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Seeing language from the DNA
#46
JonikW:
Quote:At the same time I'd be amazed if we were to find skeletal remains of an I1 individual (to take a subject I know) anywhere in Europe in 10 CE who was also of exclusively NW European autosomal ancestry but who didn't turn out to be a speaker of a Germanic language or whose very recent ancestors weren't speakers of one if we could magically lift the lid on all the facts.
To that extent, at least, I think language can be seen in the genes.

I agree. The reason is that historical linguistics tells us that Germanic language was spoken then and there, and genetics tells us that NW European ancestry and paternal haplogroup I1 were present at that time at that place. So, when somewhere else appears an individual who originates then and there, that interdisciplinary crossroad comes along.

I emphasize that I have only been opposing the method in which one ignores the linguistic results and thinks that language can be better assessed from the DNA. 
 
JonikW:
Quote:There will always be egos though and I doubt whether these competing fields are capable of reaching a useful consensus most of the time because we all like to feel we're right. The other person has devoted their time to the less informative discipline but we picked exactly the right one.

Well, I do not think that it is a competition about more valuable discipline, but only about drawing the lines of credible science. For some reason it is always archaeologists or geneticists who erroneously believe that they can reach language by the methods of their own discipline. Never have I heard about a modern linguist who claims to reach genetic ancestry or material culture only by the means of linguistics. 

Sure, one hundred years ago there were linguists who believed that they could see the race of people from the language they spoke: the Finns were considered a mongoloid people because of their Uralic language. For some reason this delusion about one common research object ("people"), which could be reached by methods of different disciplines, never was and still is not consciously rejected in the education of archaeologists and geneticists. 

No wonder, then, that also many laymen believe in such an unscientific "total object" and that language can be predicted from the DNA or from (the continuity of) material remains alone.
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~ Per aspera ad hominem ~
Y-DNA: N-Z1936 >> CTS8565 >> BY22114 (Savonian)
mtDNA: H5a1e (Northern Fennoscandian)
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#47
(02-07-2024, 05:59 AM)Jaska Wrote: Never have I heard about a modern linguist who claims to reach genetic ancestry or material culture only by the means of linguistics. 
While I think we can reach consensus on all the rest, this particular point I can't accept Smile

unfortunately there are still modern linguists with a questionable understanding of historical linguistics who still somehow print their articles. Can't find examples on the go, but I had read some very strange stuff coming out 2010s, 2020s from someone with diploma.
I think Finland is a good example of various strong linguists, Leiden school is great, various East Europeans. But not everyone is at the same level.

Could be I was reading scientists of other trade trying out their linguistic writing Smile But I think at least for some of them I was looking were actually PhD linguists.
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#48
Jaska


As a specialist linguist, could you explain to me what would be the reason for Old Persian to has 3 genders and modern Persian to has none? What would lead to such a spectacular change in grammar?
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#49
(02-07-2024, 05:28 PM)tutut Wrote: Jaska


As a specialist linguist, could you explain to me what would be the reason for Old Persian to has 3 genders and modern Persian to has none? What would lead to such a spectacular change in grammar?

I can't answer your question but it's exactly the same with Old English and modern English
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#50
jdean
I am aware about that, And this does not help to such a language, because it calls into question its IE origin.
The closest answer to logic would be that he got rid of unnecessary grammar (similar to pidgin), which he adopted from a substrate.
I am interested in the opinion of the linguist, especially about Iranian.
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#51
(02-07-2024, 05:28 PM)tutut Wrote: Jaska

As a specialist linguist, could you explain to me what would be the reason for Old Persian to has 3 genders and modern Persian to has none? What would lead to such a spectacular change in grammar?

Well, it is generally very common for languages to get simplified, as long as merger of categories does not threat the expressional efficacy of the language. Grammatical gender is such a feature which a word can lose without the message suffering, as there are many languages in the world without grammatical genders. Such a loss probably needs no particular reason or motivation. Similarly, Proto-Germanic had three genders, Swedish has two genders, and English generally has (n)one.
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~ Per aspera ad hominem ~
Y-DNA: N-Z1936 >> CTS8565 >> BY22114 (Savonian)
mtDNA: H5a1e (Northern Fennoscandian)
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#52
(02-04-2024, 07:16 PM)Ebizur Wrote:
(02-04-2024, 06:00 PM)Bjørn Wrote: I would like to interject, as I’ve found Jaska’s discussions about this to be very common sense and haven’t quite understood why some argue so strenuously against it (not you JonikW, mainly on other sites). I think the English and Hungarian examples show good parallels.

