced later, from the Yukaghir, and only adopted by some groups. Iirc Chuckchi legends frame the Yukaghir as the murderous invading bastards taking their lands from the west - it's possible than CK territory originally was even larger, before they began to adopt the Yukaghir lifestyle.
And iirc the Eskimo-Aleut didn't have reindeer either, but only later adopted reindeer hunting and management, and never (except perhaps in the modern era in some areas) adopting fullscale pastoralism.
I don't think the Nivkh did either, but I don't know. And then Korean and Japonic.



Regarding Siberia: no, it was barren. As in, completely, utterly uninhabitable. Same as Europe. We do know that it wasn't a green a verdant land that only recently got cold, because we have science.

And the antiquity of the pacific coast doesn't explain anything - in fact, it poses more questions. If the pacific coast was, as seems reasonable, such an easy route for travel, why is that where we see the most diversity?

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 Post subject: Re: Haida and Na-Dene
PostPosted: Thu Mar 24, 2016 12:21 pm 
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Salmoneus wrote:
The Chukotko-Kamchatkans managed to expand to cover a large area despite being hunter-gatherers - the reindeer were only introduced later, from the Yukaghir, and only adopted by some groups. Iirc Chuckchi legends frame the Yukaghir as the murderous invading bastards taking their lands from the west - it's possible than CK territory originally was even larger, before they began to adopt the Yukaghir lifestyle.

I'm going off of a very dim memory from a youtube recording of a lecture Vajda gave years ago, so I could easily be wrong, but I remembered him saying that all the non-Yeniseian Siberians (including the CK) ancestrally migrated north because of the reindeer. You're probably right, though.

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 Post subject: Re: Haida and Na-Dene
PostPosted: Thu Mar 24, 2016 1:40 pm 
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Salmoneus wrote:
And the antiquity of the pacific coast doesn't explain anything - in fact, it poses more questions. If the pacific coast was, as seems reasonable, such an easy route for travel, why is that where we see the most diversity?

Multiple migrations=multiple languages/language families=more diversity? Plus a greater time depth means more time for languages to diversify. Geography is probably a huge factor too. The Pacific coast, especially of Alaska and BC, is incredibly rugged, so I doubt travel would have been "easy" by any means. This sort of ruggedness might explain why language communities on the NWC tend to be so small (geographically speaking, in pre-contact times the population was quite high compared to the rest of the continent).


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 Post subject: Re: Haida and Na-Dene
PostPosted: Thu Mar 24, 2016 6:58 pm 
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(Reading a bit more on reindeer herding... honestly I don't know enough about them to say more yet.)

Salmoneus wrote:
Well, Amazonia has clusters of (apparently) small families in the most remote corners. But pretty much all of it is taken up by four big families, three of which are probably all one family, and which seem to have expanded dramatically relatively recently. And in Australia, it's all one family too, apart from the periphery, where again there are microfamilies.


The problem is that linguists have tended to find what they were looking for, which is big IE-style families. Lumping is exciting and splitting is not, but Greenberg's overreach has caused a lot of reexamination, and a lot of the lumping was shoddy work. Thus Campbell's book listing over a hundred language families in the Americas. Further work will undoubtedly lower the number, but we can't unduly anticipate. As for Australia, Dixon is quite dubious about Pama-Nyungan. As I said, there is a cultural practice of massive borrowing, driven by taboos on dead people's names as well as other forms of mixing. The assumption that a bunch of resemblances mean a genetic linguistic family breaks down in these circumstances.


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 Post subject: Re: Haida and Na-Dene
PostPosted: Thu Mar 24, 2016 8:54 pm 
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zompist wrote:
The problem is that linguists have tended to find what they were looking for, which is big IE-style families. Lumping is exciting and splitting is not, but Greenberg's overreach has caused a lot of reexamination, and a lot of the lumping was shoddy work. Thus Campbell's book listing over a hundred language families in the Americas.

But there is a big difference between a) i) number of language families in total (i.e. including each isolate or cluster of little-spoken related languages as a new family) and ii) number of dominant families in an area (i.e. taking the area as a whole and leaving occasional isolated valleys and creeks to one side), and b) i) 'the Americas' and ii) 'Amazonia'.
Quote:
Further work will undoubtedly lower the number, but we can't unduly anticipate.

Well sure, if you want to assume there aren't any large language families in 'primitive' areas, you can refuse to believe otherwise until you're shown incontrovertible proof. But a more neutral position would just be to accept the balance of probabilities. Kaufman's "radically conservative" classification recognises Tupian, Cariban, Maipurean and Je as definite (either demonstrated or just immediately apparent) and Macro-Je as "probable" but not yet proven (but this was written up in the 1980s) - he also notes that every single classifier has agreed on Macro-Je in principle (though not on all the proposed members). Numerous researchers have connected Tupian and Carib, for decades, and some also Macro-Je - the latest attempts claim to have demonstrated shared irregular mophology, as well as the considerable lexical and morphological elements shared between the three.
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As for Australia, Dixon is quite dubious about Pama-Nyungan.

