Re: From words to dates: Water into wine, mathemagic or phylogeneti

From: tgpedersen
Message: 47308
Date: 2007-02-07

> Here is a direct quote from the 2003 paper
> "Languages, like genes, provide vital clues about human history1,2.
> The origin of the Indo-European language family is "the most
> intensively studied, yet still most recalcitrant, problem of
> historical linguistics"3. Numerous genetic studies of Indo-European
> origins have also produced inconclusive results4,5,6. Here we
> analyse linguistic data using computational methods derived
> from evolutionary biology. We test two theories of Indo-
> European origin: the `Kurgan expansion' and the `Anatolian
> farming' hypotheses. The Kurgan theory centres on possible
> archaeological evidence for an expansion into Europe and the
> Near East by Kurgan horsemen beginning in the sixth millennium
> BP7,8. In contrast, the Anatolian theory claims that Indo-
> European languages expanded with the spread of agriculture
> from Anatolia around 8,000–9,500 years BP9. In striking agreement
> with the Anatolian hypothesis, our analysis of a matrix of
> 87 languages with 2,449 lexical items produced an estimated age
> range for the initial Indo-European divergence of between 7,800
> and 9,800 years BP."
> There is *no doubt* that they do not support the kurgan horsemen

In your mind, that is.

> Here is the portion of the para you quoted earlier:
> "The consensus tree also shows evidence of a period of rapid
> > divergence giving rise to the Italic, Celtic, Balto-Slavic and
> > perhaps Indo-Iranian families that is intriguingly close to the
> > time suggested for a possible Kurgan expansion. "
> I think you are reading what you want to read in this sentence. But
> what the authors are actually saying is, the period (which means
> TIME) of rapid divergence is intriguinngly close to the TIME
> suggested for a possible Kurgan expansion. That does not mean they
> are actually supporting the Kurgan horsemen theory. There is no
> mention of Kurgan horsemen anywhere in the paper.

That's right, they write not Kurgan horsemen, but Kurgan expansion.
They might have written Kurgan charioteers. Which conveyance do you
believe the Kurgan people expanded with?