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Re: Ejective Consonants a sign of Mountain Living

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  • Roger Mills
    Years ago there was a program on my Univ. radio station (before it went all NPR-talk) called [Aleut (IIRC) word or phrase] The things that were said of them .
    Message 1 of 18 , Jun 13, 2013
      Years ago there was a program on my Univ. radio station (before it went all NPR-talk) called "[Aleut (IIRC) word or phrase] The things that were said of them". It was produced by Alaska Public Radio, and included snatches of conversation, and lots of names, in folk tales of the Aleut people (and beautiful stories they were!!). The lang. had (to my ear) lots of glottal, uvular and velar consonants, and just hearing it made one cold..... I wondered if living in a very cold climate led to the over-abundance of back consonants, as if speakers didn't want to open their mouths very wide and expose their tongues etc.to the cold. (just my speculation from younger days :-))))

      In my Kash conworld, one component of the Galactic Union is the blue humanoid aliens who are expert telepaths. They come of course from an oxygen-poor planet, and developed their telepathic ability (so they claim) to avoid wasting breath on verbal conversation. They must, of course, wear a breathing apparatus when they're on an oxygen-normal/rich planet.

      --- On Thu, 6/13/13, John Q <jquijada21@...> wrote:

      From: John Q <jquijada21@...>
      Subject: Ejective Consonants a sign of Mountain Living
      To: CONLANG@...
      Date: Thursday, June 13, 2013, 2:32 AM

      Well here's an interesting new theory --  Ejective consonants are apparently far more likely to be found in languages spoken in or near mountain ranges:

      http://www.telegraph.co.uk/science/science-news/10117037/Living-in-the-mountains-can-change-the-way-you-speak.html

      --John Q.
    • Jim T
      Hi, According to Wikipedia.... Siouan language speakers may have originated in the lower Mississippi River region and then migrated to or originated in the
      Message 2 of 18 , Jun 13, 2013
        Hi,
        According to Wikipedia....
        "Siouan language speakers may have originated in the lower Mississippi River region and then migrated to or originated in the Ohio Valley. They were agriculturalists and may have been part of the Mound Builder civilization during the 9th–12th centuries CE.[1] In the late 16th and early 17th centuries, Dakota-Lakota-Nakota speakers lived in the upper Mississippi Region in present day Minnesota, Wisconsin, Iowa, and the Dakotas. Conflicts with Anishnaabe and Cree peoples pushed the Lakota west onto the Great Plains in the mid- to late-17th century.[1]"

        I did a search of all those states only Mississippi might not have mountains all the others most certainly do.
        Jim :-)

        --- On Thu, 6/13/13, BPJ <bpj@...> wrote:

        > From: BPJ <bpj@...>
        > Subject: Re: Ejective Consonants a sign of Mountain Living
        > To: CONLANG@...
        > Received: Thursday, June 13, 2013, 1:20 AM
        > 2013-06-13 08:32, John Q skrev:
        > > Well here's an interesting new theory --  Ejective
        > consonants are apparently far more likely to be found in
        > languages spoken in or near mountain ranges:
        > >
        > > http://www.telegraph.co.uk/science/science-news/10117037/Living-in-the-mountains-can-change-the-way-you-speak.html
        > >
        > > --John Q.
        > >
        >
        > Like Lakhota? >;-)
        >
        > (Sorry, couldn't help myself...)
        >
        > /bpj
        >
      • Adam Walker
        Whatever they are calling a mountain in Iowa is just a bigger than average pile of corn. Adam
        Message 3 of 18 , Jun 13, 2013
          Whatever they are calling a mountain in Iowa is just a bigger than
          average pile of corn.

