CAES Vol 1 № 4

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Editor’s foreword

Articles:

Representation of grammar as a set of vectors

Alexander Akulov

Abstract:

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

grammar_vectors

Verbal Grammar Correlation Index (VGCI) method: a detailed description

Alexander Akulov

Abstract:

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

VGCI_detailed

A bioimformatic perspective on linguistic relatedness

Simon Brown

Abstract:

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

Brown_unrelatedness

Think pieces:

 Kamchatka Ainu dialect revitalization perspectives

Alexander Akulov; Tresi Nonno

Abstract:

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

kamchatka_Ainu

People of converted gender in Ainu culture

Alexander Akulov; Tresi Nonno

Abstract:

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

cispo

CAES Special Issue (October 2015)

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Ainu and Great Andamanese are relatives  (proved by Prefixation Ability Index and Verbal Grammar Correlation Index)

Alexander Akulov

Abstract

Prefixation Ability Index (PAI) allows us to see whether languages can potentially be related (languages can potentially be related if their PAI values don’t differ more than fourfold); Verbal Grammar Correlation Index (VGCI) completely answers the question whether languages are related (testing of VGCI on the material of undoubtedly assembled stocks shows that VGCI values of distant relatives should be about 0.4 and more while VGCI of unrelated languages show values of VGCI about 0.3 and less). Having applied these methods to Ainu language I got the following: PAI has shown that Southern but not Northern direction is perspective for searching for Ainu language potential relative. VGCI of Ainu and Austronesian stock is 0.26; VGCI of Ainu and Mon-Khmer stock is 0.24; it means that Ainu is completely unrelated with both. From the other hand VGCI of Ainu and Great Andamanese is 0.38 that is evident proof of their relatedness. Also in the case of Ainu and Andmanese data of linguistics correlate well with those of genetics since both populations have D as main Y DNA. It seems that Ainu and Andamanese are relics of Negrito racial group that was spread rather wide in Southern and Southeast Asia; remains of this population also can be seen in Malaysia, in Thailand and in Philippines. Also I suppose that languages potentially related to Ainu-Andamanese stock probably can be found among so called West Papuan languages.

Key words: Ainu; Andamanese; PAI; VGCI; typology; comparative linguistics

Ainu_and_Great_Andamanese

CAES Vol 1 № 3

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Editor’s foreword

Think pieces:

Whether is it possible to prove genetic unrelatedness of certain languages?

Alexander Akulov

Abstract:

In contemporary linguistics there is a presupposition that we can prove only genetic relatedness while unrelatedness can’t be proved. When they speak about proves of relatedness then relatedness means “to belong to the same stock” but when they speak about unrelatedness, then appears idea that all existing languages are related since they are supposed to be derivates of the same proto-language and so we can’t prove unrelatedness but can just state that a language doesn’t belong to a stock. Relatedness is equivalence relation described in set theory, relatedness necessarily supposes grouping of elements of a set into equivalence classes which aren’t interjected. Contemporary linguistics knows 7102 languages which are grouped into 234 stocks; if there would be no possibility to distinguish languages then even a single stock hardly could be assembled. Possibility of proving of unrelatedness is necessary tool of any classification: unrelatedness can be proved as well as relatedness.

Key words: languages unrelatedness; historical linguistics; comparative linguistics; logic; abstract algebra; set theory

unrelatedness

Why conclusions about genetic affiliation of certain language should be based on comparison of grammar but not on comparison of lexis?

Alexander Akulov

Abstract:

In contemporary linguistics there are an obsession of discovering genetic relationship of certain languages by comparison of lexis and a tendency to ignore grammatical/structural issues. If certain morphemes are considered it is done almost the same lexical way, i.e.: only material exponents are compared and no attention is paid to the fact that grammar is positional distribution of meanings. Using such methodology we can prove that completely unrelated languages are relatives, for instance: we can ‘prove’ that Japanese and Chinese are relatives. Another notable fact is that different scholars using this methodology attribute same language to completely different stocks: Sumerian is considered as a relative of Kartvelian, of Uralic, of Mon-Khmer or Sino-Tibetan; Ainu is considered as a relative of Altaic, of Austronesian or Mon-Khmer. These facts are evidences that comparison of lexis is a completely irrelevant method and that genetic classification should be based on analysis of structural issues.

Key words: historical linguistics; comparative linguistics; typology in comparative linguistics; typology

why-typology

Folk-history in Post-Soviet states and its influence on official history

Yelena Kolesnikova

Abstract:

There are two basic types of folk-history: 1) folk-history about enigmatic issues of ancient civilizations, 2) nationalistic folk-history. The first type is mostly spread in the West while the second in the East. In USSR official history was just a set of dogmas: conceptions were changed not due to discovering some new facts but just due to zigzags of ideology. Due to this fact in mass consciousness wasn’t formed right notion of historical methodology: history was considered just as a set of different versions. It was good background for folk-history. The most notable issues of Post-Soviet folk-histories are: Ukrainian and Turkic folk-histories: they both harshly ignore facts and methodology; also they both influence on academic history. In this aspect Ukraine is closer to Turkic world and to the East rather than to Europe while Russia is closer to the West since in Russia folk-history has no influence on academic history.

