Warning: Long, runs to 57 pages. This article is intended at the moment more for the general audience than for specialists, but specialists may also find it of interest. At the moment, it is not properly formatted or edited to be of use for publication in an academic journal, but perhaps it could be published in such a format some day.
For background into what Historical Linguistics is, see this Wikipedia article. Basically it involves determining which languages are related to each other via various means and once that is determined, reconstructing a proto-language that the related languages descended from, along with, hopefully, regular sound correspondences which supposedly proves the relationship once and for all. The argument in Historical Linguistics now is between conservatives or splitters or progressives or lumpers.
Splitters say that the comparative method – described above as reconstructing a proto-language with regular sound correspondences – is necessary in order to prove that two or more languages are related. However, they also say, probably correctly, that this method is not useful beyond ~6,000 years. Any relationships beyond that time frame would not be provable by the comparative method and hence could never be proven. This effectively shuts down all research into long-range older language families.
Some lumpers say that this method is not necessary and instead relationships can be determined by simply looking at the two or more languages, a process called comparison or mass comparison. I point out below that comparison need not be cursory but could mean deep study of languages over 10, 15, or 20 years.
They tend to focus on core vocabulary, numerals, family terms, pronouns, and deictics, in addition to small morphological particles – all things that are rarely borrowed. Once they find a number of these items that resemble one another greater than chance, they say that the two languages are related because chance and borrowing are ruled out.
They say that this is the way to prove language relatedness, not the comparative method. The comparative method instead is used to learn interesting things about language families that have already been discovered via comparison, such as reconstructing proto-languages and finding regular sound correspondences.
Splitters say that comparison or mass comparison is not a valid way of proving that languages are related and that only the comparative method can be used to prove this. However, as noted, they set a 6,000- year time limit on the method needed to prove this, and this walls off a lot of potential knowledge and about ancient and long-range language relationships as unprovable and hence undiscoverable. In a way, they are shutting the door to new scientific discovery beyond a certain time frame by claiming that the method needed to make these discoveries doesn’t work beyond X thousand years.
Other lumpers disagree that the comparative method has a time limit on it and are attempting to use the comparative method to reconstruct ancient long-range language families and find regular sound correspondences between them. Unfortunately, most of their efforts are in vain as splitters are using increasingly strict criteria for proof of language relationship and hence are shooting down most if not all of these efforts being done “in the proper way.”
So they are saying that proof must be done in a certain way, but when people try to play by the rules and use that way to find proof, they keep moving the goalposts and using increasingly strict, petty, and quibbling methods to in general say that the relationship is not proven.
So the say, “You must use this tool for your proof!” And then people play fair and use the tool, and almost always say, “Sorry, you didn’t prove it!” It all feels like a game that is rigged to fail is most if not all cases.
Hence, the current trend of extreme conservatism in Historical Linguistics has set up rules seem to be designed to prevent the discovery of most if not all new language families, in particular long-range families older than 6-8,000 years.
I am quite certain that long-range language families such as Altaic (with either three families or five), Indo-Uralic, Uralic-Yukaghir, Hokan, Penutian, Mosan, Almosan, Japanese-Korean, Gulf, Yuki-Gulf, Elamite-Dravidian, Quechumaran, Austroasiatic-Hmong Mien, Coahuiltecan, North Caucasian, or Na-Dene will never be proven in my lifetime, and that’s not to mention the more extreme proposals such as Eurasiatic, Nostratic, Dene-Caucasian, Austric, and Amerind, although the evidence for the first and last of these is quite powerful.
There are simply too many emotions tied up in any of these proposals. Further, many linguists have spent a good part of their careers arguing against these proposals. It is doubtful that any amount of evidence will cause them to change their minds. Scientists, like any other humans, don’t like to be shown that they’re wrong.
Lyle Campbell, Maryanne Mithun, Mauricio Mixco, Sarah Grey Thomason, Joanna Nichols, William Poser, Peter Daniels, Dell Hymes, Larry Trask, Gerrit Dimmendaal, Donald Ringe, Juha Janhunen, William Bright, and Paul Sidwell are among the leaders of this new conservatism.
At first I was very angry at what these people were doing, especially the most egregious cases such as Campbell. Then I realized that people lie and misrepresent things all day long every single day in my life and that this behavior is fairly normal behavior in humans, especially in a mushy area like this one where hard truths are hard to come by and most stated facts are more properly matters of opinion or could be construed that way.
I realized that they are simply defending a scientific paradigm and that unfortunately, this is the rather underhanded and emotion-ridden environment that defending paradigms tends to produce.
Though to be completely honest, I should not be singling these people out because the current conservatism is simply consensus and acts as the current paradigm on the language relatedness question in Historical Linguistics. The people listed above are at the top of the profession and are often considered the best historical linguists. They write books on historical linguistics. A number are considered to be ultimate authorities on questions of language relatedness. They are simply the leading edge of the current conservative consensus and paradigm in the field.
Although granted, of all of them, Campbell seems to be the most extreme conservative. He is also one of the top historical linguists in the world. Mixco, Mithun, and Poser are about on the same level as Campbell.
Campbell, Mithun, Thomason, and Mixco are Americanists whose conservatism was set off by the publication of Joseph Greenberg’s Language in the Americas (LIA) in 1987.
All of the linguists above are noted for the excellent scholarship.
The conservatives who are denying most if not all new families are are called splitters.They tend to be very angry if not out and out abusive, engaging in bullying, mockery, ridicule, ostracization, and all of the usual techniques used in science against the proposers of a new paradigm.
The people who propose long-range families are called lumpers. Lumpers are heavily disparaged in the field nowadays such that almost no one wants to be known as a lumper or associated with such. However, many other historical linguists seem to be taking a more moderate fence-sitter stance where they are open to questions of new language families, including long-range families.
Among the long-range families that the moderates are open to considering nowadays are Indo-Uralic, Dene-Yenisien, and Austro-Tai. Some of the smaller long-range families in the Americas even have supporters among the most hardline of splitters. I’m even dubious about well-argued proposals such as Dene-Yenisien.
Thomason takes extreme umbrage to the notion that splitters have a bias that will not allow few if any new families to be discovered after Greenberg compared them with Malcolm Guthrie’s objections to Greenberg’s new classification of Bantu. However, after thinking this over for some time now, I now believe that Greenberg is correct. The splitters have their minds made up. They are going to allow few if any new families to be discovered. A few of them have caved a bit.
I also work in mental health, and it’s pretty obvious to me when something is not right about a scientific debate. I’ve been getting that vibe about the splitters versus lumpers debate from the very start. When a debate in science has degenerated into bias, ideology and ideologues, propaganda, politics, and in particular extreme emotion, it gives off a certain intuitive feel about it. This debate has felt this way from Day One. To put it simply, the debate simply doesn’t smell right. I have a feeling that science left the room along time ago here.
One thing I noticed was that people who have worked on one particular language or family for much of their careers are especially angry and aggressive about the notion that their family could possibly be related to anything else. Indeed famous linguists were remarking on this tendency as early as 1901. Among the reasons given was that they had their hands full already without new work to take on and a disinclination to see their language family related to anything else as this would deny its specialness.
Trask is forceful that Basque could not possibly have any outside relatives.
I saw a debate on the Net some years ago with Trask and a Spanish assistant holding court over a debate over the external relations of Basque. Those who argued for external relations were pushing a relationship with the Caucasian languages, which is possible though not proven in my opinion. Trask and his assistant were very angry and aggressive in holding down the fort. Apparently everything was a Spanish borrowing. The debate didn’t smell right at all.
With a background in psychology, I wonder what is going on here. One possibility is as Greenberg suggests and as was suggested back in 1901 – simple narcissism. When one specializes in a language family for a long time, it probably become blurred with the self such that the self and the family become married to each other, and it’s hard to tell where one ends and the other begins. Yourself and the family you’ve spent your career working on become one and same thing. If your family is not related to anything else, it’s special.
We all think we are special. This is the essence of human narcissism. To say that their favorite language has relatives is to deny its specialness almost as if to say that our egos were not real but were instead extensions of other people’s egos. Actually if you read Sartre or study modern particle physics, that’s not a bad theory, but most people bristle at the notion.
I met Korean and Japanese people when I was doing my Masters. Both beamed when they told me that their language had no known relatives. Of course that made it special in their eyes and played right into their ethnocentrism.
Another problem may be the trajectory of one’s career. If one has been arguing forcefully for 30 years that there are no known relations to your family, your reputation is going to take a huge hit if you have to agree that you were wrong all those years.
There is also a politics question.
Another reason is Politics. We are dealing here with a Paradigm. For a good description of a Scientific Paradigm, see Thomas Kuhn’s The Structure of Scientific Revolutions. Kuhn holds that science is by its nature very conservative, some sciences being more conservative than others. A Paradigm is set up when the field reaches a satisfactory consensus that a particular theory is correct. After a while, serious barriers go up to any challenges to overthrow the proven theory.
The challenges are first ignored, then ridiculed (often severely), then attacked (often ferociously) and then, if the challenge is successful, it is accepted (often slowly and grudgingly). Kuhn pointed out that defenders of the old theory are usually so reluctant to see the paradigm overthrown that we often must wait literally until their deaths to finally overthrow the paradigm. They defend it to their deathbeds. I suggest we are dealing with something more than pure empiricism here.
It is quite risky to challenge a paradigm in science. People’s careers have suffered from it. A supporter of Keynesian economics, then challenging the current paradigm in economics, could not get hired at any university in the US during the 1930’s.
In the splitters versus lumpers debate, we have been in the Anger phase for some time now. We seem to be settling out of it, as many are taking a fence-sitting position and arguing for attempts to resolve the debate to make it less heated.
The Paradigm here involves extreme skepticism about any new language families to the point that any new families are simply going to be rejected on all sorts of grounds. Paradigms involve politics at the academic level. When a Paradigm is set up in science, almost all scientists write and do research within the paradigm. Anything outside of the paradigm is derided as pseudoscience or worse.
The problem is that when a Paradigm in in effect, all scholars are supposed to publish within the Paradigm. Publishing outside the paradigm is regarded as evidence that one is a kook, a crank, is practicing pseudoscience, or that one is crazy or a fool. It is instructive in this debate to note that most of the prominent lumpers are independent scholars operating outside of the politics of academia.
I have had them tell me that the only reason they can take the lumper position that they do is because they are independent and don’t have a university job, so there are no repercussions if they are wrong. They told me that if they had a professorship, they would not be able to do this work. They have also told me that they know for a fact that certain splitters might jeopardize their jobs, careers, and especially their funding if they took a lumper position. This was given as one of the reasons for their dogmatic splitterism.
In addition, science works according to fads, or more properly, standard beliefs. The trends for these beliefs are set by the biggest names in the field. The biggest names in Linguistics are all splitters now. They are the trendsetters, especially in whatever specialty of Historical Linguistics you are working in. Everyone else in the field is dutifully following in their footsteps. As an up and coming young scholar, you are supposed to follow the proper trends and hypotheses of your field to uphold the consensus of scholars in your area of specialty. As you can see there is a lot more than simple empiricism going on here.
With my background, I look for psychological motivations anywhere I can find them. And science is no stranger to bias and emotional psychological motivations driving, or usually distorting it. We are human and humans have emotions. Emotion is the enemy of logic. Logic is the basis of empiricism. Hence, emotions are the enemy of science.
Scientists are supposed to remain objective, but alas, they are humans themselves and subject to all of the emotional psychological motivations that the rest of them are. Scientists are supposed to police themselves for bias, but that’s probably hard to do, especially if the bias is rooted in psychological processes or in particular if it is unconscious, as many such processes are.
Campbell’s case is an extreme one, but I believe it is simply motivated by internal psychological process inside of the man himself.
Campbell is driven by psychological complexes. His entire turn towards extreme conservatism in this debate was set off by the huge feud he had with Greenberg, and everything since has flowed from that. He took a very angry position that LIA was completely false and did his best to trash its reputation far and wide. This disparagement is still the order of the day, and Greenberg’s name is as good as mud in the field.
Then Campbell generalized his extreme splitterist reaction to LIA out to all of the language families in the world because if he allowed any new families elsewhere in the world, he might have to allow them in the Americas, and he could not countenance that. Note also that Campbell has gone out of his way to specifically attack Greenberg’s four-family split in his proposal for language families in Africa.
This proposal, done with Greenberg’s derided method of mass comparison, has had a successful result in Africa and has been proven with the test of time. Campbell cannot allow this because if he admits that Greenberg was right in Africa, he might have to accept that he might be right in the Americas too, and that’s beyond the pale. So in his recent works he has specifically set out to state that Afroasiatic, Nilo-Saharan, Niger-Kordofanian, and Khoisan – the four families of Greenberg’s classification – have not been proven to exist yet. The truth is exactly the opposite, but the psychological process here is bald and naked for all to see.
Here he specifically trashes these language families because they were discovered by Joseph Greenberg, Campbell’s bete noir. Campbell’s agenda is to show the Greenberg is a preposterous kook and crank, although he was one of the greatest linguists of the 20th century. Greenberg’s African work is regarded as true, and this poses a problem if Campbell is to characterize Greenberg as a charlatan.
If Greenberg was right about one thing, could he not be right about another? In order to lay the foundation for the theory that Greenberg’s method doesn’t work and that it cannot discover any language relationships, Campbell will have to deny the method ever had any successes. So he sets about to deny that Greenberg’s four African families are proven.
Splitters have come up with a repertoire of reasons to shoot down proposed language relations and most are pretty poor.
They rely on overuse of the borrowing, chance, sound symbolism, nursery word, and onomatopoeia explanations for non-relatedness. There is also an overuse of the comparative method with excessively strict standards being set up for etymologies and sound correspondences. In a number of cases, linguists are going back to the etymologies of their proto-languages and reducing them by up to half.
In the last 20 years, Uralicists have gone back over the original Proto-Uralic etymologies and gotten rid of fully half of them (from 2,000 down to 1,000) on a variety of very poor reasons, mostly irregular sound correspondences. It appears to me that while there were some obvious bad etymologies in there, most of the ones that were thrown out were perfectly good.
Irregular sound correspondences is a bad reason to throw out an etymology. Keep in mind that 50% of Indo-European etymologies have irregular correspondences. By the logic of Uralicists we should throw out half of IE etymologies then. If Campbell finds any irregular sound correspondences in any new proposal, he automatically rejects it on those grounds alone. What the Uralicists have done is vandalism.
This is not just conservatism. It is out and out Reaction. Worse, it is nearly a Conservative Revolution, which I won’t define further. It is akin to a city council declaring that all of the old, beautiful buildings in the city are going to be torn down because they were not constructed properly. Will they be rebuilt? Well, of course not. Most of the top Uralicists are involved in this silly and destructive project.
In a recent paper, George Starostin warned that the splitters were not just conservatives determined to stop all progress. He pointed out that there was actually a trend towards rejection and going backwards in time to dismantle families that have already set up on the grounds that they were not done perfectly enough. As we can see, his warning was prescient.
There are statements being made by moderates that both sides, the splitters and the lumpers, are being equally unreasonable. As one linguist said, the debate is between lazy lumpers (Just believe us, don’t demand that we prove it!) and angry splitters (Not only is this new family false, but all new families proposed from now on will also be shot down!). He suggested that they are both wrong and that the solution lies in a point in the middle. I don’t have a problem with this moderate centrist belief
The splitter notion itself rests on an obvious falsehood, that there are hundreds of language families in the world that have no possible relationship with each other.
According to Campbell, there are 160 language families and isolates in the Americas. The question is where did all of these entities come from. Keep in mind, in Linguistics, the standard view is that these 160 entities are not related to each other in any way, shape, or form. Thinking back, this means that language would have had to have developed in humans 160 times among the Amerindians alone.
The truth is that there was no polygenesis of language.
Sit back and think for a moment. How could language possibly have been independently developed more than one time? Obviously it arose in one group. How could it have arose in other groups too? It couldn’t and it didn’t. Did some of the original speakers go deaf, become mutes, forget all their language, and then have children, raising them without language, in which case the children devised language for themselves?
Children need comprehensible input to develop language. No language to hear in the environment, no language for the children to acquire on their own. With coclear implants, formerly deaf people are now able to hear for the first time. A woman got hers at age 32. Since she missed the Critical Period for language development, the window of which closes at age 8, she has not, even at this late date, been able to acquire language satisfactorily. She missed the boat. No input, no language.
Obviously language arose only once among humans. It had to. And hence, all human languages are related to each other de facto whether we can “prove” it by out fancy methods or not. In other words, all human languages are related. Those 160 language families and isolates in the Americas? All related. Now we may not be able to prove which languages they are related to specifically and most closely, but we know they are all related to each other.
In the physical sciences, including Evolutionary Psychology, many things are simply assumed because the alternate theories could not have happened. But we have no evidence of much of anything in Evolutionary Psychology or Evolutionary Anthropology. We know our ancestors lived in X place at Y times, but we have no idea what they were doing there. We can’t go back in time to prove that this or that happened.
Using the logic of linguists, since we cannot make time machines to go back in time and make theories about Evolutionary Anthropology and Evolutionary Psychology of these peoples, we can make no statements about this matter, as the only way to prove it would be to see it. In physics, there are particles that we have never seen. We have simply posited their existence because according to our theories, they have to exist. According to linguists, we could not posit the discovery of these particles unless we see it.
Contrary to popular rumor, everything in science does not have to be “proven” by this or that rigorous method. Many things are simply posited, as no real evidence for their existence exists, either because we were not there or because we can’t see them, or in the case of pure physics, we can’t even test out our theories. They exist simply because they have to according to our existing theories, and all competing theories fall down flat.
Well, the Americanists beg to disagree. Greenberg’s theory was so extreme and radical that the entire field erupted in outrage. None of their alternate theories, not even one of them, make the slightest bit of sense.
Despite the fact that these languages are obviously related to each other, in order to “officially prove it” we have to use a method called the comparative method whereby proto-languages and families are reconstructed and regular sound correspondences are shown between the languages being studied.
This is the only way that we can prove one language is related to another. That’s simply absurd for a few reasons.
First of all, I concur with Joanna Nichols that the comparative method does not really work on language families older than 6-8,000 years. Beyond that time, so many sound changes have taken place, semantics have been distorted, and terms fallen out of use that there’s not much of anything left to reconstruct. Furthermore, time has washed away any evidence of sound correspondences.
Although Nichols is a splitter, I have to commend her. First, she’s right above.
Second, realizing this, she says that the comparative method will always fail beyond this time frame. I believe she thinks then that we need to use new methods if we are to prove that long-range families exist. The method she suggests is “individual-identifying evidence,” which seems to be another way of saying odd morpheme paradigms that were probably not borrowed and are hardly existent outside of that family.
This harkens back to Edward Sapir’s “submerged features,” where he says we can prove the existence of language families by these small morphemic resemblances alone.
The rest of the field remain sticks in the mud. They say that we must use the comparative method to discover that languages are related because no other method exists. The problem is that as noted, as splitters themselves note, if the comparative method fails beyond 6,000 years back, all attempts to prove language families that old or older are bound to fail.
The splitters seem positively gleeful that according to their paradigm, few if any new language families will be discovered. This delight in nihilism seems odd and disturbing. What sort of science is gleeful that no new knowledge will be found? Even in the even that this is true, it’s depressing. Why get excited about something so negative?
Many language families in the world were discovered by Greenberg’s “mass comparison” or simply comparing one language to another, which should be called “comparison.” And in fact, many of the smaller language families in the world are still being posited by the means of comparison or mass comparison. Comparison need not be the broad, sweeping, forest for the trees, holistic method Greenberg employs. I argue that it means lining up languages and looking for common features. We could be lining up one language against another and that would also be “comparison.”
It need not be a shallow examination. One could examine a possible language for five, ten, fifteen, or twenty years.
After studying a pair or group of languages for some time, if one finds a group of core vocabulary items that resemble one another and are above the rate found by chance (7%), and after which borrowing has been ruled out (core vocabulary is rarely borrowed), then you have proof positive of a language family.
I fail to understand why examining a language or group of languages for a long period of time to find resemblances and try to rule out chance or borrowings is a ridiculous method. What’s so ridiculous about that? Sure, it’s nice to reconstruct and get nice sound correspondences going, but it’s not always necessary, especially in long-range comparisons when such methods are doomed to failure.
One more thing: if splitters say that the comparative method fails beyond 6,000 years, why do they keep putting long-range families to the test using the comparative method? After all, the result will always come up negative, right? What’s the point of doing a study you know will come up negative? Just to get your punches in?
There are a number of folks who have bought into the splitters’ arguments and are trying to discover long-range families by the comparative method of reconstructing the proto-language and finding regular sound correspondences between them. A number of them claim to have been successful. There have been attempts to reconstruct proto-languages and find regular sound correspondences with Altaic, Nostratic, Dene-Caucasian, Dene-Yenisien, Austro-Tai, Totonozoquean, and Uralo-Yukaghir.
Altaic, Nostratic, and Dene-Caucasian all have proto-languages reconstructed with good sound correspondences running through them. Altaic and Nostratic have etymological dictionaries containing many words, 2,300 proto-forms in the case of Altaic in a 1,000 page volume. Further, a considerable Nostratic proto-language was reconstructed by Dogopolsky and Illich-Svitych.
All of these efforts claim that they have proven their hypotheses. However, the splitters such as Campbell have rejected all of them. So you see, even when people follow the mandated method and play it by the book the way they are supposed to, the splitters will nearly always say that the efforts come up short. It’s a rigged game.
How about another question? If the comparative method fails is doomed beyond 6,000 years, why don’t we use another method to discover these relationships? The splitter rejoinder is that there is no other method. It’s the comparative method or nothing. But how do they know this? Can they prove that other methods can never be used to successfully discover a language relationship?
The following quotes are from a textbook or general text on Historical Linguistics by Lyle Campbell and Mario Mixco, A Glossary of Historical Linguistics. The purpose of this paper will be misrepresented as critics who will say that I am a lumper who is saying criticizing splitters for their opposition to known language families.
There is some of that here, but more than lumper propaganda, what I am trying to do here more than anything else is to show how Campbell and Mixco have been untruthful about linguistic specialist consensus regarding these families. In most cases, they are openly misrepresenting the state of consensus in the field.
As will be shown, Campbell and Mixco repeatedly seriously distort the state of consensus regarding many language families, particularly long-range ones. They usually favor a more negative and conservative view, saying that a family has little support when it has significant support and saying it is controversial when the consensus in the field is that the family is real. Campbell and Mixco engage in serious distortions of fact all through this text:
Campbell and Mixco:
Afroasiatic: Enjoys wide support among linguists, but it is not uncontroversial, especially with regard to which of the groups assumed to be genetically related to one another are to be considered true members of the phylum.
There is disagreement concerning Cushitic, and Omotic (formerly called Sidama or West Cushitic) is disputed; the great linguistic diversity within Omotic makes it a questionable entity for some. Chadic is held to be uncertain by others. Typological and areal problems contribute to these doubts. For example, some treat Cushitic and Omotic together as a linguistic area (Sprachbund) of seven families within Afroasiatic.
Campbell and Mixco are wrong. Afroasiatic is not controversial at all. There is widespread consensus that the family exists and that all of the subfamilies are correct.
The “we can’t reconstruct the numerals” argument is much in evidence here too. See the Altaic debate below for more on this. One argument against Altaic is “We can’t reconstruct the numerals.” However, Afroasiatic is a recognized family and not only has reconstruction itself proved difficult, but the numerals in particular are a gigantic mess. It seems that one does not need to have a fully reconstructed numeral set after all to have a proven language family.
There is consensus that Cushitic is a valid entity. Granted, there has been some question about Omotic, but in the last 10-15 years, consensus has settled on an agreement that Omotic is part of Afroasiatic.
The great diversity of Omotic is no surprise. Omotic is probably 13,000 years old! It’s amazing that there’s anything left at all after all that time.
Where do we get the idea that a language family cannot possibly be highly diverse? Chadic is also uncontroversial by consensus. I am not aware of any serious proposals to see Cushitic and Omotic as an Altaic-like Sprachbund of mass borrowings. Campbell and Mixco’s comments above are simply not correct. The only people questioning the validity of Afroasiatic or any of its components are Campbell and Mixco, and they are not an experts on the family.
Campbell and Mixco:
Berber is usually believed to be one of the branches of Afroasiatic.
This is far too pessimistic. Berber is recognized by consensus as being one of the branches of Afroasiatic.
Campbell and Mixco:
Niger-Kordofanian (now often just called Niger-Congo): A hypothesis of distant genetic relationship proposed by Joseph H. Greenberg in his classification of African languages. Estimated counts of Niger-Kordofanian languages vary from around 900 to 1,500 languages. Greenberg grouped ‘West Sudanic’ and Bantu into a single large family, which he called Niger-Congo, after the two major rivers, the Niger and the Congo ‘in whose basins these languages predominate’ (Greenberg 1963: 7).
This included the subfamilies already recognized earlier: (1) West Atlantic (to which Greenberg joined Fulani, in a Serer-Wolof-Fulani [Fulfulde] group), (2) Mande (Mandingo) (thirty-five to forty languages), (3) Gur (or Voltaic), (4) Kwa (with Togo Remnant) and (5) Benue-Congo (Benue-Cross), with the addition of (6) Adamawa-Eastern, which had not previously been classified with these languages and whose classification remains controversial.
For Greenberg, Bantu was but a subgroup of Benue-Congo, not a separate subfamily on its own. In 1963 he joined Niger-Congo and the ‘Kordofanian’ languages into a larger postulated phylum, which he called Niger-Kordofanian.
Niger-Kordofanian has numerous supporters but is not well established; the classification of several of the language groups Greenberg assigned to Niger-Kordofanian is rejected or revised, though most scholars accept some form of Niger-Congo as a valid grouping.
As Nurse (1997: 368) points out, it is on the basis of general similarities and the noun-class system that most scholars have accepted Niger-Congo, but ‘the fact remains that no one has yet attempted a rigorous demonstration of the genetic unity of Niger-Congo by means of the Comparative Method.’
There is consensus among scholars that Niger-Kordofanian is a real thing.
Campbell and Mixco:
Nilo-Saharan: One of Greenberg’s four large phyla in his classification of African languages. In dismantling the inaccurate and racially biased ‘Hamitic,’ of which Nilo-Hamitic was held to be part, Greenberg demonstrated the inadequacy of those former classifications and argued for the connection between Nilotic and Eastern Sudanic.
He noted that ‘the Nilotic languages seem to be predominantly isolating, tend to monosyllabism, and employ tonal distinctions’ (Greenberg 1963: 92). To the extent that this classification is based on commonplace shared typology and perhaps areally diffused traits, it does not have a firm foundation. Nilo-Saharan is disputed, and many are not convinced of the proposed genetic relationships. It is generally seen as Greenberg’s wastebasket phylum, into which he placed all the otherwise unaffiliated languages of Africa.
First of all, Nilo-Saharan is not classified based on its language typology which were perhaps areally diffused. There is also a great deal of the more typical evidence in favor of this language family. Second, it is not true that it lacks a firm foundation and that many are not convinced of its reality. The consensus among experts is that this family exists and the overwhelming majority of the subfamilies and isolates Greenberg put it in are correct.
Saying that it is a wastebasket phylum does not make sense because the Nilo-Saharan languages are only found in a certain part of Africa. If it was truly such a phylum, there would be languages from all over Africa placed in this family.
According to Roger Bench, a moderate, there is now consensus in the last 10-15 years that Nilo-Saharan is a real thing.
Consensus has formed that 75% of the languages and families Greenberg put in Nilo-Saharan form a valid family. Controversy remains about the other 25% including Songhay, the Gumhuz family, and a few isolates. Some say these are part of Nilo-Saharan but others say they are not. Nilo-Saharan probably has a great time depth of ~13,000 years at least, such that little probably remains to reconstruct. Reconstruction of Nilo-Saharan has proved difficult.
Yes, Campbell and Mixco say that Nilo-Saharan is not real, but they are not specialists.
Campbell and Mixco:
Khoisan: A proposed distant genetic relationship associated with Greenberg’s (1963) classification of African languages, which holds some thirty non-Bantu click languages of southern and eastern Africa to be genetically related to one another. Greenberg originally called his Khoisan grouping ‘the Click Languages’ but later changed this to a name based on a created compound of the Hottentots’ name for themselves, Khoi, and their name for the Bushmen, San.
Khoisan is the least accepted of Greenberg’s four African phyla. Several scholars agree in using the term ‘Khoisan’ not to reflect a genetic relationship among the languages but, rather, as a cover term for all the non-Bantu and non-Cushitic click languages.
Although it is probably true that Khoisan is the least accepted of Greenberg’s families, that’s not saying much, as it only means that 80% of experts accept its reality instead of 100%. I do not know who these several scholars are who feel that Khoisan is a typological area for click languages, but they do not seem to be specialists. Overall, Campbell and Mixco seriously distort consensus on Khoisan in this passage.
According to George Starostin, in the last 5-10 years, there is now consensus that Khoisan exists. There are five major Khoisan scholars, and four of them agree that Khoisan is real, with all of them including Sandawe and most including Hadza. There is one, Traill, who says it’s not real, but he is also a notorious Africanist splitter.
Campbell and Mixco:
Eurasiatic: Greenberg’s hypothesis of a distant genetic relationship that would group Indo-European, Uralic–Yukaghir, Altaic, Korean–Japanese–Ainu, Nivkh, Chukotian and Eskimo–Aleut as members of a very large ‘linguistic stock’. While there is considerable overlap in the putative members of Eurasiatic and Nostratic there are also significant differences. Eurasiatic has been sharply criticized and is largely rejected by specialists.
I have no doubt that Eurasiatic has been sharply criticized, but apart from a negative review in Language by Peter Daniels, the controversy seems quite muted compared to the furor over Amerind. I am also not sure that it is largely rejected by specialists. It probably is, but most of them have not even bothered to comment on it. I believe that this family is one of the best long-range proposals out there.
Based on the data from the pronouns alone, it’s obviously a real entity, though I would include Indo-European, Uralic-Yukaghir, Altaic including Japanese and Korean, Chukotian, and Eskimo-Aleut, leaving out Nivki for the time being and certainly leaving out Ainu. Nivki does seem to be a Eurasiatic language but it’s not a separate node. Instead it may be a part of the Chukotian family. Or even better yet, it seems to be part of a family connected to the New World via the Almosan family in the Americas.
I feel that Eurasiatic is a much more solid entity than Nostratic. Not that I am against Nostratic, but it’s more that Eurasiatic is a simple hypothesis to prove and with Nostratic, I’m much less sure of that. On the other hand, to the extent that Nostratic overlaps with Eurasiatic, it is surely correct.
Campbell and Mixco:
Indo-Anatolian: The hypothesis, associated with Edgar Sturtevant, that Hittite (or better said, the Anatolian languages, of which Hittite is the best known member) was the earliest Indo-European language to split off from the others. That is, this hypothesis would have Anatolian and Indo-European as sisters, two branches of a Proto-Indo-Hittite.
The more accepted view is that Anatolian is just one subgroup of Indo-European, albeit perhaps the first to have branched off, hence not ‘Indo-Hittite’ but just ‘Indo-European’ with Anatolian as one of its branches. In fact the two views differ very little in substance, since, in either case, Anatolian ends up being a subfamily distinct from the other branches and in the view of many the first to branch off the family.
The view that Anatolian is just another subgroup of IE is not the more accepted view. In fact, it has been rejected by specialists. Indo-Europeanists have told me that Indo-Anatolian is now the consensus among Indo-Europeanists, so Campbell and Mixco’s statement that Indo-Anatolian is a minority view is false.
Campbell and Mixco:
Nostratic (< Latin nostra ‘our’): A proposed distant genetic relationship that, as formulated in the 1960s by Illich-Svitych, would group Indo-European, Uralic, Altaic, Kartvelian, Dravidian and Hamito-Semitic (later Afroasiatic), though other versions of the hypothesis would include various other languages. Nostratic has a number of supporters, mostly associated with the Moscow school of Nostratic, though a majority of historical linguists do not accept the claims.
There are many problems with the evidence presented on behalf of the Nostratic hypothesis. In several instances the proposed reconstructions do not comply with typological expectations; numerous proposed cognates are lax in semantic associations, involve onomatopoeia, are forms too short to deny chance, include nursery forms and do not follow the sound correspondences formulated by supporters of Nostratic.
A large number of the putative cognate sets are considered problematic or doubtful even by its adherents. More than one-third of the sets are represented in only two of the putative Nostratic branches, though by its founder’s criteria, acceptable cases need to appear in at least three of the Nostratic language families. Numerous sets appear to involve borrowing. (See Campbell 1998, 1999.) It is for reasons of this sort that most historical linguists reject Nostratic.
It is probably correct that consensus among specialists is to reject Nostratic, but serious papers taking apart of the proposal seem to be lacking. Nevertheless, most dismiss it and it is beginning to enter into the emotionally charged terrain of Altaic and Amerind, particularly the former, and belief in it is becoming a thing of ridicule as it is for Altaic. Nevertheless, there have been a few excellent linguists doing work on this very long-range family for decades now.
Campbell and Mixco:
Indo-Uralic: The hypothesis that the Indo-European and Uralic language families are genetically related to one another. While there is some suggestive evidence for the hypothesis, it has not yet been possible to confirm the proposed relationship.
This summary seems too negative. Indo-Uralic is probably one of the most promising long-range proposals out there. I regard the relationship between the two as obvious, but to me it is only a smaller part of the larger Eurasiatic family. Frederick Kortland has done a lot of good work on this idea. Even some hardline splitters are open to this hypothesis.
Campbell and Mixco:
Altaic: While ‘Altaic’ is repeated in encyclopedias and handbooks most specialists in these languages no longer believe that the three traditional supposed Altaic groups, Turkic, Mongolian and Tungusic, are related. In spite of this, Altaic does have a few dedicated followers.
The most serious problems for the Altaic proposal are the extensive lexical borrowing across inner Asia and among the ‘Altaic’ languages, lack of significant numbers of convincing cognates, extensive areal diffusion and typologically commonplace traits presented as evidence of relationship.
The shared ‘Altaic’ traits typically cited include vowel harmony, relatively simple phoneme inventories, agglutination, their exclusively suffixing nature, (S)OV ([Subject]-Object-Verb) word order and the fact that their non-main clauses are mostly non-finite (participial) constructions.
These shared features are not only commonplace typological traits that occur with frequency in unrelated languages of the world and therefore could easily have developed independently, but they are also areal traits shared by a number of languages in surrounding regions the structural properties of which were not well-known when the hypothesis was first framed.
This one is still up in the air, but Campbell and Mixco are lying when they say that idea has been abandoned. Most US linguists regard it as a laughingstock, and if you say you believe in it you will experience intense bullying and taunting from them. Oddly enough, outside the US, in Europe in particular, Altaic is regarded as obviously true. However, notorious anti-Altaicist Alexander Vovin has camped out in Paris and is now spreading his nihilistic doctrine to Europeans there.
The problem is that almost all of the US linguists who will laugh in your face and call you an idiot if you believe in Altaic are not specialists in the language. However, I did a study of Altaic specialists, and 73% of them believe in some form of Altaic.
So the anti-Altaicists are pushing a massive lie – that critical consensus has completely abandoned Altaic and regards as a laughingstock, but their project is more Politics and Propaganda than Science. In particular, it’s a fad. So Altaic is in the preposterous position where almost all of the people who know nothing about it will laugh in your face and call you an idiot if you believe in it and the overwhelming majority of specialists will say it’s real.
