Wednesday, October 24, 2007

98. Did the Pygmies Ever Have a Language of Their Own?

Sorry for the sudden change of pace, but a thought occurred to me the other day that won't let me alone. I've been thinking a lot about African pygmy music, as anyone who's been following this blog knows. But now I'm thinking about their language. Their music is certainly special, but their language is also special -- that is, their lack of language, the odd fact that every African pygmy group I know of speaks a language related to that of neighboring Bantu, Sudanic, or Nilotic tribes. It's been assumed that they lost their original language through some process of assimilation with the farming groups they've developed symbiotic relationships with. But this hypothesis runs into a big problem no one seems to have noticed. It is in violation of one of the great principles of science, Occam's Razor, which demands that any scientific model provide the simplest solution that accounts for all the evidence. (This should not be confused with the principle of "parsimony," by the way. Parsimony is one of many possible ways of organizing data, but even the most parsimonious solution, in order to be regarded as valid, must conform nevertheless to Occam's Razor -- i.e, it must still be the simplest solution possible that accounts for all the evidence.)

To assume that each and every pygmy group in various parts of Africa went through the same linguistic "evolution," relinquishing an original language to replace it with that of their neighbors, goes counter to both Occam and common sense, because we would have to assume that in each and every individual and unrelated case more or less the same process occurred.

It's true of course that certain groups in various parts of the world have lost their language when they were conquered and assimilated by more powerful groups. But the pygmies were neither conquered nor assimilated. Though often regarded as vassals, they have apparently always been able to retreat into the forest, where they can practice their own rituals, hunting methods, music, dance, etc. So why not their own original speech?

I find it intriguing that other hunter-gatherer groups didn't lose their original languages in the same way. The Bushmen have their own language, possibly the oldest, as do the Hadza and Sandawe, yet all these groups have also developed symbiotic relations with neighboring farmers and pastoralists.

If the pygmies never had a language of their own, what could that mean? what light might that shed on the question of the origins of both "modern" humans and language?

Most of the evidence appears to point to both pygmies and bushmen as representative, genetically, of our oldest fully human ancestors. Chen et al., in a well known paper, estimated the age of separation of the Biaka pygmies from the founding group to be anwhere from 76,000 to over 100,000 years ago (on the basis of their mtDNA). Let us suppose, then, that the group of "modern" humans destined to be the ancestors of everyone now alive on this planet, spoke some language, say, 120,000 years ago. We would be almost forced to assume that, when the Pygmies diverged from this group, they would have spoken some derivative of that language. But if they did, then we must also assume, following the path of the mighty Occam, that at least some of these pygmy groups would have retained some form of that language -- as did the Bushmen, Hadza, etc.

Let us now go back to 120,000 ya, and make the opposite assumption, that the founding group had not yet developed language. So when the Pgymies diverged from the main group they too would have been without language. Continuing with the same line of thought, we can speculate that language may have been invented after the period when the Pygmies broke off, sometime between 76,000 and 100,000 ya (assuming Chen et al are on the right track). So by the time the other groups, ancestral to the Bushmen, Hadza, etc., diverged, they would have been in possession of language, while the pygmies were not. And at this point we can allow many thousands, indeed tens of thousand of years to pass.

Another clue pointing in the same direction: we have a very rich tradition of symbolic rock art in Africa, dating back at least 40,000 years, which most archaeologists have associated with Bushmen history (though such art is not being produced today). No such art has been, to my knowledge, ever attributed to the ancient pygmies. There is thus, apparently, no real evidence that they were in possession of language during the paleolithic period.

Continuing to speculate, in an equally rigorous Occamian fashion: in order for the above to make sense, the pygmies could not have had language at all until after the Bantu expansion, of 2,000 to 4,000 years ago. If they had developed or borrowed any language prior to that time, that would be the language that at least some of them would now be speaking. It would seem then, that in order for the present pattern to have manifested itself, the first language spoken by any pygmy people must have been a language borrowed from the neighbors with whom they currently interact. Each time a pygmy group encountered Bantu, Sudanic, or Nilotic speaking people, they would have learned what language is from them.

If the above can be taken seriously, it could give us a clue as to when language originated -- i.e., some time between the divergence of the pygmies and the divergence of the Bushmen.

Am I going to hate myself in the morning? We'll just have to wait and see.

43 comments:

Anonymous said...

Hi. Interesting point, but I would like to point out that pygmy groups are not alone in not having their own unique language. The various hunter gatherer groups of East Africa are exactly the same.

That is to say, the "Dorobo" peoples of Kenya & Tanzania. There are many of these groups scattered across eastern Africa such as the Yaaku, Ogiek, Athi, Boni, Akie etc. and of course the more famous Hadza.

The Hadza have become famous because they have a language isolate rich with clicks, but indeed it seems the Hadza are the exception in having retained their own language, not the rule when it comes to East African hunter gatherer communities.

In Kenya, of which I am more familiar, almost without exception, hunter gatherer groups very quickly adopted the languages of neighbouring peoples, but yet persisted with their own lifestyle.

I think that this can be better explained by the fact that these peoples do not see language and culture as the rest of the world does. A language is something of the moment and groups do not place any significance to it in terms of group identification. This is also mirrored in other cultural aspects such as clothing, etc.

The hunter gatherer lifestyle is the only thing which persists, and seems the only thing which they use for group identification. Did the Pygmies ever have a language of their own? My guess is that they had many languages of their own, but that the fluidity of language change has always been rapid, so that it has become impossible to trace the linguistic history of these groups.

Victor said...

Hi Anonymous -- sorry you're reluctant to reveal your true identity, as you seem knowledgeable. And thanks for this very interesting information and for sharing your thoughts on hunter-gatherer attitudes toward language.

While the question of Pygmy language or lack thereof is tangential to the musical issues I'm focused on here, and while I lack the expertise, either historical or linguistic, to debate this topic with any degree of authority, the issue nevetheless interests me enough to hope that you'll be checking back here with some additional information and thoughts.

The "Dorobo" groups of whom you speak appear to have been Cushitic speakers who became assimilated with other, more powerful groups, whose languages they now speak, as you say. But is their situation really similar to that of most Pygmies? There are many instances in history of less powerful groups adopting the language of their more powerful neighbors after having been defeated or otherwise assimilated as vassals. And in the case of the "Dorobo" groups there does seem to be evidence of specific languages that were lost, i.e., Cushitic languages.

