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Cladistic analysis of languages: Indo-European classification based on lexicostatistical data

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  • Joao
    http://www.sciencedirect.com/science?_ob=ArticleURL&_udi=B6WCG-47X1T77-5&_user=10&_handle=B-WA-A-A-AZ-MsSAYVW-UUW-AAUAWDEAEC-AUEYYCEEEC-DUAAEYCWB-AZ-U&_fmt=sum
    Message 1 of 2 , Oct 26, 2004
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       Cladistics
      Volume 19, Issue 2 , April 2003, Pages 120-127
       
       

      Cladistic analysis of languages: Indo-European classification based on lexicostatistical data

      KateImageina RexováCorresponding Author Contact Information, E-mail The Corresponding Author, a, b, Daniel Fryntaa and Jan Zrzavýc

      a Department of Zoology, Charles University, ViniImagená 7, CZ-128 44, Praha 2, Czech Republic
      b Department of Philosophy and History of Sciences, Charles University, ViniImagená 7, CZ-128 44, Praha 2, Czech Republic
      c Department of Zoology, Faculty of Biological Sciences, University of South Bohemia, BraniImageovská 31, CZ-370 05, Imageeské BudImagejovice, Czech Republic

      Accepted 15 July 2002. ; Available online 11 February 2003.


      Abstract

      The phylogeny of the Indo-European (IE) language family is reconstructed by application of the cladistic methodology to the lexicostatistical dataset collected by Dyen (about 200 meanings, 84 speech varieties, the Hittite language used as a functional outgroup). Three different methods of character coding provide trees that show: (a) the presence of four groups, viz., Balto-Slavonic clade, Romano-Germano-Celtic clade, Armenian-Greek group, and Indo-Iranian group (the two last groups possibly paraphyletic); (b) the unstable position of the Albanian language; (c) the unstable pattern of the basalmost IE differentiation; but (d) the probable existence of the Balto-Slavonic–Indo-Iranian ("satem") and the Romano-Germano-Celtic (+Albanian?) superclades. The results are compared with the phenetic approach to lexicostatistical data, the results of which are significantly less informative concerning the basal pattern. The results suggest a predominantly branching pattern of the basic vocabulary phylogeny and little borrowing of individual words. Different scenarios of IE differentiation based on archaeological and genetic information are discussed.

    • Richard Wordingham
      ... reconstructed by application of the cladistic methodology to the lexicostatistical dataset collected by Dyen (about 200 meanings, 84 speech varieties, the
      Message 2 of 2 , Oct 26, 2004
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        --- In cybalist@yahoogroups.com, "Joao" <josimo70@y...> wrote:
        > Abstract
        > The phylogeny of the Indo-European (IE) language family is
        reconstructed by application of the cladistic methodology to the
        lexicostatistical dataset collected by Dyen (about 200 meanings, 84
        speech varieties, the Hittite language used as a functional
        outgroup). Three different methods of character coding provide trees
        that show: (a) the presence of four groups, viz., Balto-Slavonic
        clade, Romano-Germano-Celtic clade, Armenian-Greek group, and Indo-
        Iranian group (the two last groups possibly paraphyletic); (b) the
        unstable position of the Albanian language; (c) the unstable pattern
        of the basalmost IE differentiation; but (d) the probable existence
        of the Balto-Slavonic-Indo-Iranian ("satem") and the Romano-Germano-
        Celtic (+Albanian?) superclades. The results are compared with the
        phenetic approach to lexicostatistical data, the results of which
        are significantly less informative concerning the basal pattern. The
        results suggest a predominantly branching pattern of the basic
        vocabulary phylogeny and little borrowing of individual words.
        Different scenarios of IE differentiation based on archaeological
        and genetic information are discussed.

        There's some careless parrotting in the paper. What do they mean
        by 'Europe'? Europe less Russia? I thought Uralic and possibly the
        threee Caucasian families were also native to Europe! They've also
        forgotten that some of the meanings on the 200-word list do *not*
        keep their words well - 'because', 'dirty' and 'stab' are
        particularly likely to change the associated word - see
        http://www.ntu.edu.au/education/langs/ielex/IE-RATE1 .

        It is worth noticing that the high rates of word-replacement in Indo-
        Iranian languages has, on their own admission, affected their
        results. For studying IE, as opposed to cladistics, it seems they
        should have used Latin and Sanskrit, if their tools can handle time
        differences.

        Contrasting with Gray and Atkinson, it's interesting to see that the
        Graeco-Armenian clade gets no support from the robuster method of
        the three in this paper, but I get the feeling Gray and Atkinson
        used robuster techniques.

        I wish I knew what to make of Romano-Germanic-Albanian - artefact or
        reality. If it's real, it adds to the argument that Satem is in a
        sense polyphyletic - an areal change rather than an inherited change.

        Richard.
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