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ward of the edge-loaves

zyit dzriᴴ gjuw dzyeˣ
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@siberian-khatru-72 got me a copy of Guthrie’s monumental, but difficult-to-find, Comparative Bantu, and in the interest of wasting time that I could spend doing something more productive, here are some interesting sound changes.

Note that Proto-Bantu had a strict (N)CV syllable structure, where C was one of /p t c k b d ɟ g m n/, with wide allophony (particularly with *d, which seems to have been a stop only before the super-high vowels and [l] most of the rest of the time). /c ɟ/ are difficult to pinpoint and may have been /tʃ dʒ/ or even /s z/.

The vowel system is usually represented as /į i e a o u ų/, where /į ų/ were super-high/apical (not nasalized). /i u/ were perhaps [ɪ~i ʊ~u] and /e o/ probably [ɛ ɔ]. There was also tone, which I will be ignoring here. 

Letters after a language’s name represent the zone Guthrie classified the language as a part of–these cannot be taken to be clades and, crucially, there has been some reorganization which he wrote, which I will not attempt to correct in favor of. I’m skipping zones A and B, because it’s an open question whether or not many A and B languages are actually Bantu or merely para-Bantu. Note that prenasalized consonants usually act differently from singleton consonants, so e.g. a shift below in *k doesn’t apply to *ŋk unless so noted.

Akwa©: *k deletes root-initially, with *g becoming /k/ in that position; velars are maintained internally.

Busɔɔŋ ©: Root-initial singleton *p deletes (this is quite common in Bantu), with *mp and *b merging as /ɸ/. Prenasalized voiced stops lengthen the preceding vowel and turn into the homoorganic nasal.

Mbɔlɛ (D): A bilabial/labiodental split where *p > ɸ and *mp > f. 

Nyali(D): *c *ɟ > s t.

A fair number of languages in the Great Lakes region, e.g. Kerebe and Ganda, simply turn any voiceless stop to /s/ and any voiced stop to /z/ before *į.

Dahl’s Law, or ‘Grassmann’s Law with Bantu characteristics’, applies to a fair number of languages in East Africa, and voices the first of two adjacent voiceless stops, e.g. *tatu > datu.

Rwo (E) apparently had *į > ʊ/”u”, but the notation is complicated and it may be initial-syllable only.

Hai(E) had *t > ʁ, except before *į where it merges with *g as /r/ and *ų where it yields /f/.

Laadi (H) had a shift *p > ɣ, via a step /β/ that is preserved in Kongo.

There are quite a few interesting shifts in the southern languages (South Africa, Mozambique, Zimbabwe, etc.) but the notation Guthrie uses is rather difficult for them…

Has anybody checked to make sure the -n found in the 2sg and 3sg present of Albanian verbs isn’t the same as the mysterious -ṃ of the Tocharian 3sg?

yeli-renrong:

wardoftheedgeloaves:

yeli-renrong:

Satemization used to be used for subgrouping, but the discovery of Tocharian caused people to re-evaluate that: satem languages are generally spoken to the east of centum languages, but the easternmost IE language family was centum! And it’s now known that satemization operated differently in Balto-Slavic and Indo-Iranian, which looks more like diffusion than inheritance - although secondary depalatalization in Balto-Slavic is technically possible.

Except Tocharian has enough shared features with western IE that it probably represented a secondary migration, so the geographic position of Tocharian doesn’t invalidate a satem clade, just as English being spoken in India doesn’t invalidate Germanic.

There are also some languages that preserve different reflexes of all three PIE velar plosive POAs. Luwian is one, and it’s commonly cited to show that the contrast between the palatovelars and the plain velars can’t be analyzed away as secondary in the satem languages (because a parallel development would then be necessary in Anatolian), but this has also been claimed for Albanian and Armenian.

So, out of the two changes that make up ‘satemization’, one of them (assibilation of the palatovelars) applied slightly differently in different satem IE subgroups, and the other (merger of the labiovelars into the plain velars) didn’t apply at all in some. (Although they all delabialized the labiovelars later as a secondary change.)

But didn’t centumization (i.e. the merger of the palatovelars into the plain velars) apply pretty much the same everywhere? Couldn’t thatbe used for subgrouping? You’d still need to posit a parallel development in some Anatolian languages, but you’d need that anyway. This would put Italic, Celtic, Germanic, Greek, and Tocharian in one branch of IE, and Albanian, Armenian, Balto-Slavic, and Indo-Iranian outside that branch.

This seems obvious enough as a possibility to consider that I assume there’s some reason it doesn’t work.

I think the reason this is difficult is Greek, which is phonologically Centum but grammatically mostly Satem, with…

…hmm, is it?

