7 Comments


  1. No, Joel. Just no. Before sharing linkbait about historical linguistics, please consult an historical linguist. kthxbai

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    1. hahahahahahahah…

      First, I don’t buy into the Tower of babel… second… hahahahahaha.

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      1. I get the tongue-in-cheek, but even though this study is one of the more plausible “deep ancestral reconstruction” attempts out there, it’s still got to be taken with a grain of salt. It’s a list of words that needs to be thoroughly scrubbed by more than just the single linguist, two biologists, and one psychologist responsible for this and its previous study.

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  2. Gary

    “For their latest study, Pagel used a computer model to predict words that changed so rarely”… People put too much faith into computer models. It’s only As good as the software developers. In this case, how do they verify the computer model itself? Could be good, or it could be spaghetti code developed by a bunch of 1st year programmers.

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  3. The article did not do well in placing the research in context of what has gone before. The first question that came to my mind was how this research is similar to or different from the Nostratic hypothesis which has been around for a century. Nostratic is proposed as a super-family encompasing some of the same language families as Pagels. And the hundredth or so comment made the same point.

    Quote from Brittanica web site regarding the Nostratic-hypothesis:

    “The study of Nostratic is still in its early stages and, even if its basic validity is accepted, many issues of reconstruction remain problematic. In addition, the inclusion in Nostratic of some of the six families, notably Afro-Asiatic and Dravidian, has been questioned, while at the same time some further language families are good candidates for inclusion (especially Yukaghir, Eskimo-Aleut, and Chukchi-Kamchatkan [Luorawetlan]).

    The Nostratic theory is among the most promising of the many currently controversial theories of linguistic classification. It remains the best-argued of all the solutions hitherto presented for the affiliations of the languages of northern Eurasia, a problem that goes back to the German Franz Bopp and the Dane Rasmus Rask, two of the founders of Indo-European studies.”

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  4. Interesting, although I’m curious on how they found a way to tie in Japanese, which many have assumed was an isolate language.

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