With the Pygmies on the other hand, we have a situation where no real assimilation has taken place (at least not in most cases) and where there is no record of any earlier languages spoken. As most Pygmy groups were never defeated and never assimilated, but seem to have always had a significant degree of autonomy within their forest home, it seems reasonable to assume that if they had had a language of their own they would still be speaking it, at least when in the forest.

Do you agree, or is there some other aspect of the problem that I'm not familiar with?

Anonymous said...

Hi Victor. I think the pygmies and Dorobo are quite similar. Many Dorobo were assimilated, but there are still many groups who live pretty independent lives. They were never conquered or coerced into speaking languages of more powerful neighbours as such.

If you go to ogiek.org, they say that the Ogiek (a specific Dorobo people who speak a Kalenjin language) have a special skill for learning languages and quickly adopted languages of nearby peoples. This seems to be true, as in Kenya there are Bantu speaking Dorobo, Kalenjin/Nilotic speaking Dorobo, and Cushitic speaking Dorobo, and we know the Bantu are immigrants from elsewhere in Africa, the Nilotes came from elsewhere, and the Cushites came from elsewhere. The Dorobo are the only ones who have no history of migration so we assume they are the original inhabitants of this part of Africa.

So it is a bit of a mystery, but I would suggest that is the only explanation, that they (and also the pygmies) have a skill for language acquisition which other peoples have lost, and that they enjoy learning and speaking the languages of other peoples. Think of it perhaps as the way a Westerner thinks of mode of dress. A new fashion style comes along and people readily adopt it and look upon the things they were wearing five years ago as "out of style"... I don't know if that is a good analogy but I can't think of anyway else to put it.

As for my origins, I am pretty sure my ancestors within the last 200 years were Dorobo who became assimilated into Kikuyu culture, so this is why I take an interest in such things. We look 'different' to Bantu & Nilotic Kenyans, so it is just my interest in learning about our history, but much of it is a mystery and the language issue is so confusing that it seems to be more of a hinderence than a help in this respect.

Incidently, there were once pygmy peoples in Kenya. Many tribes report meeting pygmy peoples when they first moved into forested Kenya, but there are none left today. One theory is that Dorobo are the result of the intermixing of pygmies and people from other taller tribes who lived in the pygmy hunter-gathering way, but I am not sure how true this is. I have read that the Hadza of Tanzania are closest genetically to Central African pygmies, and that they were once a short people who married with taller peoples, so perhaps all pygmies once spoke a click language similar to modern Hadza.

MikeNassau said...

Dwarf cattle of Senegal and pygmy goats of West Africa have resistance to diseases carried by Tsetse flies which larger cattle and goats lack. I do not know if Pygmies share this, but their location in forest zones certainly suggests it. If so, people of Pygmy ancestry might be selected for short stature by Tsetse exposure.

The negrito peoples of the Philippines now speak Malay type languages acquired from the invaders from what is now Malaysia. They are presumed to have spoken Papuan languages like their Papuan kinsmen in Halmahera, etc., before the Malay settlement. They likewise wer4e never really conquered by the Malays.

So my bet is that the Pygmies spoke their own languages similar to Hadza before other groups came into their areas, but then switched to the more prestigious languages of their neighbors.

Many times in Zambia I heard high school boys talking English in town to impress others with their learning when the same boys would speak Bemba or Tonga in the boarding school.
Mike Nassau

Victor said...

Thanks for your very interesting comment, Mike. What you say about the Malay negritos may be significant, especially if their relation to the Malays is similar to that of the African Pygmies to the Bantu speakers. It's also true that many indigenous groups in the highlands of Island Melanesia, who almost certainly would have originally spoken some type of "Papuan" language, now speak Austronesian languages. So you certainly have a point.

What makes the African Pygmies a bit different is that every single Pygmy group shows the same pattern of not having a language of its own and speaking that of either their immediate neighbors, or, as in the case of the Baka, a language they probably encountered some time in the past from some other farming or herding group. Since there are a great many different Pygmy groups, each now speaking a different non-Pygmy language, it's hard to understand how the same exact process could have taken place in each and every case, with no exceptions.

While there is some evidence of an original Pygmy vocabulary shared by some of these groups, apparently, it is limited only to certain words, with no evidence of any grammatical or syntactic dimension.

While you may be right, and the Pygmies might have lost their original language, as did the Malay negritos, I still think the possibility that they never had anything more than a set of denotative terms prior to the Bantu expansion is definitely worth looking into. If that were the case, it would be a tremendously useful clue to the origins of language, and the early history of homo sapiens.

John Kemp said...

If Anonymous should read this blog again I'd very much like him to contact me as I'm interested in finding sources of information on the pre-Bantu peoples of East Africa. John Kemp johnguillemette@msn.com

Ateesh6800 said...

This is just a thought I offer for your consideration. I'm not even saying I am necessarily right.

A group of humans who do not have a language AT ALL would NOT have the same speech organs that we have.

Of course, they would have a tongue and vocal chords and all, but theirs would not be specifically modified to produce (human) speech.

Apes have the same anatomical organs in their throats, heads, and chests as we do but they are still not PHYSICALLY able to speak. Also, apes can breath while they swallow; we cannot, because our organs have a modified (speech-oriented) structure as compared to theirs. (Some apes have been able to learn a limited sign language, though.)

Human speech therefore must have developed through a change process of the speech organs, and the present condition of human speech organs must have developed through the process of creating/developing language as we know it.

My point is: had the pygmies not had language 4K years ago, their speech organs would not have been modified to facilitate human speech, and therefore they would not have been able to learn any spoken language from their neighbors.

This is almost like imagining two closely related species of birds, both having wings fully suitable for flying, but one of the two being a flying species, the other an entirely flightless one -- and then imagining that the flightless species at one point learn from the others how to fly. Of course, there are flightless birds, but they have been shown to have LOST their ability to fly (which is different from learning something they didn't have the right organs for).

What do you think?

Thanks for reading my comment,

Ateesh6800

Victor said...

Ateesh, your comment is very astute and definitely interesting and you could certainly be right. But there are at least two ways we can think about the problem. When "modern humans" diverged from archaic humans to form a separate species, 1, they could already have had all the physical equipment necessary for speech prior to its development as an aspect of human culture, or 2, they might not at first have been physically capable of speech at all, which implies, as you suggest, that the physical capability for speech could only have developed as part of the evolution of speech itself.

