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PostPosted: Thu Mar 29, 2018 4:17 pm 
Smeric
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Another issue with macro-families is that they tell us nothing about the internal branching, which is always far more informative. Sure, it's reasonable that all these languages are related, but in what way?


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PostPosted: Thu Mar 29, 2018 6:07 pm 
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KathTheDragon wrote:
Salmoneus wrote:
This is clear from population genetics

I thought this doesn't prove anything about language.


Of course it does. Or as much as anything can be 'proven'.

It's true, of course, that genes don't always perfectly line up with language - although actually there seem to be remarkably few exceptions, when you discount shifts between closely-related dialects. But languages don't just waft across the south atlantic by themselves. Languages need people; people leave traces. Archaeological, and also genetic.

It's one thing to say "hey, I know Population A are only 10% descended from Population B, but actually I think their language comes from Population B because maybe the Population B migrants were extremely high-prestige, or economically or militarily dominant". It's another thing entirely to say "I know Population B have never had any contact with Population A at all, and they're on totally different continents, but let's assume that the language of Population A just magically leapt by itself across the waves from Population B!".

That is, sure, population history has to be treated with caution, just like phonological resemblance must be. But at some point there comes a point where the facts are just insurmountable.

We know that the Amerind population descends from a very small founder population, that had been isolated from all other populations for a very long time. We know that that population then spread out extremely rapidly across the whole of the Americas. There is as yet no evidence of any later migration into the Americas, outside of the Na-Dene, the Eskimo-Aleut, and possibly few other extinct arctic groups. In other words, the only groups who appear to have any sign of not being Amerind are exactly the families already identified as obviously non-Amerind linguistically. I don't see how this can be gotten around, except by just saying "but that's from a different department, so that evidence doesn't exist here".

Now sure, it's possible that somewhere in North America there's some other group we haven't sufficiently analysed who may have come over with the Na-Dene but not as part of them. And maybe, I don't know, there's some relative of Nivkh shore-hopped along onto an island in southern Alaska some time. Maybe there was even once upon a time a boatload of shipwrecked Senegalese washed up in Brazil. But there seems to be no non-pseudoscientific way to set up any plausible external population to bring in any external language to the new world outside of northern north america.


-----

As for internal structure: well sure, that would be great to know, and I'm sure linguists are working on it. But that's kind of like saying "well OK, you're offering £100, but wouldn't it be better to have £1000? That would be far more useful!". Well yeah. But taking one step and taking a second step are not mutually incompatible... it's foolish to turn down the £100 - to acknowledge what we know - just because we don't yet know everything we'd like to know. We don't know the internal structure of Celtic, but that doesn't mean we should deny the existence of PIE...

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PostPosted: Thu Mar 29, 2018 6:26 pm 
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Salmoneus wrote:
We know that the Amerind population descends from a very small founder population, that had been isolated from all other populations for a very long time. We know that that population then spread out extremely rapidly across the whole of the Americas. There is as yet no evidence of any later migration into the Americas, outside of the Na-Dene, the Eskimo-Aleut, and possibly few other extinct arctic groups. In other words, the only groups who appear to have any sign of not being Amerind are exactly the families already identified as obviously non-Amerind linguistically. I don't see how this can be gotten around, except by just saying "but that's from a different department, so that evidence doesn't exist here".

If a thousand Nigerians and a thousand Swedes had gotten together long ago and settled the Americas from the east, after 12000 years of habitation they would have developed into a perfectly homogeneous population. I'll call them Afropeans. If we tested the Afropeans genetically in 10000 BC, we'd find that they'd be intermediate between the Africans and the Europeans of their time. We'd get the same result if we tested them a few thousand years later ... they'd have mixed, but their overall genetic profile would be exactly the same as it had been before .

Now assume that, in later times, Europe and Africa were settled by other incoming waves of people from various places ... let's just say Asia. These people, however, did not move on to also settle America. Therefore, after a few thousand more years, the Afropeans living in America no longer show a close genetic match to either the Africans or the Europeans, since they entirely lack the genes of those newcomers. Therefore they are a racial isolate, appearing to be an independent branch of the tree, one that separated from the European and African branches ... not just before the Asian migrations, but before the Asians even existed. Yet we know from above that their original founding population was highly heterogeneous, and that they were not speaking the same language when they arrived on the shores of America.

This is the scenario I believe best explains the genetic and linguistic makeup of the Native Americans that we see today. The same is likely true in other areas of the world, including Africa, where we see people who are closely related genetically speaking languages that bear no mutual resemblances whatsoever, and possibly in other places as well where there is no archeological evidence indicating whether the original settlement came in a single wave or in many independent movements.

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PostPosted: Thu Mar 29, 2018 6:29 pm 
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jal wrote:
I think that all that argue in favour of such a genetic link are well aware, and express these sentiments often, that they may be wrong, and admit they argue from "gut feeling".

Think again!

