Talk:Afroasiatic languages/Archive 1

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Terminology

We have a terminology problem with the phrase language family. I would say Afro-Asiatic is at least as abstract as Indo-European.

I can't answer that question, I only know that the Semitic languages, judging from some household Arabic, some Biblical Hebrew and five words of Amharic are probably closer to each other than e. g. the Germanic languages.

The phrase "language family" is intentionally vague. Germanic is a language family, as is Indo-European. They're both "families" of languages. Some classifications try to distinguish families (about the time depth of Germanic or Semitic), stocks (about the time depth of Indo-European or Cushitic), and phyla (about the time depth of North Caucasian or Afrasiatic). However, there is no objective way to be rigorous in decided whether a particular grouping should be a family, stock, or phylum, especially when comparing larger or poorly supported languages groups, and few linguists bother. You might get an opinion that Afrasiatic, Altaic, or North Caucasian is older or more diverse than IndoEuropean, but might have a harder time ranking them against each other. --kwami

Isn't the most typical terminology "super-family" for a group like Afro-Asiatic (or Indo-European) and "family" for subgroups like Berber (or Italic)?


But another problem: The number of native speakers seams to be somewhat to small: If I am right, Arabic alone has more than 200 millions. Jakob Stevo 15:45, 1 May 2004 (UTC)

This article must be considered a stub: loads of interesting background (which of these languages has a written form etc.) could go into it --(talk)BozMo 15:07, 13 May 2004 (UTC)

I got the epicene plural from Chadic Overview, which states that the gendered plural in Semitic and Berber is an innovation. Can you give examples in Egyptian and Beja? What does anyone else say about the plural? -phma 01:22, 5 Jul 2004 (UTC)

Egyptian: m. pl. -w, f. pl. -wt [1]. In Beja, the article varies: something like e- m.pl., te- f. pl., but I'd need to check the book. I know Chadic, and I think Omotic, have epicene plurals, but they don't seem to be all that universal in what Bender calls "Macro-Cushitic". - Mustafaa 19:07, 5 Jul 2004 (UTC)

I'm vaguely considering setting up an Afro-Asiatic WikiProject to try and encourage the development of a more complete set of articles on Afro-Asiatic languages: anybody interested? Recent work of mine that would tie in includes Berber languages, Northern Berber languages, Chenoua language, Soddo language, Bench language (in progress). It would be unrealistic to hope to get every language; but it would be nice to have at least a couple of representatives of every Afro-Asiatic subfamily, and to have some better sub-family articles for Chadic and Cushitic especially. - Mustafaa 08:00, 14 Aug 2004 (UTC)

Map

Map showing the distribution of Afro-Asiatic languages

Ouch. I've been busy creating maps for African language families since I thought this subject could use some color and visualization. The image to the right (Afro-Asiatic.png) is one of them. However, I see that I am a little Africa-minded: I forgot to include the Semitic languages outside the African continent... Forgive me! It will take some time to create a map including the distribution of the Semitic languages outside of Africa, since most of my sources are from an African linguistics perspective. Can someone give me some clues? - Mark Dingemanse (talk) 17:05, 20 Oct 2004 (UTC)

The border is basically Syria and Iraq minus Kurdistan plus the Hatay, plus very small islands of Aramaic as far north as Azerbaijan, then plus Khuzistan and parts of Iran's Gulf coast.
For Africa, btw, have a look at Linguasphere, TITUS, and SIL-based maps... - Mustafaa 11:38, 21 Oct 2004 (UTC)

I updated the map (lose your browser cache if you still don't see Afro-Asiatic in the Middle East). Sources: the previous map, online maps, and Stroomer 2002. Any comments? Mark Dingemanse (talk) 17:34, 8 Nov 2004 (UTC)

Looks pretty good! But surely it includes too much of Kurdistan? - Mustafaa 17:42, 8 Nov 2004 (UTC)

Well, Arabic is spoken in the Syriac (Syrish?) part of Kurdistan, and a band in the south of Turkey, with an offshoot into central Kurdistan, according to Stroomer's (2002) map. The TITUS and SIL maps confirm this Afro-Asiatic offshoot, as far as I can see. See this quick and dirty map of the precise area. However, I am not at home in that area, so I'd be curious to hear your thoughts. Mark Dingemanse (talk) 18:51, 8 Nov 2004 (UTC)

Hmm. I guess it makes sense that there would be an overlap between Arabic and Kurdish around there, and I'm certainly willing to take Harry Stroomer's word for it. That's a good solution he adopted, actually - coloring in mixed Arabic-Kurdish areas lighter as a transition zone... - Mustafaa 19:08, 8 Nov 2004 (UTC)

Yep, that's a good solution. I also like the way Linguasphere takes inhabitation into account. The layout I have chosen for this series of maps does not permit such subleties. For maps like this that's not really a problem though; they are only meant to present a quick overview of the distribution of the phylum. Mark Dingemanse (talk) 01:03, 9 Nov 2004 (UTC)

Shouldn't Malta be included in the map? After all, Maltese is Semitic, therefore Afro-Asiatic. Homun 12:29, 7 June 2007 (UTC)

Suggest 4 possible wiki links and 7 possible backlinks for Afro-Asiatic languages.

An automated Wikipedia link suggester has some possible wiki link suggestions for the Afro-Asiatic_languages article:

  • Can link The Egyptian: ...unts'', are sometimes argued to be Semitic [[loanword]]s.) The Egyptian ''smi'' "report, announce" may also be cognate.... (link to section)
  • Can link possessive pronoun: ...n other groups, such as the [[Niger-Congo languages]]. The possessive pronoun suffixes are supported by Semitic, Berber, Cushitic (includ... (link to section)
  • Can link Cambridge University Press: ...ces== * Bernd Heine and Derek Nurse, ''African Languages,'' Cambridge University Press, 2000 - Chapter 4... (link to section)
  • Can link Stanford University: ...r 4 * Merritt Ruhlen, ''A Guide to the World's Languages'', Stanford University Press, Stanford 1991.... (link to section)

Additionally, there are some other articles which may be able to linked to this one (also known as "backlinks"):

Notes: The article text has not been changed in any way; Some of these suggestions may be wrong, some may be right.
Feedback: I like it, I hate it, Please don't link toLinkBot 11:27, 1 Dec 2004 (UTC)

Question about the Source of this Information

Hallo, I would like to ask the people responsible for the content of this page of anybody else who could know, about the source of the following information which appears in the article about the Afro-Asiatic languages.

In the section "Common Features and Cognates" there is the following table:

  Some cognates are:
  b-n- "build" (Ehret: *bĭn), attested in Chadic, Semitic (*bny), Cushitic (*mĭn/*măn "house") 
  m-t "die" (Ehret: *maaw), attested in Chadic (eg Hausa mutu), Egyptian (mwt, mt, Coptic mu), 
  s-n "know", attested in Chadic, Berber, and Egyptian;
  l-s "tongue" (Ehret: *lis' "to lick"), attested in Semitic (*lasaan/lisaan), Egyptian (ns, 
  s-m "name" (Ehret: *sŭm / *sĭm), attested in Semitic (*sm), Berber (isem), Chadic (eg Hausa 
  d-m "blood" (Ehret: *dîm / *dâm), attested in Berber (idammen), Semitic (*dam), Chadic, and 

From which book is this information ?

Thank you for your help.


See the Etymological bibliography section; they're from:

  • Christopher Ehret. Reconstructing Proto-Afroasiatic (Proto-Afrasian): Vowels, Tone, Consonants, and Vocabulary (University of California Publications in Linguistics 126), California, Berkeley 1996.

It's an interesting book, by the way, though regrettably it mostly neglects Berber. - Mustafaa 17:53, 2 Dec 2004 (UTC)

difference in unverified classification

When I last spoke to Fleming a couple years ago, he said he grouped Egyptian, Beja, Chadic, Berber, and Semitic against a very diverse Cushitic, with Ongotá as a tentative third branch of this "Erythræan" family (that is, Erythræan + Omotic = Afrasiatic). The article states that he grouped Semitic with Cushitic, but gives no reference. Is anyone able to verify? --kwami 21:42, 20 Mar 2005 (UTC)

Looking back at Ruhlen's Guide to the World's Languages, I realize I phrased that ambiguously; there was not meant to be any implication that Cushitic and Semitic grouped together. Apparently, Fleming 1981 divides non-Omotic AA into three branhces: Semitic, Cushitic, and everything else. If he's changed his opinion, that would certainly be worth changing. - Mustafaa 02:04, 22 Mar 2005 (UTC)
My undated notes from a telephone call to Fleming were circa CE 2000, so I'll go ahead and make the change. --kwami 20:34, 31 Mar 2005 (UTC)

Emphatic consonants variously realized as?

I'm translating this article into Portuguese and I'd like some help. I'm not sure what this means: a set of emphatic consonants, variously realized as glottalized, pharyngealized, or implosive. Does it mean that all (or many of) those languages have a set of emphatic consonants, and that in some language they are the glottalized ones, in other the pharyngealized ones, and so on? Thanks in advance. Rcaetano 10:20, 2 Jun 2005 (UTC)

Yes, that's exactly what it's supposed to mean. However, there may be some overlap. For instance, in Arabic q counts as an emphatic consonant, though I don't believe it's pharyngealized like the others. kwami 11:06, 2005 Jun 2 (UTC)
I take that back. Arabic q affects vowels the way emphatic consonants do, but that doesn't mean that it would itself be called emphatic.
Yes, that is what it means. As a rule, they are pharyngealized in Berber, Arabic, and Aramaic, glottalized in Cushitic, Omotic, and South Semitic, and implosive in Chadic. - Mustafaa 16:49, 2 Jun 2005 (UTC)
Hi Mustafaa, by "South Semitic", are you including the languages of Yemen and Oman, or just Ethiopic? kwami 20:02, 2005 Jun 2 (UTC)
I see your point... but yes, Modern South Arabian too has the glottalized consonants. - Mustafaa 20:43, 2 Jun 2005 (UTC)

Thank you. This is enough for me to translate it correctly. However, I still don't quite understand it. I'm not a linguist, I don't speak any Afro-asiatic languages and I know it's difficult to describe sounds in written form, but could you tell me what does it mean for a consonant to be emphatic? The Emphatic_consonant article doesn't help much. Are there emphatic consonants in other languages? What about Hebrew?

In general, the "emphatic" consonants in Arabic are pharyngeal. Basically, this means that in addition to whatever else is going on in the mouth to pronounce the sound, the back of the throat is partly closed up at the same time. In addition to affecting the consonant sound, it also affects the sound of the following vowel. Most modern dialects of Hebrew have lost the emphatic sounds. Richwales 05:03, 14 May 2006 (UTC)

Just to be absolutely sure (I don't recall ever seeing this noted explicitly), all these "emphatic" sets are actually cognate and not just a shorthand for various "non-european" consonants, right? (Altho that would then prompt the question where eg. Hausa gets both implosivs & ejectivs, and which of them represent "the" emphatics?) --Tropylium (talk) 22:28, 9 May 2008 (UTC)

Incorrect Population estimate

The Figure given in the article of "285 million people" is obviously not correct, if you go to the link for "Semitic" it says on that page that the Semitic group is "spoken by more than 370 million people", so obviously one of these numbers has to be wrong. Somebody needs to eliminate all these inconsistencies, what kind of Encyclopaedia are we if our different articles contradict each other? Hibernian

I came here to report the exact same problem, except now the numbers stand at 467 million for Semetic languages and 350 million for Afro-Asiatic. I have no idea which is right, but this disrepency is silly. —Preceding unsigned comment added by 88.74.176.58 (talk) 16:44, 26 May 2009 (UTC)

Axumite Kingdom

What's with "Some scholars believe that, in historical or near-historical times, Semitic speakers crossed from South Arabia back into Ethiopia and Eritrea, while others, such as A. Murtonen , dispute this view, suggesting that the Semitic branch may have originated in Ethiopia."

Isn't the South Arabian origin of the Axumite Kindom well established (beyond some Afrocentrists)?

Should be stated more positively that main view is Semitic entered Ethiopia/Eritrea from S. Arabia in historical times.

True but S. Arabia was part of Ethiopia--Abyssinia --phenotypically similiar to modern day Ethiopians-

Ethiopia / origin of the family

I pulled out the following statement pending verification:

Ethiopia has almost all forms of the Afroasiatic language, making it more plausible that it is the source of the Afro-Asiatic language. There is nothing Asian about it.

