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The comparitive linguistics cover-up

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posted on Jun, 13 2009 @ 04:14 PM
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Did you know that it is a widely accepted fact that the language of Madagascar is related to the language of Hawaii? Or that English is related to Sanskrit?

But when it comes to linguistic evidence of ancient trans-oceanic contact or contact over longer distances such as that between the Native American Algonquin and the Celts, or Ecuador and Sumer, the language mysteries of the Magyar (Hungarians), or the Basques and the Ainu (Japan), science calls it Pseudoscientific Language Comparison.


Pseudoscientific language comparison is a form of pseudoscience that has the objective of establishing historical associations between languages by alleging similarities between them. While comparative linguistics also studies the historical relationships of languages, linguistic comparisons are considered pseudoscientific by linguists when they are not based on the established practices of comparative linguistics, or on the more general principles of the scientific method. Pseudoscientific language comparison is usually performed by persons with little or no specialization in the field of comparative linguistics. It is the most widespread type of linguistic pseudoscience


Although the abovementioned connections bear hundreds and even thousands of identical or near-identical words for the same things they are dismissed by conventional education. On what grounds? Lets first analyze the manipulative nature of the quoted wikipedia-entry (which echoes the scientific establishments view):


by alleging similarities between them


As we will see soon, similarities are not alleged but simply pointed out.


are considered pseudoscientific by linguists when they are not based on the established practices of comparative linguistics


So comparing the words of two languages is not based on "established practices"? What nonsense.


is usually performed by persons with little or no specialization in the field of comparative linguistics


Is this to say that if I havent been indoctrinated into the "established practices" I am not able to compare words and draw conclusions? Again, nonsense.

For now, lets take a few samples of the language-correlations between the Ainu at the edge of the Pacific Ocean, a tribe genetically distinct from the Japanese and the Basques at the Edge of the Atlantic Ocean, a people genetically distinct from the Spanish and French. Researcher Edo Nyland has compiled many hundred of which these are only a few:

Ainu - Basque

Kepsapa (Head) - Kepireska (Heads)

Taspare (to sigh) - Asparen (to sigh)

Aske (Hand) - Esku (Hand)

Poro (Thumb) - Erpuru (Thumb)

Pok (vulva) - Puki (Vulva, slang)

Ukaun (to have sex) - ukan (to possess)

Hera (to limp) - Herren (cripple)

Kiski (hair) - Kizkur (curly hair)

Tur (dirt) - Lur (dirt)

Hotkuku (to stoop) - Kukutu (to stoop)

Mokor (sleep) - Makar (sleep)

Siko (to be born) - Zikoina (stork)

Hetuku (to grow up) - Gehitu (to grow up)

Sinki (to get tired) - Sinkulin (Whining)

Yasumi (to rest) - Jaso (to get better)

Tasum (illness) - Eritasun (illness)

Araka (illness) - arakatu (to be examined)

Ona (father) - Onartzaile (authority)

Po (Child) - Poz (Happiness)

Auorespa (to be engaged) - Aukeratu (to choose, select)

Ipakasnokur (teacher) - Ikaserazi (to teach)

Kusunkur (enemy) Kuskusean (spying)

Kotan (many) - Kote (village)

Sinotusi (open space) - Sinotsu (strange, unfamiliar)

Oiakunkur (outdoors) - Oian (forest)

Uraiki (war) - Jarraiki (attack)

Kotankoro (chief) - koroa (crowned)

Kotan Orake (to go to ruin) - Oraka (financial ruin)

Itah (Language) - Itano (speaking in second person)

Kayo (to cry out) - Kaio (Seagull)

Itasa (answer) - Itaun (question)

Sinititak (to joke) - Sinoti (crazy)

Esina (to conceal) - Esinguratu (to block, to surround)

Etekke (confidential) - Etekin (profit, wages)

Ariki (to come) - Ariketa (activity)

Kaya (sail) - Kaiar (very large seagull)

Omonnure (to praise) - Omendatu (to praise)

Kokor Unpeki (to scold) - Gogor Egin (to scold)

Puni (strength, contest) - Puntzet (sword)

Ikasuy (to help) - Ikastun (student)

Kukocan (to refuse) - Uko Egin (to refuse)

Esikari (to rob) - Esi (fence, enclosure)

