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  • Originally posted by Stevo
    I see no reason to impute base motives to Alinei, as if he has some sort of personal agenda.
    I would not call them 'base motives', merely emotional attachments. For example, consider this paragraph:
    ---
    Although most IE specialists are still reluctant to admit it, this chronology, as well as the scenario behind it, can now be considered as altogether obsolete. The evidence collected by archaeology in the last thirty years, in fact, overwhelmingly prove the absence of any large scale invasion in Europe, and the uninterrupted continuity of most Copper and Bronze Age cultures of Europe from Neolithic, and of most Neolithic cultures from Mesolithic and final Paleolithic.
    ---

    First, it is scientifically absurd to call a theory 'altogether obsolete' while 'most IE specialists' still subscribe to it! The leading theory may be incorrect but it cannot be 'obsolete'--by definition.

    Second, he deceptively sets up the straw man of a 'large scale invasion', ignoring more recent interpretations of the basic Proto-Indo-European theory that emphasize commerce rather than war, e.g.:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Proto-Indo-Europeans
    ---
    An even newer theory is that PIE originated as the language of trade between early neolithic Black Sea tribes. Under this hypothesis University of Pennsylvania archaeologist Fredrik T. Hiebert hypothesizes that the transition from PIE to IE dispersion occurred during a catastrophic break in a natural dike between the, then, freshwater Black Sea and the brackish Mediterranian Sea when the latter rose due to post-iceage glacial melting. This hypothesis has received archaeological support from a number of sources and is an area of active anthropological and archaeological research sometimes called the Black Sea deluge theory.
    ---
    He then makes a great show of emotional repulsion against war, and uses that as a major reason for his own pet hypothesis.

    Third, he stresses 'continuity of cultures' as if it rules out the switching from one language to another. The truth is that archeologists have actually found considerable change in European culture over the millennia, particularly in the political and religious domains that would be most associated with a switch in language. It is obvious that the author simply has an emotional attachment to 'continuity of culture', and since for him culture necessarily includes language, he feels obliged to claim that Europeans have never switched languages.

    The bottom line is that the author appears to be making a modern political statement on behalf of international peace, multiculturalism, etc., rather than evaluating historical evidence objectively.


    By the way, the author's most ridiculous assertions are along this line:
    ---
    If IE words for ‘dying’ (coming from PIE *-mer) belong to the PIE lexicon, while for ‘burying’ there are different words in most IE languages, this must be seen as evidence that by the time ritual burying began, in Upper Paleolithic, IE groups were already differentiated.
    ---

    Any competent comparative linguist knows that a common word can be evidence of a common origin, but disparate words are no evidence of anything! There are many reasons for vocabulary shift, so that a difference in particular words proves absolutely nothing. For example, the Ukrainian word for father (bat'ko) is very different from its Russian (otec) and Polish (ojciec) counterparts, yet only an idiot would conclude from this that the Ukrainian language must have split off from its neighboring Slavic tongues before the invention of fatherhood!

    Even if every branch of Indo-European had its own word for burial, this would at most indicate that the Proto-Indo-European culture (in particular) did not practice ceremonial burial.
    Last edited by lgmayka; 30 May 2006, 12:59 PM.

    Comment


    • Igmayka -

      Right now my time to discuss this subject (or any subject) is limited.

      Why do you characterize Alinei's views as his "pet hypothesis," while every other theory of IE origins apparently commands your respect?

      The professional linguists associated with Alinei, and Alinei himself, are all university professors. They are not exactly amateurs like you and me.

      Besides, no one knows for sure how the IE languages developed, spread, and became dominant.

      In my view, people don't switch languages without some compelling reason. I don't see any compelling reasons evident in the period which Renfrew's NDT or Gimbutas' Kurgan Theory posit for the spread, triumph, and differentiation of Indo-European.

      What compelling commercial interests prompted the adoption of Indo-European, if it was in fact spread that way?

      What Indo-Europeans were the European equivalent of the Aramaeans or Phoenicians, the indispensable go-betweens without whom trading would have been next to impossible?

      Who were they?

      Not the largely R1a Kurgan steppe folks, that's for sure. They didn't come far enough west.

      Wish I had more time.

      Comment


      • Originally posted by Stevo
        Why do you characterize Alinei's views as his "pet hypothesis," while every other theory of IE origins apparently commands your respect?

        The professional linguists associated with Alinei, and Alinei himself, are all university professors. They are not exactly amateurs like you and me.
        Perhaps I myself spoke a bit emotionally--a mistake. But frankly, I am not impressed by Alienei's degree(s), because--as I have briefly outlined before--his argumentation shows an apparent amnesia in regard to comparative linguistics. If he ever studied that subject, he has apparently forgotten everything he learned.

        Let us take a more concrete example. There is wide (though not universal) agreement that most American Indians are descended from a few small bands that crossed Beringia roughly 13000 years ago. Clearly, those few small bands could not have spoken more than a few languages, total. Around 1500 AD, after 13000 years, American Indians spoke about 1000 highly differentiated languages:

        http://www.indians.org/welker/americas.htm

        This is a good benchmark for language evolution, and shows the sheer absurdity of Indo-European languages maintaining their obvious similarities over tens of thousands of years across 1-1/2 continents.

        Comparative/historical linguistics is not just speculation, it's a science that extrapolates from known examples of language evolution and differentiation.

        Comment


        • I don't want to get off on the tangent of Amerindian languages, but don't those "1,000 languages" belong to a much smaller number of larger language families?

          So, who were the ubiquitous merchants who spread Indo-European to practically every corner of Europe?

          BTW, you are still using highly prejudicial, perjorative language to characterize Alinei's position.

          He is not alone in his position, but has the support of other linguists.

          Are all of them suffering from amnesia?
          Last edited by Stevo; 30 May 2006, 01:49 PM.

          Comment


          • Originally posted by Stevo
            I don't want to get off on the tangent of Amerindian languages, but don't those "1,000 languages" belong to a much smaller number of larger language families?
            No, the number of language families and isolates (languages with no family) throughout the Americas is over 200:

            http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Native_American_languages

            Further "consolidation" of families is highly speculative at best, based more on wishful thinking than solid comparative linguistics.

            My point is that about 14000 years has been sufficient to blossom over a thousand languages in over 200 families or isolates. In comparison, Alinei wants us to believe that 30,000 years of European separation resulted in one enormous strongly-related family.

            And of course, Alinei makes no attempt to explain European isolates such as Basque, Iberian, and Tartessian.

            Comment


            • Originally posted by Stevo
              So, who were the ubiquitous merchants who spread Indo-European to practically every corner of Europe?
              Some believe that the people of the Corded Ware culture spoke proto-Indo-European. They lived where what is now largely inhabited by R1a. I think there's some R1a also in India?

              http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle-axe_people
              http://www.relativegenetics.com/geno...a_large_RG.jpg

              Language

              The Corded Ware culture was long pointed to as the cultural horizon best fitting the description for the Urheimat (original homeland) of the speakers of the Proto-Indo-European language. This people would have originated on the North German plain, then moved outwards. This viewpoint was still reflected in even some relatively recent literature, but has now been essentially supplanted by the work of Marija Gimbutas and her energetic propounding of the Kurgan hypothesis.

              The role of the Corded Ware culture in the history of the Indo-European languages is actively debated but not denied. The Corded Ware people are mostly seen as ancestral to Proto-Balto-Slavic in its eastern regions, and to the Centum dialects (i.e. Proto-Germanic, Proto-Celtic and Proto-Italic) in the western parts.

              The Corded Ware culture may in terms of Gimbutas' theory also be seen as a "kurganized" culture that emerged out of Neolithic Europe. The origin of this "kurganization" or Indo-Europeanization would be the approximately contemporaneous and overlapping Globular Amphora (ca. 3400-2800 BC) and Baden (ca. 3600-2800 BC) cultures, a process described by Gimbutas as the second wave of the Kurgan culture "invasion". See also Germanic substrate hypothesis. In its earlier phase, it was likely a largely non-Indo-European entity, a part of what Gimbutas termed Old Europe. In its subsequent phases, it clearly became progressively more Indo-European in character, and at the end, quite strongly so.

