Nostratic Centennial Conference: the Pécs Papers
Edited by Irén HEGEDŰS and Paul SIDWELL
Kiadó: Lingua Franca Group, Pécs
Terjedelem: 228 oldal
Méret: 160x240 mm
Kötésmód: kartonált, ragasztókötött
A HUNDRED YEARS OF NOSTRATIC: MILESTONES IN THE DEVELOPMENT OF THE HYPOTHESIS
Irén Hegedűs and Paul Sidwell
1903 was the year of the first appearance of the term Nostratic in the oft-quoted article by Holger Pedersen. It was not the first time that the distant genetic relations of Old-World language families had been discussed, but the coining of a name along with Pedersen’s forceful arguments for, at least, a solid connection between Indo-European and Uralic, clearly marked the birth of Nostratic in a programmatic sense. In 2003, the Nostratic Centennial Conference was held at the University of Pécs, Hungary, commemorating the hundred years of progress in Nostratic research. Papers from that conference are the basis of this volume, some of which contribute directly to Nostratic scholarship, while some discuss other hypotheses of long-range relationship or seek to make wider methodological contributions.
Being a notion of great scope and boldness, the Nostratic hypothesis has always faced enormous challenges. For the early decades after its birth Nostratic had a rather difficult childhood, but then began to assume a more mature state of development as its adolescence dawned in the early 1960s, for it was then that two linguists at the Moscow Academy started to investigate the possibility of proving the distant genetic relationship of some language families of Eurasia. The story of how the young scholars, V.M Illich-Svitych and A.B. Dolgopolsky, began their investigations independent of each other is famously detailed by Rimma Bulatova (1989). The former was working on etymological comparison of language families, while the latter was focusing on probabilistic methods in demonstrating distant relations when they fortuitously became aware of each other’s work. Despite the premature passing of Illich-Svitych, the subsequent emergence of the ‘Moscow Nostratic School’ proved tremendously productive, and a solid foundation for progress was established.
The Bibliographia Nostratica (Hegedűs 19921) demonstrates the growing vitality of the field between 1960 and 1990, with 45 pages of publications on Nostratic in the period listed. The literature has been growing so intensively since then that what is really needed is a continuously updated on-line database. To this end we invite authors to send their annual list of publications and other additions to Irén Hegedűs, so that we may develop a really useful on-line resource.
The last two decades saw a new phase in Nostratic scholarship, as conferences dedicated to the topic began to be held and their proceedings published. In particular the Ann Arbor Symposium on Language and Prehistory (Michigan, November 1988) was a catalyst in the progress of research in this field, and the materials of the conference were published in several volumes (Shevoroshkin ed. 1989a, 1989b, 1990, 1992).
Other meetings and proceedings volumes have followed, of particular note:
• The Second Workshop on Comparative Linguistics (East Michigan University, Oct. 1993), out of which eventually emerged Salmons-Joseph (1998), for a report on the meeting see Hegedűs 1993). That volume also includes papers by linguists who did not attend the meeting.
Conferences in Moscow:
• 1990 commemorating the 55th birthday of V.M. Illich-Svitych (Dybo-Bulatova eds. 1990)
• 1991 celebrating the 60th birthday of V.A. Dybo (Bulatova et al. eds. 1991)
• 2000 in memory of V.M. Illich Svitych and D.I. Djakonov (cf. Starostin-Starostin eds. 2000).
It is the usual tendency that progress involves the emergence of different schools of thoughts − some ideas may be developed considerably in isolation before contact is made, or scholars may differ in their analyses of the same or similar data, and strike out on divergent courses. The (by now classical) ideas of Illich-Svitych were developed and modified by some, and partly rejected by others. Differences in analysis can be partly explained by the more recent results obtained in the study of Nostratic daughter languages (e.g. the glottalic reinterpretation of the Proto-Indo-European stop system), and partly due to the conflicting views on classification. In respect of the latter, the most important difference of opinion is primarily over the status of Afroasiatic − is it a daughter language or a sister language of Nostratic? The former, traditional view has been challenged primarily by Sergei Starostin (cf. Starostin 1989 and later works) and by the late Joseph Greenberg, who was inclined to keep not only Afroasiatic but also Dravidian outside his “Eurasiatic” macrofamily (cf. Greenberg 1998, 2000). The growing body of literature also includes a stridently critical tendency that in itself demonstrates the engagement with wider historical-comparative linguistic circles.
