Received: by alpheratz.cpm.aca.mmu.ac.uk id OAA06341 (8.6.9/5.3[ref firstname.lastname@example.org] for cpm.aca.mmu.ac.uk from email@example.com); Wed, 20 Jun 2001 14:28:56 +0100 Message-ID: <2D1C159B783DD211808A006008062D3101745F1F@inchna.stir.ac.uk> From: Vincent Campbell <firstname.lastname@example.org> To: "'email@example.com'" <firstname.lastname@example.org> Subject: RE: World Language Losses at a Glance Date: Wed, 20 Jun 2001 14:09:04 +0100 X-Mailer: Internet Mail Service (5.5.2650.21) Content-Type: text/plain X-Filter-Info: UoS MailScan 0.1 [D 1] Sender: email@example.com Precedence: bulk Reply-To: firstname.lastname@example.org
>> languages, and preliminary genetic tests suggest they may be
>> important in terms of human history.
<Important in what way?>
Important for perhaps providing evidence of whether or not there was
a single migration out of africa, or several. The programme hinted, rather
than over-stated (unusual for a TV show), that the genes of these islanders
had some very ancient components indeed, possibly significantly predating
the believed colonisation period of that region by modern humans (or perhaps
that should be other modern humans).
<Might a language be important in the same way?>
Certainly for linguists, it would be important in the same way as
the genes were for population geneticists.
<Ought we to be concerned about the demise of a meme line?>
I suppose in the sense of meme diversity, there's a fair point
there, as well as in potentially losing an entire culture which the language
may be the only record of. Still, and I know this betrays a very obvious
Western post-industrial bias, but just how much more can we learn from
tribal belief systems, and ritual practices (that's the anthropologists
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