The Malagasy Language, Genes, and Gender Puzzle

Dec 9, 2014 by

[Many thanks to Rory van Tuyl for interesting and inspiring discussions.] Recent research by Peter Forster and Colin Renfrew of the University of Cambridge, discussed in my earlier post, shows that in gender-biased mixed communities,...

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Do You Speak Hawaiian?

May 15, 2014 by

The answer to the title question is tricky as there are actually two Hawaiian tongues: one known as the Hawaiian language, as simply Hawaiian or (in Hawaiian)’Olelo Hawai’i, and the other called Hawaiian Pidgin. The former is a...

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On conservativity

May 4, 2012 by

Some words, like fashion fads, appear in the language and disappear without a trace soon thereafter. Other words (and morphemes) are much more conservative. In this brief post, I will cite just two examples of highly conservative...

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On the Austronesian Homeland

May 30, 2011 by

In response to my posting on the Japanese homeland and the connection between Japanese and Austronesian languages, Kalvin Vasques expressed some doubts about the Out-of-Taiwan theory of Austronesian homeland. The key to the...

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Javanese influence on Japanese

May 9, 2011 by

In the previous posting, I discussed the issue of the (pre)historic Japanese homeland. Scholars of Japanese prehistory typically distinguish two cultures that merged to create the Japanese culture as we know it: the earlier Jōmon...

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Hanunoo Color Categories

Mar 16, 2011 by

In an important paper published in Southwestern Journal of Anthropology in 1955, Harold Conklin presented a description of the color categorization system of Hanunoo, a Philippine language spoken in the southern part of the Mindoro...

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