Subject: Polynesia - S. America language links From: email@example.com (Yuri Kuchinsky) Date: 4 Nov 1997 21:56:10 GMT Message-ID: <firstname.lastname@example.org> Newsgroups: sci.archaeology.mesoamerican,sci.archaeology, sci.lang,sci.anthropology Greetings, Mary Ritchie Key, a noted linguist, and specialist in S. American Native languages (her bibliography at the U of T Libraries contains 28 items), has a very interesting publication in print. AUTHOR: Key, Mary Ritchie. TITLE: Polynesian and American linguistic connections / Mary Ritchie Key ; with the collaboration of Karel Richards. -- PUBLISHED: Lake Bluff, Ill., U.S.A. : Jupiter Press, 1984. PAGING: xi, 80 p. : ill., port. ; 23 cm. -- SERIES: Edward Sapir monograph series in language, culture, and cognition. 0163-3848 ; 12 NOTES: "Distributed to all subscribers to Forum linguisticum, volume VIII, number 3 (April 1984) as a supplement"--Ser. t.p. Bibliography: p. 77-80. In the Introduction, she says, The languages of Polynesia contain elements also found in North and South American Indian languages that suggest distant historical connections. In this preliminary study it is not yet possible to determine whether the resemblances are due to borrowings, or whether the common structural characteristics go back to the same genetic origins. (p. 1) I'm suggesting these connections on the basis of comparative/historical linguistic methodology, which has been developing with a good deal of sophistication in the last century. (p. 1) This little book contains a great amount of data and research. Most of it is very technical, dealing e.g. with methodology, word formation, and such rather obscure subjects as metathesis and realignment, phonological space areas, onomatopoeia, residue, etc. Key looks at various possible linguistic, pronunciation, and grammatical shifts over centuries in various languages in question. Not being all that knowledgeable about these matters, I will not try to deal with this technical stuff here. Also, and more importantly for a non-specialist, Key provides a very large list of possible cognates. This selected list contains about 350 entries of words that show resemblances between languages of Polynesia, the Uto-Aztecan languages, and S. American Quechua, Aymara, Tacanan, Panoan, Mosetene, Mapuche, and languages of the Tierra Del Fuego. The possibilities of finding more resemblances have not been exhausted... (p. 39) It is obvious that this is a very substantial indication of parallels. She gives plenty of good examples of vocabulary similarities, some of them rather striking, others probably quite distant. Naturally, she raises many more questions than she provides answers for at this point... In our previous discussions in sci.arch re: Easter Island language and history, we have gone over the connections, including the linguistic ones, between EI and S. America. The connections between earliest EI culture and S. America that Thor Heyerdahl has been trying to point out for such a long time seem pretty obvious. But this research by Key goes much further than this. In this case, the connections are not only with the EI, but with Polynesia as a whole. As Key is saying in her book, this is but tentative research that only tries to lay a groundwork for much more work that needs to be done. I have no indication that any further work has been done or published on this since 1984 when her book came out. It is obvious that the prevailing climate in this field of historical study, when so much evidence about the ancient navigational achievements of Native S. Americans is being silenced, dismissed, and disregarded by the mainstream scholarship, is not making it easy for this important research to proceed. Best regards, Yuri. Yuri Kuchinsky in Toronto -=O=- http://www.io.org/~yuku It is a far, far better thing to have a firm anchor in nonsense than to put out on the troubled seas of thought -=O=- John K. GalbraithClick here to go one level up in the directory.