Altaic must be the only nonexistent family that has an incredibly elaborate 1,000 page etymological dictionary, full reconstructions of the proto-languages, etymologies of over 2,000 Altaic terms, and elaborate sound correspondences running through it. The anti-Altaicists use the silly “we can’t reconstruct the numerals so it’s not real” line here.
Altaic is obviously true based on 1-2 person pronoun paradigms at an absolute minimum. The anti-Altaic argument of course, is preposterous. As noted, they dismiss a vast 1,000 page Etymological Dictionary with 2,300 reconstructed etymologies as a hallucinated work.
There are vast parallels in all three families at all levels, in particular in the Mongolic-Tungusic family, which gets a 100% with computer programs. The go-to argument here has always been that these changes are all due to borrowings, but for this to have occurred, borrowing would have had to occur between large far removed language families on such a vast scale the likes of which has never been seen anywhere on Earth.
The argument that entire 1-2 pronoun paradigms have been borrowed is particularly preposterous because 1-2 pronouns are almost never borrowed anyway, and there has never been a single case of on Earth of the borrowing of a 1-2 person pronoun paradigm, much less the borrowing of one at the proto-language level. So the anti-Altaicists are arguing that something that has never happened anywhere on Earth not only happened, but happened more than once among different proto-languages. So the anti-Altaic argument is that something that could not possibly have happened actually occurred.
This is the conclusion of every paper the splitters write. Something that has never occurred on Earth and probably could not possibly happen not only occurred, but occurred many times around the globe for thousands of years.
Many regard including Japonic and Koreanic in Altaic as dubious, although having looked over the data, I am certain that they are part of Altaic. But they seem to be further away from the traditional tripartite system than the traditional three families are to each other. If we follow the theory that Japanese and Korean have been split from Proto-Altaic for 8,000 years, this starts to make a lot more sense.
The ridiculous massive borrowings argument specifically fails for geographical reasons. Proto-Turkic was never next door to Proto-Mongolic and Proto-Tungusic. The Proto-Altaic homeland is in the Khingan Mountains in Western Manchuria and Eastern Mongolia. Tungusic split off from Altaic 5,300 years ago, leaving Proto-Turkic-Mongolic in Khingans. 3,400 years ago, Proto-Turkic broke from Proto-Turkic-Mongolic and headed west to Northern Kazakhstan and the southern part of the Western Siberian Plain, leaving Mongolic alone in the Khingans.
Proto-Transeurasian – Khingans 9,000 YBP
Proto-Korean – Liaojiang on the north shore of the Bohai Sea 8,000 YBP.
Proto-Japanese – Northern coast of the Shandong Peninsula on the southern shore of the Bohai Sea 8,000 YBP
Proto-Tungusic – Amur Peninsula 5,300 BP. Breaks apart 2,000 YBP.
Proto-Turkic – Northern Kazakhstan 3,400 BP.
Proto-Mongolic – Khingans 3,400 BP.
Can someone explain to me how Mongolic and Tungusic borrow from Turkic 3,000 miles away in a different place at a different time in this scenario? Can someone explain to me how any of these proto-languages borrowed from each other at all, especially as they were in different places at different times?
Not only that but supposedly both Proto-Mongolic and Proto-Tungusic each borrowed from Proto-Turkic separately. These borrowings included massive amounts of core vocabulary in addition to an entire 1st and 2nd person pronoun paradigm.
Keep in mind that the borrowing of this paradigm, something that has never happened anywhere, supposedly occurred not just once but twice, between Proto-Tungusic 5,300 YBP on the Amur from Proto-Turkic in North Kazakhstan 3,000 miles away 2,000 later, and at the same time, between Proto-Mongolic in the Khingans and Proto-Turkic in Northern Kazakhstan 3,000 miles away. How exactly did this occur?
And can someone explain to me how Proto-Korean and Proto-Japanese borrow from either of the others under this scenario?
Campbell and Mixco:
Turkic: A family of about thirty languages, spoken across central Asia from China to Lithuania. The family has two branches: Chuvash (of the Volga region) and the non-Chuvash Turkic branch of relatively closely related languages. Some of the Turkic languages are Azeri, Kyrgyz, Tatar, Crimean Tatar, Uighur, Uzbek, Yakut, Tuvan, and Tofa. Turkic is often assigned to the ‘Altaic’ hypothesis, though specialists have largely abandoned Altaic.
As noted above, it is simply incorrect that specialists have largely abandoned Altaic. This is simply carefully crafted propaganda on the part of Campbell and Mixco. In fact, my own study showed that 73% of experts in these families felt that Altaic existed at least in some form, if only in a relationship with two out of the three-five languages.
Campbell and Mixco:
Some scholars classify Korean in a single family with Japanese; however, this is a controversial hypothesis. Korean is often said to belong with the Altaic hypothesis, often also with Japanese, though this is not widely supported.
Japonic-Koreanic has considerable support among specialists in these languages, although it is not universally accepted. Campbell and Mixco are excessively negative about the level of support for an expanded Altaic. In fact, an expanded Altaic which includes Japanese and Korean in some part of it has significant though probably not majority support. Perhaps 30-40% of specialists support it.
Proto-Japanic and Proto-Koreanic were both spoken in Northeastern China 8,000 YBP. Proto-Japonic was spoke on the north of the Shandong Peninsula and Proto-Koreanic was spoken across the Bohai Sea in Tianjin and especially across the Bohai Straights on the Liaodong Peninsula. They may have stayed here next to each other for 3,000 years until the Proto-Koreanics moved to the Korean Peninsula 5,000 YBP, displacing the Ainuid types there. Proto-Japonics probably stayed in Shandong until 2,3000 YBP when they left to populate Japan and the Ryukus, displacing the Ainu who were already there.
Campbell and Mixco:
Yeniseian, Yenisseian: Small language family of southern Siberia of which Ket (Khet) is the only surviving member. Yeniseian has no known broader relatives, though some have been hypothesized (see the Dené-Caucasian hypothesis).
Campbell and Mixco state and serious untruth here, including some weasel words. By discussing Dene-Caucasian in the same breath as relatives of Yenisien, they are able to deflect away from the more widely accepted proposal of a link between Yenisien in the Old World and Na-Dene in the New World. This is Edward Vajda’s Dene-Yenisien proposal.
The problem is that this long-range proposal has the support of many people, including splitter Johanna Nichols. Of the 17 experts who weighed in on Dene-Yenisien, 15 of them had a positive view of the hypothesis. Campbell and Mixco are the only two who are negative, but neither are experts on either family. All specialists in either or both families support the proposal. When 15 out of 17 is not enough, one wonders at what point the field reaches a consensus. Must we hold out for Campbell and Mixco’s approval for everything?
Campbell and Mixco:
Nivkh (also called Gilyak): A language isolate spoken in the northern part of Sakhalin Island and along the Amur River of Manchuria, in China. There have been various unsuccessful attempts to link Nivkh genetically with various other language groupings, including Eurasiatic and Nostratic.
Granted, there is no consensus on the affiliation of Nivkhi. However, a recent paper by Sergei Nikolaev proved to me that Nivkhi is related to Algonquian-Wakashan, a family of languages in the Americas. One of these languages is Wakashan, and there has been talk of links between Wakashan and the Old World for some time.
Michael Fortescue places Nivkhi in Chukotko-Kamchatkan. Greenberg places it is Eurasiatic as a separate node. But as Chukotko-Kamchatkan is part of Eurasiatic, they are both saying the same thing in a way. My theory is that Nivkhi is Eurasiatic, possibly related to Chukoto-Kamchatkan, and like Yeniseian, is also connected to languages in North America as some of the Nivkhi probably migrated to North America and became the American Indians. In this way, we can reconcile both hypotheses.
There are three specialist views on Nivkhi. One says it is Eurasiatic, the other that it is Chukotian, and the third that it is part of the Algonquian-Wakashan or Almosan family in the New World. Consensus is that Nivkhi is related to one of two other entities – other languages in Northeastern Asia or a New World Amerindian family. So expert consensus seems to have moved away from the view of Nivkhi as an isolate.
Campbell and Mixco:
Paleosiberian languages (also sometimes called Paleoasiatic, Hyperborean languages): A geographical (not genetic) designation for several otherwise unaffiliated languages (isolates) and small language families of Siberia.
Perhaps the main thing that unites these languages is that they are not Turkic, Russian or Tungusic, the better known languages of Siberia. Languages often listed as Paleosiberian are: Chukchi, Koryak, Kamchadal (Itelmen), Yukaghir, Yeniseian (Ket) and Nivkh (Gilyak). These have no known genetic relationship to one other.
Taken as a broad statement, of course this is true. However, Chukchi, Koryak, and Kamchadal or Itelmen are part of a family called Chukutko-Kamchatkan. This family has even been reconstructed. Campbell and Mixco’s statement that these languages have no known genetic relationship with each other is false.
Campbell and Mixco:
Austroasiatic: A proposed genetic relationship between Mon-Khmer and Munda, accepted as valid by many scholars but not by all.
The fact is that Austroasiatic is not a “proposed genetic relationship.” Instead it is now accepted by consensus. That there may be a few outliers who don’t believe in it is not important. I’m not aware of any linguists who doubt Austroasiatic other than Campbell and Mixco, and neither is a specialist. Austroasiatic-Hmong-Mien is the best long-range proposal for Austroasiatic, but it has probably not yet been proven. Austroasiatic is also part of the expanded version of the Austric hypothesis.
Campbell and Mixco:
Miao-Yao (also called Hmong-Mien): A language family spoken by the Miao and Yao peoples of southern China and Southeast Asia. Some proposals would classify Miao-Yao with Sino-Tibetan, others with Tai or Austronesian; none of these has much support.
This seems to be more weasel wording on the part of the authors. By listing Tai or Austronesian and Sino-Tibetan as possible relatives of Miao-Yao and then correctly dismissing it, they leave out a much better proposal linking Hmong-Mien to Austroasiatic.
This shows some promise, but the relationship is hard to see amidst all of the Chinese borrowing. As noted, the relationship between Hmong-Mien and Sino-Tibetan is one of borrowing. The relationship with Tai or Austronesian is part of Paul Benedict’s original Austric proposal. He later turned against this proposal and supported a more watered down Austric with Austronesian and Tai-Kadai, which seems to be nearing consensus support now.
Campbell and Mixco:
Austric: A mostly discounted hypothesis of distant genetic relationship proposed by Paul Benedict that would group together the Austronesian, Tai-Kadai and Miao-Yao.
More weasel wording. It is correct that Benedict’s original Austric (which also included Austroasiatic) was abandoned even by Benedict himself, a more watered down Austric that he later supported consisting of Austronesian and Tai-Kadai called Austro-Tai has much more support. They get around discussing the watered down Austro-Tai with good support by limiting Austric to Benedict’s own theory which even he rejected later in life. In this sense, they misrepresent the debate, probably deliberately.
In fact, evidence is building towards acceptance of Austro-Tai after papers by Weera Ostapirat and Laurence Sagart seem to have proved the case using the comparative method. Roger Blench also supports the concept. In addition, to Benedict, it is also supported by Lawrence Reid, Hui Li, and Lawrence Reid. It is opposed by Graham Thurgood, who is a specialist (he was my main academic advisor on my Master’s Degree in Linguistics). It is also opposed by Campbell and Mixco, but they are not specialists. Looking at expert opinion, we have seven arguing for the theory and one arguing against it. Specialist consensus then is that Austro-Tai is a real language family.
Even the larger version of Austric, including all of Benedict’s families plus Ainu and the South Indian isolate Nihali, has some supporters and some suggestive evidence that it may be correct.
Campbell and Mixco:
Tai-Kadai: A large language family, generally but not
universally accepted, of languages located in Southeast Asia and southern China. The family includes Tai, Kam-Sui, Kadai and various other languages. The genetic relatedness of several proposed Tai-Kadai languages is not yet settled.
Tai-Kadai is not “mostly but not universally accepted.” It is accepted by consensus as an existent language family. Perhaps whether some languages belong there is in doubt but the proposal itself is not controversial. Campbell and Mixco’s statement that Tai-Kadai remains controversial is a serious distortion of fact.
Campbell and Mixco:
Na-Dene: A disputed proposal of distant genetic relationship, put forward by Sapir, that would group Haida, Tlingit and Eyak-Athabaskan. There is considerable disagreement about whether Haida is related to the others. The relationship between Tlingit and Eyak-Athabaskan seems more likely, and some scholars misleadingly use the name ‘Na-Dené’ to mean a grouping of these two without Haida.
Levine and Michael Krauss, two top Na-Dene experts, are on record as opposing the addition of Haida to Na-Dene for 40 years. A recent conference about Edward Vajda’s Dene-Yenisien concluded that there was no evidence to include Haida in Na-Dene. However, a recent paper by Alexander Manaster-Ramer made the case that Haida is part of Na-Dene. This paper was enough to convince me. Further, the scholar with the most expertise on Haida has said that Haida is part of Na-Dene. So Campbell and Mixco are correct here that the subject is up in the air with both supporters and opponents.
The statement that a relationship between Tlingit and Eyak-Athabaskan seems “more than likely” is an understatement. I believe it is now linguistic consensus that Tlingit is part of Na-Dene, so Campbell and Mixco’s statement is not quite true.
Campbell and Mixco:
Tonkawa: An extinct language isolate of Texas. Proposals to link Tonkawa with the languages of the Coahuiltecan or Hokan-Coahuiltecan hypotheses have not generally been accepted.
I’m sure it is the case that Coahuiltecan and Hokan-Coahuiltecan affiliations of Tonkawa have been rejected. A Coahuiltecan connection was even denied by Manaster-Ramer, who recently proved that the family existed. That said, there are interesting parallels between Tonkawa and Coahuiltecan that I cannot explain. However, a recent paper by Manaster-Ramer made the much better case that Tonkawa was in fact Na-Dene.
Campbell and Mixco:
Amerind: The Amerind hypothesis is rejected by nearly all practicing American Indianists and by most historical linguists. Specialists maintain that valid methods do not at present permit classification of Native American languages into fewer than about 180 independent language families and isolates. Amerind has been highly criticized on various grounds.There is an excessive number of errors in Greenberg’s data.
Where Greenberg stops – after assembling superficial similarities and declaring them due to common ancestry – is where other linguists begin. Since such similarities can be due to chance similarity, borrowing, onomatopoeia, sound symbolism, nursery words (the mama, papa, nana, dada, caca sort), misanalysis, and much more, for a plausible proposal of remote linguistic relationship one must attempt to eliminate all other possible explanations, leaving a shared common ancestor as the most likely.
Greenberg made no attempt to eliminate these other explanations, and the similarities he amassed appear to be due mostly to accident and a combination of these other factors.
In various instances, Greenberg compared arbitrary segments of words, equated words with very different meanings (for example, ‘excrement/night/grass’), misidentified many languages, failed to analyze the morphology of some words and falsely analyzed that of others, neglected regular sound correspondences, failed to eliminate loanwords and misinterpreted well-established findings.
The Amerind ‘etymologies’ proposed are often limited to a very few languages of the many involved. Finnish, Japanese, Basque and other randomly chosen languages fit Greenberg’s Amerind data as well as or better than do any of the American Indian languages in his ‘etymologies’; Greenberg’s method has proven incapable of distinguishing implausible relationships from Amerind generally. In short, it is with good reason Amerind has been rejected.
The movement into the Americas came in three waves.
The first wave brought the Amerinds. It is here where the 160 language families reside. According to the reigning theory in Linguistics, this group of Amerindians came in one wave that spoke not only 160 different languages but spoke languages that came from 160 different language families, none of which were related to each other. These being language families which, by the way, we can find scarcely a trace of in the Old World.
The second wave was the Na-Dene people who came along the west coast and then went inland.
The last wave were the Inuits.
Greenberg simply lumped all of the 600 languages of the Americas into a single family. The argument was good, though I’m not sure he proved that every single one of those languages were all part of Amerind. But a lot of them were. The n- m- 1st and 2nd person pronouns are found in 450 of those languages. The ablauted t’ana, t’una, t’ina word, meaning respectively human child of either sex, all females including family terms, and all males including family terms are extremely common in Amerind.
So t’ana just means child. T’una means girl, woman, and includes various names for all sorts of female relatives – grandmother, cousin, aunt, niece, etc. T’ina means boy, man, and includes the family terms grandfather, brother-in-law, uncle, cousin, and nephew. This ablauted paradigm is found across a vast number of these Amerind languages, and it is nonexistent in the rest of the world.
Quite probably most to all of those languages having that term are part of a single family. What are the other arguments? That 300 languages independently innovated these terms, in this precise ablauted paradigm, on their own? What is the likelihood of that?
That these items occurring across such vast swathes of languages is due to chance? But this paradigm does not exist anywhere else, so how could it be due to chance? That these core vocabulary items were borrowed massively all across the Americas, when family terms like that are rarely borrowed? That’s not possible. None of the alternate theories make the slightest bit of sense.
Hence, the Amerind languages that have the n- m- pronoun paradigm and the t’ana, t’una, t’ina ablauted names for the sexes and the terms of family relations by sex are quite probably part of a huge language family. I’m well aware that a few of the languages having those terms could be due to chance. I’m pretty sure that about zero of those pronouns and few, if any, of those family terms were borrowed.
However, not all Amerind languages have either the pronoun paradigm or the ablauted sex term. In those cases, I’m unsure if those languages are all part of the same language. But if you can put those languages in families and reconstruct to the proto-languages and end up with the pronoun paradigm or the ablauted family term reconstructed in the proto-language of that family, I’m sure that family would be part of Amerind. That’s about all you have to do to prove relationship in Amerind.
Campbell and Mixco:
Penutian: A very large proposed distant genetic relationship in western North America, suggested originally by Dixon and Kroeber for the Californian language families Wintuan, Maiduan, Yokutsan, and Miwok-Costanoan. The name is based on words for ‘two’, something like pen in Wintuan, Maiduan, and Yokutsan, and uti in Miwok-Costanoan, joined to form Penutian.
