Metathesis - The armchair linguist's favourite tool

From: Glen Gordon
Message: 8011
Date: 2001-07-20

>1) What I have proposed is not that Austronesian was the ancestor
>language of IndoEuropean and AfroAsiatic, in which case Glen's
>criticism would apply without restriction, but that it provided a
>good hundred loanwords to them.

By proposing that there are uninherited loanwords between Austronesian and
IE, you might escape the charge of mass-comparison as applied to
Joseph Greenberg. However, you still sin by using outdated materials.

The IE-Austronesian link was first proposed in the 19th century (1860s?), if
I recall. According to mainstream views, IE and Austronesian homelands are
not side-by-side in the slightest. One
would need to claim "cultural telepathy" or a million-and-one
second-hand sources for the loans, assuming they are loans instead
of coincidences. Either way, an IE-Austronesian link is so entirely
indirect that any talk of it is completely trivial and doesn't add
anything to what is already known.

So, in all, if you claim that these are loans, you are using a
combination of assumption and outdated/contraversial materials. At
this point, you might claim: "I lack enough data to make any interpretation
of these lists I've created."... but I've heard this
lame excuse before by others, those countless individuals on the
internet that say this in order to make their own unsupportable claims
whilst having a logical exit door lest others with current, up-to-date
information criticize.

>2) Assuming that all these loans were adopted at the same time and
>from the same Austronesian dialect, and that they were not bounced
>around between IE and AA dialects, Glen's criticism would apply too.
>I should find some correspondences and rules (eg. from Proto-
>Astronesian). I might try that later, at the moment I am looking
>M´┐Żller over for further correspondences.

Exactly! "Assuming...". There is no reason to assume anything here
because your overall claim has no basis in fact. You may make up any
sort of rules, but if your grandiose theory itself makes no sense,
you are wasting your valuable time.

I would concentrate first on the answer to the following question before
doing anything else: "How do you support a linguistic link
between the IE and Austronesian proto-languages when their homelands
are so far apart geographically?".


- gLeN


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