The augment is weird, but must be late, because it’s optional in Homer, and doesn’t appear at all outside of the Greek-Armenian-II area. I still don’t really understand the development of the Greek/Indic middle endings, other than that I think most of them are thought to be the -mo/-so/-to set with hic et nunc in the present, and these switched to an alpha in Greek for Reasons. The -bʰ- obliques are shared with Italic and Celtic; the s-future and s-aorist show up there too (faxō, dixī), although in general the Greek and Sanskrit verbal system seems to represent a particular Type that developed out of the writhing mass of IE formations and isn’t really seen elsewhere. (E.g. I’m having trouble thinking of another branch with the Greek/Sanskrit imperfect, but this is easily secondary, a repair job you come up with to create a past imperfective.)

The similarities of Germanic and Balto-Slavic might be harder to dismiss: the -m-obliques, similar (but not identical) treatments of syllabic resonants…

Can we identify any grammatical orlexical innovations shared between Italic, Celtic, Greek and Tocharian? In the verbs there seem to have been a lot of morphemes floating around in the dialect stage that froze into some formation or other in the daughters–I think the Baltic imperfect is supposed to be cognate to the Italic and Celtic ā-subjunctive.

Hell, can we identify any grammatical or lexical innovations shared by only IE families that could possibly form an intermediate-level subgroup at all?

I don’t have an encyclopedic offhand knowledge of IE isoglosses, so, from Adams 1984:

  • Everything except Anatolian, Italic, Celtic, and Tocharian innovates a -y mediopassive
  • Some of Meillet’s ‘Northwest Group’ vocabulary shows up in Tocharian
  • Adams’s statistical techniques following Kroeber and Chrétien 1937 suggest that Tocharian is closest to, in descending order, Greek, Armenian, Germanic, and Italic (all > .20)
  • The treatment of the syllabic resonants may have been identical in Germanic and Tocharian; at least, Tocharian had to have had either *R̥ > *uR or *R̥ > *aR, and, like Germanic, reflect long syllabic resonants (from *R̥H) with “complete, uncompensated loss of the laryngeal in most cases”.
  • Greek and Tocharian both rebuilt the genitive dual with *-oy-s(i/u)-.
  • Germanic, Tocharian, Italic, Balto-Slavic, and Greek all had productive n-stem ‘singulative or definite’ nouns; Germanic and Tocharian both extended this and developed definitizing n-stem adjectives, although this distinction was later lost in Tocharian.
  • Hysterokinetic and holokinetic r- and i-stems merge in both Tocharian and Latin.
  • Adams’s lexicostatistical methods suggest commonalities with Germanic and Greek.
  • Tocharian and Greek share *proty-ōkʷ- ‘chest’: TB pratsāko,TAprātsak, Gk prósōpon. But Adams says this was probably a loan into Tocharian from Greek, and some ‘Pre-Greek’ vocabulary also shows up in Tocharian (e.g. nātäk‘lord’,nāśi‘lady’ ~ Gk wánaks,wánassa).

In a footnote, Adams suggests an enlarged “Northwestern Group” consisting of Celtic, Italic, Germanic, Tocharian, Balto-Slavic, and Albanian, opposed to a “Southeastern Group” of Greek, Armenian, and Indo-Iranian. But then what are we supposed to make of the iotified mediopassive, or the rebuilding of the genitive dual?

Then again, English isn’t so branching either. If you take the TRAP-BATH split and the loss of ‘gotten’ as isoglosses, you can fill out a complete 2x2:

  • London has the TRAP-BATH split and no ‘gotten’

  • The upper Mid-Atlantic has the TRAP-BATH split and ‘gotten’

  • Most of the US has no TRAP-BATH split and ‘got’

  • I assume there’s a British dialect somewhere with no TRAP-BATH split and ‘got’, maybe in the north of England or something

But you can still use isoglosses to track the westward expansion of the US. East Coast dialects are the most conservative (absence of mergers before intervocalic /r/, merger of LOT with THOUGHT instead of FATHER in the far north, retention of the cot-caught and [in some places] TRAP-BATH distinctions), and as you go south and west, you lose vowels. The TRAP-BATH split seems like it could’ve been secondarily introduced from Britain (to New Jersey??), and it might help that nonrhoticity is receding, but later expansion seems to track loss of phonological complexity. Could something like that be done for the seemingly hopelessly un-subgroupable late PIE dialect cluster?

Do you mean ‘face’ for πρόσωπον? This is also found in Sanskrit as prátīka ‘opposite, countenance’, going back to *próti-h₃kʷ-omor thereabouts. The Tocharian forms have strange vocalism and accentuation–shouldn’t we see pretsākorprātsak? But the TB form is an ā-stem feminine, and I assume the TA form is too.

“Everything except Anatolian, Italic, Celtic, and Tocharian innovates a -y mediopassive”. Does it? Unless there’s something weird lurking in the dialect of three 90-year-old women in rural Latvia I’m not aware of any mediopassives in Balto-Slavic. Greek has a y-mediopassive–but Phrygian has an r-mediopassive, and Phrygian and Greek are close, with shared innovations like an oblique stem for ‘woman’ in -aik-. (Remember that Phrygian is just as full a member of the family as Greek is, just a poorly-attested one.)

