Saturday, November 9, 2019

On Babel, Archaeology and Historic Linguistics

On Babel, Archaeology and Historic Linguistics · More Babel and Genesis on Quora

How does evolution explain the concept of language development and origin?

Answer requested by
Sandra Lee

Hans-Georg Lundahl
amateur linguist
Answered 21h ago
These posts of mine refer to the explanations of Picq and criticise them:

Creation vs. Evolution : Human Language Revisited

Creation vs. Evolution : Elves and Adam

Creation vs. Evolution : Back to Picq

Creation vs. Evolution : Off the Bat

I have challenged him to answer, on his FB wall, under a publically visible status, and I have got no answer.

EDIT : it can be noted, some things called language development, not language origin, like Latin “developing” into French (changing would be a better term) are what they are irrespective of Evolution or not. Note, Biblical Creationism does imply a few languages were created with no respect to the previous language at Babel, it does not imply they underwent no change since then.

Why do current reconstructions of Proto-Indo-European phonology lack a dorsal nasal, coronal affricate, multiple distinct sibilants, vowel length distinction, and a 5 vowel phonology?

Answer requested by
Tom Patterson

Hans-Georg Lundahl
amateur linguist
Answered 21h ago
Dorsal nasal, meaning ng sound in sing or ñ sound in año ... it seems all occurrences of these sounds in IE languages come from other nasals in certain positions.

Coronal affricate, as in ts, tch, dz, dj? It seems all occurrences of these later on have sources other than these. Palatal k would have become tch or rather sh in Satem languages.

Multiple distinct sibiliants? S had Z as pure allophone. Possibly they would also have had SH/ZH as allophones.

Vowel lengths would be reflexes of Laryngals, like eH2 becoming a long ah. PIE now usually refers to when it was still eH2, which presumably means e + ach-laut. Or see following.

Five vowel [system]? I and U would have been vocalic in 0 stages of Ablaut systems, while being Y and W in full stages like EI, EU, YE, WE / OI, OU, YO, WO, some of which would result in long vowels in some languages. This leaves E, A, O as stem vowels, functioning fully as vowels (as E or O in above) and of these O would sometimes be H3 or H3E or long O from EH3 (ghw / ghwe / eghw, if you want my best guess), and A and long A always from H2, H2E, EH2.

In other words, because "there are vowels, and then there are vowels" - only short E and O qualifying for one type, and all others double functioning always or sometimes as consonants.

This according to those who accept the PIE reconstruction of a unitary language.

Some of these complexities might be avoided, if IE started out as a Sprachbund rather than family.

Speaking from a biblical sense, how long after the fall of the Tower of Babel do you believe that it took each group of humans to develop their own distinct cultures and languages?

Answer requested by
Marc Bloemers

Hans-Georg Lundahl
amateur linguist
Answered 21h ago
That depends on which chronology you follow.

I follow the one of Roman martyrology of Christmas Day, and it says Flood was in 2957 BC, Abraham was born 2015 BC. This suggests a reading of Genesis 11 along mainly LXX lines, but without the second Cainan, sth which is confirmed by Josephus.

Based on this, Babel would have been ending in 401 after the Flood, indeed, one can consider Babel was most of the time between 350 and 401 after the Flood (a traditional assessment says it was for 40 years, so either it took 11 years from Noah dying to them starting or it ended, but breakup was still ongoing, when Peleg was born in 401 after the Flood).

Each original Babelic language (it seems there were 72 of them, like the tribes named for grandsons and greatgrandsons of Noah in Genesis 10) was functional immediately after God did the change. In the evening, they were hailing each other with the Hebrew or palaeo-Hebrew equivalent of "Good evening - Good evening" and in the morning they would be trying with "Guten Morgen - Buenos Dias - Hyvää Huomenta" (or the then equivalents, since German, Spanish and Finnish are clearly much later things).

This event would have been when the carbon date 8600 BC, top level of Göbekli Tepe, is from.

However, each of them would still have either a Neolithic culture or be keeping a Palaeolithic one for a few centuries more.

6000 BC in carbon dates would be around the birth of Sarug in 2294 BC. This date is important, since Nineve was founded then, as far as continuous habitation is concerned.

With early Dynastic Egypt and still prior to Eblaite archives, more like Chalcolithic of En Geddi, we have Abraham aged around 80 in Genesis 13 and 14. With Eblaite archives, we are already past the life of Joseph who died c. 1700 BC, since carbon date 2600 BC for Djoser corresponds to it. Hence Eblaite archives are when Israel soujourned in Egypt, which explains why they aren't mentioning Sodom and Gomorrah.

This would also be the period in which the Amorrhites founded Classic Babylon around 5 degrees 30 minutes each (can't be bothered to check the exact maths) of East and South of Göbekli Tepe, so diagonally SE of original Babel.

Woolley's Ur would have been inhabited at carbon date 4000 BC and so perhaps Abraham could have been born in it at real date 2015 BC, unless Ur Kasdim refers to Edessa not far from Göbekli Tepe, in which case he could certainly have been born there. He could also have moved into it after it was founded, especially if it was Woolley's Ur.

Sound changes are supposed to be irreversible. Did it ever happen in the history of any language that a subsequent sound change completely undid the effects of an earlier sound change and restored the earlier situation?

Hans-Georg Lundahl
amateur linguist
Answered Wed
Sound changes are only irreversible when they are completed.

As long as it is not completed, it is revertible (see Jean Aitchison).

