Talk:Uto-Aztecan languages

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Link Destinations?[edit]

Some of these links go to language pages and some of them go to pages on the peoples who spoke them. Should they all be directed to a language page at the expense of having more red links? Maybe following the language with the peoples who spoke them would be a good compromise. For example:

Ute-Southern Paiute language - Ute, Southern Paiute

What do you think? Toiyabe 23:52, 22 August 2005 (UTC)

I would like a link to something rather than nothing. Of course, links to language articles are prefered, but since most languages do not have articles I linked them to the people (which are also lacking). I guess I was hoping that when people linked the wrong page, they would be motivated to create a language page. So, I guess I like my way better than your suggestion, but I wont object if you change it. right now, I am just making language family pages, after that I will create pages for the individual languages. It is a slow process though: most authors write about other topics... peace – ishwar  (speak) 00:50, 2005 August 23 (UTC)
Fair enough. You seem to be putting in most of the effort in this area, so I'll defer to your lead. I guess I could be helpful and start some stubs, but this is an area I know little about. Toiyabe 16:22, 23 August 2005 (UTC)
I think we all agree that the links should direct to the language articles, unless they do not exist. Alexander 007 14:13, 8 December 2005 (UTC)

Tlalchiyahualica [edit]

Hopiakuta 22:40, 23 September 2006 (UTC)

Tanoan[edit]

I really must object to the Tanoan family not being present in this chart. Tanoan peoples are most certainly Uto-Aztecan. The Kiowa for example have known many other Uto-Aztecan peoples as their cousins, visited them, and travelled as far as central Mexico where they were able to converse with the people there. A single rogue linguist trying to make fame for himself by denying long established realities does not make a good reason to toy at such historical revisionism as removing Tanoan from the Uto-Aztecan family in an encyclopedia. Xj 07:12, 19 December 2006 (UTC)

There is no single rogue linguist. Tanoan has never been demonstrated to be related to Uto-Aztecan. This appears to be the consensus among the published family classifications. The hypothesis is old, however, and has been popularly repeated, probably due in large part to Edward Sapir. Although they may be related, this remains to worked out through linguistic reconstruction. —The preceding unsigned comment was added by Ish ishwar (talkcontribs) 08:36, 19 December 2006 (UTC).
Ish Ishwar is correct - The Aztec-Tanoan proposal is not established by a longshot, at this point it is just one more of Sapirs hunches. Whorf and Tragers establishment of Aztec-Tanoan was rebutted in 1979 by Kenneth Hale (hardly a rogue linguist) who wrote: "..a cautious view must lave the question open. If Uto-Aztecan and Kiowa-Tanoan are elated the time depth is extremely great". You shoulld read Campbells summay of the poposal in American Indian Languages (1997) pages 269-273. He concludes that the evidence hands falls short of establishing the likelihood of a relationship beteen the two families although further research is warranted. Further more as Ishwar says hardly any works on Uto-Aztecan historical linguistics have included Tanoan since the fifties. Maunus 09:38, 19 December 2006 (UTC)
Thirded. Sapir was a great linguist, but several of his hunches have not really withstood careful scrutiny. I would add that even if Aztec-Tanoan were agreed to be a correct grouping, Tanoan would still not be within Uto-Aztecan, but cognate within a higher grouping. · rodii · 00:50, 21 December 2006 (UTC)
Totally disagree with all this. Kiowas and other Tanonan peoples are known historically and factually to be closely related to a large number of Uto-Aztecan tribes. They were able to converse with one another each using their own languages. All the novel new theories the latest linguist are spewing to impress other linguists is stuff they don't even know what they are talking about. They are highly ignorant of tribal history and their claims that Tanonan is not in the Uto-Aztecan family is just a big white supremecist intellectual circle jerk outside of ethnic realities. Xj 01:30, 15 January 2007 (UTC)
You are completely wrong. The Tanoan langauges aren't even intelligible among themselves - Kiowas couldn't speak with Tiwas in their own language. And much less so with Uto-Aztecan peoples. However Most plains people could speak to unrelated tribes by using Plains Indian Sign Language. As for your accusing an entire science of racism that is just petty and ignorant. An article about the Uto-Aztecan language family must be based on linguistic data because it is only through linguistic research that the familyrelation ship has become known. Tribal ethnohistory while useful for something and certainly always interesting cannot be the basis for linguistic classification.Maunus 09:21, 15 January 2007 (UTC)
There is not one single, solitary linguist, who is a verifiable expert in either Uto-Aztecan or Tanoan languages, who accepts the relationship between Tanoan and Uto-Aztecan languages. It was based on a single article published in the 1930s. The evidence was problematic from the beginning and despite further efforts in subsequent decades, no strong evidence was ever found for a linguistic relationship. This unanimity is not "some rogue linguist". I am an expert in the Numic languages and I can't make heads nor tails of any Tanoan language. Laurel Watkins, the authority on Kiowa, would agree with this (although she can make sense of Tanoan). Kiowa and Comanche communication was either through bilinguals (the Kiowas usually learning Comanche) or they communicated through sign language. I would be interested in Xj's "evidence" and his credentials as a historical linguist. (Taivo (talk) 02:41, 5 February 2008 (UTC))