Sapir, impressed with the hypothesis, attempted to add an Oregon Penutian (Takelma, Coos, Siuslaw, and ‘Yakonan’), Chinook, Tsimshian, a Plateau Penutian (Sahaptian, ‘Molala-Cayuse,’ and Klamath-Modoc) and a Mexican Penutian (Mixe-Zoquean and Huave).
The Penutian grouping has been influential, and later proposals have attempted to unite various languages from Alaska to Bolivia with it. Nevertheless, it had a shaky foundation based on extremely limited evidence, and, in spite of extensive later research, it did not prove possible to demonstrate any version of the Penutian hypothesis and several prominent Penutian specialists abandoned it. Today it remains controversial and unconfirmed, with some supporters but with many who doubt it.
The statement that today it “remains controversial and unconfirmed, with some supporters but with many who doubt it,” has no basis in fact. It is surely controversial and it is probably unconfirmed by linguistic consensus. Yes, it has a number of supporters, and there are quite a few who doubt it. However, among those who doubt it, none of them are specialists in these languages. Hence, we are dealing with an Altaic situation here, where the specialists believe in it but the non-specialists insist it’s nonsense.
In fact, the consensus among the specialists on these languages is that Penutian exists. A Penutian family comprising Maiduan, Utian (Miwok-Costanoan), Wintuan, Yokutsan, Coosan, Siuslaw, Takelma, and Kalapuyan and Alsean (Yakonan), Chinookan, Tsimshianic, Klamath-Modoc (Lutuami), Cayuse and Molala (Waiilatpuan), Sahaptian has been proven to my satisfaction. I am uncertain of the Penutian status of Mixe-Zoque and Huave (Mexican Penutian), although I believe that Huave and Mixe-Zoque are related to each other, albeit at a very deep time depth of 9,000 years.
Anti-Penutianists have not published a paper in a long time. The last one I remembered was published by William Shipley, and he’s been gone for a while. I am not aware of one expert on these languages who says Penutian does not exist.
Campbell and Mixco:
Cayuse-Molala: A genetic classification no longer believed that linked Cayuse (of Oregon and Washington) and Molala (of Oregon) in a single assumed family. The evidence for this was later shown to be wrong and the hypothesis was abandoned.
According to Campbell and Mixco, Cayuse is an isolate. I assume they see Molala as an isolate too. There probably is no Cayuse-Molala family, but Molala is part of Plateau Penutian, and Cayuse may be part of the same group. Plateau Penutian is part of the Penutian hypothesis, which appears to be true. By not mentioning these facts, Campbell and Mixco’s statement is quite misleading.
Campbell and Mixco:
Mosan: A now abandoned proposal of distant genetic relationship that would group Salishan, Wakashan and Chimakuan together.
Another part of this proposal was that Mosan was part of a larger family with Algonquian called Almosan. An excellent series of papers was published recently by Sergei Nikolaev that validated Almosan and proved to me that it was related to Nivkhi in the Old World.
Michael Fortescue argued a few years before that Mosan was a valid entity and that was related to the Old World language Nivkhi. Recently, Murray Gell-Mann, Ilia Peiros, and Georgiy Starostin also supported Almosan and grouped it with Chukotko-Kamchatkan and Nivkhi. David Beck recently argued that Mosan is a language area or Sprachbund instead of a genetic family.
So far we have four specialists arguing that Mosan exists, and one saying it does not. The consensus among specialists seems to be that Mosan is a valid language family. At any rate, Campbell and Mixco’s statement that this proposal is “now abandoned” is false.
For Almosan, we have four specialists saying it exists and two apparently saying it does not. Expert consensus on Almosan is optimistic.
Hokan: A controversial hypothesis of distant genetic relationship proposed by Dixon and Kroeber among certain languages of California; the original list included Shastan, Chimariko, Pomoan, Karok, and Yana, to which they soon added Esselen, Yuman, and later Chumashan, Salinan, Seri, and Tequistlatecan. Later scholars, especially Edward Sapir, proposed various additions to Hokan. Many ‘Hokan’ specialists doubt the validity of the hypothesis.
It is not true that many Hokan specialists “doubt the validity of the hypothesis.” I can’t remember the last time I saw an anti-Hokan paper. Yes, Campbell, Mixco, and Mithun say Hokan does not exist, but they are not specialists. The consensus among specialists such as Mikhail Zhikov, Terence Kaufman, and Marcelo Jokelsy is that Hokan exists. I have only found one specialist who disagrees with the Hokan hypothesis, and she merely doubts the existence of Ch’imáriko.
I believe that a Hokan family consisting of Karuk, Shasta-Palaihnihan, Ch’imáriko, Yana, Salinan, Pomoan, Yuman, Seri, and Tequistlatecan exists, although I would leave out Chumashan, Washo, and Jicaquean or Tolan. Chumashan is an isolate, and while Washo and Tolan may be Hokan at a very deep time depth, the few possible cognates are not enough to provide evidence of this. I am agnostic on Esselen, which is only known from a 350 word list collected by friars at a California mission.
I have not seen any evidence that Coahuiltecan is Hokan. There is some evidence, though not probative enough for me, that Lencan and Misumalpan may be Hokan. Nevertheless, Lencan and Misumalpan form a language family that has even been accepted by Campbell himself. This is the only long-range family proposal he has supported since the publication of LIA.
Although Campbell’s opinion on many hypotheses may be waved away as he is not an expert on that family or language, Lencan and Misumalpan are right up his alley as he is an expert in languages in Central America. He has focused mostly on Mayan, but he also knows the other languages of the region well.
Campbell and Mixco:
Cochimí–Yuman: A family of languages from Arizona, California and Baja California, with two branches, extinct Cochimí (of Baja California) and the Yuman subfamily (members of which are Kiliwa, Diegueño, Cocopa, Mojave, Maricopa, Paipai, and Walapai–Havasupai–Yavapai, among others). Cochimí–Yuman is often associated with the controversial Hokan hypothesis, though evidence is insufficient to embrace the proposed relationship.
The consensus among experts in the Cochimí–Yuman family, including Mikhail Zhikov and Terence Kaufman, is that it is part of the Hokan family. Campbell disbelieves in the association but he is not an expert. However, Mixco opposes the Hokan affinity of Cochimi-Yuman, and granted, he is actually a specialist on these languages. So among specialists, we have two who support the Hokan association and one who opposes it. The specialist consensus then would be that they are this association is a promising hypothesis, but it is not yet proven. This is different from Campbell and Mixco’s wording, which is more negative.
Campbell and Mixco:
Coahuiltecan: A hypothesis of distant genetic relationship that proposed to group some languages of south Texas and northern Mexico: Coahuilteco, Comecrudo and Cotoname, and sometimes also Tonkawa, Karankawa, Atakapa and Maratino (with Aranama and Solano assumed to be varieties of Coahuilteco).
Sapir proposed a broader classification of Hokan–Coahuiltecan, joining the Coahuiltecan proposal with the broader Hokan hypothesis, and placed this in his even larger Hokan–Siouan super-stock. None of these proposals has proven sufficiently robust to be accepted generally.
I am not aware of any specialists who have recently argued against the existence of Coahuiltecan. Yes, Campbell and Mixco do not accept it, but they are not specialists. A recent paper by Alexander Manaster-Ramer proved the existence of Coahuiltecan to my satisfaction. I believe that a Coahuiltecan family consisting of Comecrudo, Cotoname, Aranama, Solano, Mamulique, Garza, and Coahuilteco absolutely exists. Karankawa is probably a part of this family. I am not aware that any specialist is arguing against the existence of this family at the moment.
I do not think there is good evidence for other postulated languages such as Atakapa and Tonkowa. First of all, Tonkawa is probably Na-Dene as per another paper by Manaster-Ramer. Atakapa is part of the Gulf family. However, I am not yet convinced that Coahuiltecan is as member of the Hokan language family.
Campbell and Mixco:
Gulf: Hypothesis of a distant genetic relationship proposed by Mary R. Haas that would group Muskogean, Natchez, Tunica, Atakapa and Chitimacha, no longer supported by most linguists.
The notion that Gulf is no longer supported by most linguists is simply incorrect. There have only been four linguists who studied this family.
The first was Mary Haas, who also proposed a relationship with Yuki as Yuki-Gulf. Haas was always dubious about Chitimacha’s addition to Gulf.
Greenberg resurrected Yuki-Gulf in LIA.
Pam Munro is an expert on these languages. A while back she published a paper on Yuki-Gulf. I read that paper. The resemblances are so stunning between Muskogean, Natchez, Tunica, Atakapa and Chitimacha that I was shocked that anyone doubted the relationship. Furthermore, the relationship with Yuki and Wappo, a full 2,500 miles away in Northern California, was shocking.
The fourth was Geoffrey Kimball, who concluded that Gulf was probably a family but that this could not be proven.
There evidence for Gulf in Munro’s paper was good, and there even appeared to be sound correspondences running through the relationship. What was shocking about it was that Yuki and Wappo could not possibly have borrowed from Gulf because Gulf is in Louisiana 2,500 miles away. So how did all these resemblances come in? Chance is ruled out. Borrowing could not have happened. Therefore a relationship at least between Yuki and the Gulf languages is obvious.
Munro’s paper took the position that Greenberg’s Yuki-Gulf hypothesis was correct. However, there are some problems. First, Atakapa as part of Gulf has been controversial, in part because it has also been tied in with Coahuiltecan. Indeed there are resemblances between the two, and they were not spoken next to each other so borrowing can be ruled out.
Perhaps a way of solving the matter is to posit not only Yuki-Gulf but a larger family that includes Coahuiltecan as Greenberg does in LIA. I have no idea how justified this is, but there are certainly surprising resemblances between Atakapa and the Coahuiltecan languages.
Furthermore, whether or not Chitimacha is part of Gulf has been up in the air from the beginning when Haas published her paper. Recent papers have made the case that Chitimacha is related to Mesoamerican language families of Mexico such as Mixe-Zoque and Totonacan. These papers used the comparative method. Campbell has rejected this hypothesis.
That Tunica at the very least shows a close relationship with Muskogean is not even controversial. The idea has a long pedigree and is presently supported by all experts in this family.
Geoffrey Kimball examined the data recently and concluded that from the evidence, it appears that Gulf exists, but we will never be able to prove it, as he puts it. However, he stated that Tunica is almost certainly related to Muskogean. At this point, I would think that Tunica-Muskogean at the very least should be considered consensus among specialists.
Kimball’s paper had a number of problems, mostly that he was operating with a negative stance towards the existence of the family. Further, there were issues with his notions of sound symbolism and borrowing in the paper where his explanations made no sense at all.
Let’s evaluate Campbell and Mixco’s statement that Gulf is no longer supported by most linguists.
We have four specialists on record about whether or not a Gulf family exists.
Mary Haas: Positive, minus Chitimacha
Joseph Greenberg: Positive
Pamela Munro: Positive
Geoffrey Kimball: Probably exists but it’s not possible to prove it.
Brown et al: Chitimacha is a part of the Totonozoquean family, not the Gulf family. The other members of Gulf are not members of this family.
Three out of the four specialists on the Gulf family say that the Gulf family is a reality. The other feels it exists but cannot be proven. And there is uncertainty about whether Chitimacha is probably not part of Gulf. The consensus among experts is that Gulf is a real language family.
Campbell and Mixco’s statement that Gulf is no longer supported by most linguists is simply false.
Furthermore, I would like to point out that a good case can be made for the existence of a Totonozoquean family consisting of the Mixe-Zoque and Totonacan languages. Whether this is consensus among experts is somewhat up in the air.
Campbell and Mixco:
Macro-Gê: A proposed distant genetic relationship composed of several language families and isolates, many now extinct, along the Atlantic coast (primarily of Brazil). These include Chiquitano, Bororoan, Botocudoan, Rikbaktsa, the Gê family proper, Jeikó, Kamakanan, Maxakalían, Purian, Fulnío, Ofayé and Guató. Many are sympathetic to the hypothesis and several of these languages will very probably be demonstrated to be related to one another eventually, though others will probably need to be separated out.
This is much too pessimistic. Macro-Gê is not a proposed long range family -it is a large language family in South America accepted by consensus. It is not true that many are sympathetic to it; instead, the consensus is that it is correct. Nor is it correct to say that it will probably be demonstrated eventually. In fact, it is already an accepted reality.
Campbell and Mixco:
Quechumaran: Proposed distant genetic relationship that would join Quechuan and Aymaran. While considerable evidence has been gathered in support of the hypothesis, it is extremely difficult in this case to distinguish what may be inherited (and therefore evidence of a genetic relationship) from what may be diffused (and therefore not reliable evidence of a genetic connection).
It is true that there is no consensus on the existence of Quechumaran. The consensus seems to be as above that it is not yet proven. Those opposed to the idea throw out the usual borrowing scenario, but they have had to push the large number of borrowings in core vocabulary all the way back to Proto-Aymara and Proto-Quechua. In my opinion, “massive borrowing of core vocabulary at the proto-language level” is simply another word for genetics.
Gerald Clauson, the famous Turkologist opponent of Altaic, had to keep pushing his massive borrowings of core vocabulary further and further back until he eventually had the scenario taking place at the Proto-Turkic, Proto-Tungusic, and Proto-Mongolic levels. See above for my analysis on why these three proto-languages could not possibly have borrowed from each other as they were in different places in different times.
A similar problem exists with opponents of the Uralo-Yukaghir theory, in which they are also forced to deal with a large amount of core vocabulary dating back a long time. Hakkinen tried to solve this problem by pushing the borrowing all the way back to not just Proto-Uralic but Pre-Proto-Uralic. Pre-Proto-Uralic at 8,000 years to me means nothing less than Uralo-Yukaghir. What else could it mean? He has heavy borrowing of core vocabulary between Pre-Proto-Uralic and Proto-Yukaghir. That’s another way of saying genetics.
Campbell and Mixco:
Macro-Guaicuruan (also spelled Macro-Waykuruan, Macro-Waikuruan): A proposed distant genetic relationship that would join the Guaicuruan and Matacoan families of the Gran Chaco in South America in a larger-scale genetic classification. Grammatical similarities, for example in the pronominal systems, have suggested the relationship to some scholars, but the extremely limited lexical evidence raises doubts for others. Some would also add Charruan and Mascoyan to these in an even larger ‘Macro-Waikuruan cluster.’
It is not true that this is a proposed long-range family suggested by some by doubted by others. In fact, Macro-Guaicuruan is accepted by consensus and is as uncontroversial as Macro-Gê, Pama-Nyungan, and other such families. There is however debate about which families are members outside of the Guaicuruan and Mataguayo language families that make up the essence of the family. There have been suggestions to add Lule-Vilela and the Zamucoan, Charruan, and Mascoyan families to this family. I do not feel that these additions are yet warranted.
Campbell and Mixco:
Pama-Nyungan: A very large, widely spread language family of Australia, some 175 languages. The name comes from Kenneth Hale, based on the words pama ‘man’ in the far northeast and nyunga ‘man’ in the southwest. Languages assigned to Pama-Nyungan extend over four-fifths of Australia, most of the continent except northern areas.
Pama-Nyungan is accepted by most Australianists as a legitimate language family, but not uncritically and not universally. It is rejected by Dixon; it is held by others to be plausible but inconclusive based on current evidence. Some Pama-Nyungan languages are Lardil, Kayardilt, Yukulta, Yidiny, Dyirbal, Pitta-Pitta, Arrente, Warlpiri, Western Desert language(s), and there are many more.
Actually, consensus now is that this family of Australian languages does indeed exist. True, Dixon challenged the existence of Pama-Nyungan recently, but his opposition was so outrageous and it prompted a quick surge of papers from Australianists defending the existence of Pama-Nyungan. The notion that other Australianists feel that Pama-Nyungan is possible but presently inconclusive is not correct. I am not aware of a single Australianist other than Dixon who feels this way. Instead, Pama-Nyungan is about as uncontroversial as Macro-Gê, Afroasiatic, or Austroasiatic.
Campbell and Mixco:
‘Papuan’ languages: A term of convenience used to refer to the languages of the western Pacific, most in New Guinea (Papua New Guinea and the Indonesian provinces of Papua and West Irian Jaya), that are neither Austronesian nor Australian. Papuan definitely does not refer to a genetic relationship among these languages for no such relationship can at present be shown.
That is, the term is defined negatively and does not imply a linguistic relationship. While most are spoken on the island of New Guinea, some are found in the Bismark Archipelago, Bougainville Island and the Solomon Islands to the east, and in Halmahera, Timor and the Alor Archipelago to the west.
There are some 800 Papuan languages divided in the a large number of mostly small language families and isolates not demonstrably related to one another.
For what it’s worth, this statement by Campbell and Mixco is correct.
Campbell and Mixco:
One large genetic grouping that has been posited for a number of Papuan languages is the Trans-New Guinea phylum, which is promising but not yet confirmed.
Trans-New Guinea is not “promising but not yet confirmed.” Instead it is an uncontroversial language family accepted by the consensus of all specialists.
Beck, David (1997). Mosan III: A Problem of Remote Common Proximity. International Conference on Salish (and Neighbo(u)ring) Languages.
Benedict, Paul K. (1942). “Thai, Kadai, and Indonesian: A New Alignment in Southeastern Asia.” American Anthropologist 44, 4: 576–601.
Benedict, Paul K. (1975). Austro-Thai Language and Culture, with a Glossary of Roots. New Haven: HRAF Press.
Blench, Roger (2008). The Prehistory of the Daic (Tai-Kadai) Speaking Peoples. Presented at the 12th EURASEAA Meeting in Leiden, the Netherlands, 1-5 September 2008.
Blench, Roger (2018). Tai-Kadai and Austronesian Are Related at Multiple Levels and Their Archaeological Interpretation (draft).