EDIT: Let's just say I've tried expressing opinions, as a historical linguist, on threads like this about historical linguistics, and it immediately blew up into such a huge shitshow that I'm never making that mistake again.


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PostPosted: Fri Mar 30, 2018 6:55 am 
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I appreciate that on these racial topics we're getting into religious territory for you, and I also appreciate that we're getting very off-topic. However, I feel I should make at least some effort...

Soap wrote:
If a thousand Nigerians and a thousand Swedes had gotten together long ago and settled the Americas from the east, after 12000 years of habitation they would have developed into a perfectly homogeneous population. I'll call them Afropeans. If we tested the Afropeans genetically in 10000 BC, we'd find that they'd be intermediate between the Africans and the Europeans of their time. We'd get the same result if we tested them a few thousand years later ... they'd have mixed, but their overall genetic profile would be exactly the same as it had been before .

If a thousand Nigerians and a thousand Swedes had populated a continent together, what you'd see would be considerable genetic variety. Those 2000 people would have had many, many different genetic mutations, which would be passed down and combined in many different ways. Some of the variety would indeed by flattened out by the scale of the population explosion, but a lot of it would remain.

What we in fact see in the Americas is the opposite. Not only does the population derive from a small number of founders, but those founders must have been closely related to one another, and isolated from everybody else.

For example, over 80% of indigenous people in almost all parts of the Americas (with the notable exception of Na-Dene) are descended from one specific man, who lived probably less than 20,000 years ago.

Over 90% of the entire indigenous population of central and south america is in particular descended from one specific man who lived less than 15,000 years ago.

And it's not just the y-dna that's like that - it's the whole of the DNA. [in contrast to parts of europe, say, where a lot of male descent is from a small number of Indo-European invaders, but female descent is much more varied, indicating intermarriage with an existing population].

Specifically, combining modern and prehistoric samples, we can say: (virtually) the entire population of central and south america forms one group, and most of north america forms a second group, and the two groups split off surprisingly quickly from a parent population in the far northwest, which given the time period and the climate we can deduce must have been living in the Beringian Refuge, where both genes and palaeoclimatology indicate they had been isolated for thousands of years.

That's not what you get if you randomly mix together nigerians and swedes.

Quote:
Now assume that, in later times, Europe and Africa were settled by other incoming waves of people from various places ... let's just say Asia. These people, however, did not move on to also settle America. Therefore, after a few thousand more years, the Afropeans living in America no longer show a close genetic match to either the Africans or the Europeans, since they entirely lack the genes of those newcomers. Therefore they are a racial isolate, appearing to be an independent branch of the tree, one that separated from the European and African branches


Americans did not come from Africa or Europe, they came from northeast asia, and their closest relatives are mostly still in northeast asia.

There's no such thing as "racial isolates" or "independent branches"; everyone's genetic history remains within them. For instance, just looking at Y-DNA for the sake of simplicity: the American population is almost all from Haplotype Q, and specifically just a few branches of Haplotype Q. So their closest relatives in the male line are people from other branches of Q. And the closest relatives of people with Q are people with P and R (Q and R are both subtypes of P). And so on. And when you look at the entire autosomal DNA, you can also find out about substrate populations. And it can get very complicated due to multiple movements of peoples at different times and back-migrations, and the lack of sufficient ancient remains to work out exactly where everyone was at particular times, particularly in crossroad areas.

But in the case of the Americas, we don't need any of that, because it's such an open-and-shut case. There is no evidence of any substrate population. There is no evidence of complex population structure in the founding population. There is no evidence of any later migration to the Americas outside the Arctic, other than the Na-Dene, until the arrival of Europeans. Other than 'tiny overlooked tribe', the only way to get non-Amerind languages is to assume that some Na-Dene got lost, intermarried heavily with the locals (even more heavily than the rest, I mean), and had their language get so weird it hasn't yet been identified as Na-Dene. And then we have to acknowledge the theoretical possibility that this happened not with the Na-Dene but with a companion group, genetically closely related but linguistically distinct. So strictly speaking it's possible there might be a rogue family somewhere in north america, but it's pushing the bounds of plausability.

Otherwise, we can say with extreme (if not perfect) confidence:
- American languages are divisible into the Na-Dene, Eskimo-Aleut and Amerind families
- Amerind is divided into two main subfamilies: Northern and Southern.
- Southern contains all the languages of south america, plus most of the languages of central america
- Northern probabbly contains all the languages of north america and maybe a few of central america
- It's possible that there might be a few Amerind families in north america that don't fall within Northern, though not likely; if they do exist, they're probably somewhere on the west coast.
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... not just before the Asian migrations, but before the Asians even existed.

Just to point out: East Asians and Europeans are actually relatively closely related.
Quote:
Yet we know from above that their original founding population was highly heterogeneous, and that they were not speaking the same language when they arrived on the shores of America.

Even in your scenario, if you take 1000 Swedes and 1000 Nigerians and keep them at approximately that population size in a handful of neighbouring villages with no-one else to marry for thousands of years before letting them colonise the Americas: it's really, really likely thatthose 2,000 people will have ended up speaking the same language by that point.

