Is Yiddish to Be Traced to Turkey?

Apr 29, 2016 by

[Thanks to Leni Silberman for originally drawing my attention to one of the media reports, and to Antonia Cavendish, Maria Soukhanova, Anna Dybo, Peter Shalen, Razib Khan, and Martin Lewis for helpful discussions.]   In the past...

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Why Did Yiddish Survive in Eastern Europe (for as Long as It Did)?

Nov 23, 2015 by

[Thanks to Martin Lewis, Michael Nosonovsky, Katya Shilova, and Elena Zusmanovich for insightful conversations that led to certain points in this post.]   In his essay “Yiddish? Why Don’t We Speak Judeo-French?”, George...

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Are Indo-Europeans “Untraceable”?—A Response to Jean-Paul Demoule...

Oct 25, 2015 by

[Thanks to LanguagesOfTheWorld reader, Arjan, who drew my attention to the article discussed here.]   In a recent interview titled “Indo-Europeans, the untraceable people that racist fantasies are obsessed with”*, published in a...

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Using Grammar to Identify Language Relatedness

Oct 22, 2015 by

[Note: This post is aimed mostly at my current students, but comments from other readers are welcome as well. It is in a way a “prequel” to the mini-series, starting here.]   Most textbook that discuss language families and how...

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Reconstructing the Lifestyles of Three Pre-Historic Amazonian Tribes

Oct 7, 2015 by

[Note: this post is aimed mostly at the students in my current class, “The Science of the Deep Human Past: Linguistics, Genetics and Archeology”, but comments from other readers are very welcome as well. The post draws heavily on...

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Meeting Darwin’s Last Challenge: Matching Genes, Languages, and Geogra...

Oct 4, 2015 by

In my previous posts (see here and here), I have analyzed Svetlana Burlak’s critique of Longobardi et al. (2015), posted on the Генофонд.рф website. The second critical response posted there is by geneticist Oleg Balanovsky (“Two...

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