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Posts: 4432 | Location: In a cornfield in central IndianaReply With QuoteReport This Post
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Genes tell you nothing about the languages people spoke. On the other hand
 
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Genes tell you nothing about the languages people spoke
It sounds like some linguists believe that DNA is associated with language. At least in medical research, often the answers to questions are quite different from what you'd expect they'd be.

Very interesting discussion of the steppe hypothesis, which I'd not heard of before. I looked to see if we'd discussed it before, but we hadn't.
 
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Originally posted by Kalleh:
It sounds like some linguists believe that DNA is associated with language.


I don't think so. Geoff's article mentions two papers. The first one uses genetic data and is in a journal called Science. The authors are anthropologists, Michael Balter and Ann Gibbons.

The second uses linguistic data and is in Language, so it was probably written by linguists.

I guess genetic data can be suggestive when combined with other data, but by itself I don't see how it can tell you anything about the language.

This message has been edited. Last edited by: goofy,
 
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About the only thing I can see genetic data revealing is the approximate time at which proto-humans developed the physiologic structure needed for speech by comparing skeletal remains with DNA.
 
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I can see that they can help by revealing possible details of prehistoric migrations. As goofy says, genetic data can't show what language was spoken, but can probably help in tracing the hypothetical details of a language's spread.


Build a man a fire and he's warm for a day. Set a man on fire and he's warm for the rest of his life.
 
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I guess genetic data can be suggestive when combined with other data, but by itself I don't see how it can tell you anything about the language.
Yes, that sounds about right, Goofy.
 
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