Blog Archives

Long-Distance Comparisons As Butterflies

One of the rationality-cluster blogs here on WordPress, Aceso Under Glass, a while ago posted about a concept I find immediately useful: “Butterfly Ideas“. Roughly speaking, hypotheses that need further development, are probably not ripe for serious criticism as they

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Posted in Methodology

On Out of Eurasia and linguistic time depth

So here’s the hypothetical (as developed previously). Suppose modern humans have been hanging out at least somewhere around Eurasia already for 100, perhaps 200, maybe as much as 300 millennia, instead of merely 50–70. Should any of our views on

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Posted in Methodology

Excursion: On Out of Africa

Out of Africa (OOA) has been the main theory of the origin of modern humans since the mid-20th century. Strictly speaking this is only a theory of anthropology. Since language is a human phenomenon, [1] it has however also sprouted

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Posted in Uncategorized

The fate of *w in Altaic

A fairly striking typological commonality between the “micro-Altaic” language groups: Turkic, Mongolic and Tungusic (Tk, Mg, Tg) is the lack of a labial glide such as /w/. This is clearly out of line among both the world’s languages in general,

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Posted in Reconstruction

Five Shortcuts to Writing a Heavyweight Etymological Dictionary

Minor apologies for the clickbait-satire title (I do not actually enumerate any shortcuts in this post), but the arriving summer is making me jocular I guess. :) My current stop on what seems to be turning into an unofficial world

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Posted in Commentary, Methodology

Some things rotten in the history of Tungusic

On a whim, I’ve started to investigate the lexicon of Proto-Tungusic, which the Moscow school of Nostraticists maintain a handy database of (as they do for pretty much all Eurasian language families). I am currently about 10% in, having looked

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Posted in Commentary, Methodology

A potential Turkic-Yukaghir loanword

A project I am working on and off is compiling lexical parallels that have been proposed in connection to various proposed external relationships of Uralic. Occasionally this kind of work turns up nice new etymological insights. One of the best-retained

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Posted in Etymology

Proto-Yukaghir voiced stops (and their implications)

One of the more popular proposals for external relationships of the Uralic family is the Uralo-Yukaghir hypothesis. By certain measures it might even count as the most popular one. The idea has been around for a long while, but in

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Posted in Reconstruction

The newest chapter in far-reaching comparisons involving Uralic

Appears in the Spring 2013 issue of California Linguistics Notes. A Preliminary Survey of Some Uralic Elements in Costanoan, Esselen, Chimariko and Salinan, by one A. Fournet, proposes the possibility of a relationship of the Uralic languages — especially the

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Posted in Commentary, Uncategorized

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