Genetic classification[edit]

Although the previous version said it was "based on the authoritative classification given in Lyle Campbells 'American Indian Languages'," in fact there were many discrepancies between Campbell's scheme and the one presented. I've tried to give a general consensus version based on Campbell, Goddard, and Mithun. If making changes in this, please cite your sources and give your reasons for rejecting the ones used here. RhymeNotStutter 22:25, 31 December 2006 (UTC)

I've changed some of your broken links. Southern Tepehuan is not extinct see the ethnologue references here: Tepehuán language. I don't think a "consensus" classification is a good idea since it borders on Original Research - we should faithfully reproduce one classification and only incorporate any later substantial changes to that classification giving specific references. Maunus 22:51, 31 December 2006 (UTC)

According to both Campbell (1997) and Mithun (1999), Southern Tepehuan is extinct. If there's reason to prefer the testimony of the Ethnologue reference, though, I don't think we should mechanically follow the first two on this point. The same reasoning applies to the matter of classification. Where there are contradictions between the authorities, it isn't doing "Original Research" to decide on the most credible between them on any particular point. Nor is it standard encyclopedic practice to uncritically follow one authority throughout; quite the contrary. If you prefer, though, we could switch over to presenting one authority's classification scheme (but which one?), and then note the discrepancies with other treatments in footnotes or text discussions. (I'm not sure it's worth the effort to do that, though, rather than trying to present a concise general picture that encompasses the general view in the article.) RhymeNotStutter 01:09, 1 January 2007 (UTC)

The problem is that Tepecano isn't the same thing as southern Tepehuán but southern tepehuán is sometimes called Tepecano. The original Tepecano language however is extinct. The Ethnologue counted over 15,000 speakers of southern Tepehuán in 2000 - I would prefer this info over Campbell et al. since counting speakers is what the ethnologue specializes in and campbell doesn't. As for the classification I think we should follow Campbell or maybe the ethnologues classification. And I do think it is OR to decide which authority is wrong on a specific point, such a decision cannot be made without arguments. This is why I find it better to reproduce "uncritically" a classification and let any errors in it be the errors of its original author and not ours.Maunus 06:15, 1 January 2007 (UTC)

I think there's a need for greater consistency here. You say that critically choosing among the contradictory testimony of experts on specific points is prohibited as Original Research, yet that's exactly what you're doing in the case of southern Tepehuán. You say that we should uncritically reproduce one classification, yet you've again inserted elements into the classification that are supported by NEITHER Campbell NOR Ethnologues (nor other sources that I've seen, and you don't cite any). As to Campbell's distinction between Southern Paiute and Ute/Chemehuevi, I strongly suspect that this is mostly a typo. I think that all other authorities recognize that Chemehuevi is a dialect of Southern Paiute. Some may make a distinction between Southern Paiute and Ute, but if so they would group Chemehuevi with Southern Paiute, not Ute. As to Alliklik, see the discussion in the articles on Tataviam and Tataviam language. It may well be that "Alliklik" is better reserved as a term for a Chumashan language or dialect, but the equation of Alliklik with Tataviam is well established in the literature, and an encyclopedia should alert its readers to that fact. RhymeNotStutter 16:31, 1 January 2007 (UTC)