I'm sure there is indeed a researcher (or more than one) arguing that the linguistic diversity of Afro-Asiatic in Ethiopia is a good reason to consider Ethiopia the homeland of Afro-Asiatic. It should be not too difficult to find a good cite then. Also "There is nothing Asian about it" carries with it a lot of (implausible) background assumptions. — mark 08:54, 7 October 2006 (UTC) Oh well, the article already has a statement to this effect: "Some scholars (such as Igor Diakonoff and Lionel Bender, for example) have proposed Ethiopia, because it includes the majority of the diversity of the Afro-Asiatic language family and has very diverse groups in close geographic proximity, often considered a tell-tale sign for a linguistic geographic origin." So this addition only duplicated what we already had. — mark 08:55, 7 October 2006 (UTC)

The Ethiopian origin of Afro-Asiatic languages was now strongly supported by genetics. Their spread is very probably connected with the spread of Y haplogroup E3b1. 82.100.61.114 19:07, 23 March 2007 (UTC)

There is a problem with Ethiopia as a homeland of Afro-Asiatic. From what I have read, Khoisanid hunter-gathering persisted in the Ethiopian area until the beginning of the Neolithic (this is confirmed by the fact that Ethiopians are genetically the group most closely related to the South African Capoids. It appears that archaeologically there were a number of waves of cattle-herding neolithic settlers who moved into the Ethiopian Highlands up the Blue Nile and past Lake Tana, of which the Beja was the newest group to arrive. The centre for the dispersion of these Cushitic waves seem to have been the southern Sahara and the Sudan. If this is so, then it is very probable that when Meroetic is translated it will be found to be a form of Cushitic. It is rare to find Highland areas are ever the centre of a linguistic dispersal, instead they tend to be refugaria (as for example the Basque and Caucasian languages).
If Afro-Asiatic began spreading before 3-4,000 BCE, it is more probable that the Sudan was the homeland rather than Ethiopia. If this is the case, the modern distribution of Afro-Asiatic languages is a very good example of the Sahara pump theory. John D. Croft 10:21, 26 July 2007 (UTC)

Bias

Whoever created the chart--You finally fixed the biased chart --You added north Central and north West Africa. This enterprise seems to have an Orientalist, North African caucasoid, neo Hamitic hypothesis bent to it. I was planning to address this issue but you have come close to removing one of the blatant biasses. A lot still needs to be reworded to achieve neutrality and parallel structure. Remember Ethiopia and Somalia are in the Sahel too.

Hmm, if this enterprise really had the biases you think it has, this article would probably be titled Hamito-Semitic languages. It isn't. Feel free to help fix whatever still needs fixing though! — mark 09:01, 1 November 2006 (UTC)

First of all it is not what I think, it is what you did or did not do. You left out a whole family, especially the ones in West Africa and Central Africa, where the "classic negro" lives. Coincidence? I am making sure by content it lives up to the "Afroasiatic" title in terms of content. The sahel is not considered a geopolitical location as say North or East Africa. Not all of North Africa speaks Afro-Asiatic or East Africa speaks Afro-asiatic, the Nilotic language resides in those regions. If we are going to be prescise in terminology for one, do it for all. Bring on the semantic battle! I am rewording the first sentence.

I am also adding slight rewording to this sentence;

The Semitic languages form the only Afro-Asiatic subfamily extant outside of Africa. Some scholars believe that, in historical or near-historical times, Semitic speakers crossed from South Arabia back into Ethiopia and Eritrea, while others, such as A. Murtonen, dispute this view, suggesting that the Semitic branch may have originated in Ethiopia.

to:

The Semitic languages form the only Afro-Asiatic subfamily extant outside of Africa. Some scholars believe that, in historical or near-historical times, Semitic speakers **may have** crossed from South Arabia back into Ethiopia and Eritrea, while others, such as A. Murtonen,**and Ethiopian scholar Ayelle Berkerie** dispute this view, suggesting that the Semitic branch may have originated in Ethiopia.

If it is a "may have" for the out of Ethiopia, it should should be a "may have" for not out of Ethiopia. The not out of Ethiopia sounds more credible. I have also introduce Ethiopian scholar Phd Ayelle Bekerie.

Regular Sound Correspondences

Can anyone add some regular sound correspondences to this page? A few "cognates" are fine, but I think to better show the relationships between the various branches of Afro-Asiatic, some regular sound correspondences would be nice. Azalea pomp 18:18, 9 April 2007 (UTC)

Kabyle example

The verb is conjugated in the past, yemmut means "he died" and not "he dies". Also, the verb mmet is a loanword from arabic. Agurzil 02:10, 3 June 2007 (UTC)

Number of speakers

Well, the entry on the Semitic languages, which are part of the Afro-Asiatic languages, states that they are spoken by more than 300 million people, while the entry here says the same about the Afro-Asiatic languages. While not strictly a logical contradiction, these statements do contradict if understood in normal usage: the more than 300 million in the Afro-Asiatic entry would have to be significantly more than the more in the Semitic languages entry, or else all other Afro-Asiatic languages would have to be extinct. Tkeu 11:05, 12 September 2007 (UTC)

Inconsistency

The membership of the alleged Afro-Asiatic group is subject to considerable variations. This is especially true with the alleged "Chadic" and "Cushitic" branches. Sound laws and semantic laws are very vague. Childish imitations of the Indo-European group appeared after 1850. See "Observations concerning Ringe's "Calculating the Factor of Chance in Language Comparison" ", by Joseph H. Greenberg in the Proceedings of the American Philosophical Society, Vol.137, No.1(Mar.,1993) pp.79-90. Greenberg tries to defend himself when charged with using chance similarities. Greenberg's methods were the same in all parts of the world, where ever he was on the rampage. Many others have agreed with Ringe. Lyle Campbell has also attacked Greenberg. Campbell points out that Greenberg's methods include Finnish in "Amerind", contradicting Greenberg himself.

Not Really

There really isn't any "alleged" about Afro-Asiatic and Chadic. They are very well established. The structure of Cushitic is a problem, but the individual constituents of Cushitic (Beja, South Cushitic, Central Cushitic, East Cushitic, and, depending on who you are talking to, Omotic) are not problematic at all. Your comment about "childish imitations" and the fact that you don't have the courage of your convictions to even sign your post, shows your real level of linguistic training and understanding. (Taivo (talk) 12:53, 21 April 2008 (UTC))

I see now that you made precisely the same comment about Sino-Tibetan which leads me to believe that you are a simple Wikipedia vandal. (Taivo (talk) 15:40, 21 April 2008 (UTC))

Your comments about Ringe and Campbell have ZERO to do with Afro-Asiatic. Greenberg was wrong about Amerind and Indo-Pacific and Eurasiatic. Afro-Asiatic has never been an issue. You need to do some real linguistics to see the difference. (Taivo (talk) 10:45, 22 April 2008 (UTC))

I happen to know Lyle Campbell and I think he would be oddly amused to find that anyone had interpreted anything he has said or written to be unsupportive of Afro-Asiatic as a valid genetic grouping. And Greenberg is not responsible for setting up Afro-Asiatic, contrary to your apparent belief--he just renamed it. (Taivo (talk) 15:42, 22 April 2008 (UTC))

My apparent belief is not my actual belief. Greenberg gave a new name to an existing phoney group in the case of Khoisan, as well. Greenberg's policy generally was to give the impression that he had made a new discovery, while avoiding an explicit false statement. The Wikipedia article on Khoisan expresses doubt about membership. —Preceding unsigned comment added by 217.41.51.240 (talk) 10:39, 23 April 2008 (UTC)

Khoisan is not a widely accepted genetic group anymore. This article is about AFRO-ASIATIC, NOT Khoisan or Amerind or Indo-Pacific or even Greenberg. Afro-Asiatic is NOT a "phony group" any more than Indo-European. Greenberg's comments on Khoisan are relevant for the Khoisan article, not here, in the Afro-Asiatic article. In the case of Afro-Asiatic, Greenberg simply gave a different name to a well-established genetic grouping that had already been accepted as a valid genetic group. No reputable linguist doubts the validity of Afro-Asiatic as a genetic group. The phonological and morphological evidence is just too strong to doubt. Afro-Asiatic is NOT one of Greenberg's pseudo-groups, established by multilateral comparisons. Greenberg had nothing to do with establishing Afro-Asiatic as a valid genetic grouping. You need to get your historical facts straight. I advise you to stop spitting into the wind--you're getting it all over your face. (Taivo (talk) 13:25, 23 April 2008 (UTC))
I wouldn't go far to say that Afro-Asiatic as a whole is an ironclad as Indo-European. While none of the branches of Indo-European are disputed by any reputable linguists as not being Indo-European as we have seen by the Theil paper, at least Omotic is disputed as being Afro-Asiatic. Also, we could consider some of the languages of New Guinea with which there are some disputes if they are to be classified as either Austronesian or non-Austronesian. Perhaps a language contact situation is what is causing some issues with Omotic, etc. Azalea pomp (talk) 19:59, 20 February 2009 (UTC)

Somali

The Somali word wudimta has prefixes that are nothing like those in the other examples,as far as sound is concerned. —Preceding unsigned comment added by 217.41.51.240 (talk) 12:18, 24 April 2008 (UTC) Rather obviously, the "prefix conjugation" in Classical Arabic also has suffixes. —Preceding unsigned comment added by 217.41.51.240 (talk) 12:22, 24 April 2008 (UTC) Editor Agurzil, who seems to be a native speaker of a Berber language, has already pointed out that the word mmet is a borrowing from Arabic. In the main article, it is used as "proof" that Berber is related to the Semitic languages. In the verbal table, no allegedly Chadic languages are quoted. Many allegedly Cushitic languages are not quoted. —Preceding unsigned comment added by 81.133.59.189 (talk) 09:16, 3 May 2008 (UTC) Oddly enough, 4 or 5 Somali verbs that do sound like the Semitic imperfect are not quoted, although they would be more to the writer's purpose. If the Chadic and other Cushitic verbs were quoted, they would drastically reduce the appearance of similarity. —Preceding unsigned comment added by 81.133.59.189 (talk) 17:29, 3 May 2008 (UTC) In the verbal table, Egyptian is not mentioned. If it had been, it would have reduced the appearance of similarity. It has no verbal inflection for subject remotely like the Semitic imperfect. —Preceding unsigned comment added by 87.194.4.21 (talk) 08:32, 13 May 2008 (UTC) There are no significant tones in Semitic and Berber. There were probably none in Coptic. Tones are important in Hausa and Somali. As intonation has been mentioned, the appearance of similarity is reduced. —Preceding unsigned comment added by 217.41.51.240 (talk) 11:11, 21 May 2008 (UTC)

Maths

A competent mathematician has produced a full discussion of the number of chance similarities expected at www.zompist.com/chance.htm This site is already quoted in Wikipedia. —Preceding unsigned comment added by 86.143.5.71 (talk) 11:45, 1 May 2008 (UTC) See the article on "Mass Lexical Comparison". —Preceding unsigned comment added by 86.143.5.71 (talk) 11:48, 1 May 2008 (UTC) See the article on "Proto-World Language", where the same site is mentioned. —Preceding unsigned comment added by 86.143.5.71 (talk) 12:03, 1 May 2008 (UTC)

Yawn. I've read that article long ago and several times since and it is good. But like everything else you have referred to here, it has NOTHING to do with Afro-Asiatic. It throws ZERO doubt on the validity of Afro-Asiatic as a valid genetic unit. Afro-Asiatic has been quite well-demonstrated on multiple lexical, phonological, and morphological levels that no one seriously doubts its validity anymore. (Taivo (talk) 12:28, 1 May 2008 (UTC))

Words for Numbers

The main article could be improved if somebody commented on the lexical similarities between the languages.

For instance, are the words for numbers wildly different between all these languages?

