(formerly Mother Tongue Newsletter)
Issue 32. Fall 1999.
The Assocation for the Study of Language in Prehistory (ASLIP) is a nonprofit organization, incorporated under the laws of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. Its purpose is to encourage and support the study of language in prehistory in all fields and by all means, including research on the early evolution of human language, supporting conferences, setting up a data bank, and publishing a newsletter (Long Ranger) and a journal (Mother Tongue) to report these activities.
Membership: Annual dues for ASLIP membership, including subscriptions to Long Ranger newsletter and Mother Tongue journal, are U.S. $25 in all countries, except those with currency problems (e.g., Russia). Please send membership fees to:
ASLIP Treasurer e-mail: Norquesp@U.ARIZONA.edu
1632 Santa Rita Avenue
Tucson, AZ 85719
* * * * * * *
Long Ranger Editors:
John D. Bengtson
ASLIP President 2793 16th Road
156 15th Avenue NE Frankfort, KS 66427
Minneapolis, MN 55413 U.S.A. U.S.A.
tel: 612-782-9009 tel: 785-292-4504
Alvah M. Hicks
Roger W. Wescott
9788 Random Canyon Way ASLIP Vice-President
Creston, CA 93432 16-A Heritage Crest
U.S.A. Southbury, CT 06488
tel: 805-438-4142 <email@example.com>
fax: 805-438-4156 tel: 203-264-1716
ASLIP Website: http://www.fas.harvard.edu/~witzel/aslip.html
Readers: Please inform us of news items that might
be of interest.
Long Ranger Newsletter No. 32 (LR 32) Fall 1999
The editors have decided to change the name of ASLIP's newsletter from Mother Tongue Newsletter to Long Ranger Newsletter, to avoid confusion with Mother Tongue Journal. Henceforth, the Newsletter can conveniently be referred to as, e.g. LR 32, LR 33, etc., versus MT IV, MT V (the Journal).
"Long Ranger" (coined by ASLIP Vice-President Roger Wescott) has of course been used as a self-designation for paleolinguists and paleolinguistic buffs throughout the history of ASLIP/Mother Tongue.
Editors: John D. Bengtson, G.R. Foote, Alvah M. Hicks,
Roger W. Wescott
* * * * * * *
We have been informed from Moscow that another ASLIP Council Fellow has died. Igor M. Diakonoff (1915-1999) was a world-renowned authority on Afroasiatic languages, and on ancient languages of the Middle East (Sumerian, Hurrian, Urartian, etc.) Among his publications, we can mention his survey volumes on the Afroasiatic (= Hamito-Semitic) macro-family: Semito-Hamitic Languages (Moscow, 1965), Afrasian Languages (Moscow, 1988). Diakonoff collaborated with another ASLIP Council Fellow, Sergei A. Starostin, on a monograph demonstrating that two ancient languages of Asia Minor were affiliated with Caucasian languages (Hurro-Urartian As an Eastern Caucasian Language: Munich, 1986). His most recent contribution to Mother Tongue was an article proposing a genetic relationship between Sumerian and the Munda languages of India ("External Connections of the Sumerian Language," Mother Tongue III:54-62, 1997). His voice and leadership will be sorely missed.
* * *
Professor Karl Heinrich Menges of the University of Vienna was an expert on the Turks and other central Asians. He was a bold Long Ranger, supporting the Nostratic hypothesis, and promoting the publication of an article on Dene-Caucasian in the Central Asiatic Journal. A recent article of his (in the Shevoroshkin Festschrift: see review in MT IV) displayed Menges'erudition and breadth of vision. For example, the observation on 'Samoyed qam/k&m etc. ['blood'] and Ainu kem ['blood']' that 'these two etyma … transcend the boundaries of Nostratic and demand thorough further investigation as they might well be considered traces of a more distant ancient genetic relationship.' [Re Ainu kem, see MT IV, p.35] I met Professor Menges in 1988, at the Ann Arbor 'Language in Prehistory' Symposium. When he heard that I lived in Minnesota, we talked about climate and environmental quality, of all things. I suppose Minnesota reminded him of Siberia. We shall miss him. [JDB]
* * * * *
ASLIP Website Refurbished! Thanks to fine work by new ASLIP member Professor Michael Witzel (Harvard University), ASLIP Board member Mary Ellen Lepionka, and Long Ranger Editor Randy Foote, the ASLIP website is now up and running again. Until recently it had languished in cyberspace, bereft of maintenance and updating, under the address <www.leonline.com/aslip/index.html>. Please delete that from your address book, and make note of:
Take a look, and get back to us with your comments and ideas.
