Language and Genes in Africa and Middle East
a) "> > Languages are independent of genes."
C. Loring Brace
b) "> > True, Berber and Semitic are generally thought
> > to constitute two of about six coordinate branchesinto the Near East."
> > of a vast 'Afro-Asiatic' family. But, apart from
> > Semitic, Afro-Asiatic is attested exclusively in
> > Africa, and the writers have no business moving it
Afro-Asiatic (a misnomer) replaces the erstwhile name of the family
"Hamito-Semitic", which consists of subbranches: Egyptian, Semitic
[relatively closely related to each other], Chadic, Omotic, Cushitic,
and Berber (also called "Libyan").
"Near Eastern languages came from Africa 10,000 years
Brockman writes: ---Any time time-depth statements are ABSOLUTE
The oldest written records we have are Sumerian, maybe 5,200 years ago.
Since we have no reliable way to gauge the rate of language
change---something called "lexicostatistics" or "glottochronology" was
tried in the '50s and '60s and it failed miserably---, without adequate
written records we have no way of deciding what language was at what
stage when. Related languages change at independent rates and we have
no way to measure these changes from ancient times with sparse or
missing records of those languages. There's no way to constrain any
theory about that change. No way! Any estimates given about any
language family's prehistory that goes more back than several HUNDRED
years before the earliest DECIPHERABLE written records is to be
Michael Lamport Commons, Ph.D.
Research Associate and Lecturer
Program in Psychiatry and the Law
Department of Psychiatry
Harvard Medical School
Massachusetts Mental Health Center
74 Fenwood Road
Boston, Ma 02115-6196
Telephone (617) 497-5270
Facsimile (617) 491-5270
Facsimile (617) 547-0874