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 Post subject: Re: Haida and Na-Dene
PostPosted: Mon Apr 04, 2016 9:01 am 
Avisaru
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Salmoneus wrote:
- 16,000BP is not out of the range of reconstruction, so a reconstructed proto-Amerindian may be a possibility. Afro-Asiatic, for instance, is around 10-18,000 years old; Nilo-Saharan seems to at least pre-date agriculture.

Nilo-Saharan FWIW is also as dead as the dodo; even Notorious Modern-Day Lumper G. Starostin concludes "There is no, and probably never will be any, solid basic-lexicon-based evidence for «Nilo-Saharan» as originally envisaged by J. Greenberg". Apparently Common Sudanic is already about as hypothetical as Nostratic, and the only reason to suspect that outliers like Saharan, Songhay etc. would anything to do with either Sudanic family is that they are spoken less than 5,000 kilometers away and do not belong in either Niger-Congo or Afroasiatic.

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 Post subject: Re: Haida and Na-Dene
PostPosted: Mon Apr 04, 2016 9:04 am 
Smeric
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Xephyr wrote:
The phenomenon is completely unheard of: No population has ever abandoned their previous language and adopted a new one invented from whole cloth. The comparison to sign languages is not valid: deaf people did not all abandon a previous, perfectly-functioning sign language and start speaking in a new one invented ex nihilo.

Quote:
Why would a population all stop speaking their old language and start speaking a conlang?

a) Absence of evidence is not evidence of absence. b) Who said anything about the population abandoning their previous language anyway?


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 Post subject: Re: Haida and Na-Dene
PostPosted: Mon Apr 04, 2016 9:10 am 
Avisaru
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Vijay wrote:
Xephyr wrote:
The phenomenon is completely unheard of: No population has ever abandoned their previous language and adopted a new one invented from whole cloth. The comparison to sign languages is not valid: deaf people did not all abandon a previous, perfectly-functioning sign language and start speaking in a new one invented ex nihilo.

Quote:
Why would a population all stop speaking their old language and start speaking a conlang?

a) Absence of evidence is not evidence of absence. b) Who said anything about the population abandoning their previous language anyway?

a) Yes, it is.
b) That still requires that a segment of a population adopt a conlang/ritual language/whatever and then diverge into its own language family, which is also completely unattested in the known history of human language, and for this to happen probably more than once.

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 Post subject: Re: Haida and Na-Dene
PostPosted: Mon Apr 04, 2016 9:16 am 
Smeric
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Xephyr wrote:
a) Yes, it is.

Oh for goodness' sake. :roll:
Quote:
b) That still requires that a segment of a population adopt a conlang/ritual language/whatever and then diverge into its own language family, which is also completely unattested in the known history of human language, and for this to happen probably more than once.

No, it isn't. This is exactly the development that pidgins and creoles trace back to; their lexicon comes from existing languages, but their grammar does not and is completely new. This is also clearly the development that has taken place in sign languages spoken in various parts of the world; there are two notable cases I can think of right off the top of my head in which this has happened in the past few decades. Thousands of years is plenty of time for such a development to take place over and over again.


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 Post subject: Re: Haida and Na-Dene
PostPosted: Mon Apr 04, 2016 9:27 am 
Avisaru
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Vijay wrote:
Xephyr wrote:
a) Yes, it is.

Oh for goodness' sake. :roll:

Biting retort, Vijay. We're all very impressed.

Quote:
Quote:
b) That still requires that a segment of a population adopt a conlang/ritual language/whatever and then diverge into its own language family, which is also completely unattested in the known history of human language, and for this to happen probably more than once.

No, it isn't. This is exactly the development that pidgins and creoles trace back to; their lexicon comes from existing languages, but their grammar does not and is completely new. This is also clearly the development that has taken place in sign languages spoken in various parts of the world; there are two notable cases I can think of right off the top of my head in which this has happened in the past few decades. Thousands of years is plenty of time for such a development to take place over and over again.

1) If their lexicon is taken from the existing language(s), then again: that does not change the situation at all from the perspective of the comparative method and our inability to prove (or disprove) a relation amongst so-called Amerind languages using purely linguistic methods.
2) Pidgins and creoles actually have remarkable similarities in their grammar, that is often unexplainable by appealing to their lexifier languages. It is quite interesting, actually.

And you still haven't responded to my point about parsimony and the probability of this hypothesis (which, by the way, still has absolutely zero evidence for it). Even if we accept an outside likelihood of this happening, it does not help explain the evidence any better than the null hypothesis. P(B) still cancels out P(B|A). Why should anybody believe this hypothesis?

EDIT: Fixing quoteboxes

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Last edited by Xephyr on Mon Apr 04, 2016 9:29 am, edited 2 times in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Haida and Na-Dene
PostPosted: Mon Apr 04, 2016 9:27 am 
Sumerul
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Vijay wrote:
Xephyr wrote:
a) Yes, it is.

