Category Archives: Language Families

Excellent Proof of the Aryan Invasion Theory

From here.

Aryan invasion

Around 1500 BC, the Indus civilization came, after 2,000 years of prosperity, to a comparatively abrupt end. Conclusive evidence shows that the reason for this decline, in fact the sole reason for it, was an invasion by highly barbaric Aryans. They invaded, destroying the Indus cities and exterminating the native peoples.

1. Archaeological Evidence

1.1 Thick Ash Layers

Thick ash layers occur in the upper strata of many Indus cities. At Nal the last phase of the Zhob-ware was burnt down so much that the mound is known as the Sohr Damb, or the Red Mound, from the reddening of fire. At Dabar Kot the upper 6 feet show 4 thick ash layers that indicate repeated destruction by conflagration and the layers were is associated with the last settlements of Harappa [Piggott 215].

At the Rana Ghundai Mound everywhere overlying the foundation level of the RG IIIc phase there are pockets of ash. Above the RG IIIc phase the pottery is a markedly different from the preceding type, the RG IV phase pottery being painted with coarse bands. RG IV was again destroyed by fire, and the RG V phase is marked by another change in pottery. The RG V pottery is unpainted and contains patterns in relief [Piggott p. 214].

1.2 Fractured Skulls

At Mohenjo-daro, Harappa and Chanhu-daro, skeletons/fragments of skeletons indicate violent massacres in the final stages of the cities’ histories. Huddled skeletons of persons murdered in the streets indicate that the mass deaths were not due to poisonings etc. but were violent [Piggott p. 145].

1.3 Aryan Weaponry

Copper ax-adzes are intrusive at Harappan sites (Harappa, Shahi-tump and Chanhu-daro) but are similar to those found at North Persian sites (Hissar III, Shah Tepe, Turang Tepe) and Akkadian sites. At Assur Sialk B cemetery, the specimens are probably from as late as the 9th century BC) [Piggott p.228].

Swords 1.5 foot long and strengthened at the mid-rib are non-Harappan and are found only in the later strata of the cities. These swords at Mohenjo-daro have a tang and rivet to hold the handle exactly as found in Palestine, where such implements are associated with the Hyksos 1800-1500 BC [Piggott p. 229].

Copper harpoons found in the Indus Valley are similar to those found in Europe and elsewhere in Asia [Piggott p. 237].

1.4 Flooding by Aryan Destruction of Indus Dams

Signs of flooding were discovered in the Indus cities, mainly in the form of silt deposits. It was considered that this flooding could explain the fall of the Indus cities and this was considered the most viable alternative to Aryan Invasion. It was subsequently discovered, however, that flooding had been pinpointed as an alternative explanation to the Aryan Invasion Theory several decades before the actual discovery of the flooding. It is now accepted that the flooding was caused by the Aryans’ destruction of the Indus dam and irrigation system and was merely another aspect of the genocide.

+ He smote Vrtra who encompassed the waters [RgV VI.20.2].

+ He smote Vrtra who enclosed the waters, like a tree with the bolt [RgV II.14.2].

+ He is referred to as `conquering the waters’ (apsujit), which is his prime attribute.

+ Indra let loose the streams after slaying Vrtra [RgV IV.19.8].

+ He cleaves the mountain, making the streams flow [RgV I.57.6; X.89.7], even with the sound of his bolt [RgV VI.27; VI.57.6; II.14.2; IV.19.8; VI.20.2; VI.27.1; X.89.7. ST 368].

In Sanskrit, `vrtra’ is an `obstacle’, and denotes a barrage or blockage [ISISH 70-71]. It is thus a word for `dam’. Dams now called Gebr-band are found on many watercourses of the western parts of the Indus region. Aryans shattered the dam system of the Indus, leading to silt deposits in Mohenjo-daro [S & T 369].

+ When he [Indra] laid open the great mountain, he let loose the torrents and slew the Danava, he set free the pent up springs, the udder of the mountain. [RgV V.32.1-2].

+ He slew the Danava, shattered the great mountain, broke open the well, set free the pent up waters. [RgV I.57.6; V.33.1].

+ He releases the streams which are like imprisoned cows [RgV I.61.10].

+ He won the cows and soma and made the 7 rivers flow. [RgV I.32.12; II.12.12].

+ He releases the imprisoned waters [RgV I.57.6; I.103.2].

+ He dug out channels for the streams with his bolt [RgV II.15.3], let the flood of waters flow into the sea. [RgV II.19.3].

+ He caused the waters pent up by Vrtra to flow [RgV III.26.6; IV.17.1; McDonnell; S & T 368-9 quoting McDonnell].

Another verse explicitly mentions him as a destroyer of dams: rinag rodhamsi krtrimani = “he removed artificial barriers” [RgV 2.15.8].

Now, rodhas = “dam” elsewhere in the Rig Veda and in later Sanskrit [S & T 369]. The above evidence taken directly from the Rig Veda and not from any secondary source is sufficient to implicate the Aryans as the destroyers of the dam systems of the ancient Indus.

1.5 Aryan Settlements

Aryan settlements occur atop the destroyed cities towards the end of the civilization. They are primitive brick structures made of material taken from the ruins of the preceding towns.