          Adam

          On 6/13/13, Jim T <clanrubylion@...> wrote:
          > Hi,
          > According to Wikipedia....
          > "Siouan language speakers may have originated in the lower Mississippi River
          > region and then migrated to or originated in the Ohio Valley. They were
          > agriculturalists and may have been part of the Mound Builder civilization
          > during the 9th–12th centuries CE.[1] In the late 16th and early 17th
          > centuries, Dakota-Lakota-Nakota speakers lived in the upper Mississippi
          > Region in present day Minnesota, Wisconsin, Iowa, and the Dakotas. Conflicts
          > with Anishnaabe and Cree peoples pushed the Lakota west onto the Great
          > Plains in the mid- to late-17th century.[1]"
          >
          > I did a search of all those states only Mississippi might not have mountains
          > all the others most certainly do.
          > Jim :-)
          >
          > --- On Thu, 6/13/13, BPJ <bpj@...> wrote:
          >
          >> From: BPJ <bpj@...>
          >> Subject: Re: Ejective Consonants a sign of Mountain Living
          >> To: CONLANG@...
          >> Received: Thursday, June 13, 2013, 1:20 AM
          >> 2013-06-13 08:32, John Q skrev:
          >> > Well here's an interesting new theory --  Ejective
          >> consonants are apparently far more likely to be found in
          >> languages spoken in or near mountain ranges:
          >> >
          >> > http://www.telegraph.co.uk/science/science-news/10117037/Living-in-the-mountains-can-change-the-way-you-speak.html
          >> >
          >> > --John Q.
          >> >
          >>
          >> Like Lakhota? >;-)
          >>
          >> (Sorry, couldn't help myself...)
          >>
          >> /bpj
          >>
          >
        • Roger Mills
          ... Conflicts ... No they don t. I grew up in that area, and the whole place is flat as a pancake, thanks to the glaciers-- except for western South Dakota,
          Message 4 of 18 , Jun 13, 2013
            On 6/13/13, Jim T <clanrubylion@...> wrote:
            > Hi,
            > According to Wikipedia....
            > "Siouan language speakers may have originated in the lower Mississippi River
            > region and then migrated to or originated in the Ohio Valley. They were
            > agriculturalists and may have been part of the Mound Builder civilization
            > during the 9th–12th centuries CE.[1] In the late 16th and early 17th
            > centuries, Dakota-Lakota-Nakota speakers lived in the upper Mississippi
            > Region in present day Minnesota, Wisconsin, Iowa, and the Dakotas.
            Conflicts
            > with Anishnaabe and Cree peoples pushed the Lakota west onto the Great
            > Plains in the mid- to late-17th century.[1]"
            >
            > I did a search of all those states only Mississippi might not have mountains
            > all the others most certainly do.
            > Jim :-)
            ------------------------------------------------------------------
            No they don't. I grew up in that area, and the whole place is flat as a pancake, thanks to the glaciers-- except for western South Dakota, where the Black Hills are-- they are real mountains (rocky), not just overgrown hills, which do exist in the area,mostly along river courses. How the Black Hills escaped being ground down by the glaciers I don't know...  In most of known history, the Siouan people were semi-nomadic, not agriculturalist, though it's certain good country for growing corn.

            I'm aware that Siouan languages have distant cousins in the South but suspect that was far in the past.. Relationship with the Mound Builders seems remote; if true, then the Siouan people lost/gave up the idea.

            What were the Cree doing that far west? I thought they were mainly an eastern Canadian tribe....I'd be more inclined to blame Iriquoian/Chippewa/Ojibwe people for pushing the Sioux to the west.
          • Herman Miller
            ... The researchers, however, found that 87 per cent of languages that use ejectives were found within 300 miles of an area of high altitude. Which implies
            Message 5 of 18 , Jun 13, 2013
              On 6/13/2013 4:20 AM, BPJ wrote:
              > 2013-06-13 08:32, John Q skrev:
              >> Well here's an interesting new theory -- Ejective consonants are
              >> apparently far more likely to be found in languages spoken in or near
              >> mountain ranges:
              >>
              >> http://www.telegraph.co.uk/science/science-news/10117037/Living-in-the-mountains-can-change-the-way-you-speak.html
              >>
              >>
              >> --John Q.
              >>
              >
              > Like Lakhota? >;-)
              >
              > (Sorry, couldn't help myself...)
              >
              > /bpj

              "The researchers, however, found that 87 per cent of languages that use
              ejectives were found within 300 miles of an area of high altitude."
              Which implies that 13 percent of languages with ejectives were found
              more than 300 miles away from high altitude areas.