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PostPosted: Fri Mar 30, 2018 9:14 am 
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What's interesting from all of the above, is that we have a large group of languages, that very, very likely descended from a single language (because of all the points Salmoneus pointed out above) but are very difficult to classify as a single language family because all "normal" ways to establish relatedness fail given the time-depth we're talking about (at least 20,000-15,000 years). If we then assume for the sake of argument that there's a thing called Indo-Uralic, or lump in the Semitic languages and whatnot, how are we ever to establish this as valid, given that a proven case of relatedness (or at least, of a common ancestor) can't be linguistically established because of that time-depth. In other words, even though we might have a hunch that Indo-Uralic (or other groupings) might exist, the Amerind case shows us that it is impossible to prove anything, as language, as opposed to living organisms, can evolve in such a way that there's litteraly no way to prove relatedness.


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PostPosted: Fri Mar 30, 2018 10:18 am 
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I wouldn't even be too sure about living organisms. Also, although it's never happened I think a conlang could hypothetically have become the main language of a people. I also think that "human languages" and universals pre-date the human-Neanderthal split.

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PostPosted: Fri Mar 30, 2018 10:28 am 
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mèþru wrote:
I wouldn't even be too sure about living organisms.

I'm going to assume you know very little about biology.

Quote:
Also, although it's never happened I think a conlang could hypothetically have become the main language of a people.

Totally off-topic.

Quote:
I also think that "human languages" and universals pre-date the human-Neanderthal split.

Probably, but since we can't ever know whether this is true or not, I don't care to speculate.


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PostPosted: Fri Mar 30, 2018 12:04 pm 
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jal wrote:
mèþru wrote:
Also, although it's never happened I think a conlang could hypothetically have become the main language of a people.

Totally off-topic.

If a conlang can become the main language of a people, then it is possible that some Amerind languages/language families are descended from such conlangs and therefore not related to the others, so it's not entirely off-topic. However, as mèþru himself already pointed out, it's not known to ever have happened in human history so imo it's not likely.

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PostPosted: Fri Mar 30, 2018 12:53 pm 
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I remember someone was arguing a long time ago on here exactly this - that the languages of the Americas were descended from conlangs - which is crackpottery on the order of the view that the languages of Europe were created by Basque monks.

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PostPosted: Fri Mar 30, 2018 1:10 pm 
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jal wrote:
What's interesting from all of the above, is that we have a large group of languages, that very, very likely descended from a single language (because of all the points Salmoneus pointed out above) but are very difficult to classify as a single language family because all "normal" ways to establish relatedness fail given the time-depth we're talking about (at least 20,000-15,000 years). If we then assume for the sake of argument that there's a thing called Indo-Uralic, or lump in the Semitic languages and whatnot, how are we ever to establish this as valid, given that a proven case of relatedness (or at least, of a common ancestor) can't be linguistically established because of that time-depth. In other words, even though we might have a hunch that Indo-Uralic (or other groupings) might exist, the Amerind case shows us that it is impossible to prove anything, as language, as opposed to living organisms, can evolve in such a way that there's litteraly no way to prove relatedness.


It depends on the time depth. We have a good sense of what Proto-IE and Proto-Uralic was around 3000 BCE. If the split-up of Indo-Uralic was some 3000 years before that, then that should be provable with a lot of research. However, if the split-up was more like 6000 years before that, then it there would be no way to establish a valid genetic relationship.


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PostPosted: Fri Mar 30, 2018 2:33 pm 
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Howl wrote:
It depends on the time depth. We have a good sense of what Proto-IE and Proto-Uralic was around 3000 BCE. If the split-up of Indo-Uralic was some 3000 years before that, then that should be provable with a lot of research. However, if the split-up was more like 6000 years before that, then it there would be no way to establish a valid genetic relationship.

Agreed. We can, relatively easily, establish relationships over a span of 5000 years (PIE), and we're unable to establish almost any relationship at all over a span of 15,000-20,000 years (Amerind). Where the cut-off is for establishing relationships, we don't know, but I would guess that it would become difficult if not impossible already around 10,000 years.

Also, given that languages can change anything (as opposed to living organisms), I'm not sure what use it is to speak about "genetic relationship" if there's 0% similarity between two languages, even if they share a "common ancestor", i.e. there's two seperate populations of people that started with the same language, and have continuously spoken a language that was intelligible for all people living at one time, but changed over time in such a way that no genetic relationship can be established between the two.


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PostPosted: Fri Mar 30, 2018 5:17 pm 
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I actually thought this was the Haida/Na-Dene thread at first, I guess I dont usually notice the titles ... in fact I accidentally posted this in the Trump thread and just now noticed and moved it.
Salmoneus wrote:
Quote:
If a thousand Nigerians and a thousand Swedes had gotten together long ago and settled the Americas from the east, after 12000 years of habitation they would have developed into a perfectly homogeneous population. I'll call them Afropeans. If we tested the Afropeans genetically in 10000 BC, we'd find that they'd be intermediate between the Africans and the Europeans of their time. We'd get the same result if we tested them a few thousand years later ... they'd have mixed, but their overall genetic profile would be exactly the same as it had been before .