* * *
ASLIP Discussion Website / Mailing List Now Open
Our discussion website / mailing list is now officially open for discussion. We owe this site to the graciousness of webmaster Michael Witzel's friend and commiles in Indian matters, Dr. John R. Gardner of ATLA-CERTR and Emory University, Atlanta. Michael and John are running a number of text and electronic database initiatives together, which ultimately will also become interesting for ASLIP members: they will allow easy search, cross-listing, and special restricted searches that will make the large-scale comparisons necessary to Long-Ranging much easier. (Provided the data have been put in, by us!) We should make it one of our Discussion Site objectives to assemble such data and make them freely accessible to ASLIP members. (For example, Michael Witzel is working on an annotated substrate list [some 400 items] for Oldest India, and may put it on the site later this year. Diacritics are a perennial problem.) Readers'thoughts on such an initiative are welcome.
The site address is: http://188.8.131.52/cgi-bin/demogate/mothertongue/lwgate/MOTHERTONGUE/
Since this site is restricted (for the time being) to
members of ASLIP, there is no need for extensive rules of net etiquette.
(Of course, no flaming!) For any technical and practical questions
please write to: John R. Gardner firstname.lastname@example.org and/or Michael Witzel
* * * * * * *
Paleolinguistic News Nostratic Conference in Moscow - Postponed
The conference Nostratic Linguistics at the End of the Twentieth Century: Results and Perspectives, originally planned to be held in Moscow in December, 1999, has been postponed until May, 2000.
Some of the workshops being planned are:
The Tower of Babel Project: State of research.
Nostratic and Distant Linguistic Family Relationships: in Commemoration of Vladislav M. Illich-Svitych (1934-1966)
Comparative Linguistics and Ancient History: In Commemoration of Igor M. Diakonoff (1915-1999)
Comparative Linguistics, Archaeology and Genetics Glottochronology and Cross-checking by Other Dating Methods
Use of Computer in Comparative Linguistics The Altaic Etymological Dictionary: Presentation
The First Volume of the Semitic Etymological Dictionary: Presentation.
In Commemoration of Solomon S. Maisel (1900-1952)
Submission of Abstracts: The full paper has to be presented
in e-mail form before the end of February, 2000, after which it will be
published on the Conference site, unless you wish otherwise. Submission
of abstracts is not obligatory, though the organizers would be grateful
if you could at least submit the main subject of your paper before the
end of 1999. All information about the Conference is published on the official
* * *
Conference in Tomsk, Russia
The Tomsk State Pedagogical University is organizing a conference entitled the XXII-nd Annual Conference "Dulson's Readings", dedicated to the 100th Birthday Anniversary of Professor Andreas Dulson, to be held in Tomsk, Russia, June 19-21, 2000. The conference is hosted by the Institute for Foreign Languages, Laboratory of Siberian Languages.
[Editor's note: Dulson (Dul'zon in Russian) did extensive work on Yeniseian languages. See the Yeniseian section of MT Journal IV, especially the map on p. 10, based on Dulson's work.]