1.3 Aryan Weaponry

Aryan weaponry, including the horse and chariot, occur towards the end of the Indus cities’ history.

2. Anthropological

2.1 Northern Dravidians

Several Dravidian tribes still inhabit isolated parts of northern India. The Brahui inhabit parts of Baluchistan and still speak a Dravidian language. The Bhils inhabit parts of southern Rajasthan. The black Gonds inhabit parts of central India about the Vindhyans.

2.2 The Black Sudroids ; Dravidians

The Aryans and Dravidians today still retain by and large their original features. The Aryans have fair-pale skin, leptorrhine (thin) noses and straight hair. The Dravidians have broad noses, curly-wavy hair and dark-black skin. [Winters;* Risley].

2.3 White Indo-Aryan Caucasoids

The Indo-Aryans belong to the Caucasoid or white race and are very similar to Latins. The Indo-Aryan languages belong to the Indo-European family of languages. Racially the Indo-Aryans possess white to fair skin, thin noses and lips and straight hair.

3. Literary

3.1 Sanskrit Literature

References to an Aryan invasion abound in Sanskrit literature.

The ancient singer praises the god who “destroyed the Dasyans and protected the Aryan color” [Rg.V. III.34.9; Ann. 114] and “the thunderer who bestowed on his white friends the fields, bestowed the sun, bestowed the waters” [Rg.V. I.100.18; Ann. 114].

There are numerous references to “the black skin” Krishnam Vacham [Rg.V. IX.41.1, Sama Veda I.491, II.242; Ann. 114] which is mentioned with abhorrence. Again “stormy gods who rush on like furious bulls and scatter the black skin” [Rg.V. IX.73.5]. The singers mention “the black skin, the hated of Indra”, being swept out of heaven [RgV. IX.73.5]: “Indra protected in battle the Aryan worshiper, he subdued the lawless for Manu, he conquered the black skin” [Rg.V. I.130.8; Ann.114].

The sacrificer poured out thanks to his god for “scattering the slave bands of black descent”, and for stamping out ” the vile Dasyan color” [Rg.V. II.20.7, II.12.4; Ann. 115]. See Dasam varnam adharam [Rg.V. II.12.4; Muir part I, p.43, II, p.284, 323 etc.; Ann. 114 ff].

Rakshas are aboriginals

  • Ravana = Rakshasendra [Ann. 111].
  • Rakshas = Ceylon aborigines according to Chinese travelers and Singhalese chronicles – Rakko or Yakko in the vernacular [An. 111].

Destruction of Cities

The Aryan gods are proudly presented by the Vedic “sages” as the destroyers of cities. Of these Indra, later considered an incarnation of the God Vishnu, is the prime culprit. Indra is called Puroha or Purandhara, `sacker of cities’ [S & T 366]. Indra overthrew 100 Puras made of stone (asmanmayi) for his worshiper Divodasa [RgV 4.30.20], evidently belonging to Sambara who is a Dasa (non-Aryan/demon) of the mountain [RgV 6.26.5] [Chanda; S & T p.364]

No regard was shown to the life of non-Aryans.

An Aryan poet says:

Ye mighty ones [Asvins]: what do you do there; why do you stay there among the people who are held in high esteem through not offering sacrifices; ignore them, destroy the life of the Panis [RgV I.83.3; S & T 365].

Indra’s Destruction of Harappa: The Vedic Harappa Hymn

The famous Harappa hymn of the Rig Veda describes with praise Indra’s destruction of Harappa:

“In aid of Abhyavartin Cayamana, Indra destroyed the seed of Virasakha. At Hariyupiyah he smote the vanguard of the Vrcivans, and the rear fled frighted” [Rg.V. XXVII.5].

This Hariyupiyah is likely to be the Harappa of the Indus Valley.

3.2 Dravidian Literature

The date of 1500 BC corresponds to the end of a sangam period when invasions by barbarians occurred.

4. Sociological

4.1 Caste System

The caste system is another`fossil’ of the Aryan Conquest, with the lower and exterior castes representing the aboriginal inhabitants that managed to survive the Aryan slaughter. Exactly the same occurred in other parts of the world where one race has subjugated others, e.g.. Latin America (Iberians conquered Aboriginals ), USA (Anglo-Saxons ruling over Hispanics and Afro-Americans), etc. These include the Adivasis (aboriginal tribals), the Dalits ( semi-settled aboriginals ), and the Sudras (the lowest caste). However, some of the Sudras were imported under Muslim rule from Southern India.

The caste system consists of several different “varnas” (Sans. “colors”), three of which are Aryan. The lowest caste, the Shudra, consists of aboriginals, as well as the exterior untouchable castes.

4.2 Sati and Child Marriage

The Aryans introduced tremendous restrictions on the life of women, including sati and child marriage. According to Aryan “Hindu” (i.e.. Vaishnavite) scriptures, a man must marry a maiden one-third his age.

4.3 Cow-Worship

Cow-worship is another feature introduced by the Aryans. This probably arose because the Aryans were nomads and hence required the cow.