I am inclined to ignore lexicostatistics entirely. Shared lexical isoglosses can still be found by hand, but determining innovations vs. retentions is something of an art. Thus in Algonquian, the word for ‘winter’ reflects a long second-syllable vowel *pepōnwi in most daughters–but not in Cree or Arapaho which reflect *pepŏnwi. Because Cree and Arapaho do not otherwise form a group and have a number of other archaisms, we conclude that an ‘inner core’ group irregularly lengthened the vowel in ‘winter’. But Algonquian is young, and transparent, and there were already lots of reasons to think Cree and Arapaho broke off early and that the languages to their south and east might form a group. In the absence of that evidence, we might put Cree and Arapaho together, because we wouldn’t be able to make the qualitative judgment calls putting *pepŏnwi in the ‘archaism’ bin rather than the ‘shared innovation’ bin.

Is the genitive dual a ‘rebuilding’? Let’s take a look at genitive duals across the family. 

  • Greek’s ending is -Vιν; -αιν in the first declension and -οιν in the second and third. Additionally, some Homeric lines have to be scanned with -οιιν. (I expect the third declension borrowed from the second and can be discounted). Hilmarsson says there’s an Arcado-Cypriot second-declension form -οιυν, with the -οι- formation possibly comparable to the TB -ais- formative of the genitive dual -(n)aisäñ. (Duals in Tocharian are built on an n-stem). Tocharian A seems to have a genitive dual ending -eor-is, as in āmpe/āmpine ‘of both’, aśnis ‘of two eyes’.
  • Sanskrit has -ayosin thematics,or simply -os in athematics, and this looks like it has to reflect *-ews or*-ows. But Avestan has separate dual endings for the genitive and locative, with in the genitive and  in the locative–supposed to be from Pre-Avestan -āh and-aŭ, respectively. De Vaan and Martínez reckon the Sanskrit ending represents a ‘blend’ of distinct endings in Indo-Iranian–which suggests *-oHs or *-eHs.This could easily be secondary–take the nominative dual in *-e/oh₁, add the -s from the genitive, and hey presto, you have a genitive dual. 
  • OCS has -u uniformly in the genitive dual, which looks like *-ow or–maybe– *-ewwith the intercalated yod analogized away. On the other hand, it also has the same genitive/locative syncretism in the dual that Sanskrit does, so perhaps this is the equivalent of the -o- of Sanskrit, which added an -s which was either never added in OCS or was lost when the open-syllable law hit. Samogitian and the Lithuanian pronominals seem not to distinguish the genitive dual from the genitive plural (both are -ų/-u).
  • Old Irish has lenition mutation, which Stifter reconstructs to Proto-Celtic -ow, from *-o(h₁)uor-ows or similar (but if there was an -s, why not spirantization mutation?). The “prepositional” dual is a *bʰ-oblique and isn’t relevant.

I think if we’re going to reconstruct anything, we want a locative dual ending *-o(h₁)u. Maybe this did double duty for the genitive at an early date as well, because the Avestan ending suggests *-Vh₁-swhich is very easy to innovate after break-up, and then Sanskrit represents a merger of the two.

The nu of the Greek ending and the  of the Tocharian ending don’t have to be cognate and probably aren’t (why not -aisäṃ?). The real trouble is the *i. IE*oi is supposed to go to Tocharian e,*ou too orau. What we might expect is something along the lines of *-oh₁u-s-Vn(i)shared in Tocharian and Greek, but this would give, what, -οῦν and-ausäñ/-osäñ. Not what we see. Winter proposed *-oisun-, but Hilmarsson says this doesn’t explain Tocharian for Reasons. We could get Homeric from -oih₁i(n) with dissimilation in Arcadocypriot; Hilmarsson proposes competing genitive dual endings *-oiH₁ou and-oiH₁i.

Note that -oy-su is, uh…exactly what we think the Sanskrit o-stem locative plural ending -eṣu comes from. Avestan has -šuunder RUKI, otherwise -hu. The Greek genitive dual, but not the Tocharian, in *-oysi looks a lot like the locative plural–we have -οισι in Homeric, probably formerly -οϊ, with the sigma reintroduced from consonant stems.

Perhaps we are looking at a grab-bag of postpositions or adverbs or something of the form *isu, *usu, *isi, etc. in IE which glommed on to existing forms? Homeric can easily reflect an *h₁, the dual marker. Intercalation of yod in Sanskrit -eṣu might be by analogy with e.g. -ebhyas; it’s also present in the dual in -ayos,which could be secondary after it at an early stage. There’s a Hittite preverb u- ‘hither’, which Kloekhorst takes to be from *h₂ou and cognate to Skt. ava-, Greek αὖ ‘again’,etc– but then why not ḫu-? It has an allative meaning in verbs, too, not a stative one.