Which unsourced statements unsupported by Campbell and the ethnologue have I inserted? Both Campbell and the ethnologue acknodledges southern tepehuan as being alive, and both say that Tepecano is a separate extinct language(and the ethnologue provides the additional information that southern and northern tepehúan is sometimes also called Tepecano).I am using only Campbells classification right now, but yes I am working it into the scheme already present without changing the entire layout at once. And this does amount to OR because I am deciding which discrepancies of your "consensus" classification I disagree with. But as we haven't agreed to follow one classification only yet at the moment I am just trying to make the classifcation presneted into something that I can agree with, and which doesn't present obvious arrors such as declaring a language with 20,000 speakers extinct.
Campbells classification of Southern Numic is:
Southern Paiute
Ute, Chemehuevi
Kawaiisu

Whether grouping Chemehuevi with Ute is a typo I don't know, but I know thats the way it is in the book and that I would want to see a good and referenced counter argument to it in order to change it. Laso if it is it is worth at least a note to say that we have assumed it to be a typo in Campbells classification. Why he distinguishes Ute and Paiute I don't know - even ethnologue who are notorious splitters don't distinguish them (The distinction goes back to Sapir though so maybe that's why he distinguishes). But again that's what he writes. (we could mention the conclusion of J.A. Jones article from Anthropological Quarterly 1954 here it is argued convincingly that "Ute-chemehuevi" is the best nomenclature for the linguistic group, and Ute/Souther Paiute as cultural distinctions)

His classification of Pimic is:
Pima-Papago
Pima Bajo
Northern Tepehuan and Southern Tepehuan 
Tepecano
Campbell does not say that southern Tepehuan is extinct, he says that tepecano is extinct as does the etnologue. But he counts southern and Northern Tepehuán as one language just as the present article did before you changed it.
As for Tataviam Campbell writes that he does consider Tataviam to be UA in accordance with Bright and in contradiction to Beeler and Klar, but that he considers Alliklik as identified by kroeber to be a Chumashan language in accordance with Beeler and Klar. He clearly distinguishes between Tataviam and the language called Alliklik by Kroeber. The current disageements should be enough to show that we should stick with one classifcation scheme because there is no "neutral consensus" we can't even agree on which languages are which. I reallly propose that we change the strategy and state specifically which classification says what and present arguments in favour and in contra of those differences. Allowing the readers to see which linguists say what and why instead of showing which classifications we personally believe the most. (I am assuming that you haven't personally done comparative research on Uto-Aztecan, I know I haven't and am only presenting Campbells data and arguments for face value)Maunus 17:47, 1 January 2007 (UTC)

Okay, I think the best would be to follow Campbell's classification explicitly and completely, with footnotes added to document the points on which other recent experts disagree with him. I'll work on changing over to the straight Campbell system in the next couple of days, unless you want to do so. (Places where you've introduced changes contrary to Campbell include Sonoran as a major grouping of all non-Aztecan southern languages, distinguishing Southeastern and Southwestern Tepehuan languages, and moving Tepecano into a subdivision of Southern Tepehuan.) For reasonable consistency, I don't think dialects should be listed; almost all of the major languages have documented dialects, and listing them all would overwhelm the classification. Where Campbell lists more than one language on a line without putting them in parentheses or hyphenating (as in the case Northern and Southern Tepehuan; also Cahuilla and Cupeño, which are certainly considered separate languages; etc.), I don't think he's saying that these are dialects, only that they belong to a common unnamed subgroup. - RhymeNotStutter 20:00, 1 January 2007 (UTC)

Agreed. Sonoran was already introduced in the classification before and I nearly moved it to the level where Campbell mentions it. He says that it is a grouping of Taracahitan, Pimic and Coracholan that isn't fully accepted - thats how I've introduced it. I did mean to list tepecano along side Southern tepehuan and not as a dialect of it. I also think we shouldn't list dialects. Please go ahead with the implementation of Campbell throuhgout and I'll assist where I can.Maunus 21:16, 1 January 2007 (UTC)