The general theme for the Conference is "Comparative-historical
and typological studies of languages and cultures," including the following
problems for discussion:
Remote relationships of languages and cultures (formulated by A.P. Dulson)
Problems of documentation of endangered languages and cultures
Comparative-historical studies Typological studies of languages and cultures
Methods of the complex study of ethnogenesis
Morphology and phonology of languages of Siberia (and nearby regions)
Problems of lexicography and creating educational literature for national (ethnic) schools and classes Problems of foreign and national (ethnic) language teaching
The data of comparative-historical and typological studies of languages and cultures in teaching
Interested scholars should contact the organizers at:
Tomsk State Pedagogical University Komsomolski av., 75 Tomsk 634041 RUSSIA
Kim@tspu.edu.ru (Dr. Alexandra Kim)
* * *
Long Rangers at SSILA/LSA Meeting
The January 2000 meeting of Society for the Study of Indigenous
Languages of America (SSILA) and Linguistic Society of America (LSA) will
feature some interesting topics on the possible relationships between Siberian
and Native American languages. ASLIP member Edward Vajda (Western Washington
University) will speak on 'Evidence for a genetic connection between Na-Dene
and Yeniseian (Central Siberia).' Mother Tongue readers will recall Professor
Vajda's article on Yeniseian in the last issue (MT IV). Alexandra Kim of
Tomsk State Pedagogical University (see above) will present 'Indians of
Siberia: database on Siberian languages.' In a note to Long Ranger, Edward
Vajda explains that Professor Kim's paper will 'introduce Americans to
the work done in Russia on Native Siberian languages, as well as summarize
some of the theories of Siberian-American linguistic connections.' On the
same program we see Eric P. Hamp, speaking on 'Why long-range genetic comparison
isn't easy.' Professor Hamp has frequently acted as an 'Anti-Long-Ranger,'
but we understand he does in fact accept one formerly controversial hypothesis:
the genetic relationship of Chukchi-Kamchatkan (=Luoravetlan) + Eskimo-Aleut.
* * *
Exploratorium Features Long Ranger View of Language Classification
The Exploratorium, a science museum in San Francisco, recently featured an exhibit on the languages of the world. Thanks to veteran Long Rangers Joseph H. Greenberg and Merritt Ruhlen, the classification of languages (and companion map) agrees by and large with the emerging consensus among paleolinguists, Nostraticists, and other Long Rangers. On the Exploratorium chart, all the world's languages are divided into the following twelve (macro-) families:
1. KHOISAN 7. EURASIATIC 2. NIGER-KORDOFANIAN 8. DENE-CAUCASIAN 3. NILO-SAHARAN 9. AUSTRIC 4. AFRO-ASIATIC 10. INDO-PACIFIC 5. KARTVELIAN 11. AUSTRALIAN 6. DRAVIDIAN 12. AMERIND
Editor's Note: Naturally, this roster will meet the disapproval of many historical linguists, whose list of language families would be closer to 12è than 12. The only uncontroversial families on this list are Afro-Asiatic, Kartvelian, Dravidian, and perhaps Australian (though even this is doubted by some extreme splitters). Khoisan (if Hadza and Sandawe are excluded), Niger-Kordofanian, Nilo-Saharan, and Austric (at least Austronesian + Kadai, or Austronesian + Austroasiatic) are widely accepted, but the remaining four (Eurasiatic, Dene-Caucasian, Indo-Pacific, Amerind) are the most controversial of all. Long Rangers will agree (generally) with Greenberg and Ruhlen. Vaclav Blazek, for example, proposes a list even shorter than G & R (see MT Journal III, p. 165):
1. KHOISAN 2. CONGO-SAHARAN (includes NIGER-KORDOFANIAN + NILO-SAHARAN) 3. NOSTRATIC (includes EURASIATIC + AFRO-ASIATIC + KARTVELIAN + DRAVIDIAN) 4. SINO-CAUCASIC 5. AMERIND 6. AUSTRIC 7. INDO-PACIFIC 8. AUSTRALIAN
Exploratorium Magazine 23:1 (Spring 1999) is devoted to
the topic "The Evolution of Languages," and features articles by Ruhlen
and others. A special insert to the issue is a multicolored 33"x 21" wall
poster depicting the Greenberg-Ruhlen classification. The issue is now
on the web, at <www.exploratorium.edu>, complete with RealAudio (where
* * *
Lord Renfrew on Linguistic Prehistory of Greece
ASLIP member and Council Fellow Lord Colin Renfrew (Director
of the McDonald Institute for Archaeological Research) has recently published
an article on the "supposedly pre-Greek language or languages of the Aegean,"
known mainly from traces left in the Greek language, as we know it. Examples
of such words (cited by Renfrew) include familiar "Greek" (but apparently
not Indo-European) words such as: basileuV [basileus] 'king', bolinqoV
[bolinthos], bonassoV [bonassos] (both) 'wild ox', kiqariV [kitharis] 'kithara'
(ultimately > guitar), xanqoV [xanthos] 'yellow, blond', rodon [rhodon]
'rose', sukon [sukon] 'fig', etc. Attempting to coordinate linguistic and
archaeological findings, Renfrew proposes that Minoan (Linear A) be regarded
not as a substratum to Greek, but rather an adstratum, "which developed
during their coexistence in the Aegean during the Bronze Age."