I don't know enough about paleontology, physiology or linguistics to tell you which of the two scenarios is most strongly supported by the evidence, but it does make sense to assume that certain physical characteristics necessary for speech could have developed as part of the process by which speech, and therefore language, developed. If this is the case, then I'd have to agree that if the pygmies had never had speech (language) until a few thousand years ago, they would never have been able to learn it.

If you read what I've written about Pygmy and Bushmen music, however, and listen carefully to the recorded examples, you'll see that there is already a good deal of what can be called "speech" in the play of meaningless vocables that make up about 90% of the "speech sounds" so characteristic of "Pygmy/Bushmen" style.

In my essay, "Echoes of Our Forgotten Ancestors" I discuss the possibility that this type of singing could be prototypical for speech and language and could have led to its development. There is, by the way, evidence that the Pygmies always had the ability to pronounce individual words with specific denotations. For example, certain terms have been found to be relatively consistent among various different Pygmy groups speaking different languages. So what I was suggesting in my post pertained more to language in its fullest sense, i.e., the ability to form coherent statements, controlled by a more or less logical syntax. As I see it, the evidence thus seems consistent with the Pygmies having had the ability to pronounce a variety of words for a very long time. However, they may have diverged from the ancestral group prior to the development of the syntax needed to organize words into coherent statements.

L. Dunn said...

Hi. Fascinating post this one.

Your final point about pinpointing exactly when the divergence of Pygmy/Bushmen occurs by examining language tradition seems the most promising and intriguing to me.

We know that the musical tradition must have been intact before the divergence - if it wasn't intact, then there would be no similarity between their musics (assuming that the convergent evolution theory is incorrect).

BUT. If the Bushmen language develops after (or during) the divergence event; and moreover the Pygmies have no language prior to the divergence event, we MUST conclude that the P/B style is AT LEAST as old, or possibly older, than Bushmen language(s), and predates ALL Pygmy language.

This is a staggering conclusion - that the P/B style not only is one of the very oldest musical traditions, but also predates/coincides with the extremely ancient Khoisan languages of the Bushmen.

To return to Ateesh's point, that a human without speech ability is a human without speech facility - because of the music, we know this is not the case. The subtle vowel control of the yodel techniques found in the P/B style is surely enough to account for vowel phonation (although consonant phonation is largely unaddressed; nevertheless the ability to control the vocal chords to the extent to which is required to perform P/B music is certainly more ability than that of the high apes).

In fact, as Victor has eloquently noted once or twice here, music could be seen as a preliminary/coincidiary development to/with language - a kind of proto-language, a language of pure sonorism, without semantics. This idea certainly appeals to me (as a musician); whether or not it is plausible, I do not have enough expertise to answer.

Lawrence.

DocG said...

Lawrence writes:
"We know that the musical tradition must have been intact before the divergence - if it wasn't intact, then there would be no similarity between their musics (assuming that the convergent evolution theory is incorrect)."

Yes, and there are a wide range of characteristics, some of them highly distinctive, that are remarkablly similar, to the point that even experts familiar with one or both traditions cannot always distinguish the two.

"BUT. If the Bushmen language develops after (or during) the divergence event; and moreover the Pygmies have no language prior to the divergence event, we MUST conclude that the P/B style is AT LEAST as old, or possibly older, than Bushmen language(s), and predates ALL Pygmy language."

As I see it, if the Pygmies did not, in fact, ever have a language of their own, and the geneticists are correct in placing both groups at or near the root of the phylogenetic tree for modern humans, then it's highly likely that P/B style predates the development of language. Which means that music itself, in all likelihood, predates language. We must recognize, however, that P/B incorporates certain elements characteristic of speech, specifically the use of speech-like phonemes (meaningless vocables), and also tonal structures that have phoneme-like characteristics (insofar as pitch classes can be regarded as roughly equivalent to vocable classes), so there are certainly elements of speech already present in P/B -- but not yet syntax in the fullest sense of that term, as a means of organizing coherent phrases and sentences.

"This is a staggering conclusion - that the P/B style not only is one of the very oldest musical traditions, but also predates/coincides with the extremely ancient Khoisan languages of the Bushmen."

Well, I'd prefer to call it a very interesting and promising hypothesis. Since there seem to be no traces of any click sounds in either Pygmy speech or song, it does seem logical to infer that Khoisan must have developed after the first proto-Pygmy group broke off from the ancestral band.

"To return to Ateesh's point, that a human without speech ability is a human without speech facility - because of the music, we know this is not the case. The subtle vowel control of the yodel techniques found in the P/B style is surely enough to account for vowel phonation (although consonant phonation is largely unaddressed;"

Yes, we see what could be the roots of phonological opposition already in the vowel distinctions of P/B -- but you are right, there are few if any consonants. By the way, P/B singing is not completely devoid of meaningful texts, but they tend to be extremely brief and redundant. It's possible these texts were added at a later stage, though we may never know for sure.

"nevertheless the ability to control the vocal chords to the extent to which is required to perform P/B music is certainly more ability than that of the high apes)."

Yes, and as I suggest in my essay, the interplay of pitched vowels found in P/B might well have provided an excellent context for experimentation with different combinations of vocables, experimentation that could have led to meaningful speech over time. Additionally, we must consider the continuity between the hooted and also in some cases interlocking vocalizations of certain primates and the yodeled, interlocked vocalizations characteristic of P/B. (For more on this, see Post 21, of June 3, 2007, et seq.)

"In fact, as Victor has eloquently noted once or twice here, music could be seen as a preliminary/coincidiary development to/with language - a kind of proto-language, a language of pure sonorism, without semantics. This idea certainly appeals to me (as a musician); whether or not it is plausible, I do not have enough expertise to answer."

There's still a lot of research necessary before any firm conclusions could be drawn. I'm hoping someday to be in a position to work on this problem with primatologists, linguists, cognitive scientists, as well as specialists in Pygmy and Bushmen music, language and culture.

Antares666 said...

The Pygmies had a language of their own, and then they lost it. For example there are many words of Baka language that are of unknown origin. Other groups have similar peculiar words. Among these substratum remnants, there are many items related to agriculture, and the numerals.
What is the problem with languages extinction? So many languages were lost. So many language are dying. Your language, English, is getting half the languages of the world extinct, like the original one of the Pygmies.
Occam's Razor is only the delirous creation of a lewd monk. I don't understand why this obnoxious tool is so worshipped by Anglo-Saxon people, even when evidence suggested by its use doesn't fit reality at all.

DocG said...