Oh for goodness' sake. :roll:
Quote:
b) That still requires that a segment of a population adopt a conlang/ritual language/whatever and then diverge into its own language family, which is also completely unattested in the known history of human language, and for this to happen probably more than once.

No, it isn't. This is exactly the development that pidgins and creoles trace back to; their lexicon comes from existing languages, but their grammar does not and is completely new. This is also clearly the development that has taken place in sign languages spoken in various parts of the world; there are two notable cases I can think of right off the top of my head in which this has happened in the past few decades. Thousands of years is plenty of time for such a development to take place over and over again.

You have not been paying attention - the development of pidgin and creoles is absolutely not the development of languages de novo (their grammar is not "completely new" but does reflect their substrate languages; and the fact that they seem similar independently may be an artifact of the conditions under which creoles and pidgins that developed in contact with European languages developed (e.g. the hypothesis that pidgins (and from them creoles) that developed during early modern times were actually spread by Europeans and influenced heavily by the Mediterranean lingua franca) - to claim that they develop the same grammar entirely independently of one another would require examples of pidgins and creoles that have had no contact with European languages during their development, which do exist but are not as well-known. And the conditions behind the development of sign languages is very different from how spoken languages develop, as people who develop new sign languages spoke no language before, whereas for non-deaf people to develop new spoken languages de novo would require them to abandon spoken languages they already have for conlangs wholesale, something that has never been observed or had apparent evidence for in the entire history of spoken language. And what you posit requires this happening not just once, but many times, when this has never happened anywhere else in history.

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Last edited by Travis B. on Mon Apr 04, 2016 9:53 am, edited 5 times in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Haida and Na-Dene
PostPosted: Mon Apr 04, 2016 9:41 am 
Avisaru
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Vlürch wrote:
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.

Ural-Altaic is pure nonsense, but this is solely because the likewise speculative Nostratic / Eurasiatic hypothesis is superior in almost every respect. If this competing evidence weren't there, we would have to state that Ural-Altaic is a weak idea that cannot be relied on, though still the best that there is. (It is definitely more solid than Turkic-Sumerian or Uralic-Quechuan or what have you, if only for being halfway geographically sensible.)

For micro-Altaic this is much less clear. Armed with modern understanding we can discount plenty of individual pieces of evidence, but that will not amount to proving the negative claim: we would need to show that e.g. Turkic is closer or at least as closely related to something else than Mongolic. I don't think anyone has attempted to propose an Indo-Turkic or anything of the kind, though.

Depends though on what you mean by "takes seriously". Altaic does not make much of a foundation for further research, in the way you can use other Indo-European evidence to figure out where does Latin or Germanic or Albanian or so on get its quirks from. But there are numerous people out there who think that it could be, if developed further.

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;

A few more shits 'n' giggles matches for your amusement:

Haida /-táː-/ 'causative verbal suffix' ~ Proto-Uralic *-ta- 'causative verbal suffix' (Finnish -ta-, Hungarian -z etc.)
Haida /qʰúŋ/ 'moon, month' ~ Proto-Uralic *kuŋə 'moon / month' (Finnish kuu 'moon', Hungarian 'month' etc.)
Haida /qʰwaː/ 'stone' ~ Proto-Uralic *kiwə 'stone' (Finnish kivi, Hungarian etc.)

(Per Erma Lawrence's dictionary of Alaskan Haida. At least one of the three comparisons above can be demonstrated to be wrong; see if you can figure out which one.)

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 Post subject: Re: Haida and Na-Dene
PostPosted: Mon Apr 04, 2016 11:35 am 
Lebom
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Salmoneus wrote:
8Deer wrote:
Xephyr wrote:
8Deer wrote:
First, a population of less than "a few tens of thousands" hunter gatherers could potentially speak several languages, even languages of different families.

While isolated in glacier-bound Beringia for 5,000 years?


Why not? Languages diversify internally all the time and 5000 years is a hell of a long time for linguistic shift.


Unlike the insane American Languages Are Conlangs Invented By Basque Monks Hypothesis, which is a crackpot theory that violates all principles of linguistics and proposes phenomena never observed and inherently implausible, with no clear motivation, this idea is actually possible.

But I don't think it's likely. Remember, the population size calculated (which iirc was 2,000 breeding females, probably equating to 10,000 people in total at any time) isn't for the total number of people in Beringia at that point, it's for the people in the interbreeding population. So there wasn't isolation.

We do see the many-tiny-languages thing in America... but there we also see genetic isolation accompanying it.

In Beringia, for there to be multiple languages, we'd have to be looking at a small community with extensive in-breeding, in a relatively confined space, in a shared environment, probably with a lot of mobility (hunter-gatherers in that sort of marginal environment generally have) somehow managing not to speak to one another. It's possible, but to me it seems much less plausible than a common language or, at most, a handful of related languages (say, inland hunters vs coastal fishers?) that themselves have a common origin.