Iska (to steal) - Xiskatu (to steal)

Ikoro (money) - Koro (money)

Atusa (naked) - Atutxa (better world)

Hantasine (barefoot) - Hankagorri (barefoot)

For many more examples of the Basque-Ainu connection, see link above. For anyone having read the list, the connection should be utterly obvious, and yet, the article on "Pseudoscientific Linguistics" states:


Certain types of languages seem to attract much more attention in pseudoscientific comparisons than others. These include languages of ancient civilizations such as Egyptian, Etruscan or Sumerian; language isolates or near-isolates such as Basque, Japanese and Ainu;


Why the denial? Maybe this is why:


Advocation of geographically far-fetched connections, such as comparing Finnish (in Finland) to Quechua (in Peru), or Basque (in Spain and France) to Ainu (in Japan).


"Far-fetched" meaning that it disturbs the status quo that sees ancient people as undeveloped fools who could not travel around the world.

If language similarities were the only connections between the aforementioned cultures maybe one could dismiss it as a coincidence. But there are archaeological and genetic pieces of evidence to go along with all the examples mentioned.

Edo Nylands book "Linguistic Archaeology" (from which these comparisons are taken) is considered trash among scholars and the guy has been branded a complete kook. And while some of Nylands methods and theories are questionable,
the words for this comparison were taken from a conventional Ainu Dictionary as well as a normal Basque Dictionary. Anyone can look up that "Ama" is Mother Goddess in Basque and "Amaterasu" is Goddess in Ainu and ancient Japanese Mythology...etc.

Does stupidity abound or is there a cover-up happening?




posted on Jun, 13 2009 @ 04:29 PM
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No, but I'd say the problem is that the people who think there's a coverup actually haven't studied linguistics.

The "this language is like that" is based on "lists of words" that "sound like" other words. That ain't the way language works.

We can only make a limited number of sounds with our mouths, so there are words in some languages that sound a lot like words in other languages. It's not unusual to find several hundred words in one language that sound like the same word in another language.

This is particularly true when the person doing the research doesn't actually speak the second language.

What makes a language related is its grammar, its structure, how it forms word endings, how it forms word beginnings, how it forms past tenses, what the root words indicate, how root words are used, etc -- as well as the form of the language and grammar and roots used before the present time.

So... although I can undoubtedly come up with a nice long list of words in Chinese and Japanese both that match modern English that would "prove" to the "armchair enthusiasts" that English is actually derived from Japanese or Chinese (or vice-versa), a study of how the sentences are formed and how the tenses are used and how the root words work will quickly prove that it just ain't so.

Linguistics is looking at roots, related languages, creoles, sublanguages, patios, and everything related to both languages before making a connection.

Linguistics is NOT looking at lists of words and going "BINGO!" when you find a hundred or so "matches."



posted on Jun, 13 2009 @ 04:32 PM
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If you like, Sky, I can go into a lot greater detail on this since I've studied linguistics. I didn't really want to go into it in depth because most people decide to turn off the computer and go play baseball when someone starts talking about fricatives and phonology and syntax and so forth.

If you have some specific questions, please post them and I will be glad to explain about that aspect of linguistics.



posted on Jun, 13 2009 @ 05:11 PM
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Thanks for offering help on the basis that I dont know linguistics.

For now I´ll stick to maintaining that the Ainu-Basque connection is no coincidence because I know the languages surrounding the Basque culture. They are the romanic languages (I know some Spanish) and further afield English and German (I know German too).

The point is that Euskara, the Basque Language, has more similaraties with that of the Ainu than it does with the Languages of the immediately surrounding countries. To illustrate this, just a few words from the list, translated:


Ainu - Basque

Spanish - English - German

Kepsapa (Head) - Kepireska (Heads)

Cabezal - Head -.Kopf


Hera (to limp) - Herren (cripple)

Claudicar - Limp - Hinken


Hetuku (to grow up) - Gehitu (to grow up)

criarse - grow up - aufwachsen


Kayo (to cry out) - Kaio (Seagull)

Gaviota - Seagull - Möwe


You get the picture...