Antares: "What is the problem with languages extinction? So many languages were lost. So many language are dying."

I realize that languages can go extinct and I agree it's not unusual. What's unusual is when a language becomes extinct for no good reason. Pygmy groups are associated with non-Pygmy groups, true. But in almost every case, the Pygmies are not totally subjugated and spend significant amounts of time in the forest living their traditional hunter-gatherer lifestyle. So it's difficult to understand for what reason they would have given up their original languages for those of non-Pygmy groups. If they had been totally subjugated by them I'd understand, because this is usually how a language goes extinct. But they are not really subjugated and there is no reason for them to have abandoned an original language. This has not happened for example with any Bushmen group, nor with the Hadza, also a forager group.

Another problem is that the original language is assumed to have gone extinct in each and every case to the point that NO pygmy group now speaks its original language. This seems too much of a coincidence. Which is where Occam's razor comes in. It's much simpler to assume that the pygmies never had their own language than to assume that every single such group lost its language via contact with non-pygmy groups via some mechanism that's never been described, much less analyzed.

And since there is no real evidence of an original pygmy language, this hypothesis fits the evidence better as well. For more on Occam's razor and its importance I refer you to the following website: http://pespmc1.vub.ac.be/OCCAMRAZ.html

While it's true that some vocabulary has been identified that appears to be the remnant of a pygmy language, it consists solely of simple terms, with no trace of syntax or grammar. Which suggests that pygmies might have diverged from the ancestral group prior to the development of syntax but after the development of some sort of rudimentary terminology. Pygmy and Bushmen vocal music consists mostly of meaningless vocables with very little meaningful text, which reinforces this possiblity.

Antares666 said...

Substratum words are remnants of a formerly spoken language. This is a quite clear definition. Substratum languages often show no trace of syntax and grammar for the simple reason that they are extinct languages: syntax and grammar are the ones of the adopted, new language.
In Sardinian (a Romance language) there are some Nuraghic substratum remnants. These items apparently are only some vocabulary, with no trace of syntax and grammar. This is because Nuraghic people adopted Latin. After a period of bilingualism, Latin prevailed, and Nuraghic died off, leaving only some remnants. This is linguistics. There is not a good reason or a bad one for a language to die off. When young people shift to the dominant language and tend to forget the old one, death occurs within few generations.
Occam's Razor here is a mere abuse. No one in the whole planet can convince me that Pygmies had no language. They are human beings, not apes as you seem to suggest.

DocG said...

Antares, you are a perfect example of what I mean when I say that most of today's anthropology is based on assumptions. There is no evidence telling us when language developed. It's possible that Homo Erectus and Neanderthals had it, but also possible they did not. If not, then it certainly didn't spring up overnight when the first homo sapiens was conceived.

It makes no sense to assume that syntax preceded phonemes and morphemes, so it stands to reason that phonemic and morphemic elements would have preceded the development of syntax, probably as an extension of semiotic vocalizations by primate ancestors. If the ancestors of the pygmies diverged from the ancestral group after the development of morphemes but prior to the development of syntax, then their "language" such as it was, would have consisted of words only. This has nothing to do with what might have happened millennia later with Sardinian and Nuraghic, that's totally irrelevant.

I'm not saying it happened that way, I'm saying there is no evidence telling us that it could not have happened that way. The notion that one must have fully developed language to be fully human is an assumption, drummed into first year students as part of a dogma that has never been tested, least of all thought through very carefully.

There are in fact cases of humans without language, for example feral children raised by animals. Does that make them apes?

"There is not a good reason or a bad one for a language to die off." There must be a sufficient one. The principle of sufficient reason is just as basic to science as Occam's Razor: "no fact can be real or no statement true unless it has sufficient reason why it should not be otherwise." I see no sufficient reason why any Pygmy group would have lost its language and certainly no reason why ALL pygmy groups would have done so without exception. Because I prefer to follow the evidence rather than follow dogma based on nothing more than assumptions, I hold open the possibility that the Pygmies may never have had a language of their own. There is no evidence that such a language ever existed and there is no reason to believe that it necessarily had to exist. So it's POSSIBLE that it never did. That's it. And that's all I'm claiming.

"They are human beings, not apes as you seem to suggest."

If you think lack of syntax would make them apes, then perhaps you also think the lack of written language turns people into barbarians. I certainly wouldn't agree in either case.

Antares666 said...

It is you who are only able to make assumptions, and very bad ones. Then you accuse other people to have your very own logic faults. You make the absurd assumption that absence of evidence is the evidenc of absence. This is a mere pseudological argument. Pygmies have a brain with a center of languages perfectly developed. Pygmies belong to Homo Sapiens Sapiens like all other modern human beings. So they had their own language and then lost it leaving substratum remnants. Otherwise, they wouldn't have been able even to learn a Bantu language.
It is fully illogical to assume that Pygmies had languages of words only without any syntax, only because their remnants are isolated words.
Your formulation of Occam's Razor is patently false. You say: "no fact can be real or no statement true unless it has sufficient reason why it should not be otherwise."
William of Ockham said, in a rather different way: "ENTIA NON SUNT MULTIPLICANDA PRAETER NECESSITATEM", or "PLURALITAS NON PONENDA SINE NECESSITATE".
I assume you don't know Latin, so I translate. "Entities must not be multiplied beyond necessity", "plurality should not be posited without necessity".
Now, this "without necessity" is very important: it is essential to know if something is necessary or not necessary before using the Razor. A very difficult thing, that requires study and accuracy.
It is NOT a tool to be used in order to fight against complexity, as you are doing.
Feral children raised by animals don't gather honey, don't classify insects and don't call a Supreme Being KVUM.
I reverse your arguments. Where can you find a language without syntax in the whole world??? There is not a single one. Even Tasmanians, the most primitive people in this world, did speak languages with a perfectly defined syntax. So what you are postulating was never observed. Then you cannot affirm its existence and simultaneously deny the existence of something well found in many other cases: a lost language.
If a language is not written and documented, when it dies off it leaves no written records. Without evidence. But despite of this its existence cannot be denied.

DocG said...

Antares: "You make the absurd assumption that absence of evidence is the evidenc of absence."

My argument is based on the fact that NO African pygmy group has a language of its own. In other words, if the Pygmies lost their original language through contact with farmers, then essentially the same process occurred in every single case, which seems unlikely. It's not so much absence of evidence as improbability that leads me to believe the pygmies MAY POSSIBLY not have had a language of their own. Not one single Bushmen group lost its original language through contact and sometimes close association with non-Bushmen. So why would this be the case for ALL pygmy groups?

