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Two More Weeks of Indo-European Linguistics

Submitted by on October 15, 2012 – 7:51 pm 12 Comments |  
Dear Readers,

We have received a few complaints that GeoCurrents is focusing almost exclusively on a specific controversy in historical linguists, and that as a result it is ignoring other issues of interest and concern. We will readily admit that we been somewhat obsessive of late, as we find this particular issue deeply fascinating and highly significant from an academic perspective—although maddening as well. But we are approaching the end of the current series. We currently anticipate two more weeks of posts on Indo-European linguistics, after which the site will revert to its more typically varied and eclectic range of topics. But that does not mean that we will be abandoning this particular issue. On December 13th, Asya and I will be delivering a talk at Stanford University on the “Mis-modeling of Indo-European Languages,” which will be co-sponsored by the Stanford Linguistics Department and the Stanford programs in the History of Science and World History. We will subsequently decide whether we should try to publish our work on this subject or merely archive it in a special series on the GeoCurrents site.

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  • Philip Neal

    I discovered your site only recently when I followed a link to the Indo-European material. I know something about historical linguistics and I have always suspected that the techniques used by scholars like Bouckaert are all too often good mathematics badly applied but I don’t understand statistics well enough to prove it. I hope you will continue covering the issue as there are too few voices speaking up for comparativism on the web.

    • Thank you, Philip! Needless to say, we are glad that you found our site and we hope you keep reading when we go back to our more usual MO of the more eclectic topics.

  • As interesting as the issue is, is this the proper forum? Wouldn’t Asya Pereltsvaig’s Languages of the World blog be more appropriate? Of course, you are the only ones to say what is appropriate on the blog.

    • Thank you for your suggestion, James! For a number of reasons we post this material on GeoCurrents; not least among them is that we see this issue as very much a current one: it’s not so much about where Indo-Europeans lived several millenia ago, but about how such issues are examined today.

      At the same time we hope not to lose our faithful readers such as yourself. Time permitting, we will continue to post other items of interest (news and GeoNotes) and will revert to our usual eclectic mix of topics before too long.

      • Oh, you won’t lose me just because I have the attention span of a 6-year-old. I was simply thinking that, if you were getting complaints about the attention to historical linguistics, that your blog was a lovely linguistics blog where such a discussion would be unlikely to get any complaints.

        • Thank you for the compliment on the blog, James! We do have great things lined up, so stay tuned!

  • David Schwartz

    I will keep dropping by for the other geo notes and trawling the archives but while I respect what you are doing I can’t follow it. So I await the end while not resenting the current topic.

    • That’s the attitude! If you’d like to catch up on some earlier posts, you may want to use the “Find More Fun Posts: Randomized GC Articles” feature on the right of each post — you never know what it will come up with!

      And in the meantime, I am working on a post on Aramaic revival — there are a lot of interesting angles to it… Stay tuned!

  • E. Beattie

    Personally, I find this series fascinating and thought-provoking. I am looking forward to the next two weeks very much. Keep up the good work!

  • Chris in Binghamton

    Martin & Asya, for those interested in this topic ands discussion, would you be willing to video record the December presenation of “Mis-modeling of Indo-European Languages” and possibly making a YouTube (or parallel) video posting. Some of the material may replicate GeoCurrents posts, but I’m surry many would love to tele-attend the lecture, even if after the event. I know I first discovered GeoCurrents by stumbling upon the archived videos for the “Geography of Presidential Elections.”

    • Thank you for the suggestion, Chris! We are already working on it! We hope to be able to make the necessary arrangements in time… And yes, I watched the “Geography of Presidential Elections” myself some time ago — fascinating! So thank you for the mention, which couldn’t be more timely. Here’s the first lecture in the series on YouTube: