Blog Archives

Workflows in historical linguistics

A few too many of my blog posts seem to end up ballooning into mini-articles and consequently spend months if not years languishing in my drafts. Let’s see if I can keep this one brief. An adage sometime seen in

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Posted in Methodology

Trees within trees: the Bundle Model

Reposting here, an illustration I whipped up a few days before Christmas, for a debate on the validity of the tree model in linguistics, held at Academia.edu in an article draft session by fellow historical linguists and linguistics bloggers Guillaume

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Posted in Methodology

Alternations and “alternations”; with data from Finnish

A theoretical device in historical linguistics that I think can easily go abused is the basic morphophonological concept of “alternation”. To lay some groundwork: an initial issue, on which I may expand more at some point, is that several grades

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Posted in Methodology

The phonetic vagueness of laryngeal theory

While I continue to be strictly speaking Not An Indo-Europeanist, I regularly keep reading about comparative Indo-European research just as well. Including not only matters with immediate relevance to Uralic studies, but also the usual controversy honeypots: interpretations of the

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Posted in Commentary, Methodology

The lacuna between phonology and etymology

If you spend any substantial time researching or reading up on etymology and historical phonology, you might notice that one topic in their common neighborhood often tends to be left with surprizingly little attention. At least I have. This is

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Posted in Methodology

Subgrouping and ontology

Before going into more detailed analysis, I should however also emphasize one deeper theoretical aspect of subgrouping. Some people might look at my previous list of four methods of synchronic subgrouping, and their various weaknesses, and go “OK, so does

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Posted in Methodology

Thoughts on lexical data and its subgrouping

A general theory of distributional analysis of lexical data that incorporates also a degree of historical analysis remains a thing I would like to exist. I’ve seen plenty of work of some kind done on this already, yes, but most

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Posted in Methodology

Linkday #3: Phylonetworks Dot Blogspot

A blog discovery today, that I however find a bit too tangentially related to add to my main histling blogroll: The Genealogical World of Phylogenetic Networks. They mostly discuss phylogenetics in general, with most examples drawn from biology — but

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Posted in Links, Methodology

Inheritance in Phonology

It occurred to me that there’s one concept I have never seen anyone else define or use, although I’ve been working with it in my own research for a while now: that of an inheritance phoneme. This is in effect

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Posted in Methodology

Weighing etymological distributions

I’ve sometimes remarked (but until now, not on this blog) that one interesting difference between Uralic and Indo-European studies is radically different approaches to lexical reconstruction. Uralic studies have for long hung on to the idea of a deeply stratified

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Posted in Methodology

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