Which words are different? Do they all admit to suffixes, or are there any that are indeclinable/nonconjugable? Dexter Nextnumber (talk) 00:10, 12 January 2010 (UTC)

Position of Theil paper

Causteau, First, let me congratulate you on the good work you have been doing on various articles I have noticed. The reason I combined the Theil and Newman items, which I should have stated, is that they occur in a section on subgrouping, and Theil's paper does not concern the subgrouping of Afro-Asiatic but the membership of Afro-Asiatic. I was seeking a way to integrate the mention of it with this section, and since the Newman item already notes his rejection of Omotic as Afro-Asiatic, it seemed natural to integrate it there. I have tentatively put it back. If on reflection you wish to move it again, let's discuss it and reach agreement on this talk page first to avoid an editing skirmish, especially since as far as I am aware we have no essential disagreements. Regards, VikSol 19:02, 30 July 2008 (UTC)

First of all, thank you for your politeness, Viksol. It seems to be something of a rarity around Wikipedia these days. Your own good work around WP is also worth noting. With that said, I think it's more important for readers to see the evolution of thought and research with regard to this language family than it is to group scholars with somewhat similar ideas for the simple fact that Rolf Theil is the very first to have systematically and conclusively shown that Omotic is indeed not anymore a part of Afro-Asiatic than it is a part of any other language family. His paper is ground-breaking, there's no other way to put it. It has therefore more than earned its right to independent mention and citation. I have consequently restored the page to reflect this. Causteau (talk) 21:22, 30 July 2008 (UTC)

Regarding recent reverts

Causteau, I can understand your wish to get out the message on the Theil paper, but certain objections may legitimately be raised:

  • The classification of a language family implies the presentation of evidence (1) that the languages are in fact related and (2) potentially, for the division of the family into branches. The evidence presented is phonological, morphological, lexical, typological, or some combination of these. To accept someone else's classification is not to carry out a classification of one's own. Otherwise, everybody who ever accepted anybody else's classification could be treated as a major authority for the classification. Theil's paper argues that no one has presented evidence sufficient to show that Omotic belongs to Afro-Asiatic. It does not examine the question of whether the other branches of Afro-Asiatic belong together. If anyone goes to his paper to try to find out why the other branches of Afro-Asiatic are thought to be related they will come up empty. Indeed, Theil does not even positively state that he considers that all the other branches of Afro-Asiatic are related. And for the purposes of his paper he does not need to.
  • Anybody who follows current language classification controversies can see at a glance that Theil's paper represents one more chapter in the longstanding conflict between "Geneticists" and "Diffusionists" (Ruhlen 1994) or so-called "lumpers and splitters" and that it will soon be answered by ripostes from Harold Fleming, George Starostin, or other "Geneticists". It is much too early to treat it as definitive. The battle will now go to more specific examination of pronouns, lexicon, morphology, and phonology. It is likely to continue for some years, possibly much longer (vide the conflicts over Altaic, Haida / Na-Dene, Japanese / Korean, Eskimo / Uralic, Khoe / San, and many others). One of these was recently resolved, Dene-Yeniseian, and it is quite an interesting story (see Edward Vajda's account).
  • This paper is a personal Internet posting, not an article published in a peer-reviewed journal. It does not have the same weight according to recognized scholarly standards, i.e. no other specialists have passed judgment on it. If you ask me, progress usually comes from the margins, but this does not mean we at Wikipedia can treat an unvetted idea as definitive.
  • The evidentiary basis for Greenberg's classification of African languages is never considered by Theil. This consists in several giant notebooks in which hundreds of African languages are simultaneously compared. Greenberg's African book in its 5 editions (1949-1954 articles, 1955 minor revision, 1963 major revision, 1966 minor revision, 1970 reprinting) presents only a selection of illustrative data. Copies were made of the original notebooks and are available to all interested scholars at the Stanford University library.
  • Theil assers that "Chapter III Afroasiatic in Greenberg (1963) is an attempt to prove that CH<adic> is a branch of A<fro->A<siatic>", but in fact the primary purpose of the chapter is to destroy the Hamitic idea and only a few pages of it are devoted to Chadic. Also, Theil cites Greenberg's 1963 edition, not the definitive edition, that of 1966. These facts suffice to show that he has only cast a casual glance at Greenberg's work before repudiating it.

I feel uncomfortable seeming to attack Theil in these remarks. I think his paper is provocative and people should pay attention to it. However, we must be precise about what it is and is not.

Regards, VikSol 05:40, 2 February 2009 (UTC)

And reverting again. My objection is not a judgement on whether Theill is correct, but that, as VikSol notes, he hasn't presented a classification of AA, and therefore shouldn't get print space under classifications of AA. He is mentioned a couple times in the article, including in the infobox (the only author to get such top billing!), which is enough. Where his paper really belongs is in the Omotic article. kwami (talk) 06:29, 2 February 2009 (UTC)

You've explained your case well above, Viksol. I also appreciate your continued politeness, WP:AGF, and civility. I didn't mean to revert the page; I was literally working on my post minutes before you reverted my edit, so I didn't get a chance to see your edit or this talk page explanation until I had already posted the info. Cheers, Causteau (talk) 06:39, 2 February 2009 (UTC)

what about the afro-asiatic language with its root in IVC

what strikes me is that most of who analyse and discuss such a topic forget to consider the influence traders who landed on the shores of north east Africa.

it has been proven time and again by archaeological findings that people of Indus valley civilisation and later the people of rest of present day india had direct contact with egypt and most of middle east for trade and commerce.

so why is this idea not even discussed, perhaps the traders slowly settled down in horn of africa hence creating an afro-asiatic language. i being a thamizhian can recognise most of the words in wiki article and they mean exactly the same in thamizh.

i belive that the IVC traders settled in north-eastern coast of africa creating a new civilisation that was similar to that of IVC. the very names of cities of the kingdom of kush, will raise eyebrows if you utter them to a hindi or tamil speaking indian.....probably because they sound familiar to them.

and of course so many of the scholars and scientist and archaeologist have suggested first and agreed later that, the egyptian pherohs are partly or fully of asian origin. even today the people of north east africa look so strikingly similiar to those of south india.

is it all not connected, why is this idea not even mentioned?

puli -30oct`08 —Preceding unsigned comment added by Pnydu (talkcontribs) 20:48, 31 October 2008 (UTC)

This is not mentioned because there is no scholarly support for it. It is an extremist, fringe theory that has no basis in linguistic fact. (Taivo (talk) 07:55, 2 November 2008 (UTC))

Purpose of the cognates list?

Although the list of cognates between AA languages is interesting, I am not clear as to why these are "important." Do the cognates listed help tell history of the AA language family? Are they particularly persistent, or have they helped unlock mysteries of the languages? If so, that should be part of the article. If not, then this section is merely trivia (even if interesting and learned trivia). Delvebelow (talk) 21:43, 27 January 2009 (UTC)

Criticism of the so called Afro-Asiatic languages theory.

This language family is very controversial and is based upon very weak arguments.

Have you questionned yourself why the called Afroasiatic words related to numbers,animals,relationship etc.. are so different whereas these basic words are always similar in the widely accepted language families such as Semitic,Turkic,IE,Finno-Ugric etc..?

E haplogroup is rather connected to Niger-Kongo and Nilo-Saharan families,and the theory of Ehret is not widely accepted as the few common roots and similar grammar between Semitic and Kushitic languages are merely borrowings and spracbund,that are due to different waves of J haplogroup middle-easterners migrations(which is obvious in the presence of J1 haplotype among Berbers,Egyptians,Ethiopian and Somalis whereas it's impossible to think that these J1 haplotypes are due to Berberistaion/Somalisation... of Arabs or Semites)to Africa but these African languages still have heavy African substratum and lexicon. You can read the text below

http://mathildasanthropologyblog.wordpress.com/2009/03/11/ive-been-having-a-rethink-about-afro-asiatic-origins/ I’m having a rethink about Afro Asiatic’s origin after having a good look at the reconstructed nouns. Particularly those dealing with with animals. I had a brief look through the nouns for PAA, and quite striking was the number of words for goats and sheep. Also included were horses and camels. Since goats, horses and sheep and camels were not native to Holocene Africa prior to the neolithic, I’m reconsidering my support of an African origin for proto Afro Asiatic. Although, as has been kindly pointed out, the reconstructions are all pretty hazy for PAA, but still it’s suspicious. Another factor making me reconsider is the dating suggested for the languages. The presence of goats and sheep (many and varied terms) also gives an oldest possible date to the last node (a languages TMRCA) for Cushitic, which is a pastoral language of sheep, goat and cattle herders. Since Cushitic is sub Saharan, very relevant is the oldest known date for the arrival of ovicaprines in the Sudan, which is about 5,500 years BP ( Esh Shaheinab, Sudan). This would suggest the proposed 10k date for proto Cushitic is off by about 45%- although this may just be it’s last node and the 10k date for it’s seperation may be correct. Relevant to this is the R1b Y chromosome present in the Ouldeme and the Hausa, both Chadic speaking groups, one in Cameroon and one in the Sudan. The Hausa have R1b ( R-P25* (R1b1*) at about 41%, and Ouldeme at 95%. This is quite a bizarre find for groups in the middle of Africa, as R1b is typically European and West Asian. It would be a logical suggestion that the Ouldeme and Hausa are quite closely related paternally, and may point to an East to West route for Chadic speakers- suggested by Blench in the ‘The Westward wanderings of Cushitic Pastoralists’- although there have been suggestions the Hausa moved from West to east recently, which would make the R1b in Cameroon possibly from a north to south route across the Sahara. This particular branch of R1b has been dated to an entry of about 4,000 years ago- but bearing in mind the older (2002) papers tend to seriously underestimate the date of the Y chromosomes – a pet peeve- the oldest entry date for it at 8,000 BP would be more reasonable, and a good match for the Neolithic sheep and goat pastoralists arriving in Africa from West Asia. It doesn’t do my older theory of M78/M1 being linked to the spread of Afro Asiatic any good though. Oh well. The coalescence age of the African haplotype 117, which we estimated as 4,100 years (95% CI 2,400–8,060 years), could thus represent a date for such an expansion and a lower limit for the time of entry into Africa. From this paper. This all has some relevance to Ehrets dating of Proto Nilo Saharan (both families dated by glottochronology). He gives the same 15k date for Nilo Saharan as for proto Afro Asiatic.. so I’m thinking 10-9,000 bp for Nilo Saharan too. This also brings proto Northern Sudanic into the outer estimate for the Neolithic in Africa (7,000) although it’s unlikely as they have a dearth of terms for pastoralism and agriculture. His dates seem to vary from 35% to 45% off the possible, which may be due to the difference in geographical points of origin in proto Cushitic and Proto Sahelian, so I’m assuming proto Sahelian is a little more Northerly in origin than proto Cushitic and have adjusted the dates for it for a ‘best fit’. Even if it does give a close date for age of separation fro the sub groups, Ehret never seems to take into account there may have been more recent nodes to account for the pastoralist terms. This doesn’t really support Omotic as an afro Asiatic language, as it shows no proto words for pastoralism before it’s split. But it has been pointed out by several linguists that it has no more in common with Afro Asiatic than it does with it’s other neighbouring language groups, so it’s AA status is pretty suspect to start with. Edit: A little more DNA evidence has come out showing a pre Neolithic population movement into North and East Africa dating to 11-10k ago, involving J1 (Y) and H (mt DNA) which coincide with the IM/Capsian transition in North Africa. This could be the reason for the odd structure of the tree; Cushitic languages are the result of an earlier AA population expansion into East Africa from the near East. This expansion (as far as I can tell) seems to start about 13,500 BP from southern Turkey? I’ll need to dig into it a bit more. This cultural expansion may have been of a food ‘managing’ culture as opposed to food gathering or producing cultures, a proto Neolithic expansion wave of people that kept wild animals (a domestication step) and harvested and planted seeds from the wild. There are domesticated seeds from Syria at 12,500 BP so the people of the Turkey/near East area were definitely doing something along those lines at the right date.

Humanbyrace (talk) 12:17, 24 June 2009 (UTC)

Honestly, I personally never thought Afroasiatic was very secure. I've never seen really convincing data that really made me think that all of these branches were related beyond doubt. As we have seen now, Omotic has been questioned as being Afroasiatic. The case for Altaic to me looks better than Afroasiatic when it comes to cognates. So much can be borrowed by languages (words and even grammatical forms) that after 10,000 years, relationships are blurred. For example, some of the languages of New Guinea are often difficult to tell if they are non-Austronesian languages heavily influenced by Austronesian or Austronesian heavily influenced by non-Austronesian. It would be nice if there were more sources. Azalea pomp (talk) 19:57, 30 June 2009 (UTC)

Weak Argument in Text

"Some scholars (such as Igor Diakonoff and Lionel Bender) have proposed Ethiopia, because it includes the majority of the diversity of the Afro-Asiatic language family and has very diverse groups in close geographic proximity..."

OK, we need to evaluate this statement. There are three branches of Afroasiatic spoken in Ethiopia: Cushitic, Omotic, and Semitic. First, Semitic in Ethiopia is a later movement of Semitic speakers from Asia into Ethiopia. This is supported by the fact the majority of Semitic branches are spoken in Asia only. Semitic has three major branches: East, West, and South. East, West, and South are spoken in Asia. South Semitic can be divided into two or three sub-branches: Old South Arabian, Ethiopic, and Modern South Arabian. Only Ethiopic is spoken in Africa. Second, Omotic has been questioned as being a valid member of Afroasiatic. So this leaves Cushitic as the only Afroasiatic branch native to Ethiopia.

It would be like claiming that Proto-Indo-European's Urheimat is likely France because France has a lot Indo-European's diversity because French (Italic), Breton (Celtic), and German (Germanic) are all spoken in France. Are their proposals cited? Azalea pomp (talk) 20:19, 30 June 2009 (UTC)

Origins section is not good enough

I am going to start working on this and at the same time Proto-Afro-Asiatic, which is far worse.--Andrew Lancaster (talk) 17:48, 17 July 2009 (UTC) This statement

Based upon similarities between Semitic and Ancient Egyptian it is commonly proposed that the two languages developed from a common ancestral tongue along the Nile, crossing the Sinai with the dry phase from 6000-5800 BCE, at the end of the Pre-Pottery Neolithic B phase in the Levant

Is it commonly proposed that Ancient Egyptian and Semitic were similar. I think there are several hypothesis regarding the branching order of Afro-Asiatic, some have Egyptian and Semitic as part of the same twig, but others don't . Wapondaponda (talk) 20:24, 17 July 2009 (UTC)

Yes this is a common proposal, but not the only one. This type of information needs to be built in somehow. But remember also that in this article there is already a section on grouping so to start building this in we need to be careful not to create redundancies or confusing flow of discussion.--Andrew Lancaster (talk) 05:56, 18 July 2009 (UTC)


I wonder why Causteau you have removed the reference to Kenya and replaced it with the Horn of Africa. Bernal is pretty clear, when he states "I argued that Afroasiatic originated around the Rift Valley in southern Ethiopia and northern Kenya." Black Athena. Wapondaponda (talk) 03:18, 18 July 2009 (UTC)
Yeah I removed Kenya and replaced it with the Horn of Africa. And I did this because the only person supporting a fringe theory that would place the possible Urheimat of Afro-Asiatic in Kenya is the controversial historian Martin Bernal; certainly not a linguist let alone an Afro-Asiatic specialist. Causteau (talk) 04:49, 18 July 2009 (UTC)
Causteau, Bernal is cited by all the major authors in this field as a normal colleague. We have no right here on Wikipedia to keep his opinions out and especially not to re-write them for him! Bernal is controversial because of his opinions about other things. If you can find a source that says otherwise perhaps this can be integrated into the text in order to give balance.--Andrew Lancaster (talk) 05:56, 18 July 2009 (UTC)
Actually, we do Andrew, and no, Bernal is not cited by any major linguist worth his or her salt. In the past, I've attempted to add recent studies from actual, reputable linguists to these articles, but the folks that regularly edit them pointed out to me that it wasn't enough that the paper I was trying to add was from a reputable linguist: it also had to be subjected to peer-review and, further, the linguist in question had to be an expert in the given field. Bernal is not a linguist much less an expert in the Afro-Asiatic languages. He is just a very controversial historian with an interesting little theory in a field far outside his area of expertise; nothing more. Causteau (talk) 06:10, 18 July 2009 (UTC)
I think you are mistaken. Bernal's theories are cited seriously by Blench and Bender at least. In other words, he is cited seriously in the major standard works on this subject. His involvement in non-linguistic debate is not relevant, or else it also would be for Ehret, Blench, Bellwood, etc.--Andrew Lancaster (talk) 06:16, 18 July 2009 (UTC)
I sincerely doubt he is. Please cite the papers by the above linguists that specifically reference this Kenyan Urheimat theory of Bernal's, and let's have a look. Causteau (talk) 06:18, 18 July 2009 (UTC)
Causteau, you've just done a revert (before posting here) which reverted a lot more editing than just the bit you are discussing above. In the meantime, you've already made your case here on this talkpage and it is clearly mistaken. Your revert was done so quickly that it can not have been done after reading either this talkpage, or what you edited. Your new talkpage posting seems to show that you knew very well that Bernal is cited in the linguistics literature! Will you slow down and be reasonable?--Andrew Lancaster (talk) 06:23, 18 July 2009 (UTC)
My revert was performed at 06:14, 18 July 2009, and my talk page post that you allude to above I posted at 06:10, 18 July 2009. So I'm afraid here too you are again mistaken. Now kindly stop stalling and just quote from the papers where Blench and Bender in particular have "cited seriously" Bernal's Kenyan Urheimat theory for AA as you've claimed above. I'm not bossing you around here; I'm simply invoking WP:PROVEIT. Causteau (talk) 06:30, 18 July 2009 (UTC)


Prove what? Your argument was that Bernal is not a serious linguist. You knew when you made this argument that he is cited seriously by leaders in this field. So what is your new argument that I have to consider please? Are you saying now that he became a non-serious linguist later in life? What is your source for that? Saying that we can ignore particular works by a respected author is OR unless we find some source saying that linguists stopped taking Bernal seriously.
And can you kindly at least fix up all the other edits that you reverted while we discuss these few words? It would be a demonstration of good faith. I believe you just did it because you were in a rush to revert, but if not then you should explain your reasoning. It was basically tidying up work.--Andrew Lancaster (talk) 06:36, 18 July 2009 (UTC)
Actually, I quite clearly wrote that "Bernal is not cited by any major linguist worth his or her salt" and that "is not a linguist much less an expert in the Afro-Asiatic languages. He is just a very controversial historian with an interesting little theory in a field far outside his area of expertise; nothing more". How you then took those words and then somehow concluded that I "knew when [I] made this argument that he is cited seriously by leaders in this field" boggles the mind. Again, I must ask you for the third consecutive timeto stop stalling and and just quote from the papers where Blench and Bender in particular have "cited seriously" Bernal's Kenyan Urheimat theory for AA as you've claimed above. That's not asking much I believe (at least, if what you're saying is indeed true). Causteau (talk) 06:49, 18 July 2009 (UTC)
That Ehret and Blench continued to take Bernal seriously after his early years, even his theories about Egypt (which by the way are certainly notable enough for Wikipedia), is clear from here: Ehret, C Interviewed by WHC Co-editor Tom Laichas http://worldhistoryconnected.press.uiuc.edu/2.1/ehret.html, http://books.google.be/books?hl=en&id=esFy3Po57A8C&q=bernal. You should try to make your point in a more coherent way.--Andrew Lancaster (talk) 06:41, 18 July 2009 (UTC)
Ok, I'm looking over the book now; let's see if it has anything on the theory. Causteau (talk) 06:49, 18 July 2009 (UTC)
Thanks. Also please consider whether you can fix up the tidying edit you reverted?--Andrew Lancaster (talk) 06:58, 18 July 2009 (UTC)
What edits are you talking about exactly that I should "fix up"? I first need to know what specific things you are talking about, then sure; whatever. Do you mean that formatting bit with the bullets? Causteau (talk) 06:49, 18 July 2009 (UTC)
I am referring to everything apart from the Bernal bits. I was trying to integrate the age estimates of the key authors into the Urheimat theories, and I broke off discussion of secondary migrations into a new section. Remember it was my intention to keep rebuilding this. It seems to have gotten bogged down.--Andrew Lancaster (talk) 07:24, 18 July 2009 (UTC)
First things first. You have yet to prove that Bernal's theory is not fringe; see below. Causteau (talk) 07:42, 18 July 2009 (UTC)
What, so you are holding the whole article hostage because you want to ban mention of Bernal???? Please see WP:POINT. We are discussing Bernal below.--Andrew Lancaster (talk) 07:59, 18 July 2009 (UTC)

A proposal. It appears to me that your concerns have nothing to do with sourcing issues, but only to do with your accusation that Bernal is not mainstream enough. The normal Wikipedia solution for a WP:NOTABLE but arguably WP:FRINGE source is to put in balancing words to make sure readers know an author is considered to be controversial for something. Why don't we follow normal Wikipedia policy in this case?--Andrew Lancaster (talk) 06:46, 18 July 2009 (UTC)

Not quite. My issue has always been that Bernal is 1) not a linguist (much less an Afro-Asiatic specialist), and therefore not an expert in the given field. Instead, he is an historian, and a controversial one at that. 2) His Kenyan Urheimat theory for the origins of Afro-Asiatic is a tiny minority fringe view. I've asked you to produce quotes from sources (and specifically by Blench and Bender, since you've claimed they support his theory) proving otherwise, but instead, you link me to completely irrelevant excerpts from a book by Blench which, among other things, indicates that "inversely, the claims by Martin Bernal (1987) of substantial influence from Egypt on classical Greece have been received warmly by Afrocentrists and with something approaching panic by classicists". I hate to break it to you Andrew, but that doesn't exactly support your argument. Quite the opposite, actually. The Ehret interview (which I've already read before, by the way; interesting stuff) also does nothing to dispell the notion that Bernal is controversial, which wasn't really my central argument anyway (e.g. WHC: "Let's talk about Martin Bernal. His Black Athena has raised quite a controversy." Ehret: "Some Afrocentrists are really out there, far beyond left field. Martin and I don't mind that they use our work, as long as they are grounded in the evidence. But Classicists say, well, Bernal is just an Afrocentrist..."). It was that his Kenyan Urheimat theory is fringe, which still definitely appears to be the case. In fact, the interview doesn't even once mention Kenya; it's all about Greece and other admittedly interesting but ultimately unrelated matters. Causteau (talk) 07:00, 18 July 2009 (UTC)
I think we should give up discussing the idea that Bernal is not qualified to be mentioned at all, because that is clearly not going to work for someone who is cited in the major reviews of this field and taken seriously by the major authors in this field. What you seem to be suggesting above is that Wikipedians can cherry pick from the literature, for example ignoring Bernal's second theory (Rift Valley) but not his first (Ethiopia/Kenya border). We can't. We'd need specific sources saying that the Rift Valley theory is fringe in order to do this. What we can do is register that this author is controversial, or that the book where the Kenya theory appeared is controversial. That would be the normal Wikipedia way. Bernal is discussed in various articles in Wikipedia and so he should be. Wikipedia can handle that.--Andrew Lancaster (talk) 07:24, 18 July 2009 (UTC)
What you don't seem to understand Andrew, is that saying that Bernal "is cited in the major reviews of this field and taken seriously by the major authors in this field" is not the same thing as actually proving it. You have been asked and repeatedly to prove that Bernal is taken seriously as a linguist, and more specifically, that his Kenyan Urheimat theory for the origins of Afro-Asiatic is not a tiny minority view. You have been unable to prove either one of the two things, much less the latter. Instead, you link me to an interview with Ehret saying that he basically appreciates Bernal when it comes to his take on the "Egyptian influence on Greece" although a boat-load of other professionals he collectively labels "Classicists" apparently do not. There is no mention of Bernal's standing in the linguistic community, much less of his very idiosyncratic Kenyan Urheimat theory or his equally fringe "Rift Valley Urheimat theory (you write that "Martin Bernal came to argue for this Urheimat based upon perceived connections between Afroasiatic and Khoisan languages" -- that's classic fringe). Please, for the umpteenth time, stop stalling and produce those quotes per WP:PROVEIT. Otherwise, it's clear that the edit cannot remain in place. Causteau (talk) 07:40, 18 July 2009 (UTC)
You are being argumentative. You know the sources mention Bernal's first theory and treat him as a serious author in the field. Bender, who is definitely one of the highest regarded authors in this area (though also controversial, seems to go with this field) more or less describes his own theory as being built upon Bernal's ideas. (Sorry, I do not have this on pdf. I had to get this the old fashioned way.)
That is why you changed your demand to asking me to prove that specifically his second theory is cited by well known linguists. Fact is that linguists do not publish major books every year, so I don't know if we will find that, although I did find those sources saying that at least one well-known linguistic source, Ehret, only recently said Bernal "has done fine work. There's really nothing the matter with it." Ehret implies that Bernal's critics have not "eliminated racism from their thinking" and specifically concerning your claim that he can be dismissed as an Afrocentrist he says "Some Afrocentrists are really out there, far beyond left field. Martin and I don't mind that they use our work, as long as they are grounded in the evidence. But Classicists say, well, Bernal is just an Afrocentrist. And he isn't."
None of this allows us to assume that a man who was a respected linguist one year suddenly stopped being that another year. To make such a striking assumption and demand Wikipedia articles reflect it would need strong evidence, or else it is OR.
Fact is that all this does not matter because Bernal's second theory is notable and controversial, and for this reason it should be mentioned in Wikipedia. Try Google. (But you know it is WP:NOTABLE anyway.)
In the meantime, will please fix the good faith structural editing I did, and that you reverted in your rush to get rid of Bernal???--Andrew Lancaster (talk) 07:57, 18 July 2009 (UTC)
No Andrew, it's you that is being argumentative because you refuse to, and indeed, seemingly cannot perform the relatively simple task that has been asked of you. Instead, you simply state that I somehow "know the sources mention Bernal's first theory and treat him as a serious author in the field" when, in fact, I keep repeatedly asking you to produce those very "sources" you keep alluding to! I'm looking at your addition to the AA article itself, and you source the Bernal Kenyan & Rift Valley Urheimat's to Bernal himself! Black Athena to boot! Is this the famous "source" that treats him as a serious author in the field which, need I remind you, is linguistics, not the historical Greek-Egyptian connections alluded to by Ehret in his interview. I've already stated that Bernal's Kenyan & Rift Valley/Khoisan languages theories are fringe, tiny minority views and that that is the central issue. It's your duty to prove that isn't actually the case by producing quotes from sources in this direction. I'm still waiting; the ball's in your court. Causteau (talk) 08:10, 18 July 2009 (UTC)
And here's for your WP:NOTABLE claim; from WP:FRINGE:

"We use the term fringe theory in a very broad sense to describe ideas that depart significantly from the prevailing or mainstream view in its particular field of study.[1] Examples include conspiracy theories, ideas which purport to be scientific theories but have not gained scientific consensus, esoteric claims about medicine, novel re-interpretations of history and so forth. Some of the theories addressed here may in a stricter sense be hypotheses, conjectures, or speculations.

