Daily Archives: October 21, 2008

Linguistic Archaeology

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A linguistic archaeologist digs for the very roots of our languages, many millennia before writing was invented. He or she considers all the different possibilities of language development and has to be suspicious of anything taught as “fact” in our universities. This person must be free to bring totally new ideas forward about languages origins, unaffected by dogma or tradition. It is a rather lonely position to take but it has its advantages. Having no formal education in linguistics turned out to be both very helpful and also a big drawback. It was helpful because I avoided what is described as:

“It is customary for students to be introduced to their fields of study gradually, as slowly unfolding mysteries, so that by the time they can see their subject as a whole they have been so thoroughly imbued with conventional preconceptions and patterns of thought that they are extremely unlikely to be able to question its basic premises. This incapacity is particularly evident in disciplines concerned with ancient history. Their study is dominated by the learning of difficult languages, a process which is inevitably authoritarian: one may not question the logic of an irregular verb or the function of a particle.

At the same time as the instructors lay down their liguistic rules, however, they provide other social and historical information that tends to be given and received in a similar spirit. While this facilitates learning and gives the scholar thus trained an incomparable feel for Greek or Hebrew, such men and women tend to accept a concept, word or form as typically Greek or Hebrew without requiring an explanation as to its specific function or origin”

In other words, linguistic students tend to be brainwashed in our Universities and are trained to reject other ways of looking at a subject, because other views are inherently inconsistent with their training.

Now the whole world spoke one language (Gen. 11:1)

Every time new research results are made available about the activities and thinking of our distant ancestors, these results remind us that we have acquired the habit of grossly underestimating, even denigrating our ancestors’ knowledge and abilities in many fields of endeavour. One such field is linguistics. Almost all academics working in this “science” have unquestioningly adopted, and religiously defended, the family tree model for linguistic change, the so-called standard model. Any other approaches to the development of languages are being brushed aside saying that they are not scientifically provable because they are incompatible with the model and the comparative method.

As a result of this thinking many, if not most of our university linguists, have become the guardians of the status quo and are disdainful of anybody embarking upon a relentless search for academic truth. They refuse to admit that many of the very early scholars may have been able to do things which are now considered impossible, such as language invention of major languages and their introduction. My work shows that, instead of staunchly defending the genetic model of naturally evolving languages, very early scholars are likely to have been responsible for inventing all major languages existing on earth, without exception. It appears that highly skilled professional linguists have been busy over a period of 4,000 years developing a large number of artificial languages. If this is correct, then the immediate result is that the standard model must be relegated to the study of primitive, natural languages and the comparative method is to be drastically overhauled or scrapped entirely. This of course means that our modern linguists will have to also re-examine everything they know more critically.

via Edo Nyland

art by Debra Tomson

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