Stubbs Responds to Hansen

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Lemmie
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Re: Stubbs Responds to Hansen

Post by Lemmie »

Why not Russian, indeed. Unless Moroni is calling the shots? As Symmachus pointed out, apologetic work is “ultimately an act of faith and not actually work of scholarship.”

An excerpt from a note I found at BYU’s Scholar’s Archive, titled Hebrew and Uto-Aztecan: Possible Linguistic Connections:

A few years ago Brian Stubbs, then a doctoral candidate in linguistics at the University of Utah, received a grant from F.A.R.M.S. to study the question of whether elements of Hebrew language could be detected among native tongues of the Uto-Aztecan family of western North America. Preliminary evidence had suggested to him that this unorthodox proposition had a basis in fact.

Stubbs first completed a paper ordering, summarizing, and extending his findings, and he presented some of the material at Brigham Young University. Then he prepared a lengthier piece for further publication. [1]

Stubbs deals with Hebrew, Arabic, Aramaic, Akkadian (Babylonian), and Ugaritic, all of the Semitic family from the Near East. In the New World, he examines the Uto-Aztecan tongues, which range from Northern Paiute and Shoshoni in the Great Basin, through Hopi and Papago in Arizona and Tarahumara and Yaqui of northern Mexico, to Nahuatl, the language of the Aztecs of central and southern Mexico.

....The present paper presents 203 equivalences between Semitic and Uto-Aztecan. Material still being analyzed contains over two hundred additional Hebrew roots with apparent reflexes in this North American language family. The similarities do not, however, demonstrate that Uto-Aztecan languages are descendants of Hebrew alone, although the number and nature of the relationships already brought out are sufficient to suggest that Hebrew was one of the ancestor languages. (Incidentally, the patterns of sound changes indicate that specifically Hebrew and not other Semitic tongues provides the closest comparisons.) But much non-Semitic morphology and vocabulary is also evident in Uto-Aztecan.

Stubbs, therefore, suggests the possibility that the linguistic process known as “creolization” may have been involved. That term is used to describe the formation of an essentially new “mixed” language from two or more active ones, a process of increasingly active concern in linguistic research nowadays. This description matches quite well the description given by Moroni of the changes that had taken place in Nephite language over the years —that the traditional language was handed down but altered according to the manner of their contemporary spoken language (see Mormon 9:32-34).

Initial assessments of this work by two recognized linguists have been highly positive. Stubbs seems to have demonstrated once again the increasingly evident lesson that while events in the past were complex, meticulous research methods and patient labor may yet give us signicant glimpses of what actually took place.

Based on research by Brian Stubbs, December 1987.

Footnotes:

1. See Brian Stubbs, “Elements of Hebrew in Uto-Aztecan: A Summary of the Data” (Provo: F.A.R.M.S., 1988).

https://scholarsarchive.BYU.edu/cgi/vie ... additional

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Re: Stubbs Responds to Hansen

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Gadianton wrote:
Tue Jun 09, 2020 10:02 pm
Some really good stuff continuing to flow in. I had some time tonight to take a couple passes at the denser material. I don't totally get it but the picture is filling in. The part about borrowing vocabulary but not phonemes was especially interesting, as was the examples of dealing with multiple S <> single S. And if there's an r then why isn't it just r?

eventually i'm going to have to make a flowchart or something.
Please share if you do! This stuff is complicated.

I’m getting the sense that the underlying explanation for Stubb’s work has gone through many iterations, all to maintain the goal of detecting “elements of Hebrew” among “Uto-aztecan,” as per the original FARMS grant, some 35 years ago, which Peterson defines as support for a historical Book of Mormon.

So just to keep it straight in my own head the discussion now, in brief summary:
Gad wrote:
Stubbs position is that the "influence" is borrowing and not descent.
But
Symmachus wrote:
For the kind of scenario Stubbs is offering we would have to know more about Uto-Aztecan, the supposed recipient language of the Hebrew-Aramaic-Egyptian-maybe Arabic hybrid spoken by the Nephites: how can you tell the difference between a native Uto-Aztecan word and something that is not Uto-Aztecan? If you can't answer that, you can't actually say whether it was borrowed.
Therefore:
Symmachus wrote:
...the language which supposedly received all of these borrowings and adapted them to a pre-existing phonology. What is evidence for that pre-existing phonology? If his answer is something like "pre-Uto-Aztecan" without offering any specifics that isolate just what that was, then again, we are back to claiming something that is effectively genetic descent...
This has led to the “black hole of special pleading”:
symmachus wrote:
Anything of Uto-Aztecan that doesn't fit his rules and is therefore without a source in his hypothetical Hebrew-Aramaic-Egyptian-sometimes Arabic hybrid—well, that gets to be excluded as counter-evidence against his claim. How convenient.
Symmachus offers a solution:

The only way to make a case that could be considered (not saying convincing, just considered) is if he were to have a corpus of the pre-existing Uto-Aztecan recipient language, or even just features of it, that was reconstructed along criteria independent of his thesis of the Nephite hybrid donor language.
But without this, it conveniently leaves open the misleading conclusion that Stubb’s work hasn’t been refuted because it “can’t” be refuted:
symmachus wrote:
If he can't do that, the whole thing is rigged, and all we can talk about his misuse or misunderstanding of the data (which is what I've mostly illustrated). It is the sort of thing that simply cannot be refuted because of the terms upon which his thesis is founded.

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Re: Stubbs Responds to Hans

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Lemmie wrote:
Tue Jun 09, 2020 1:33 pm
This section above cleared up a question for me, if I am interpreting things correctly. My concern was that Stubbs’ sets find “matches“ across 30 or so UA languages with some overlap but not all, so, given such a broad set of possibilities, even if the analysis is done correctly, how do you rule out the vastly increased possibility of coincidental matches?
If you can forgive my trespassing into your field a little ways, I would also add that we are not talking about 1:1 matches in all cases but several with two possibilities. In some cases, he postulates a second dialect (a "p" dialect against a "kw" dialect) to systematize these two possibilities, so that helps. For example, the Hebrew verb dibbēr (="speak, say," an intransitive verb) finds a reflex in a reconstructed Uto-Azecan *tïkwi ("say, talk, speak") in his #11. We have three consonants to deal with here.

1) One rule (#606 and #607) says that Semitic "d" will become Uto-Aztecan "t," and that explains the first consonant shift in dibbēr and *tïkwi. In this case, we have a 1:1 correspondence postulated.

2) But what about the next consonant, which is doubled in Hebrew? Ordinarily, the "b" sound should go to a "p." Here it goes to "kw." But wait, what about deriving Uto-Aztecan *tapputi/tïpputi (="flea") from a reconstructed Semitic form (Stubbs #620)? The form he reconstructs for this is *đabboot- taking feminine suffixes. Such a form is not completely unreasonable but notice that it involves two consonants: "bb" right there in the middle. Different dialect you say? Oh, well I guess it must be. Stubbs posits a "kw-Northwest Semitic dialect," and the problem is solved. The Uto-Aztecans apparently heard a Nephite "kw" for "b" (though other "b" was heard as "p" in the same dialect). Why wasn't it nativized? Well, actually it's the Nephites who spoke a different form of Hebrew that is unattested, and in their Hebrew, "bb" was pronounced as "kw." But also some of the Nephites also spoke the attested form of Hebrew, so that is why sometimes "bb" is "pp." Ok, fine, let's leave it and consider the second consonant explained but note that now we are at 1 attested phoneme in the Semitic column being allowed to have at least two possible outcomes in the Uto-Aztecan column, "p" or "kw."

***A quick side note on that second word: notice that he uses the root *đ-b-b in getting that form *đabboot-, which he needs in order to put a Semitic word behind Uto-Aztecan *tapputi/tïpputi. The root only exists as such in Arabic, and the first consonant in the root only exists in Arabic and Imperial Aramaic (e.g. to the collapse of the Persian empire). It became "d" in later Aramaic, which is how he connects the first consonant of this root with the "t" in *tapputi/tïpputi (through #616-618 in Stubbs: "Proto-Semitic đ (> Arabic đ, Aramaic d), corresponds to UA *t"). But the reflex of this sound became "z" in most other Semitic languages, thus the root in Hebrew is *z-b-b. Now have a look at his rule #17. Here, he uses the Hebrew root to derive a totally different outcome: "z" in Hebrew > "s" Uto-Aztecan, even though Hebrew "z" is simply the outcome of Semitic *đ. So in other words, *đ > s here, but elsewhere > t. The explanation for this double-dipping? It's part of that other dialect, you see. He also includes Akkadian in his discussion of this, so now we get Hebrew, Aramaic at any stage, Akkadian, Egyptian and Coptic, in addition Arabic to be exploited as needed.***