5. Theological

5.1 Shiva and Shakti

Siva is the god of the Dravidians. Vishnu is the god of the Aryans. The star-calendar used by the Aryan-Vaishnavites today was adopted from the Semito-Dravidian Indus Valley civilization, since it is not referred to in the Rig Veda or Avesta. It was compiled when the Indus Valley was at its peak, before the Aryans came to India [Parpola].

The Indus people practiced astronomy because the streets are oriented towards the cardinal directions, presupposing the use of the sun-stick. A seal from Mohenjo-daro depicts an Indus deity with a star on either side of his head in the fashion of the Near East. Inanna-Ishtar, the goddess of love and war, for example, was associated with the planet Venus [Parpola]. This may have led to the cult of worshiping the planets, the astral religion of India.

5.2 Fire Altars

Fire altars occur late towards the Indus cities’ histories. They are primitive in nature, constructed from material from the destroyed Indus cities.

6. Global Aryan Invasions

Aryans invaded several parts of the world, putting an end to various brilliant civilizations. Babylonia was destroyed by Kassites, Hittites and Mittani, Egypt was devastated by the Hyksos, and Minoan culture by the Dorians.

7. Rival Theories

Several other explanations have been put forth to explain the demise of the Indus Civilization besides the Aryan invasion.

These are:

Environmental catastrophes – these include:

  • Comet impact
  • Flooding

Internal Decline – These claim that slavery or some other revolt destroyed the Indus Civilization.

All of these have severe problems, however.

Comet Impact. The problems with this theory are:

  • No crater/craters have been found with an age matching 1500 BC, nor of the requisite size. The size is narrowly constrained, for if the impact was too large, catastrophe would have been global, while if it were too small, the effect would have been negligible.
  • No iridium anomaly, the characteristic of all impacts from the mammoth K/T Chiczulub Crater [Alvarez] to the Sudbury Intrusive, has been found in the Indus valley of the required age.
  • No shocked glasses or tektites with the requisite shock deformation features have been found anywhere near the Indus Valley.

Thus, although a comet explanation for the extinction has been found in Comet Enke, this is a far-fetched theory to say the least. The destruction of several civilizations simultaneously requires a global catastrophe. But some civilizations, e.g.. in Central and South America, and China, survived the 1500 BC discontinuity. Asteroidal impacts tend to leave larger craters and more iridium, so the arguments against this theory apply more forcefully.

Flooding. Undisputed evidence of flooding has been found in the form of silt deposits and a barrage system erected as a defensive measure. Flooding thus remained a serious candidate until it was pointed out that several Vedic scholars noted that the Aryans had destroyed the irrigation and dam system of the Indus. Thus flooding is a natural consequence of Aryan invasion and not an independent mechanism.

Internal Decline

  1. To suppose that after two millennia of stability some internal revolt was the cause behind the downfall is stretching the imagination.
  2. No evidence has been found for this, and when indisputable evidence of violence perpetrated with new weapons exists, this theory disregards excellent evidence.

Other Opponents

Although the following may seem rather harsh, it is necessary to expose the real designs of some of the opponents of one of the most well-established theories of all time.

The opponents of the concept of Aryan invasion fall into two categories:

  1. Aryan Hindu Fanatics
  2. Neo-Nazis

These mostly have ulterior motives. The former oppose any vilification of their “gods” who are implicated in the worst massacres and atrocities recorded in history. They wish to see the Vedas, in actuality the songs of primitive cow-herders, as the repository of all science. The latter do not want to accept that their ancestors perpetrated such crimes. One religious fanatic who opposed the notion of Aryan Invasion during its infancy was Narendra Nath Datta, later known as Vivekananda. All he could do was to vilify honest scholars:

“And what your European pandits say about the Aryan’s sweeping from some foreign land, snatching away the lands of the aboriginals and settling India by exterminating them, is all pure nonsense, foolish talk. Strange, that our Indian scholars too say amen to them, and all these monstrous lies are taught to our boys. This is very bad indeed. In what Veda, in what Sukta, so you find that the Aryans came to India from a foreign country? Where do you get the idea that they slaughtered the wild aborigines? What do you gain by talking such nonsense?” [`Complete Works of Swami Vivekananda’, 1963, p.534-535] [Panda 70].

Another fundamentalist who opposed the notion of Aryan Invasions is Srivastava, who apparently conducted all of his research solely to prove the innocence of the Aryan gods:

Indra, therefore stands completely exonerated.

– Srivastava 441

Later, lacking any scientific evidence whatsoever, he degenerates into vilifying Wheeler himself:

“.. we see him as a brigadier in the British army during WW II, we feel he could not interpret the dubious evidence of Mohenjo-daro and Harappa in any other manner.”

– Srivas 442

A. K. Pateria writes:

“Both Dayananda and Aurobindo refuted in clear terms the historical doctrines of Aryan invasion and struggle of Aryans with Dravidian, which was originated by the Westerners and has even been popularized among a large section of the Indian Historians.” [A.K. Pateria, `Modern Commentators of the Veda’, p.63; Panda 70]

Who this Dayananda was must be fully exposed.

In terms of barbarism, the Aryans were so barbaric that they did not even have a word for brick in Sanskrit [S & T 372; Woolley].