Blust, Robert (2014). “The Higher Phylogeny of Austronesian and the Position of Tai-Kadai: Another Look,” in The 14th International Symposium on Chinese Languages and Linguistics (IsCLL-14).
Campbell, Lyle and Marianne Mithun (Eds.) (1979). The Languages of Native America: An Historical and Comparative Assessment.
Campbell, Lyle and Mauricio J. Mixco (2007). A Glossary of Historical Linguistics. Edinburgh University Press.
Campbell, Lyle and William J. Poser (2008). Language Classification: History and Method. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press
Fortescue, M. (1998). Language Relations across Bering Strait: Reappraising the Archaeological and Linguistic Evidence. (Nivkhi is Mosan.)
Fortescue, Michael (2011). “The Relationship of Nivkh to Chukotko-Kamchatkan Revisited.” Lingua 121, 8: 1359-1376. (Nivkhi is Chukoto-Kamchatkan.)
Gell-Mann, Murray; Ilia Peiros, and George Starostin (2009). “Distant Language Relationship: The Current Perspective.” Journal of Language Relationship.
Greenberg, Joseph H. (2000). Indo-European and Its Closest Relatives: The Eurasiatic Language Family. Volume 1, Grammar. Stanford: Stanford University Press.
Greenberg, Joseph H. (2002). Indo-European and Its Closest Relatives: The Eurasiatic Language Family. Volume 2, Lexicon. Stanford: Stanford University Press.
Heine, Bernd (1992). African Languages. International Encyclopedia of Linguistics, ed. by William Bright, Vol. 1, pp. 31-36. Oxford: Oxford University Press. (No such thing as Nilo-Saharan.)
Krauss, Michael E. (1979). Na-Dene and Eskimo-Aleut. The Languages of Native America: Historical and comparative assessment, ed. by Lyle Campbell and Marianne Mithun, pp. 803-901. Austin: University of Texas Press. (Haida not part of Na-Dene.)
Levine, Robert D. (1979). Haida and Na-Dene: A New Look at the evidence. IJAL 45: 157-70. (Haida not part of Na-Dene.)
Li, Hui (李辉) (2005). Genetic Structure of Austro-Tai Populations (Doctoral Dissertation). Fudan University.
Mixco, Mauricio J. (1976). “Kiliwa Texts.” International Journal of American Linguistics Native American Text Series 1: 92-101
Mixco, Mauricio J. (1977). “The Linguistic Affiliation of the Ñakipa and Yakakwal of Lower California”. International Journal of American Linguistics 43: 189-200.
Nicola¨i, Robert (1990). Parent´es Linguistiques (`A Propos du Songhay). Paris: CNRS. (Dimmendaal says Songhay is Nilo-Saharan.)
Nikolaev, S. (2015). Toward the Reconstruction of Proto-Algonquian-Wakashan. Part 1: Proof of the Algonquian-Wakashan Relationship.
Nikolaev, S. (2016). Toward the Reconstruction of Proto-Algonquian-Wakashan. Part 2: Algonquian-Wakashan Sound Correspondences.
Ostapirat, Weera (2005). “Kra-Dai and Austronesian: Notes on Phonological Correspondences and Vocabulary Distribution,” in Laurent Sagart, Roger Blench and Alicia Sanchez-Mazas, eds. The Peopling of East Asia: Putting Together Archaeology, Linguistics, and Genetics, pp. 107-131. London: Routledge Curzon.
Ostapirat, Weera (2013). Austro-Tai Revisited. Paper Presented at the 23rd Annual Meeting of the Southeast Asian Linguistics Society, 29-31 May 2013, Chulalongkorn University.
Reid, Lawrence A. (2006). “Austro-Tai Hypotheses.” In Keith Brown (Ed.), The Encyclopedia of Language and Linguistics, 2nd Edition, pp. 609–610.
Sagart, Laurent (2005b). “Tai-Kadai as a Subgroup of Austronesian,” in L. Sagart, R. Blench, and A. Sanchez-Mazas (Eds.), The Peopling of East Asia: Putting Together Archaeology, Linguistics, and Genetics, pp. 177-181.
Sagart, Laurent (2019). “A Model of the Origin of Kra-Dai Tones.” Cahiers de Linguistique Asie Orientale. 48, 1: 1–29.
Thurgood, Graham (1994). “Tai-Kadai and Austronesian: The Nature of the Relationship.” Oceanic Linguistics 33: 345-368.
A Requiem for Arabia’s Jews
I wish I could tell you who wrote this. It was written by a young Palestinian Lebanese man and posted on Academia. Once anything is posted there, it’s pretty much community property and in the public domain, so I grabbed it and am republishing it here. It required a pretty heavy-duty edit which I just finished. People writing English as a second language are often very hard to edit because their English is being translated from their native tongue.
What sounds fine in our language ends up sounding strange, odd, awkward, or weird in our language. And it’s not always easy to figure out how to fix it up! In a number of cases, the meaning of some particular sentence simply cannot be discerned, and one has to guess at the best possible approximation.
As I was editing this, I came close to closing out the application a number of times, especially towards the end. Each paragraph near the end had its own monstrosities that appeared daunting to say the least. In this edit, I took it upon myself to rephrase some of the less well-constructed phrases with my own style, so you are also reading a bit of Robert Lindsay at the same time you are reading the unknown author.
There is actually a social science that deals with all of this called Translation Studies. It’s not Linguistics per se. I think it’s an off-growth of English and Literature Departments. I haven’t read much of this material, but I imagine they go over everything I wrote above and then some.
Famous books that have been translated multiple times, like The Brothers Karamazov by Dostoevsky and especially Remembrance of Things Past by Proust have been the subject of long articles comparing the various translations and trying to figure out which are better and which worse. A similar enterprise has gone on for much longer with the translations of Homer’s The Iliad and The Odyssey because English speakers have been translating these for a lot longer than the former two. It’s amazing how hard it is to translate good prose from one language to another. It’s an art form.
The author has a point. The expulsion of the Arab Jews was a tragedy not nearly on the level of the expulsion of the Palestinians, but it is still a potent enough crime. The Jews are hypocrites about this, but they’re that way about everything, so no surprise there. They yell about the expulsion of the Jews, in numbers about the same as the number of Palestinians expelled. Of course, being Jews, they want ample (((compensation))) for their losses, (((with interest))) if you can believe it. The gall of them. What chutzpah. But it figures. Of course they want (((interest))), right?
But the real problem here is the usual (((hypocrisy))). (((Pay))) us for our losses, scream the Jews. Fair enough, perhaps they deserve it, but only in the dollars of the day, not the inflated dollars of today. They lost the value of 1948 dollars, not 2021 dollars, no matter what they would be worth if they held onto them.
But how about fair play. Oh yeah, Jews don’t play that game! How about paying the Palestinians for all of their losses in 1948 at the hands of the Jews. While there have been proposals to pay off the Palestinians in return for renouncing their beefs, right to return and resist oppression and the crimes committed against them; in other words, pay them off to make the problem go away, these will never fly because of all those nasty strings attached, like giving up your basic human rights. But generally speaking, with the Jews, it’s “Give us back all the stuff you took from us! Oh, about the stuff we took from you? Sorry, pal, you’re SOL!” The usual Jewish bullshit, in other words. For this reason, all the yelling about paying back the poor Mizrachi Jews leaves me a bit cold.
But there is another much more important question and it hinges on the notion that the expulsion of the Arab Jews was such a huge tragedy after all. Because almost 100% of Arab Jews have absolutely no wish to return to their former lands. Sure, they were driven out, but they’re happy to be gone, and they don’t want to come back. I threw you off your land, but you went away peacefully, are happy where you are now, and don’t want your land back” doesn’t seem so tragic to me. Sounds like the victims are where they wish to be.
It’s another matter for the Palestinians. The Palestinians were also thrown off their lands and got all their stuff taken. But many if not most Palestinians, at least many of those in Gaza and the West Bank anyway, have a desire to go back to the homes they were thrown out of. “I threw you off your land, you went away angry, you’re miserable where you are now, and you’re desperate to get your land back” is a tragedy of a much greater magnitude than the one of the Arab Jews above.
Of course, bring this up to Jews and you get the usual (((barrage of lawyerly diversion, bluster, threats, and accusations of anti-Semitism))). As far as the latter goes, natch.
“They threaten to beat us to death,” said Yahya Ya’ish and repeated the sentence while he leaned forward to look deep into my eyes. I do not know whether he did so to see if I believed him or to see whether I was credible. I recoiled imperceptibly. I did it to escape his forceful, inquisitive stare as well as his smell – a smell of fear.
We sat in the office of the director of the Yemen Observatory for Human Rights, a leading human rights organization. Yahya Ya’ish brought a joint letter from the few remaining Jews in Rayda, the last Yemeni town with an indigenous Jewish population. The Jews of Rayda requested the human rights center to assist them in obtaining protection against the repeated assaults, harassment, and threats that they have been suffering under for almost a year.
I must admit, now with shame, that I did not quite believe Ya’ish’s story, credible as it sounds. He aroused all my Arab anti-Jewish stereotypes. He looked exactly as a Jew looks in Arabic caricature. He had unkempt black hair with long curly sideburns, dark skin with black unruly beard, a prominent nose, and black, skewed, penetrating eyes.
I do not know if my suspicion was due to deep-seated prejudices derived from a childhood in which Israelis and Jews were one and same in my father’s Palestinian family or whether it was due to some experiences in my school where wild young classmates celebrated the days when the news reported that Israelis were killed.
I know not whether it was also due to deep-seated hatred for all those times when I and my family lived through the Israeli bombings, which often struck indiscriminately at my birth country, Lebanon. My distrust of Yai’sh’s credible report could also have been because I had lost my credulity having heard through the years my share of exaggerated stories of persecution; first from refugees and asylum seekers when I worked as interpreter and later as a human rights activist from Arab dissidents.
Yahya Ya’ish is a descendant of Yemen’s legendary chief rabbi, Ya’ish Bin Yihya, who died two years ago at the age of 81 years and left one of the world’s oldest Jewish communities without spiritual guidance. Along with a few families, he is among the last Jews in Yemen, once a home to one of the Arab world’s oldest and most populous Jewish communities. Now there are only 300 to 400 Jews left in the country.
In 1948 there were 60,000 Jews among the approximately 2.5 million Yemenis. Nearly 48,000 Jews ‘went away’ to Israel in the years just after the establishment of Israel. Today there are approximately 400 Jews out of a population of approximately 22 million Yemenis. Ya’ish told me that he and his family, but especially a cousin, has been subjected to systematic persecution by their fellow citizens in Rayda.
He reported that Rayda’s Jews were being harassed on the streets and threatened with death if they did not convert to Islam or leave the city. Many of the Jews’ neighbors refuse to do commerce with them. Ya’ish’s voice became especially anxious when in his sad tale of the daily humiliation, he recounted his greatest fear -“‘They threaten us to intrude upon our women (yet’aradu li-sharafina).”
During an earlier trip to Rayda in 2007, I noted that Jewish women wore the black abaya covering their bodies from head to toe and were secluded, while the men who sat and chewed qat, an addictive narcotic plant, claimed that according to Jewish law they were allowed, like their Muslim neighbors, to several women at once.
In this traditional culture to molest somebody’s woman is the worst calamity a man can be exposed to. Ya’ish feared,
If they molest our women, we will not be able to control the reactions of the young among us. They know it is not helpful to turn to the authorities. We have tried for years. Instead of providing us protection, they defended their own clansmen. If our young men hit back, it will be the end with us. This will give the Muslims an excuse to beat us all to death.
What Ya’ish feared happened the 11th of December 2008, just a few days after I met him. Moshe Ya’ish bin Yahya, brother of the Rabbi Ya’ish Yahya bin Yahya and a relative of Ya’ish, was murdered in cold blood in bright daylight in the middle of the street (Amnesty International, 19.12.2008).
The perpetrator of the heinous crime was a pilot in the army. In the court, which was filled with members of his tribe, he admitted without repentance to his action and added,
I had written and warned the Jews in Rayda several times before. I have warned them that they must either convert to Islam, leave the country, or I kill them. (Daily Star, 23.12.2008).
He refused to accept the claim made by his advocates appointed the state that he is insane. He cried in court, “You are helping the Jews against me’.
The Rayda attack in itself does constitute something unique. Racist violence occurs everywhere. What makes the incident special is the Yemeni government’s response. In the wake of the attacks, President Ali Abdallah Saleh, the ruler of the country since 1978, declared in a magnanimous gesture designed to impress Yemen’s Western donors that he will take Rayda’s Jews under his personal protection but in the capital Sanaa, not in their city.
President Saleh’s apparent rescue of the Jews is anything but an expression of the Arab leader’s generosity. When Rayda’s Jews endured systematic harassment which occurred with the authorities’ knowledge and participation and refused to travel to Sanaa or out of the country to the United States and Israel like most other Jews have felt compelled to do in the last 50 years, it was not because they were patriotic heroes more connected than others to their Yemeni homeland.
Rayda’s Jews held out because they wanted to keep their houses, land, and other possessions. Apart from their own possessions, many of the remaining Jews purchased, acquired, or inherited the property of those Jews who had left. The Jews, who ‘went away’, nourished a hope that the remaining family members might be able to sell their possessions without a huge loss of their value, as usually happens when a population is driven away. This means that the remaining Jews, as Ya’ish informed me, are making a stand for the land and houses belonging to the rest of the Jewish community.
The persecution of the Jews of Rayda is also motivated to some extent, according Ya’ish’s report, by their neighbors’ hope to ‘inherit’ their property once they flee the country. It is a known phenomenon from similar cleansings of Jews in both Europe and the Arab world and for that matter from Israel’s expulsion of the Palestinians in 1948. Ya’ish reported clearly, “If the state or anyone else buys our lands and houses at a reasonable price, we will not stay a single day longer in Yemen.”
By ordering the Jews moved under his own direct protection to Sana’a, President Saleh made himself guilty of the Jews’ persecution and not their rescue. President Saleh was aware of it. He made the same grandiose gesture when in 2005 another Jewish community was driven away from their home town in Sa’ada, located in the northern part of Yemen’s mountains.
Sa’ada had been ravaged by a civil war between a Shiite splinter group inspired by Iran and Hezbollah, called the Houthi, who let their rebellious anger transfer to Saada’s unarmed Jews. The Houthi rebels claimed that the Jews committed fornication and alcoholic orgies in Sa’ada, the most backward and traditionalist region of the country! Sa’ada’s Jews were moved into a ‘tourist town’ in the capital. Of the several hundred Jews who were moved from Sa’ada to Sana’a to become the President’s special guests, there are now fewer than 250 Jews left.
When President Saleh allowed the Sa’ada Jews to be driven away from their home town which they inhabited in 3000 years, he caused them to be driven from their houses, land, and trades without a guarantee of return and when his only gesture was to house them in of a fenced residential camp two miles from Sana’a Airport, it was an indirect way of throwing them out of the country.
Rayda’s Jews will face in the same dilemma as the tourist town’s Jews. Should they choose to continue to live in a fenced housing for soldiers, which requires a special permit from the Interior Department for foreign visitors to enter at the only entrance, without a glimmer of hope of returning to their homes or receiving compensation from the state for their lost property, or should they instead join their compatriots in the U.S. and Israel and emigrate forever from Yemen?
The result either way will be to exorcise the Yemeni Jews in all practical respects. The few Jewish families left soon found will soon find their way to the airport. With only a few Jews left as in Lebanon, Iraq, or Egypt, there will no longer be any real Jewish life left in Yemen. It will be a sad, unnoticed, and unrecognized end of a thousand-year-old residence that created a wealth of culture such that Yemen became one of the major lands in Jewish history in terms of importance.
With the exorcism of Yemen’s Jews will come the sad end of one of the Arab World’s most shameful chapters: the tacit, planned, and decades-long ethnic cleansing of the Arab Jews. This particular end of the chapter is particularly shameful because it did not happen under the exceptional conditions of war and sectarian conflict that characterized the previous expulsions. These conditions were used by Arab governments to show how they could not prevent the expulsions for fear of stoking the wrath of the enraged population.
The exorcism of the Arab Jews was not caused only by the wars between Israel and the Arab states. Ask around the Arab World about what happened to the Jews of that country. “The Jews went away,” they will say vaguely. True enough, many Arab Jews left due to Zionist propaganda and many were driven out by terrorism committed by Israel such as the grenade attacks on Jews in Iraq and the bombing of Jewish targets by Israel in Egypt in 1949-1950.
In part, Jews left because for centuries they were treated as dhimmis, second class people under Sharia, or Islamic law, for centuries, although this ended for the most par a century ago with the collapse of the Ottoman Empire. Most left as a direct result of the wars, when mass hysteria and suspicion of the Jews as an Israeli fifth column swept the Arab lands. Sadly, this view of Jews as traitors to the homeland was stirred up by Arab rulers to distract the population from their humiliating defeat by the Jews in the newborn Jewish state of Israel that arose from the ruins of Arab Palestine.
Palestinians were driven away by the Jews too. 700,000 Christian and Muslim Palestinians were driven away by the Israeli forces in 1947-48. The Israeli exorcism of the Palestinians was matched by a concurrent exorcism of almost as many Jews from the Arab lands, with the proviso that the Jewish exodus occurred more gradually over a period of 50 years.
The Jewish communities of the Arab World, which for had developed complex and fascinating cultures in the lands of their birth in Morocco, Egypt, Iraq, Syria, Lebanon and Yemen, were were for the most part dissolved. By driving away the Jews, the Arabs not only hurt their own communities, but they also played into the propaganda of Zionism that said that Jews could only be safe in Israel. Israel needed mass Arab Jewish immigration to achieve universal legitimacy, in part to rid the land of its reputation as a homeland for European Ashkenazim only.
But what about the exorcism that continued after the 1948 war? What about the Arab governments’ passive or active involvement in this exodus to drive the Jews from their lands? And perhaps worst of all, what of the silence of Arab historians and intellectuals about the tragic loss of a millennia-old Jewish residence in their lands, where a huge population of 900,000 Arab Jews lost over 99% of its population to the point where there are now fewer than 6,500 left?