"Pygmies have a brain with a center of languages perfectly developed."

Not enough is known about either the brain or language to conclude that the "center of languages" is what you are assuming it to be. It has also been called the "speech center." If the ability to speak developed before the ability to formulate coherent sentences, as seems likely, then it's logical to assume that at some point in human history people could speak but not formulate sentences. It's important to distinguish between the speech center in the brain, which is purely physical, and language, which is essentially cultural. Having the capacity to speak in fully developed sentences is not the same as being part of a culture that actually does speak that way.

I'm not saying that this is anything more than a possibility, but I'm insisting on this as a possibility because it's important that anthropologists, linguists, cognitive scientists, etc. stop basing their thinking on assumptions and begin paying more attention to evidence -- and fundamental scientific principles as well.

"Your formulation of Occam's Razor is patently false. You say: "no fact can be real or no statement true unless it has sufficient reason why it should not be otherwise.""

This is not Occam, Antares. It is the "principle of sufficient reason" as formulated by Leibnitz.

"Now, this "without necessity" is very important: it is essential to know if something is necessary or not necessary before using the Razor."

Yes, I agree completely. Occam's Razor does NOT say that the simplest explanation must be chosen, that's completely wrong. It is the simplest explanation that conforms FULLY with the evidence that is to be preferred. And what I am saying is 1. that we do not have sufficient evidence to decide one way or the other as far as an original Pygmy language is concerned and 2. that given the evidence we DO have, the simplest explanation would seem to be that the pygmies never had a language of their own.

just86 said...

Several dialects spoken by pygmy groups, including Baka and Aka seem to share grammatical, in addition to lexical features not found in Niger-Congo languages(Bantu and Ubangian respectively).
see:
"AKA AS A CONTACT LANGUAGE: SOCIOLINGUISTIC AND GRAMMATICAL EVIDENCE"

DocG said...

Yes, Just86, I've read that dissertation and found it very interesting. But if you read carefully you'll see that the author has actually found little evidence of grammatical similarity, mostly in the form of a few morphological inflections. There is no mention, as I recall, of any syntactical similarities. As he states, both of these Pygmy languages derive almost all their grammatical characteristics from either Bantu or Ubangi models.

Unknown said...

"Pygmies are not totally subjugated and spend significant amounts of time in the forest living their traditional hunter-gatherer lifestyle. So it's difficult to understand for what reason they would have given up their original languages for those of non-Pygmy groups. If they had been totally subjugated by them I'd understand, because this is usually how a language goes extinct. But they are not really subjugated and there is no reason for them to have abandoned an original language. This has not happened for example with any Bushmen group, nor with the Hadza, also a forager group."

All known hunter gatherer tribes in south Asia; Indian tribals and S.E. Asian Negritos(eg: Malaysia Semang, Phillipine Aeta, Thailand Jahai) now speak languages derived from those of a nearby farming group. Yet the Andamanese, who are likely a pure offshoot of the oldest pre neolithic settlement wave in much of S. Asia (They match the "Asi" element in S Asians, which in mainland India is strongest in certain hunter gatherer tribes of the South)speak languages that have not been linked to any outside language family.

Unlike the Hadza, Sandawe, and current Khoisan groups, all surviving Pygmy peoples lived till recently in weak vasselage and/or symbiosis with Niger Congo Neighbors and may have done so for very long, exchanging valued foods. The loss of native languages, perhaps also in the Asian case, was probably helped by the larger sizes of farming populations, which isolated forager tribes over time and made local farming languages more practical for the latter in intergroup exchange.

Unknown said...

"... groups in the highlands of Island Melanesia, who almost certainly would have originally spoken some type of "Papuan" language, now speak Austronesian languages. So you certainly have a point.

What makes the African Pygmies a bit different is that every single Pygmy group shows the same pattern of not having a language of its own and speaking that of either their immediate neighbors, or, as in the case of the Baka, a language they probably encountered some time in the past from some other farming or herding group. Since there are a great many different Pygmy groups, each now speaking a different non-Pygmy language, it's hard to understand how the same exact process could have taken place in each and every case, with no exceptions."



The Papuan languages most likely survived in New Guinea/Arian Jaya for a combination of reasons.
Papua is both larger than most nearby land masses and contains densely mountainous parts inland, encouraging isolation. The few Austronesian speaking (Melanesian) areas of Papua are coastal.
Highland Papuans independently cultivated local crops by ca. 8000 bc. Many groups there were neolithic by the time of Austronesian contact ca. 2000 bc. and likely to have comparable population levels.
There also remain a few small pockets of such languages on islands nearest Papua spoken mainly by farming peoples.
Negrito-like peoples elsewhere in South Asia seem always to have been foragers with low numbers, and their languages are extinct everywhere but in the Andamans because of the islands' isolation.

Manhun(ಮಂಞುನ್/മഞ്ഞുന്‌) said...

All known hunter gatherer tribes in south Asia; Indian tribals ...now speak languages derived from those of a nearby farming group.

Where did you find this information? There could be few tribes in North India that have lost their original language (though they share many lineages with the surrounding farming population...so, Victor's argument can still be true). However, isolated Dravidian and Austro-Asiatic tribes have kept their languages (and tend to lose them once they become part of the mainstream population). Incidentally, tribal Dravidian languages constitute different branches in the Dravidian language tree. While farming Dravidian languages are grouped exclusively under South Dravidian branch, tribal Dravidian languages are part of North Dravidian, Central Dravidian and Southern Dravidian branches. So it is hard to believe tribal Dravidian languages were influenced by much greater farming Dravidian languages.

When it comes to Austro-Asiatic languages there are no corresponding farming Austro-Asiatic community or languages. They are exclusively tribals until very recently.

It appears subjugation or assimilation with the farming culture can be the driving force behind losing their native tongues. However, influence by distance while remaining isolated is hard to understand.

DocG said...

The situation is indeed complex. There does seem to be an indigenous Vedda language, but not everyone agrees that it isn't an offshoot of Sinhalese (see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vedda_language).

The Chenchu language, according to Wikipedia, is now spoken by "about 28,754 . . . hunter-gatherers" (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chenchu_language). No outside influence is mentioned in this article.

However, I've seen other sources claiming that, in South Asia, only the Andamanese have managed to preserve their original language.