Pre-Greek vocabulary in Tocharian is difficult to dismiss if it exists and I would like to know more about this. The equation of wánax/wánassa withnātäk/nāśi…hmm. Why don’t we see wanāk, wanāśi in Tocharian? This nātäk word doesn’t show up in Adams’ dictionary of Tocharian B (even the new second edition) (is it TochA?). There’s a word ñakte ‘god’ which appears to be from *(H)néktosor thereabouts, with various discussion in the dictionary connecting it to *h₁neḱ- and*ǵʰew-. We could get nā- from*neh₁-- *eh₁ doesn’t produce palatalization and turns to ā in Tocharian; *(s)neh₁-meant ‘to weave’ but there’s also *neyh₁- ‘to lead’. 

The “Northwest Group” seems sketchy to me, a hodgepodge of areal similarities and innovations that look areal. Much of the group is centum, but Balto-Slavic and Albanian aren’t, and it leaves out Greek. It mixes y- and r-mediopassives, along with Balto-Slavic which is silent on the question. 

yeli-renrong:

In Miyake’s reconstruction of Tangut, final -n (which he thinks might have represented vowel nasality) only occurs with the main vowels a e i o - that is, there are no syllables that contain both uor yand -n - and final -w only occurs with the main vowels e i.

(These two finals are mutually exclusive, and -w also can’t occur with ‘tense’ -q; however, both can occur with the unknown ‘prime’ quality.)

Couldew iw have been front rounded vowels? This would make areal sense, but it seems so far that they come from velar finals rather than alveolar ones, which is a more common development at least in Tibetic.

Where do front rounded vowels elsewhere in Sino-Tibetan come from? Are there other cases of a rime consisting of a vowel and a non-alveolar final becoming a front rounded vowel?

Mandarin /ü/ derives either from MC *u in Type B syllables (i.e. with a yod medial), or from *i with a *w medial.

This seems not to be entirely immune to final. With an intial velar stop, Kʷi-in open syllables seems to give kui/guiin Mandarin with intercalated “schwa”. (This is not unique to Mandarin, as you get kwai/gwai in Canto. (Note that MC *g only appeared before front unrounded vowels or medial yod and doesn’t apply here; cf. *ɣwit, *ɣwik, *ɣwij -> yù, yù, yú.)*KʷEC with a nasal or stop final seems to usually give you, e.g., jun/qun/ju/qu. 

Going back further, we can consult Baxter and Sagart’s tables of MC reflexes of the OC finals. Unfortunately, rounding here seems to be mostly a question of initial, not final–so e.g. *Kʷəkand*Pək giveKuwkandPuwk, and *Pət givesPjut. (And of course, no front rounded vowels in MC.)

One source of front rounded vowels is back rounded vowels around alveolars, as you note–not just in Tibetic, but also in Cantonese and later Oscan (from *u after alveolars) and Souletin Basque (*u before alveolars.)

Proto-Finnich appears to have derived *ø: from Pre-Finnic *ixiand*eŋi, where *x is the Uralic/Finno-Ugric “laryngeal”, which existed in (nearly?) complementary distribution with *k. This is probably the best parallel (that I’m able to find). 

Vurës regularly cheshirizes Proto-Oceanic second-syllable *u as a front rounded vowel, regardless of the frontness of the initial vowel. Thus POc *motus ->ŋmʷøt,*pusuR -> βüs.

Since final *-k didn’t survive in attested Tangut, there is an option for multiple stages here. For example, we might first see *-k->-ɣ -> -w, the first step attested in some of Oceanic, the latter fairly frequently in general. Spontaneous rounding of *k is attested in some Tacanan languages where *k -> kʷ and either *t or*x becomesk. The quality of the preceding vowel is important here, because we should minimize the number of truly unusual sound changes needed. Thus -k -> -kʷ and then *-ukʷ -> -ükʷ -> üɣ -> ü is probably questionable because it requires both spontaneous *k-rounding and then dissimilation. On the other hand, *-ik -> iɣ -> ü is rather easier. Do we have any clues as to the quality of the vowels in Pre-Tangut?

yeli-renrong:

Satemization used to be used for subgrouping, but the discovery of Tocharian caused people to re-evaluate that: satem languages are generally spoken to the east of centum languages, but the easternmost IE language family was centum! And it’s now known that satemization operated differently in Balto-Slavic and Indo-Iranian, which looks more like diffusion than inheritance - although secondary depalatalization in Balto-Slavic is technically possible.

Except Tocharian has enough shared features with western IE that it probably represented a secondary migration, so the geographic position of Tocharian doesn’t invalidate a satem clade, just as English being spoken in India doesn’t invalidate Germanic.