All good points, I'd say you've convinced me. I suppose my earlier gripe was about associating this migration with an "Amerind" language family, since I think there is still a strong possibility that additional language groups could have been introduced later through migration and/or contact (possibly through a secondary inland migration route?). It does seem plausible though that a number of language families of South America could ultimately be related to each other and to the language of these first coastal migrants. As I said, I know nothing about genetics really, but I wonder what the implications are of the study using only samples from South/Central America are.


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 Post subject: Re: Haida and Na-Dene
PostPosted: Mon Apr 04, 2016 8:09 pm 
Avisaru
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Salmoneus wrote:
8Deer wrote:
Xephyr wrote:
8Deer wrote:
First, a population of less than "a few tens of thousands" hunter gatherers could potentially speak several languages, even languages of different families.

While isolated in glacier-bound Beringia for 5,000 years?


Why not? Languages diversify internally all the time and 5000 years is a hell of a long time for linguistic shift.


Unlike the insane American Languages Are Conlangs Invented By Basque Monks Hypothesis, which is a crackpot theory that violates all principles of linguistics and proposes phenomena never observed and inherently implausible, with no clear motivation, this idea is actually possible.

I thought the Vasco-Amerind hypothesis was generally accepted :?

Salmoneus wrote:
But I don't think it's likely. Remember, the population size calculated (which iirc was 2,000 breeding females, probably equating to 10,000 people in total at any time) isn't for the total number of people in Beringia at that point, it's for the people in the interbreeding population. So there wasn't isolation.

So why does this mean that there couldn't have been multiple languages? Maybe my intuition is off but 10000 seems large enough for multiple languages. Probably not many, as you've said they would likely all have a lot of contact with each other and any great amount of linguistic diversity would likely be stamped out, but it still seems possible.

The languages could well be related, but even then that pushes the date for a Proto-Amerindian back a few millenia or so.

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 Post subject: Re: Haida and Na-Dene
PostPosted: Mon Apr 04, 2016 9:45 pm 
Avisaru
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I think this issue is not just the population size. You find plenty of languages that are robust with only ~1000 speakers near other robust languages with only ~1000 speakers, all crammed into a small area, but in places like New Guinea, California, and Indochina, not in tundra conditions.


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 Post subject: Re: Haida and Na-Dene
PostPosted: Tue Apr 05, 2016 1:02 am 
Avisaru
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vokzhen wrote:
I think this issue is not just the population size. You find plenty of languages that are robust with only ~1000 speakers near other robust languages with only ~1000 speakers, all crammed into a small area, but in places like New Guinea, California, and Indochina, not in tundra conditions.

Again, why does this mean that there couldn't have been multiple languages? The conditions don't quite compare to modern tundra as the inhabitants might have been forced together from a far larger area due to the deteriorating weather conditions and glaciation, right?

Even if they started speaking the same language, if they're there long enough, chances are they did end up speaking multiple languages - similar to New Caledonia.

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 Post subject: Re: Haida and Na-Dene
PostPosted: Tue Apr 05, 2016 12:02 pm 
Smeric
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Tropylium wrote:
Ural-Altaic is pure nonsense, but this is solely because the likewise speculative Nostratic / Eurasiatic hypothesis is superior in almost every respect. If this competing evidence weren't there, we would have to state that Ural-Altaic is a weak idea that cannot be relied on, though still the best that there is. (It is definitely more solid than Turkic-Sumerian or Uralic-Quechuan or what have you, if only for being halfway geographically sensible.)


I would not consider Ural-Altaic "pure nonsense", rather a take at a relationship which may be genuine but probably involves further languages. It seems to me that Uralic has more in common with IE and Eskimo-Aleut than with the Altaic languages, of which, however, Turkic looks to me as if it was closer to those languages than Mongolic and Tungusic are.

Tropylium wrote:
For micro-Altaic this is much less clear. Armed with modern understanding we can discount plenty of individual pieces of evidence, but that will not amount to proving the negative claim: we would need to show that e.g. Turkic is closer or at least as closely related to something else than Mongolic. I don't think anyone has attempted to propose an Indo-Turkic or anything of the kind, though.

Depends though on what you mean by "takes seriously". Altaic does not make much of a foundation for further research, in the way you can use other Indo-European evidence to figure out where does Latin or Germanic or Albanian or so on get its quirks from. But there are numerous people out there who think that it could be, if developed further.


Altaic is what I call a "language cluster": a group of language families that show similarities that are certainly meaningful and not just coincidence, but it is hard to tell whether it is a language family or a Sprachbund.

But we are digressing from the topic. I know virtually nothing about Haida and Na-Dene and therefore have no opinion on this matter. Dene-Yeniseian, from what I have seen, looks attractive, but as I lack relevant knowledge, I have no opinion on it either.

Long-range comparative linguistics is hard, and many who venture there are unequipped to deal with its pitfalls.

