Evolution of languages

by oldlightnewshite 12 Replies latest watchtower beliefs

  • oldlightnewshite
    oldlightnewshite

    Here's an interesting tidbit from the Yahoo website, about the evolution of languages, all threading from a common ancestor about 8,000 years ago. Could be a good thing to talk about to help family members realise ttatt...... Tower of babel my arse.

    http://uk.news.yahoo.com/english-language-began-turkey-180502182.html

  • Leolaia
    Leolaia

    This does not concern all languages, only those in the Indo-European family. I'm surprised at the time depth of 8,000 years, that's greater than earlier estimates.

  • Sulla
    Sulla

    Not really useful: the counter is too easy. Thus: well, sure language has developed over time; the important thing to note is that they all have a common origin. In this case, Turkey, which is not far from the Tower of Babel. So, this is more of a confirmation of what weve been saying rather than a problem.

  • Leolaia
    Leolaia

    That's an uninformed counter. There is absolutely no evidence that all languages originated in Mesopotamia in c. 2250 BC; indeed the linguistic evidence is flatly against it. As I pointed out, the article only concerns the Indo-European language family which just so happens to have originated geographically near the ANE. What about other language families which had their Urheimat nowhere near Mesopotamia? There are many in the Americas and Asia, as well as Africa. They also have similar time depth: the Austronesian family originated in Taiwan about 6,000 years ago. We know this from both archaeological evidence (pertaining to the migration of the Austronesian-speaking peoples into Taiwan and then into Indonesia and the Pacific) and linguistic evidence (the majority of Austronesian languages come from just one branch of Proto-Austronesian, all the other major early branches are Formosan languages, and the closest relatives of Austronesian are the Tai-Kadai languages in Southeast Asia). The situation is similar with the Indo-European languages. The cladistic analysis given in the new Science article has all non-Anatolian Indo-European languages branching off in a single branch (iirc the Proto-Indo-European laryngeals are preserved only by the Anatolian languages), the time depth required to connect the various branches together is about 8,000 years, and the migration of younger daughter families through Europe and South Asia point to an Urheimat in Anatolia (Turkey):

    We can see that around 2250 BC, there were multiple Indo-European families already in existence, including multiple Anatolian languages. The earliest written evidence of Hittite (in the Akkadian texts from K├╝ltepe) dates to around 1850 BC, and this was just one of many Anatolian languages. And this doesn't even count all the other languages that were attested before 2250 BC. In Mesopotamia itself, we have evidence of Akkadian (a Semitic language) as far back as 2600 BC (in the form of PNs) and Sumerian (a language isolate) as far back as 3100 BC. Outside of Mesopotamia, the earliest written evidence of Egyptian goes back to 3400 BC. Akkadian, moreover, was only a form of East Semitic and was a daughter language of a prior Proto-Semitic. A similar analysis for Proto-Semitic done in 2009 points to an origin around 3700 BC:

    And Proto-Semitic was itself a daughter language within a larger Afro-Asiatic family; ancient Egyptian was itself a cousin. Dates for the breakup of Proto-Afro-Asiatic vary considerably because the evidence is less clear on account of the great time depth; estimates range between 16000 and 7500 BC, with most converging around a date c. 11000 BC. Then there is the unsettled question of whether Proto-Afro-Asiatic was itself part of a larger Nostratic language family (with Proto-Indo-European as a younger cousin of Proto-Afro-Asiatic). If such a language existed (and the question is controversial), then the date of Proto-Nostratic would take us back into the Pleistocene epoch.

  • Sulla
    Sulla

    Aren't most JW counters uninformed? Great visuals!

  • jgnat
    jgnat

    I am fascinated with language migration. Hungarian doesn't figure here, does it? I was told it is an orphan languge.

  • Leolaia
    Leolaia

    No, Hungarian belongs to the Uralic family of languages (which include Estonian and Finnish). Proto-Uralic has a similar time depth as Proto-Indo-European, and the Nostratic hypothesis regards Proto-Uralic, Proto-Indo-European, Proto-Afro-Asiatic, and other protolanguages (including Proto-Dravidian and Proto-Kartvelian) as descended from an original Proto-Nostratic.

  • slimboyfat
    slimboyfat

    I was thinking about learning Gaelic. But then sometimes I wonder what is the point if it is a dying language. Might it just be a political statement?

  • jgnat
    jgnat

    Here's the map I found on wikipedia for the Uralic languages. I see where that idea may come from. Hungarian does not share the same roots as the romance languages next door.

    xUralic distribution

  • Leolaia
    Leolaia

    Here is the cladistic analysis (from 2009, published in Science) for the Austronesian languages:

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