3) Now for the last sound in the equation between Hebrew dibbēr and Uto-Azecan *tïkwi, the "r." There's a rule here for it: "Loss of Semitic final -r, without effect on the preceding vowel" on page 10, with a few examples. Yet on the previous page, I find two examples of words ending in -r in Uto-Aztecan: *tupur and *tur (#606 and 1484, respectively). As already mentioned in a previous post, *tupur supposedly comes from an Arabic word that Stubbs assumes existed in Hebrew, though such a form would not have fit any Hebrew word pattern unless that were a doubled "b" (to protect reduction of the short vowel in the first syllable), which would yield a form *dubbūr. In that case, though, Stubbs would run into a problem, because he associates the lack of final -r with Semitic-P at page 242: "Uto-Aztecan *taka ‘man, person’ from Aramaic dakar (Semitic *đakar, Hebrew zaakaar ‘male’) shows no raising influence from -r, which is consistent with Sem-p as well as (565) *makaC ‘give’ < Semitic *makar." If that is so, and if there was a Hebrew word *dubbūr as he implicitly asks us to believe, we should expect Uto-Aztecan *tupu for his Semitic-P dialect. Otherwise, it would belong to the Semitic-kw dialect, as dibbēr apparently did, and it should have yielded Uto-Aztecan *tukwur or eventually *tukur. It is in inconsistent, but in any case we are in a situation again where 2 Uto-Aztecan phonemes are allowed to account for one phoneme on the Semitic side, "r" or zero.


Does that contribute to the problem of ruling out coincidences, Lemmie?
Lemmie wrote:To me, either there had to be an underlying commonality among the 30 languages, which I see you are defining above as a “U-A baseline” or a preexisting “pre-uto-azrecan,” or, the specific consideration of a very much larger probability of coincidental matches. Or, far less likely, something like multiple individual meetings of semitic speakers and various UA languages.

Here’s where the math side of the problem kicked in for me, because it seemed that Stubbs was assuming a starting condition of a semitically-influenced UA language group, and then using his matches to conclude ....a semitically-influenced UA language group...
Yes, I think it is basically circular reasoning, with a very wide course in which his imagination is allowed to run at full speed: in one column, he allows multiple branches of Afro-Asiatic (that is, several Semitic languages plus Egyptian) at all stages over a 3,000 year period, and in the other he allows hundreds of reconstructed words in addition to hundreds of examples of words that have only been attested within the last 150 years, and then he allows multiple crossings between the two columns (more than one outcome for different phonemes, even when we're talking about phonemes shared between the two columns) and tolerates a high degree inconsistency.

“Lemmie” wrote:This seems like a really extreme version of the sharpshooter fallacy, where you draw the bullseyes on the side of the barn after you see where the arrows land. The extreme part of it is that if the barn is the pre-UA language that is not extant, then the barn is invisible, and Stubbs is claiming that ANYWHERE an arrow sticks is by definition the barn, and therefore a match. All he has to do is add the bullseye. Why? because, as he assumed in his preexisting conditions, arrows only stick in the side of a barn.
Beautifully put, Lemmie.

I think this is why Magnus Hansen has said he's now a bit hesitant to use Stubbs's earlier, non-Mormon work. Keep in mind that that previous work was about linguistic reconstruction, deriving unattested forms for a proto-language from only recently attested forms in descendant languages with relatively small corpora. He is the one who built the barn whereon he now espies the bull's-eye. Is this a bull's-eye he noticed on the barn after he'd built it, or did he have it in view while it was still under reconstruction?
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Re: Stubbs Responds to Hansen

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Wouldn't the best refutation of Stubbs be to apply precisely similar reasoning to show that archaic Uto-Aztecan borrowed from modern Russian? Or heck, modern English? I guess that would be more work than this is worth, but maybe somebody who happened to know a bit about both languages could produce a few examples to show the possibility and then challenge Stubbs to demonstrate that it could never work as well as his Hebrew thing.

I guess it is a separate problem if Stubbs essentially invented archaic Uto-Aztecan and salted it with echoes of Hebrew in the process. To check that, someone would have to unpick his AUA work, which really would be a pain.

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Re: Stubbs Responds to Hansen

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I don't know why I didn't see Lemmie's earlier post, but it contains a question that keeps coming up (and was brought up by Rogers in his review of Stubbs):
Lemmie wrote:Why not Russian, indeed. Unless Moroni is calling the shots?
It's pretty clear that Moroni is calling the shots. I had no idea that Stubbs has been working in this since the 1980s when he was ABD. His Comparative Vocabulary of Uto-Aztecan is not obtainable, so while I can't judge for myself, it's reputation seems positive enough to make it as good as any dissertation could have been. Does his super-project of connecting Uto-Aztecan and Afro-Asiatic affect the quality of the work? We'll see, I suppose. It's not as if having an agenda drive one's scholarship precludes that scholarship from being good, but it does mean scholars relying on that scholarship have to be careful not to find themselves indirectly supporting that scholarship by granting it authority without skepticism.

