Two measures of linguistic distance
Linguistic relatedness is often assessed on the basis of lexical analysis using the normalised Levenshtein distance (LDN), but a variant of this is the LDN divided (LDND) has been used in a similar way. As LDND is the LDN normalised by the ‘global distance’ (Γ(α, β)) between two languages, it is useful to consider both the properties of both LDND and Γ(α, β). Because Γ(α, β), like LDN, can not be greater than 1, LDND is ‘almost always’ greater than LDN and has no upper limit. However, for Indo-European word lists LDND is linearly related to LDN (p < 0.001) because Γ(α, β) has a very narrow distribution. Similar Γ(α, β) of were obtained in two numerical experiments based on (i) randomly generated ‘words’ or (ii) English words. This indicates that LDN may a better measure of lexical distance.
Key words: distribution; global distance; Levenshtein distance; lexical distance
Some notes on structure of verb of Phaistos disc inscription idiom
Pendlebury and Otkupshchikov have proved that Phaistos disc inscription is read from center to periphery. Word order of all languages of ancient Mediterranean region and neighbor areas was SOV, and it’s rather logical to suppose the same for the language of disc. Having known word order it is possible to single out blocks containing predicates/verbs in the text of inscription. These blocks have plumed head sign in their ends (terminal right positions). Blocks A3, A15 show that Minoan has reduplication of root and well elaborated prefixation. Minoan can’t be relative of Etruscan since Etruscan hasn’t prefixation, but can probably be relative of Anatolian languages, or Hattic or Sumerian. Adding of some known readings hasn’t given any result for verbal forms decoding, but allowed to identify name Tetija (block B8) that seems to be Minoan form of Tethys.
Key words: Phaistos disc; Minoan language; Tetija; Tethys; writing system deciphering
Whether Sumerian language is related to Munda?
Having compared 34 lexical items of Sumerian with 34 lexical items of Mundari/Santali Diakonoff came to conclusion that Sumerian is a relative of Munda languages. The hypothesis seemed to be rather realistic, however, as far as comparison of randomly chosen lexical items without due attention to structures can’t say anything about languages relationship so the hypothesis was to be tested by a verified method. Verified method is Verbal Grammar Correlation Index (VGCI). According to VGCI methodology index of correlation of two languages belonging to the same stock is 0.4 or higher; index of correlation of two languages that aren’t related is 0.3 or lower. VGCI of Sumerian and Mundari is 0.18 that evidently proves their unrelatedness. Due to transitivity of relatedness/unrelatedness Sumerian isn’t relative of Austroasiatic stock. Perspective directions of searching for potential relatives of Sumerian are the following: Basque, Kartvelian, Northeast Caucasian or Sino-Tibetan stocks.
Key words: Sumerian; Munda; Austroasitic stock; comparative linguistics
Contemporary society of the Andaman Islands and problems of indigenous people
The society of the Andaman Islands is a melting pot. There are people from India, Bangladesh, Burma and Sri-Lanka. Nowadays they share these lands with indigenous people who appeared here a long time ago. The establishing of contacts took a lot of time and even though now it seems that the golden middle was successfully found question of communication with indigenous people is still remain quite urgent. From one hand indigenous people receive many goods from modern civilization, however, from the other hand modern world brings such problems as new diseases, alcoholism and destroying of traditional cultures. Indigenous people who actively get in touch with modern civilization usually consider their indigenous culture mostly as a hobby or as a mean for attracting tourists, but they won’t maintain traditions of life of their ancestors seriously. Another problem is that authorities have no clear imagination of policy toward indigenous people.
Key words: The Andaman Islands, Jarawa; Onge; Sentinelese; indigenous people; adaptation
Some preliminary notes on etymology of some Ainu suppletive verbs
In modern Ainu language there are verbs expressing grammatical numbers irregularly: a – rok “to sit”, an – oka “to be present”, arpa/oman – paye “to go”, as – roski “to stand”, ek – arki “to come”, mi – utomciwre “to wear”, rayke – ronnu “to kill”, uk – uyna “to take”, unu – uyruke “to place”. A – rok and as – roski have been made according to the same model: plural form is made of singular by adding r — k/ki circumfix; initially r was ar “very” and k/ki was ki “to act”. Arpa and paye both are derivates of pa “to step”. Oman is compound of om “thigh” and an “to be present”. Arki is compound of ar “very” and distorted singular from ek. Rayke – ronnu have been made of root ray “to die” and different causatives. Mi – utomciwre are derivates of different roots. Structures of rest pairs are yet unclear; they will be matter of further consideration.
Key words: Ainu language; suppletive verbs; Ainu language history