These topics have arisen in several places on the ZBB, especially in the , so here I'm starting a thread for them (also meant as a stand-in for the late, lamented Nostratic-L mailing list).
So, what is this thread about? This thread is about the macro-family hypotheses mentioned in the title. Nostratic was first proposed by Holger Pedersen in 1903, who connected Indo-European, Uralic, Yukaghir, Altaic, Eskimo-Aleut and Afrasian (then Semitic and "Hamitic"), and revived in the 1960s by the Russian scholars Vladislav Illich-Svitych and Aaron Dolgopolsky, who counted Indo-European, Uralic, Altaic, Kartvelian, Dravidian and Afrasian as Nostratic languages. Eurasiatic is a similar proposal by Joseph Greenberg encompassing Indo-European, Tyrrhenian, Uralic, Yukahgir, Altaic, Korean, Japanese, Ainu, Nivkh, Chukotko-Kamchatkan and Eskimo-Aleut. Some Nostraticists such as Allan Bomhard combine both proposals by taking Eurasiatic as a subgroup of Nostratic. Mitian is a proposal by me, using a name coined by John Bengtson (if I am not mistaken), which encompasses Indo-European, Uralic, Turkic, Mongolic, Tungusic, Yukaghir, Chuktoko-Kamchatkan and Eskimo-Aleut.
The authors use different methods. The Nostraticists use (or claim to use) the traditional comparative method applied to lexicon; they are, however, often criticized for allowing much semantic latitude, imprecise matches (especially Dolgopolsky's work is riddled with cover symbols for only partly known phonemes), reaching down into daughter languages and other problems. Greenberg used mass lexical comparison, which is to the comparative method what asking the question is to working out the answer - the point where actual comparative work begins. Myself, I am trying to use the traditional comparative method, looking first at the morphologies, but my work is still in an inceptive stage. So far, I am focusing on the westernmost two families of Mitian: Indo-European and Uralic, under the working hypothesis that these form a node within Mitian - which may be wrong.
So the discussion is now open. Have fun!
...brought to you by the Weeping Elf
Tha cvastam émi cvastam santham amal phelsa. -- Friedrich Schiller
ESTAR-3SG:P human-OBJ only human-OBJ true-OBJ REL-LOC play-3SG:A