              It's an interesting idea, associating phonological features with
              geography. Even if it turns out to be coincidental, a conworld could use
              some idea like this for the languages spoken in different areas. But why
              would high altitude be associated with ejectives? More efficient use of
              breath?
            • George Corley
              ... I found the actual paper; http://www.plosone.org/article/info%3Adoi%2F10.1371%2Fjournal.pone.0065275 (The Telegraph helpfully links PLOS but not the damn
              Message 6 of 18 , Jun 13, 2013
                On Thu, Jun 13, 2013 at 7:54 PM, Herman Miller <hmiller@...> wrote:

                > On 6/13/2013 4:20 AM, BPJ wrote:
                >
                >> 2013-06-13 08:32, John Q skrev:
                >>
                >>> Well here's an interesting new theory -- Ejective consonants are
                >>> apparently far more likely to be found in languages spoken in or near
                >>> mountain ranges:
                >>>
                >>> http://www.telegraph.co.uk/**science/science-news/10117037/**
                >>> Living-in-the-mountains-can-**change-the-way-you-speak.html<http://www.telegraph.co.uk/science/science-news/10117037/Living-in-the-mountains-can-change-the-way-you-speak.html>
                >>>
                >>>
                >>> --John Q.
                >>>
                >>>
                >> Like Lakhota? >;-)
                >>
                >> (Sorry, couldn't help myself...)
                >>
                >> /bpj
                >>
                >
                > "The researchers, however, found that 87 per cent of languages that use
                > ejectives were found within 300 miles of an area of high altitude." Which
                > implies that 13 percent of languages with ejectives were found more than
                > 300 miles away from high altitude areas.
                >
                > It's an interesting idea, associating phonological features with
                > geography. Even if it turns out to be coincidental, a conworld could use
                > some idea like this for the languages spoken in different areas. But why
                > would high altitude be associated with ejectives? More efficient use of
                > breath?
                >

                I found the actual paper;
                http://www.plosone.org/article/info%3Adoi%2F10.1371%2Fjournal.pone.0065275 (The
                Telegraph helpfully links PLOS but not the damn paper itself.)

                Skimming over it, it seems that their argument is that it is easier to
                produce high pressure in the pharynx at higher altitudes, because the
                surrounding air is at a lower pressure. It's interesting, for sure, but I'd
                have to spend some time reading to be sure about it.

                OB conlang: My general thinking is that these sorts of trends don't need to
                be considered that much when constructing a single conlang. Languages vary
                so much that it's possible to find features in all places. The only things
                that naturalistic conlangers really should consider is those things that
                are completely unattested or extremely rare, and (most definitely) uncommon
                features in their own native languages that they might naively insert into
                a conlang without realizing it's not terribly common.
              • Padraic Brown
                ... For what it s worth, glaciers don t necessarily grind mountains away. After all, Antarctica and Greenland are teeming with both. I don t think the Grinding
                Message 7 of 18 , Jun 13, 2013
                  --- On Thu, 6/13/13, Roger Mills <romiltz@...> wrote:

                  > > I did a search of all those states only Mississippi
                  > > might not have mountains all the others most certainly do.
                  > > Jim :-)
                  > ------------------------------------------------------------------
                  > No they don't. I grew up in that area, and the whole place
                  > is flat as a pancake, thanks to the glaciers-- except for
                  > western South Dakota, where the Black Hills are-- they are
                  > real mountains (rocky), not just overgrown hills, which do
                  > exist in the area,mostly along river courses. How the Black
                  > Hills escaped being ground down by the glaciers I don't
                  > know... 

                  For what it's worth, glaciers don't necessarily grind mountains away.
                  After all, Antarctica and Greenland are teeming with both. I don't think
                  the Grinding Ice got as far as the Black Hills.

                  As far as ejective mountain dwellers, surely the Nepalese, living as they
                  do in the Himalayas, ought to be ejecting their consonants all over the
                  place?

                  Padraic
                • Adam Walker
                  Swamp folk should have some serious ingressive action going on. Adam
                  Message 8 of 18 , Jun 13, 2013
                    Swamp folk should have some serious ingressive action going on.