And as for the debate between Vijay and Travis B. (each with their allies): Nope, spontaneous language creation ex novo seems to be so vanishingly rare that it can be safely ruled out. We can also rule out the idea that the first humans in the Americas did not yet have full-fledged language. I am not going to enter a debate on the philosophy of science, but we must assume that the first humans in the Americas brought their languages with them from the Old World, and that the indigenous languages of the Americas evolved from these. The only question is how many populations brought how many languages to the New World. Certainly, the Eskimo-Aleut and Na-Dene (whether with or without Haida) were late comers, and both seem to have recognizable linguistic relatives in the Old World (the Mitian bunch and Yeniseian, respectively; but Mitian rests just on a few bits of morphology, and Yeniseian has been suspected of being a back-migration from North America). But what about the rest? Do they all descend from a single founder population that spoke a single language? If yes, then Amerind is a real family (though Greenberg's work does not sufficiently prove it). If no, then "Amerind" is a grab bag and ought to be discarded.

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 Post subject: Re: Haida and Na-Dene
PostPosted: Tue Apr 05, 2016 6:25 pm 
Lebom
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WeepingElf wrote:
Altaic is what I call a "language cluster": a group of language families that show similarities that are certainly meaningful and not just coincidence, but it is hard to tell whether it is a language family or a Sprachbund.

But we are digressing from the topic. I know virtually nothing about Haida and Na-Dene and therefore have no opinion on this matter. Dene-Yeniseian, from what I have seen, looks attractive, but as I lack relevant knowledge, I have no opinion on it either.


I believe Michael Fortescue describes his Uralo-Siberian hypothesis as a "language mesh", with pretty much the same meaning you gave. I find the idea really appealing, and I'm surprised I don't see it more in the literature. Even when it does not necessarily capture a genealogical relationship, it can at least provide strong evidence for period of shared history. My own impression is that these sorts of clusters are not at all uncommon, I would point to Penutian, "Mosan" and possibly Haida-Na-Dene in North America as examples.

As for Dene-Yeniseian, I just found out my university library has a copy of The Dene-Yeniseian Connection, so I'll definitely have to check that out soon.


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 Post subject: Re: Haida and Na-Dene
PostPosted: Wed Apr 06, 2016 7:21 am 
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Yay! Flame war! May the forums burn!
On a more serious note: Stop insulting each other.

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 Post subject: Re: Haida and Na-Dene
PostPosted: Wed Apr 06, 2016 9:17 am 
Sumerul
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mèþru wrote:
Yay! Flame war! May the forums burn!
On a more serious note: Stop insulting each other.

Then don't push Edo Nyland-esque crackpottery.

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 Post subject: Re: Haida and Na-Dene
PostPosted: Wed Apr 06, 2016 11:01 am 
Avisaru
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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.

With the Chukchi lexeme, you have to take into account that the absolutive in Chukchi has reduplication - the root is йиԓ, /jil/, not the longer jiləjil. I mostly agree with what you say, but it turns out the Chukchi piece of evidence is not as problematic for the thesis as you imply.

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 Post subject: Re: Haida and Na-Dene
PostPosted: Thu Apr 07, 2016 7:17 pm 
Avisaru
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Salmoneus wrote:
Coincidentally, a new and seemingly pretty definitive paper in Science yesterday, about the amerindian population. A study of 92 samples from western south and central america (Mexico through to Chile), 8600BP to 500BP, based on mitochondria. Results:

- all related
- last contact with non-American populations was 23,000BP
- a period of isolation in a small population of maybe 10,000 people, presumably equating to being trapped in a hostile but survivable Beringian refugium surrounded by ice sheets
- around 16,000BP, a rapid explosion in population size, presumably equating to the peopling of the Americas
- rapid expansion along the coast, so fast it was probably aided by boats, taking only 1,500 years to reach southern Chile
- as new areas were reached, communities settled, and stopped having contact with one another
- the 92 samples represent 84 different linneages - communities were genetically isolated
- none of these 84 linneages correspond to any known post-colombian linneages, suggesting that the vast majority of pre-colombian diversity was wiped out

Wait, hold the phone. None of these 84 lineages have modern descendants? Yes, that indicates a much greater amount of variety early on for sure. But that's going to also make drawing any conclusions from these lineages' specifics hazardous. If the full spectrum of population variety in ~ 3000 BP was actually equivalent to something like 3000 equivalently divergent lineages, of which we have found 84 and let's say some 100 others entirely survive, then it's unlikely that the earliest-split groups were among the 84 samples found and analyzed so far, and the common ancestor of all of these is most likely going to be much farther back.

Rapid coastal spreading would also imply that the earliest American offshoots altogether would have to have split off already in the Pacific NW, nestled as isolates in the Rockies or spilling over to the taiga / prairies; and therefore excluded entirely from the analyzed data. The last common ancestor pool of mtDNA from "Mexico thru Chile" will be under this scenario predicted to be derived from a population that lived in California, not in Beringia. The "isolation" could also simply result the period of spreading from Asia to Mesoamerica (with various NAm offshoots excluded from the data), not from isolation altogether.