Of central importance is why any people would drop their original language in favor of another, especially if they have a significant degree of independence, which the Pygmies seem always to have had (until very recently) -- and many other foraging groups in other parts of the world may not have had.

I wouldn't want to argue with any degree of certainty, at this point, that the Pygmies never had a language of their own, but I still see it as a possibility worthy of further investigation.

Unknown said...

"Where did you find this information? There could be few tribes in North India that have lost their original language (though they share many lineages with the surrounding farming population...so, Victor's argument can still be true). However, isolated Dravidian and Austro-Asiatic tribes have kept their languages (and tend to lose them once they become part of the mainstream population). Incidentally, tribal Dravidian languages constitute different branches in the Dravidian language tree. While farming Dravidian languages are grouped exclusively under South Dravidian branch, tribal Dravidian languages are part of North Dravidian, Central Dravidian and Southern Dravidian branches. So it is hard to believe tribal Dravidian languages were influenced by much greater farming Dravidian languages.'

I meant to say "Indian hunter-gatherer tribes" eg: the Paniya of Kerala, who tend to have a larger ASI component than nearby groups but speak Dravidian, which is (basically) of ANI origin or languages from other later migrations.

"When it comes to Austro-Asiatic languages there are no corresponding farming Austro-Asiatic community or languages. They are exclusively tribals until very recently."

Most Austro-Asiatic tribes are traditionally agricultural.
Austro-Asiatic includes Khmer and Vietnamese
which.

S. E. Asia, including at least parts of Southern Thailand, Cambodia, and Vietnam were first settled by ASI-derived ancestral Negritos. The Negrito Mani of Thailand and Malay Negrito tribes (correction: Jahai live in Malaysia.) now speak Austro-Asiatic. The Aeta speak Austronesian. Austro-Asiatic languages spread South at a later period with farming tribes of East Asian origin

"It appears subjugation or assimilation with the farming culture can be the driving force behind losing their native tongues. However, influence by distance while remaining isolated is hard to understand."


Pygmy bands had some autonomy but not total isolation from farmers. Often one band would exchange certain services and forest goods for farm products with one to a few nearby villages.. Conditions tended to favor farming tribes and allow them to take a patron-like position. Some farming tribes required the local pygmies' sons to submit, with their own to village initiation rites. These contacts helped acculturate Pygmies and likely made aspects of farming cultures more prestigious than otherwise.

@Victor
"As I see it, the evidence thus seems consistent with the Pygmies having had the ability to pronounce a variety of words for a very long time. However, they may have diverged from the ancestral group prior to the development of the syntax needed to organize words into coherent statements."

According to genetic research, the Khoisan diverged before Pygmies.

Unknown said...

"The Chenchu language, according to Wikipedia, is now spoken by "about 28,754 . . . hunter-gatherers" (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chenchu_language). No outside influence is mentioned in this article."

It was since changed and now says calls it Dravidian.
The source "ethnologue.org" says "Dravidian, South-Central, Telugu" Most sources seem to agree.

Manhun(ಮಂಞುನ್/മഞ്ഞുന്‌) said...

Dravidian, which is (basically) of ANI origin or languages from other later migrations.

There is no proof that Dravidian languages came from outside. On the contrary if you consider that three out of four Dravidian language branches are exclusively tribal, a stronger argument could be they are indigenous central-south India.

the Paniya of Kerala, who tend to have a larger ASI component than nearby groups but speak Dravidian

If you consider their ASI component is equal to Austro-Asiatic tribes of East India, then probably any interpretation based on ANI/ASI component need further deliberation. What are the ASI components of Malayali farming communities in their neighbourhoood?

For that matter, Paniyas weren't hunter-gatherer like some of Dravidian tribes in Central India. Paniyas' cultural traditions are similar to their Dravidian Malayali neighbours. However, central Dravidian tribes have their own unique cultural traditions which aren't part of the farming Dravidian communities of the South.

Unknown said...

"There is no proof that Dravidian languages came from outside. On the contrary if you consider that three out of four Dravidian language branches are exclusively tribal, a stronger argument could be they are indigenous central-south India. "

The farming migrants (like ANI peoples and Indo Europeans) and most of the world at the time, were also tribal, but they were not pre-neolithic/pre-agricultural like the older ASI wave.

Manhun(ಮಂಞುನ್/മഞ്ഞുന്‌) said...

The farming migrants (like ANI peoples and Indo Europeans) and most of the world at the time, were also tribal, but they were not pre-neolithic/pre-agricultural like the older ASI wave.

That says nothing.

Unknown said...

"If you consider their ASI component is equal to Austro-Asiatic tribes of East India, then probably any interpretation based on ANI/ASI component need further deliberation. What are the ASI components of Malayali farming communities in their neighbourhoood?"
"There is no proof that Dravidian languages came from outside. On the contrary if you consider that three out of four Dravidian language branches are exclusively tribal, a stronger argument could be they are indigenous central-south India. "

Attempts to place Dravidian are all uncertain, though, as you may know, Sumerian, Elamite, and Afro-Asiatic are suggested as relatives.
I can see no other source for ANI, since Indo-Europeans, seem very unlikely.

Indo-Aryan, like IE in most of Europe, was imposed by semi nomadic herders with low relative numbers to those of more crop-reliant local groups. It seems unlikely that IA admixture can explain the ANI component in IA speaking regions, let alone the still substantial admixture of the Dravidian south. It seems more likely that Dravidian, which preceded IA in much of the North, was introduced by ANI-like people. Most of West, North, and parts of Central Europe are thought to have very low IE mixture. Even R1a is very rare in West Europe and similarly, Celtic speaking Wales and Ireland are largely pre-Celtic genetically.

There are differences between the W. Eurasian/ANI components of N. and of S. Indians, suggesting partly different origins within W. Asia-S.E Europe.
This article tries to distinguish IA from general ANI
contributions and discusses the affinities:
http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/gnxp/2010/12/some-of-the-indo-europeans-found/

Below are some charts of admixture by group.
Malayali have slightly lower (42%) than Paniya (45-7)
Central Indian Chenchu, Kurumba, and Hallaki have have 39,39, and 34 vs. nearby lower caste Madiga at 35.
http://www.harappadna.org/2011/04/reference-3-admixture-k11/

and
https://docs.google.com/spreadsheet/ccc?key=0AuW3R0Ys-P4HdGxmakQ5U0hJOFZoVWpkeVVxZ1R6MHc#gid=0


"For that matter, Paniyas weren't hunter-gatherer like some of Dravidian tribes in Central India. Paniyas' cultural traditions are similar to their Dravidian Malayali neighbours. However, central Dravidian tribes have their own unique cultural traditions which aren't part of the farming Dravidian communities of the South."