If a thousand Nigerians and a thousand Swedes had populated a continent together, what you'd see would be considerable genetic variety. Those 2000 people would have had many, many different genetic mutations, which would be passed down and combined in many different ways. Some of the variety would indeed by flattened out by the scale of the population explosion, but a lot of it would remain.

They wouldnt be any more diverse than the descendants of 2000 Swedes. After five hundred generations, I think it's safe to assume that every possible marriage has been made and there are no longer any pure African or pure European descendants anywhere within that pool. In fact it would happen much, much sooner than 500 generations ...

for any one person, it would be the same probability as flipping a coin 500 times and getting heads every single time. divide that by the total population, and you get a number thats only slightly less huge ... if there are 1 million descendants (~2^20), the probability that within the entire population there is at least one person of pure African or pure European ancestry is the same as the probability of flipping a coin 480 times and getting heads every single time. Which is such an absurdly small number that any statistician will call it zero., After 500 generations, the Afropean population would be only 1/(2^480) times more internally diverse than if it had been entirely European.

Therefore , it is impossible to use the gene pool of present day Amerinds to draw conclusions about the internal diversity of their original founding population.


Quote:
What we in fact see in the Americas is the opposite. Not only does the population derive from a small number of founders, but those founders must have been closely related to one another, and isolated from everybody else.
You cant use an unknown to prove a known claim. Again, my analogy of Afropea works here ... although the original Europeans and the original Africans were very different from each other, after 500 generations in America they had merged into a single, internally homogeneous population. This population would appear on tests as an intermediate between the Africans and the Europeans. But once people from Asia swooped into the original homelands in Europe and Africa, these original gene pools become greatly different over the succeeding 500 generaitons, and the Afropeans no longer appear closely related to either of the two groups. In fact, not only that, but on a tree model, they will appear to have diverged far back in the past, before the African, European, and Asian groups even existed. But nobody claims that Native Americans diverged >60000 years ago because a tree model is not an accurate depiction of human genetic diversity ... people mix with each other, and with outsiders.

Quote:
For example, over 80% of indigenous people in almost all parts of the Americas (with the notable exception of Na-Dene) are descended from one specific man, who lived probably less than 20,000 years ago.

Over 90% of the entire indigenous population of central and south america is in particular descended from one specific man who lived less than 15,000 years ago.
But what does this tell us about the languages of the Americas? It's well known that all present-day established Europeans, even Basques, are descended from a man who lived about 3000 years ago ... in fact there's a recent study claiming that the most recent common ancestor of all living Europeans may have lived as recently as 1000 years ago. Using the same argument youre using with the genetic studies of Native Americans to conclude that their languages must be related, you should also believe in Indo-Uralic, Indo-Uralo-Basque, and further, that Basque must be a very strange branch of Proto-Indo-European.

Having all Europeans be descended from a single common ancestor just 3000 years ago may seem difficult to believe, but this is 2^150, a number that is incomparably larger than the number of Europeans alive today ... so the main barrier here is not time but geography, and people in Europe have been fairly mobile over the last three thousand years.

Quote:
And it's not just the y-dna that's like that - it's the whole of the DNA. [in contrast to parts of europe, say, where a lot of male descent is from a small number of Indo-European invaders, but female descent is much more varied, indicating intermarriage with an existing population].

Specifically, combining modern and prehistoric samples, we can say: (virtually) the entire population of central and south america forms one group, and most of north america forms a second group, and the two groups split off surprisingly quickly from a parent population in the far northwest, which given the time period and the climate we can deduce must have been living in the Beringian Refuge, where both genes and palaeoclimatology indicate they had been isolated for thousands of years.

That's not what you get if you randomly mix together nigerians and swedes.
Now youre talking about haplogroups, which is a different measure of genetic closeness than simply being descended from the same man. But you cant use haplogroups to build a tree model ... this method would only make sense if we knew that both the Amerinds and the various peoples of Eurasia had been genetically isolated since their original breakup.... not just from each other, but from all the peoples of the world. We know in fact that this is *not* true, since eastern Asia has had plenty of new migrations since the Clovis Era. These migrants affected the haplogroup distribution in Asia, covering up the previous genetic links between the peoples of Asia and the Native Americans. Since no single present-day gene pool of the many cultures living in eastern Asia today can be identified as the source of Native American DNA, there is no reason to assume that there was only one original source ... it's much simpler to assume that the great diversity of languages of the Western Hemisphere reflect the great diversity of their many originating cultures.