Basically: this is not an argument for Amerind — it's an argument for a relatively large but not all-encompassing Southern Amerind ("Macro-Hokan?"), and with no way to even rule out later linguistic intrusions from Northern America. You may e.g. recall the recent result that Chitimacha, in Louisina, appears to be related to a few Mesoamerican families — trans-Gulf relationships in the other direction will be quite possible too.

WeepingElf wrote:
Tropylium wrote:
Ural-Altaic is pure nonsense, but this is solely because the likewise speculative Nostratic / Eurasiatic hypothesis is superior in almost every respect. If this competing evidence weren't there, we would have to state that Ural-Altaic is a weak idea that cannot be relied on, though still the best that there is. (It is definitely more solid than Turkic-Sumerian or Uralic-Quechuan or what have you, if only for being halfway geographically sensible.)


I would not consider Ural-Altaic "pure nonsense", rather a take at a relationship which may be genuine but probably involves further languages.

That's kind of what I meant, phrased differently. "Ural-Altaic" does not mean the idea that Uralic and (various bits of?) Altaic are related in some fashion — it is the idea that they are related, and form a single well-defined family, one that excludes Indo-European, Eskaleut, etc.

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 Post subject: Re: Haida and Na-Dene
PostPosted: Fri Apr 08, 2016 2:28 pm 
Smeric
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Tropylium wrote:
WeepingElf wrote:
Tropylium wrote:
Ural-Altaic is pure nonsense, but this is solely because the likewise speculative Nostratic / Eurasiatic hypothesis is superior in almost every respect. If this competing evidence weren't there, we would have to state that Ural-Altaic is a weak idea that cannot be relied on, though still the best that there is. (It is definitely more solid than Turkic-Sumerian or Uralic-Quechuan or what have you, if only for being halfway geographically sensible.)


I would not consider Ural-Altaic "pure nonsense", rather a take at a relationship which may be genuine but probably involves further languages.

That's kind of what I meant, phrased differently. "Ural-Altaic" does not mean the idea that Uralic and (various bits of?) Altaic are related in some fashion — it is the idea that they are related, and form a single well-defined family, one that excludes Indo-European, Eskaleut, etc.


Sure. Yet, we cannot rule out at this point that Ural-Altaic is a valid node within Mitian, Nostratic or whatever, even if it looks as if Uralic was more closely related to IE than to Altaic (if the latter is a valid node at all, of course).

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 Post subject: Re: Haida and Na-Dene
PostPosted: Fri Apr 08, 2016 6:07 pm 
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Tropylium wrote:
Wait, hold the phone. None of these 84 lineages have modern descendants?

That we know of. They do point out that there are lots of people in remote areas of south america who haven't been tested yet, and it's possible that some descendents will be found. But yeah, none found yet.
Quote:
Yes, that indicates a much greater amount of variety early on for sure. But that's going to also make drawing any conclusions from these lineages' specifics hazardous. If the full spectrum of population variety in ~ 3000 BP was actually equivalent to something like 3000 equivalently divergent lineages, of which we have found 84 and let's say some 100 others entirely survive, then it's unlikely that the earliest-split groups were among the 84 samples found and analyzed so far, and the common ancestor of all of these is most likely going to be much farther back.

That doesn't follow at all! That assumes some constant rate of branching - that adding more branches means adding more years. But what actually seems to have happened is a big explosive expansion. Lots of branches formed very rapidly from a narrow base.
If there were a branch with a more distant common ancestor, then giving the period of inbreeding, that ancestor would have to be at least 23,000BP, and then you'd have to hypothesise TWO beringian refuge population without any genetic contact at all, both of which then expanded into the Americas, and then of 92 samples and 84 distinct linneages found, every one of them came from one of the two populations and none at all came from the other. That's not a parsimonious hypothesis.

Quote:
Rapid coastal spreading would also imply that the earliest American offshoots altogether would have to have split off already in the Pacific NW, nestled as isolates in the Rockies or spilling over to the taiga / prairies; and therefore excluded entirely from the analyzed data. The last common ancestor pool of mtDNA from "Mexico thru Chile" will be under this scenario predicted to be derived from a population that lived in California, not in Beringia.

I can't see any reason to think that.
Again, nobody's suggesting a series of settled, expansive populations reaching capacity and sending an offshoot to bud off further down the coast in an orderly, linnear fashion. In fact, they're saying that that DIDN'T happen, not just because it happened so fast but because the 84 linneages are all divided almost all the way back to the original explosion. That's my impression, at least. The groups would have divided before they found a place to settle, not as a result of it - not slow crawl of amoeba-civilisations budding off down the coast, but different families (developing into different clans, different tribes...) getting their boats and buggering off until they found a place they wanted to settle. Presumably there was some schisming going on in this process, but in this scenario there's no reason to expect an orderly, linnear arrangement of groups down the coastline with the most basal at the top and the most coronal down in the south. It would be just as likely that the most basal group were the fastest-moving and got to Chile first, while those that stuck together longer didn't get as far. Or, since they would have been a small population expanding into a vast area, there may well have been sub-migrations north as well as south, 'filling in the gaps' as it were. We know they reached Chile quickly, but starting from such a small population it must have taken a long time to actually populate the entire Pacific coast (let alone cross the mountains to go east).
Quote:
The "isolation" could also simply result the period of spreading from Asia to Mesoamerica (with various NAm offshoots excluded from the data), not from isolation altogether.