In the case of England, we know what the Germanic tribes spoke, there is literary and archaeological evidence of their migrations, and now we have aDNA correlations. If we go further back, though, as shown by the interesting proto-Germanic discussions here, we can’t say with certainty how, why, and when these Germanic tribes spoke a Germanic language and we can’t say which exact genetic components are related. We know I1 is related to the spread of these tribes (as shown in England) and most of us here think I1 populations probably played a role in the early stages of Germanic languages, but we don’t necessarily have proof that it was there in the founding stages of the language.

It is similar in Hungary. We know who brought the Uralic languages and we now have a genetic profile of those people. However, how and when the ancestors of the Hungarian conquerers first used such language and what specific genetic components were applicable at that exact stage cannot be stated with complete certainty at this time, as far as I can tell. Some of the purported methods of Uralic expansion with associated genetic components may be true, but they shouldn’t be treated as fact- which I feel is one of Jaska’s main points.

I would like to add that, at least as much as one must exercise caution when attempting to interpret the role of bearers of Y-DNA haplogroup I1 in the genesis of the Proto-Germanic language, one must exercise caution when attempting to interpret the role played by e.g. bearers of Y-DNA haplogroup N-Tat in the genesis of the Hungarian (Magyar) language. The Hungarian language has a lir (Chuvash-like) Turkic layer as well as at least one layer of unknown linguistic affiliation (i.e. possible influence from some extinct language isolate), and these layers should have been added to the (proto-)Magyar language prior to the migration of (proto-)Magyars into Hungary. I would like one of the rabid proponents of the "N-Tat=ancient Samoyeds(or Late Neolithic/Bronze Age Yakutians or whatever)=Proto-Uralic speakers" hypothesis to explain why they do not need to account for any genetic influence on the Hungarian conquerors that may have originated from Turkic-speaking or non-Uralic language isolate-speaking ancestors of those Hungarian conquerors. They also never seem to feel a need to explain why N-Tat is not particularly common among actual present-day speakers of Samoyedic languages despite insisting that these people are essentially pure-blooded descendants of speakers of the Proto-Uralic language.

Very good point regarding the possible "mystery population" component in Hungarians, many people only think of the Uralic-Turkic-Iranian ancient mixture. According to István Kenesei's book, published in 2004, he estimated that the largest percentage in Modern Hungarian vocabulary, 30%, is of unknown origin. Of course it can be argued that many of these words could be original internal creations, however it's highly doubtful that most of them, that would be almost unprecedented for a migratory population's case. There must have been some other population(s) in the development of Ancient Hungarians who contributed to their formation, likely from Siberia?
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Ancient (Davidski's G25)
1. Western Steppe Herder 47.2%
2. Early European Farmer 39%
3. Western Hunter-Gatherer 11.6%
4. Han 2.2%

Modern (G25)
1. Austrian 64%
2. Kuban Cossack 23.4%
3. Kabardian 6.6%
4. Crimean Tatar 3.2%
5. Hungarian 2.8%
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#53
(02-07-2024, 05:28 PM)tutut Wrote: Jaska


As a specialist linguist, could you explain to me what would be the reason for Old Persian to has 3 genders and modern Persian to has none? What would lead to such a spectacular change in grammar?

I know very little about linguistics, but I understand the Turkic languages have no grammatical gender. Could modern Persian have been influenced by contact with Turks? (I'm asking. I don't know.)
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#54
@rmstevens2


There was influence in both directions*, but I do not know whether this disappearance of the genders was more than a mere late Turkish influence. There should be a prerequisite for such a grammatical change. And in my opinion there may have been such, because we have IE influence on Persians from Mitanni for example. In other words, we don't know if before this influence Iranian was without genders and therefore dropped them more easily, as actually happened with English.

*Syntactic convergence phenomena between Iranian and Turkic languages are all the more striking because the structures of the respective languages contrast almost in mirror image. Taking Persian to represent Iranian, since Turkic languages are more homogeneous, we may compare the following typical features of morphology: Noun Phrase (NP) and Sentence (S) syntax, and verb structure:

TABLE 1

On the other hand, there are some striking, longstanding similarities between Persian and Turkic, in contrast with other adjacent or related languages: numerals govern a singular, not a plural, noun; gender is not grammatically distinguished, even in the 3 sg. pronoun there is no adjective agreement; and there is a similar series of pronominal enclitics (Doerfer, 1967, pp. 57-59; Stilo, 1981, pp. 163-64). Although documentation is lacking, ancient convergence cannot be ruled out.
[/quote]
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#55
I'm such a duffer when it comes to linguistics that I am a little afraid to start any threads in this subforum, but I must admit I am curious about the apparent connection between R1b-BY14355, the brother clade to L754 under R1b-M343, and Turkic. Look at the ancient BY14355 samples in FTDNA Discover's Ancient Connections/Time Tree.

[Image: R1b-M343-Descendant-Tree-w-scribble-notes.jpg]
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Let us now praise famous men, and our fathers that begat us.