How can I as a Palestinian reconcile the expulsion of my parents during Israel’s ethnic cleansing when one million Palestinians remain peacefully in Israel with the expulsion of 900,000 Arab Jews, where only 6,500 Jews are left to live among 300 million Arabs?
In Israel, there arose a school history that obfuscated if not outright denied the Zionists’ exorcism of Palestinians in 1948, and there have always been brave Israeli intellectuals who have spoken in favor of the Palestinian cause and condemned the Israeli government’s crimes against human rights. But how is it that Arab intellectuals can pour so much condemnation on Palestinian exorcism in poetry, prose, and film, while allowing the concomitant tragedy of the exorcism of the Arab World’s Jews – a wound to the the heart of the Arab psyche and the world’s consciousness – to pass with nary a mention?
What do they expressions of solidarity that Arab intellectuals and masses have been trained practitioners of when it they are only practiced in solidarity with themselves? Is there only one possible solidarity for the Arabs, that of the aggression by the Satans, the U.S. and Israel? Strange how mention of the two unites so many Arabs and gets them shouting spiritually superior cries against the residue left and sets off so much flag burning by angry gangs of Arabs in the streets of the Middle East.
Why should massive protests against U.S. and Israeli aggression close London and Tehran, Paris and Cairo, Rome and and Istanbul, while not a word is heard about genocide in Darfur or starvation in Zimbabwe?
When were there were more than a few pre-cooled saved souls protesting in European cities against Burma’s inhuman regime, systematic persecution of gays in Iran, and the systematic oppression of women in Saudi Arabia? Or Arab compassion selective, as in: “My pain is the greatest, my enemy the worst, and my crime the least”
Ancient Arabs believed that poets should celebrate their own particular culture, whether their people were “ashamed or proud, peaceful or aggressive, radical or conformist,” and they should also celebrate the surrounding cultures, even if they were neither noble nor courageous. Arab spokesmen of old performed their role well and produced some of the world’s most beautiful poems.
But modern Arab spokesmen have a different responsibility than celebrating their own strains and opponents. They should in their books, articles, and movies hold up a mirror which reflects both the good and bad in Arab life and history. With few exceptions, such as Hazem Saghieh, Wadah Sherara, George Tarabishi and Sadek al-Azem, most Arab intellectuals fail at this brave task.
But even these courageous intellectuals never commented on the tragedy of the exorcism of the Arab Jews. Until the Arabs get their Orhan Pamuk or their Avi Shlaim, one who tells the hard truths, convenient or not, they will continue to reside in the dishonest half of the universe.
A showdown with the Arabs’ most shameful aspects of their history will help to reconcile them with themselves and possibly with their neighbors, and may help to preserve what is left of religious and ethnic diversity in their countries. Only by coming to terms with their own expulsion of the Jews from the Arab lands will the Arabs avoid reliving the failure, oppression and and resulting revenge on the innocent to correct their own errors. Until then they must live with the shame of silence.
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Mr. X’s Stepson Bears a Shocking Resemblance to the Young BG Sketch
An interesting new theory has come up. It turns out that Mr. X has a stepson that looks remarkably like the Young BG sketch. The stepson is a 21 year old man who just graduated from high school and lives with Mr. X and his wife, Mrs. X. He has the same first name and last name as Mr. X. However, his middle name is different.
Stepson X is Mrs. X’s child by a previous marriage and may have been adopted by Mr. X. We say this because he has the same first and last name as Mr. X. We don’t know what his original first name was, but his original last name was not the same as Mr. X’s. Therefore, after Mrs. X married Mr. X, they must have gone to court and had his name legally changed to Mr. X’s last name. This happens a lot in remarriages.
Now onto the match. We recently obtained a photo of Stepson X. We age regressed his photo to age 17, which he would have been at the time of the crime, and it’s a perfect match. It’s long been suggested that BG used his “son”‘s photo, and talk of a “father-son kill team” was actually the first rumor about the killer(s), dating to 7 PM the day they were found. And it’s never gone away.
At the moment, there is no evidence whatsoever that this young man assisted Mr. X in his crime. It’s simply a possibility, a theory. However, a much better theory is that Mr. X used his stepson’s photo as Young BG, the 19 year old Catfish Boy used to lure Libby to the trails that day.
We agree with Leaker that Young BG’s drawing is based on the photo of the 19 year old Catfish Boy that was used to lure Libby from Snapchat. We also agree with Leaker that the girls were lured to the site that day. In addition, we talked to two other people who both told us they had “inside sources.” They told us that their inside sources (plural) had all told them that “there was some sort of luring of the girls to the site on the day of the crime.” So while this does not back up the catfish theory per se, it does seem that a lot of evidence is converging on the notion that the girls were lured to the bridge that day, including about five separate sources, albeit most of them being vague.
The stepson, even today, is a dead ringer for Young BG. We are concerned that Mr. X may have used his stepson’s photo, possibly without his permission, as the Catfish Boy used in the luring of the girls. At 17, he was the right age for a 19 year old Catfish Boy. In this case, Stepson X would be completely innocent and would instead have been simply used as a pawn by Mr. X in committing his crime. If Mr. X did that, we think that was a pretty lousy thing to do to his stepson.
On the other hand, there is a report from the south end of the bridge by a woman who said she saw Young BG there and scared him off her property. She said his eyes were “dark and evil.” It is unclear at the moment whether the Young BG sketch is from this witness or is the Catfish Boy used on Snapchat to lure in the girls, or if the drawing represents both the young man seen at the crime scene and the Catfish Boy lure.
However, the Young BG sketch was the first sketch drawn in the case and was drawn off of eyewitness accounts. It turns out that all of the other witness accounts of seeing BG – the 16 year old girl, the arguing man of the couple under the bridge (Daniel Pearson), and possibly Dan McCain – saw BG with the white scarf obscuring his face as can be seen in the BG video.
But this also why the Old BG sketch is no good. First of all, it bears no good resemblance to Mr. X, the main suspect in the crime. So why does the composite differ so much from the suspect? It turns out that the composite was fake in a sense. The witnesses could only see the top half of BG’s face. The bottom half was covered by the white scarf. So the composite artist simply filled in what he thought the suspect’s face may have looked like based on the description of the top half of the face. It looks like he got it all wrong. That’s probably why LE was saying at the presser that Old BG was no longer a suspect in the crime.
They said that because it’s a composite that was junk from the very start, and further, it looks nothing like the main suspect. There is no good composite of the main suspect because no one saw BG with his face fully revealed. Hence LE is refocusing onto the Young BG sketch, who looks like both the young man seen a the bridge that day and the catfish boy used to lure the girls. Whether those are the same person is not yet known, but it is possible. At the moment, we have no idea that the boy in the catfish photo is the same young man who was seen at the bridge that day. Perhaps he was, and that would be an interesting theory. But there’s no hard evidence that it is true.
Allow me to explain. We also have zero evidence that BG used his stepson’s photo to catfish Libby. Nor do we have any evidence that the stepson was at the crime scene that day or participated in the crime in any way. Clearly someone who looked like him was both the Catfish Boy and was seen as a suspect at the crime scene, but perhaps it was not this young man. Perhaps Catfish Boy and Young BG are two different people. This is all very confused. Also, we have not yet confirmed that there was more than one killer involved in this crime, but see below for more on that.
Stepson X being involved in either of these two ways is simply a theory based on the resemblance to the sketch, we are not accusing this young man of anything, and we request that everyone absolutely leave him alone. We simply think that he ought to be investigated for possible involvement in the crime, unwitting or not. So he would be a suspect, but half of the men in Delphi have probably been suspects at one point.
Possibility of More than One Killer in the Case
There is news via our LE source close to the investigation. He said the notion of two killers “is still in the arena.” He also said, “This has been an active theory since the first day of the crime.”
He added that they didn’t publicize it because the town was freaked out enough by one murder, and they thought the idea of two killers would make people panic.
Also, LE seem to have an actual suspect in mind as a possible accomplice, as he said the possible accomplice is considerably younger than Mr. X and has “a much greater ability to run.” They don’t want him taking off. We have no idea who they may have in mind as the possible accomplice, however, the statement that the suspect is considerably younger than Mr. X adds weight to the notion that the Young BG sketch is based on a person who LE feels may have been accomplice to the crime that day.
It sounds like they don’t have enough to think this possible accomplice was actually involved, similar to the case against Mr. X. Instead, it has been an area of active investigation for four years. He’s a suspect, as Mr. X is, as so many people have been. They don’t even know if there were two killers. But Mr. X’s position as a suspect is really up to the level of POI (a higher standard), as they believe he committed the crime. Possible Accomplice is at the lower level of suspect, and it’s not even known if he was ever at the crime scene that day.
I have been sitting on this information for 5 1/2 weeks because I was afraid that releasing this information might make the younger suspect run, but I have decided now is the right time to release it.
Two Female Search Party Members’ Reports on the Crime Scene Line up Very Well
The rumor that dolls were scattered around the crime scene seems patently ridiculous. Nevertheless, more and more evidence continues to pile up that this rumor is actually true.
Two female members of the search party contacted team members separately with revelations about the crime. One is a middle-aged woman in her 40’s with kids who is otherwise completely normal, and the new one who has come forward is a different woman in her 30’s. Neither woman has ever met the other, so this is independent confirmation from two separate sources.
Both said that dolls were scattered around the crime. One said that in addition to dolls all over the ground, there were dolls hanging from trees. I’m not sure if the second validated the “dolls in trees.” The first woman contacted two separate team members in addition to the first person, so she’s told at least three separate people so far.
When I first heard these rumors from the podcaster, we were both laughing over the phone because it was so ridiculous and insane. Sure, it’s a horrible crime but this crime scene was so insane and unbelievable that it made you want to laugh out loud that someone who ever go to such deranged lengths to stage a crime scene.
Later I found that this same search party member had contacted two team members, and in addition, the second woman contacted one of the same team members. The second woman largely corroborated much if not all of the first woman’s report. I will have to go back and look through my IM’s to see to what extent she corroborated the other woman. But they were both definitely on board via the sexual posing of the girls, the dolls on the ground, and the sheet with the smiley face on it at the very least.
The other elements were are not sure they agreed on are: a giant plush toy animal, possibly a bear; a crucifix hung upside down; dolls hanging in trees; and a knife plunged into a log with one of the girl’s hands wrapped around it to make it appear she had stabbed the tree.
Was the Crime Scene Staged as a Murder-Suicide as a Sick Joke?
I suppose the staging of the crime scene was also meant to stage a murder-suicide based on the suggestion that one girl hand stabbed the other in the jugular vein and the heart, which would have been plausible at least, and then stabbed herself all over her body, after which she would have cut her own throat, which is impossible.
She would also have had to stage herself as well as the other girl, lay out the smiley-face sheet, hang dolls in the trees and scatter them on the ground, and somehow place a giant plush toy at the scene,. all the while not leaving any DNA behind. And at some point in the process, she would have sexually violated the other girl with sticks and twigs, while later, she would have to violate herself in much the same way, and then she would have had to have jammed twigs and sticks into the many stab wounds in her body, after which she would have cut her own throat. Obviously none of this happened, but BG may have wanted to stage it to look like a murder-suicide as of a sick joke.
Hatchet May Have Been Used as a Murder Weapon in One Homicide
As we noted above, one girl suffered a grievous wound to the throat. We now feel that the cut to this girl’s throat was with a hatchet, although we do not have confirmation of this other than what looks like a hatchet in BG’s right jeans area and reports that investigators went clear out of the state to check out two other hatchet criminals. Why fly all over the country looking at hatchet criminals unless the crime involved a hatchet?
Also, if he did cut her throat with one huge swing of a hatchet, it would have soaked BG in blood according to a search warrant from the FBI obtained. You need a huge knife to saw someone’s head off – almost a sword – you can watch any of the beheading videos out there to be sure. Also, a slow cut even with a big knife would not have drenched BG in blood. But a hatchet blow sure would have. The report of the girl’s head being only attached by an inch of skin implies a single huge blow with a hatchet because this is the sort of wound a hatchet, not a knife, would have caused.
At Least Four Separate Sources Now Confirm the Dolls Rumor, Two of Them from the Police
In addition to the two search party members’ reports, we also have a statement from an LE source close to the investigation that dolls were scattered all over the crime scene, and both girls were posed and sexually violated. He said there were so many dolls that it looked like he had gone to the Goodwill and bought up a bunch of dolls.
So now we have testimony from three excellent sources – two independent search party members and an LE source close to the investigation.
However, I just heard via DDcups, a man from Australia, and an excellent poster on the Reddit Delphi subs, that he contacted someone who knew a Delphi police officer, and this person told him his police friend had stated that dolls were scattered around the crime scene. So we have more evidence, albeit the third-hand source we have never talked to.
So we have four sources for the dolls story, two from LE and two from search party members. And as you will see below, we actually have five confirmations of the dolls story, three from LE and two from searchers.
We’ve Hardly Had Any LE Sources All This Time
Critics claim we have all these LE sources but we don’t. In four years, we only had two LE sources, and each of them told us one statement. We got these LE sources from local sleuth JM. This is what they told us:
- A sheriff’s deputy in a nearby town who stated: “One of the girls was in the early stages of pregnancy.” This would have been found on autopsy, and a statement like that usually means 6-8 weeks pregnant. Remember the social media photo Abby and Libby posted the night before the murders? It said, “We have a secret” and the photo shows both of them holding up their hands in secret signs. Was the secret that one of them had found out she was pregnant? If so, how did she find out? Girls age 13-14 are notorious for missing periods some months and may even miss them for months at a time. This is why it’s so hard to get girls this age pregnant. Girls stay in the “hard to knock up” stage from ages 13-15. From age 16 on, they’re fertile as rabbits. It almost seems you could knock them up just by brushing up agains them. This is probably evolutionary as pregnancies in 13-15 year old girls are notorious for having complications for both the mother and the child. It is not until ages 18-19 with the completion of the widening of the hips (Yes, girls’ bodies keep developing after 17) that a female is completely suited for pregnancy. From 16-17, females are very fertile but their hips are not wide enough to give easy birth to a child, hence the high rate of complications.
- The second statement was from an Indiana detective in another area, in this case Narcotics, who had seen crime scene photos and noted that both girls had been sexually violated with twigs, sticks, and small branches. So this rumor originally came from the police! Further, this rumor was first made after the wife of a detective working on the case posted online. The detective had had a hard time sleeping at night because the case upset him so much. He finally broke down and told his wife about the girls being violated sexually by natural wooden objects from the forest. She added that in addition, one girl has stab wounds all over her body which in which these wooden objects were also jammed into. So here the first two reports we heard about this came from the police. Also this rumor has been somewhat backed up by a third LE sources close to the investigation, who said “both girls had been violated with foreign objects.” Now we have three references to this statement, all from the police themselves!
First Leak Directly from the Investigation Confirms Dolls Rumor Once Again
But now we have a shocking new revelation. We just got our first leak from inside the investigation itself!
Yes, this is third hand We are very excited to report this news. The leak is from a very high-ranking person on that team. Turns out the brother of a team member is best friends with this high-ranking person. They were chatting at a party recently, and the friend asked the investigator about the dolls rumor, specifically asking if there was one doll or more than one doll at the crime scene. The man thought about his words for a bit before wording them very carefully. Then he said, “There was at least one doll at the crime scene.”
We now have three separate LE source both reporting dolls at the crime scene. And we have two independent reports from search party members who agree that there were dolls at the crime scene.
Retired Homicide Detective Joins Our Team
In what is the finest coup for our group of ~230 paid members, a retired homicide detective from Washington DC joined our group as a paid member! I spoke to him on the phone, and he’s a very nice fellow. Further, he knows the subject inside out. I can’t believe how any of these detectives do what they do. To me they are like magicians pulling rabbits out of hats. In the day since he’s joined, I’m already stunned at how much he’s done. Are these guys even humans?
Anxiety disorders are considered minor mental illnesses because for the most part, they’re not crazy at all. Also it’s pretty much run of the mill stuff that a lot of totally functional people have, and many of these people appear quite normal if you meet them.
Also they are quite harmless due to fear being omnipresent in all of these and the disorders striking at introverted, guilty, etc. types. I would also argue that fear is a “freezing agent” for action. It seems to propel you backwards and make you stay in place, causing inertia. It stops you from moving forwards. There are times when I feel frozen in my chair with a huge weight-like a force forcing me back into it so hard, it’s hard to get out of the chair.
Energy either goes forwards or backwards, into the self or out at others.
With all that fear energy going backwards inside the self, along with the fact that anger’s not usually combined with it, it simply freezes the person in place, and there’s no more energy left to project outwards towards other persons as aggression and violence. I suppose you could argue that fear is aggression directed inwards and aggression is fear projected outwards. This is why people with anxiety disorders and introverts have such low rates of violence. The extreme energy propelling the life forces backwards into the person leaves no energy left over to propel outwards at others as violence.
In other words, they couldn’t commit an act of violence if they tried! Something would stop them and they would say, “I don’t have this in me.”
I will be leaving World War 2, where many such regimes were created in Europe, out of this discussion because I don’t understand it well.
A discussion of fascism is very important because the Republican Party is already a fascist political party in the sense of a rightwing authoritarian party along Latin American oligarchy lines.
The Type of State the Republicans Are Aiming At
Similar regimes were installed in Spain, Portugal, Morocco, Iran, Turkey (a Mussolinist + Nazi extrerminationist model), Greece, Pakistan, Azerbaijan, Zaire, Kenya, Liberia, Indonesia (a classic Mussolinist model), Philippines, South Korea, Brunei, Taiwan, South Vietnam, Thailand, Nepal, Gabon, Angola, and South Africa, not to mention the many such regimes installed in Latin America, where the rightwing authoritarian or dictatorship regime has become a classic model. Many of these had a fake democratic facade over what was basically a dictatorship.