That would require this small, inbreeding population to stick together as a single breeding community all the way from Beringia down to Mesoamerica... and THEN to shatter explosively into a hundred different groups with little contact with one another.

That's not parsimonious. It's much more likely that the explosion coincided, as explosions do, with a restriction giving way. It makes sense for a community under pressure in Beringia to explode when they're able to escape into a virgin continent. It makes much less sense to expect them to remain disciplined and community-minded while moving rapidly, en masse, to mesoamerica, before suddenly completely reversing their behaviour at that point for no particular reason...
Quote:
Basically: this is not an argument for Amerind — it's an argument for a relatively large but not all-encompassing Southern Amerind ("Macro-Hokan?"), and with no way to even rule out later linguistic intrusions from Northern America. You may e.g. recall the recent result that Chitimacha, in Louisina, appears to be related to a few Mesoamerican families — trans-Gulf relationships in the other direction will be quite possible too.

It's true that northern Amerind remains un-pinned-down by these findings and more research is needed. However, given that the genetic evidence is already strongly in favour of common origins for all Amerind groups versus all non-Amerinds, it's likely that it's just a matter of getting more northern remains. The alternative - that a close sister group to the south-amerinds was hanging about somewhere in asia and crossed over once the ice melted after the south-amerinds had already expanded - is possible but imo not particularly plausible (you'd have to explain why the asian north-amerinds didn't themselves interbreed with non-amerinds in asia, and why more founder effects didn't arise in the beringian south-amerinds; you'd also then have the spectacle of north-amerinds somehow managing to conquer the whole of north america when the south-amerinds were already living there - is there an obvious candidate technology to explain how that would have happened? I think the most that I can imagine is that the pacific populations are all amerind, and that plains and east coast populations may be a closely-related second-wave who exploited terrain that the boat-using pacific amerinds hadn't reached).

Whereas assuming a common amerind radiating out of beringia explains the expansion (uninhabited land), the relatedness (all related) and the distinctness relative to all other populations (founder effects in the small population in beringia).
WeepingElf wrote:
Tropylium wrote:
Ural-Altaic is pure nonsense, but this is solely because the likewise speculative Nostratic / Eurasiatic hypothesis is superior in almost every respect. If this competing evidence weren't there, we would have to state that Ural-Altaic is a weak idea that cannot be relied on, though still the best that there is. (It is definitely more solid than Turkic-Sumerian or Uralic-Quechuan or what have you, if only for being halfway geographically sensible.)


I would not consider Ural-Altaic "pure nonsense", rather a take at a relationship which may be genuine but probably involves further languages.

That's kind of what I meant, phrased differently. "Ural-Altaic" does not mean the idea that Uralic and (various bits of?) Altaic are related in some fashion — it is the idea that they are related, and form a single well-defined family, one that excludes Indo-European, Eskaleut, etc.[/quote]

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 Post subject: Re: Haida and Na-Dene
PostPosted: Sat Apr 09, 2016 2:53 pm 
Avisaru
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Salmoneus wrote:
Tropylium wrote:
Yes, that indicates a much greater amount of variety early on for sure. But that's going to also make drawing any conclusions from these lineages' specifics hazardous. If the full spectrum of population variety in ~ 3000 BP was actually equivalent to something like 3000 equivalently divergent lineages, of which we have found 84 and let's say some 100 others entirely survive, then it's unlikely that the earliest-split groups were among the 84 samples found and analyzed so far, and the common ancestor of all of these is most likely going to be much farther back.

That doesn't follow at all! That assumes some constant rate of branching - that adding more branches means adding more years. But what actually seems to have happened is a big explosive expansion. Lots of branches formed very rapidly from a narrow base.

OK, fair. If an explosive initial spread is to be assumed, then even if archaic lineages have been lost, they might not amount to more than a couple thousand years' worth of extra time-depth.

Salmoneus wrote:
If there were a branch with a more distant common ancestor, then giving the period of inbreeding, that ancestor would have to be at least 23,000BP, and then you'd have to hypothesise TWO beringian refuge population without any genetic contact at all,

Nope: mtDNA is completely unaffected by crossbreeding. A single refuge population or even any single tribe is likely going to contain numerous mtDNA lineages.

In studies like these we are therefore not operating with single common ancestors, but with ancestor pools. It's long been known that America's indigenous people fall in five main mtDNA haplogroups: A, B, C, D and X. The original split between {C, D} and {A, B, X} dates already way back to Africa, and the other splits took place pretty early on in Eurasia as well. The Beringian refuge population would have already included women from all five (and men, but they're irrelevant here). Whatever splits happened during their period in isolation would create a five-fold "forest" of haplotypes, not a single tree rooted in a single Beringian Eve.