Considering that the European languages are related, thats pretty remarkable in my opinion.



posted on Jun, 13 2009 @ 05:17 PM
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Well, if I may; as a former 'professional' linguist (12 years) i have to agree that a word for word comparison is not sufficient to definitively establish the link between lineages. There are contextual constructs, as well as grammar to be considered. I am by no means a scholar or theoretical-level expert in the field, but this comparison isn't weighty enough to justify the theory. Essentially, the phonetic similarities are a clue, but not proof.

However, Sky's observations about the entrenched arrogance of the 'indoctrinated' professionals in the industry is quite accurate. Their is a 'school' of thought that will not honor the observation, and the Wikipedia entry is ample evidence of that arrogance.

There is no doubt that the idea hasn't been explored adequately, as the most serious have always investigated it from a bias of ridicule and disbelief.

Maybe that will change someday.


[edit on 13-6-2009 by Maxmars]



posted on Jun, 13 2009 @ 06:43 PM
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Originally posted by Maxmars
this comparison isn't weighty enough to justify the theory.


Its not weighty, but at the very least it should be enough to justify a deeper look into it, imo.



posted on Jun, 13 2009 @ 06:50 PM
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Flag, and star to you. I have traveled, and lived throughout the world. I can speak spanish, and have some Mayan words down. I've noticed exactly what your saying here.

To myself it is almost an echo. Someone is speaking another language, and you hear 'familiarity' within their words. Almost like the comprehension is a word away.

Sure, the english language has led the tech. boom, and we hear those words(internet, email, etc) in other languages, but I'm speaking beyond that.



posted on Jun, 13 2009 @ 07:08 PM
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I used to work with this Croatian woman. One day, she was on the phone with her husband. She was speaking in Croatian. I speak a little Russian and, because I could understand her, that's what I thought she was speaking. She got off of the phone and I told her that I didn't know Croatians spoke Russian. She said that they didn't, Croatians spoke 'Croatia'. I then told her that the two languages must be very similar because I could understand what she was saying. She very angrily responded, "Then the Russians speak Croatia!!!"


For some reason, this thread reminds of that.



posted on Jun, 13 2009 @ 08:16 PM
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reply to post by NotTooHappy
 


Russia and Croatia have been very involved historically, Russian is itself a Slavic language, as is Croatian. They share the same roots.
It's why being an English speaker, there are parts of Spanish, French, and German I can understand.



posted on Jun, 13 2009 @ 08:49 PM
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ok, this is just off the top of my head. Japanese is not my native language, but these are the similarities I can see straight off:


Originally posted by Skyfloating


Hera (to limp) - Herren (cripple) --> Japanese: Herasu: to reduce, cut down, lessen.

Tur (dirt) - Lur (dirt) ---> Japanese: doro (dirt)

Yasumi (to rest) - Jaso (to get better) --> Japanese: Yasumi (to rest). oyasuminasai = good night, roughly.

Ona (father) - Onartzaile (authority) ---> Japanese: onna: woman.

Po (Child) - Poz (Happiness) ---> Japanese: ko- : child.

Kotan (many) - Kote (village) ---> Japanese: kotan: refined

Uraiki (war) - Jarraiki (attack) ----> Japanese: uragiri: betrayal, treachery

Kotankoro (chief) - koroa (crowned) ----> Japanese kotan (refined) koro (as, when)

Kotan Orake (to go to ruin) - Oraka (financial ruin) ----> Japanese kotan (refined); ooraka (generous)

Itah (Language) - Itano (speaking in second person) ----> Japanese uta (song, poem), utau (declare, say, state)

Ariki (to come) - Ariketa (activity) ---> Japanese aruku (vb: to walk)

Kaya (sail) - Kaiar (very large seagull) ---> Japanese kaya (mosquito net, fine gauze)

Omonnure (to praise) - Omendatu (to praise) ---> Japanese: omoneru (flatter)

Kokor Unpeki (to scold) - Gogor Egin (to scold) ----> Japanese: koko (here) hekieki (vb. to feel disgusted)

Ikasuy (to help) - Ikastun (student) ---> Japanese: ikasu (keep sth alive, bring sth back to life, revive)

Ikoro (money) - Koro (money) ---> Japanese: ikura (how much? as in: kore wa ikura desuka? lit: how much is this?)

Atusa (naked) - Atutxa (better world) ----> Japanese: atsusa (thickness) makes more sense than "a better world"...

