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A different post: First [Medit. basin] farmers planted the seeds of [Eng.] lang.

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  • animaphile
    This is only scientists hypothesis or parsimonious theory and only one plausible piece of a possible puzzle, maybe true, it would explain many more already
    Message 1 of 1 , Jan 16, 2004
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      This is only scientists hypothesis or parsimonious theory and only
      one plausible piece of a possible puzzle, maybe true, it would
      explain many more already plausibly described pieces of the possible
      puzzle into a clearer picture! Of course these Turkish Farmers
      metioned were not Farmers in Fukuoka's sense - Shizen nouhou hito -
      Natural Food Growing people - they are agriculturalist in the sense
      of plowing the soil. What do each of you readers take this to mean,
      if anything?
      Kindness or Blessings, depending on your cosmology,
      to all,
      Jyaa-ne (See-ya in Japanese)

      See the fairly equable Sydney Paper-
      and the Boston Globe for the original.

      December 1, 2003

      At last the answer in black and white, or beltz and zuri if you
      happen to be Basque, or noir and blanc, if you are French: you owe
      the words to Hittite-speaking farmers from Anatolia, who invented
      agriculture and spread their words as they sowed their seed 9500
      years ago.

      Languages, like people, are related. Russell Gray, of Auckland
      University, reports in the magazine Nature that he and a colleague
      decided to treat language as if it was DNA and compared selected
      words from 87 languages to build an evolutionary tree of the Indo-
      European languages. This could help solve an old argument: who
      picked up the original language and began to spread gradually
      evolving versions of it across Europe and Asia?

      For decades the focus has been on a tribe of nomad herders called
      the Kurgans from central Asia, who domesticated the horse 6000 years
      ago and invaded Europe.

      "It [language] spread not by the sword of conquest, but by the
      plough," Dr Gray said.

      Others have argued that the Indo-European family of languages must
      have spread with barley and lentils - the first agriculturalists in
      the Fertile Crescent would have exported not just their techniques,
      but also the words that went with them.

      Dr Gray chose 2449 words from 87 languages, including English,
      Lithuanian, Gujarati, Romany, Walloon, Breton, Hindi and
      Pennsylvania Dutch, and began a series of comparisons to build up a
      pattern of descent.

      The choice of words was critical. "For example, English is a
      veritable fruit salad of a language, with chunks of vocabulary from
      the Celts, Romans, Angles, Saxons, Jutes, Vikings, Normans, and
      slices of Latin, French, Greek, and Italian tossed with some more
      recent garnishes from Arabic, Persian, Turkish and Hindi. There is
      even the odd Polynesian borrowing, like tattoo," he said.

      "Ninety nine per cent of words in the Oxford English Dictionary are
      in fact borrowings from other languages."

      But English has a basic vocabulary of 200 words - star, dog, earth,
      blood, woman, year and so on - that can be linked to an original
      shared language.

      The answer is that words were on the move long before horses. Dr
      Gray's language tree ended with its roots in Anatolia in modern
      Turkey about 7500BC, when villagers speaking a form of Hittite
      kindled pahhur, or fire, to boil watar, or water, before setting out
      on pad, or foot, to spread the good word.

      Dr Gray was trained as a biologist, not a linguist, which some
      scientists said could explain the generally cautious reception this
      week's announcement in Nature received from linguists.

      "Partly, I think they are irritated," said Luigi Luca Cavalli-
      Sforza, an expert on historic population migrations and a professor
      emeritus at Stanford Medical School.

      "It is a very good paper."

      The Guardian, The Boston Globe
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