My point, then, is that since there existed dozens of sub-lineages already at the onset of the "explosion", several of them may have gotten lost between Alaska and Mesoamerica, due to successive founder effects. Indeed, we know that this is the case with X, which is not at all present in Southern and Mesoamerica.

Salmoneus wrote:
Again, nobody's suggesting a series of settled, expansive populations reaching capacity and sending an offshoot to bud off further down the coast in an orderly, linnear fashion.

Indeed, me neither. I'm suggesting that a population at let's say 17000 BP begets a slightly more southern population at 16950 BP, which begets another population slightly to the south at 16900 BP, which begets another population slightly to the south at 16850 BP, etc. Nobody came to Mesoamerica directly by airplane from Alaska, they all must have trekked southward generation by generation. Founder effects don't stop being founder effects just because they're happening rapidly.

Even if we assume that people intently claimed homelands far away from other groups, it is still unreasonable to assume more than 1000 km dispersal per generation, which already suffices to set up a dozen or so founding effects before there's an initial chain of people from the Pacific NW to Chile.

Youre right that there likely were numerous "holes" at first that only got filled later. This is necessarily a slower process, though (centuries rather than decades). Any given unsettled area or "ethnographical niche" is most likely to be filled by descendants of people who got roughly into the same area already at the time of the initial settling explosion. You can assume again some 1000 km of variation in any direction, but it's still extremely unlikely that somehow a new lineage from NAm wormed its way into SAm in this way, thru an already rudimentarily settled Mesoamerica.

Salmoneus wrote:
In fact, they're saying that that DIDN'T happen, not just because it happened so fast but because the 84 linneages are all divided almost all the way back to the original explosion. That's my impression, at least.

mtDNA lineage splits themselves have nothing to do with population splits and everything to do with time depth. That's the reason we study mtDNA in the first place: it accrues mutations at a relatively stable rate. The event corresponding to an mtDNA lineage split is "a mother has 2+ daughters and one of them by happenstance gains a mutation". It's completely irrelevant whether the daughters end up living in the same household, or 2000 kilometers apart.

Now the precise relationships between the lineages could be telling, of course. What the the Science article shows is that the most recent common ancestors of each main individual mtDNA group goes 15k+ years back, i.e. all the way to the Beringian refugium. But the later splits leading to the full set of 84 are indeed spread fairly evenly across later history; they do not all emerge right away.

Salmoneus wrote:
Tropylium wrote:
The "isolation" could also simply result the period of spreading from Asia to Mesoamerica (with various NAm offshoots excluded from the data), not from isolation altogether.

That would require this small, inbreeding population to stick together as a single breeding community all the way from Beringia down to Mesoamerica... and THEN to shatter explosively into a hundred different groups with little contact with one another.

No, they could have well been constantly shedding off splinter groups that just didn't end up heading in the direction of Mesoamerica. Whichever fringes of the NAm half of the explosion that first reached Mesoamerica would have already brought with them all the mtDNA lineages required.

Salmoneus wrote:
Whereas assuming a common amerind radiating out of beringia explains the expansion (uninhabited land), the relatedness (all related) and the distinctness relative to all other populations (founder effects in the small population in beringia).

You seem to be confused about some concepts here. Founder effects are what happens during expansions; isolation instead produces genetic drift.

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 Post subject: Re: Haida and Na-Dene
PostPosted: Mon Apr 11, 2016 11:41 pm 
Sanci
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Travis B. wrote:
And "open-mindedness" is not an excuse for ignorance and stupidity.

In order for one to truly open their mind, they have to accept that it's not their responsibility to judge the ignorance and stupidity of others or to educate those who prefer to stay ignorant and stupid, because one man's ignorance and stupidity is another's knowledge and intelligence; language is a human invention that has become so universal that we forget linguistics is not an exact science. Sure, it's tempting to look at the evidence and conclude that the objective truth is what it appears to be at first glance, but that's not nearly often enough right enough for it to be the ultimate conclusion of all conclusions. I'm a little tempted to go full postmodernist on your ass even if bringing postmodernism into this (or most other topics) is pretty ridiculous, but on the other hand, I don't know if it's postmodern enough to say that I personally believe language to be what we as its speakers make it, so I'll say it anyway. I personally believe language to be what we as its speakers make it. Just because a theory is disputed due to contrary evidence doesn't mean it's still not correct in at least some aspects. Besides, it's a fact that it's not always objectively clear what is objectively true even in things that it should be clear in, so in things that it makes sense for it to not be clear in... well, you know.

...but yeah, "open-mindedness" is often just a nicer way to say "closed-mindedness". That said, at least I'm not losing any sleep over whether or not any of this stuff is one way or another, so it doesn't really matter to me. If it does matter to you, then that's fine and all, but why is no fun allowed?
8Deer wrote:
WeepingElf wrote:
Altaic is what I call a "language cluster": a group of language families that show similarities that are certainly meaningful and not just coincidence, but it is hard to tell whether it is a language family or a Sprachbund.

