Representation of grammar as a set of vectors
Verbal Grammar Correlation Index (VGCI) is typological method of comparative linguistics: it allows completely answer questions of whether certain languages are related. VGCI is logical conjunction of two indexes: index of correlation of grammatical meanings sets and index of positional proximity of grammatical meanings that are represented in both of compared languages. For illustrative purposes grammatical systems of compared languages can be represented as tables that show what grammatical meanings exist in languages and their positional implementations. Such representation can be converted into a set of topological vectors and can be begin of true conversion of linguistics into an exact science that is inspired by mathematical structures, but not just uses some statistics. Also such issues can also be useful in cultural anthropology since culture as well as language is ordered pair: <A; Ω> where A is set of concepts/grammar meanings and Ω is set of distributions.
Key words: Verbal Grammar Correlation Index; formal methods in linguistics; set theory; abstract algebra
Verbal Grammar Correlation Index (VGCI) method: a detailed description
Current paper is a detailed description of Verbal Grammar Correlation Index that is a precise typological method of comparative linguistics. The method supposes direct comparison of really existing/existed languages. The method is based on the following: language is determined by set of grammatical meanings and set of their positional distributions; degrees of correlations of both sets can be calculated. Tests of the method on the material of firmly assembled stocks (Indo-European; Sino-Tibetan; Austronesian) show the following: if value of VGCI is about 0.4 or higher then languages are related; if value of VGCI is about 0.3 or lower then languages are not related.
Key words: typology in comparative linguistics; Verbal Grammar Correlation Index; comparative linguistics
A bioimformatic perspective on linguistic relatedness
It is usually assumed that all languages are ultimately derived from the same proto-language. If this is the case then all languages are related, however distantly. However, relatedness is only defined with reference to unrelatedness, so it must be possible for languages to be unrelated. This is reminiscent of the search for genes ‘missing’ from genomes using sequence analysis, which is based on measurements that are related to lexical distance. The ‘relatedness’ of gene sequences can only be established probabilistically because relatedness lies on a continuum that ranges from ‘identical’ to ‘completely different’. This is also true of languages irrespective of the basis or bases of the distance measurement.
Key words: gene; genome; language; relatedness; uncertainty
Kamchatka Ainu dialect revitalization perspectives
Alexander Akulov; Tresi Nonno
Since 2008 in Russian media appears information about Ainu community in Kamchatka. Despite some members of the community were marked as Ainu in last census that took place in 2010, the community has not been officially recognized as indigenous. The root of problem is that members of community demonstrate lack of identity: they demonstrate little interest in their own native language, while it is ability to speak in corresponding language that is used as marker of identity by officials. That’s why revitalization of Kamchatka Ainu dialect is matter of high importance. Kamchatka Ainu is among badly described Ainu dialects; however, its proximity to Hokkaido dialects allows making extrapolation of Hokkaido forms in doubtful cases. Also important point is that for successful revitalization sphere of language use should not be restricted by so called ‘traditional culture’; use of the language in web and in urban sphere should be widely developed.
Key words: Kamchatka Ainu dialect; Northern Kuril Ainu dialect; language revitalization
People of converted gender in Ainu culture
Alexander Akulov; Tresi Nonno
Neighbor ethnicities of Ainu (Japanese; Itelmen) had traditions of converted gender and that allows us to suppose that Ainu also had alike traditions. Krasheninnikov wrote that there were people of converted gender among Ainu of Northern Kuril and Southern Kamchatka as well as among Koryak and Itelmen. Also we have found a folklore narrative of Sakhalin Ainu where it seems to be described a person of converted gender. The narrative can be considered as a relic of converted gender tradition. It can be stated that in Ainu culture were people of converted gender and they could be shamans. It seems that initially Ainu spiritual tradition demonstrated more spontaneity and was more about shamanism while later with increase of Japanese influence and especially with cargo Confucianism influence was established a tradition of male elders’ rigorism and shamanism was marginalized and ancient traditions were abandoned.
Key words: Ainu shamanism; transgender shamans; gender in religions, Ainu history, Ainu folklore