There are also some languages that preserve different reflexes of all three PIE velar plosive POAs. Luwian is one, and it’s commonly cited to show that the contrast between the palatovelars and the plain velars can’t be analyzed away as secondary in the satem languages (because a parallel development would then be necessary in Anatolian), but this has also been claimed for Albanian and Armenian.

So, out of the two changes that make up ‘satemization’, one of them (assibilation of the palatovelars) applied slightly differently in different satem IE subgroups, and the other (merger of the labiovelars into the plain velars) didn’t apply at all in some. (Although they all delabialized the labiovelars later as a secondary change.)

But didn’t centumization (i.e. the merger of the palatovelars into the plain velars) apply pretty much the same everywhere? Couldn’t thatbe used for subgrouping? You’d still need to posit a parallel development in some Anatolian languages, but you’d need that anyway. This would put Italic, Celtic, Germanic, Greek, and Tocharian in one branch of IE, and Albanian, Armenian, Balto-Slavic, and Indo-Iranian outside that branch.

This seems obvious enough as a possibility to consider that I assume there’s some reason it doesn’t work.

I think the reason this is difficult is Greek, which is phonologically Centum but grammatically mostly Satem, with…

…hmm, is it?

The augment is weird, but must be late, because it’s optional in Homer, and doesn’t appear at all outside of the Greek-Armenian-II area. I still don’t really understand the development of the Greek/Indic middle endings, other than that I think most of them are thought to be the -mo/-so/-to set with hic et nunc in the present, and these switched to an alpha in Greek for Reasons. The -bʰ- obliques are shared with Italic and Celtic; the s-future and s-aorist show up there too (faxō, dixī), although in general the Greek and Sanskrit verbal system seems to represent a particular Type that developed out of the writhing mass of IE formations and isn’t really seen elsewhere. (E.g. I’m having trouble thinking of another branch with the Greek/Sanskrit imperfect, but this is easily secondary, a repair job you come up with to create a past imperfective.)

The similarities of Germanic and Balto-Slavic might be harder to dismiss: the -m-obliques, similar (but not identical) treatments of syllabic resonants…

Can we identify any grammatical orlexical innovations shared between Italic, Celtic, Greek and Tocharian? In the verbs there seem to have been a lot of morphemes floating around in the dialect stage that froze into some formation or other in the daughters–I think the Baltic imperfect is supposed to be cognate to the Italic and Celtic ā-subjunctive.

An acquaintance of mine has suggested that I make a Tumblr post of music preferences. Here is a poorly-organized post of various pieces I enjoy. (click on the title to visit yootoob)

classical sort of

Nixon in China–John Adams

Achiptune cover of Gershwin’s Rhapsody in Blue

(I firmly believe there should be more chiptune and symphonic metal classical covers)

Five Variants of Dives and LazarusRalph Vaughan Williams

English Folk Song Suite–Ralph Vaughn Williams

virtually anything by ralph vaughan williams,really

(although, peccatus peccatorum, i have never really gotten into the fantasia on a theme by thomas tallis)

and similarly, Holst is great even beyond The Planets, as in the First Suite in E-Flat,Second Suite in F,Two Songs without WordsHammersmith and–a personal favorite because it is such an odd, underappreciated little piece–Beni Mora

other classical (and anybody telling me it’s not really classical because classical stopped in 1820 can screw off please) pieces I enjoy are Dvořák’s String Quartet #12 “American”, Sibelius’ 1st symphony, Sibelius’ Soi Kiitokseksi LuojanI should find more obscure composers but most pieces from before ~1800 are kinda dry to my ears

jazz and blues

Howlin’ Wolf is always agood time, and Muddy Waters’ masterpieces are too numerous to list here. Lightnin’ Hopkins might be unparalleled in terms of pulling off raw melancholy; John Lee Hooker is also indisputably fantastic, and there’s at least one number featuring both of them.

my jazz proper tastes tend to run to either the early big band (another example) (a third example) period or 50s-60s stuff like Cannonball Adderly or early Miles Davis (Davis after ~1970 or so is still good listening but getting a bit too esoteric for me to really enjoy).

i am convinced the morin khuur is a blues instrument and awaits the mongolian-american blues master who will bring it to realize its true power

it also occurred to me the other day that somebody should do gregorian chant on a blues scale

rock and metal

not as much of this these days as I listened to when I was a teen. metal covers of classical are always a good time. the catchier bits of rock beats are usually covered just as well by blues; but a special mention should go to Blue Oyster Cult

I adore chiptune, even in contexts where chiptune is perhaps not strictly appropriate

guilty pleasures

i really shouldn’t like electro-swing as much as I do–it feels inherently frivolous–nevertheless, example,example,an example I hate myself for liking, an example I enjoy even though it makes me want to bring back obscenity laws, and an example that somehow makes me sympathize with the existence of isis owing to its combination of catchiness, frivolity, smug near-obscenity and utter pointlessness