Nobody separates Southern Paiute from Chemehuevi and Ute as dialects of a single language. Lyle Campbell has told me that this is a typo in his book. It makes absolutely no linguistic sense whatsoever to group Ute (on the eastern end) with Chemehuevi (on the western end) as opposed to Southern Paiute (in the middle). I'm going to fix the Numic section to be accurate. It is not "original research", but simply recognizing the UNANIMITY of opinion among Numicists on this point. This is absolutely noncontroversial in either Numic or Uto-Aztecan studies. (Taivo (talk) 02:54, 5 February 2008 (UTC))

Map[edit]

Nice map, Maunus, thanks. I don't see Guarijío or Pima on it. Lavintzin 16:44, 2 January 2007 (UTC)

I'll put in Guarijío (it wasn't on any on my source maps either for some reason) and Pima Bajo is in the northern map for some reason. Also the locations are slightly impressionistic since I don't have coordinates or anything I have just done it impressionistically from Campbells maps and some others. I hope they aren't too far off. Also it is a problem that some locations are precontact and some are current. I do think it is an OK additio for the time being but hopefully they can become more precise.Maunus 17:35, 2 January 2007 (UTC)

Brian Stubbs?[edit]

I know that Brian Stubbs has in the past couple decades done some work on Uto-Aztecan and Semitic languages, and found something like a thousand correspondences, which manifest consistent sound shifts. I'm a little suspicious of the conclusions because he's a Mormon (and so has reason to find such a correspondence). The reasearch has been mentioned favorably by other linguists, but they're also diffusionists. I don't know if any mainstream linguists or anthropologists have resonded to this research. Does anyone know? Should this at least be mentioned in this article? CaliforniaKid 19:45, 12 February 2007 (UTC)

This should not be mentioned since it is not taken seriously by other linguists. I have personally asked Brian about this and his opinion is that it's good enough for the Mormon faithful, but "not yet ready for primetime" and wider dissemination. He's asked me not to reference it elsewhere. (Taivo (talk) 03:04, 5 February 2008 (UTC))
We should include Stubb's other work though. Particularly his article on Tubar in the homage to Wick Miller is excellent and useful. IMO.

Yaqui on maps[edit]

i don't know who drew those maps, but i don't believe the yaqui were that far down into the state of sonora. if anything, they went as far north as the border with arizona today. was this drawn on someone's own recollection?

its drawn by me from the data from SIL on the current locations of Yaqui communities in Sonora.·Maunus· ·ƛ· 11:34, 22 June 2007 (UTC)

factual error in main article[edit]

The original text reads:

"Although established as a family, the subgrouping of the Uto-Aztecan language family remains controversial at present. Only eight groupings are considered unproblematic by a wide consensus of linguists: the Numic, Takic, Tübatulabal, Hopi, Pimic, Taracahitic and Aztecan branches. The higher level relations between these as well as the further subdivision of the single branches remain controversial. The Sonoran branch (including Pimic, Taracahitic and Corachol) and Shoshonean branch (including Numic and Takic,) in particular, are not accepted by some scholars."

Please note that in the list following this statement, there are only seven language groups named. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Dutch206 (talkcontribs) 00:28, 28 January 2008 (UTC)


Maps are way off[edit]

The U.S. map needs serious revision. The Numic area doesn't even reach the Great Salt Lake, but Shoshone extended into Wyoming and central Idaho and Northern Paiute extended into central Oregon. The U.S. map is a joke as it stands. (Taivo (talk) 02:48, 5 February 2008 (UTC))

I made the maps and I realize that the US map is flawed - that is because I had to impressionistically paint the areas unto the sattelite image with no state boundaries or other toponymic guideposts. I'll try to revise it.·Maunus· ·ƛ· 10:45, 5 February 2008 (UTC)
That is a better map. I'd be happy to proof another verson of the topo map if you prepare one. I'm not very skilled at the Photoshop genre of software or else I'd do it myself. (Taivo (talk) 03:27, 6 February 2008 (UTC))
I've put in a new map I made based on Campbell 1997 - I can alter almost anything if you have suggestions for improvement.·Maunus· ·ƛ· 11:50, 10 February 2008 (UTC)
Much better map. My better half is calling me to eat, so I'll make some notes later. (Taivo (talk) 11:58, 10 February 2008 (UTC))
The Tongva of the Los Angeles Basin spoke an Uto-Aztecan language but are not represented on the map.AThousandYoung (talk) 19:43, 6 May 2010 (UTC)