Key words: folk-history; Post-Soviet folk-history; nationalist folk-history

folk_history

History of Ainu causatives

Tresi Nonno

Abstract:

In modern Ainu there are two types of causatives: plain causative (-e/-ka/-ke/-re/-te) and indefinite/respectful causative (-ar/-yar). Among forms of plain causative there is group that originated directly from verb ki “to do”, “to perform”, “to act”: *ki > ke > te > re > e (forms -ke/-te/-re/-e appeared due to different positional assimilatison). Suffix -ka seems to be contraction of verb kar “to make”, “to do in order to get a result”; this kar most probably initially was compound of ki “to do” and ‘ar “very”/”intensively”; so this form is resultative causative. Indefinite causative -ar/-yar is direct derivative of ‘ar “intensively”, i.e.: initially it was intensifier rather than causative marker. Plain causative *ki seems to be the most ancient causative that appeared in Middle Jōmon yet, indefinite causative appeared later and resultative causative obviously appeared closer to Yayoi epoch.

Key words: Ainu language; Ainu language history; Jōmon Ainu language reconstruction; causatives; Ainu causatives

history of Ainu causative

On the etymology of word ama (海人・ 海女・海士)

Tresi Nonno

Abstract:

Word ama seems to be of not Japanese origin due to the following reason: kanji by which word ama is written (海人・ 海女・海士) are read according to irregular way of reading; in Okinawa such divers are named umi-n-chu, in Izu peninsula they are named kaito, both names mean “people of sea”, both are transparent for speakers of correspondent idioms, while word ama is completely dim from the point of view of Japanese language. From the other hand in Ainu language there are the following words: am-pa “to carry” lit.: “to grab and go”; am-us-pe – “crab”, lit.: “being that grabs”. It seems highly possible that the same root (i.e.: am “to grab”) is in word ama. Initially word ama had the following appearance: ʔam ʔwa “people who grab [shellfishes]” / “people with claws” and later it became ʔamma, ʔama and finally ama.

Key words: ama divers; Ainu language history; history of Japanese language; Japanese history

ama

CAES Vol 1 № 2

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Editor’s foreword

Articles:

Prefixation Ability Index as a mean that allows us to see whether certain languages can potentially be genetically related

Alexander Akulov

Abstract:

Language is structure but not a heap of lexemes so typology should be base of historical linguistics. Volodin noticed that there are languages that have prefixation and languages that have not. However, since there is no ridge between two types so it’s more precise to speak about Prefixation Ability Index (i.e. PAI) rather than just ask “does a language allow prefixation”. PAI theory supposes there is correlation between values of PAI of genetically related languages. Tests of PAI on the material of well assembled stocks have proven that such correlation exists. Being applied to such unsettled hypotheses as: Nostratic hypothesis, Ainu – Altaic relationship and Ainu – Nivkh relationship PAI has shown that these hypotheses are completely off base, while search of Ainu relatives in Southern direction can potentially be perspective. PAI can be useful in the cases of other unsettled languages: in North America, in Papua, in Africa and so on.

Key words: historical linguistics, typology, PAI, Ainu, Nivkh, Nostratic, Austronesian, Mon-Khmer

Prefixation Ability Index as a mean that allows us to see whether certain languages can potentially be genetically related

The closure of corpok-kur problem or once again on relationship between Jōmon and Ainu

Alexander Akulov

Abstract:

Anthropologists who did fieldwork among Ainu in the end of 19th and in the beginning of 20th centuries wrote down legend about mythical ethnicity living in Hokkaido and Sakhalin before Ainu; the ethnicity was named corpok-kur or tonci. Some anthropologists considered the tribe as really existed and some considered it as mythical. The legend inspired some anthropologists to think that Jōmon and Ainu aren’t related. Corpok-kur and ton-ci are clearly etymologized Ainu words; also words that look much alike were used by Ainu to name their dwellings. Geographical distribution of the legend evidences that it was spread there where Ainu were already more or less japanized, i.e.: it was spread in Hokkaido, Sakhalin but was unknown in northern Kuril islands. These facts along with data of archaeology and physical anthropology evidence that corpok-kur is nothing but a mythical tribe while artifacts of Jōmon are products of direct ancestors of Ainu.