Is there evidence in borrowings into Welsh, Albanian or Berber for any variety of Vulgar Latin having preserved a length distinction in /a/ at a late-ish date?

yeli-renrong:

image

(source)

cf. Miyake’s reconstruction of Pre-Tangut, where medial -r- conditions (IIRC) grade 2

POWEROUS

ponteh2dhh1ksdiwesph2tres:

new-clemency:

funereal-disease:

new-clemency:

orteil42:

that period in the mid-20th century where the middle class suddenly had access to unprecedented food variety but no idea what to do with it and ended up inventing hundreds of doomed dishes like lime cheese jello salad or ham and banana hollandaise is thematically akin to the cambrian explosion

worth noting that the whole concept of tasty food, for large parts of the world, didn’t exist until the early 20th century

That’s not quite consistent with what I know about historical cookery. Could you elaborate?

My claim is very likely hyperbolic, most of what I know is from Garlic and Sapphires by Ruth Reichl.

This is based off me reading the first few chapters several years ago, but essentially the book outlines how, for instance, almost all modern Japanese cuisine didn’t exist until the 1920s, and what they had before was mostly sustenance and not food-for-taste’s-sake.

The book also points to tasty food being associated with being effeminate in North America until around the same time, with William Harrison’s negative presidential campaign revolving around how Martin Van Buren had a French chef (bad, weak, effeminate), and how Harrison by contrast only ate cured meats and drank hard cider.

I don’t think this means that there wasn’t food that tasted good, but the post-scarcity transition from food-as-fuel to food-as-pleasure probably had an impact on how important it was that food tasted good, and I imagine that’s what Reichl is trying to draw upon there.

If you have any information the contrary, I’d love to learn! Mine is certainly an un-nuanced and relatively uninteresting position

adds food discourse to the list of things that assume medieval england didn’t exist, right below family structure discourse. read the forme of cury, contemplate the existence of trans-eurasian spice trade networks… you could get complex & flavorful food in medieval england if you had the money for it.

many spices were far too expensive for common use, ofc. and some had functional uses in addition to culinary ones - certain herbs and spices show antimicrobial activity and were used as preservatives. (e.g. gruit / hops in beer)

the english conquest of north america happened long before the 20th century. garlic mustard, a common north american weed, was brought intentionally from europe and grown as an herb. so it’s not like seasoning in general was exclusive to the rich!

food culture in the US was probably hindered by lack of expansion, unsophisticated monocrop agriculture, and the great depression. food culture in japan could’ve been hindered by a relative lack of useful native plants, for all i know – the only japanese herb i can think of is wasabi – but they made up for whatever lack of resources may have existed with extensive use of fermentation. present-day japanese cuisine is generally recent, but how much of that is just because of their recent, western contact-induced reversal of attitudes on meat?

i recall reading from The Rise and Fall of American Growth that the average American of 1870 got something like 70-80% of their calories from maize and pork and that diets did not truly improve until about WWI to the 1920s, due to the advent of refrigerated railroad cars and meatpacking plants you could mostly sort of trust not to include random fingers or rats

in that case, it wasn’t really ‘unsophisticated monocrop culture’ either, just primitive technology and models of nutrition. if refrigeration and flash-freezing don’t real, you have two options for vegetables, which is that you can eat them or pickle them. the former is only an option in the summer and the latter isn’t great for the nutrients or, frankly, the taste. also, note that the idea of vitamins or a balanced diet didn’t even really exist until the 1910s. prior to that, the assumption was that food was fuel, and pork and corn were just as much wood in a furnace. also, if you were a city dweller, you stayed away from vegetables in a lot of cases for good reason–at least pigs were probably slaughtered only a couple miles away while veggies and fruit had to travel.

in that sense actually the real innovation is vegetables and mixed diets less than spices; pepper and cinnamon might grow stale but they doesn’t rot under normal circumstances. i’d like to know more about the Japanese food thing; rice and fish have been around since time immemorial…was sushi some sort of 1920s hipster thing?

thinking about locking Chomsky in a room with the original Greek text of Thucydides until he comes up with a universal theory of grammar on the basis of the syntax

siberian-khatru-72:

txchnologist:

by Ker Than, Inside Science

The first settlers of the New World may have spent 10,000 years on Beringia, a vast land bridge that once connected Asia and Alaska, according to a new analysis of modern languages spoken by Native Americans and people in Siberia. The findings support similar conclusions of recent genetic and environmental studies.

Moreover, the findings, published online in the journal PLOS One, suggest that while many of these “Beringians” eventually pushed onward into North America, others returned, or “back-migrated,” to their homeland in Asia.

Mark Sicoli and Gary Holton from Georgetown University in Washington, D.C., and the University of Alaska Fairbanks, respectively, collected data on sound systems and word structure from published grammars of a group of languages spoken by Native Americans, called Na-Dene, and the Yeniseian languages of Central Siberia.