That part of the map is so small that all the names cannot be listed for lack of space. Thus, Cupeno, Gabrieleno, Serrano, and a number of Piman languages in northern Mexico, are all missing labels on the map. If you would like to draw a smaller scale map of just southern California and northwestern Mexico so that all the languages can be represented, then knock yourself out. (Taivo (talk) 19:55, 6 May 2010 (UTC))

Rebuilding the Classification[edit]

I've reformatted the Northern Uto-Aztecan section according to consensus Uto-Aztecan scholarship (summarized in Campbell, Mithun, and Goddard--Goddard's map that includes revisions to his Handbook article) and added references (a grammar and dictionary for each language where available). Someone else can work with Southern Uto-Aztecan because my Spanish is poor to non-existent.(Taivo (talk) 15:09, 9 February 2008 (UTC))

Good additions to the references, Maunus (Taivo (talk) 04:56, 10 February 2008 (UTC))

Greenberg[edit]

Greenberg's "Amerind" as well as his "mass comparison" methodology are rejected by the vast majority of historical linguists. There really isn't any debate on this at all. You have two serious historical linguists here (Maunus and myself) who agree on this. There is a small number of historical linguists who do accept this methodology and Greenberg's results, but they are a very small number and are not very influential in the field. (Taivo (talk) 04:53, 28 December 2008 (UTC))

Reference List[edit]

Actually, I like reference lists that are physically tied to the languages that they refer to. It makes it much easier to find references if one is looking for material on a single language or group of languages. (Taivo (talk) 19:34, 20 February 2009 (UTC))


TO-DO LIST[edit]

  • Add descriptions of histry of reconstruction:
Sapir (1915), Whorf (& Trager?)(1935), Voegelin, Voegelin & Hale 1962, Langacker (several), Kaufman (1981), Manaster-Ramer (Several), Dakin (Several).
  • Describe differences in phonological reconstructions.
Open or closed syllables, Final features, Lenition/consonant gradation, status of l, n, ŋ.
  • Describe basic morphological characteristics:
NI, reduplication, verb compounding, suppletion, postpositions, non-distinct arguments ala Langacker ...
  • Sound changes in different branches
  • Examples of cognate sets

·Maunus·ƛ· 21:24, 22 June 2009 (UTC)

"Campbell 1979"[edit]

Campbell 1979, which is an actual publication, was included among works cited (formerly "References"), yet it was not cited in the text in the last version prior to the bunch of edits I've made in the last 24 hours. Therefore, I've deleted it. (I retitled "References" "Bibliography"). Now, Campbell 1997 is cited many times, and it's possible that some of these citations are typos. (Of course, it's also possible that yet other inline citations were meant to be "Campbell 1979" or that any inline citation to it was inadvertently omitted.) By Googling, I find evidence that Campbell 1979 may have been cited without inline citations in many articles by one editor in particular. Let's see if someone else can match the source, Campbell 1979 to any content in this article. By the way, both Campbell 1979 and 1997 are relevant to this article. Dale Chock (talk) 22:10, 15 June 2011 (UTC)

Followup. Of course I have no objection to citing a source as further reading. Just make sure to put it under a "Further reading" heading! For it makes sense to have one bibliography section that is limited to publications that support claims in the body of the article. IF you philosophically disagree, then discuss it here. Don't just revert edits. Dale Chock (talk) 22:33, 15 June 2011 (UTC)

