>But I also think comparison of grammatical structure could be one
>of several tools used to group languages into sub-groups.

I have precisely the same view. I'm very disappointed in the
continued vagueness vis-a-vis the topic of grammatical comparison
in Nostratic studies. All I can say to this is my usual "Aaaargh!".

>The difference between the Afro-Asitaic group and the rest of
>Nostratic in this respect is interesting, because sov/vso is not only
>a difference of ordering werbs, actually it is two quite different
>philosofies of listing elements and connecting them together

What are werbs? ;) But seriously, that's an interesting point
that I admit to not thinking deeply about, partly because my
focus so far has not been much on AfroAsiatic languages. However,
what you've effectively shown is how great the differences
are between AfroAsiatic and the rest of Nostratic... This in fact
plays into what appears to be the general consensus concerning the
placement of AA within the macrofamily anyways. Many accept that
AA is one of the first branches to split away from Nostratic. If
it should be that its grammar is quite unique, this is only to
be expected.

However, thinking more on the VSO-SOV conundrum, I see where
you're going with the idea that Nostratic was SVO (the middle
position). It's just that... well... Aren't we forgetting
Kartvelian? I've positioned Kartvelian as a branch coordinate
with AfroAsiatic and Eurasiatic (Sumerian, EDrav, Steppe).
Doesn't Kartvelian also show SOV? I place Kartvelian seperately
because it seems, in my view, to preserve a second person pronoun
(*ku, originally a masculine 2ps pronoun?) that doesn't show up
in Eurasiatic.

I hold the view that Nostratic had a suppletive pronominal system
with special forms for the absolutive, different from the forms
used for the oblique cases (eg: *nu/*u "I"; *ku,*tu/*nu "you").
The oblique pronouns have been preserved in Dravidian as well
as in Steppe's intransitive conjugation (... or so says I).

But then... maybe it's possible that Kartvelian and Eurasiatic
both deviated from SVO to SOV while AfroAsiatic took the opposite
path to VSO. If this is so, then, yes, I suppose the cases would
likely have taken suffixes rather than postpositions.

Hmm, I have to think some more...

>Because the difference in prinsiple between typical VSO and typical
>SOV is so great, i think It is worth considering this difference
>between Aphro-Asiatic and other branches, when making comparisons,
>and proposing subgroups.

And if we can accept this logical point, why then does Bomhard
and many other Nostraticists continue to base many of their
reconstructed roots solely on IndoEuropean on the one hand and
the remotely related AfroAsiatic on the other? Surely they must
see the pitfalls of this as well as the vast differences between
the two groups, making true cognates all the more unlikely.

- love gLeN

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