Yes, but everybody else disagrees with him. As in, vituperously disagrees with him. "extravagantly and spectacularly erroneous... wrong-headed... so bizarrely faulted, and such an insult to the eminently successful practitioners of Comparative Method Linguistics in Australia, that it positively demands a decisive riposte."
Other researchers say that the fact that they've demonstrated regular sound laws linking all the extremes of the proposed family and applying to basic vocabulary and to morphology, including shared patterns of suppletion, demonstrates the validity of the family, because of course it would do anywhere in the world that wasn't australia. Borrowing is all very well, but how likely is it really for languages on the west coast of australia to borrow their morphology from languages on the east coast of australia, and to do so in a way that respects consistent soundlaws? They've even outlined subfamilies with regular soundlaws. Apparently the whole language is no more ancient than Indo-European. Rates of borrowing in the vast majority of languages are not actually that high - median loans in basic vocabular found to be under 6% by Bowern, with 75% of languages showing less than 12% borrowing in basic vocabulary, figures supported by other studies.

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 Post subject: Re: Haida and Na-Dene
PostPosted: Fri Mar 25, 2016 1:44 am 
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Salmoneus wrote:
Well sure, if you want to assume there aren't any large language families in 'primitive' areas, you can refuse to believe otherwise until you're shown incontrovertible proof. But a more neutral position would just be to accept the balance of probabilities.

Would it be, though, when you consider that these are also languages we don't have that much data on yet?


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 Post subject: Re: Haida and Na-Dene
PostPosted: Fri Mar 25, 2016 4:19 am 
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Salmoneus wrote:
zompist wrote:
The problem is that linguists have tended to find what they were looking for, which is big IE-style families. Lumping is exciting and splitting is not, but Greenberg's overreach has caused a lot of reexamination, and a lot of the lumping was shoddy work. Thus Campbell's book listing over a hundred language families in the Americas.

But there is a big difference between a) i) number of language families in total (i.e. including each isolate or cluster of little-spoken related languages as a new family) and ii) number of dominant families in an area (i.e. taking the area as a whole and leaving occasional isolated valleys and creeks to one side), and b) i) 'the Americas' and ii) 'Amazonia'.


You're welcome to go through Campbell's book (or Kaufman's classification which he uses) and see how many are Amazonian. Probably quite a lot-- the major diversity is in South America.

Quote:
Quote:
Further work will undoubtedly lower the number, but we can't unduly anticipate.

Well sure, if you want to assume there aren't any large language families in 'primitive' areas, you can refuse to believe otherwise until you're shown incontrovertible proof. But a more neutral position would just be to accept the balance of probabilities.


Very briefly, I think you're not examining where your "default" expectation of language family diversity comes from. A lot of well-known families are not anywhere as solid as they are often presented. More work, as they say, needs to be done.

But when you get to building straw men and slinging mud at linguists you haven't read, well, that's not an interesting conversation to continue.


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 Post subject: Re: Haida and Na-Dene
PostPosted: Fri Mar 25, 2016 8:20 am 
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zompist wrote:
Salmoneus wrote:
zompist wrote:
The problem is that linguists have tended to find what they were looking for, which is big IE-style families. Lumping is exciting and splitting is not, but Greenberg's overreach has caused a lot of reexamination, and a lot of the lumping was shoddy work. Thus Campbell's book listing over a hundred language families in the Americas.

But there is a big difference between a) i) number of language families in total (i.e. including each isolate or cluster of little-spoken related languages as a new family) and ii) number of dominant families in an area (i.e. taking the area as a whole and leaving occasional isolated valleys and creeks to one side), and b) i) 'the Americas' and ii) 'Amazonia'.


You're welcome to go through Campbell's book (or Kaufman's classification which he uses) and see how many are Amazonian. Probably quite a lot-- the major diversity is in South America.

"Probablies" aside, the major diversity is in the mountains in western and northern south america. Amazonia is dominated by the Tupian, Cariban, and Maipurean families, each comprising dozens of languages (Macro-Je dominates adjacent eastern brazil). Specifically in relatively small area of the upper amazon, there are also the Puinavean, Tucanoan and Chapakuran families, each with about a dozen language - Chapakuran is widely thought to be related to Maipurean, and Puinavean and Tucanoan are sometimes thought to be related to one another (although this probably isn't true). There are no other families in Amazonia with more than a handful of members. There are a couple of dozen isolates and small families - but it's worth pointing out, these are almost all at the very extremities of the region (i.e. overwhelmingly in Peru, Bolivia and Venezuela, rather than in Brazil).
Quote:
Very briefly, I think you're not examining where your "default" expectation of language family diversity comes from. A lot of well-known families are not anywhere as solid as they are often presented. More work, as they say, needs to be done.