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A Look at the Tsou Language

Method and Conclusion. See here.

Results. A ratings system was designed in terms of how difficult it would be for an English-language speaker to learn the language. In the case of English, English was judged according to how hard it would be for a non-English speaker to learn the language. Speaking, reading and writing were all considered.

Ratings: Languages are rated 1-6, easiest to hardest. 1 = easiest, 2 = moderately easy to average, 3 = average to moderately difficult, 4 = very difficult, 5 = extremely difficult, 6 = most difficult of all. Ratings are impressionistic.

Time needed. Time needed for an English language speaker to learn the language “reasonably well”: Level 1 languages = 3 months-1 year. Level 2 languages = 6 months-1 year. Level 3 languages = 1-2 years. Level 4 languages = 2 years. Level 5 languages = 3-4 years, but some may take longer. Level 6 languages = more than 4 years.

This post will look at the Tsou language in terms of how difficult it would be for an English speaker to learn it.

Austro-Tai

Austronesian

Formosan

Tsouic

Tsou is a Taiwanese aborigine language spoken by about 2,000 people in Taiwan.

Tsou is also ergative like most Formosan languages. Tsou is the only language in the world that has no prepositions nor anything that looks like a preposition. Instead it uses nouns and verbs in the place of prepositions. Tsou allows more potential consonant clusters than most other languages.

About 1/2 of all possible CC clusters are allowed. Tsou has an inclusive/exclusive distinction in the 1st person plural and a very strange visible and non-visible distinction in the 3rd person singular and plural. Both adjectives and adverbs can turn into verbs, as they are marked for voice in the same way that verbs are. Verbs are extensively marked for voice.

Nouns are marked for a variety of odd cases, often referring to perception (visible/invisible) and person and place deixis

'e         "visible and near speaker"
si/ta      "visible and near hearer"
ta         "visible but away from speaker"
'o/to      "invisible and far away or newly introduced to discourse"
na/no ~ ne "non-identifiable and non-referential"*

*often when scanning a class of elements

Tsou gets a 5 rating, extremely hard to learn.

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A Look at the Valman Language

Method and Conclusion. See here.

Results. A ratings system was designed in terms of how difficult it would be for an English-language speaker to learn the language. In the case of English, English was judged according to how hard it would be for a non-English speaker to learn the language. Speaking, reading and writing were all considered.

Ratings: Languages are rated 1-6, easiest to hardest. 1 = easiest, 2 = moderately easy to average, 3 = average to moderately difficult, 4 = very difficult, 5 = extremely difficult, 6 = most difficult of all. Ratings are impressionistic.

Time needed. Time needed for an English language speaker to learn the language “reasonably well”: Level 1 languages = 3 months-1 year. Level 2 languages = 6 months-1 year. Level 3 languages = 1-2 years. Level 4 languages = 2 years. Level 5 languages = 3-4 years, but some may take longer. Level 6 languages = more than 4 years.

This post will look at the Valman language in terms of how difficult it would be for an English speaker to learn it.

Torricelli

Wapei

Valman

Valman, spoken in Papua New Guinea, is a bizarre case where the word “and” that connects two nouns is actually a verb, of all things, and is marked with the first noun as subject and the second noun as object.

“’John’ (subject) and ‘Mary’ (object) went to the store.”

“John” is marked as subject for some reason and “Mary” is marked as object for some reason, and the “and” word shows subject agreement with “John” and object agreement with “Mary”.

Valman gets a 6 rating, hardest of all.

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A Look at the Chukchi Language

Method and Conclusion. See here.

Results. A ratings system was designed in terms of how difficult it would be for an English-language speaker to learn the language. In the case of English, English was judged according to how hard it would be for a non-English speaker to learn the language. Speaking, reading and writing were all considered.

Ratings: Languages are rated 1-6, easiest to hardest. 1 = easiest, 2 = moderately easy to average, 3 = average to moderately difficult, 4 = very difficult, 5 = extremely difficult, 6 = most difficult of all. Ratings are impressionistic.

Time needed. Time needed for an English language speaker to learn the language “reasonably well”: Level 1 languages = 3 months-1 year. Level 2 languages = 6 months-1 year. Level 3 languages = 1-2 years. Level 4 languages = 2 years. Level 5 languages = 3-4 years, but some may take longer. Level 6 languages = more than 4 years.

This post will look at the Chukchi language in terms of how difficult it would be for an English speaker to learn it.

Chukotko-Kamchatkan

Northern

Chukot

Chukchi is a polysynthetic, agglutinating and incorporating language and is often listed as one of the hardest languages on Earth to learn.

Təmeyŋəlevtpəγtərkən.

“I have a fierce headache.”

There are five morphemes in that word, and there are three lexical morphemes (nouns or adjectives) incorporated in that word: meyŋ “great”, levt “head”, and pəγt “ache”.

Chukchi gets a 6 rating, hardest of all.

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A Look at the Inuktitut and Kalaallisut Eskimo Languages

Method and Conclusion. See here.

Results. A ratings system was designed in terms of how difficult it would be for an English-language speaker to learn the language. In the case of English, English was judged according to how hard it would be for a non-English speaker to learn the language. Speaking, reading and writing were all considered.

