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Why are there so many languages in the world? Richard McGinn Linguistics Department.

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Presentation on theme: "Why are there so many languages in the world? Richard McGinn Linguistics Department."— Presentation transcript:

1 Why are there so many languages in the world? Richard McGinn Linguistics Department

2 Two-part answer: 1. ?? 2. ?? Why are there so many languages in the world?

3 Two-part answer: 1. PEOPLE MOVE 2. ?? Why are there so many languages in the world?

4 Two-part answer: 2. LANGUAGES CHANGE Why are there so many languages in the world?

5 People Move: Diamond-Bellwood Hypothesis Link is here. Jared Diamond and Peter Bellwood team up to provide an interdisciplinary hypothesis concerning the history of human migrations and the major reasons peoples, cultures and especially technologies can differ so dramatically. Their data draws on findings in linguistics, archeology, agriculture and animal husbandry.here

6 Five great migrations out of Africa

7 FIVE HUMAN MIGRATIONS OUT OF AFRICA

8 Earliest Migrations 100 K – 40 K bp Luigi Luca Cavalli-Sforza (2000)

9 Migrations To 10 K bp Luigi Luca Cavalli-Sforza (2000)

10 Farmers / Fishermen in SEA and the Pacific: 6000 – 1000 bp

11 Proto-Sapiens Merritt Ruhlen 1994

12 Why are there so many languages in the world? 2. Languages Change

13 Theory of Divergence (Crowley, p. 23 & pp ) 1. Languages change systematically. 2. Barriers reduce the density of intercommunication. 3. The changes are statistically independent.

14 In 1786 Sir William Jones announced to the Asiatick Society of Calcutta that Sanskrit was related to Greek and Latin, touching off what would come to be known as the Neogrammarian movement away from philology (the comparison of written texts) to what we now consider linguistics (the study of spoken languages). If you lived in 1786, and you were presented with a large number of cognates like the following, you would likely also conclude that all these languages must be related.

15 Some Indo-European Languages Sanskrit Avestan Greek Latin Gothic English pita pater pater fadar father padam poda pedem fotu foot bhratar phrater frater brothar brother bharami barami phero fero baira bear jivah jivo wiwos qius quick ‘living' sanah hano henee senex sinista senile virah viro wir wair were(-wolf) 'man' tryah tris tres thri three da ś a deka decem taihun ten ś atam satem -katon centum hund(rath) hund(red)

16 TWO CLASSIFICATION PROBLEMS (Handouts)

17 Quote of the day: “Most historical linguists have no appreciation of the difference between classification and reconstruction.” -- Merrit Ruhlen, The Origin of Language (1994:127)

18 Two Fundamental Principles of Historical Linguistics

19 1. Arbitrariness of the sign 2. Regularity of sound change Fundamental Principles

20 1. Arbitrariness of the sign underlies linguistic classification. 2. Regularity of sound change underlies reconstruction of protolanguages. Two Fundamental Principles

21 Any regular correspondences? (5 minutes small discussion groups) Sanskrit Avestan Greek Latin Gothic English pita pater pater fadar father padam poda pedem fotu foot bhratar phrater frater brothar brother bharami barami phero fero baira bear jivah jivo wiwos qius quick ‘living' sanah hano henee senex sinista senile virah viro wir wair were(-wolf) 'man' tryah tris tres thri three da ś a deka decem taihun ten ś atam satem -katon centum hund(rath) hund(red)

22 YOU HAVE DISCOVERED ASPECTS OF GRIMM’S LAW personal.umich.edu/~clunis/wow/grimm/rev erse-frames.html

23 Do the principles of sound change and reconstruction only apply to European languages? A good question once, now fully settled based on 200 years of research on the world’s languages.

24 King of Amerian Structuralism One of Bloomfield’s (1925:130) many significant accomplishments was his successful application of the Regularity Hypothesis in the reconstruction of Proto-Algonquin, to “dispose of the notion that the usual processes of linguistic change were suspended on the American continent.” -- Robert W. Murray, The place of historical linguistics in the age of structuralism. In Sylvain Auroux, ed. (2000). History of the language sciences, Chapter XXXVII, p

25 Revised Theory of Divergence (Crowley, p. 23 & pp ) 1. Language change is regular. 2. Barriers reduce the density of intercommunication. 3. The changes are statistically independent.

26 OUT OF TAIWAN: THE AUSTRONESIAN DIASPORA

27 Farmers / Fishermen in SEA and the Pacific: 6000 – 1000 bp

28 Common Words in Six Austronesian Languages EnglRukai Tagalog Bidayŭh Rejang Samoan Malagasy Rawas Twodosada-lawa duə duə lua rua Foursəpatəapat umpt pat fi əfatra Fivelimalima rimə ləmaw lima dimi Sixənəmanim inəm num ono ëninä Bird(n.c. manok manuk mono ʔ manu n.d. Lousekocokuto gutu gutəw gutu hao Eyemacamata matə matəy mata maso Earcaliŋataliŋa (kapiŋ) (ti ʔ u ʔ ) taliŋa tadini Liveraxayatay ati atuy ate ati Roaddalanda ʔ an jrn dalən ala n.d. Coconut abarəniyog (buntn) niol niu n.d. Rainodaləulan ujn ujən ua uranä Skyn.c. laŋit raŋit läŋät laŋi laniträ Stone n.c. bato batuh butəw fatu `fruit pit‘ vato Eatkaneka ʔ in ma ʔ an ka ʔ ən ʔ ai hanä

29 Why Reconstruction Is Necessary Number of differencesRejangMalayPMPEnglish (Musi dialect) (1)matəymata*mataeye (2)tiləytali*talirope (3)oloaulur*hulurto lower (4)bioaair*wahiRwater biləyari*waRiday

30 ESTIMATED DATES OF MIGRATIONS Based on archeological record (Peter Bellwood) So. China  Taiwan6000 bp  No. Philippines5000 bp  So. Philippines4000 bp  Borneo, Sulawesi, Moluccas3500 bp  Micronesia, Coastal New Guinea3500 bp  Timor, Flores (Eastern Indonesia)3000 bp  Malaya, Sumatra, Java, Vietnam2500 bp  Hawaii, Madagascar1500 bp  New Zealand1000 bp

31 RECONSTRUCTING GREATER TIME DEPTH REQUIRES A DIFFERENT METHOD AS EXPLAINED IN THE FILM “In search of the first language”

32 LING 485/585 WINTER 2010


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