Key words: Ainu, Ainu history, Jomon, Ainu – Jomon relationship; corpok-kur; koropokkuru

The-closure-of-corpok

Thoughts on multiculturalism, nationalism and culturalism

Tresi Nonno

Abstract:

All cultures can be subdivided into two paradigms: cosmocentric cultures (main object of discourse is nature/cosmos) and sociocentric cultures (main object of discourse is society/ morality). Interaction between cultures of the same paradigm is easier than between cultures belonging to different. When something is borrowed without due understanding it usually leads to cargo cults. Europe is a cosmocentric world; Abrahamic traditions are sociocentric. That’s why Europe isn’t Judeo-Christian civilization and Christianity in Europe is nothing but just a cargo cult. Islam is also an item of Abrahamic paradigm and that’s why it’s deeply alien to Europe. Those Muslims who come to dwell in Europe should accept values of secular Europe and should be assimilated. Multiculturalists and nationalists are derivates of the same root: they both like their utopias more than real life. Politics and international relations should be based on cultural anthropology as well as medicine is based on microbilology/chemistry.

Key words: culturalism; multiculturalism; nationalism; cosmocentric paradigm; sociocentric paradigm; cargo cults; Abrahamic traditions; Europe; LGBT

Thoughts on multiculturalism, nationalism and culturalism

Think pieces:

Verbal Grammar Correlation Index proves that Ainu language isn’t relative of Austronesian and Mon-Khmer stocks (a preliminary report)

Alexander Akulov

Abstract:

Lexicostatistical approach is completely off base since it allows attributing a language to different stocks and has no reliable methodology of verification. Language is structure but not a heap of lexemes so typology should be the base of historical linguistic methodology. Having supposed that languages which are distant relatives demonstrate certain threshold degree of correlation of verbal grammar, I tested it on the material of languages which are distant relatives (Hawaiian, Cham, Malagasy, Tagalog). Their Verbal Grammar Correlation Index (VGCI) shows values about 0.4 or higher; while VGCI of unrelated languages (for instance, English and Chinese) shows values about 0.3 or lower. According to Murayama Ainu is a relative of Austronesian stock; VGCI of Ainu and Austronesian languages is about 0.22. According to Vovin Ainu is a relative of Mon-Khmer; Ainu and Mon-Khmer VGCI is about 0.24. These facts prove that Ainu isn’t relative of Austronesian and Mon-Khmer stocks.

Key words: typological methods in historical linguistics; typology; historical linguistics; Ainu; Mon-Khmer; Austronesian; Verbal Grammar Correlation Index

VGCI

Ainu names found in “Gishi Wa-jin den”「魏志倭人伝」

Tresi Nonno

Abstract:

Generally it has been thought that personal names found in the text of “Gi-shi Wa-jin den” can be interpreted through Early Old Japanese. However, until Kofun period there was no wide and regular spread of ‘Korean’ technologies so it’s possible to doubt that Early Old Japanese existed in the epoch of Yayoi. From the other hand wide spread of Ainu toponyms in Western Japan in Jōmon and Yayoi is a common place so interpreting names through Ainu language can be perspective. Having reconstructed original pronunciation of names I realized that names with kǝw/ko/hu endings are met only among names of higher nobility. These endings are supposed to be variants expressing the same word that i.e.: kur “respected being/person” that is usual ending in names of mythological heroes in modern Ainu folklore narratives and could probably be a component of aristocratic names in the epoch of Yamatai.

Key words: Gishi Wajin den; Yamatai; Ainu; queen Himiko

Ainu_names_found_in_Gishiwajinden

Some preliminary thoughts on the structure of Late Jōmon Ainu language

Tresi Nonno

Abstract:

Pioneers of Ainu language studies (Basil Hall Chamberlain, Neil Gordon Munro) having obviously no notion about the history of the language and knowing only modern Ainu, could correctly interpret place names i.e.: words that were in everyday use in 4th – 5th centuries AD, that Ainu language has changed relatively slowly and on the available material of modern Ainu dialects it is quite possible to reconstruct language of about (1500 BC – 300 BC). Tamura points on the fact that V and VC syllables of modern Ainu actually begin with glottal stop, that means in language of ancient stages only CV and CVC syllables were allowed. Having this information we can conclude that in Late Jōmon Ainu morphemes borders could not be inside syllables. It’s possible to state that Ainu of Late Jōmon was a higher analytical language than modern Ainu, while Ainu of much earlier stage probably was isolating.

