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Re: [tied] Renfrew hypothesis"meets resistance"

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  • Piotr Gasiorowski
    Linguists have long opposed Renfrew s hypothesis as originally formulated, either sticking to some version of the Kurgan hypothesis or experimenting with
    Message 1 of 2 , Nov 3, 2001
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      Linguists have long opposed Renfrew's hypothesis as originally formulated, either sticking to some version of the Kurgan hypothesis or experimenting with alternative homeland scenarios. I wonder what Renfrew himself would regard as the key components of his hypothesis -- the mechanism of language spread? PIE in the the Fertile Crescent ca. 10000 BC? The former, as laid out in _Archaeology and Language_, is simplistic; the latter, out of the question, period. But Renfrew has already conceded a point or two to his critics, which is of course what anyone had better do if the critics are right:
       
      "The language/farming dispersal hypothesis does not necessarily imply that the spread of farming was brought about by a large number of people, through some process of demic diffusion, although that has certainly been argued. Smaller numbers of migrant farmers might, through their prestige of their new economy, have been responsible for processes of contact-induced language change (Zvelebil 1995). Certainly recent molecular genetic evidence for Europe does show indications of human dispersals accompanying the Neolithic, but only on a relatively small scale (Richards _et al._ 1998)" [from Renfrew's introduction to _Nostratic: Examining a Linguistic Macrofamily_].
       
      If enough little adjustments accumulate, Renfrew's hypothesis will no longer be its old good self of fourteen years ago. So what? It's healthy to let one's views evolve, and it's a fatal error if one tries to defend the indefensible for fear of losing face. I, for one, am grateful to Renfrew and other authors who made me rethink the linguistic prehistory of Europe (as a result of which my faith in the Pontic homeland evaporated and I began to look round for alternatives), although I couldn't accept Renfrew's linguistic speculation -- he definitely overstepped his competence there.
       
      Piotr
       
       
      ----- Original Message -----
      Sent: Saturday, November 03, 2001 7:41 PM
      Subject: [tied] Renfrew hypothesis"meets resistance"

      Shouse balances his report by concluding that Renfrew "thinks his hypothesis will survive these growing pains." GK: The only question is: how much of the original hypothesis
      will have to be recast, and at what point will "quantity turn into quality" (:=))?
    • Miguel Carrasquer Vidal
      On Sat, 3 Nov 2001 23:13:53 +0100, Piotr Gasiorowski ... My feelings exactly.
      Message 2 of 2 , Nov 3, 2001
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        On Sat, 3 Nov 2001 23:13:53 +0100, "Piotr Gasiorowski"
        <gpiotr@...> wrote:

        >If enough little adjustments accumulate, Renfrew's hypothesis will no longer be its old good self of fourteen years ago. So what? It's healthy to let one's views evolve, and it's a fatal error if one tries to defend the indefensible for fear of losing face. I, for one, am grateful to Renfrew and other authors who made me rethink the linguistic prehistory of Europe (as a result of which my faith in the Pontic homeland evaporated and I began to look round for alternatives), although I couldn't accept Renfrew's linguistic speculation -- he definitely overstepped his competence there.

        My feelings exactly.
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