("Word of Minos: the Minoan Contribution to Mycenaean Greek and the Linguistic Geography of the Bronze Age Aegean." Cambridge Archaeological Journal 8/2:239-264. 1998)
* * * * * * *
Blazek, Vaclav. 1999. Numerals: Comparative - Etymological Analyses of Numeral Systems and Their Implications. Brno: Masaryk University. vii + 337 pp. The subtitle reads [numerals in] Saharan, Nubian, Egyptian, Berber, Kartvelian, Uralic, Altaic and Indo-European languages. This leading Long Ranger catologs attested forms, reconstructions, etymological proposals, and finally his own hypotheses for the development of numeral words in each of the named families. In addition, Blazek cites examples from other languages (e.g., Telefol, Sumerian, Chumash, etc.), elucidating various counting systems (binary, ternary, vigesimal, etc.).
Dixon, R.M.W. 1997. The Rise and Fall of Languages. Cambridge, England: Cambridge University Press. vi + 169 pp. Despite some sections that are instructive and informative (especially one dealing with the crisis of disappearing linguistic diversity), this is at heart an "Anti-Long-Ranger" treatise. Dixon is prone to sweeping pronouncements such as "There is no reputable historical linguist, anywhere in the world, who accepts the claims of Greenberg and the Nostraticists" (p. 44), etc.
Jones-Bley, Karlene, Martin E. Huld, Angela Della Volpe, and Miriam Robbins Dexter (Eds.). 1998. Proceedings of the Tenth UCLA Indo-European Conference; Los Angeles, 1998. (JIES Monograph No. 32.) Washington, D.C.: Institute for the Study of Man. Includes articles by Watkins, Ivanov, and a dozen others. Editor Angela Della Volpe is an ASLIP member of long standing. Kirk, Neile A., and Paul J. Sidwell (Eds.). 1999.
From Neanderthal to Easter Island: A tribute to,
and a celebration of, the work of W. Wilfried Schuhmacher. Presented on
the occasion of his 60th Birthday. (AHL Studies in the Science & History
of Language2.) Melbourne: association for the History of Language. x +
165 pp. This Festschrift for long-time ASLIP member W.W. Schuhmacher was
assembled by his friends of the Association for the History of Language
(formerly Melbourne Association for the History of Language).
The volume includes a number of Schuhmacher's own writings (note intriguing titles such as "The best English is spoken in ... Copenhagen," "Lingua Neanderthalensis," or "A New Easter Island Hypothesis"), as well as book reviews by editors Kirk and Sidwell, and other articles by Long Rangers (John Bengtson, Vaclav Blazek, Vitaly Shevoroshkin, Theo Vennemann), and Austronesianists (Charles Randriamasimanana, Marit Vamarasi). Polome, Edgar C., and Carol F. Justus (Eds.). 1999. Language Change and Typological Variation: in Honor of Winfred P. Lehmann on the Occasion of his 83rd birthday.
Vol. 1 (Language Change and Phonology = JIES Monograph No. 30); Vol. 2 (Grammatical Universals and Typology= JIES Monograph No. 31). Washington, D.C.: Institute for the Study of Man. The two volumes contain some thirty articles by prominent names (e.g., Ivanov, Hoenigswald, Gamkrelidze, Bynon, Birnbaum, Klimov, etc.), mostly involving Indo-European, but also touching on Pre-IE substrates (Polome) and Kartvelian (Klimov).