There are major spin-offs in linguistic research following the advance of Nostratic studies. One is the promotion of investigating areas that were earlier neglected but from which data are crucial as input to Nostratic comparison, e.g. reconstruction in the area of Altaic or Afroasiatic languages. Another is the increase of interest more generally in interphyletic linguistic comparison − as a result we can see progress in the field of other emerging macrofamilies, e.g. Sino-Caucasian - and in the methodological difficulties involved in the reconstruction of linguistic stages at greater than usual time depths. These questions were at the center of discussion during the international meetings organized by the McDonald Institute for Archaeological Research in Cambridge, England. The first such meeting was devoted to the discussion of Dolgopolsky 1998 (proceedings edited by Renfrew and Nettle 1999), the second to the issues of time depth (see Renfrew-MacMahon-Trask eds. 2000).
Nostratic has also generated considerable interest in the capacity of linguistics, or more precisely paleolinguistics, to inform other disciplines researching human history and origins. For example, in 2002 a Festschrift was published for Aharon Dolgopolsky (Shevoroshkin-Sidwell 2002), which not only contained papers on Nostratic but also various investigations into the non-Indo-European languages of classical Europe. Results which potentially identify the genetic affiliations of old European languages can have significant implications for our understanding of the late prehistoric world.
The future evolution of research into distant genetic relations is likely to be promoted along the following tracks:
- since the Indo-Uralic hypothesis enjoys the prestige of having some feasibility even in the eyes of those who flatly reject the Nostratic theory, recurring evaluation of the correspondences between the Indo-European and the Uralic language families is highly important, even if limiting the investigation to these two families can obviously provide only a deficient picture of the historical linguistic situation. The questions of what can or cannot be considered a borrowing among the numerous Indo-Uralic correspondences and how these correspondences fit into the archaeological realia are fortunately revisited at conferences (e.g. Ivanov-Sudnik-Helimskij 1990, Keresztes-Maticsák 1990, Carpelan-Parpola-Koskikallio 2001).
- in the past 2 decades relevant societies were founded (publishing newly established periodicals) with the aim of promoting research in this direction. The persistent work of the Association for the Study of Language in Prehistory (USA) has been of tremendous importance in discussing issues of long-range genetic relationship among languages of the world. The ASLIP periodical Mother Tongue has devoted special issues to the discussion of paleolinguistics and problems that go even beyond the Nostratic hypothesis (see http://www.people.fas.harvard.edu/~witzel/aslip.html for more details). Furthermore, from 1993 to 2003 the Melbourne based Association for the History of Language published a significant contribution in its periodical Dhumbadji!/History of Language and a series of books (Studies in the Science and History of Language). In 1995 a significant forum for the discussion of long-range linguistic relationship, the Moskovskij Lingvisticheskij Zhurnal [The Moscow Linguistic Journal] was launched.
- the Santa Fe Institute launched the Evolution of Human Languages project a few years ago, the on-line database created and maintained by the institute is going to facilitate the study of hypotheses of distant genetic relationship between language families and the establishment of further phyla beyond Nostratic (for details see http://www.santafe.edu or http:// starling.rinet.ru/index2.htm).
Forthcoming highlights we are eagerly anticipating include the new Nostratic dictionary by Aharon Dolgopolsky to be published in Cambridge (England) and the Nostratic grammar and vocabulary by Allan R. Bomhard. We are also hopeful that more chapters from the notes of V.M. Illich-Svitych will become accessible in print and also in English translation.
So as we now begin the second century of Nostratic scholarship we can see that a solid foundation for progress, based upon a large and growing body of published research, accompanied by a lively critical tendency, now exists. To this body we are pleased to add the present volume, and we extend our thanks and encouragement to the contributors and conference participants who made it possible.
Table of contents
|Introduction: A Hunded Years of Nostratic||ix|
|Indo-European and Afroasiatic Prepositions and Related Words: Common Heritage or a Result of Convergence?||1|
|Allan R. Bomhard|
|Preliminary Thoughts on Nostratic Morphology||27|
|Paul S. Cohen|
|Relationships Between Initial Velar Stops and Laryngeals In PIE||51|
|Ronald A. Coleman|
|Nostratic, Quo Vadis?||63|
|Anna V. Dybo|
|Some Peculiarities of Altaic Reflexes of Nostratic Sibilants||85|
|Vladimir A. Dybo|
|On Illič-Svityč’s Study “Basic Features of the Protolanguage of the Nostratic Language Family”||115|
|The Status of the Proto-Nostratic Postvelar||121|
|Robert D. King|
|Conflicting Theories of the Origins Of Yiddish: Possible Lessons for Nostratic Methodology||135|
|Before Indo-European and Uralic||143|
|Peter A. Michalove|
|Vowel Harmony and other Forms of Vocalic Assimilation in Mongolic||165|
|The Australian Aboriginal Languages Correlate with the Nostratic Phylum||175|
|Proto-Salishan and Proto-North-Caucasian Consonants: a few Cognate Sets||181|
|Afrasian and Nostratic: Addenda to the Nostratic Root List of A. B. Dolgopolsky (1991)||193|