A fringe theory can be considered notable if it has been referenced extensively, and in a serious manner, in at least one major publication, or by a notable group or individual that is independent of the theory. References that debunk or disparage the fringe theory can also be adequate, as they establish the notability of the theory outside of its group of adherents. References that are employed because of the notability of a related subject — such as the creator of the theory, and not the theory itself — should be given far less weight when deciding on notability. Due consideration should be given to the fact that reputable news sources often cover less than strictly notable topics in a lighthearted fashion, such as on April Fool's Day, as "News of the Weird" or during "slow news days". (See junk food news, silly season, komkommertijd.)"

As can be seen above, the Bernal quote fails on this count as well, since his Kenyan Urheimat & Rift Valley theories were only sourced back to his own controversial book, Black Athena, rather than to a major publication. Causteau (talk) 08:18, 18 July 2009 (UTC)
I think he fits the definition of notable perfectly, and remember not everyone considers Bernal a fringe theorist to begin with, for any subject, certainly not Bender, Blench or Ehret. Concerning sourcing, what more do you want? Like I said, "Bender, who is definitely one of the highest regarded authors in this area (though also controversial, seems to go with this field) more or less describes his own theory as being built upon Bernal's ideas. (Sorry, I do not have this on pdf. I had to get this the old fashioned way.)" What Bernal is controversial for in linguistics is mainly his theory about Semitic influence on Greek.--Andrew Lancaster (talk) 08:29, 18 July 2009 (UTC)
Unfortunately Andrew, WP:NOTABLE does not apply to people, but to topics (just like the WP:FRINGE passage I quoted above):

"Within Wikipedia, notability refers to whether or not a topic merits its own article. Articles should verify that they are notable, or "worthy of notice". It is important to note that topic notability on Wikipedia is not necessarily dependent on things like fame, importance, or the popularity of a topic—although those may contribute."

Now stop stalling, and prove that Bernal's -- a non-linguist, non-Afro-Asiatic specialist, writing in a non-major publication (his own controversial book, actually) -- theory of a Kenyan & Rift Valley/Khoisan language Urheimat for Afro-Asiatic aren't, in fact, tiny minority fringe views. WP:PROVEIT Andrew. Causteau (talk) 08:40, 18 July 2009 (UTC)
He is an Afro-Asiatic specialist as shown by my Bender citation. Do you have any argument against that?--Andrew Lancaster (talk) 08:45, 18 July 2009 (UTC)
What Bender citation? All I see is you citing two links: one to this book by Blench (which I've already shown does not support your claims), and another to this interview with Christopher Ehret (which I've likewise demonstrated doesn't support your claims). I would, however, be very interested in seeing that quote you allude to above wherein Blench identifies the controversial historian Martin Bernal as a "specialist" on the Afro-Asiatic languages. Very interested indeed. Last I checked, one actually had to be a linguist first before ever having such a distinction bestowed upon one. Causteau (talk) 09:02, 18 July 2009 (UTC)
AND can you PLEASE revert your other reverts, which were reverts not related to this subject? To keep ignoring this request is unreasonable.--Andrew Lancaster (talk) 08:31, 18 July 2009 (UTC)
Look, I have no idea what you're talking about. And you need to take the proverbial chill pill. Causteau (talk) 08:40, 18 July 2009 (UTC)
I presume you'll not be claiming I am edit warring if I fix an edit you refuse to acknowledge you even made then.--Andrew Lancaster (talk) 08:45, 18 July 2009 (UTC)
First I have to know what the hell you're talking about before "refusing to acknowledge" anything. Causteau (talk) 09:02, 18 July 2009 (UTC)
By the way Andrew, it makes no difference whether you acknowledge that a fringe definition is "controversial" or not (as you've done in this edit). It still doesn't change the fact that Bernal's theories that the AA Urheimat is Kenya or the Rift Valley (he latter of which he deduced by studying the Khoisan languages!) are the tiny minority views of a non-linguist and published in his own controversial book rather than in a major publication. Causteau (talk) 09:08, 18 July 2009 (UTC)
You should know what your own edits are, in order to avoid being a bull in a China shop. I'll continue working on the basis that at least you can not claim there is something you are defending in those edits, apart from the Bernal bits. Concerning the Bernal bits, I've made changes which cover all concerns you've raised in a normal Wikipedia way. I realize you don't like Bernal's work, but those who have more authority do not agree with you.--Andrew Lancaster (talk) 09:18, 18 July 2009 (UTC)
Actually, I know what my own edits are. It's your characterization of my edits that I don't know and that you only know and insist instead on couching in very vague language as is your custom. As for the Bernal source, there's no need to get "tough" Andrew. All I've asked you to do was to prove that these claims by the controversial historian Bernal -- a non-linguist much less a specialist in the Afro-Asiatic languages -- that the AA Urheimat is Kenya or the Rift Valley is not a tiny minority view. You see, he is literally the only person I've heard make this claim. Instead of simply producing a quote(s) proving otherwise, you lead me on a fairly predictable wild goose chase, and cryptically insist that "those who have more authority do not agree with you". Names, please; I'm genuinely curious. By the way, if you think that WP:FRINGE supports your edit, think again. That too was already exposed above. Causteau (talk) 09:27, 18 July 2009 (UTC)
The current version of the two articles we are looking at calls this a minority view and a controversial view, so your concerns are covered. That it needs be mentioned is clear because this author is a well known and respected author in Afroasiatic field (Bender citation) and to the extent some of his ideas are controversial of course this has been extensively published about by respected academics, making it notable.--Andrew Lancaster (talk) 09:34, 18 July 2009 (UTC)
No, my concerns are not covered because Bernal is 1) not an expert in the field in question (namely, linguistics & the Afro-Asiatic languages in particular), 2) his views were not published in a major publication as WP:FRINGE instructs, but rather in his own controversial book, 3) his views were not referenced at all let alone extensively by a notable group or individual that is independent of the theory as WP:FRINGE also instructs. It makes no difference whether you indicated that the tiny minority views in question are tiny minority views; they still haven't met the notability guidelines laid out above and just explained. You keep referring to a Bender citation describing him as a "respected author in Afroasiatic field", which you have never cited! It's all talk, no action. Causteau (talk) 09:44, 18 July 2009 (UTC)
1. If Bender treats him as an expert then who are we to argue? BTW that article already closed with quite a harsh cricism of Afrocentrism, despite taking Bernal very seriously on Afroasiatic. So there is absolutely no sign that Bender would dismiss Bernal as a linguist because of his controversy in other things.
2. His own controversial book has been sifted carefully, looking for each controversial area, in peer reviewed articles and books published specially about the subject by groups of distinguished academics. So his controversial stuff is notable.
So you can take your pick of 1 or 2, but I do not think you can argue with both at the same time. We can't say Bernal is an unknown author who has not published seriously in this field. You also can not say that his controversial ideas are not notable, because they are clearly very famous and were discussed in print in a very serious way by other very well known academics. But you certainly can not argue that he is BOTH not seriously cited in Afroasiatic studies, AND ignored by academics.--Andrew Lancaster (talk) 09:56, 18 July 2009 (UTC)
1. You have not proven that Bender treats the historian Bernal as an expert in linguistics (the italicized part you always seem to leave out). You've just stated it with no backing to speak of other than your own "word".
2. Again, more talk no action. Prove it. Produce a major publication where Bernal's views on the Kenyan and Rift Valley Urheimat for AA are published, thereby establishing their notability. Alternatively, show that these specific linguistic theories were referenced at all by a notable group or individual that is independent of the theory as WP:FRINGE also instructs.
3. How can I argue with your opinions? What you've written are not facts, but wishes. They become facts when you produce actual evidence proving them as I've repeatedly asked you to do, and you've continued to evasively decline. Where are these "very famous" controversial theories on the AA Urheimat discussed? Hmmm? Like I wrote, all talk, no action. Causteau (talk) 10:05, 18 July 2009 (UTC)
Really sorry that I don't have the Bender article in pdf form for your convenience. You know if I did I would pass a copy as I have done for you in the past. But that doesn't sound like a reason to delete stuff to me.--Andrew Lancaster (talk) 10:44, 18 July 2009 (UTC)
I sincerely doubt Bender describes the historian Bernal as an expert in the Afro-Asiatic languages as you've claimed. But tell you what: Just cite the name of the publication in question where this awesome information is found, and I'll be sure to look it up for myself. Causteau (talk) 11:01, 18 July 2009 (UTC)

I already mentioned the source in the article references: Bender ML (1997), Upside Down Afrasian, Afrikanistische Arbeitspapiere 50, pp. 19-34. It is a major article in this field, but I had to get a copy from Cologne. Bender openly paints his theory as one built upon insights from Bernal and Diakonoff while making his disagreements clear.--Andrew Lancaster (talk) 16:30, 18 July 2009 (UTC)

Black Athena

The article states "This appeared in his controversial work Black Athena, and has not been extensively cited as a mainstream theory". This needs a source, that it has not been cited as a mainstream theory. From what I can tell, Black Athena the book has been extensively cited, some 609 publications have cited Black Athena. Wapondaponda (talk) 13:54, 18 July 2009 (UTC)

I am surprised it is only that many and of Causteau as a person quite much better read in this subject than most is very aware of that. Can you find any sources which specifically talk about Bernal's Afroasiatic theories? It is not really relevant given that Bernal is a recognized major player in this area (although certainly no one should claim he is mainstream), but I would be interested.--Andrew Lancaster (talk) 16:27, 18 July 2009 (UTC)

population genetics

Naturally, a section on population genetics would be great. Publications that deal with this include

Also U6 and M1 seem to have a relationship with Afro-Asiatic, though their age in Africa is much older than Afro-Asiatic. Wapondaponda (talk) 17:13, 18 July 2009 (UTC)

I've kept away from adding that, given that my review article is obviously also a possible reference.--Andrew Lancaster (talk) 17:57, 18 July 2009 (UTC)

Let us focus more on linguistics and less on genetics...

First of all we need to concentrate on linguistic sources. This is the page about Afro-Asiatic languages. We must keep in mind that languages and gene movement do not always go together. As well, from what I gather from the various sources there is NO consensus on how the various branches of Afro-Asiatic relate to each other (much the same with Indo-European) let alone where any possible Urheimat was. There even seems to be some disagreement on the relationship of Beja within Cushitic and rather Omotic is Afro-Asiatic at all. From what we know in the earliest times, Egyptian was spoken around the Nile. Berber was in most of northwest Africa, Semitic in the Levant and Middle East, and Cushitic was spoken in Ethiopia. Does it seem that Semitic, Egyptian, and Berber have less influence from substrate languages than Cushitic or Chadic? Ethiopia is very linguistically diverse with many unrelatable languages (especially if we don't buy into Nilo-Saharan). Chadic as well is surrounded by a very diverse linguistic situation. According to Blench, Chadic seems to have come from the East. So is Chadic an intrusive language family in its area? Unfortunately, we will never know the linguistic situation in northern Africa in ancient times.

Also, is it necessary to think of the Levant, Nile Valley, or the Red Sea as such far away different places for an Urheimat. The proto-speakers may have lived throughout that whole area for a while. I mean these areas are so close. It is not like the Urheimat claims are the Nile Valley, Senegal, and Malaysia... As well, the Afro-Asiatic may have dispersed starting in North Africa around the Red Sea, but the point of origin may have still been in Mesopotamia. But, guess what we will never know. The point of origin could have been the Caspian for all we know. Azalea pomp (talk) 21:39, 18 July 2009 (UTC)