Hantasine (barefoot) - Hankagorri (barefoot) ---. Japanese: hada#e (barefoot)

For many more examples of the Basque-Ainu connection, see link above. For anyone having read the list, the connection should be utterly obvious


That's 18 of 46. 18 words that seem to me to be a closer match to Japanese than Basque. bear in mind that word endings will vary with usage, I've included the root form where possible.

The Ainu language ad culture really started to develop around 1200 AD - at least going by the archaeology and extant cultural records. Significant contact with Japan is recorded into the 1400s, and it's quite likely that there was contact before that, but who records what fishermen and hunters do?

Would it not make sense that if there was a language connection, it would come between the Japanese and the Ainu, as opposed to a group of people living on the other side of the planet?

That's where this becomes pseudoscience. It's discounting the obvious connection, discounting the most likely explanation, to support a hypothesis that has no real evidence to support it as it stands.



posted on Jun, 14 2009 @ 12:01 AM
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Originally posted by Byrd
So... although I can undoubtedly come up with a nice long list of words in Chinese and Japanese both that match modern English that would "prove" to the "armchair enthusiasts" that English is actually derived from Japanese or Chinese (or vice-versa)


Really? That would be very interesting to see.


And I mean besides the ones that were actually borrowed from us, or that we borrowed from them. Those words are direct evidence that we have had exchanges with the Chinese and Japanese cultures, and there are hundreds of those. Like "tsunami," and "sushi."


[edit on 14-6-2009 by bsbray11]



posted on Jun, 14 2009 @ 04:05 AM
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Originally posted by vox2442
Would it not make sense that if there was a language connection, it would come between the Japanese and the Ainu, as opposed to a group of people living on the other side of the planet?



There's a connection between Ainu and Japanese because Ainu predates Japanese and many words were taken from it.

The connections between Japanese and Ainu or between Croation and Russian are well known.



That's where this becomes pseudoscience. It's discounting the obvious connection, discounting the most likely explanation, to support a hypothesis that has no real evidence to support it as it stands.


The connection has not been "discounted", its pretty obvious. There is not a single language in the world that is not related to more than one other.

[edit on 14-6-2009 by Skyfloating]



posted on Jun, 14 2009 @ 04:44 AM
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There is also another explanation that may make sense. In the book, "the Language of the Genes", author Steve Jones explores the reasons behind the language discrepancies of the Basques languages. He concludes that in the time before agriculture languages were very diverse and rich. Because people lived more in Hunter-Gatherer nomadic tribal groups that were rather insular each tribe developed their own language. Their diet was also more diverse with 100's of different types of plants, berries, nuts and roots being eaten and it was quite a successful way of life. However, when agriculture marched on from the middle-east up to Europe there were many obvious advantages (but also some surprising disadvantages!) that lured many a tribe into going over to this kind of life style. It made them more sedentary and focussed on trade to supplement the less diverse diet which mainly consisted of grains and a little fruit and meat. Because people did not move around anymore as they tilled the land, they also became more reliant on other tribes for trade etc and had to communicate with one another, making the foundation of a more common language.

However, there were tribes that refused this new life style as they saw the disadvantages as too big a price to pay and held out for as long as possible to stay the way they were, language intact. The Basque people being a few of the tribes. However, there is a possibility that the languages of Hunter-Gatherer, nomadic tribes all had words in common being originally all from Africa.

This may explain the Basque Ainu similarities.



posted on Jun, 14 2009 @ 04:59 AM
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reply to post by Byrd
 


Awww, please Byrd? I wanna hear someone discussing fricatives, palate pronunciation, glottal pronunciation and all the wonderful things I learned in my college english and Japanese classes!

I'm with you, though. People probably need to understand that sentance structure has more to do with the differences in languages than just what words they have. Not to mention that there is language migration even in the ancient world, words are brought by merchants and traders and become a part of the trading tongue, turning into viral memes that propogate into disparate cultures which the traders stop at.

It's all a very fascinating subject.



posted on Jun, 14 2009 @ 05:01 AM
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Originally posted by Skyfloating

There's a connection between Ainu and Japanese because Ainu predates Japanese and many words were taken from it.


How do you figure that?

The earliest published Japanese works predate Ainu culture by centuries.

