SV: SV: Paired Horse and PIE breakup

Paul Kekai Manansala kekai at JPS.NET
Mon Nov 9 18:34:21 UTC 1998

Miguel Carrasquer Vidal wrote:
> Paul Kekai Manansala <kekai at JPS.NET> wrote:
> >There was never any such racial criteria for the older classification of
> >languages. In fact, it was more racially neutral than the current
> >classification.  For example, Cushitic languages were grouped together
> >with Semitic ones.  Now they are separated.
> They're not.  You've got it backwards.

The former classification had Hamito-Semitic (which included Cushitic)
together as a subfamily of Afro-Asiatic. According to Greenberg,
Cushitic and Semitic are not part of the same subfamily.

> But the most influential classification before Greenberg's was
> undoubtedly that of Meinhof, as published in his "Die Sprachen der
> Hamiten" (1912).  Meinhof divided African languages in three groups:
> 1. Hamito-Semitic:
>    a. Semitic
>    b. Hamitic (Egypt., Berber, Cushitic, Hausa, Fulani, Maasai, Nama)
> 2. Sudanic (East-Sudanic, West-Sudanic)
> 3. Bantu
> Meinhof's "Hamitic" group included languages with obvious linguistic
> links to Semitic (Ancient Egyptian, Berber, Cushitic and
> Hausa/Chadic), but also languages that only share typological traits
> with Semitic, like grammatical gender (Masai/Nilo-Hamitic, Fulani,
> Nama/Hottentot).  In general, Meinhof thought he had discovered a
> correlation between languages with such "Semitoid" characteristics
> and peoples whose main mode of subsistance was pastoralism, and who
> were known to have been dominant politically (e.g. the Fulani in
> Western Africa, and the "Nilo-Hamitic" Maasai/Tutsi in Eastern
> Africa).  This was interpreted as evidence of a Semitic-derived
> "Hamitic master race" which had invaded Africa in ancient times from
> the Near East, establishing Egyptian civilization, and had further
> penetrated in the African continent, providing it with its more
> vigorous, war-like peoples, despite subsequent admixture of Negroid
> blood.

Those considerations were provided by anthropologists and they still
exist but in a new form. The Caucasoid blood is still seen in
Semitic-Berber people, and is still thought to have penetrated among the
more "civilized" peoples of Africa like the Ethiopians.  However, other
Caucasoid penetration involved adopting "native" languages.  And
"Hamitic" and "Semitic" languages are still genetically related as
Afro-Asiatic, only the important "white" Hamitic languages are no longer
more closer related to Cushitic which could open some unwanted
possibilites in the minds of some.

Now, Greenberg has come up with a scheme that attempts to group Uralic,
Altaic, Indo-European and even some American Indian languages into a
great herrenvolk tongue originating from the Near East (Mt. Ararat).
Now that is really the great joke that so obviously smacks of 20th
century hyperdiffusionist theories.

Paul Kekai Manansala

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