I was under the impression that the certain Southern tribes including the Paniya were hunter gatherers until fairly recently. Some descriptions seem to describe a mixed lifestyle involving a degree of supplemental foraging one associates with transitional phases. There are cases of hunting tribes taking up herding from neolithic settlers, which might explain the Hallaki role as shepherds.

Unknown said...

correction:

Below are some charts of admixture by group.
Malayali have slightly lower ASI (42%) than Paniya (45-7)
Central Indian Chenchu, Kurumba, and Hallaki have have 39,39, and 34 vs. nearby lower caste Madiga at 35.
http://www.harappadna.org/2011/04/reference-3-admixture-k11/

Manhun(ಮಂಞುನ್/മഞ്ഞുന്‌) said...

I can see no other source for ANI, since Indo-Europeans, seem very unlikely.

Why is it non-South Asian in the first place?


Indo-Aryan, like IE in most of Europe, was imposed by semi nomadic herders with low relative numbers to those of more crop-reliant local groups...Most of West, North, and parts of Central Europe are thought to have very low IE mixture. Even R1a is very rare in West Europe and similarly, Celtic speaking Wales and Ireland are largely pre-Celtic genetically.


That is just one of the models. There is no proof that that is the correct one either in Europe or in India. However, you consistently apply the same model to almost every language family.

I can argue that an overwhelming wave of R1a turned a small region of central-eastern Europe with majority R1b to IE. Then western part of the population still majority R1b and minority R1a overwhelmed their western neighbours and so on. By the time they reached southern-most and western-most Europe it was almost like IE R1b turning non-IE R1b into IE.

Malayali have slightly lower (42%) than Paniya (45-7)
Central Indian Chenchu, Kurumba, and Hallaki


It's not Malayali but Malayan another tribe in Kerala. Only Chenchu is central Indian. Kurumba and Halakki are South Indian.

I don't have any comments on those admixture analysis. Onges have 100% Y-haplogroup D, which is completely absent in any part of India and could be observed in Tibet and Japan. I guess there must be some lurking mechanism because of which they don't show any kind of affinity towards East Asians.

If you see somewhat elevated East Asian component among Malayans and Paniyas then most likely they are later migrants from central-east India to southern India. That also explains their similar ASI component to Austro-Asiatic tribes.

Unknown said...

"Why is it non-South Asian in the first place?

because ANI is clearly of W. Eurasian affinity and its time of contact with ASI is estimated to be neolithic or later

"That is just one of the models. There is no proof that that is the correct one either in Europe or in India. However, you consistently apply the same model to almost every language family. Ican argue that an overwhelming wave of R1a turned a small region of central-eastern Europe with majority R1b to IE. Then western part of the population still majority R1b and minority R1a overwhelmed their western neighbours and so on. By the time they reached southern-most and western-most Europe it was almost like IE R1b turning non-IE R1b into IE."

Linguistic evidence suggests than proto IE peoples were heavily pastoral.
The Celts relied on herding more than many other Indo European peoples in Europe at the time.
Neolithic cultures Britain, much of Central and Southern Europe, and large parts of North and Central India (I am not sure about the South) were mostly agricultural.
This is why I use the analogy. Languages did not always spread this way, but It was one of the few ways, in early periods for a smaller group (which pastoralists tend to be vs farmers) without a significant technological advantage to impose its language on a larger one. There are many more recent cases. This seems most likely the way IE was spread in many cases. The otherwise genetically diverse nature of majority r1a peoples makes near replacement unlikely to be the usual way of transmission.

Unknown said...
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Unknown said...
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Unknown said...

I" don't have any comments on those admixture analysis. Onges have 100% Y-haplogroup D, which is completely absent in any part of India and could be observed in Tibet and Japan. I guess there must be some lurking mechanism because of which they don't show any kind of affinity towards East Asians."
I" don't have any comments on those admixture analysis. Onges have 100% Y-haplogroup D, which is completely absent in any part of India and could be observed in Tibet and Japan. I guess there must be some lurking mechanism because of which they don't show any kind of affinity towards East Asians."


Gene flow from new settlers is usually male biased, and mtdna m2 and m4, common in Andamanese, are also moderately common in parts of India and strongest in the South and near coastal areas. It is possible that D was nearly wiped out by later migrations which would be consistent with two subsequent waves from W. Eurasia.

Manhun(ಮಂಞುನ್/മഞ്ഞുന്‌) said...

Gene flow from new settlers is always male biased, and mtdna m2 and m4, common in Andamanese, are also common in India. It is possible that D was nearly wiped out by later migrations which would be consistent with two subsequent waves from W. Eurasia.

Onges belong to mtDNA M31 clade whose origin is putatively assigned in north-east India. There can be many interpretations based on Tibeto-Japanese-Ongese Y-haplogroup D and north-east Indian M31.

I suppose ASI is related to Onge component but it's not ASI.

because ANI is clearly of W. Eurasian affinity and its time of contact with ASI is estimated to be neolithic or later

Where did the W.Eurasian ancestor of ANI live? How do you explain it with uniparental lineages?

Linguistic evidence suggests than proto IE peoples were heavily pastoral.

That doesn't refute my argument. R1a only has to overwhelm a small region and turn that region into IE. A section of population from this region (now IE) farmers or otherwise can overwhelm other regions. Obviously, farming terms of originally non-IE southern Europe can't be constructed in Proto-IE.

Anyway, there are many dangling nodes here.
1. Exclusive tribal Dravidian language branches
2. Elevated East Asian component in southern tribals with elevated Onge component (How this is related to ASI .. both of which branched around 1700 generations ago?) showing their central-eastern origin (most likely mixed with Austro-Asiatics like most of the Dravidian tribes in central-east India)

I guess we were discussing how Paniyas lost their languages to ANI Dravidians.

Unknown said...
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Unknown said...
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Unknown said...

I suppose ASI is related to Onge component but it's not ASI."

I basically agree.
"ASI" likely covers a diverse range of mostly related groups, one of which may have been proto-Andaman derived. Paleolithic South Asian U2, would add to this diversity.

"Where did the W.Eurasian ancestor of ANI live? How do you explain it with uniparental lineages?"

