----- Original Message -----
From: Marco Moretti
To: nostratic@yahoogroups.com
Sent: Wednesday, February 25, 2004 4:56 AM
Subject: [nostratic] Re: extinction of a list


Hello, dear Gerry!
*** Yo to you Marco.

I've read somewhere that native dialect of J. F. Kennedy has the same
identical features. He used to pronounce /idea/ and similar words
with a final /-r/, and to have a plenty of /-ah-/.
*** JFK's accent was educated and elite, two factors I did mention in my assessment of dialects.  His pitch was also higher, smoother, and softer.
Dialect is definitely a product of environment.  Ah, yes, here it is:
>> In order to assess accent similarities and differences, one needs first of all to draw an ethnic map.  Then upon this map one needs to allow for social
> distinction as well as economic differences. << 

I already guessed that you are from US seeing you amazed by my
description of Europe barren population. I can guess from your
surname that you are of German origin. How this origin is remote
and how it still infuences your speech? Do you remember something
of the language of your ancestors or is it alien to you like
***  Yes, Haverhill was named after a town somewhere in England.  The Merrimack Valley is along the Merrimack River in the North East corner
of Massachusetts.  My surname is actually my married name and German is the
ethnicity of my husband.  My maiden name is Walukevich which is of Polish and Lithuanian heritage.  Polish was a language that my mother and aunt (who lived in our household) would speak when they had "private" matters to discuss.  The only things I remember in Polish are a few Catholic prayers and some "off color" words.

It is quite interesting, but apparently you speak
of "microdifferences". All kind of English spoken in your valley are
mutually understandable or there is some difficulty of communication?
***  You are absolutely correct that all people in my valley could converse with others, even though some might choose not to.  For example, someonw whose occupation was that of an uneducated factory worker would find it difficult to converse with the Kennedys for example.  Somewhere, however, I did mention that a speaker of Haverhillian would find understanding Creole (as spoken in Louisiana) incomprehensible.

As for me, language and species origins are all but clear and
understandable. We know almost nothing about this topic, and all
models of macro-families are still very feeble and uncapable to go
back to the ultimate source of human language.
So reconstruct precise paths in the history of language change
is terribly hard and all this despite of Glen's opinion.
Glen uses Occam's Razor in a terrible way. Once Einstein said that
things are the most possible easy, but not easier than possible, and
I agree.
***  Finding the "ultimate source" for language-origins is a moot endeavor.  So is searching for origins of species.   A spoken language is the assimilation of education, geography, class, religion, and social group to which a person belongs (i.e. the environment).  A species likewise is the product of its environment. 

Best wishes,