Ratings: Languages are rated 1-6, easiest to hardest. 1 = easiest, 2 = moderately easy to average, 3 = average to moderately difficult, 4 = very difficult, 5 = extremely difficult, 6 = most difficult of all. Ratings are impressionistic.

Time needed. Time needed for an English language speaker to learn the language “reasonably well”: Level 1 languages = 3 months-1 year. Level 2 languages = 6 months-1 year. Level 3 languages = 1-2 years. Level 4 languages = 2 years. Level 5 languages = 3-4 years, but some may take longer. Level 6 languages = more than 4 years.

This post will look at the Kalaallisut and Inuktitut languages in terms of how difficult they would be for an English speaker to learn them.

Eskimo-Aleut

Eskimo

Inuit-Inupiaq

Inuktitut is extremely hard to learn. Inuktitut is polysynthetic-agglutinative, and roots can take many suffixes, in some cases up to 700. Verbs have 63 forms of the present indicative, and conjugation involves 252 different inflections. Inuktitut has the complicated polypersonal agreement system. In a typical long Inuktitut text, 92% of words will occur only once. This is quite different from English and many other languages where certain words occur very frequently or at least frequently. Certain fully-inflected verbs can be analyzed both as verbs and as nouns.

Words can be very long.

Inuktituusuungutsialaarungnanngittuaraaluuvunga.

I truly don’t know how to speak Inuktitut very well.

You may need to analyze up to 10 different bits of information in order to figure out a single word. However, the affixation is all via suffixes (there are no prefixes or infixes), and the suffixation is extremely regular.

Inuktitut is also rated one by linguists one of the hardest languages on Earth to pronounce. Inuktitut may be as hard to learn as Navajo.

Inuktitut is rated 6, hardest of all.

Kalaallisut (Western Greenlandic) is very closely related to Inuktitut.

Look at this sentence:

Aliikusersuillammassuaanerartassagaluarpaalli…

However, they will say that he is a great entertainer, but…

That word is composed of 12 separate morphemes. A single word can conceptualize what could be an entire sentence in a non-polysynthetic language.

Kalaallisut is rated 6, hardest of all.

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A Look at the Buyang Language

Method and Conclusion. See here.

Results. A ratings system was designed in terms of how difficult it would be for an English-language speaker to learn the language. In the case of English, English was judged according to how hard it would be for a non-English speaker to learn the language. Speaking, reading and writing were all considered.

Ratings: Languages are rated 1-6, easiest to hardest. 1 = easiest, 2 = moderately easy to average, 3 = average to moderately difficult, 4 = very difficult, 5 = extremely difficult, 6 = most difficult of all. Ratings are impressionistic.

Time needed. Time needed for an English language speaker to learn the language “reasonably well”: Level 1 languages = 3 months-1 year. Level 2 languages = 6 months-1 year. Level 3 languages = 1-2 years. Level 4 languages = 2 years. Level 5 languages = 3-4 years, but some may take longer. Level 6 languages = more than 4 years.

This post will look at the Buyang language in terms of how difficult it would be for an English speaker to learn it.

Kam-Sui

Kra

Paha

According to a Fudan University study, Buyang in the third most phonologically complex language in the world. Buyang is a cluster of four related languages spoken by 1,900 people in Yunnan Province, China. Buyang has a completely wild consonant inventory.

It has a full set of both voiced and voiceless plain and aspirated stops, including voiceless uvulars. The contrast between aspirated and plain voiced stops is peculiar. The stop series also has distinctions between palatalized and rounded stops. It has a labialized voiceless palatal fricative and a voiceless dental aspirated lateral, both unusual sounds. It has four different voiceless aspirated nasals. It has voiceless y and w, both more odd sounds. It also has plain and labialized palatal glides.

That is one wild phonology.

Buyang gets a 5 rating, extremely hard to learn.

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Possible Origin of the Black Plague

Here.

The standard view is that twelve ships from Florence docked at Messina in 1347, bringing the Plague to Europe. It would later kill 1/3 of all Europeans and an incredible 20% of all humans. It would be as if 1.6 billion people died in only seven years or as if 66 million Americans died over a seven year period. Can you imagine? In my city alone, 12,000 people would be dead. Of every five people you knew at the start of the period, one would be dead after seven years. Can you imagine? That would not have left one person unscathed.

A new view though is that the Plague, which had already been active in Asia for a while, came to Europe via a biological warfare attack by Genghis Khan’s raiders on the city of Caffa in the Crimea. The Caffans were probably Turkic speakers at this time, but it is hard to say what Turkic lect they may have spoken. Perhaps a dead language called Cuman.

Khan’s raiders besieged the city and a number of people died of the Black Plague in the conflict. Khan’s men suspected a thing or two about biological warfare, so they loaded up the bodies that had died of the plague and catapulted them over the walls of the city into the population. Can you  imagine the horror of looking out your window and see a dead, bubonic plague ridden corpse fly by in the air at rapid speed to splatter nearby. Good Lord. In due time, this biological warfare killed a lot of the people in  the city.