As to this question of Russian, now raised again by Physics Guy. I have already had some fun applying his method and his data to Latin (see here). It didn't take long to derive to sound rules. Someone posted my comments over at Interpreter, and I responded here to a very weak attempt by Jeff Lindsay to refute my rules connecting Latin and Uto-Aztecan. As they have not been refuted, I guess I can assume, following Stubbs, that my claim, that at least a few words have been borrowed into Uto-Aztecan from Latin, must be considered true. Stubbs as well as Linguists competent enough to judge have shown either silence or contempt. Of course, my claim actually has some historical support, unlike his, since people who spoke Latin as a learned language and a descendant of Latin as a first language actually had contact with Uto-Aztecan speakers before most of the U-A languages that Stubbs uses were even recorded.

Should I do the same with Russian now? Give me the thirty years that he has had and I shall show you that Moctezuma was a Romanov. In any case, picking one language or another and applying the Stubbsian method is not quite analogous to what he is done. Stubbs has not a language but a column of languages that represent donors to Uto-Aztecan:

1. Egyptian (at all stages), which is only distantly related to the Semitic languages
2. All dialects and stages of Aramaic until at least the 14th century AD (that's several dialects over more than 2,000 years)
3. Hebrew
4. What little there is Phoenician/Punic
5. Akkadian, which is a branch of the Semitic family quite different from the previous three
6. Arabic, which is also a separate branch from Northwest Semitic (Hebrew/Aramaic/Phoenician) and from Akkadian (East Semitic)
7. Proto-Semitic, which is reconstructed language which had no realization as an actual language at the time of Lehi's Costa Rican exodus
8. Some vague thing that he calls "Semitic" here and there without specifying
9. On top of this, he seems to concoct dialects of Hebrew that must have existed but for which we have almost no evidence

Anyone doing this should be allowed not only Russian but all of east Slavic, the Latino-Faliscan languages, Greek, Indo-Iranian languages like Sanskrit, Old Persian, and Avestan, and at least a little Germanic and Celtic. As he does with Aramaic, he or she should be allowed to use any stage of these languages over at least 2,000 years of their history, which means he or she can also use Old French, for example, or move over to India for the Apabramsa languages descended from Sanskrit, as well as Prakrit and Pali. One should be able to use Old Norse and Middle High German, as well as Early Modern Irish. And then 30 years should be allowed for the project.

Also, there is a leeway that should be allowed: one has the option to construct a second dialect to explain any inconsistencies that result, and that dialect does not itself have to be fully consistent.
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Re: Stubbs Responds to Hansen

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Two more things:

1. Stubbs's invented dialects (a dialect where Semitic b becomes p in Uto-Aztecan, and another where it becomes kw) are typologically very odd: there are numerous examples of sound change where labio-velar consonants ("kw" without voicing or "gw" with voicing, or variants with other features like aspiration) develop into labial consonants (kw > p, with no voicing or the voiced consonants gw > b), sometimes with further developments (e.g. Greek). It's not impossible that it could go the other way (p > kw or b > gw), which is the way Stubbs's model has it work in order to make a dialect that explains exceptions to his rules, but I can't find examples (I welcome anyone's pointing them out to me). The reason it is improbable is that a labio-velar, by definition, contains two features that happened together: the point where the consonant is articulated on the soft palate (hence the velar part, the k or g part of the consonant) but with a secondary feature, rounding of the lips (hence the labial part, the w part of the consonant). What happens is that, over time, one of these features gains prominence over the other, so you get a split: either the velar feature is picked up by more speakers and the consonant becomes a velar (k, g), or the labial element gains prominence and the consonant becomes a labial (p, b). As I say, there are numerous examples of this cross-linguistically, but the usual direction from labio-velar to velar (as happened to Hittite, Sanskrit, Latin, Germanic and other branches that descended from Indo-European somewhere) or from labio-velar to labial consonant (as in Greek, Oscan). Labio-velar to velar is less drastic a shift because you don't actually change the articulation, you simply remove the lip rounding when the velar is articulated. Therefore, labio-velar to labial, which is rarer, is usually taken as an innovation that marks a different dialect or language. An example of this happens in Celtic, where Irish has maintained velars, but Welsh (as well as Gaulish) innovated by reanalyzing labio-velar consonants as labials (thus you get the word for "five" in Old Irish cóich on the one hand vs. Gaulish pinpe and Welsh pymp, all descended from the same Proto-Celtic form *kwenkwe, which Latin readers will recognize as very close to quinque). The outcome of the labiovelar is used as a shorthand to divide Celtic into to dialectical groupings or areas: Q-Celtic (Irish, Celtiberian, where the labiovelar became velar) and P-Celtic (Welsh, Gaulish, Lepontic, where the labiovelar became a labial).

