Author Topic: Humans and interbreeding with other species - language inferences?  (Read 7206 times)

Offline freknu

  • Forum Regulars
  • Serious Linguist
  • *
  • Posts: 397
  • Country: fi
    • Ostrobothnian (Norse)
Re: Humans and interbreeding with other species - language inferences?
« Reply #15 on: January 02, 2014, 03:04:43 PM »
But don't you think it's interesting we seem to have, what could potentially be, a glimpse into a linguistically pre-PIE past and good corroborative data from the genetic markers give a relatively rare genetic trait (U5 genetic marker) that only occurs in 9% of Europeans tested today, is predominant in regions where we can see these different languages?

Perhaps, but what makes you think these markers are native? Would it not be equally possible that Sami and Basque people simply interbred with earlier populations having these markers? Thus they preserve paleolithic genetic heritage, but are themselves not direct descendants of paleolithic populations.

I have seen a few articles that have argued exactly this, the markers found in Sami populations is the result of "lateral transfer" (is that the proper term?), not direct descent.

Offline lx

  • Global Moderator
  • Linguist
  • *****
  • Posts: 164
Re: Humans and interbreeding with other species - language inferences?
« Reply #16 on: January 02, 2014, 03:38:04 PM »
I will begrudgingly accept your considerations.  8)
I just find this so interesting that it brings out the giddy little boy inside me who just wants to see things that would be amazing to discover rather than approach it from a completely scientific perspective. I hear what you're saying, Daniel, about the career in this field. It would just be so infuriatingly unsatisfying without clear evidence and results. If lateral transfer is the cause and there is evidence to show that, that's kind of the evidence we'd need to close off potential theories about something like this. There are just some issues that linguists will want to shut down without even hearing the full hypothesis if it is linked in any way to a stigmatised opinion or belief. As they try to slam the door, I try to put my foot in the way to keep the door slightly open and investigate the principle at hand from a perspective that is more open to sensitive issues (whether it's about language complexity, ties with populations and languages or language channeling thought - these are the top three I can think of now).

Offline Daniel

  • Administrator
  • Experienced Linguist
  • *****
  • Posts: 1576
  • Country: us
    • English
Re: Humans and interbreeding with other species - language inferences?
« Reply #17 on: January 02, 2014, 03:41:24 PM »
freknu, the lateral transfer idea makes sense to me, but about equally so with some other explanation (lx's, or whatever else). As the more mundane possibility, though, perhaps it is the right one (Occam's razor and all that).

Quote
As they try to slam the door, I try to put my foot in the way to keep the door slightly open and investigate the principle at hand from a perspective that is more open to sensitive issues (whether it's about language complexity, ties with populations and languages or language channeling thought - these are the top three I can think of now).
Same here, and I think that's a good attitude, although it can be hard to make others listen.
Welcome to Linguist Forum! If you have any questions, please ask.

Offline freknu

  • Forum Regulars
  • Serious Linguist
  • *
  • Posts: 397
  • Country: fi
    • Ostrobothnian (Norse)
Re: Humans and interbreeding with other species - language inferences?
« Reply #18 on: January 02, 2014, 03:56:58 PM »
Anything is possible, but it's also easy to get lost in your eagerness — as I've also done many times myself XD

Things like Basque are so "attractive" to this kind of overzealous imagination and speculation for the very simple fact that we don't know. I'm not trying to be a partypooper or reject any counterideas without consideration — just that from experience, from my own and others' mistakes, I can see how in this case modesty and carefulness is a virtue.

(EDIT)

Though, I have to admit, I might be a tad sensitised when it comes to this particular topic. I've had the great unfortune of having some migraine-inducing arguments with some truly outrageous Finnic ultranationalist anthropologists, so the idea of Sami and Finns being special is nothing new — in particular being Europe's oldest people who ruled all of Europe before the "Russians" (PIE people) invaded from the east and oppressed the great Finnic people. Germanics, Celtics, Italics, Hellenics, Baltics, Slavics, these are the descendants of ancient Finnic mothers being raped by the invading oppressors, and Sami and Finns are the only true people of Europe, bla bla bla bla bla ...

*sigh*

Linguistics and anthropology has its fair share of crackpots as well :/
« Last Edit: January 02, 2014, 04:05:04 PM by freknu »

Offline Daniel

  • Administrator
  • Experienced Linguist
  • *****
  • Posts: 1576
  • Country: us
    • English
Re: Humans and interbreeding with other species - language inferences?
« Reply #19 on: January 02, 2014, 05:11:12 PM »
Is it wrong of me to take ideas less seriously if they come from someone who (based on their background) might be being nationalistic?

I'm joking a bit, but it does make me think twice when someone says "yes, X language is [better than Y, older than Z, the best example of W, ...], and that happens to be my language".
Welcome to Linguist Forum! If you have any questions, please ask.