Khan knew nothing of the  germ theory of disease, but experience with the plague showed that those who came in contact with victims tended to sicken and die. No one knew what was causing it. One European physician posited that plague victims radiated some sort of death vapors or essence out of their very eyes. Without medical science, people had to fall back on spiritual theories.

But people caught on quickly that being around plague victims could quickly make you a victim yourself. Physicians refused to treat plague patients and patients were often abandoned wherever they sickened. Family members even fled from their own sickened members, leaving them to die in the home while countless people fled to the countryside. But even there they were not safe. Even farm animals, cows, pigs, goats and sheep, caught the plague. So many sheep died that there was an acute wool shortage all over Europe for years afterwards. There was no solace or respite anywhere. The epidemic ended almost as fast as it began in 1354, but Europe was ruined. Entire cities had been abandoned as thousands of residents fled to the false safety of the countryside.

Many people escaped from Khan”s raid on Caffa, and survivors fled all over the Mediterranean. This people soon sickened and died. It was possibly from some of this group, fled to Florence, that the ill-fated death ships docked in Messina on that warm October night. The disease was in Southern France the next year and Germany soon after that. Not long afterwards, it hit Paris. And despite the primitive conditions of the day, it was not long in  Paris before London was also hit. People did have ships in those days you know.

Despite the enticing new theory, the medical journal concludes that the entrance of the Plague to Europe was multifactorial and the infection of the Caffa population did not play an important role in the European pandemic.

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How I Determined Intelligibility For Turkic Lects

Steve: This is amazing. Well done. But how can you possibly know the degree of mutual intelligibility between two languages you don’t speak or know if something is a language or dialect when you don’t speak it? That seems strange. How is it worked out?

Linguists don’t speak all these languages we study. We just study languages, we don’t necessarily speak them. This is confused with the archaic use of the word linguist to mean polyglot. Honestly, many linguists do in fact speak more than one language, and quite a few of them have a pretty good knowledge of at least some of the languages that they study. But my mentor speaks only Turkish and English though he studies all Turkic languages. I don’t believe he has ever learned to speak any Turkic lect other than Turkish.

In reference to my paper here.

We are not looking for raw numbers. We just want to know if they can understand each other or not.

A lot of it is from talking to native speakers and also there was a lot of reading papers by other linguists. I also talked to other linguists a lot. Linguists typically simply state if two lects are intelligible or not. Also there is a basic idea among linguists of what the boundary is between a language and a dialect, and I used this knowledge a lot.

Can they understand each other? Yes or no. That’s pretty much about it. Also at some degree of structural difference, we can see the difference between a language and a dialect. It’s a judgement call, but linguists are pretty good at this.

There is a subsection of very loud linguists, mostly on the Internet, who like to screech a lot about this question cannot be answered by answered because of this or that red herring or some odd conundrums that work their way in. The thing is if you ask around enough, you will be able to get around all of the conundrums and you should be able to eventually reconcile all of the divergent responses to get some sort of a holistic or “big picture.” You finally “figure it out.” The answer to the question comes to you in a sort of a “seeing the answer as part of a larger picture” sort of thing.

The worst red herring is this notion that speakers from Group A will lie and say they do not understand speakers of Group B simply because they hate them so much. If this was such a concern, you would have think I would have run into it at some point. A much worse problem were ethnic nationalists who lie and say that they can understand neighboring tongues when they can’t.

The toxin called Pan-Turkism or Turkish ultranationalism comes into play here. It is almost normal for Turks to believe that there is only one Turkic languages, and it is called Turkish. All of the rest of the languages simply do not exist and are dialects of Turkish. I had to deal with regular attacks by extremely aggressive Ataturkists who insisted that any Turk could easily understand any other Turkic language. Actually my adviser told me that my piece would not be popular with the Pan-Turkics at all. I don’t really care as I consider them to be pond scum.

Granted, some of it was quite controversial and I got variable reports on intelligibility for some lects like Siberian Tatar vs. Tatar, the Altai languages, Kazakh vs. Kirghiz, Crimean Tatar vs. Turkish.

Where native speakers differ on such questions, often vociferously, you simply ask enough of them, talk to some experts and try to get a feel for that what best answer to the question is.

Some cases like Gagauz vs. Turkish probably need raw intelligibility testing. That’s the only one that is up in the air right now, but it is up in the air because the lects are so close. Intelligibility between Gagauz and Turkish is somewhere between  70-100%. In other words, they have marginal intelligibility at worst. My Gagauz expert who knows this language better than anyone though feels that Turkish intelligibility of Gagauz is less than 90%, which is where I drew the line at language and dialect.

It is also starting to look like Nogay is a simply a dialect of Kazakh instead of a separate language, but that might be a hard sell.

Some of these are seen as separate languages simply because they are spoken by different ethnies who do not want to be seen as part of the same group. Also they have different literary norms. Karapalkak is just a Kazakh dialect, but the speakers want to say they speak a separate language. Same with Bashkir, which is simply a dialect of Tatar. The case of Kazakh and Kirghiz is more controversial, but even here, we seem to be dealing with one language, yet the two dialects are spoken by different ethnies that have actually differentiated into two separate states, each with their own literary norm. Kazakhs wish to say they speak a language c called Kazakh and Kirghiz wish to say they speak a language called Kirghiz although they are probably really just one language.