Hey, it occurred to me to create the "Further reading" section myself, which I've done. How come I didn't think of it the first time? Because being reverted in trigger happy fashion emotionally distracted me. Again, if somebody dislikes this solution, then certainly discuss it here; and if the reversion of my original edit can be justified by inline citations, then add the inline citations. Dale Chock (talk) 22:51, 15 June 2011 (UTC)
There was no "trigger happy" revert and when I reverted this section did not exist. Check the time stamps before you make accusations. Read WP:BRD. The status quo prevails if anyone reverts you, then you bring it here to discuss. Campbell 1979 is an important source for the history of the Uto-Aztecan question vis a vis the southern Uto-Aztecan branches. And since several of these sections were written before the ideological need to cite every sentence, we don't know what sources the original (and subsequent) authors used or didn't use in writing those sections. Campbell 1979 should remain with the other references until the entire article is referenced, and then you can see what is and is not referenced. It's rather pointless to count sources when some sections do not have their sources cited, especially when those sections are exactly those sections that Campbell 1979 is relevant to. --Taivo (talk) 01:01, 16 June 2011 (UTC)
(1) With regard to your observation that the section did not exist at the moment you reverted me, you are right, and it doesn't matter. What happened is that after I edited the article, I edited the Talk page to explain my article edit. I do not have to have the explanation ready the instant I edit the article. It was incumbent on you to wait a reasonable amount of time to see if I would follow through on my promise to make a comment at the Talk page. Indeed, my comment was short and I had it posted within a few minutes. In all my experience with Wikipedia, this is the first time I've been pounced on because my Talk page discussion wasn't immediately posted. Not only did you not wait a while, you didn't wait five minutes! That is being trigger happy.
(2) With regard to the substantial issue of the article content. Your reasoning is total contradiction: "we must keep the old citation because we don't know what passages it pertains to". Plus your action lacks an objective motivation: we don't break anything by removing a source not referenced to anything! We don't destroy evidence. You talk like you're new to Wikipedia and new to scholarship. The main purpose of footnotes is disclose what sources were consulted — evidently you disagree. To repeat myself from a previous post: if one thinks that unconsulted source X (i.e., X has not been invoked to support/justify any wording) is nevertheless an important source for topic Y, THAT is precisely the rationale for having a "Further reading" list — which is something professional encyclopedias do. "Further reading" can indicate sources which were NOT consulted, but that can be recommended as valuable for researching the topic. (Granted, "further reading" can also mean merely "reading beyond this article", so that an entry in the "further reading" may have been consulted.) For this article, when someone can use Campbell 1979 to support a specific passage in the Wikipedia article, they can add a footnote to that effect and consequently they can add it to the "Bibliography". If you still believe this is going to cause storm damage to the article, please spell out your reasoning. By the way, since I define the "bibliography" as works consulted, maybe we should retitle the bibliography "Works consulted". For now, I won't do so; I mention this by way of explanation. Dale Chock (talk) 15:41, 17 June 2011 (UTC)

High handed move by another editor[edit]

Just now, I made a minor deletion in the article, then created a new section on the Talk page to discuss it. Immediately Taivo reverted my edit with a nonexplanation explanation, "No need to delete. No new section on Talk page". You can't do that, Taivo. Besides, the new section in the Talk page is still there. I explained my reason for the deletion. I invited editors to provide inline citations to support the inclusion of the deleted material. All Taivo did was revert me without contributing any discussion. WHY is there "no need"? All this is about is a bibliography entry — why can't you explain yourself? Dale Chock (talk) 22:22, 15 June 2011 (UTC)

Why do we have a full set of bibliographic citations for further reading for each member language?[edit]

In the last two days, I was slow to realize what about the references was odd. What it is is this: the bulk of them are not sources of claims made in the article, but recommendations for further reading on particular languages. This is not a bad thing, but it is not usually how things are done at Wikipedia. If you want to study the grammar of language X mentioned in this article, what Wikipedia should do is hyperlink you to a separate article on language X, and in that article works on the grammar of language X should be cited. I grant that there is at least the possibility that there is some significant convenience in having a bibliography of grammars and linguistic researches in one place. Nevertheless, I am skeptical how much convenience it affords, and it's not how things are usually done. I am reminded of the motto that runs something like, "Wikipedia (or, 'a Wikipedia article') should not be a list of links". I am not going to scatter references in this category to the three dozen or so language articles, because of the workload. But I will create a subgroup of them in the bibliography. An alternative solution would be a table. Dale Chock (talk) 15:56, 17 June 2011 (UTC)

