<benlizro@xxxxxxxxxx> wrote in message
The article makes it sound as if these were two simple, homogeneous
groups. But the unity of Pama-Nyungan is not universally accepted. And
"Non-Pama-Nyungan" has even more diversity. I don't think you could
speak of a "unified vocabulary" for either group. Still, if Nick Evans
doesn't dismiss it out of hand, maybe there's something there. I'll
look for the original article, and wait to see what John Atkinson
Some time ago, Foley came up with the idea that proto-Australian and the
Eastern Highlands languages of Papua might be related, giving a short
list of apparent cognates (about six). If you look at proto-Northern
instead of pA (i.e., leave out Pama-Nyungan), you get one extra pronoun
(pN nyi, pEH ni, first person plural) (Blake, in Handbook of Australian
Languages, IV). So this is (very slight) evidence for Clendon's
AFAIK, all the other Papua-New Guinea families have so far given no sign
whatever of being related genetically to either Australian or to Eastern
Highlands. Presumably Clendon isn't including them in the group that
migrated north from the Arafura.
And, as prd implies, there is every reason to believe that back then
there were hundreds of different languages both in the Arafura region
and down the east coast, ninety-nine percent of which died out without
any direct descendents.
Looks like the original article isn't out yet, eh? Anyway, if he's got
some decent linguistic evidence, why is he publishing in Current
Anthropology instead of a linguistics journal?