Nazi extreminationism with an ethnic component has been installed in Turkey and possibly Azerbaijan. Those models are governing to this day in the fake Croatian and Serbian states inside Bosnia. The present Croatian and Serbian regimes have overtones of WW2 like fascism, as does Hungary under Orban. Nazi-style exterminationist regimes, albeit with Communists and leftwingers substituted for Jews, have been installed in Iran, Indonesia, the Philippines, South Korea, and Taiwan in the past.
One could argue that Israel is now a Mussolinist style fascist government, albeit with a facade of democracy in which various fascist parties compete to rule the fascist state.
Rightwing Authoritarian Models in Latin America in the Last Century
It’s not so much the Nazi, National Socialist or classic fascist models of World War 2, although Trump and Berlusconi do resemble Mussolini, and Berlusconi created a classic Mussolinist fascist state in Brazil along the lines of the previous years of Operation Condor in Pinochet’s Chile, Velasco’s Argentina, the generals’ Brazil, Salazar’s Paraguay, the Uruguayan dictatorship, and Banzer’s Bolivia.
Somewhat different but similar “kill the Communists” regimes were created in Ecuador in the 1980’s, Fujimora and Belaunde’s Peru, Venezuela in the late 80’s, Uribe and many others’ Colombia (where it has become the only form of the state and Uribismo is almost a classic fascist Mussolinist model), Somoza’s Nicaragua, Bautista’s Cuba, Trujillo’s Dominican Republican, Rios Montt’s Guatemala, and ARENA, D’Aubisson, and Duarte’s El Salvador, Haiti under the Duvaliers, where it became a model followed to this day, and the present government of the generals in Honduras.
The model has not yet been installed in much of the Caribbean, Belize, Costa Rica, Panama, Mexico, and the Guyanas, but it’s been generalized as the classic model in Latin America in general for over a century now. There are rumblings now to create another rightwing authoritarian regime in Peru and Mexico.
Counterrevolution is ongoing in Nicaragua, Cuba, and Venezuela and has succeeded recently in Ecuador, Paraguay, Brazil, Bolivia, and Haiti. There were recent rumblings in Argentina, where the large landowners (who were never broken up as there was no land reform) were making threats of a coup if their riches were touched. There were failed attempts recently in Venezuela, Nicaragua, Ecuador, and Bolivia. Another attempt is ongoing in Venezuela and Nicaragua.
He is commenting on my post here. Full Democracy in the US Will Be a Boon for Democrats and a Catastrophe for Republicans.
What I meant is an Alt Left notion of “The system is too far gone for reform. Let’s tear it all down and start over again from scratch,” which is exactly how I feel about my country.
However, I meant just the basic political system and culture. However, that would indeed take a “Cultural Revolution” if you will. And many countries had them. We had a huge cultural revolution in the 1960’s. It’s not all about Red Guards.
The sickness is baked far too deeply into the system. The State Department, the Executive and Legislature Branches themselves, the legalization of mass bribery and corruption via money-based elections, the Pentagon, the CIA, and even the FBI – they all need a wipe it out and start over again cleansing.
Look at how hard it will be to dismantle even US imperialism. Imperialism is baked into US society from top to bottom. 500 military bases overseas? Sanctions? Embargoes? Economic warfare? US control of the world monetary system via the dollar as fiat currency? The sickness of the weapons for oil deal with the Gulf Arabs, the alliance with fascist Turkey, NATO its very self (which is controlled by the US), on and on.
For instance, few know this, but the CIA is baked into all of US society at the levels of the elite class and the corporations. The elite class (the rich), the corporations, the powerful lobbies, ethnic and commodity-based, the Pentagon, the Treasury Department, the Commerce Department are all baked in with the national security state and its vast intelligence arm consisting of 17 different out of control agencies with a $30 billion budgets for scullduggery, lying, cheating, thieving, murder, and overthrowing other countries via coups of all sorts, including the fake color revolutions.
These are the people who killed Kennedy.
These are the people who run this country. The oil barons in Texas, the Silicon Valley uber-rich, the capitalist bastards on Wall Street and at the Wall Street Journal, the sick and twisted FIRE sector, the last of which basically a parasitic and non-prodcutive form of wealth creation via speculation or as I call it “a giant casino in the sky.”
That’s the US economy now – a giant casino in the sky for rich people. All the rest of us? We can go pound sand. That or get rich, which is usually accomplished by mass lying, cheating, and thieving on an individual level. We are now virtually governed by corporations and billionaires. We have billionaires taking over NASA for their own sleazy ends. We’ve outsourced everything to the billionaires and the corporations.
When you study the Kennedy Assassination, you realize that there was a vast group of people either in on it or supportive of it, and many of them have talked. A friend had lunch with LBJ’s attorney, who said Kennedy was killed by “the foreign policy establishment of the United States.” And that right there is the Deep State, and not only that, but the Deep State also encompasses all of the above via the support of the rich and the corporations for US foreign policy.
The Pentagon and the CIA work for Exxon and Elon Musk, not you and me. We overthrow foreign governments for the Richard Bransons and the Chevrons, not for you and me. How does it feel to join the US Army and become the personal army of and risk your life for Monsanto and Rex Tillerson? You died in a US war? Sucker! You died for Jeff Bezos and the Blackrock Group! You proud of yourself now, wherever you are, chump?
Because the rot and evil is so “baked in” to the system, it is going to be very hard to change. Look what happens in Latin America where they try to do similar cleansings of the oligarchies and diseased societies they created. You get coups, economic warfare, sanctions, embargoes, propaganda wars, assassination attempts, lockout strikes, color revolutions, stolen elections, lawfare, guarimbas, contra armies engaging on counterrevolution, on and on.
I am absolutely certain that at least some of those will happen if we try to do a do-over on America. The big guns are just not going to like it, and they will do everything in their power to stop it.
I agree with you wholeheartedly. I am especially irked when I hear so many ne’erdowells whining about their beloved Trump having been defrauded of his sure win election by the evil globalists and America’s now being in great danger to suffer a Mao-style Cultural Revolution at the hands of the “ultra-Left”.
Such a degree of abuse of words might terminate faster than we think, as English as an international communication tool fit for intelligent exchange of ideas. First of all, how come the Republican Party is “red” and any state refusing it “blue”: that seems to go together well with the US being the only country refusing to go metric.
Had America been endowed even with a tolerably good semblance of democratic system as used to be usual in Europe and still is here and there, Trump would have had no chance to be anything more than a backwater talk show animator and maybe the governor of Missouri or Louisiana turning that state into a laughingstock for the nation and triggering that state to go full radical Socialist Left the election after. Trump was imposed onto America thanks to its stochastic electoral system.
The system looks like that of the old Republic of Venice (which was more or less a kind of rigged from behind roulette-like game of chance, with the difference they claimed of chance and not of the people’s will) against a definite majority’s will by both the financial forces revolving around the Goldman Sachs bank and Netanyahu.
Netanyahu is Trump’s alter ego in the Old World (Russia playing a subsidiary role in that enterprise). He was actually a kind of Israeli governor directly imposed at international level against America’s own Zionist, but still to intelligent oligarchy just as a reminder to the nation that they are no longer sovereign and are to be treated like any African dependency where no intelligent people need apply from now on.
Alt-Right fell for that trap, bar very few thinking people. In a certain sense, Trump has been America’s first real “black” president.
They fear for a Mao-style Cultural Revolution to happen by the American ultra-Leftist forces. For the time being I see nobody on the American horizon still trying and succeeding in part to impose the cult of his personality as a kind of savior or Emperor Cyrus rather than Orange-Hue-Tan.
He is in the real position (though not in mental capacity, and probably not in mental disposition neither, as he doesn’t give a damn for his adoring crowd) to head a Cultural Counterrevolution to be followed by a Great Leap Backwards leading to the transformation of the US into the Neo-Medieval Republic of Gilead as described by Margaret Atwood in Handmaid’s Tale.
Actually I have also come on my own to your own conclusion: The US is indeed in great need of some Mao-like Old Far Left Cultural Revolution that should do away with all “olderies” and force all conservatives to acknowledge at last, through violent behavioral psychiatric techniques if need be, that there is absolutely nothing worth conserving in the US and that all has to be rebuilt from zero, and preferably from Ground Zero.
There is no single historical non-fake monument worth preserving except North Harlem’s Cloisters: the few other ones of decent colonial style have been all demolished to make room for cheaper and cheaper built and dearer and dearer sold condos, except a few that were built by slavers still having descendants caring for their property, but that kind of historical monument is rather to be classified with Holocaust Museums in my opinion.
The general infrastructure is in such a state of disrepair that bombing it all first would probably come out cheaper than getting back a working one. Most cities of the Rust Belt are already kind of bombed, so why not finish the job? There is nothing worth fireworks in the background; instead, there is everything worth fireworks in the structure.
As it is a Cultural Revolution we are talking about here, my opinion is that at the present moment no university is worth preserving. That is an euphemism: There is rather an emergency case for burning them all down, while what needs to be taught could be taught for free on the internet, preferably from as far overseas as possible. The diplomas emitted by them should be all declared void as has been done with Trump University sheepskins. Showing one in order to get any job should be an offense.
Among the olderies to be done away with first are the American religions: they are 100% crap. Their buildings should have one use – lodging and feeding the homeless. If they are no good for that purpose, they should be used as quarries for construction material by the homeless. As a general rule a new Homestead Act should apply: the first who sees a university building or a religious building that doesn’t serve the poor, let him take the ground and material for his own physical needs as if it were a vacant lot in conquered territory.
By what kind of economic miracle has America, which used to be the chief manufactured goods exporter of the world and won two world wars as such, turned into a chief exporter of only religion and mega-churches only (if we except the military sector from our equation, which is concentrated in the former Slaving South)? Has America so many saints, sages, and masterworks of timeless wisdom to be exported to the planet?
There should be only one single tax: Henry George ** 2. His equation was by the square of the value of real estate owned per owner or co-owner, which would make collectivization the only survivable solution while preserving personal liberty.
Activities not resulting in the production of physical goods, including religion, law, education, and medicine, should be declared out of reach of any lucrative enterprise and the attempt to make them lucrative classified together with prostitution. That is, either they are practiced for free as leisure, or they are charities (for real needy ones), or they are public services.
Attacks on the building where the Minister of Internal Affairs resides in Beirut, Lebanon. Security forces had to withdraw after many of them were severely injured. https://t.co/Dosu8bxRdx
— Laith لَيث (@LaithMarouf) July 13, 2021
Damn, what’s this all about? The country’s economy is in a state of collapse mostly due to a massive embargo that has been placed on it by the (((US))), which is trying to force Lebanon to throw Hezbollah out of the government. Problem: Hezbollah and its allies won 65% in the last election and control that many seats in the Legislature, so they US is demanding that 1/3 of the government throw out 2/3 of the duly and popularly elected government. It’s not going to work. Hezbollah is a permanent fixture in Lebanon with an easy support of 2/3 of the populations, including huge numbers of Lebanese Christians.
The Christians are actually split in half. Half are with Hezbollah and half are against them. The Sunnis are much more united against Hezbollah. The Sunnis in Lebanon are just awful. Total traitors and they are all with the Saudis – they are essentially the pawns of the Saudis and their raison d etre is hatred of Lebanon’s Shia, Iran, and the Shia of the Arab World.
There are articles in Israeli papers with the Israeli government saying that they need to make a massive humanitarian intervention in Lebanon to save the day, but that’s not going to go over very well since the whole reason the economy has collapsed is due to Israel.
The banks of Lebanon have been locked out of the rest of the world’s banking system by the US and France due to ties with Hezbollah. All banks in Lebanon has extensive monetary ties with Hezbollah due to the organization’s massive presence in Lebanese society. So the finance sector has been locked out of the world economy and the result has been an economic collapse.
All of this was done by (((Donald Trump))), by the way.
Leading US public intellectual @CornelWest resigns from #HarvardUniversity citing "cowardly deference to the anti-Palestinian prejudice of the Harvard administration". The #Palestinian cause and the #Israeli occupation are "taboo issues" at Harvard. https://t.co/iN5ACN1MUr pic.twitter.com/xSxu1IdeBD
— tim anderson (@timand2037) July 13, 2021
He’s even good on race. Like most true Leftists, he’s not into Identity Politics too much on race. His main focus in economics. He’s not an SJW or anything like that. He thinks Black racial politics are basically a huge waste of time and that’s exactly what they are.
malcolm x on anti-castro cubans, aka gusanos, when they complained about him meeting with fidel and expressing solidarity with the cuban revolution pic.twitter.com/FWUdTeityG
— ☀️👀 (@zei_squirrel) July 13, 2021
I have to say that in a lot of ways, Malcolm really as a great man. Notice to the gusanos rioting now in Cuba. The people are not with them at all, trust me. Only 10,000 demonstrated all over the island. Most of them were young people, often teenagers, and some were marginal elements, often lumpens, typically criminals or those who refuse to work. There were some bourgeois elements in Havana.
In the town where the demonstrations originated, even there, they were not the majority. Much larger pro-government groups went out to confront he vendepatrias (countrysellers) at every demonstration. In the town where they claimed to take over the Young Communists headquarters, even there, their crowd of 200 was outnumbered by a crowd of 400.
There are very serious problems in Cuba, but 100% of them have to do with the blockade. The things that the contras want will not solve any problems and their heroes in the US and in the Latin American Right are the ones who caused all these problems in the first place. Cuba’s income has collapsed by 80% due to COVID. They have a very hard time importing much of anything due to the embargo and anything they do import has to go through third parties, etc. and the markups end up being considerable.
So Cuba is not able to engage with the world on a free trade basis at all. For instance, the electricity plants have not been maintained since 2014 because the embargo prevents the importation of spare parts. Cuba could not import any ventilators for COVID due to the blockade which covers all medicines and medical supplies and most foods, so they had to build their own.
This tiny country, blockaded by the whole world, was able to build their own ventilators. Cuba’s rate of saving hospitalized COVID patients is very high despite a serious shortage of drugs. The country has made five different COVID vaccines. The first, with an efficacy rate of 93%, has just been released for emergency use. Nevertheless, the epidemic is hitting them very hard and they have had to expand medical facilities because existing ones were not adequate to cover the problem.
But the new facilities and the overwhelming of the hospitals due to COVID overwhelmed the electricity system. The heat added to the strain. Workers came from all over the country and worked all week to get one substation running, but the temporary fixes usually only last for a month.
Food and medicine has collapsed because of the economic collapse and the embargo preventing Cuba from buying these things on the open market. You have to stand in line for hours for basic necessities. Furthermore, an opening of the economy to market conditions has resulted in a lifting of price controls. The result has been that prices have risen 3X. So you can see that moving towards capitalism caused inflation to skyrocket in Cuba.
Furthermore, most goods are now available only at special currency stores, but most people do not have access to that special currency. The regular currency stores are empty. The result has been that huge mafias have developed who buy things wholesale from the special currency stores and then resell them in the regular currency, but they are marked up by up to 3X. However, there are up to 500,000 of these criminals in Cuba now and there doesn’t seem to be much to do about them. The cops don’t even really try to stop them.
The truth is that since most people only have access to regular currency, the existence of these resellers and mafias seems to be inevitable as that is the only way that ordinary people can buy what they want. There are a lot of complaints about these special stores and the state currency manipulations that they are a result of, but the currency decisions seem to be based on sound, if rather capitalist, economics. I don’t know what can be done about the problem of these stores.
I really don’t know what the Cuban government could do to make any of the problems of the country go away. Can someone please tell me what the government should do to go about making even one of these problems they have better?
Most Cubans know capitalism up front, and they explicitly dislike the very idea of it. They don’t even like the US model. And the Latin American models of capitalism don’t like very enticing compared to what Cubans already have. Even the Dominican Republic, Mexico, El Salvador, Honduras, Guatemala, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, Brazil, and even Uruguay seem pretty awful compared to Cuba.
For one thing, there is almost no crime in Cuba and the drug use and sales rate is very low. There is almost no drug smuggling. There are no street gangs to speak of, nor are there any beggars in the streets.
During the decade when Nicaragua switched to capitalism, the roads were full of potholes and were nearly undriveable, children carried their chairs to school every day because the school had no chairs for the students, the streets were lined with dirty, hungry children and the first word out of their mouths was to ask you for a coin. Now that Ortega and the Sandinistas are back, all of that is gone. Nicaraguans have lived under both the Sandinistas and their capitalist rightwing enemies and they majority do not want the Right to come back into power any time soon. They have seen how the Right acts when they are in power.
If they let them back in, they will do the same thing all over again. The Venezuelans are the same way. The Right has only ever espoused dismantling every since achievement of the Chavistas. However, 70% of the population support the Chavista project and describe themselves as Chavistas. With a population of 70% Chavistas and an opposition that has pledged to dismantle the entire project, is there any wonder that the Chavistas win by ~70% every time? Why wouldn’t they?
And Nicaragua is sending very few immigrants to the US. The Central American immigrants flooding “the misery, crime, violence, and poverty” of the region are all coming from El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras. They are not coming from Nicaragua. There’s a reason for that. Also, Nicaragua has had very low rates of COVID cases and deaths, while at least Guatemala was utterly devastated by the disease.
It is true that there are contras in Cuba. It’s certainly not illegal to be a contra and they are quite easy to find. Contras represent ~14% of the population because that is how many people voted agains the last Constitution. The contras calling for a US fake humanitarian intervention and invasion are certainly much less than that.
Guaido, the Venezuelan contra, had 4% support last I heard. His project of sanctions and US invasion has 12% support. Sanctions themselves have only 18% support. The general opposition has ~27% support.
The Right has ruled Haiti since 1994 when Lavalas was overthrown by the US and Aristide was forced into exile. Aristide won 92% of the vote the last time he ran. That’s how many Haitians supported and support Lavalas. All of the US-installed regimes ever since have had the support of ~8% of the population.