Key words: Ainu language history; Ainu language of Late Jomon; language reconstruction

Some-preliminary-thoughts-on-the-structure-of-Late-Jomon-Ainu-language

CAES Vol. 1 № 1

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Editor’s foreword

Articles:

Contemporary condition and perspectives of Ainu language

Alexander Akulov

Abstract

Contemporary Ainu population is about 30,000. Data provided by anthropologists show us that number of Ainu language speakers is much less than total number of Ainu. Also data provided by different scholars differ seriously. In order to clear these questions in 2006 I went to the island of Hokkaido and managed there field research with support of Japan Foundation. Having got the following definition of speaker: speaker of a certain language is person that can produce spontaneous utterances, I have learned that about 2 percents of total number of Ainu can be considered as Ainu speakers. Also I saw that Ainu didn’t care much of maintaining and normal functioning of their language but they were mostly interested in so called ‘ethnographic theater’. Despite the paper was written in 2006 yet its publishing met serious obstacles due to contradictions of my conclusion with official mythology of Japanese Ainu studies.

Key words: Ainu language, endangered language, endangered languages perspectives

Сontemporary_condition_and_perspectives_of_Ainu_language

On Ainu etymology of key concepts of Shintō: tamashii and kami

Tresi Nonno

Abstract

Shintō is the first and the basic religion of Japan. In most works on Shintō it is said that its central object is kami but almost nothing is said about etymology and meaning of this concept. In this paper I made an attempt to clarify this question. In Ainu religion there is concept kamuy that looks much alike kami. Ainu concept kamuy can be explained through the concept of ramat. Japanese concept kami also shapes a pair with concept of tamashii. I have come to the following conclusions: Japanese tamashii originated from Ainu ramat and Japanese kami originated from Ainu kamuy; ramat/tamashii means “vital energy exists”, it is something like energy/ether that fills the universe; kamuy means “item filled by [ramat]”; kamuy/kami are beings/items that have a lot of ramat and can share it; aim of any Shintō rite is to get more ramat/tamashii.

Key words: ramat, kamuy, tamashii, kami, Shinto, Root Shinto

On Ainu etymology of key concepts of Shinto

Reviews:

Critical notes on “A Recontruction of Proto-Ainu” 

Tresi Nonno

Abstract

By now “A Reconstruction of Proto-Ainu” written by Alexander Vovin is the only monograph on Ainu language history and so if we are going to make reconstruction of some previous stages of Ainu language we should first pay some attention to this work.  Having made a reconstruction of ‘Proto-Ainu’, Vovin compared ‘Proto-Ainu’ with Proto-Austronesian, Proto-Miao-Yao and Proto-Austroasiatic and has come to the conclusion that Proto-Ainu is a relative of Proto-Austroasiatic. I am to say that there are too many serious blunders in Vovin’s book: methodological ideas are actually very vague, no attention is paid to structural items, wrong interpretations of some Ainu words, no clearly seen regular phonetic correspondences, completely wrong use of anthropological contexts; however, despite these serious critical notes the direction of search of possible relatives of Ainu outlined by Vovin seems to be rather perspective.

Key words: Ainu language, critical review of Vovin’s reconstruction, Ainu language history, Proto-Ainu

critical notes on A Reconstruction of Proto-Ainu

Think pieces:

Loanword adaptation strategies in Gilbertese

Fedor Alekseev

Abstract

This paper investigates the phonological and morphological mechanisms used in loanword adaptation in Gilbertese, an Austronesian language spoken in the Republic of Kiribati. I considered loanwords officially accepted by the conventional literary form of Gilbertese, as well as recent borrowings used in slang and Internet shorthand. Analyzing the most productive patterns of phonological and morphological adaptation of loanwords, I came to a conclusion that only borrowings of the colonial period have been fully integrated into Gilbertese phonology, syntax and morphology. More recent borrowings exhibit less involvement in complex syntactical structures and are usually used without any affixes. Interestingly, this is unusual for the region, as most of the local languages quickly integrate newest borrowings, developing an adapted transcription for them and using them in the same way as “native” lexemes.

Key words: Gilbertese, Kiribati, Micronesian languages, Austronesian languages, language contact, loanword adaptation, Oceanic languages

Loanword adaptation strategies in Gilbertese

Second Life as possible platform for endangered languages revitalization (the case of Ainu language in particular): problems and perspectives

Tresi Nonno

Abstract

Languages of so called ‘indigenous people’ are often endangered languages. When they start to speak about endangered language revitalization usually appears presupposition that sphere of use of such languages is restricted by ‘traditional cultures’. Actually none of existing languages is restricted by a ‘traditional culture’. Nowadays it’s simply impossible to maintain a traditional culture since environmental conditions have been seriously changed. Best way to save and revitalize a language is to make it develop freely and naturally but not to restrict it by some ‘traditional culture’. In the case of Ainu language we can see it has no real usage in real life. That’s why it can be perspective to create a sphere of use of Ainu language in virtual world, i.e. in Second Life that is the largest virtual world. In first stage role plays/historical reconstructions can attract people to Ainu language. As far as Ainu language gets some usage in virtual world something can be changed in real life.

Key words: language revitalization; Second Life; endangered languages; Ainu language

Second Life as possible platform for endangered languages revitalization