Monday, September 21, 2015


Maju, who is in addition to being a public intellectual, a Basque person who is fluent in the Basque language, discusses the possibility that the hypothetical Vasconic language family of which Basque is a part and all other members are extinct, may be derived from the Nilo-Saharan Nubian languages of Africa, with substantial later contributions from Proto-Indo-European (as opposed, for example, to its later variants), i.e. a Vasco-Nubian hypothesis.

He suggests a Mesolithic (i.e. immediately pre-invention of farming) presence in the Levant of Nilo-Saharan language speakers, whose language becomes the language of the first farmers of Europe and then is bit by bit replaced by Indo-European languages at a later date.

He makes an effort at mass lexical comparison with a Swadesh list of words that shows a much stronger than random chance relationship.  I've looked at the phonetics and grammar and it isn't too much of a stretch on that front at that time depth.

No one is declaring this conjecture to be "the truth" at this point, but the evidence is serious enough that it has leaped to the front of the line as a viable hypothesis compared to other existing hypothetical proposals.  He has also used mass lexical comparison to pretty much definitively rule out several other hypothetical connections between Basque and other language families that have been proposed by credentialed linguists but don't deserve serious consideration.


Maju said...

Thanks for the compliment but I'm not any "scholar". I'm an amateur, serious if you wish but I have no relation with the Academy at all.

andrew said...

I originally used the term scholar, but changed it to "public intellectual" which I think perfectly describes people like you who are very knowledgeable about a field, and share their findings with the public, but often have no relationship with the Academy, in the tradition of the Ronin Institute and in opposition to the "Establishment Intellectual". The term "Independent Scholar" means roughly the same thing.

One definition:

"[P]ublic intellectuals were free-floating and unattached generalists speaking out on every topic that came their way. . . . They might be journalists or academics, but only because they had to eat. At the most fundamental level, ideas for them were not building blocks to a career."

Maju said...

Fair enough. Thank you, Andrew. I list myself at as "independent researcher", although admittedly my research is limited (this one would be one of the exceptions) and I'd rather think of myself as free thinker and even "research journalist" of sorts.