Agreed. Genetics tells us virtually nothing worthy of note about linguistics and linguistic relationships. The Pygmies are an ancient and very distinct genetic line, separate from the rest of Africa for thousands of years. But they speak languages in four different subgroups of Volta-Congo. There is no linguistic unity among this very homogeneous genetic group. There is a complete and total disconnect between the linguistic reality and the genetic reality. Look at the United States. There is great linguistic unity here, but no genetic unity. Look at a city like San Francisco, where Asian, Russian, Moroccan, and a hundred other genetic strains mix and blend, but where the children all speak English. People cannot change their genetics, but they easily change their language. They have done this throughout history and will continue to do this. Using genetics as any kind of linguistic argument is a waste of time. (Taivo (talk) 22:15, 18 July 2009 (UTC))
I somewhat disagree and think population genetics can be a useful marker for language movements. The bantu expansion is clearly demonstrated by the movements of E1b1a. It is not a perfect indicator, but I think it augments the linguistic information. Because of the age of Afro-Asiatic, it is only barely possible to reconstruct proto-Afro-Asiatic. This is demonstrated by the numerous classifications of Afroasiatic that have been presented( Stolbova, Diakonoff etc). It is often said that it is only possible to reconstruct proto-language families that are less than 10,000 years old. Population genetics is however able to trace population movements that are much older than 10,000 years. I don't think the debate on the origins of Afroasiatic can ever be solved by linguistics, because the debate has been taking place for about 100 years. I think population genetics has come closest to the answer. I agree that this article shouldn't be turned into a genetics article, however there are a number of publications that directly address the origins of Afroasiatic based on genetic evidence. Wapondaponda (talk) 22:52, 18 July 2009 (UTC)
Genetic studies papers are not qualified authorities on linguistics and these articles are not written by linguists. The article should use as its primary sources the linguistic publications by linguists. Martin Bernal is not a linguist ergo his work should not be considered here. Much of Joseph Greenberg's work is also not taken seriously among linguistic scholars. Azalea pomp (talk) 23:55, 18 July 2009 (UTC)
Genetic studies can never "supplement" or replace linguistic studies. Only linguistic studies can link languages with assurance. Genetic studies can track the movement of genes across space and time, but since language is not a genetic marker nor is it linked to genetics in any way, genetic studies can do nothing to indicate the movement, spread, or loss of languages across space and time. There are still the genetic descendants of many extinct languages such as the Egyptian people whose ancestors spoke Ancient Egyptian, as well as old genetic groups that now speak new languages, such as speakers of Tok Pisin in New Guinea. (Taivo (talk) 00:38, 19 July 2009 (UTC))
What Taivo has written is 100% correct. So for the editors of this article, please read the literature from scholars in the field of linguistics. Regular sound correspondences, grammatical forms, etc. are what needs to be considered in this article not genetic markers. Azalea pomp (talk) 01:02, 19 July 2009 (UTC)
I agree genetics and linguistics are separate fields, but nonetheless the correlation betweeen genetic markers and linguistic affiliation is strong, it is not a perfect correlation, but nonetheless it is strong. Also the traditional walls that have previously separated disciplines have started to fall in the 21st Century. The study of humanity is now a multidisciplinary approach. I know some traditionalists get upset when outsiders encroach into their field, but the multidisciplinary approach is widely gaining acceptance. For example in this recent publication by Geneticist Sarah Tishkoff, The Genetic Structure and History of Africans and African Americans, linguist Christopher Ehret is a co-author. In more recent history because of Ocean and air travel, languages and genetics will cease to correlate. But the correlation is still valid for historic and prehistoric peoples. Wapondaponda (talk) 01:12, 19 July 2009 (UTC)
Is it a strong correlation? Which linguistic sources do you have which state this? Linguists are not upset at all. Good linguistics is based foremost on the linguistic data. For example, the Indigenous Australian people are genetically closer to each other than they are to other people in the world, yet linguistically their languages are diverse with 15 or so unrelatable families with quite a few more language isolates. I can keep giving more examples which demonstrate the point that genetics should not be used for linguistics. Azalea pomp (talk) 01:27, 19 July 2009 (UTC)
Yes the Indigenous Australians are very diverse linguistically, but would anyone say that their languages are more closely related to a non-Australian language. Chances are most of the Australian languages are more closely related to each other than to non-Australian languages, despite their high linguistic diversity. I don't dispute the fact that population genetics will have an imperfect correlation, but it will correlate. People tend to marry people from the same tribe or language group. As a result people who speak the same language are likely to share similar genetic markers. Often people do marry outside their language group, and this does distort the genetic unity of a tribe, but this is less common than endogamy. For this reason, it is possible to use genetics to determine language affiliation, with some degree of consistency.Wapondaponda (talk) 01:39, 19 July 2009 (UTC)
From the present data, we can not say that say Maran is any closer to Indo-European than it is to Pama-Nyungan. This is why one does not use genetics for language classifications. Again, marrying the same tribe or genetic markers still has nothing to do with language classification. What determines a language classification is the linguistic data and not anything else. Genetics has no bearing on a linguistic classification. The biggest factor is of course finding a sound correspondence. You need to read more on linguistics and language classification to understand this. I suggest Lyle Campbell's American Indian languages. It is a great book which can give you some insight as it deals with the very complicated linguistic situation in the Americas. Azalea pomp (talk) 01:50, 19 July 2009 (UTC)

I think for the purpose of the article, it is not necessarily what we think or believe to be true, but whether there are notable and reliable sources that propose a theory connecting population genetics and the spread of languages. I think this publication, Origins of Afroasiatic by Christopher Ehret meets this criteria. He is one the most notable linguists and has suggested a link between genetic lineages and the spread of Afroasiatic. I agree that we should not turn this into a genetics article, but nonetheless there is an important hypothesis that has been proposed and supported at least, by some linguists. Wapondaponda (talk) 02:51, 19 July 2009 (UTC)

Well perhaps one should consider some reviews of Ehret's reconstructions and views by other linguists before we claim it as the best or authoritative. Rolf Theil's paper has an excellent review of Ehret's Omotic/Afroasiatic "cognates". Azalea pomp (talk) 03:05, 19 July 2009 (UTC)
Cavalli-Sforza's genetics/language research has been thoroughly discredited. It is, and it always has been, just too easy for entire populations to switch languages. There are too many examples in the world to give any credence whatsoever to linking genetic research with historical linguistics. (Taivo (talk) 03:22, 19 July 2009 (UTC))
I think Cavalli-Sforza's work is still very much the standard. The only thing is that since his work, the pace of technological advancement has accelerated, and there are now more advanced techniques than what Cavalli-Sforza used. Cavalli-Sforza could only analyze about 100 markers at a time. But since then the entire human genome has been sequenced. So it is not that he has been discredited, rather, the information that is available today is more detailed.
It is okay for one to have opinions about the use of population genetics in language. But what is important for the article is not necessarily our own opinions, but what reliable sources have been published concerning the connection between language families and genetic lineages. The Khoisan languages are the only languages on Earth that use clicks extensively. Likewise, their genetic lineages are also the most unique. Linguist Merritt Ruhlen has also co-published a paper on this connection, so genetics does correlate with linguistics. African Y Chromosome and mtDNA Divergence Provides Insight into the History of Click Languages Wapondaponda (talk) 03:38, 19 July 2009 (UTC)
Ruhlen's work has absolutely no credibility among linguists at all. I don't mean to offend, but bringing up Ruhlen's work demonstrates that perhaps you haven't had quite enough linguistics studies or research. Again, one should be quoting linguistic sources (in linguistic publications or linguistic discussions) from linguists. Genetic studies have no reason to be here. Save those for the genetics pages. Azalea pomp (talk) 03:46, 19 July 2009 (UTC)
(ec) Uh, Muntuwandi, Ruhlen's work is not really taken seriously by the majority of historical linguists and Cavalli-Sforza's work has been discredited (as far as his linguistic assertions)--it is not "the standard" (he was never a linguist and only used Greenberg as his linguistic colleague). I don't know what you're reading, but it certainly isn't mainstream historical linguistics. And the existence of clicks in non-Khoisan languages (Yeyi, Zulu, Xhosa, Dahalo, Sandawe, Hadza, Gciriku, etc.) proves how porous linguistic boundaries are. Unlike genetic markers which cannot just migrate from one place to another, linguistic features (indeed whole languages) are quite capable of moving across language boundaries. Sorry, but it doesn't really seem like you have a good understanding of what historical linguistics is. It doesn't sound like you have any real linguistic training. I could be wrong, but your comments show that you seem to be out of touch with the field and the mainstream of historical linguistic research. (Taivo (talk) 03:49, 19 July 2009 (UTC))
I am not a linguist, and I have no formal experience in linguistics. But I am aware of some of the Ruhlen's controversies, particularly his theories on proto-world language. Ruhlen is apparently Greenberg's protege. Greenberg is still a polarizing figure, though it seems his African language classification has now been accepted. Regardless, it is not whether Ruhlen is right or wrong, but rather, linguists do frequently work with geneticists. The association of clicks with the genetic lineages of the Khoisan is a well documented phenomenon, so it is not unusual to make such a connection. I don't intend to intrude into the territory of linguists, but from the anthropology and population genetics side, scientists frequently associate certain language families with genetic lineages, in particular afro-asiatic and haplogroup E. Wapondaponda (talk) 04:00, 19 July 2009 (UTC)
Greenberg's African language classification is not accepted by all linguists. For example, Hadza has not shown to be demonstrated to be a member of Khoisan. There is no consensus on Nilo-Saharan. OK, if you are not a linguist nor have had training in linguists why edit or contribute to this article? Again no offense, but I am not going to contribute to articles on genetics as I have not have not done extensive studies in genetics. This is one problem with Wikipedia is the authority of sources. Azalea pomp (talk) 04:07, 19 July 2009 (UTC)
Wikipedia doesn't require editors to be experts. You or I can edit an article on particle physics or string theory if we like. What is important is whether a user can make a valuable contribution to an article. I've been working on genetics articles in the last few months, and they frequently refer to Afro-asiatic. So it only makes sense to link what people are discussing frequently in the field of population genetics, with linguistics articles. As I have no experience with linguistics, I don't intend to deal with the sections other than the origin of Afrosiatic, because that section has to be multidisciplinary. Linguistics alone cannot be used to determine the geographical origin of prehistoric language family. The information must be corroborated by archeological evidence, or what is now called archaeogenetics. Wapondaponda (talk) 04:24, 19 July 2009 (UTC)
I didn't say experts, but any contributor should have a background or at least can understand the sources or how they fit into mainstream linguistics. As this is a linguistics article, the sources need to be from linguistics sources primarily. Even considering Ruhlen as a source just demonstrates this lack of familiarity with the material. Azalea pomp (talk) 04:28, 19 July 2009 (UTC)
Well said Azalea pomp & Taivo. Genetics has no place in the linguistics articles. Geneticists are not linguists. They do not have the proper training in the given field, nor has their work been subjected to peer review by actual linguists. Though somewhat interesting, the linguistic theories in question of the historian Martin Bernal are fringe & were published apparently nowhere else but in his own controversial book; certainly not in a peer-reviewed linguistic journal. They are the unqualified speculations of a non-expert, published outside of professional channels. I must therefore echo Azalea pomp and ask that folks just stick to actual linguistic sources. Causteau (talk) 04:30, 19 July 2009 (UTC)
That is preposterous. This article is just as much about Afro-Asiatic peoples as it is about the languages that they speak. If a scientist has proposed a theory connecting Afro-Asiatic to genetics, then it should be in the article. We do not determine the scope of the article ourselves, but we let notable scholars and reliable sources determine what scientific information is used. Wapondaponda (talk) 04:39, 19 July 2009 (UTC)
No, this article is about the Afro-Asiatic languages. That link above is a re-direct to this article on the Afro-Asiatic languages. And this eponymously-titled article predictably contains nothing but linguistic information. Your point about "scientists" being qualified to know the ins and outs of linguistics is what is really preposterous. And none of the sources you've cited even mention the linguistic theories in question anyway, so your argument here is beside the point. Causteau (talk) 04:47, 19 July 2009 (UTC)

Let us focus more on linguistics and less on genetics... section break

Ehret et al state

A critical reading of genetic data analyses, specifically those of Y chromosome phylogeography and TaqI 49a,f haplotypes, supports the hypothesis of populations moving from the Horn or southeastern Sahara northward to the Nile Valley, northwest Africa, the Levant, and Aegean.

The geography of the M35/215 (or 215/M35) lineage, which is of Horn/East African origin, coincides with the range of Afro-Asiatic languages. Underhill speculated that this lineage might have been carried from Africa during the Mesolithic

Wapondaponda (talk) 04:54, 19 July 2009 (UTC)

Again, this is not linguistic data. Azalea pomp (talk) 04:56, 19 July 2009 (UTC)
It doesn't have to have any, as it is from a linguist. There is no reason to restrict content only to linguistics. If someone has a good scientific idea that is relevant to the subject, must we cast it aside simply because it does not involve linguistic data. Wapondaponda (talk) 04:57, 19 July 2009 (UTC)
You are working under the misconception that this article is about "people". It is not. It is about language. While those who are untrained might not understand the difference, it is critical within the field. Even Ehret's quote above does not support any linkage between language and people. He is using genetics to prop up his own theory, but genetics do not provide any linguistic data to inform a historical linguistic hypothesis. Only linguistic data are relevant to a discussion of language history. Look at the history of Latin. By the end of the classical period, the language had disconnected from any genetic group and was being spoken by Gauls, Iberians, Etruscans, Carthaginians, Franks, etc. as their first language. (Taivo (talk) 05:10, 19 July 2009 (UTC))
With the current technology, the will soon be able to model the spread of latin based on genetic markers. Nonetheless you make an important point, is this article only about linguistics or is it also about people. When we speak of the origin, then we are also talking about people. Though there is some use in understanding how languages evolve, such information is more useful when placed in a multidisciplinary environment. From what I gather, the spread of farming is believed to have an influence on languages, as people adopt terms for crops and animals. Therefore linguists cannot work in isolation. Ehret proposes that Afroasiatic was spoken by hunter gatherers based on archeological information. So it is not unusual to adopt a multidisciplinary.