Next, some sound changes could be reversible insofar as they only go between two versions of one parameter and do not fuse sounds.

Once a fusion is complete (hypothetic but very possible example, merging spirantic voiced sounds like β, δ, γ, γw from PIE bh, dh, gh, ghw by Grimm's law with β, δ, γ, γw from φ, θ, χ, χw by Verner's law which by Grimm's law go back to p, t, k, qu) it is irreversible, the sound can split, but the split would be from what the surroundings are (like Verner's law split φ, θ, χ, χw into 1 φ, θ, χ, χw and 2 β, δ, γ, γw according to where the accent was in surrounding vowels), not from what the original participants of the split were.

One could argue Germanic an, am becoming West Saxon on, om has been reversed in man > mon > back to man. However, comb is still unreversed.

Why in the modern day writings we only find history about the Hamites (the ancient Egyptians, etc.) and the Semites (the ancient Jews/Israelites, etc.), but no history about the Japhethites (the ancient Ashkenaz, Caucasus-Asians, Anglo-Saxon, etc.)?

Hans-Georg Lundahl
none/ apprx Masters Latin & Greek, Lund University
Answered Wed
Because the Japhetites except Greeks (descending from Javan) and some part of the Hittites (descending from Gomer) did not write.

Angelus Pascal
But Hettites did not descend from Japheth, they were the descendants of Heth, who was the son of Canaan, and Canaan himself was the son of Ham. So, Hettites were Hamites, not Japhethites. See the Descendants map and the PDF article below:

Now, if the Japheth’s descendants didn’t write their history, it doesn’t mean they have the right to steal or change other (Ham’s and Shem’s) descendants’ histories; and trying to get credits for Ham’s and Shem’s descendants’ great civilizations - e.g. the ancient Egyptian civilization, the ancient Cushite civilization, the ancient Songhai civilization, the ancient Mesopotamian (Sumerian, Akkadian, Assyrian and Babylonian) civilization; just to name a few. Because, that’s exactly what has been happening for a long time!

Hans-Georg Lundahl
Original Author
Just now
Actually, it is more probably the descendants of Heth were the Hattic people, a non-Indo-European language.

Hittites proper were for instance Cappadocians, and thus descendants from Gomer, from whom come Cappadocians, Gauls and Brits and Irish.

They called their language Nesili, not Hattili, which was the Hattic language.

Which modern language is the least different from Proto-Indo-European?

Hans-Georg Lundahl
amateur linguist
Answered Mon
My professor in Greek said, if you have an Ancient Greek and a modern Lithuanian form of same word, you can easily deduce the form that word had in PIE.

But that obviously is that precise version of PIE, Meillet’s - there are other ones.

Oh, you mean PIE as it was actually spoken back then?

We don’t know. One computerised vocabulary test considered Germanic and Gothic as remarcably close to PIE.

And, yeah, perhaps there wasn’t one such language, perhaps IE is a Sprachbund (or rather a remnant of former Sprachbünder).

What do we know about Aurignacian Greece?

Hans-Georg Lundahl
none/ apprx Masters Latin & Greek, Lund University
Answered Wed
That would be Franchthi cave:

From perusing the link, I found no human bones attached to carbon date 38 000 BC but only stone tools (not dated), shells and charcoal.

This is perfectly compatible with Noah's family coming there to an excursion just after the Flood, arguably the daughter in law with Neanderthal heritage giving some lectures on stone chipping (or having done so elsewhere) and how to use stone tools, as the metal tools on the Ark would have been scarce and the ore quarries hadn't been located post-Flood yet.

It is also compatible with them having been there just before the Flood, or someone else having been there and then it being revisited during Noah's remaining lifetime (by his close family or by a bit further off descendants, like Javan and family) and also during (Neolithic = ) early ensuing years.

Only problem to solve is to reduce the carbon dates to correct and Biblical chronology.

How old is the Hungarian language?

Hans-Georg Lundahl
none/ apprx Masters Latin & Greek, Lund University
Answered 26m ago
Present written language or historic predecessors?

Like comparable to Modern Greek since 1970, or comparable to any Greek including Mycenaean Greek?

In the longer perspective there may have been two Hungarian written languages, Etruscan and Hungarian proper, that being how Toth and Alinei classify Etruscan.

In the Italian arena, Etruscan was spoken and written VIIIth to IInd CC. BC. It continued to be transmitted in writing up to the time of I think St. Gregory the Great when everyone had great fun at the last Augur who made some incantation that no one understood.

In the Pannonian arena, Hungarian was written since 1055 AD, three phrases in the foundation letter for a monastery, that of Tihany. First complete text being Halotti beszéd és könyörgés (translation from Latin discourse and prayer for funerals) in the Codex Pray (mainly Latin and includes the Latin original).

Note, the Hungarian of Tihany chart or for funerary speech and prayer is Old Hungarian, not quite the same thing as Middle Hungarian (1526 - 1772) or Modern Hungarian (since 1772). But these stages are obviously closer to each other than to Etruscan if it was an even older stage of same language.

Note also, before Hungarian was written, it was spoken, and no one knows for how long (except it must have been non-extant prior to Babel, probably was so some time after too). Part of the question depends on whether Thot was right in considering also Hattic and Sumerian as Finno-Ugric. Of these, only Sumerian would in my opinion have some chance to be one of the original Babelic languages. Or it was created as an Esperanto a bit later ... however, the connexion is presumably as tenuous as that between different "branches of Indo-European".

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