                    Adam

                    On 6/13/13, Padraic Brown <elemtilas@...> wrote:
                    > --- On Thu, 6/13/13, Roger Mills <romiltz@...> wrote:
                    >
                    >> > I did a search of all those states only Mississippi
                    >> > might not have mountains all the others most certainly do.
                    >> > Jim :-)
                    >> ------------------------------------------------------------------
                    >> No they don't. I grew up in that area, and the whole place
                    >> is flat as a pancake, thanks to the glaciers-- except for
                    >> western South Dakota, where the Black Hills are-- they are
                    >> real mountains (rocky), not just overgrown hills, which do
                    >> exist in the area,mostly along river courses. How the Black
                    >> Hills escaped being ground down by the glaciers I don't
                    >> know...
                    >
                    > For what it's worth, glaciers don't necessarily grind mountains away.
                    > After all, Antarctica and Greenland are teeming with both. I don't think
                    > the Grinding Ice got as far as the Black Hills.
                    >
                    > As far as ejective mountain dwellers, surely the Nepalese, living as they
                    > do in the Himalayas, ought to be ejecting their consonants all over the
                    > place?
                    >
                    > Padraic
                    >
                    >
                  • R A Brown
                    On 14/06/2013 03:50, Padraic Brown wrote: [snip] ... Well, maybe the Nepalese, like the Tibetans, breathe a a faster rate than others in high altitudes ;)
                    Message 9 of 18 , Jun 14, 2013
                      On 14/06/2013 03:50, Padraic Brown wrote:
                      [snip]
                      >
                      > As far as ejective mountain dwellers, surely the
                      > Nepalese, living as they do in the Himalayas, ought to
                      > be ejecting their consonants all over the place?

                      Well, maybe the Nepalese, like the Tibetans, breathe a a
                      faster rate than others in high altitudes ;)

                      "The only region where ejective languages were absent was
                      the Tibetan plateau. This could be because people living in
                      the region have become uniquely adapted to the low oxygen at
                      high altitudes.
                      Studies have shown that Tibetan people breath at a faster
                      rate than other high altitude populations and they have also
                      been found to make more efficient use of the oxygen in the air."

                      Or maybe there's something about the Himalayas that do not
                      encourage the development of ejective consonants.

                      Or maybe the study concerned was flawed ;)

                      --
                      Ray
                      ==================================
                      http://www.carolandray.plus.com
                      ==================================
                      "language … began with half-musical unanalysed expressions
                      for individual beings and events."
                      [Otto Jespersen, Progress in Language, 1895]
                    • And Rosta
                      Folk dialectology often makes fanciful causal claims about the effect of physical geography on phonetics. I imagine it would be very difficult to collect data
                      Message 10 of 18 , Jun 14, 2013
                        Folk dialectology often makes fanciful causal claims about the effect of
                        physical geography on phonetics.

                        I imagine it would be very difficult to collect data of sufficient quality
                        and quantity to test such claims empirically. What you'd really need is the
                        frequency of ejective allophones in dialects. I doubt that data exists
                        accessibly for English, let alone for less intensively studied languages.

                        But given that we know mountainous areas better preserve linguistic
                        diversity and that linguistic homogenization tends to eradicate the marked,
                        it may be that something related to ejectives is marked and therefore less
                        likely to be lost when in mountains.

                        --And.
                        On Jun 14, 2013 1:54 AM, "Herman Miller" <hmiller@...> wrote:

                        > On 6/13/2013 4:20 AM, BPJ wrote:
                        >
                        >> 2013-06-13 08:32, John Q skrev:
                        >>
                        >>> Well here's an interesting new theory -- Ejective consonants are
                        >>> apparently far more likely to be found in languages spoken in or near
                        >>> mountain ranges:
                        >>>
                        >>> http://www.telegraph.co.uk/**science/science-news/10117037/**
                        >>> Living-in-the-mountains-can-**change-the-way-you-speak.html<http://www.telegraph.co.uk/science/science-news/10117037/Living-in-the-mountains-can-change-the-way-you-speak.html>
                        >>>
                        >>>
                        >>> --John Q.
                        >>>
                        >>>
                        >> Like Lakhota? >;-)
                        >>
                        >> (Sorry, couldn't help myself...)
                        >>
                        >> /bpj
                        >>
                        >
                        > "The researchers, however, found that 87 per cent of languages that use
                        > ejectives were found within 300 miles of an area of high altitude." Which
                        > implies that 13 percent of languages with ejectives were found more than
                        > 300 miles away from high altitude areas.
                        >
                        > It's an interesting idea, associating phonological features with
                        > geography. Even if it turns out to be coincidental, a conworld could use
                        > some idea like this for the languages spoken in different areas. But why
                        > would high altitude be associated with ejectives? More efficient use of
                        > breath?
                        >
                      • Roman Rausch
                        ... And drink tea all the time because water is easier to boil? :-) Looking at the WALS map for rare consonants
                        Message 11 of 18 , Jun 14, 2013
                          >As far as ejective mountain dwellers, surely the Nepalese, living as they
                          >do in the Himalayas, ought to be ejecting their consonants all over the
                          >place?

                          And drink tea all the time because water is easier to boil? :-)

                          Looking at the WALS map for rare consonants (http://wals.info/feature/19A?tg_format=map&v1=cfff&v2=d000&v3=cff0&v4=s00d&v5=cd00&v6=dd00&v7=sd00) I noticed that interdental spirants seem to occur more often in languages situated near coastlines: English, Greek, Albanian, Spanish, Icelandic for Indo-European; but also Swahili, Aleut, Fijian; a cluster of languages near the South China Sea, a cluster in Mexico, and so on.
                          If I come up with a tentative reason for how maritime climate or seafaring can make you stick your tongue out, I can write a paper. :-)
                        • Matthew Boutilier
                          ... perhaps the higher air pressure at sea level makes it easier to distinguish e.g. /T/ from /f/ or /D/ from /v/ over longer distances. the sound has a
                          Message 12 of 18 , Jun 14, 2013
                            > Looking at the WALS map for rare consonants (
                            > http://wals.info/feature/19A?tg_format=map&v1=cfff&v2=d000&v3=cff0&v4=s00d&v5=cd00&v6=dd00&v7=sd00)
                            > I noticed that interdental spirants seem to occur more often in languages
                            > situated near coastlines: English, Greek, Albanian, Spanish, Icelandic for
                            > Indo-European; but also Swahili, Aleut, Fijian; a cluster of languages near
                            > the South China Sea, a cluster in Mexico, and so on.
                            > If I come up with a tentative reason for how maritime climate or seafaring
                            > can make you stick your tongue out, I can write a paper. :-)
                            >

                            perhaps the higher air pressure at sea level makes it easier to distinguish
                            e.g. /T/ from /f/ or /D/ from /v/ over longer distances. the sound has a
                            thicker medium to travel through and loses less of its phonetic
                            distinctiveness; which is why Cockney - a Germanic dialect that is no
                            longer spoken near a coast - has neutralized the T~f/D~v difference!

                            but in all seriousness, the claim that geography is *causally* related to
                            linguistic features strikes me as somewhat insane (or overly ambitious at
                            best). languages that use triconsonantal roots are disproportionately
                            located in *desert*; is there something deserty about speaking this kind of
                            language? i doubt it! (also, we know that Proto-Semitic had ejective
                            consonants, and that part of the world is quite flat.)

                            matt
                          • Jörg Rhiemeier
                            Hallo conlangers! ... Most proper linguists consider such correlations of linguistic features with terrain types, climate zones or similar factors
                            Message 13 of 18 , Jun 14, 2013
                              Hallo conlangers!

                              On Friday 14 June 2013 02:54:17 Herman Miller wrote:

                              > [...]
                              >
                              > "The researchers, however, found that 87 per cent of languages that use
                              > ejectives were found within 300 miles of an area of high altitude."
                              > Which implies that 13 percent of languages with ejectives were found
                              > more than 300 miles away from high altitude areas.
                              >
                              > It's an interesting idea, associating phonological features with
                              > geography. Even if it turns out to be coincidental, a conworld could use
                              > some idea like this for the languages spoken in different areas. But why
                              > would high altitude be associated with ejectives? More efficient use of
                              > breath?

