--- In nostratic@..., "Geraldine Reinhardt" <waluk@...> wrote:
> Ok Piotr,

> Plus the Rosetta Project has been quite successful in recording
all living languages.

There are still a lot of gaps, and a great many areas seem to depend
on a single contributor.

> Plus a recent publication now pooh-poohs the Nostratic language:
> << But the question of whether Nostratic really existed has created
a storm of controversy in the linguistic field. Now two scholars from
Ohio State University and the University of Wisconsin have put
together an edited book that includes some of the strongest arguments
for and against Nostratic >>

Well, Piotr said he'd join the nostratic group to be devil's advocate!

> Nostratic is a hypothetical macrofamily of languages which includes
Indo-European, Hamito-Semitic (Semitic, Egyptian, Berber, Cushitic,
Omotic, Chadic), Kartvelian (Georgian and related languages), Uralic
(Finno-Ugric, Samoyedic, Yukagir), Altaic (Turkic, Mongolic, Tungusic,
Korean, Japanese), and Dravidian (in India). The hypothesis is based
on more than 2000 common roots and affixes, in which regular sound
correspondences are observed.

2000 is quite good going! (Or does this count variants? I've seen a
lot of very similar 'dog' words cited.) Pokorny only manages 2222
roots for PIE.

Shame Illich-Svitych and Bomhard can't agree on how the Kartvelian and
Afro-Asiatic (= Hamitic-Semitic) plosives match up with PIE. (See
'Crows and the Glottalic Theory' at cybalist.) Or are regular sound
correspondences the exception? There should be an enormous number of
obscure conditioned changes! Miguel will tell you that Afro-Asiatic
lacks decent reconstructions.

> Has some "major" family been left out?

Nothing major, but Eskimo is generally included, which extends the
territory quite a bit if you use the Mercator projection. Sumerian
has been included, and Elamite is proposed, even if only because of
the unconvincing Elamo-Dravidian hypothesis.

> BTW, is Nostratic only a "sliver" of ProtoWorld or what? IOW, what
families are included in ProtoWorld that aren't found in Nostratic?

No, it's a noticeable chunk by population and area. The core texts of
the major religions are written in Nostratic languages.

There's Dene-Caucasian, which some think is relatable to Nostratic.
Dene-Caucasian includes a Caucasian family, Basque, Sino-Tibetan,
Burushaski and Na-Dene. There is debate as to whether Karen is

There's Austric, which includes Austro-Asiatic, Austronesian and Daic
(a.k.a. Tai-Kadai). That accounts for 25% of the world's languages,
but a far smaller proportion by population. This group might include
the Miao-Yao (Hmong) languages. There is the question of whether
Japanese is Altaic or Austric, to which many will reply, 'No'. I've
seen a wet finger estimate that it split from Nostratic-Dene-Caucasian
40,000 years ago.

There are the Papuan and Australian phylums, of uncertain status.
There's Amerind, over which I get the feeling there's more heat than
light. Some of the discussion is quite vitriolic.

I've not heard much of the purely African families -
Niger-Kordofanian, which incorporates Niger-Congo; Nilo-Saharan -
unity disputed; Khoisan - or is this just non-Bantu click languages?.
Omotic actually shows some grammatical similarities to nearby
Nilo-Saharan languages, so they might have some relevance to the

A mischievous thought: Can there be natural, spoken languages that do
not derive from Proto-World?

> Maybe I'm not the correct person to moderate the the new nostratic
list (since there won't be anything new).

There hasn't been much trouble with people straying off-topic on
Nostratic. The main issues have been flaming (which you've already
dealt with) and spamming.