If there's a conspiracy at play here, I'd say that the Ainu are in on it, because in the years I've been living in Hokkaido, I've never heard any Ainu person suggest what you're suggesting - either the relationship to the basque or the age of Ainu culture.

I'm off to the bar now - meeting up with some golf buddies, two of whom are Ainu. I'll run your ideas past them though, see what they think of it.



posted on Jun, 14 2009 @ 05:25 AM
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Well, at least to me the Japanese connection was clear because Im somewhat familiar with what Japanese looks like. Especially the -un, - su, -ki, endings reminded me of Japanese.

The reason I say that Ainu may predate Japanese is because some of Japanese Mythology corresponding with Ainu words.

In any case...Ainu being related to Japanese does not mean it is not related to Basque as well. Look at the list again...its only a partial list. Is all of that supposed to be a coincidence?



posted on Jun, 14 2009 @ 05:39 AM
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reply to post by Lebowski achiever
 


Same language roots would be an explanation. For that, those word-matches would have to appear somewhere between Japan and the French/Spanish atlantic coast.



posted on Jun, 14 2009 @ 06:22 AM
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Originally posted by Byrd

The "this language is like that" is based on "lists of words" that "sound like" other words. That ain't the way language works.



The way the everyday spoken language works is that everybody - no matter what language they speak - keeps using an average of about 2000 words. Not more. A language may have 18 000 words or 32 000 words, but those words that are used again and again are no more than 2000.

If we look at the common words without going into any exotic speculation, you`ll be hard pressed to find the similarities shown in the OP in Chinese-English or Italian-Hungarian or Swedish-Spanish or German-Greek.

You do find them in Basque-Ainu though.



posted on Jun, 14 2009 @ 06:36 AM
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posted on Jun, 14 2009 @ 10:13 AM
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Originally posted by Skyfloating
Well, at least to me the Japanese connection was clear because Im somewhat familiar with what Japanese looks like. Especially the -un, - su, -ki, endings reminded me of Japanese.

The reason I say that Ainu may predate Japanese is because some of Japanese Mythology corresponding with Ainu words.

In any case...Ainu being related to Japanese does not mean it is not related to Basque as well. Look at the list again...its only a partial list. Is all of that supposed to be a coincidence?



Well, I'm back.

I sketched out your idea for my Ainu friends. A faithful translation of what followed from the older one would earn me a red flag and a "courtesy is mandatory" message.

The gist of it would be along the lines of "why do Europeans feel the need to take credit for everything that's ever happened in the world?"

Don't shoot the messenger. That's how they took the suggestion that the Ainu language might be related to basque. They were quite offended, and I left feeling a bit of a prick for even bringing it up. Golf game's still on, but it'll be a bit awkward on the front nine..

Things I learned tonight:
- there are 4 Ainu languages (their distinction, not mine), and they're very very difficult for Ainu speakers to understand. They're effectively dialects, but very extreme. Because of the distances involved with Ainu speakers, Ainu in the Hakodate region would have very little contact with Ainu in the Kurils - and over the years the dialects became very difficult for each other to understand.

- Ainu culture has a history of being extremely isolated - once their forebears moved into Sakhalin, there was very little outside influence. Eventually it was a slight Nivek (sp?) presence to the North on sakhalin, and sporadic contact with the Japanese to the south. Absolutely nothing but free roaming to the east, though - the Kuril chain up to Kamchatka allowed the language and culture of that region to develop in an effective vacuum. That's how they explained the fact that the language is very dissimilar to others in the region: isolation. The same reason that's usually accepted for Japanese being a bit of an oddity.

regarding your post above -
Don't mean to be rude, but I speak Japanese. I also read it and write it. A brief look at your list earlier - without bothering with a dictionary to check etymologies, I found that nearly half were closer to Japanese than Basque. Closer in sound and closer in meaning. As for the rest - I am more than willing to say that yes, it is coincidental that two words sharing 50% of the same consonants have a remotely similar meaning, and that they developed for their own reasons unique of each other. I really think this is a case of trying to build conspiracy where none exists by projecting.

Example:
Atusa (naked) - Atutxa (better world)

Explain to me how this example is a valid linguistic comparison. I'm all for the nude beach scene myself, but it seems that the author is -at the very least - trying to make a personal statement about his own feelings than a linguistic argument. There are others, if you look closely.




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