We see a similar thing with Czech and Slovak. My recent research has proven that Czech and Slovak are actually a single language. But the dialects are spoken by different ethnic groups who claim different cultures and histories and they have actually divided into two different states, and each has its own literary norm.

It is here, where dialects become languages not via science by via politics, culture, history and sociology, that Weinrich’s famous dictum that “a language is a dialect with an army and a navy” comes into play.

Scientifically, these are all simply dialects of a single tongue but we call them languages for sociological, cultural and political reasons.

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Filed under Altaic, Balto-Slavic, Balto-Slavic-Germanic, Bashkir, Comparitive, Crimean Tatar, Czech, Dialectology, Gagauz, Indo-European, Indo-Hittite, Kazakh, Kipchak, Kyrgyz, Language Classification, Linguistics, Nationalism, Political Science, Slavic, Slovak, Sociolinguistics, Tatar, Turkic, Turkish, Ultranationalism

A Few Words on Language Endangerment

Carlos Lam: Congrats! However, isn’t language death a rather standard occurrence among societies?

It is, but we linguists don’t really like it. It is quite a debate going on, but the bottom line seems to be that ethnic groups and speaker groups have the right to ownership of their languages. We worry that a lot of speaker groups are being pressured into blowing up their languages prematurely. We like to study these languages and we are not real happy about seeing them vanish into the horizon. On the other hand, is cultural death a natural thing too? Both cultural death and language death are occurring at rates far beyond the normal background rates. English and some of the other major languages are like weapons of mass destruction in taking out languages. You really want a world with one language and one culture? I don’t.

The best position seems to be that speakers have the right to decide the fate of their languages. If speakers wish to continue speaking their languages, then governments and linguists should help them to preserve and continue to develop their languages. Quite a few groups do not seem to care that their languages are going are extinct or they are even driving or drove their languages extinct, and they have the full right to do so. In these cases, we will simply do salvage linguistics. There are many salvage linguistics projects going on in the world today.

You won’t get very far with linguists arguing that language death is a good thing. Most people don’t think so.

Occurring at the same time as language death is a lot of language revitalization. Even fully dead languages are being resurrected from the grave. Also in addition to language death, we are creating new languages all the time. In this piece, I created a total of net 13 new languages. And new languages are occurring on their own.

To give you an example. A group of Crimean Tatars moved from Crimea to Turkey about 200 years ago in the course of the Crimean War. They have been speaking Crimean Tatar in Turkey ever since, for 200 years now. But in that time, Crimean Tatar in Turkey and Crimean Tatar in Ukraine has diverged so much that Turkish Crimean Tatar is now, in my opinion, a fully separate tongue from the Ukrainian language. This is because in Turkey, a lot of Turkish has gone into Turkish Crimean Tatar which is not well understand in the Ukraine. And in the Ukraine, a lot of Russian has gone in which is not well understood in Turkey. Hence, Crimean Tatar speakers in Turkey and Ukraine can no longer understand each other well.

To give you another example, there are many Kazakh speakers in China. However, Kazakh speakers in China can no longer understand Standard Kazakh broadcasts from Kazakhstan because so many Russian loans have gone into Standard Kazakh that it is no longer intelligible with Chinese Kazakh speakers. I learned this too late for my paper, otherwise I would have split Chinese Kazakh off as a separate language.

There are many cases like this.

Further, many languages are being discovered. Sonqori, Western Khalaj, Todzhin, Duha, Dukha and Siberian Tatar are just a few of the new languages that I created. Khorosani Turkic was split into three different languages. Dayi was subsumed into one of the Khorosani Turkic languages. Altai was split from one into five separate languages, but the truth is that it is six languages, not five. Salar was split into Western Salara and Eastern Salar. Ili Turki was eliminated becuase it does not even exist. It is simply a form of Uighur. Kabardian and Balkar, Tatar and Bashkir, Kazakh and Kirghiz were some languages that were eliminated and subsumed into single tongues such as Tatar-Bashkir, Kazakh-Kirghiz, and Kabardian-Balkar. And on and on.

Languages and of course dialects are dying all the time, but new languages are being created by humans and by linguists as we continue our splitting projects. Many lects referred to as dialects are more properly seen as separate languages. Chinese is at least 450 separate languages, only 14 of which are recognized. German may be up to 130 separate languages, only 20 of which are recognized.

There are quite a few more languages to be created out there, but there is a lot of resistance to splitters like me from more conservative linguists and especially from linguistic nationalists. For while Chinese may well be over 1,000 languages, the Chinese government is anti-scientifically insistent that there is but one Chinese language and maybe 2,000 “dialects,” most of which are probably separate languages. The German government is quite resistant to the idea that there is more than one form of German, though I believe Bavarian and Swiss German have official status in Austria and Switzerland.

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I Am Now a Published Author

Here.