What is the problem? I am reminded of an old saying, "If it ain't broke, don't fix it". This article has been perfectly usable this way for a number of years (at least four or five). I disagree with your continued attempts to delete or "reorganize" references. This article does not suffer for having ample references. Unless you are a professional Uto-Aztecanist (or even a linguist), I wonder at your motivation for meddling in an article that you don't use or refer to. I have used these "extra" bibliographic references in language articles far more than I've used the text in many articles. Unless you have a valid reason for deleting or even rearranging these references, just saying, "other articles aren't like this" is not sufficient justification for trying to fix something that is not broken. --Taivo (talk) 21:31, 17 June 2011 (UTC)

Sources all need to be reread, article needs fresh start[edit]

By rewriting half of this small article today, and by adding comments to the above section, "Campbell 1979", I've made some startling discoveries. The article had two contradictions (like claiming a unified Corachol-Aztecan branch here, denying it there), and at least as many redundancies. It says very little. In my edits of the last six or so hours, I hardly deleted any points made, I just consolidated. Now I find that several statements, including ones I haven't gotten around to changing, are not faithful to the sources. This article was a mess! Basically, it has been neglected for a long time.

Here are two examples of things that remain to be fixed. (1) The statement that "since about 1980", some scholars have debunked the Northern/Southern classification. The problem with that is not that it's inaccurate, but that it's foolishly pointless in light of the claim by Steele 1979: 453, that the Northern/Southern theory was only launched in 1975, by Jeffrey Heath in a manuscript. (2) Somebody wrote that they were basing Northern/Southern on three sources including Mithun 1999. But Mithun 1999: 539-540 — I'm looking at it as I write this — does no such thing; it sticks with the eight branches.

I see that in my vehement comments of today, I was more right than I imagined. I mean the hullabaloo that was raised at my grouping and/or moving citations, and now it turns out that the article was sparse and garbled, and several editors hadn't read the sources, perhaps over a period of years. Neither had I, until today — but then, I only started editing this article yesterday! Dale Chock (talk) 22:52, 17 June 2011 (UTC)

As a small contribution, I've changed the infobox to throw out the useless links to Northern and Southern Uto-Aztecan (one being circular, the other red, both highly unlikely to ever be separate articles) and to reflect only the eight uncontroversial groups (they're not actually that many, so I can't see a problem with that). I knew the Northern/Southern classification was heavily problematic, but I had no idea that it's that recent and that baseless. I believe that it's always better for Wikipedia – especially when it comes to the infoboxes – to err on the side of caution, i. e., the splitters, than on the side of lumpers. --Florian Blaschke (talk) 12:20, 27 October 2011 (UTC)

Taracahitic vs. Taracahitan[edit]

Mostly, the article uses the term 'Taracahitic', which seems to be used by the majority of scholars (including Campbell), but there are two references to 'Taracahitan', an alternative term for the subfamily that I've seen occasionally, e.g. in works by Wick Miller and Jane Hill. The article should be consistent in what term it uses. (I've made note of the alternate term in the separate page on Taracahitic; I'm not sure if alternate names need to be listed anywhere on this page.) Unfortunately, in the two places where 'Taracahitan' is used, it is in context of citing another source, and the original source might have used 'Taracahitan', so I'm reluctant to change it. (I don't have easy access to those sources.) What should be done? I see two options: a) change it to 'Taracahitic' to match the rest of the article or b) acknowledge that the original source used 'Taracahitan' (if indeed it did) and give an explanation in parentheses, such as '(i.e. Taracahitic)'. AlbertBickford (talk) 19:13, 12 November 2012 (UTC)

An example of Jane Hill's use of the term 'Taracahitan' is here. AlbertBickford (talk) 19:16, 12 November 2012 (UTC)

Historical phonology[edit]

Would it not be normal for an article about a proto-language to have a discussion of historical phonology? I came here to confirm / look into the rumour I have heard that initial *p becomes zero in Nahuatl nouns but is preserved in verbs, but I found nothing.Tibetologist (talk) 14:11, 30 November 2012 (UTC)