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PostPosted: Sat Mar 31, 2018 11:01 am 
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Salmoneus wrote:
the Amerind languages almost certainly do form a valid language family. This is clear from population genetics - the Amerind population is genetically homogenous, descends from a very small founder population, and shows so far no evidence, outside ND, EA, and possibly some other extinct groups in the arctic, of any later introgression of people until the Vikings.

This much is true, but this isolated founding population does not have to have been in America yet! Likely it first got established already in Eastern Siberia. Eastern Siberia is also not strictly isolated, so there is room for this population to have picked up more than one language through contacts. Beringia can also have supported at least one inland population and one coastal population. We see this same pattern in the area today both on the Asian side — Chukchis and Yukaghirs inland versus Yupiks and Nivkhs along the coast — and in Alaska — Northern Athabaskans inland versus Inuits, Yupiks, Eyak, Tlingit etc. on the coasts. Note also how most of the numerous coastal groups speak languages unrelated or only distantly related to both each other or the inland groups.

Salmoneus wrote:
- Amerind is divided into two main subfamilies: Northern and Southern.
- Southern contains all the languages of south america, plus most of the languages of central america
- Northern probabbly contains all the languages of north america and maybe a few of central america

Mmm, I don't think this follows, unless you think that the Proto-Amerindians first arrived in Mexico instead of Alaska? Already by geography we'd expect a southwards branching tree, with groups in the north splitting off very early (e.g. Haida, Salishan), more southern groups splitting off slightly later (e.g. the various small "Hokan" and "Penutian" groups), a "Meso-Southern Amerind" nestled fairly deeply in this tree, and then "Southern Amerind proper" even more deeply.

This all might have happened quite early on though, maybe as a part of a single wave of expansion down the Pacific coast, with various groups heading eastward only later. Maybe this can be furthermore enhanced with two lesser early expansions going from Mesoamerica clockwise around the Mexican Gulf and the South American coastline, respectively.

Porphyrogenitos wrote:
it sounds like the ZBB consensus is that we all know the Indo-Uralic genetic link is true

"Big fish are worth fishing for even if you don't catch any" …

IMO a lot of the various Indo-Uralic etymologies are obviously onto something; and they can very likely allow establishing more detailed reconstructions of things like the internal development of PIE from pre-PIE; but if these end up demonstrating actual relatedness is still very much up in the air and not really the most interesting point.

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PostPosted: Sun Apr 01, 2018 6:49 am 
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Soap wrote:
They wouldn't be any more diverse than the descendants of 2000 Swedes.

Yes they would. Genes, in general, don't intermix themselves, only chromosomes as a whole are mixed*. So it would be still very clear that some people of the population have a certain version of a gene (or small variations of a group of genes), while another part of the population would have another version (or set of related versions).

*Yes, I'm aware of genetic recombination, but I don't think the time-span would be large enough to have no detectable differences between two wildly different sets of genes.


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PostPosted: Sun Apr 01, 2018 10:31 am 
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jal wrote:
Soap wrote:
They wouldn't be any more diverse than the descendants of 2000 Swedes.

Yes they would. Genes, in general, don't intermix themselves, only chromosomes as a whole are mixed*. So it would be still very clear that some people of the population have a certain version of a gene (or small variations of a group of genes), while another part of the population would have another version (or set of related versions).

*Yes, I'm aware of genetic recombination, but I don't think the time-span would be large enough to have no detectable differences between two wildly different sets of genes.


JAL


I'm not going to pursue the argument with Merc, who we know from past experience is not going to be open to changing his views on issues of race.

But just to flesh out your comment with a demonstration for the sake of observers who haven't made any such commitments:

let's say you have 4 swedes, with just four genes. We'll call the basic Swedish average version of each gene 'A', but they each have their own unique mutation. So the four people go:
1: AAAB
2: AACA
3: ADAA
4: EAAA

So four unique individuals, but all recognisably from the same group. And another four 'Nigerians' likewise:
1. XXXY
2. XXZX
3. XWXX
4. UXXX

Pair them up against each other and give each pair four kids. Now you've got a population of:
AAAY
AXAY
XXAB
XAXX

AXCA
XAZA
AXZX
XACX

XWXA
etc etc

And then you pair up that generation and you get AWZA, XXZB, etc.

In fact, after a few generations of mixing, you'll have a population with 256 distinct, different genomes, distributed almost randomly. And as that population spreads out and ceases to be fully interbreeding, you'll get founder effects in different areas, creating distinctive subpopulations. And that's just with four people with four genes. If you actually have a couple of thousand people, each with thousands of potentially distinctive genetic characteristics, what you get is a very rich, complex genetic population.

Now, racially they may be homogenous, because skin colour (hair type, etc) is a superficial characteristic that basically just varies along a continuum, and when you add enough people they average out somewhere in the middle. But genetically, underneath the skin colour, they are hugely diverse.

