On Mon, 09 Jun 2003 13:34:32 +0400, Alexander Stolbov
<alex@...> wrote:

>Miguel, I have read your Tours with a great interest, but hesitated to start asking my (probably naive) questions.
>Now they follow:
>1) How do you think the results of you investigation depend on the fact that a few "classical" Nostratic families (Altaic, Dravidian, Elamic) were not taken into account? You did explain why, and I hope that soon you will be able to include them in the review. Should we expect a considerable correction of the conclusions?

For what it's worth, what I know about "Altaic" (Turkic, Mongol, Tunguz,
Korean, Japanese) seems to fit the overall pattern (-n/-t plurals, personal
pronouns/suffixes, in a part of Tunguz even reflecting the pattern -i/-u
[1. bi, 2. si; pl. 1. bu, 2. su], gen -n, acc. -m [Tunguz]). More or less
the same goes for what I know of Yukaghir and Chukchi-Kamchatkan.

Dravidian is a different matter. There are some similarities, but I don't
have a clear picture yet of whether they fit in, and if so, how.

>2) You took into the consideration a number of disputable members of the Nostratic superfamily - Etruscan, Sumerian, Basque, Eskimo-Aleut.
>How would you rank them taking as the criterion the probability that each of them belong to this superfamily in reality?
>(Just for example: most probably - Etruscan, then Sumerian, then Eskimo-Aleut, minimal probability - Basque. If you could estimate these probabilities quantitatively it would be great)

I would rank Eskimo-Aleut first: if Nostratic exists, EA is surely

The problem with Etruscan is that we know too little about it (verb,
personal pronouns). The nominal declension looks similar to PIE, but it's
possible to interpret the evidence in different ways.

Sumerian suffers a bit from the same problem: we would like to know more.
What we *do* know does not make a very strong case (at least where the
morphology is involved). It *could* be Nostratic, but other explanations
might do as well.

Basque is also problematical, but I'm mor eor less convinced it belongs in
Nostratic: the personal pronouns fit, and so do small details like the -n /
-r- (*-n / *-t-) alternation in words like egun "day", egur- in compositis.

>3) How sensitive are your conclusions to the presence of these hypothetical members in the investigated group? What would change if we exclude them?

Looking at more relevant data can always change the way we interpret the
data already investigated.

>4) How do you imagine the inner structure of the Nostratic superfamily?
>(For example: PN
> / \
> Af-As \
> / \
> / \
> West-N East-N
> / \ / | \
> Kartv. IE / | \
> / | \
> Drav. Ural. Altaic )

Well, I've only looked at the morphological data in the present "Tour", and
it seems a division can be made between *ni ~ *ki languages (AA, Basque)
and *mi ~ *ti languages (the rest), in my proposal both from PN *mi ~ *ki.

>5) And what about the inner structure of Afro-Asiatic?

I don't know enough about AA for my opinion to be worth much. I'd say:
Chadic-Berber; Egyptian-Semitic;Beja-Cushitic;Omotic.

Miguel Carrasquer Vidal