              Comment


              • The example of American Indians is actually very instructive here. As any student of history knows, American Indians prior to European colonization did not have horses. Hence, their mobility was severely limited. Europeans themselves suffered this same immobility until the domestication of the horse, which was truly revolutionary:

                http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Domestication_of_the_horse
                ---
                As Levine points out, the unequivocal date of domestication and use as a means of transport is circa 2000 BC, the date of the Sintashta chariot burials in the southern Urals. However, shortly thereafter the expansion of the domestic horse throughout Europe was little short of explosive. In the space of possibly 500 years, there is evidence of horse-drawn chariots in Greece, Egypt, and Mesopotamia. By another 500 years, the horse-drawn chariot had spread to China.
                ---

                We find ourselves once again back at a (modified) Kurgan hypothesis: That the Indo-European language family spread across Europe and Asia primarily by horseback and chariot. This need not be the kind of "invasion" that Alinei so furiously spouts against. Instead, it is primarily a revolution in communication, rather similar to the invention and spread of the telegraph and telephone. Before the domestication of the horse, a large-scale culture or language could only maintain its unity along rivers and coastlines. But with the horse and chariot, a culture or language could spread out across great distances, very quickly, across landlocked steppes.

                Once again I must point out that the primary purpose of language is communication. Hence, emotions aside, the most useful language is whichever language is spoken most widely (or among the most powerful people, etc.). It is perfectly reasonable that when sedentary farmers first encountered horseback riders and charioteers who could both trade goods across great distances and also perhaps protect them from attackers (e.g., other horseback riders and charioteers!), it stands to reason that the farmers would, over many generations, switch to the language most useful for both commerce and defense.

                Comment


                • The Corded Ware-Battle Axe Culture arose in upper Thuringia and Saxony in what is now Germany. It is doubtful that was the Urheimat of R1a peoples. Most of the R1a in Germany is there as a result of the much later expansion of the Slavonic peoples, long after the Indo-European languages were established and differentiated in Europe.

                  As far as I know, the early Slavs were not primarily horse riding nomads, and they could not have introduced Indo-European into an area already speaking an Indo-European language.

                  Comment


                  • Originally posted by lgmayka
                    The example of American Indians is actually very instructive here. As any student of history knows, American Indians prior to European colonization did not have horses. Hence, their mobility was severely limited. Europeans themselves suffered this same immobility until the domestication of the horse, which was truly revolutionary:

                    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Domestication_of_the_horse
                    ---
                    As Levine points out, the unequivocal date of domestication and use as a means of transport is circa 2000 BC, the date of the Sintashta chariot burials in the southern Urals. However, shortly thereafter the expansion of the domestic horse throughout Europe was little short of explosive. In the space of possibly 500 years, there is evidence of horse-drawn chariots in Greece, Egypt, and Mesopotamia. By another 500 years, the horse-drawn chariot had spread to China.
                    ---

                    We find ourselves once again back at a (modified) Kurgan hypothesis: That the Indo-European language family spread across Europe and Asia primarily by horseback and chariot. This need not be the kind of "invasion" that Alinei so furiously spouts against. Instead, it is primarily a revolution in communication, rather similar to the invention and spread of the telegraph and telephone. Before the domestication of the horse, a large-scale culture or language could only maintain its unity along rivers and coastlines. But with the horse and chariot, a culture or language could spread out across great distances, very quickly, across landlocked steppes.

                    Once again I must point out that the primary purpose of language is communication. Hence, emotions aside, the most useful language is whichever language is spoken most widely (or among the most powerful people, etc.). It is perfectly reasonable that when sedentary farmers first encountered horseback riders and charioteers who could both trade goods across great distances and also perhaps protect them from attackers (e.g., other horseback riders and charioteers!), it stands to reason that the farmers would, over many generations, switch to the language most useful for both commerce and defense.
                    Speculation, Igmayka. There is no evidence that horse-and-chariot riding nomads spread Indo-European languages to the west. There is no evidence that any particular group so dominated trade that its language spread clear across Europe to the Atlantic coast.

                    And there is certainly no evidence of the military domination of Central or Western Europeans by horse-and-chariot riding Kurgan nomads. Most of the R1a that is in Central and Southern Europe was spread by the expansion of the Slavs (a people whom I greatly admire, especially since I sleep with one, my wife, every night ) long long after practically all of Europe was speaking Indo-European languages.