Renfrew, Colin, and Daniel Nettle (Eds.). 1999. Nostratic: Examining a Linguistic Macrofamily. (Papers in the Prehistory of Languages.) Cambridge, England: McDonald Institute for Archaeological Research. vii + 419 pp. This volume contains the proceedings of the Symposium on the Nostratic Macrofamily held in July 1998 at the McDonald Institute, Cambridge University. (See the report by Vitaly Shevoroshkin in MT Newsletter No. 31, pp. 28-32.) Articles were penned by prominent Nostraticists/Long Rangers (Dolgopolsky, Bomhard, Shevoroshkin, Starostin, Ehret, Decsy, etc.), along with some "Anti-Long-Ranger" views (Trask, Campbell, et al.).
Shevoroshkin, Vitaly, and Paul Sidwell (Eds.) 1999 Historical Linguistics and Lexicostatistics. Melbourne: Association for the History of Language. ca. 550 pp. Not yet seen by Long Ranger, but our old friend Vitaly assures us it is coming out, as part of the AHL serials (see Kirk & Sidwell, 1999, above). Thus far, all we know is that the book contains articles on lexicostatistics and language classification by Ilia Peiros and Sergei Starostin. This Melbourne series will pick up where Vitaly's Bochum series (Dene-Sino-Caucasian Languages, Reconstructing Languages and Cultures, etc.) left off. All this material is from the rich mother-lode of paleolinguistic research stimulated by the Ann Arbor Conference (Language in Prehistory, 1988) and its aftermath. Wescott, Roger W. 2000.
Predicting the Past: An Exploration of Myth, Science,
and Prehistory. Deerfield Beach, FL: Kronos Press. This new book by
ASLIP Vice President Wescott is 'a study of global prehistory, based on
a quantalist, rather than a uniformitarian, paradigm.' Intriguing chapter
titles include 'The Golden Age,' 'Split Living,' and 'Prospects for a Troubled
>>> Reviewers needed! Please contact Review Editor Roger W. Wescott if interested. For information on AHL Monographs contact Paul Sidwell, LPO Box A22, ANU 0200, Australia; e-mail: Paul.email@example.com
LONG RANGER Newsletter No. 32 (Formerly Mother Tongue Newsletter) Fall 1999
Table of Contents
Igor M. Diakonoff p. 1
Karl Heinrich Menges
ASLIP ANNOUNCEMENTS 2
ASLIP Website Discussion Website
ARCHAEOLOGICAL AND BIOGENETIC NOTES 3-15
Lemba Jews (?) 3
Skin Color 4
Pacific Islands Tasmania 5
Australians Austronesians 6
Australians - Papuans
Kennewick Man 8
Japanese Roots 9
Amerind Adam 10
Out of Africa revisited 11-12
Khoisan Gene migrations 13
Pleistocene - Neandertal 14
PALEOLINGUISTIC NEWS 16-18
Conferences in Moscow, Tomsk 16
SSILA - Exploratorium 17
Renfrew on Minoan 18
BOOK NOTICES 19-20
ANTHROPOLOGICAL NEWS Mary Ellen Lepionka 21-24
ASLIP BUSINESS Mother Tongue V 24
ASLIP Business: Reminder Readers are reminded to
pay their 1999 dues, if they have not done so already. Only those who have
paid 1999 and prior dues will receive the 1999 Mother Tongue Journal (MT
To make payments, or to clarify your membership status, please contact ASLIP Treasurer Peter
Norquest. (See inside front cover for his addresses.) Mother Tongue Journal, issue V, forthcoming
MT V is now in preparation.
Preliminary contents include:
'A Discussion of Climatic Influences on Language'
'An Enquiry About Sumerian Words' Liny Asoka Srinivasan
'The Evolution of Archaeological Perceptions of the First Americans' Alvah M. Hicks
'Bipeds, Tools and Speech' Marc Verhaegen
'A Comparison of Basque and (North) Caucasian Basic Vocabulary' John D. Bengtson (with discussion articles by William H. Jacobsen, W.W. Schuhmacher, Paul Sidwell, R.L. Trask, Edward Vajda, Paul Whitehouse, et al.)