Wapondaponda (talk) 05:16, 19 July 2009 (UTC)

OK, now this is just getting silly. The scope of this article will be based on linguistic data as it should. I suggest you read up on historical linguistics as obviously you do not grasp what we have been trying to show you. The genes of the speakers of a language do not always move with the language. Azalea pomp (talk) 05:21, 19 July 2009 (UTC)
(ec) Are you actually serious, Muntuwandi? Latin crossed genetic boundaries on many occasions. You clearly don't seem to understand anything about the nongenetic nature of language spread. When I learned Latin, nothing in my DNA changed. (Taivo (talk) 05:25, 19 July 2009 (UTC))
True, but when Roman soldiers were traversing across Europe, were they completely celibate. See the article on E1b1b1a#Roman_soldiers_in_Britain
Resistance to multidisciplinary studies isn't new. If anything it is expected. The sort of resistance here on Wikipedia, pales in comparison to what the actual scientists have had to endure from traditionalists who would like to keep their fields pure. But history has shown, time and time again, that old rigid ways are eventually discarded. The addition of genetic information doesn't hurt, but helps understand what couldn't have taken place into the past. Population genetics opens a window into the past, that we may never have been able to look through. The linguists are not perfect. For 100 years, they referred to Afro-Asiatic as Hamito-Semitic as if it were two separate languages. They also excluded Chadic from Hamito-Semitic, not based on linguistic data, but simply because Chadic speakers are stereotypically African. Greenberg dispensed with such theories and his classification system still stands today. Though for reasons I don't understand, Greenberg is disliked on Wikipedia. All the linguists I have encountered on wikipedia speak ill of him. Wapondaponda (talk) 05:38, 19 July 2009 (UTC)
Again you need to read linguistic publications. Greenberg is disliked on Wikipedia? You need to broaden your scope beyond what you find on Wikipedia. Greenberg's methodologies and work have been criticized for years by linguists. I am not sure what your example of Hamito-Semitic as "two separate languages" or of Chadic have to do with the current classification of Afro-Asiatic today. The methodology of linguists today is better than it was 100 years ago and today linguists do not use the "race" of a language's speakers to have any bearing on its linguistic classification. Azalea pomp (talk) 05:47, 19 July 2009 (UTC)
(ec) You also don't understand anything about Greenberg's classification of African languages. First, when it came to Niger-Congo, Afro-Asiatic, and Khoisan he did nothing that hadn't already been done. He proposed Nilo-Saharan, but that does not "still stand today". It is highly controversial and Greenberg proved nothing with respect to it. Get your facts straight. Greenberg is not widely accepted by most historical linguists. That's why most knowledgeable Wikipedia editors do not worship him. (Taivo (talk) 05:49, 19 July 2009 (UTC))

There is already a separate article about Proto Afro Asiatic, which might potentially be an article that can handle a little more genetics? Of course genetics should not become the major focus of either article, but it was indeed mentioned by Ehret, Keita and Newman in their letter to Science as supporting a certain origins theory for this language family.--Andrew Lancaster (talk) 06:38, 19 July 2009 (UTC)

After reading the responses of Ehret et al. and of Bellwood in Science, I will just consider the linguistic data. First with regards to Ehret et al., we have no idea what language or languages the Capsians would have spoken. They did not leave any texts for us to read. Bellwood is correct to question assertions that Omotic split first from Afro-Asiatic and brings up the point that linguists have questioned its membership in Afro-Asiatic. It is not going to be possible to find the Urheimat of Afro-Asiatic from genetics because as we have stated before languages are not bound by the genes of its speakers. What this article should concentrate on is what the linguistic data shows. Azalea pomp (talk) 07:36, 19 July 2009 (UTC)
Sure. But you are arguing with Ehret, and this is not the correct venue here. We should be putting in whatever the mainstream literature says, and not selecting the bits we agree with. Wikipedia is supposed to give neutral summaries of what people say about a subject, not be a venue for debate.--Andrew Lancaster (talk) 07:52, 19 July 2009 (UTC)
No, what I am saying is that this article should only be using sources from linguists in linguistic publications which have been peer reviewed by other linguists. I suggest that for whatever perhaps controversial article has been written, a review or response needs to be considered. Something from Science Magazine is not a substitution for an article in a linguistics publication. Keep the genetics off this page. Azalea pomp (talk) 08:11, 19 July 2009 (UTC)
That is not what you were saying, but anyway, I think that is a bit extreme. There is no Wikipedia policy which says that only peer reviewed materials an be used as sources. Also keep in mind that the section we are talking about a section specifically about the origins of a language family and such discussion do necessarily always cross discipline barriers, whether written by a linguist, geneticist, or archaeologist or whatever (all the origins theories are by people who were all dabbling to some extent in fields outside their original areas of expertize). So effectively you are demanding by asking for only specialist linguistics material to be used, is that speculations about the origins of this language family should be kept out of Wikipedia, which seems unjustifiable to me?--Andrew Lancaster (talk) 08:22, 19 July 2009 (UTC)
These pages have a scholarly background as they specifically concern linguistic topics such as phonology, cognates, grammar, reconstructed proto forms, etc. Since this is scholarly material, the bulk of the material in these pages should be from scholarly materials which come from the most relevant material. Anything to do with Afro-Asiatic languages should of course come from linguistic sources. No other type of source would be acceptable. A geneticist is not a qualified authority to discuss linguistic matters on this level. A geneticist does not specialize in studies on phonology or grammar (Fallacy: Appeal to Authority). It is very apparent from some of the users' comments that they do not have a good grasp of historical linguists or they simply don't care and therefore a foolish discussion follows. I suggest one should read up on historical linguistics before attempting to edit these pages because someone who knows more or who has a good source is going to have to change those edits. Seriously, if you do not have some of the sources from linguists on Afro-Asiatic languages handy, I would not bother to try to edit these pages. If one wants to contribute something of value, look through journals, some books, online pages of linguists, etc. Afro-Asiatic studies as we have seen are much fewer than say Indo-European and there is a lot less consensus. Azalea pomp (talk) 08:38, 19 July 2009 (UTC)
Azalea Pump, we do not know each other personally, and we should not be writing about each other personally. I've stated the facts of the case in a neutral way. Just answer in a neutral way. Are Ehret's theories on Afro-Asiatic acceptable for this article or not? If not, why not? Concerning your continued appeals that people cite more linguistics literature, stop complaining and start working. No one is stopping you.--Andrew Lancaster (talk) 10:01, 19 July 2009 (UTC)
Also keep in mind that Ehret is now mentioned in the article as a major author in this area and no one is opposing that? It is Ehret himself who chose to use genetics evidence to make his argument in a letter to Science. Ehret's letter to Science is a very reliable source of what Ehret thinks about his Afroasiatic origins theory. If Ehret's Afroasiatic origins theory is being mentioned on this article, then Ehret's ideas about his own theory are potentially relevant. In this way there is clearly no sourcing issue with citing his letter to Science.--Andrew Lancaster (talk) 08:26, 19 July 2009 (UTC)
This is why more sources are needed so it does not rely on one scholar alone. Azalea pomp (talk) 08:39, 19 July 2009 (UTC)
I absolutely agree. So go get more sources. But what does this comment have to do with DELETING reference to one of the better known and properly sourced theories which is here on the article already?--Andrew Lancaster (talk) 10:03, 19 July 2009 (UTC)

Anyway, I have opened discussion over on Proto-Afro-Asiatic. Whether or not the present article here needs genetics, to me it seems that if there should be any article specifically about the origins of this language then genetics becomes more interesting? Please participate in discussion on that talk page also if you have any position about this. It is time to disconnect the discussion about the two articles again and let the Proto Afro Asiatic article sink or swim on its own. If it should exist separately, then it should be more specialized. Currently it looks pretty weak.--Andrew Lancaster (talk) 08:05, 19 July 2009 (UTC)

The article really should be named Proto-Afro-Asiatic language to be consistent with other proto languages. Azalea pomp (talk) 08:19, 19 July 2009 (UTC)
I see no problem with that, but perhaps you should propose it there first before doing it. To repeat, we should eventually separate discussion of these two articles.--Andrew Lancaster (talk) 08:22, 19 July 2009 (UTC)
I support the page rename to Proto-Afro-Asiatic language, and I have little doubt the other regulars will as well. As others have already indicated, the linguistic articles should only discuss linguistics, not genetics. The latter's for the genetics articles to discuss. By the way Azalea pomp, how do you feel about us using in this article these fringe linguistic theories by the non-linguist historian Martin Bernal regarding a possible Kenyan or Rift Valley Urheimat for Afro-Asiatic? Do you like me agree that as a non-expert, Bernal is not in a position to speak authoritatively on something as important as the the origins of AA (or anything linguistics-related, actually)? His theories weren't published in any reliable linguistic publication either, but in his controversial book Black Athena. Causteau (talk) 08:35, 19 July 2009 (UTC)
I agree with you Causteau that Bernal needs to be removed as he is not a qualified authority on linguistics and certainly not his controversial book. Azalea pomp (talk) 08:42, 19 July 2009 (UTC)
No-one doubts that Black Athena is controversial, but as Causteau insists above, Black Athena's notability (which would ensure that we must mention it if relevant to this subject) is not the point here. The point is whether Bernal's theories about Afroasiatic origins are serious ones, treated seriously by specialists in this field. Fact is that they are treated very seriously by Leonard Bender. Azalea Pump, Causteau is trying to use you to play double jeopardy here, and trying to do so only on the hope that you don't know what he knows. Don't become his new meat puppet. Above you will see that this has already been discussed and I have demonstrated that Bernal is taken seriously by Bender in one of the most important articles on this subject. Causteau's reaction there was to suggest that instead of continuing the edit war he started, he is going to have to check that, which basically means he admits that trumps his concerns (unless Causteau is saying I was lying). If you or Causteau have any answer to this then please explain it. Otherwise Wikipedia must include this reference. Deleting a reference because it is controversial is not the Wikipedia way.--Andrew Lancaster (talk) 10:01, 19 July 2009 (UTC)
The 'ol talk-bad-about-Causteau-when-I-think-he-is-away again, is it? Stop misrepresenting what I've written. Anyone can scroll above and see that I described (and repeatedly) Bernal's specific linguistic theories of a Kenyan or Rift Valley Urheimat as fringe i.e. what you actually added to the article. Stop casting aspersions on my edits & those of other editors. Grow up, and take your losses like a man. Until you produce a quote proving that the historian Martin Bernal's aforementioned theories on the AA Urheimat aren't tiny, minority views confined to his controversial Black Athena book rather than a peer-reviewed linguistic publication(s), I'm afraid you're just blowing more hot air. Causteau (talk) 10:30, 19 July 2009 (UTC)
Describing a clear problem with someone's argument and approach to an editing question, explaining all the reasoning, is no problem on Wikipedia. Answering a clear editing question by implying that the question is part of a bad faith and dishonest strategy is a personal attack, and not on. (It is also ridiculous. I have no idea when you are watching the pages or not, but this morning you seem to have been sitting at the computer the same time as me. So what?) Will you reply to the editing question? You previously gave your position for removing mention of Bernal as being based on a doubt that Bernal was cited in a serious way by Bender. What is your position now, and why did you change it? --Andrew Lancaster (talk) 11:30, 19 July 2009 (UTC)
Oh I "changed my position" did I? When did I ever concede that the historian Bernal's Kenyan & Rift Valley linguistic theories on the AA Urheimat are anything but fringe? Right. Keep using that bold, Andrew. You won't make me lose my cool. I know your modus operandi all too well by now. And keep claiming that "Bender supports Bernal's linguistic theories" but never once bothering to actually prove that with a quote. You only make yourself look bad; not me. Causteau (talk) 11:39, 19 July 2009 (UTC)
OK, so now we are back to the position that you just have doubts about my citation until you have checked it yourself, which basically means Bernal has to be included. BTW you never asked me for a quotation. I just mentioned to you that I don't have a pdf version I can easily send you. Jokes are probably not a good idea, but given that you supposedly support Azalea Pomp's apparently very extreme position below perhaps I should now argue that you should not even edit or opine about this article because you admit not reading the literature! (Indeed, I guess Azalea Pomp also hasn't read it, so what do we make of that?) Because the whole article works around citations of Bernal, I just give a few of the first ones...--Andrew Lancaster (talk) 11:53, 19 July 2009 (UTC)
  • on the first page (page 19) Bender says he will consider four recent proposals. He cites 2 articles by Diakonoff and 2 by himself, but on his most recent he mentions that he will consider it as "modified by Bernal (1980ms)"
  • "Bernal's proposal relies mostly on extra-linguistic evidence from archaeology. Difficult as it is to deal with, in the long run the archaeology-linguistics correlation must be made."
  • "My current scneario [...] Beginning about 10,000 B.P., an "explosion" of the sort proposed by Bernal moved Chadic...".
  • "Note that Bernal (ibid. 13) says that..."


Please put discussion about other articles on the talkpages of those articles.--Andrew Lancaster (talk) 08:37, 19 July 2009 (UTC)
Uh, you brought the topic up... Causteau (talk) 08:39, 19 July 2009 (UTC)
Yes, I brought it up and pointed out that discussion should be there about that article!--Andrew Lancaster (talk) 10:01, 19 July 2009 (UTC)

Bernal Source

Andrew, do you mean Lionel Bender? Here is Wikipedia's policy on scholarship: Scholarship Further information: Wikipedia:Verifiability#Reliable sources

Many Wikipedia articles rely on scholarly material. Academic and peer-reviewed publications are usually the most reliable sources when available. However, some scholarly material may be outdated, superseded by more recent research, in competition with alternate theories, or controversial within the relevant field. Reliable non-academic sources may also be used, particularly material from reputable mainstream publications. Wikipedia articles should cover all significant views, doing so in proportion to their published prominence among the most reliable sources. The choice of appropriate sources depends on context and information should be clearly attributed where there are conflicting sources.

   * Material that has been vetted by the scholarly community is regarded as reliable; this means published in reputable peer-reviewed sources or by well-regarded academic presses.
   * Items that are signed are preferable to unsigned articles.
   * The scholarly acceptance of a source can be verified by confirming that the source has entered mainstream academic discourse, for example by checking the number of scholarly citations it has received in citation indexes. A corollary is that journals in those fields well covered by such indexes, but not included, should be used with caution.
   * Isolated studies are usually considered tentative and may change in the light of further academic research. The reliability of a single study depends on the field. Studies relating to complex and abstruse fields, such as medicine, are less definitive. Avoid undue weight when using single studies in such fields. Meta-analyses, textbooks, and scholarly review articles are preferred to provide proper context, where available.

Bernal is NOT a linguist and thus has no place on this page. The only authors who should be on this page are linguists. As well, much of Lionel Bender's (and Ehret's) work on Nilo-Saharan is controversial (for example the placement of Songhay). This is a page about linguistics not fringe theories. Whatever "notability" Bernal's book has, it doesn't belong here. I don't see Bernal quoted in Britannica as a source or even mentioned. It is not an encyclopedia article's purpose to include every fringe theory there is. Even so before one includes the fringe, the actual body of the work should include the scholarly data. But really, those Wikipedia users who not have a linguistics background or the ability to retrieve and understand the academic materials, should not be editing this page. Good sourcing is basic to any paper and especially for a concise article like this one will be. Azalea pomp (talk) 10:34, 19 July 2009 (UTC)

Sorry yes, I mean Lionel Bender.
Concerning your idea that the "only authors who should be on this page are linguists" and your attempt to imply that everyone else is not qualified to discuss anything with you, this is not Wikipedia policy, and BTW it would not ever be possible to use such a rule for any serious discussion about Afroasiatic origins which is by necessity a tenuous and multi-disciplinary area of discussion. By all means go out and edit a specialist linguistics Wiki if you want. Don't waste talkpage space with personal ideas like this. If you want Wikipedia policies changed there are other places to debate that. You are talking to the wrong people here.
I kindly request that you respond in a clear way to my clear explanation about why Bernal must be included in this article, which is that he is treated as one of the more important thinkers on this subject by Lionel Bender (along with Diakonoff).--Andrew Lancaster (talk) 11:22, 19 July 2009 (UTC)
Ehret's comments are not in a peer-reviewed reliable source and are not even about Afro-Asiatic specifically. As I recall from reading the interview, he is talking more about the relevance of the Greece-related issues and the Nile Valley. He isn't even dealing with Afro-Asiatic. I've ordered a copy of "Upside Down Afrasian", but I doubt that Bernal is one of Bender's major sources for the article. I'll see in a few days when I get the article to read. Bender is a good linguist and isn't in the habit of using non-linguistic evidence to make linguistic arguments. Confer Lionel M. Bender, 1997, The Nilo-Saharan Languages, A Comparative Essay (Lincom Europa), pages 40-56 for a thorough examination of the uselessness of genetic and cultural evidence in a discussion of the linguistic history of Nilo-Saharan. (Taivo (talk) 11:43, 19 July 2009 (UTC))
Why are you posting notes and indeed helping Causteau to initiate an edit war, based on opinions about sources you admit you haven't read? While looking for the right things to read please note that Ehret's interview is not being discussed, but rather his letter to Science. Whether a letter to Science is peer reviewed or not is also irrelevant because it is clearly a source that is going to be carefully written and checked and his letter is clearly a reliable source for his opinions about his own opinions! There is no Wikipedia policy saying that we can only refer to things which are peer reviewed and written by professional linguists.--Andrew Lancaster (talk) 12:09, 19 July 2009 (UTC)

Ok folks, Andrew has just pasted above material he claims is from Bender which he believes supports the historian Bernal's linguistic theories on the Kenyan & Rift Valley Urheimat of AA:

  • on the first page (page 19) Bender says he will consider four recent proposals. He cites 2 articles by Diakonoff and 2 by himself, but on his most recent he mentions that he will consider it as "modified by Bernal (1980ms)"
  • "Bernal's proposal relies mostly on extra-linguistic evidence from archaeology. Difficult as it is to deal with, in the long run the archaeology-linguistics correlation must be made."
  • "My current scneario [...] Beginning about 10,000 B.P., an "explosion" of the sort proposed by Bernal moved Chadic...".
  • "Note that Bernal (ibid. 13) says that...

As I'm sure we all pretty much knew, there is no mention of Bender supporting Bernal's aforecited AA Urheimat theories that Andrew has added to this and the Proto-Afro-Asiatic article. Judging by the snippets he has chosen to quote, it would appear that Andrew doesn't even have full access to Bender's book as he had claimed! Causteau (talk) 12:02, 19 July 2009 (UTC)

Are you changing argument again? First you were saying that Bernal is not a serious linguist, and saying you do not believe Bender treats him that way. Now you are apparently claiming that it is enough to delete mention of Bernal simply if Bender says he disagrees with him? Is that honestly your new position? As has been mentioned a few times, Wikipedia policy is not to delete controversial ideas, but to mention them in a balanced and neutral way as part of the debate that is really out there in the outside world.--Andrew Lancaster (talk) 12:09, 19 July 2009 (UTC)
Keep mounting those strawman arguments Andrew. You're quite good at them. They won't, however, change the fact that none of the quotes above -- which was your last ditch attempt at proving that the historian Bernal's linguistic theories suggesting a Kenyan or Rift Valley Urheimat for AA is not a fringe, tiny minority view -- support your claim that what you actually added to this article & the Proto-Afro-Asiatic one aren't the fringe, tiny-minority views of a non-linguist, published in a non-linguistic publication to boot. What's worse, you didn't even have full access to the Bender book to begin with as you had claimed; hence, your little snippet quotes. Causteau (talk) 12:22, 19 July 2009 (UTC)
I can assure you that I have the full article, and more importantly no one has ever argued that Bernal's position is anything but a minority position, as indeed is Bender's position concerning Semitic which is discussed in the same article. Being a controversial minority opinion does not make an opinion a fringe opinion for Wikipedia purposes. Bender's taking the theory seriously makes the theory notable and recognized in the field (irrespective of whether it is popular). I only included Bernal in my re-writing of this article because he comes up in a neutral reading of the most well known debates about this subject. I have no particular special interest in his theory. He is just part of this subject.--Andrew Lancaster (talk) 12:35, 19 July 2009 (UTC)
You have the full article? Great! Then quote it. Cause the snippets above do not in the least bit show Bender supporting the historian Bernal's linguistic theories that Kenya & the Rift Valley are possible Urheimat for Afro-Asiatic as you have claimed. Indeed, they don't even mention Proto-Afro-Asiatic. They are just bits and pieces of phrases conveniently linked together to create the impression that they assert something they actually don't. You've wasted everyone's time today Andrew, and for naught as it turns out. Causteau (talk) 12:50, 19 July 2009 (UTC)
The question, as you originally seemed to accept, is not whether Bender agrees with Bernal but whether he takes him seriously as a person writing in this field. (If you think I am wrong about what Wikipedia says on this type of issue, please explain.) I did enough typing to show that already. You can't keep moving the goal posts, because they are set by Wikipedia policy in this particular case. I should not be the subject of personal abuse simply because I am the only one to have read the actual sources being discussed?--Andrew Lancaster (talk) 12:55, 19 July 2009 (UTC)
The goal posts were never moved Andrew. I, like the other editors, made it clear to you from the start that Bernal is 1) not an expert in the field in question (namely, linguistics & the Afro-Asiatic languages in particular), 2) his views on the possible Kenyan or Rift Valley AA Urheimat were not published in a major publication as WP:FRINGE instructs, but rather in his own controversial book, 3) these specific views -- again, Bernal's linguistic theories on Kenya & the Rift Valley that you added to the Afro-Asiatic & Proto-Afro-Asiatic articles -- were not referenced at all let alone extensively by a notable group or individual that is independent of the theory as WP:FRINGE also instructs. You claim Bender supports these theories, when nowhere does he even once mention the theories in question based on the snippets of quotes you yourself produced. Insisting otherwise is utter folly. Causteau (talk) 13:42, 19 July 2009 (UTC)
So you are accusing me of lieing about an article you admit you do not have and this is now the only argument maintaining your position. Correct?--Andrew Lancaster (talk) 13:45, 19 July 2009 (UTC)
And by the way just to remind you, the question is not whether Bender agrees with Bernal. That is entirely irrelevant.--Andrew Lancaster (talk) 14:00, 19 July 2009 (UTC)
Read it again: "You claim Bender supports these theories, when nowhere does he even once mention the theories in question based on the snippets of quotes you yourself produced." Kindly stop with your strawman arguments. It's one thing to say Bernal supports a Kenya or Rift Valley AA Urheimat. It's quite another to say Bender does too, not even bother to produce quotes supporting this, and then complain about others consequently questioning your claims. Remember: You said that those snippets supported you; that is why you quoted from them, when they clearly do not -- get it? Of course you do. Causteau (talk) 14:13, 19 July 2009 (UTC)
But now you are just quoting yourself as an explanation! Where did I ever claim Bender agrees with Bernal, and why would this be important? The question is whether Bernal appears in serious linguistics literature being taken seriously. You have simply changed subject.--Andrew Lancaster (talk) 14:30, 19 July 2009 (UTC)
You're wasting mine and everyone else's time. Bernal is not a linguist; he has no training in the field. All he has is two very idiosyncratic theories on the origins of AA, theories that have ostensibly only been published in his controversial book Black Athena to boot. And it's to this book that you referenced those linguistic theories in your edits. When you understood that neither I nor any of the other editors above thought that including tiny minority fringe views from non-linguists that were published in non-linguistic publications was appropriate, you then mentioned Bender and insisted that he "cited seriously" Bernal's Kenyan & Rift Valley AA Urheimat theories. I then asked you to produce quotes proving this claim. You then produced snippets of quotes that don't even mention Bernal's theories in question. And then I suggested that you produced snippets because you were unable to produce the passages in full (think Google books), ostensibily because you did not have full access to the book to begin with. Instead of then producing those quotes in full like most people who do actually own books they claim to own would, you instead began milking that logical conclusion of mine for all it was worth, insisting that I am accusing you of lying -- seemingly anything to avoid actually quoting the passages in full. And that's the state of affairs, amigo. Causteau (talk) 14:59, 19 July 2009 (UTC)
Well, I never claimed anything about who agrees with any specific theory by Bernal, because it is not important. The argument was whether he is taken seriously in this field. But let's look at your new summary of the state of affairs. It seems like you are now doing the following:-
  • Asserting that Bender's citation of Bernal as a serious source for his theoretical ideas about the Urheimat of Afro-Asiatic is irrelevant to Bernal's status in this field. Correct?
  • You are now emphasizing "training in the field" as something more important than concerning whether someone has published in the field and been cited in the field. Quite apart from the fact that people who write on this "Urheimat" subject have all types of different educational backgrounds, what Wikipedia policy allows this approach?--Andrew Lancaster (talk) 15:17, 19 July 2009 (UTC)

Verb Paradigm Fixes

Some of the forms to be fixed. The Somali verb "to die" is dhimo. As well, there is no language called "Berber". Anyone have the original sources of the Berber forms? Azalea pomp (talk) 23:04, 19 July 2009 (UTC)

As well, the Somali verb "to die" is irregular, perhaps regular verb forms should be used and not verbs which are cognates between the branches. Azalea pomp (talk) 00:23, 20 July 2009 (UTC)

Six cognates

In the current verbal paradigm, most verbs have different meanings. Only six "Cognates" appear, with no vowels in the Afro-Asiatic forms. —Preceding unsigned comment added by 86.137.170.8 (talk) 10:44, 30 July 2009 (UTC) All this is very slight alleged proof of the alleged Afro-Asiatic group. —Preceding unsigned comment added by 86.137.170.8 (talk) 10:50, 30 July 2009 (UTC)

The verbal paradigms only show the present tense forms in these Afroasiatic languages/branches. They do not claim to be cognates and it should not be inferred that they show or do not show proof of a relationship. I created a new section for the verbs. Azalea pomp (talk) 18:25, 30 July 2009 (UTC)
Changed the Arabic verb "to write" which is a regular verb. Azalea pomp (talk) 00:00, 4 August 2009 (UTC)