Re: [tied] Non-lexical language trees

From: Richard Wordingham
Message: 27940
Date: 2003-12-04

--- In, "Brian M. Scott" <BMScott@...>
> At 9:33:16 on Wednesday, 3 December 2003, Daniel J. Milton
> wrote:
> > As has been pointed out here, language trees based on
> > vocabulary lists, like the Grey-Atkinson one under
> > discussion, miss significant relationships like the
> > satem-kentum split.
> > I presume phonological and morphological phenomena could
> > be described as discrete entities amenable to
> > corrresponding computation, although it would be a lot
> > tougher job than just looking at Swadesh word lists.
> Ringe, Warnow, and Taylor use lexical, morphological, and
> phonological characters. They list 22 phonological
> characters and 15 morphological characters out of a total of
> 370 characters; the remaining 333 are lexical.

For non-Anatolian Indo-European, we should also note that the study
applies a tree model to what was probably a dialect continuum that
fell apart. The split of Western centum languages from Balto-
Slavonic is put only 400 years later (6,500 years BP) than their
joint split from Indo-Iranian and Albanian (6,900 years BP). I am
surprised that Greek and Armenian appear to be related (I thought
there was a Greek-Armenian-Indo-Iranian _sprachbund_), but note the
absence of an Anglo-Frisian branch within Germanic. In the Romance
family, we see neither Eastern Romance nor the 'Italo-Western' given
in Ethnologue (
subid=723 ). Piotr has commented on how 'South Slavic', which
appears as a branch here, is a consequence of subsequent mutual
influence rather than an original branch within Slavic.