- Wisdom of Sirach 44:1
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#56
(02-04-2024, 06:33 AM)Jaska Wrote: There is a widespread belief among laymen that language could be seen from the DNA. Strangely, they usually angrily deny that accusation, when at the same time they apply a method which cannot work unless they see language from the DNA. Here is a real-life example and my reply to it.

Random blogger:
“N-L1026 is very useful because it can be used to track the Uralic expansion from Siberia to the west, not to predict who currently speaks Uralic.”

The end of your sentence is important, because there are too much erroneous black-and-white beliefs about the interdependence of the language and the DNA. However, the truth that one cannot see the language from the DNA at the present also prevents one from seeing the language from the DNA in the past. All you can see is the expansion of N-L1026 from Siberia to the west, but you cannot just arbitrarily put linguistic label on it.

We have no certainty about the paternal lineages of the population speaking Late Proto-Uralic. The only scientific way for tryingto find them out involves this procedure:

1. We take the linguistic results as the starting point: when and where was Late Proto-Uralic spoken?

2. We look at the genetic data in the relevant spatio-temporal coordinates: what is present there is a tentative genetic correlate for Late Proto-Uralic.

3. Spatial or temporal match alone is not enough, but they must coexist. There have occurred migrations in all times, and the spread of N-L1026 could be either (1) earlier, (2) simultaneous, or (3) later than the expansion of Late Proto-Uralic. The situation where N-L1026 partially overlaps the modern region of the Uralic language family cannot testify that their expansions were simultaneous, not to speak of proving that their expansions were causally related to each other.

For some reason you do not follow the scientific procedure. Instead, you just randomly decide that the expansion of N-L1026 must be associated with the Uralic expansion. Then, based on this dice-roll, you claim that the linguistic evidence can now be ignored and the Uralic homeland can be located based on the DNA, because by some mystical skill you can see the language directly from the DNA. 

Hungarians are an important example about how ancestry of the language carriers changes through time, even in the same region. Ancient Hungarians still had a portion of Siberian (Yakutia_LNBA) autosomal ancestry, but modern Hungarians do not have it. Similar ancestry changes obviously have occurred also during the prehistoric times. Also, during every successive step of a linguistic expansion, it is likely that the genetic composition of the language carriers changes, because assimilation and language shift of earlier population are normal part of linguistic expansion.

This is just one of the many facts that demonstrate us why we cannot see the language from the DNA:
- The Uralic language can remain even when the Yakutia ancestry disappears.
- The Yakutia ancestry can remain even when language shifts: this ancestry is present in populations representing several language families, and we cannot see from the DNA which language the carriers of this ancestry originally spoke.

P.S. In case of trolls, please inform the administrators, so that this thread would not be closed due to insult wars.

@Jaska
Indeed a such DNA and speaking a language are separate things. In other words: as such a language can't be deciphered from dna.

But taken the other way around take with regard to a prehistoric language- in casu LPU- 'take the linguistic results' as 'a starting point' is also problematic. Because what are 'linguistic results' in this respect? We have no single evidence where and when a prehistoric language has been spoken.

That's contradictio in terminis, because when we know where and when a prehistoric language has been spoken it fails to be prehistoric it has become historic!

So with regard to prehistoric language we only have assumptions. And assumptions are not factual.

So I get your point and I underline it....but your 'solution' has also some severe disadvantages.
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#57
(02-11-2024, 10:54 AM)Rodoorn Wrote: We have no single evidence where and when a prehistoric language has been spoken.

That's contradictio in terminis, because when we know where and when a prehistoric language has been spoken it fails to be prehistoric it has become historic!

I'm no linguist, but I assume we have evidence of where and when prehistoric languages are spoken based on their having terms for region-specific things (where) and specific technological innovations (when)?
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#58
(02-11-2024, 04:07 PM)Kale Wrote:
(02-11-2024, 10:54 AM)Rodoorn Wrote: We have no single evidence where and when a prehistoric language has been spoken.

That's contradictio in terminis, because when we know where and when a prehistoric language has been spoken it fails to be prehistoric it has become historic!

I'm no linguist, but I assume we have evidence of where and when prehistoric languages are spoken based on their having terms for region-specific things (where) and specific technological innovations (when)?

That doesn't count as a real source (c.q. evidence). When were those names for regio specific things introduced? And on what basis when we have no real language sources of the past.

Inscriptions, books etc are. But that is out of order for pre-historic languages of course. So it stays highly assumptive.
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#59
Seems a bit nihilistic for my taste... such as why not go half a step further and say there's no 'real' evidence anybody spoke until audio recordings?
Of course it's speculative, such is life, we just have to settle for the most logical speculations because there are simply things we cannot know for certain.
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#60
And as if by magic and entire discipline disappears in a puff of smoke, poof : )
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