You can download my first published work above. I was published for the first time this spring in a book called:

Before the Last Voices Are Gone: Endangered Turkic Languages, Volume 1: Theoretical and General Approaches

This is the first volume of a four volume set called:

The Handbook of Endangered Turkic Languages

The first volume alone runs to 512 pages. Articles are in English, Russian and Turkish, variably. It was published out of the International Turkish-Kazakh University in Istanbul, Turkey and the International Turkic Academy in Astana, Kazakhstan. These are two campuses that are part of one joint Turkey-Kazakhstan shared university.

I contributed one chapter that runs from pages 311-384 titled:

Mutual Intelligibility among the Turkic Languages

It’s 83 pages long and has ~100 references. It may have taken me 500 hours to write that chapter. Tell that to my enemies who claim I do not work, ok? When all is said and done, I figure I may make 75 cents an hour on this work. But this is how academic publishing works. There’s just no money in it. It’s all a labor of love. In addition, most work is done by professors who have to publish as part of their professorship (publish or perish), so in effect, their professor salary is covering their publishing.

That document had to go through two rather grueling peer reviews. I had to make many changes in it to get it to publication. The second peer review had to get past the top Turkologists in the world today, and I am amazed that I made it through review to be honest.

Most people publishing in academic books or journals are academics, professors working at universities. There are only a few of us independent scholars out there (I am an independent scholar because I am not at a university). Also most folks have PhD’s, and I only have a Masters, but there are some folks with Masters publishing academically.

In general, this is a rather selective game where everyone is hyperspecializing as is the trend nowadays. Although my mentor at the project calls me a Renaissance Man, I wonder if the autodidact/polymath is an endangered species if not extinct. Everyone has to specialize nowadays.

For instance, common knowledge in this particular field would be that the only folks who could publish in Turkology would be linguists with a PhD in Linguistics, preferably with a emphasis in Turkology. Beyond that, they may prefer say 5-10 years publishing in the field of Turkology in addition to a professorship in Turkic linguistics. You can see where this is headed. I am not knocking it. I am just pointing out that microspecialization is the game now.

What follows is that since I lack the PhD or professorship or any background at all in Turkology, I should not be allowed to be published in this field, or if by some error I am somehow mispublished, all of my work should be promptly ignored as done by a nonspecialist who could not possibly know what he is talking about. Needless to say, I don’t agree with that, and I carry on tilting at windmills like a good deluded Renaissance Man who never got the memo and wouldn’t read it if he did.

The odd thing is that I knew nothing about Turkology until I plunged into this mess. I had written a short piece of mutual intelligibility in Turkic, as MI is one of my pet subjects and put it up on Academia on my scholarly papers site, and a professor in Turkey happened to read it. He wrote to me telling me he agreed with me, he wanted me to expand it into a document, and they would publish it for me. So off I went, down the Turkic rabbit hole. If you study the very high IQ types (140+), they tend to go on “crazes” like this. They also lose interest after a bit, drop the craze and move on to some new craze. Dilettantism for the win.

I also have an anxiety disorder called OCD which is well controlled. A good side of it though is that you tend to do dive down rabbit holes a lot, and the OCD makes you burrow maniacally into the rabbit hole with the notion that one is going to become the world’s leading expert on whatever rabbit hole you are digging in now. So for one or two years, I went absolutely berserk into Turkic, whereas before I scarcely knew a thing about it. The end result can be read above.

The sad result is that either due to the savant stuff or the mental quirk, I also tend to lose interest in my rabbit holes after a bit. I follow them about halfway to China, make several revolutions around the molten core, and after a year or so, come up for air gasping with incipient Black Lung, and next thing you know, I am bored, and it’s onto a new craze. It’s a bit silly, but we all have our crosses to lug, and as eccentricities go, there are many worse things that dabbling, er hobbyism, er dilettantism, er polymathy, er autodidactism, er Renaissance Manism.

Most of you will probably not find this very interesting, as it is pretty specialized stuff that is mostly of interest to people in the specialty, linguists and those interested in the subject. It’s not exactly for the general reader. But if you have any interest in these languages, you might enjoy it.

I expanded Turkic from 41 to 53 languages, eliminated some languages, turned some into dialects, turned some dialects into full languages, combined languages into a single tongue, created some new languages out of scratch and did quite a bit of work on the history of the languages.

I also reworked the classification a bit because I thought it could be done better. Even though this work does not pay much, the pay is in fame if it is at all. My work will either be accepted by the field or rejected outright or somewhere in between. I have already earned the praises of some of the world’s top Turkologists, much to my surprise. If I get fame, well, I get quoted in papers, maybe invited to conferences, and maybe even referenced in Wikipedia. There are groupies in all status fields, and what the heck, there may even be linguist groupies. If not, there are always starry eyed coeds dreaming of professor types to mentor them. I am already working that angle as it is. Writer Game, Scholar Game, there’s Game for everything.

Or my work does not go over and maybe the field decides I do not know what I am talking about.

Crap shoot, like most of life’s endeavors. Roll em, and wish upon a star…snake eyes!

PS. The title of the series, Before the Last Voices Are Gone, was created by me. I think it has a nice little song.

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Filed under Altaic, Anxiety Disorders, Comparitive, Europe, Intelligence, Language Classification, Language Families, Linguistics, Mental Illness, OCD, Psychology, Psychopathology, Regional, Scholarship, Turkey, Turkic, Vanity