Weiterlesen

Where do I even start…

First of all, Vajda’s Dene-Yeniseian hypothesis claims that Yeniseian language family of Siberia is related to the Na-Dene family of North America. The Na-Dene family has the following structure:

1. Tlingit

2. Eyak-Athabaskan

2.1. Eyak

2.2. Athabaskan languages, incl. Navajo, Hupa, etc.

The internal classification of Na-Dene is absolutely uncontroversial, that is the validity of Eyak-Athabaskan and Athabaskan nodes on the tree is universally accepted.

In their paper, Sicoli and Holton argue that the Dene-Yeniseian homeland was in Beringia, and the fact that Yeniseian family is located in Siberia results from back-migration (“back” because ultimately Beringia was settled from Siberia). How did they arrive at such a conclusion?

They constructed a phylogenetic tree of Dene-Yeniseian languages using a database of 116 binary typological features covering phonology and morphology. The resulting tree can be summarized as follows:

1. Haida (nowadays usually excluded from Na-Dene)

2. Yeniseian

3. Tlingit & Eyak [!!!]

4. South Pacific Coast Athabaskan [one of several Athabaskan subgroups, including, e.g., Hupa]

5. All the remaining Athabaskan languages.

As they note, “[i]n this tree Yeniseian, Tlingit, Eyak and South PCA are at the same phylogenetic level without being in a hierarchical relationship with each other”.

This result simply cannot be correct. Athabaskan languages are so closely related that their relationship is evident on inspection; all Athabaskan languages, including those of South Pacific Coast subgroup, can be derived from Proto-Athabaskan, reconstructed by the traditional comparative method. The relationship of Yeniseian to Athabaskan, if it is real at all, is extremely distant, and no uncontroversial reconstruction of a common proto-language is available. In no way can one claim, as Sicoli and Holton do, that Hupa, Ket, and Navajo are equidistant from each other.

Now, their use of typological features for genealogical classification is already problematic, but let’s look at the specific features in their list. Features 1-24 describe vocalism. They look like this (2-1-1 and the like are various configurations of vowel systems):

1. Three Vowel

2. 1-1-1

3. 2-1

4. Four Vowel

5. 2-2

6. 2-1-1

7. 1-2-1

8. Five Vowel

9. 3-2

10. 3-1-1

11. 2-2-1

12. Six vowels

etc.

So, if the language has a 3-1-1 system (+ feature 10), it necessarily has 5 vowels (+ feature 8) and necessary has a negative value of features 1-7 (systems of less than five vowels), 9 & 11 (different systems of five vowels), and 12-18 (systems of six and seven vowels). That is, their features are heavily interdependent, and any statistics based on these set of features will be significantly distorted.

Finally, it turns out that their use of Bayesian statistics was plagued with errors. While I am not competent to comment on this, I highly recommend reading I. Yanovich’s debunking of Sicoli & Holton’s claims, recently published in Diachronica (here’s the link to the free pre-publication versionandappendices).

The only question I have is how on earth they managed to publish this in a peer-reviewed journal, and the obvious answer is that the reviwers apparenly weren’t linguists.

yeli-renrong:

yeli-renrong:

a romanization of Japanese in which, for each consonant, the vowel epenthesized after it in loans is unwritten

what once was hidden is now revealed

thinking about a really horrible new genre of architecture called ‘streamline fauxderne’

kaumnyakte:

aletheius:

kaumnyakte:

aletheius:

kaumnyakte:

aletheius:

unknownknights-blog:

805sunshine:

B

Well just about all hell do it right all of it

the only correct answer is the entire Alphabet. If I wanted to LARP as a serf i would do it right with barley gruel. Plain corn is gross

nonsense. shred about a third of a block of white cheddar into it and throw on some pepper. maybe a little butter, but not too much. definitely not yellow cheddar - mixing annatto and grits is as bad as mixing shellfish and tomato broth

defenestrates you for insulting Manhattan Clam Chowder (peace be upon it)

BLASPHEMER DETECTED

YOU HAVE VIOLATED THE LAWS OF GOD AND MAN

In your false zeal, you have destroyed the very thing which could have shown you truth…. good taste.

…’You will die as your weakling father died. Soulless. Honourless. Weeping. Ashamed.’

You will die in holy fire, blasphemer.

And the last thing you see will be the True Chowder.

Our Chowder is a merciful Chowder; to even the foulest violators of the laws of God and Man it grants the chance to repent.

And repent you shall!

missalsfromiram:

Wondered if Arapaho ever went through a stage where it had only two stop consonants, which would go against a typological prediction I made that every language has stop consonants at at least three places of articulation

But nope, although p → k → ∅ precedes genesis of new /b/ (from /m/ before /i j/) it turns out Arapaho inherited PA *ʔ intact, meaning there were never less than 3 stops

Although then I remembered North Mekeo exists, which disproves my prediction anyways since it only has /p k/ - though, interesting that apparently no case of /t k/ exists, despite a number of “close calls” such as Arapaho and much of Iroquoian and Polynesian

This might boil down to geographical coincidence. Virtually all languages lacking bilabials are North American (specifically Iroquoian or Pacific Northwest), and North American languages generally have /ʔ/.

