Re: [tied] Sino-Caucasian and Nostratic

From: Jens Elmegaard Rasmussen
Message: 32671
Date: 2004-05-17

On Mon, 17 May 2004, Michael Smith wrote:

>   What are opinions on this list regarding the proposed Sino-
> Caucasian family, or Dene-Caucasian as I believe it is also known. 
> It seems there is debate as to whether Sumerian and ChukchiKamchatkan
> belong with Nostratic or Sino-Caucasian.
> Or, could Eurasiatic, Sino-Caucasian (minus Sumerian and
> ChukchiKamchatkan), Afro-Asiatic, Kartvellian, Sumerian,
> ChukchiKamchatkan and Elamo-Dravidian all be early seperate branches
> of SCAN?  I wonder where Eskimo-Aleut would fit into all this.

For what it's worth, I believe I can see the reason to group IE together
with Uralic, and the two together with Altaic (I also believe my
amateurish acquaintance with Altaic languages confirm that Altaic is in
fact a genetic unit), and the lot together with Eskimo-Aleut and
apparently also Chukchi-Kamtchatkan. Those who know say they can see the
relationship with Afro-Asiatic, Kartvelian and Dravidian also, and
Bomhard's etymologies seem to confirm this. Waiting in the wings are Nivkh
which may be hooked on to the IE-Ur-Alt-ChK-EA line, and Sumerian which is
perhaps just a relative of it all.

That is the picture I have at the moment, but I have not looked seriously
at the alternatives, i.e. what degree of similarity one perceives between
a member of Nostratic and a member of Sino-Caucasian, or between elements
reconstructed for the two superprotolanguages. It would ne interesting if
anybody could give us an impression of the degrees of closeness involved
in this overall classiffication.