But when you get to building straw men and slinging mud at linguists you haven't read, well, that's not an interesting conversation to continue.

...so why are you doing that? You're attacking the whole linguistic establishment by waving around Dixon and shouting "eurocentrism!" - forgive me if I do not find this convincing.

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 Post subject: Re: Haida and Na-Dene
PostPosted: Fri Mar 25, 2016 10:05 pm 
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Salmoneus wrote:
Regarding Siberia: no, it was barren. As in, completely, utterly uninhabitable. Same as Europe. We do know that it wasn't a green a verdant land that only recently got cold, because we have science.

As far as I know, no one's saying that it was always inhabitable before suddenly getting cold recently. What I meant was that there have been people living in the inhabitable parts of Siberia whenever they've been, well, inhabitable. Although I couldn't find any firmly established, consistent information on what areas were entirely free of ice and at what points in time, it generally seems like there were at least some patches or more left un-iced even during the ice age. Sure, most of those places were obviously still not going to sustain life well enough to be settled permanently, but that doesn't necessarily mean they were entirely vacant. Also, the ice age didn't end overnight, so it makes sense for people to have moved wherever they could as soon as they could. That would've been around 15 000 years ago or something.

Reindeer weren't herder yet as far as anyone knows, so the people that migrated northeast at that time from Siberia were likely hunter-gatherers, but that doesn't really have anything to do with them having been able to move from one place to another. As for resources, water shouldn't have been too much of an issue since they had melting ice all around them. They definitely would've needed some source of food other than animals that also moved to the newly inhabitable areas (assuming the people and animals began to (re)populate those areas at more or less the same time instead of people beginning the (re)population process later), but people have generally always found a way to get food enough for survival.

According to Wikipedia, the Bering land bridge existed around 11 000-15 000 ago and had no ice covering it, which leaves about four thousand years for people to cross it. Four thousand years. Think about all the possible things that could've happened during that time. Plenty of time to form new communities in the area and establish a trading route or two, and I would assume that even the most isolated of those communities communicated with one another in one way or another. So, there probably were lots of different languages in contact with each other all across Eurasia and North America, more and more as more time passed, up until the sea level rose to the point where it became impossible. Even then, the peoples on both continents continued to exist, and it's not insane to think that the people on the extreme eastern end of Russia and the extreme western end of America sustained relationships if they had boats and shit.

...and, you know, some of that is pretty firmly established as fact because Yupiks exist, and since other people had settled Alaska before them during the ice age, it's common sense that there were more distinct groups of people in that region in the past, which almost certainly means there were more languages and language families. Some of them were related to the languages that still exist today even if the majority of their sister languages have gone extinct, and naturally the separation from one another and contact with other languages influenced them in different ways. There's no reason to think that they couldn't have coexisted peacefully, is there?

Some of the early Turkic people went west, others east. Some of the early Uralic people went west, others east. Some of the early Mongolic people went west, others east. It's common knowledge that there was contact between all of them, and if the Ural-Altaic megafamily theory is true, all came from the same ancestors; either way, in Siberia, the Samoyeds, Yukaghirs, Yakuts, Yupiks, Mongols, etc. influenced each other. The same is true for the peoples of North America. A word or two could have passed from one language to the next without sticking to the intermediaries, even if it's pretty unlikely.

What if there really was a civilisation that was really good at travelling by sea in the Arctic region, going around the globe? The big question wouldn't be "how?", but "why?", and personally I think that wouldn't be that big of a question if they travelled in large groups that then split up along the way, some staying behind and settling an island or peninsula or whatever while others moved on to the next practical place to settle and so on, because that way they would've spread out as wide as they could without having to compete with others over resources as much.

So, yeah, that may be a whole lot of ifs and buts, but if you think about it, there are so many possible explanations for so many similarities in so many languages, none of which are mutually exclusive. I think it's worth considering everything both independently and together, including the theories that are so out there that they just couldn't be true without a millions ifs and buts. All kinds of languages could've come from their exact opposites if they had enough contact with the opposite kinds of languages, or even without that if a group of people wanted to establish a more independent identity by intentionally exaggerating the unique features of their language or dialect, or even straight up coming up with a conlang and passing it on? There are at least two confirmed examples of that having happened: Äynu and Adurgari. While none of their speakers are monolingual, that may not be the case with some other similar scenarios if a long enough time passed and it was forgotten that the language originated as a cryptolect. The vocabulary would almost definitely always be influenced by the native language of the people it originated from, which could be just a few words that weren't practical to shake off or any other reason or almost everything except for a thing or two that nonetheless completely destroy mutual intelligibility.

That's 99% likely not how Haida came about, but it is still a possibility.