                              Most proper linguists consider such correlations of linguistic
                              features with terrain types, climate zones or similar factors
                              insignificant. But indeed, in a conworld, there may be patterns
                              of that kind. In my Hesperic family, I have decided that the
                              more northerly languages have larger phoneme inventories than
                              those spoken in the south, which somehow feels "right" to me
                              but probably is not well-supported by real-world linguistic data,
                              at least not in Europe where the Hesperic languages are spoken.

                              --
                              ... brought to you by the Weeping Elf
                              http://www.joerg-rhiemeier.de/Conlang/index.html
                              "Bêsel asa Éam, a Éam atha cvanthal a cvanth atha Éamal." - SiM 1:1
                            • Eric Christopherson
                              ... That reminds me of the controversial paper Phonemic Diversity Supports a Serial Founder Effect Model of Language Expansion from Africa by Atkinson (who
                              Message 14 of 18 , Jun 14, 2013
                                On Jun 14, 2013, at 10:46 AM, Jörg Rhiemeier <joerg_rhiemeier@...> wrote:

                                > Hallo conlangers!
                                >
                                > On Friday 14 June 2013 02:54:17 Herman Miller wrote:
                                >
                                >> [...]
                                >>
                                >> "The researchers, however, found that 87 per cent of languages that use
                                >> ejectives were found within 300 miles of an area of high altitude."
                                >> Which implies that 13 percent of languages with ejectives were found
                                >> more than 300 miles away from high altitude areas.
                                >>
                                >> It's an interesting idea, associating phonological features with
                                >> geography. Even if it turns out to be coincidental, a conworld could use
                                >> some idea like this for the languages spoken in different areas. But why
                                >> would high altitude be associated with ejectives? More efficient use of
                                >> breath?
                                >
                                > Most proper linguists consider such correlations of linguistic
                                > features with terrain types, climate zones or similar factors
                                > insignificant. But indeed, in a conworld, there may be patterns
                                > of that kind. In my Hesperic family, I have decided that the
                                > more northerly languages have larger phoneme inventories than
                                > those spoken in the south, which somehow feels "right" to me
                                > but probably is not well-supported by real-world linguistic data,
                                > at least not in Europe where the Hesperic languages are spoken.

                                That reminds me of the controversial paper "Phonemic Diversity Supports a Serial Founder Effect Model of Language Expansion from Africa" by Atkinson (who was recently discussed in connection with the paper about "hyper-conserved" lexemes); but his claim was that phoneme inventory size *decreases* with distance from Africa.

                                Another folk phonetics claim I've read somewhere was that a far northern variety or family in NA (I think it was Aleut maybe) lacks labials because its speakers often used to put labrets in their lower lips. I don't remember the exact details but I think Aleut does have /m/ at least.

                                On the other hand, I have a lot of trouble pronouncing labial stops (and IIRC /m/) when I've been in the cold for a while. In such cases I can't quite make lip closure so it comes out more fricative-like.
                              • Anthony Miles
                                Rhea Silvia on Ceres is 22 miles high - I bet Rheasilvians speak in nothing but ejectives!
                                Message 15 of 18 , Jun 14, 2013
                                  Rhea Silvia on Ceres is 22 miles high - I bet Rheasilvians speak in nothing but ejectives!
                                • Padraic Brown
                                  ... Oh, quite naturally my good sir! An excellent and astute observation that will bear considerable fruit and tie all loose ends together: After all, the
                                  Message 16 of 18 , Jun 14, 2013
                                    --- On Fri, 6/14/13, Roman Rausch <aranwe@...> wrote:

                                    > > As far as ejective mountain dwellers, surely the Nepalese, living as
                                    > > they do in the Himalayas, ought to be ejecting their consonants all
                                    > > over the place?
                                    >
                                    > And drink tea all the time because water is easier to boil? :-)

                                    Oh, quite naturally my good sir! An excellent and astute observation that
                                    will bear considerable fruit and tie all loose ends together: After all,
                                    the distant lands of Asia, where, the historiographer P. Cornelius
                                    Bombastico assures us, based upon the maps of the chief cartographer of
                                    Megas Alexander himself, one Hippophilos Xyphographico, who made the first
                                    great Atlas of maps of the regions where Alexander's armies wandered, the
                                    Nepali do dwell in the vicinity of Shangri La, are lands renowned for all
                                    manner of cultural refinements, was, in point of fact the original
                                    homeland of tea, a plant crop grown and consumed in vast quantities in,
                                    for example, China (where they call the stuff "tshay"), among other
                                    countries in the surrounds. Now, as is well known to anyone familiar with
                                    the works on the history of agriculture, for example, the copious and
                                    lavishly illustrated twelve volume work composed by Cn. Agrigola or the
                                    excessively detailed if not so copiously illustrated work of Mn.
                                    Latifundio, primitive Men, in those golden prehistorical ages before the
                                    ravages of Flood and Frost Giant, knew nothing at all about agriculture,
                                    and therefore nothing about the culture of tea. It was not until some
                                    years after the flood waters washed away the last traces of the works of
                                    the civilizations of the Giants, all the surviving children of Ziusudra
                                    were living upon the tops of what were once high mountains, now having
                                    become isolated islands, or else were compelled to wander the seas upon
                                    rafts and boats, preying upon any and sundry other seafaring folks as they
                                    chanced to meet. Now, as the great historiographer Musa ben Imramico avers,
                                    there was in those days, though we can reasonably presume there were in
                                    earlier times more, only one language in the world, on account of there
                                    being only the household of Deukalion who survived the ravaging floods and
                                    storms of the previous Age. It was at this time, according to the venerable
                                    scholar and historiographer of the East Goths, one Wulfa wan Dunnaqen,
                                    who, having travelled extensively in those distant lands and having
                                    learned much of the ancient history of the world otherwise long forgotten
                                    in the clouded and obscured mysts of mythology in the West, that, a great
                                    light was seen to shine over the Eastfolds, and this being in the evening,
                                    rather surprised one local fellow by the name of Atthman, who, being
                                    attracted by the rapid descent of said light, went over there with his
                                    older son, Cynno, to investigate. The great light was thought by many
                                    to be a falling star, as freuqently used to fall to Earth in the previous
                                    Ages, but some held it to be a falling angel. For as the venerable sawyer
                                    Hamilcar of New Qades tells us in his work De Aggelibus, in the days
                                    anterior to the Flood, the great angel Lucifer had been cast out with his
                                    armies and were seen to fall from on high in great streaks of burning
                                    light. But upon arriving in the Eastfolds, Atthman and Cynno soon found
                                    that the cause was rather more startling in nature, for, there, they
                                    found neither fallen star nor fallen angel but rather beheld a great
                                    golden swan, spewing and sputtering steam, and having opened its
                                    posterior, out came two men, one wearing a kind of fish bowl upon his
                                    head, while the other wore only loose white robes and a rakishly combed
                                    beard of grey. According to Musa, Atthman asks the stranger "who are you?
                                    and why did you crawl out of a golden goose's butt?" To which the stranger
                                    replies: "Me, I'm Enoch, and this here is me chum, O-Say-Reese, and that's
                                    no goose, lad, gold nor otherwise, that's me Vimana Mark VII. A beaut, no?
                                    Anywho, where is everybody? I just left here a while back on the 'Mother
                                    Ship' - and oh boy!, you've never seen such a wonderful craft as the old
                                    Mother Ship! - and there were people all over the place! Say, where can I
                                    get a hot cup of tea hereabouts? I'm more parched than the great sandy
                                    desert!" "Sad to say, old man, most everyone's gone. Big flood a few
                                    years back washed all the Giants anyway, and most humans too. Er, what's
                                    a 'desert' and what's 'tea'?" Needless to say, old Enoch was Not Amused,
                                    there being no tea to be had anywhere in the vicinity. So, according to
                                    wan Dunnaqen, he got back into his Vimana Mark VII, instructing
                                    O-Say-Reese to teach these primitive people "how to bloody well grow some
                                    tea, and take a bath and so forth". And with that, he packed up his golden
                                    goose and shot back up into the sky, just as he had come down. Now,