The opposition in Nicaragua also has ~25%. The last poll had them at 23%. However, the position of the contras who tried to overthrow the government with a violent coup in 2018 has only 15% support. The latest poll shows Ortega winning 77%-23% against the opposition.
It is not true that the opposition is being forbidden from running. Some people who took money from the US to stage a violent attempt to overthrow the government have been arrested. Others have had their political privileges revoked for life. This is exactly what should happen to all of the Venezuelan coup-mongers, and some are already under house arrest or have been banned from politics for 15 years. None of these Nicaraguan coup plotters were candidates for any political party.
The US has been trying to insert these traitors in the political parties since 2018, but no party will take them. These are not politicians. They are not even associated with any political party. In fact, there are 17 different political parties running against the Sandinistas in the upcoming election. It’s perfectly legal to be in the opposition in Nicaragua. You only must follow the laws. As in Venezuela, the Nicaraguan contras are only ~25% of the population and they can never win at the ballot box, so they try to overthrow the government by force again.
The thing is that the contras in Cuba are all reactionaries. They wave American flags and they all want to go to neoliberalism. They are rioting because COVID is peaking in Cuba, but even there, Florida, a very wealthy capitalist state in the US, has had twice as many cases per capita and five times as many deaths per capita. In the Latin American countries that the US-flag waving mercenaries emulate, COVID death rates are 10, 20, and 50X higher than in the US.
Even in the “successful” Latin American countries like Chile, COVID has been disastrous. By the way, Chile is hardly a model for Latin America. The place is a disaster.
It’s not some groovy West European social democracy. There are no groovy West European social democracies in Latin America. The people who are trying to emulate just that are Maduro, Ortega, Correa, Fernandez, Lula, Morales, and the recent winner in Peru, Castillo – the ones who are being called Communist Pink Tide countries. An actual Communist is ahead in the polls in Chile and a moderate Leftist appears poised to win even in Colombia, the last holdout of the populist Right.
All of these people who have already served in power have either all been overthrown by the US or there have been attempts to overthrow them.
The US only tolerates hard Right regimes in Latin America. This has always been the case. Part of the problem is that Latin America never had Social Contracts as Europe did. The oligarchs and the Right have always been reactionary and fascist and are to this day.
In contrast, in Europe, the true reactionaries and fascists are all but defeated, and social democracy rules the day. Latin American style Rightists do not exist in Europe. The only thing close to that economically was in Eastern Europe in the Baltics, and these places failed horrifically with the 2008 Depression. Even Poland and the Czech Republic are not so rightwing as everyone thinks.
The most rightwing government in Europe is in the UK, and they are to the Left of the Democratic Party.
Republican Party-Latin American Right economics is unpopular all over the world.
I will grant that it is popular in a few places. It retains majority support in Colombia, but with the recent riots and the genocidal response of the regime to them, this seems to be ending. In Hong Kong and Singapore, two very wealthy more or less “fake states” – fake because these states cannot be replicated elsewhere – rightwing economics remains popular. However, the working classes in Hong Kong mostly support China and hate the rightwing government, and in Singapore, the main opposition party has Marxist roots.
The way of the world seems to be socialism or at least some kind of socialism, at the very least some variety of social democracy. Neoliberalism is disliked or even hated on most of the planet. Bottom line is nobody likes it and nobody wants it. In places where it gets polled as in Latin America, it has the support of 8-27% of the population, with an average of 26% support for the project in general which declines to 8-18% when it comes to the coup-mongering Right that calls for sanctions, violent coups and US interventions. This is the political demographic of the oligarchs and their supporters.
It’s minority now and appears to be minority for quite some time into the future. Economic conservatism and conservatism in general believe in rule by the aristocracy or oligarchy. Liberalism by contrast means rule by democracy or rule by the people. As the aristocrats, oligarchs and their supporters are always a minority – 25-30% seems to be a good ballpark figure, they generally hate democracy and tend to rely on antidemocratic means of getting in and staying in power.
The "democracy" that the US tried to export to Cuba…
directly from the horse's mouth… ex-CIA directors!
"In CIA we didn't give a hoot about democracy"
"Don't you know your life would be better if you could drink Coca-Cola everyday"
— Alexandre 💥𝕍𝕎ℂ💥 (@victorywiilcome) August 20, 2020
Look, you either support democracy or you don’t. To be fair though, I don’t think there are many, or any for that matter, governments anywhere on the face of the Earth who give two shits about democracy. If there are any, raise your hands and be counted. Further, I’m not sure if there are any NGO’s anywhere on the planet who give two shits about democracy. Is there one person anywhere on this Earth who cares about democracy. Note that if you support democracy, you need to support it in all cases (hopefully) and you need to oppose all anti-democratic regimes everywhere on principle.
I don’t think there are any states that follow this principle, nor do I believe there is one organization anywhere that follows this principle. Are there any persons anywhere who believe in this? I’m seriously wondering.
Look! If you don’t give two shits about democracy, fine! But you need to stop yelling about your imperial “restore democracy” projects. And you silly Americans need to quit getting behind these imperial “democracy restoration” projects. They’ve never been about restoring democracy anyway. Anyone ought to know that by now.
However, many Americans do support democracy inside the US.
I do believe there are parties, groups, and individuals, in fact 10’s of millions of them, right here in the US who very much support democracy in the US itself. Those would be people associated with the Democratic Party and the Left in the US.
Few if any persons on the Right in the US support democracy, although there are a few. The reasoning is simple.
Full democracy implemented in the US, something we have never had and never even tried to have, would help the Democratic Party and the Left in the US quite a bit. So of course they support it. But they supported it even when majorities were voting Right to be fair.
Full democracy in the US, which as I noted we have never had one day of in this silly blighted land, would be a disaster for the Republican Party.
The country is far to the left of the Republican Party. Since 2005, Democrats have held a +10% support advantage among the US electorate. With the implementation of full democracy in the US, the Republican Party will never win another national election and they will probably never control Congress again either. The only way out of this jam is to move the Republican Party somewhat to the left in order to be in line with a left-moving population.
But that probably cannot be done because it goes against the basic foundations of the Republican Party itself. I’m not saying it couldn’t be done, but they would have to turn their back on over 100 years of Republican Party policy and go all the way back to Teddy Roosevelt.
Hell, at this point, a return to Richard Nixon or Eisenhower would be wonderful, but the party is too far gone to even do that. Instead of moving left with the electorate as they should if they wish to survive, every year they get increasingly rightwing to the point where the Republican is an actual anti-democratic rightwing authoritarian party. They now don’t support democracy at all. They support some form of Latin American style rightwing hard or soft dictatorship. It’s transformed itself into an actual Latin American-style fascist political political party.
Survival against All Odds Via Computerized Election Theft
The only reason the Republicans have been winning all of that time is because they’ve been stealing elections. No way on Earth could fifteen years of +10% Democratic advantage in the electorate coincide with massive Republican wins, especially at the state level. However, it coincides almost perfectly with the rise electronic voting in the US. Since the advent of US computer voting, we have seen massive poll and election poll failures across the US, the likes of which we have never been before in this country since the advent of sophisticated polling in 1946.
The only possible explanation for the massive and unprecedented failure in in pre-election and election precinct level polling is that the Republicans have been engaged in massive election theft via computer voting machines for the last 20 years. In fact, Karl Rove is on record admitting that the Republicans have been stealing elections via computer voting machines. He said he it’s within a few points, they can try to steal it because no one notices but if it’s more than that, they don’t even try.
2020 was the most brazen election theft in US history. Republicans tried to steal elections in Wisconsin and Michigan where they were down by 8-10 points and they almost won in both cases. So this shows that the Republicans are getting very desperate. Even if Democrats are ahead by 8-10 percentage points, Republicans will still try to steal it and no one in the Democratic Party or the media will ban at eye.
They will just blab on endlessly about poll failure. In this sense, the US Democratic Party fully deserves every terrible thing that has happened to it and in a larger sense, US Democrats deserve every shitty rightwing thing that has happened and will happen to this country for being so stupid and obtuse to refuse to recognize this obvious election theft being conducted right under their noses. I have no sympathy for the US Democratic Party. They can burn it to the ground for all I care, and while they are at it, burn every one of those corporate media companies to the ground too.
The system is too far gone for reform. I’m at the “burn it to the ground and start all over again from scratch” point now. Otherwise known as creative destruction. That’s an almost Maoist point of view. Sometimes things are just too far gone for petty reformism. You need to raze it all to the ground and start all over again with a complete political and cultural revolution.
Fascism: A Popular Palingetic Dictatorship against the Left
This is if we define fascism as any rightwing dictatorship or rightwing authoritarian system. I think it’s a good argument that any rightwing dictatorship is basically a fascist political system if we define fascism according to its excellent new definition of “a popular dictatorship against the Left.”
It also tends to have nationalist or ultranationalist palingetic properties in many cases, palingetic referring to a project along the lines of the mythic bird rising from the ashes that seeks to restore the blood and soil glory of the ancient nation before it was destroyed by insurgent anti-nationalists, typical liberals or minorities.
Trumpism, Erdoganism, and Hindutvadism: Three Fascist Ideologies
Viewed through this mirror, you can see how Trumpism, Erodgan’s Ottoman Islamism, and the BJP Hindutva regime in India are all classic fascist political parties. Note the strong support by the middle classes of all three projects, in particular the Hindutvadi one. Religion is wedded to religious bigotry in all three nations – Christianity (albeit in a mild form deeply associated with regressive Judaism) in Trump’s case, a religio-nationalist Islam in the case of Turkey and a religio-nationalist Hindusim in the case of India.
In the latter two cases, religious minorities are associated with treasonous insurgents who needed to be eliminated from the body politic, which they are seen as literally poisoning. In Trump’s case, the prejudice is not so much religious as it as against liberals and liberalism and apparently even democracy, the twin enemies of fascists everywhere dating all the way back to 1930’s Germany. Liberalism and democracy makes the nation soft and allows the national enemies, who happen to be minorities and liberals, to worm their way into the body politic and eat away at the nation itself like termites.
Commenter Siberiancat, who is a Russian, left this comment a while back:
Russians are pretty good with gray areas.
A Russian emigrant mathematician and psychologist Vladimir Lefevre was an adviser to Reagan on how to conduct negotiations with Gorbachev. He had a theory that Western and Eastern European (in this case, Soviet) ethics were completely different.
In Western thinking, there is a clear difference between Good and Evil. One should confront evil, yet compromise with an enemy is a good thing
In the Eastern approach, there is no Good and Evil. Everything is gray. The ends justify the means, and one should not compromise with an enemy.
The advice was to conduct negotiations in such a way that the Soviets would not look like compromising to the domestic constituency. Make negotiations mostly informal. Avoid formal deals that might be seen as defeats by the ordinary Russians.
I would not say that Russians are Easterners, having nothing in common with the Chinese or Indians, yet the ethical systems between them and the West are obviously different.
Oh, and Lefevre was the guy who coined the term Evil Empire.
I find it interesting that he ties Eastern European (as in Slavic?) thinking with Russian thinking. What about in the Baltic states? They’re so Westernized. And the Czechs are so Western they are barely even Slavs. And what do we do with the Romanians? The culture and religion of the East, yet the language of the West? I suspect they are more Eastern than we think. The Balkans, Greece, …Hell, even Bulgaria, are more Southern European or better yet, Southeastern European.
I know everyone over there hates the Turks and I don’t blame them, but I’m afraid that they’re more Turkified than they think, especially the Greeks. Or perhaps the entire region is Southeast Europanified, Southeast European being different from both Eastern and Southern Europe. The Turks like to delude themselves that they are part of general Southeastern Europe, but that is just more Muslim arrogance. They’re so much closer to the Armenians, Greeks, Assyrians, and Kurds that they hate so much than they will ever admit. Religion isn’t as big a part of human culture as everyone thinks. In a lot of areas, it’s almost a cultural “add-on.”
I do like this part though:
In the Eastern approach, there is no Good and Evil. Everything is gray.
Reminds me of the great line from Rumi:
In that field
Beyond good and evil
I will meet you there
That is just so perfect, I am sorry. And it’s so…Eastern…Hell, it’s almost downright Chinese for Chrissake. Rumi was an Iranian Shia Sufi poet. I wonder to what extent Iranian thinking is “Eastern?” I hate to say like Chinese, but I sense a deep vibe of Chinese philosophy in that bit of terse poetry.
Translation: From the funeral of the martyr Abd al-Wahhab Eid al-Tayeb, a leader in the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine and a member of its central committee, who was assassinated with his militant wife Khalidiya Ali Khalid in Beirut, December 25, 1976. The commando Laila Khaled appears in the video, shooting in the air.
— The Palestinian Archive الأرشيف الفلسطيني (@palestinian_the) July 1, 2021
Abd al-Wahhab Eid al-Tayeb is on the left, and his crazy badass Arab commando wife Khalidiya Ali Khalid is on the left.
Great PFLP video from 1976 in Lebanon. The great revolutionary Leila Khaled appears partway through the video shooting her gun in the air. Look at how long everyone’s hair is. A lot of the male cadre literally look like hippies! This was during the 1970’s when most men wore their hair long and facial hair was also quite popular. I used to have a moustache myself. Notice that none of the women wear a hijab either.
Also notice the presence of armed female cadre. Many women took up arms back in those days. Back then, the Palestinian movement was revolutionary, leftist, and almost counterculture. During this period, it was common for radical hippie chicks to have photos of Leila Khaled in their bedrooms with a kaffiyeh and an automatic weapon! She was this badass hippie revolutionary bitch! These Arab women seem so sweet, demure, and ultra-feminine, but these bitches are nuts. They will kill you! Arab women are badass. I kinda like that, actually.
In fact, the Islamists were sitting out the fight at this time and they were assassinating revolutionaries for being atheist Communists. They were Quietists who sat around arguing about how long your beard should be. Revolution was for Commie atheist apostates. You can also see in this video how socially conservative Palestinian society has become. Even women at PFLP rallies often cover their heads, albeit with the most stylish of hijabs.
— Quds News Network (@QudsNen) July 7, 2021
The great Palestinian revolutionary Ahmad Jibril, leader of the PFLP-GC, a PFLP split from 1970, died today at age 83 in Syria where he had operated for many years. His group led many famous early raids, including a famous handglider attack that killed over a dozen Israeli soldiers. He sometimes led these attacks himself. Israel killed his son, Jihad Jibril, in Lebanon. The (((CIA))) had a $10 million bounty on his head in the 1980’s and as you can see, the Mossad even hijacked a Libyan airlines jet to try to catch him, but they mistook a Baath Party official of the same name for Jibril.
The PFLP-GC has a significant following in the refugee camps in Lebanon, and they also have a small but significant group of supporters in Gaza, including a small armed faction. Their orientation is probably Leftist. They were very close to the Syrian government almost to the point of being an armed force of that state.
They did manage to kill his first son Jihad Jibril in #Lebanon.
The first, boldest military operations deep inside the enemy lines were carried out by him personally and by his group.
His role in arming the real #Palestine resistance factions was essential.#Gaza
— Arabi Souriعربي سوري (@3arabiSouri) July 7, 2021
"It's not a conflict! It's a liberation movement fighting for justice"
Ghassan Kanafani was born on 8/4/1936 in Acre. He was an author and a leader of PFLP.
On 8 July 1972, he was assassinated by the Israeli Mossad in Beirut, Lebanon.#FreePalestine pic.twitter.com/PFLHBijAfo
— Quds News Network (@QudsNen) July 8, 2021
The great “Conversation between the Sword and the Neck interview with Ghassan Kanafani, the great Palestinian revolutionary of the PFLP. He was one of the founders of the organization. He was a revolutionary who never held a gun. His weapon was the pen. He was also a great poet and novelist. He was assassinated by the Zionist Entity on this day in Beirut, Jerusalem in 1972. This is a very famous interview that was done with him by some sellout Western journalist. It is so perfect.
Anyone on the Left and anyone in particular who believes in the Black freedom struggle of the Panthers, etc. against racism, etc. should support the Palestinian movement. This is a movement for liberation by a colonized people and Black and Hispanic people really should support all such movements, since in they were all colonized people at one point or another.
Everyone on the Left who wonders about the validity of this struggle, an essential struggle for basic civil rights, should pay close attention to this video. It will answer all of your basic questions about the conflict right there. Also if you have some liberal worries about the Palestinians being backwards and reactionary and the Israelis being progressive and modern, remember what Stalin said about the necessity of forming alliances with just about everyone against imperialism.
Stalin formed alliances with many backwards and socially reactionary people such as Muslims in his war against imperialism. “If they are against imperialism, then we need to ally with them,” was his mindset. Also, keep in mind that peasants and working class people all over the world are often deeply backwards and socially reactionary or even barbaric. This does not mean, as the anarchists claim, that they are fascists!
The workers must be supported in all cases. Their backwards views are unfortunate but they are for them to own and do with what they will. If the progressive forces capture a country, social revolutions can unfold in which the working people are gently brought into a more modern and less barbarous mindset. This worked very well in many places such as the USSR, China, Vietnam, Laos, Cuba, and Venezuela. It was always a pretty easy sell to gently bring people along to the ideas that women and other oppressed peoples were in need of their basic rights.
This business of “We must support Israel because Palestinians are backwards and don’t give women basic rights” is liberal bourgeois imperialism – the “imperialism of human rights.” It is essential to the worldview of liberal Democrat “humanitarian bombers” like Joe Biden and Samantha Power. It’s just another imperialist trick! Don’t fall for it!
The effect on poor families is especially harsh, Nelson says: “It’s a wife that has three children at home, and her husband is in jail, so now she has a choice: Do I send money to him so he can afford to stay in touch with the kids, or do I feed the kids?”
Inmates’ need for money is inescapable, Nelson says. Those in Northern Illinois are not issued cold-weather clothes, he says, leaving them vulnerable to frostbite unless they can get money to pay for prison-approved long underwear and boots.