I believe Michael Fortescue describes his Uralo-Siberian hypothesis as a "language mesh", with pretty much the same meaning you gave. I find the idea really appealing, and I'm surprised I don't see it more in the literature. Even when it does not necessarily capture a genealogical relationship, it can at least provide strong evidence for period of shared history.

For what it's worth, this is pretty much what I mean every time I say "Ural-Altaic" or just about anything that involves lumping. Genetic relationships are overrated in linguistics, and personally I think it would be more beneficial in the long term for those who prefer to focus on genetic relations to focus on genetic relations and for those who prefer to focus on language contact to focus on language contact, etc. Like, debating is fun and useful, but arguing generally won't get anything done.
Travis B. wrote:
mèþru wrote:
Yay! Flame war! May the forums burn!
On a more serious note: Stop insulting each other.

Then don't push Edo Nyland-esque crackpottery.

We'll it would be good if you realised that all language's come from Enjent Ejypshan. Its c'mon knowlege but you're privilege make's you blind to The Truth. your to dense for the evidense (lol get it its a pun) but let me explane the evidense
    Enjent Ejypshan's had word for "letter" was "shat" so in English "shit" come's from it
    Enjent Ejypshan's "ah" means "palace" and its English "I" so it means you're body is a temple
    Enjent Ejypshan's "mesha" means "army" so the English "mess", "mesh" and other word's come from it
    Enjent Ejypshan's "her" means "face" so English "her" come's from it becau's she has beautifull face
    Enjent Ejypshan's word for "mountain" is "djew", this proove's they invented Mountain Dew
    Enjent Ejpyshan's "red" mean's "foot" and they're feet we're red because they didn't invent shoe's yet
    Enjent Ejypshan's "sensy" men's "praise" and "command" is "sha" and "ib" mense "wish" = this means the English word "censorship" actually means "praised be the command of wish" butt ass we all know "wish" makes no seance in this consent so replace it with "wesh" which is Enjent Ejypshan for "bald" and who is bald????? that's write Ben Kingsley who portraited the Mandarine!! if you type "wesh" from Chinese to English in Google Translate you will get "I stifle" - this is proof Ben Kingsley want's too kill you because his name is kingSLAY as in KILL!!!!!1! and your the king of lingustics

...and now we wait. :wink:


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 Post subject: Re: Haida and Na-Dene
PostPosted: Wed Apr 13, 2016 4:27 am 
Avisaru
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Why must all of the "Amerindian" languages have originated in Beringia? If the current method of expansion theorised is a spread down the Northwest Coast, suggesting a relatively maritime culture, what is there to obviate the possibility of island-hopping up the Aleutians or a jump off the Chukotka penninsula just after the melting of the ice? It would help solve the problem of language stock, as not all of the languages would have had to have been trapped in Beringia before the expansion.

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 Post subject: Re: Haida and Na-Dene
PostPosted: Wed Apr 13, 2016 6:50 am 
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Frislander wrote:
Why must all of the "Amerindian" languages have originated in Beringia? If the current method of expansion theorised is a spread down the Northwest Coast, suggesting a relatively maritime culture, what is there to obviate the possibility of island-hopping up the Aleutians or a jump off the Chukotka penninsula just after the melting of the ice? It would help solve the problem of language stock, as not all of the languages would have had to have been trapped in Beringia before the expansion.

This seems plausible from a geographic viewpoint. I am not really familiar with the genetic and known migration history of the Americas.

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 Post subject: Re: Haida and Na-Dene
PostPosted: Wed Apr 13, 2016 2:58 pm 
Avisaru
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"Possible" sure, but it seems odd to suggest that people didn't use the incredibly-conspicuous land bridge when the genetic dates for their departure and subsequent divergence match so well the known dates for the appearance and subsequent disappearance of said land bridge, don't you think? If it waddles like a Beringian migration and quacks like a Beringian migration... It wouldn't really solve the problem of language stock, either (which is really a nonproblem anyway as I say earlier): exceptions occur but generally speaking, languages and people travel together. More language groups island-hopping in after the Beringian migration would bring with them more founder populations, which are precluded by the data indicating a single population interbreeding over several millennia.

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 Post subject: Re: Haida and Na-Dene
PostPosted: Wed Apr 13, 2016 3:08 pm 
Avisaru
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Xephyr wrote:
"Possible" sure, but it seems odd to suggest that people didn't use the incredibly-conspicuous land bridge when the genetic dates for their departure and subsequent divergence match so well the known dates for the appearance and subsequent disappearance of said land bridge, don't you think? If it waddles like a Beringian migration and quacks like a Beringian migration...


I'm not saying that there was no migration direct from Beringia, just that not all of the migrating groups need have come via that route specifically at the time. migrants along such a route would also probably have been very similar to the inhabitants of Beringia genetically as well, as there would have been little divergence between the two groups given the time frame.

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