                    Didn't the German Gottfried Daimler invent the automobile? Revolutionary, but folks just copied the machine; they didn't feel compelled to start speaking German.

                    Why do you keep referring to emotions, as if your theory or those of Renfrew and Gimbutas are immune to such human frailty?

                    Alinei believes what he believes, but for what he regards as good reasons. I don't see any more emotion in it than I did in Renfrew's viewpoint when I read his book.

                    Gimbutas, on the other hand, seems to have a stake in the feminist interpretation of anthropology and prehistory, as well as an East European bias.

                    People don't change languages without some compelling reason. Those reasons usually involve rewards and/or punishments, i.e., strong economic incentives or military coercion. Where is the evidence for either of those?

                    It is possible for a language to change little during a period of little societal change or stimulation. The Neolithic Revolution, however, could have accelerated language change and the creation of new words.

                    I am not committed to Alinei's thesis, but I can't really buy the Kurgan Theory either. It makes sense in India and Pakistan. It doesn't in the West.
                    Last edited by Stevo; 30 May 2006, 07:05 PM.

                    Comment


                    • I'm still puzzled by my R1B1 matches Native Siberia; Russia; and N/W China Uyghur.?

                      Comment


                      • Originally posted by M.O'Connor
                        I'm still puzzled by my R1B1 matches Native Siberia; Russia; and N/W China Uyghur.?
                        Me too. You have an interesting haplotype.

                        I have a few near-misses in Russia, too, but, as far as I know, none in China or Siberia.

                        I still think R1bs taught R1as to speak Indo-European and then sent them into India for a good Curry Chicken recipe.

                        Comment


                        • Originally posted by Stevo
                          It is possible for a language to change little during a period of little societal change or stimulation.
                          I know of no language anywhere that remained the same over a long period before the invention of writing. That was precisely my point in bringing up the American Indian languages. Their culture changed very little (especially among those who never adopted farming), yet their languages obviously changed so rapidly as to break up into over a thousand languages so diverse that classification of similarities cannot reduce them below 200 families and isolates.

                          Comment


                          • Originally posted by Stevo
                            Didn't the German Gottfried Daimler invent the automobile? Revolutionary, but folks just copied the machine; they didn't feel compelled to start speaking German.
                            Americans invented the airplane.

                            http://www.avweb.com/newswire/12_20a.../192242-1.html
                            ---
                            The International Civil Aviation Organization recently passed an amendment that would make English proficiency a requirement for all pilots, regardless of the type of flying they do.
                            ---

                            Comment


                            • Originally posted by lgmayka
                              I know of no language anywhere that remained the same over a long period before the invention of writing. That was precisely my point in bringing up the American Indian languages. Their culture changed very little (especially among those who never adopted farming), yet their languages obviously changed so rapidly as to break up into over a thousand languages so diverse that classification of similarities cannot reduce them below 200 families and isolates.
                              The fact is, no one knows much about language before the invention of writing. Since that is the case, we do not know how long any prehistoric speech remained relatively stable and how various events impacted the rate of change.

                              I doubt that the Amerindian experience is exactly analogous to the European, and I am sure that it too is not without controversy.

                              It would be best if we actually discussed what happened in Europe.

                              What real hard evidence is there that the Kurgans introduced IE to Central and Western Europe?

                              IE could just as well have spread from the opposite direction or from the center outwards in all directions.

                              R1as apparently spread IE languages to Iran and South Asia, but there is evidence for that. Spreading a language is no proof that one is the author of it. They could have first learned their own IE from Eastern European Is or R1bs, just as Central Asian R1as and R1bs adopted Turkic.

                              There is no real evidence (but I'm all eyes and ears) that Kurgan nomads spread IE to Central and Western Europe.

                              Comment


                              • Originally posted by lgmayka
                                Americans invented the airplane.

                                http://www.avweb.com/newswire/12_20a.../192242-1.html
                                ---
                                The International Civil Aviation Organization recently passed an amendment that would make English proficiency a requirement for all pilots, regardless of the type of flying they do.
                                ---
                                The Chinese invented gunpowder.

                                I like turkey hunting and lighting firecrackers on the 4th of July.

                                Don't speak a word of Chinese.

                                Comment

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