One plausible path for /t k/ might be a language with /p t k/ changing *p to /f/. But *p becoming /f/ usually seems to occur in languages that have /b/: Arabic, Somali, proto-Celtic and Germanic. And *p in Polynesian is usually quite stable; I can’t think of a language that has uniformly killed it off.

Wichita, with a stop system of /t k kʷ ʔ/ got rid of proto-Caddoan *p by changing it to /w/ word-initially and /kʷ/ word-internally. That said, however, I sort of want to take another look at the Caddoan stop system. The interchange between e.g. *w, *p and *kʷ is weird in the standard model from Taylor, in a way that maybe suggests the reconstruction needs to be revisited.

tanadrin:

carovingian:

tanadrin:

I was looking for candidates for the earliest fixed calendar date in history and found this short article from 1906 arguing that because of the creeping disparity between the calendrical and actual seasons in ancient Egypt, due to the lack of a leap day, we know that the ancient Egyptian calendar must have been introduced in the forty-third century BC (4241 BC to be precise).

I think we should add 4241 years to all dates, and make this the new calendar epoch.

god this makes me happy

Can’t believe I forgot the link. It’s an elegant little piece of reasoning that relies on the fact that Egyptian civilization was already old at the time of classical antiquity, and used the same calendrical system the whole time, nominally beginning the year with the rising of the star Sirius at sunrise. The actual astronomical event drifted by a quarter-day every year, because a year is closer to 365.25 days long than it is 365, meaning you have cycles of 4*365 = 1,460 years where the rising of Sirius drifts from the first day of the year to the last and then starts over again. Over centuries, this drift was profound–a monument in Sinai describes an official arriving during calendrical winter, which at the time fell in the middle of the summer heat.

The calendar was already in use during the Old Kingdom, and (if I understand correctly) has to be older than the Pyramid Texts, because the texts show indications that the Egyptians were already aware of the problem of calendrical drift; therefore the beginning of the last cycle of drift that could have begun with the introduction of the calendar is, based on astronomical and textual data, the one beginning in 4241 BC.

And since this 365 day, 12-month calendar is functionally the same calendar we use today (as laundered through Greece and Rome, and with minor modifications to increase its accuracy) and since it is now the civil calendar of most, if not all, of the world, it makes sense to date the epoch of general international, culturally agnostic use from the time of this calendar’s introduction. So the first day of the present epoch should (again, if I understand the article correctly) be dated from July 19, 4241 BC.

missalsfromiram:

Drench is the i-umlauted causative of drink

So…quench logically ought to be the i-umlauted causative of…..quink??

You know, actually…

okay let’s see here

…oh??*kwankijana??(heh…kwank…) - so it is a causative…

Oh…my aspjfkl;dasfjdsklf god? *kwinkaną? It’s real!! I need to know more…

“Uncertain”, huh…okay, to go out, makes sense…when you quench your thirst, you make it go out. When you drench something, you make it drink (at least that was its original sense).

So, to quink is to go out…like…I guess you could say “The fire quinked” ? Wait - the past tense of drinkisdrank, so the past tense of quink

YESS!!QUANK! “The fire quank not long after sunset…” “My energy quank by the third mile of the race…” “My love for you quank many years ago…”

Although, considering that “to quench one’s thirst” is used in contexts that metaphorically express satisfaction, perhaps we could also say “My desire for revenge finally quank with his untimely death” or…hmm, quink, quank…kwunk?

Let’s see here…so, looking it up, the forms of *kwinkaną starting with kunk- are equivalent to the forms of *drinkaną starting with drunk-. Presumably because Proto-Germanic didn’t allow /kwu/, so it just became /ku/. But that /u/ would have likely become modern English /ʌ/, and the sequence /wʌ/ seems perfectly fine to me…so we can restore the /w/ through analogy. Though we’ll have to spell it kwunk for it to read the way we want. This means we can now say…

“We’re going to let the fire quink by itself.”

“Sorry, the fire quank hours ago.”

“The fire will have kwunk by morning.”

“My jealousy will quink when I finally steal her husband.”

“My jealousy quank after I stole her husband.”

“My jealousy has kwunk now that I’ve stolen her husband.”

“My hunger won’t quink no matter how much I eat!”

“My thirst already quank.”

“Oh no, my appetite is quite kwunk with all the food I’ve eaten.”

“Oh, I’m not hungry.” “You’re not kwunk, are you?? You spoiled your dinner with snacks!”

extraordinary

oh man this new sequel to Bonfire of the Vanities is really shaping up to be something else

greenberg and his consequences have been a disaster for everywhere that isn’t north america

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