Re: Basque, where did they come from?

Allan Dunn (
22 Aug 1995 06:46:01 GMT

Scott Ellis ( wrote:
(sorry, I snipped a bunch for brevity)
: All of this sounds like Greenbergian linguistics, though I'm not sure
: which particular exponent of this school you would want. Check out
: recent work of Merritt Ruhlen: According to my amateur linguist roommate,
: the Dene-Caucasian Linguistic Superfamily is quite a recent postulate.
: He also says that according to the Greenbergians, Inuit is far more
: closely related to Indo-European than Dene is to Basque, so we're talking
: distant kin here.

I will try to read this literature, but from the mainstream literature on
paleolinguistics I've read, all of this is very, very, very speculative.
I've also studied a sub-group of Inuit in detail, and find it very hard
to believe that there is even a shred of evidence of even a remote
relationship (other than Russian, Danish and English influences in recent
history) between IE and Inuit languages. Though I promise to read
Greenbergians like Ruhlen, so I can at least offer a critique, I find
these kind of language groupings a little absurd and premature.
(Also remember that kinship of languages only implies just that, and any
similarity of language structure, vocabulary, and/or phonetics, is not
necessarily a correlation of culture, race, or even common origin. And
the further back you go, the harder it is to prove common origin.)
Not meaning to be to picky here, but what does Da-Ne and Basque
have to do with IE and Inuit? I am suprised. I would think that Da-Ne
would have a lot in common with Inuit (at least its Athap(b)askan
relatives), being that they share a common border in Canada and Alaska, along
the treeline- origins aside, they must share some common vocabulary at least,
and more linguistic traits than any European language, but anything is
possible. :)