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 Post subject: Re: Haida and Na-Dene
PostPosted: Sun Mar 27, 2016 10:28 pm 
Avisaru
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Vlürch wrote:
Some of them were related to the languages that still exist today even if the majority of their sister languages have gone extinct, and naturally the separation from one another and contact with other languages influenced them in different ways. There's no reason to think that they couldn't have coexisted peacefully, is there?

Do you mean 'peacefully' as with head-hunters? Small-scale warfare is endemic amongst humans, even it seems more natural when there is somewhere to keep trophies.


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 Post subject: Re: Haida and Na-Dene
PostPosted: Mon Mar 28, 2016 9:05 am 
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Are you aware of just how prevalent low-level warfare is amongst traditional small societies? If New Guinea seems peaceful now, that is because Westerners came in and suppressed it, in the process of extending their authority over the island.* (Historically these societies had a per-capita homicide rate that far outstripped even the worst parts of the American inner city.)

(Okay, I should note that the per capita part is important. Descriptions of traditional warfare amongst such societies make it seem like most of the time few people were killed in any given instance - except that when you take into account that many of the groups involved only numbered in the hundreds, making the per-capita fatality rates much higher, compared to, say, violent crime in the American inner city, where the populations involved are far larger. Also, it should be noted that these very often involved cycles of revenge, where one person would kill one person in another group in revenge for the previous killing of someone in their own group, and vice versa, ad infinitum - so each incident may involve only one person getting killed, unlike modern mass killings, but the total number of people killed over time may very well be larger.)

* Mind you that many New Guineans did not necessarily like this violence, so they took the establishment of outside authority over them as an excuse to stop fighting, rather than Westerners having to actually suppress it by force most of the time.

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 Post subject: Re: Haida and Na-Dene
PostPosted: Mon Mar 28, 2016 10:37 am 
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Presumably languages can coexist peacefully even if their speakers don't. Otherwise you'd never get New Guinea.

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 Post subject: Re: Haida and Na-Dene
PostPosted: Mon Mar 28, 2016 1:35 pm 
Sanno
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Xephyr wrote:
Presumably languages can coexist peacefully even if their speakers don't. Otherwise you'd never get New Guinea.


Indeed. The thing about primitive violence is that it's horrendously violent because it's constant, not because it's apocalyptic. In these societies, somewhere between 1/5 and 1/2 men were murdered/executed/sacrificed/killed-in-war, depending on the group, plus a sizeable number of women. But these weren't wars of conquest, so that only rarely resulted in the extinction of any tribes - a 50% chance of being murdered during your lifetime isn't the same as 50% of the population being murdered overnight. The high birthrate could compensate for it (and indeed, since everyone was being slaughtered at the same rate of holocaust, nobody would have had the manpower necessary to actually wipe anybody out... I wonder how much of the relatively easy expansion of more civilised societies was simply a matter of reducing their own death rate enough to be able to mobilise much larger armies from the same resources...)

[For context: while the violent death rate (over a lifetime) for men in some studied societies (in east africa and western north america) was over 1 in 2, the violent death rate for men in the UK is something like 1 in 600. The violent death rate in modern South Africa is apparently around 1 in 50, though obviously much higher for men (back-of-envelope: 1 in 30 maybe? 1 in 25?) - modern murder just can't hold a candle to the daily conditions in pre-civilised societies. ]

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 Post subject: Re: Haida and Na-Dene
PostPosted: Fri Apr 01, 2016 9:33 am 
Sanno
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Curioser and curioser.

It seems the three-wave model of the Americas is wrong: there were four waves. The Dorset and Saqqaq cultures represent an additional wave. These Dorsets apparently did have admixture with the EAs... but before they reached the new world.

On a larger scale, the Dorsets and the Eskimo-Aleuts were distantly related to one another and to modern Kamchatkans. However, modern Na-Dene are more closely related to south american amerindians. Not sure if we're able to rule out amerindian substrate, though - somebody needs to test some Ket...

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 Post subject: Re: Haida and Na-Dene
PostPosted: Fri Apr 01, 2016 10:12 am 
Sanno
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Curioser and curioser.

To summarise things i've read:

- the Ket actually look the same as the Samoyed and the Yukaghir, except that they have high levels of Mal'ta.
- Na-Dene have some Mal'ta
- Saqquq don't have Mal'ta
- earlier results suggest ND were Amerindian plus a Saqquq element
- CK and EA appear completely unrelated to Ket, Samoyed and Yukaghir
- apparently (this was only in the corners of what I read and may be an artefact) Nivkh are more closely related to Han and to Dai

So, assuming DY, we could hypothesise: Dene-Yeneseians are Mal'ta descendents; Ket are Mal'ta + Siberian (Uralo-Yukaghir); Na-Dene managed to pick up Beringian (CK+EA+Dorset/Saqquq) and Amerindian genes en route?

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