Distant Language Relationship: the Current Perspective
Murray Gell-Mann (Santa Fe Institute (New Mexico, USA), mgm@santafe.edu); Ilia Peiros (Santa Fe Institute (New Mexico, USA), ilia@santafe.edu); George Starostin (Russian State University for the Humanities / Russian Presidential Academy of National Economy and Public Administration, gstarst1@gmail.com)
Journal of Language Relationship, № 1, 2009 - p.13-30
The idea that it may be possible to use data from modern languages in order to trace their origins back ten thousand years or even further, let alone even partially reconstruct the shape of their remote ancestors, remains a subject of discussion. Our article, partially based on results of research conducted by a joint team of Russian and American scholars within the Evolution of Human Languages project, discusses the methodological basis of this approach and the various ways of overcoming the most common obstacles associated with it. In the second part of the article we summarize the main results of the project and suggest further specific directions for exploring the question of deep-level linguistic relationships and the prehistory of human languages.
Keywords: distant language relationship