You don't get the same thing if you just have an inbred population to begin with. So let's say we have the same four swedes, and then four more very closely related swedes. Then the pairings give you:
AAAA
AAAA
AEAB
AEAA

AAAA
AADA
AADB
AAABetc

And then next generation gives you:
AAAA
AAAA
AEAA
AAABetc

The diversity doesn't increase much - in fact, it can often decrease. Why? Because in a homogenous population, there are common genes and rare genes, and each time you reshuffle them, there's a chance of the rare gene dropping out entirely, so the common genes get more common. Whereas in a more diverse population, there are more possibilities in the same population, so no all the genes are relatively rare, so there's no trend toward all subpopulations producing the same results. In the example of the 2000 swedes, the stereotypically 'swedish' genes will dominate, and all subpopulations will end up looking stereotypically swedish given enough time. [more or less: there may be some tiny inbred population in the hills descended from a 'freak of nature' founder, of course]. Whereas with the mixed population of 2000 people, there is no single dominant set of genes toward which all subpopulations gravitate, so you end up with more diversity.


Now in reality, everyone has so many genes, including certain types inherited in different ways, that it takes forever for all the rare genes to drop out entirely, so every population effectively retains a small vestige genetically showing all the genetic contact that group has had historically. Say you've got 1000 genes, and at one stage 200 of those are from interbreeding with a small external group. Over the generations, those genes from outside become rarer through statistics, but even after hundreds of generations there are still one or two left. There'll be one or two left from every interbreeding event your group has had in the last few tens of thousands of years!

So if you have an isolated population, you will see a) a relative lack of these traces of external genetic contact, and b) relative similarity across the population as a whole. Thus, if you look at both the frequency of rare (within the population) alleles, and the degree to which rarities are co-ordinated across the population, you can mathematically estimate the size and time depth of the founder population and how genetically isolated it was. To which you can add data from the mutation rates in Y-DNA and mitochondrial DNA in comparison both across the population and to the nearest relative populations, and get a time estimate of the most recent common ancestor with any outgroup.


In fact, if you look into animal stockbreeding, you'll find the concept of effective population size: basically, a large, inbred group is equivalent, in terms of genetic diversity, to a much smaller group of individuals, because the inbred group has more members but no more diversity. So in th case of some rare dog breeds, there may be a total population of thousands of dogs, but an effective breeding population of only a couple of dozen. Looking at genetic diversity can tell you approximately the effective breeding population, because by definition all members of the effective breeding population are contributing genetically.

A population descended from a mix of Swedes and Nigerians would be like a population of Labradoodles - there's a vast genetic complexity and low level of inbreeding. A population descended only from Swedes would be like a population of Otterhounds - even if the total population is the same size, there is much more inbreeding, and so the effective population size is much smaller (in the case of otterhounds, the effective population size is around 30). Native Americans have genetics closer to the Otterhound end of the spectrum.

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PostPosted: Sun Apr 01, 2018 12:20 pm 
Smeric
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Soap's username used to be Merc?


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PostPosted: Sun Apr 01, 2018 2:55 pm 
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I was hoping for a post about the unity of the Amerindian languages, which is what youre supposed to be arguing for ... but you admitted a while back that you base that claim on a theory that the Amerindian people are unusually homogeneous for such a large population, and I dont think that's a viable assumption. And you didnt answer any of my arguments, nor even quote my post .... in fact you quoted the post of someone who also disagreed with me, andthen said that you werent interested in defending the very claim your theory is based on ....

Salmoneus wrote:


I'm not going to pursue the argument with Merc, who we know from past experience is not going to be open to changing his views on issues of race.

But just to flesh out your comment with a demonstration for the sake of observers who haven't made any such commitments:

let's say you have 4 swedes, with just four genes. We'll call the basic Swedish average version of each gene 'A', but they each have their own unique mutation. So the four people go:
1: AAAB
2: AACA
3: ADAA
4: EAAA

So four unique individuals, but all recognisably from the same group. And another four 'Nigerians' likewise:
1. XXXY
2. XXZX
3. XWXX
4. UXXX

This is an illusion created by your assumpton that all four genes will start out perfectly correlatd with each other .... with the first four having 100% occurrence in the Sweedish founder population and 0% in the Nigerian, and the bottom four having 0% occurrence in the Nigerian population and 100% in the Swedish. For four unrelated genes to have perfect correlation with each other would be an amazing coincidence, and one I dont think we'll ever find in the entire human genome.

Your entire argument crumbles because it's based on an impossible first premise. If you replace the four lock-step-correlated genes with genes that are *unrelated* to each other, most of the alleles will appear on both sides of the racial divide, and if the two groups are placed together in a shared habitat, the amount of diversity after just a few generations will be already similar in both the combined and the separate groups, and given the natural rate of genetic drift &mutations it will have reached equality long before 500 generations have passed. 2^500 is far, far higher than the population size of any existing gene pool.