ANI seems to be made up of several layers reflecting migrations which are analyzed in the article below . One element, more significant in North India and Pakistan has affinities to a part of the Caucasus (Daghestan) near a posited IE homeland. This is probably IA. There is another element, likely absorbed by the IA on their way to India, which is high in the Baloch and Barusho. These make up only part of the ANI components of the groups represented. The IE/Daghestani element is calculated for Europe as generally low, though higher in high r1a and Eastern regions.
The article does not determine the exact origin of the remainder of ANI, but it is fairly clear that it is not IE.
http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/gnxp/2010/12/some-of-the-indo-europeans-found/

According to one hypothesis, Dravidian comes, with Elamite, from SW. Iram. Cavalli Sforza thought Dravidian originated between E. Iran and W. Pakistan.

Some suggest Ydna T is Dravidian. It's fairly high in some, mostly Dravidian groups, and derives from the Middle East.

An association of Dravidian with ydnaJ is proposed:
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1235289/
The likely date of entry for certain W. Eurasian specific mitochondrial markers in India is calculated as near when Middle Eastern grains were introduced and a suggested Dravidian link:
http://jorde-lab.genetics.utah.edu/elibrary/Kivisild_1999.pdf

Unknown said...

"That doesn't refute my argument. R1a only has to overwhelm a small region and turn that region into IE. A section of population from this region (now IE) farmers or otherwise can overwhelm other regions. Obviously, farming terms of originally non-IE southern Europe can't be constructed in Proto-IE."

If by "overwhelm" you mean linguistically, the population that spreads will not be majority IE genetically. My point was that; Indo Europeans, do not explain the high W. Eurasian admixture in India, including the more remote non IE parts.

Farmers are unlikely to overwhelm other farmers or impose their language without a technological advantage or substantial population replacement. Herders have done so however, in many cases. There is a high level of pre-IE genetic continuity in most of Europe (eg: Ireland and Wales) including notably the heavily populated Mediterranean.
Ancestral Dravidians of W Eurasian origin would have encountered only hunter gatherers in South Asia and had a greater genetic effect.

"Anyway, there are many dangling nodes here.
1. Exclusive tribal Dravidian language branches
2. Elevated East Asian component in southern tribals with elevated Onge component (How this is related to ASI .. both of which branched around 1700 generations ago?) showing their central-eastern origin (most likely mixed with Austro-Asiatics like most of the Dravidian tribes in central-east India)

I am not sure how the exclusively tribal nature of some branches relates to whether Dravidian is indigenous.

I guess we were discussing how Paniyas lost their languages to ANI Dravidians."

Apparently, both tribal and non tribal Dravidians in South and Central India are now very mixed, and probably have been for a fairly long time. It of course is possible, that Dravidian itself is native to India,( since it is not found outside South Asia), but derives substantially from a more N. Westernly Eurasian ancestor. The degree of influence from indigenous, non W.Eurasian derived peoples of Dravidian is not known. There are indications that ASI-like peoples lived in significant numbers toward NW. India until long after the paleolithic. Indus valley skulls show a mix of Mediterranean "Australoid", and Andamanese affinities closest to modern South West Indians, and in other aspects to the Sri Lankan Vedda. I wonder that Dravidian might in some respects be a contact language, that formed near the area of ancestral Dravidian ANI entry.
This could be hard to prove, since Andamanese languages may now be too distant for comparison.

Unknown said...

"That doesn't refute my argument. R1a only has to overwhelm a small region and turn that region into IE. A section of population from this region (now IE) farmers or otherwise can overwhelm other regions. Obviously, farming terms of originally non-IE southern Europe can't be constructed in Proto-IE."

These scenarios would seem to produce a range of populations that, for the most part have little IE genetic ancestry. My point was that; Indo Europeans do not explain the high W. Eurasian admixture in India, especially in the more remote, non IE parts.

Farmers are unlikely to overwhelm other farmers or impose their language without a technological advantage or substantial population replacement. Herders have often done so. There is not evidence in most cases of pre-IE replacement in either Europe or India. Most of Europe shows a high level of pre-IE genetic continuity (eg: Ireland and Wales) including notably, the heavily populated Mediterranean.
Ancestral Dravidians of W Eurasian origin would have encountered only hunter gatherers in South Asia and,being food producers, had a greater genetic impact.

"Anyway, there are many dangling nodes here.
1. Exclusive tribal Dravidian language branches
2. Elevated East Asian component in southern tribals with elevated Onge component (How this is related to ASI .. both of which branched around 1700 generations ago?) showing their central-eastern origin (most likely mixed with Austro-Asiatics like most of the Dravidian tribes in central-east India)

I am not sure how the exclusively tribal nature of some branches relates to whether Dravidian is indigenous.

I guess we were discussing how Paniyas lost their languages to ANI Dravidians."

Apparently, both tribal and non tribal Dravidians in South and Central India are now very mixed, and probably have been for a fairly long time. It of course is possible, that Dravidian itself is native to India,( since it is not found outside South Asia), but derives substantially from a more N. Westernly Eurasian ancestor. There are indications that ASI-like peoples lived in significant numbers toward NW. India until long after the paleolithic. Indus valley skulls show a mix of Mediterranean "Australoid", and Andamanese affinities closest to modern South West Indians, and in other aspects to the Sri Lankan Vedda. The degree of influence from,pre ANI languages on Dravidian, it seems, could be significant, but hard to test, since Andamanese languages may be too distant for comparison.

Unknown said...

correction:
a mix of Mediterranean, "Australoid", and Andamanese affinities

DocG said...

This is all very interesting, guys, but I'm afraid you've drifted off topic. Maybe each of you would like to summarize your arguments in relation to the question at hand, which is: how likely is it that all these different Pygmy groups managed to lose their original language and adopt the language of their farming neighbors? and whether there might have been similar precedents, in India or elsewhere?

Also, since both of you seem knowledgeable about the population genetics of southern Asia and the history of Indoeuropean languages, I'd appreciate it if you'd post some comments on the relevant chapters in my book blog, starting with Chapter Nine: http://soundingthedepths.blogspot.com/2011/02/chapter-nine-migration.html

J.A. Brown said...

I don't mean to be overly suggestive here based on no real substantial foundation, but I just thought I'd mention I looked at a few images of Ogiek (Dorobo) people and they appeared somewhat "archaic" to me, more "tribal" in their culture than neighboring types (with body paint reminiscent of some Oceanian and American peoples) and also I thought they had what I'd call "pseudo-Papuan" looking phenotypes.