                                    O-Say-Reese stayed on a while and taught Atthman the arts of agriculture.
                                    But Atthman was more of a grazer and didn't take too kindly to having to
                                    root about in the dirt and muck, and thus called upon his son Cynno to
                                    take over the farm, and this one took such a shine to the task at hand
                                    there was no stopping him. And so, Cynno applied his skills at farming to
                                    all sorts of plants, well known even to the modern day, such as, for
                                    example, apples, corn, rice, hemp, poppies, cocoa and of course the
                                    wonderful rayon bean. Now, according to Agricola, it was the custom in
                                    those days that the discoverer of a new plant or animal also earned the
                                    privilege of naming the said new plant or animal. For example, Cynno's
                                    brother, Appellias, was the first to discover the last remaining herd of
                                    hairy olifants while out tending his flocks by night, when, having been
                                    asked by his friend Josephat what all the stamping and trumpeting was
                                    about, Appellias could only reply "AAAAAAUGHHH!" before being trod upon
                                    by the enraged pachyderm. Josephat, it turned out, upon returning home
                                    is said to have kept muttering, over and over again, "I have seen the
                                    olifant, and no mistake!", and so the name stuck. And so it was that Cynno
                                    took to naming all the new plants he brought under domestication within
                                    the auspices of his new "mega-latifundical farming corporation", or
                                    MegaFarmCo. In time, Cynno discovered a certain kind of herb growing in
                                    the hill country beyond the confines of the latifundium and found that it
                                    was edible and without distressing side effects, such as, for example,
                                    the time when he discovered senna and suffered from flux for a fortnight,
                                    which when its leaves are dried, was found to make a wonderful, bitter
                                    yet full flavored and refreshing drink, especially when chilled over
                                    crunchy waters. This plant he called "ysset'ttshaya" and brewed it by the
                                    gallon in great glass globes up on the sunny slopes of the hills outside
                                    the latifundium. Now, in after years, as Musa tells us, Yahweh having at
                                    last defeated Tehom at whist, thus causing the waters to again separate
                                    and, having pulled the plug from the drains at the bottom of the world
                                    sea, and the waters thereof having receded, this left all sorts of newly
                                    opened real estate for Cynno's newly founded land-scheme corporation to
                                    exploit. The descendants of Noe thus spread out into all the lands around
                                    the now exposed island-mountains, taking with them not only their
                                    penchant for freshly brewed herbal teas, but also their ur-name for the
                                    delicious beverage in question, 'ttshaya', carrying the same into the east
                                    and south, where, in subsequent ages, the inhabitants of Chatai and
                                    Bharat alike call the stuff by a name in a slightly eroded mode of the
                                    ancient: 'chai'; while in the West, far from the lofty mountain home of
                                    their ancient ancestors, the folks of Rum and Phazzania alike call it by
                                    an even further eroded name: 'tey'. Therefore, it can clearly be seen as
                                    demonstrated by Iuuencus Grammaticus, that tea was indeed first brewed,
                                    and continues to be assiduously consumed, by those hardy mountain men,
                                    fresh off the boat in early post-deluge times, and also that in those
                                    distant and tranquil days, the strongly ejected stop consonants were
                                    everywhere in evidence. Q. E. D. -- the tea drinking Nepalese of the
                                    high Himalayas are the modern day ejective spitting, tea brewing,
                                    mountain dwelling descendants of the ancients with whose language theirs
                                    bears a striking similarity in this regard; also, the similarly tea
                                    drinking, but non Nepalese of the lowlands (i.e., the Nether Lands), have,
                                    in the course of wandering away from their mountainous urheimat, lost
                                    their ejectives, though not their penchant for a spot of tea.

                                    Padraic

                                    > Looking at the WALS map for rare consonants (http://wals.info/feature/19A?tg_format=map&v1=cfff&v2=d000&v3=cff0&v4=s00d&v5=cd00&v6=dd00&v7=sd00)
                                    > I noticed that interdental spirants seem to occur more often
                                    > in languages situated near coastlines: English, Greek,
                                    > Albanian, Spanish, Icelandic for Indo-European; but also
                                    > Swahili, Aleut, Fijian; a cluster of languages near the
                                    > South China Sea, a cluster in Mexico, and so on.
                                    > If I come up with a tentative reason for how maritime
                                    > climate or seafaring can make you stick your tongue out, I
                                    > can write a paper. :-)
                                    >
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