The closest you can come to the situation you want is haplogroups, but thats just one variable and not four ..... and you cant use haplogroups to build a tree model because they are passed only through the paternal line and therefore youre missing >99% of the signal you need to look at. If you did try to build a family tree based on haplogroups, you would have to draw the Native American branch splitting off from Asia somewhere around 50000 BC in order to explain the absense of the many many haplogroups of the people who have moved into Asia in the interim. But nobody proposes this because it is well known that haplogroups are not an accurate model of genetic distance.

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PostPosted: Sun Apr 01, 2018 3:02 pm 
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Sorry, I forget that people change their usernames. No offence or confusion intended.

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PostPosted: Sun Apr 01, 2018 3:09 pm 
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Soap wrote:
the bottom four having 0% occurrence in the Nigerian population and 100% in the Swedish.

I think these are the wrong way round.


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PostPosted: Tue Apr 03, 2018 12:59 pm 
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KathTheDragon wrote:
I'm very definitely not a lumper. My opinion on Indo-Uralic is that it's intriguing, worth investigating, but probably won't amount to anything provable.


My opinion is similar, though I feel less pessimistic about the establishment of things like Indo-Uralic - we may live to see it established, but I don't think I can contribute much of use; as Tropylium laid out here, the exploration of the Indo-Uralic hypothesis could be a major research project that could support several linguists' entire careers, and emphatically NOT something a few amateurs like the members of this discussion could bang together in a year or two.

I am not a lumper, but I am open-minded what regards macro-families. There certainly are deeper linguistic relationships than those discovered so far, but they are very hard to ascertain, if recoverable at all. And I am not convinced by the vast majority of the macro-comparative work in circulation so far. Yet, I do not subscribe to the ignoramus et ignorabimus often uttered by orthodox historical linguists who treat entities like PIE or Proto-Uralic as if they had fallen from the sky (indeed, I have found a creationist article which claims that they arose from the Confusion of Tongues at Babel and the search for deeper relationships therefore was meaningless).

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PostPosted: Tue Apr 03, 2018 1:24 pm 
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WeepingElf wrote:
There certainly are deeper linguistic relationships than those discovered so far

What is, according to you, a "linguistic relationship"? Like I asked before, if a certain language is spoken by a population and that population splits in two; the descendents of those two peoples keep speaking the languages without interruption, in such a way that at any point during the history of either people, the entire living population speaks a mutually intelligible variant of the language; the two languages drift apart through the normal language changes in phonology, syntax, semantics, in such a way that the two languages have absolutely nothing in common anymore (say, after 10,000 years), what use is it to ascertain that these languages have a common ancestor? Do they actually have a "relationship" anymore?


JAL


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PostPosted: Tue Apr 03, 2018 1:37 pm 
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jal wrote:
WeepingElf wrote:
There certainly are deeper linguistic relationships than those discovered so far

What is, according to you, a "linguistic relationship"? Like I asked before, if a certain language is spoken by a population and that population splits in two; the descendents of those two peoples keep speaking the languages without interruption, in such a way that at any point during the history of either people, the entire living population speaks a mutually intelligible variant of the language; the two languages drift apart through the normal language changes in phonology, syntax, semantics, in such a way that the two languages have absolutely nothing in common anymore (say, after 10,000 years), what use is it to ascertain that these languages have a common ancestor? Do they actually have a "relationship" anymore?


A good objection. According to the usual definition of a "language family" and "language relationship", the two lineages would still be "related" to each other because they converge when one traces them back into the past. But surely, this relationship would no longer be recoverable. But how deep does a relationship have to be to be untraceable like this? Do 10,000 years suffice, or are there still traces of an old relationship after such a time? (My personal opinion is that 10,000 years do not suffice, and that there are still traces of such a relationship in IE and Uralic. But 20,000 years are another matter.)

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PostPosted: Sat Apr 21, 2018 7:13 am 
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KathTheDragon wrote:
Quote:
without including at least Altaic as well.
You speak as if Altaic is a proven family.

While I personally do believe there is some kind of deeper connection between the Altaic languages (at least the Micro-Altaic ones), what I said doesn't necessitate that to be true. All the different Altaic languages (Turkic, Mongolic and Tungusic) could be related to Uralic, Indo-European, etc. in the same way as they are to each other: it could go so far back in time that you'd have to go all the way to Proto-Eurasiatic or whatever, or they could be unrelated except by contact, but they'd still be related and as such "Altaic languages" makes sense as a grouping. I get that my use of "related" in a way that includes mutual influence through extensive contact and whatnot is annoyingly lumpy to a lot of people, but I honestly just have never seen the point of excluding that stuff unless the focus is entirely on reconstructing proto-languages from before the contact (in cases where that's even possible).
Tropylium wrote:
Vlürch wrote:
This pdf about Indo-European loanwords in Uralic languages is really interesting. The author makes a bunch of implications that could be used to support any side of the debate, like seems to almost always be the case when it comes to the historical relations between Indo-European, Uralic and Altaic languages. Anyway, she argues that there are no ancient Indo-European loanwords in Uralic languages, or at least that some of them are just chance resemblances, and that there may have never been a single Proto-Uralic and Proto-Indo-European at all, etc.

