Re: [tied] Reconstructing a future language

From: x99lynx@...
Message: 18397
Date: 2003-02-03

Torsten wrote:
<<So what you're saying is that the "innovations" that PIE shares with the
Romance languages are misleading since PIE is not a Romance language? If so,
you are agreeing with the authors; it's exactly their point. The question is:
why does PIE falsely share these innovations wiith the Romance languages?
Because they share the same habitat (and I'm only half joking)?>>

Cladistics is trickier than that. Not all innovations totalled up equal
degree of relatedness.

There's also the problem that innovations come and go. Long ago, the
ancestors of the auroch (wild cattle) did not have horns. Aurochs had horns.
The first domesticated cattle had horns. Toady there are breeds of cattle
that are hornless. In linguistics, such attributes are called "lost". But
there is always the question whether they were ever really there, since we
have no auroch bones for pre-literate languages.

Remember that most dogs (Great Danes and Chihuahuas) are in theory equally
related to the first dog. The degree of variance from the original form
might be different, but the degree of relatedness would be the same (in
theory). The same with PIE looking more like Latin versus Albanian (in

My problem is how much of reconstructed PIE comes from the areal spread of
early IE languages rather than the spread of PIE. Areal influence is not
something included in mainstream cladistic thinking. Or the idea that what
is called areal may also be seen as multiple parentage.

Steve Long