Offline Corybobory

  • Global Moderator
  • Linguist
  • *****
  • Posts: 138
  • Country: gb
    • English
    • Coryographies: Handmade Creations by Cory
Re: Humans and interbreeding with other species - language inferences?
« Reply #20 on: January 02, 2014, 05:15:42 PM »
^This. :)
BA Linguistics, MSt Palaeoanthropology and Palaeolithic Archaeology, current PhD student (Archaeology, 1st year)

Blog: http://www.palaeolinguist.blogspot.com
My handmade book jewellery: http://www.coryographies.etsy.com

Offline freknu

  • Forum Regulars
  • Serious Linguist
  • *
  • Posts: 397
  • Country: fi
    • Ostrobothnian (Norse)
Re: Humans and interbreeding with other species - language inferences?
« Reply #21 on: January 02, 2014, 06:16:37 PM »
Is it wrong of me to take ideas less seriously if they come from someone who (based on their background) might be being nationalistic?

I'm joking a bit, but it does make me think twice when someone says "yes, X language is [better than Y, older than Z, the best example of W, ...], and that happens to be my language".

I've probably developed a Pavlovian response to such ultranationalistic arguments, and instinctively bury my palm in my face! XD

Offline Daniel

  • Administrator
  • Experienced Linguist
  • *****
  • Posts: 1576
  • Country: us
    • English
Re: Humans and interbreeding with other species - language inferences?
« Reply #22 on: January 02, 2014, 06:20:51 PM »
:))
I wasn't just talking about ultranationalistic ones, though. Also the subtle ones. "Huh, I guess that means maybe English is best... I hadn't realized that before. It's cool that I speak English..." Also absurd.
Welcome to Linguist Forum! If you have any questions, please ask.

Offline freknu

  • Forum Regulars
  • Serious Linguist
  • *
  • Posts: 397
  • Country: fi
    • Ostrobothnian (Norse)
Re: Humans and interbreeding with other species - language inferences?
« Reply #23 on: January 02, 2014, 06:31:41 PM »
:))
I wasn't just talking about ultranationalistic ones, though. Also the subtle ones. "Huh, I guess that means maybe English is best... I hadn't realized that before. It's cool that I speak English..." Also absurd.

Ah! To me "nationalism" means strictly the idea of independent nations, as opposed to "federalism" with dependent nations. The national equivalent of individualism. Ultranationalism is then the overzealous expression of a "nation", with language, culture, ethnicity, or other things become almost constructed into myth and paraded as better than others.

Similar to how pride is self-respect, while hubris is arrogance and egocentrism.

I don't know how many would agree with those definitions, though ...
« Last Edit: January 02, 2014, 06:33:26 PM by freknu »

Offline Daniel

  • Administrator
  • Experienced Linguist
  • *****
  • Posts: 1576
  • Country: us
    • English
Re: Humans and interbreeding with other species - language inferences?
« Reply #24 on: January 02, 2014, 06:39:24 PM »
Oh, I don't disagree on the definition (although it is probably fuzzy). I just meant that above I wrote "(based on their background) might be being nationalistic".
Paraphrased:
I'd take the idea of German linguistic superiority a lot more seriously coming from a Spaniard than coming from a German!
Welcome to Linguist Forum! If you have any questions, please ask.

Offline freknu

  • Forum Regulars
  • Serious Linguist
  • *
  • Posts: 397
  • Country: fi
    • Ostrobothnian (Norse)
Re: Humans and interbreeding with other species - language inferences?
« Reply #25 on: January 02, 2014, 06:42:25 PM »
I'd take the idea of German linguistic superiority a lot more seriously coming from a Spaniard than coming from a German!

Ah, ok :)

Yeah ... funny how most people claiming linguistic superiority tend to be native in that language as well. Something like 6,000 languages in the world, and which one did you pick? Your L1? Oh ...

Offline Daniel

  • Administrator
  • Experienced Linguist
  • *****
  • Posts: 1576
  • Country: us
    • English
Re: Humans and interbreeding with other species - language inferences?
« Reply #26 on: January 02, 2014, 06:45:14 PM »
Exactly. I'd be very curious to hear some Mongolian guy talking about how Dyirbal is the best language in the world.

Of course even then it usually ends up being that Dyirbal happens to be the language he did fieldwork on.

Ah.... biases....
Welcome to Linguist Forum! If you have any questions, please ask.

Offline Corybobory

  • Global Moderator
  • Linguist
  • *****
  • Posts: 138
  • Country: gb
    • English
    • Coryographies: Handmade Creations by Cory
Re: Humans and interbreeding with other species - language inferences?
« Reply #27 on: January 03, 2014, 06:16:12 AM »
You get lots of people going on about the glory of Latin, which comes from their own education experience and I still take as a bit of hubris! This is usually followed by a lament about the descent of English who does uncouth things like end a sentence in a preposition...
BA Linguistics, MSt Palaeoanthropology and Palaeolithic Archaeology, current PhD student (Archaeology, 1st year)

Blog: http://www.palaeolinguist.blogspot.com
My handmade book jewellery: http://www.coryographies.etsy.com

Offline MrChiLambda

  • Jr. Linguist
  • **
  • Posts: 10
Re: Humans and interbreeding with other species - language inferences?
« Reply #28 on: June 01, 2015, 05:36:10 AM »
Totally, the Glottal stop if you ask me is a type of physiological language attribute.

Perhaps there was something unique about the inhabitants of that area which made their throats more prone or less prone to speak in different tones.

Might be other reasons, however it may be something to consider.