Ah yes, Angela Marcantonio, notorious crackpot. As you might be able to smell from the abstract already: "borrowing among proto-languages is impossible a priori" — note that she does not mean the case of PIE and PU in particular, she really claims that it would be logically incoherent for any proto-language to have ever possibly borrowed words from any other proto-language:

Well, that is obviously ridiculous but in theory proto-languages can be (and AFAIK often are attempted to be as the ultimate goal) reconstructed to a time before they absorbed external influences. Also, even a crackpot is right twice a day.
Tropylium wrote:
Possible in principle for sure, but without any kind of limits on what we might hypothesize to come from Botai or other extinct cultures' languages, it's also basically the "aliens did it" approach to etymology. Or if we do limit ourselves to typical loanwords such as 'horse', well, then we're back to square one when it comes to typically native lexicon such as 'I' or 'die' or 'tall'.

Okay, that's a good point but what if it was the case? The Botai almost certainly influenced other cultures, as did many other extinct cultures (maybe even cultures that there's no trace left of having ever existed), so there pretty much have to be loanwords from them in various languages. If they're not even attempted to be identified, there's no hope of ever figuring out the first thing about what the Botai language was like.
kanejam wrote:
Proving a relation doesn't mean disproving all other relations, and saying that investigating Indo-Uralic without also investigating Altaic is weird is just bizarre - if we somehow prove Indo-Uralic and then somehow discover that Altaic forms a subbranch with Uralic, what have we lost? Albanian and Anatolian certainly didn't factor into the original PIE reconstruction but that didn't make it invalid. We should rather look at likely relation based on similar morphology and similar lexical items, as is the basis for Altaic, but that certainly doesn't guarantee relation.

I guess, and I can't really argue why I disagree on the implications since it'd sound paranoid as fuck and get political really fast...
kanejam wrote:
And no we shouldn't just grab words with similar meanings and make proto-forms for them because that is not the comparative method, but rather what Kath's linked article refers to aptly as 'wordlist linguistics'. I don't disagree that doing so can sometimes lead to valid discoveries of cognates, but claiming that it is scientific or valid is wrong.

Well, I'm not a scientist and am technically mentally ill, so anything I say should of course be rejected automatically. I like doing it because it's just about the only thing I can do when it comes to languages that isn't 100% conlanging or learning a language. Besides, it's what Starostin does and his stuff was one of my first impressions of linguistics, giving me a much warmer and non-judgemental view of what it's like, like it's a field where people can suggest all kinds of unlikely scenarios and they're not flat-out rejected for being insane like in other fields.
kanejam wrote:
I don't know what you're trying to say here. Being related in a historical linguistics sense implies a shared ancestor - contact is the other option, with intense contact leading to mixed languages, which is probably the term you want rather than creole.

Yeah, but going with the family analogies, the relation doesn't end at blood. People from different ethnicities can have kids together, and their kids will be half of both, and thus related to both of the ancestral ethnicities. That would make the relatives of the parents related, but obviously not by blood. With languages, it would mean there are two "layers" of relation: genetic and influential ("blood" and "friendship"). However, if the influential relation affects the languages to the point where it becomes difficult to determine whether it's influence or genetic, it becomes "marriage", and as such makes the related languages related as well. That's how I view Eurasiatic and the various subdivisions. If that makes no sense, I don't really know how to explain it; that could be either because I suck at wording things in a way that makes sense or that I simply don't make sense. I can't tell which it is, but I think (and hope) it's the former.
Howl wrote:
jal wrote:
mèþru wrote:
Most of what I do on this thread is complain about methodology and lack of evidence, so maybe I should just do as Vijay

Or perhaps not, to avoid this turning into an echo chamber.

I may be a (moderate) lumper, but I am still interested in the views of the splitters.

Even as a hypermegalumper, I agree. (Well, I'm not an enthusiastic lumper when it comes Indo-Uralic as a distinct branch within a larger family, but am with practically everything else... coincidences and holes make me uncomfortable.)

Anyway, reading this thread makes me warm up to Indo-Uralic. I still can't reject the relation to Altaic (regardless of whether Altaic is a genetic family or not) or other language families within/outside Eurasiatic (or whatever macrofamily), and I'm not fully convinced of anything but knowing that there was some contact between some Uralic and some Indo-Iranian means the relations could be really muddled in any direction. I still don't like it for all the political implications, but I guess I'll have to live with that... and if enough evidence points to it, accept it as something positive rather than something negative, something that connects us all as a big happy family rather than what it currently often seems to be pointing to justify.

Also, again, since the "meshes" were discussed: that's what I mean literally every time I say anything lumpy.


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PostPosted: Sat Apr 21, 2018 7:28 am 
Smeric
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Vlürch wrote:
Well, I'm not a scientist and am technically mentally ill, so anything I say should of course be rejected automatically.

What the actual fuck? Nobody said this! Moreover, I also fit that description.


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