Stubbs appears to be using Celtic as a model, so that we get from him a Northwest Semitic-Kw dialect which explains the outcome of "kw" in some Uto-Aztecan words where a Semitic or Egyptian word he is using had "b," and a Semitic-P dialect, where the Uto-Aztecan word has "p" supposedly nativized from some Semitic or Egyptian word also containing a "b." In other words, b has two possible outcomes: p or kw.

I have already outlined some inconsistencies in how this model is used, but as while the direction kw > p would not be unusual, b > kw definitely would be. We have to assume the "b" was first devoiced to "p," which is one of his rules that, as I shall explain below, is quite meaningless. But granting it anyway for the moment, the direction p > kw is typologically improbable. We can understand the mechanism by which kw > P: namely, the labial element (the W sound caused by lip rounding) gains prominence, and as a result the velar element drops away. But if you start P, what feature of P would lose prominence such that a speaker would begin to reanalyze it with a velar? Kw can go to p because the labial element is already present in the kw, but there is no velar element present in "p" alone. In any case, Stubbs attempts to remedy this on pages 73-74 in various ways: 1) what his wife tells him about some Argenitine dialects of Spanish, 2) his own perception of Yaqi speakers, 3) another linguist's perception of central Mexican Spanish, unpublished, 4) appealing to the w > gw in medieval French, which is not the same kind of phenomenon in question, 5) two examples from Welsh, whose linguistic shape he doesn't fully understand, and 6) a reference to another work citing examples from Austronesian languages where w > kw.

The examples of French and Welsh, in any case, involve loanwords, so these could be more helpful to his thesis, but they're not. He wrongly calls Welsh a Q-Celtic language (as you see, it is P-Celtic), but the two loanwords from Latin that he cites where Latin v (pronounced as a w) became Welsh gw- at the beginning of a word have to do with consonant mutations in Welsh in light of the fact that such a sound in Welsh does not occur at the beginning of a word, and these words do not result from expected sound changes in Welsh (that is how we can tell they are loanwords!). Something similar occurs in his Medieval French examples: these are words borrowed from Germanic languages representing non-native sounds, and their form cannot be accounted for by the regular phonological development of French (seeing a pattern here? loanwords are nativized, as Robertson keeps insisting, but they are detectable because they are not following the expected patterns of the language).

So, for those who are still awake, here's Stubbs's problem: how to explain the improbable change of a P to a KW. He gives examples of nativized loanwords (with Welsh and Middle French) but not whole shifts that could mark a dialect, and in any case his use of that evidence doesn't show P > KW. They only show W > GW, which is phonetically not that odd, given the point of articulation of semi-consonant like W. His other examples show the same thing. I make no comment about his or his wife's ear for Spanish (maybe useful, but should actually be studied rather than simply asserted), although also no P > KW. He does then go on to do some mental gymnastics to explain it, but with no evidence at all.

So why posit this improbable sound shift? Because it explains a serious problem in his model: Semitic B doesn't always go to P.

2. About that. If you look at the summary of his laws/rules/sound changes in the introduction, you'll notice that B goes to P, D goes to T, and G goes to K. Now, these are three basic sets of a kind of consonant called a stop or a plosive: you can't continuously articulate these they way you can and F or an S or a vowel. In order to pronounce them at all, you have to "stop" their articulation.With B and P this happens at the lips (hence they are labials), with D and T this happens at the teeth or thereabouts (hence they are called dentals), and with G and K at the palatal velum (hence they are called velars...and if they get lip rounding they are labiovelars, as we saw). The only thing distinguishing each member from the other in these sets (B vs. P, D vs. T, and G vs. K) is that the 1st in each involves vibrating the vocal cords ("voicing" the consonants), and the second set doesn't. So B is the voiced version of P, D is the voiced version of T, and G is the voiced version of K. Voicing is the only thing that distinguishes one from the other. According to Stubbs, all of the Semitic and Egyptian consonants that were voiced (B, D, and G) became unvoiced in Uto-Aztecan (they all morphed into P, T, K).

Lots of languages have this voiced vs. voiceless distinction. Most Indo-European languages does; Egyptian did, all Semitic languages like Hebrew and Arabic do. Conveniently for Stubbs's theory, Proto-Uto-Aztecan did not have this distinction. The reason that it is convenient is that for any language does have this distinction, you can say that all of the voiced consonants are going to be unvoiced and you will automatically be correct.

Thus, in addition to the two sound changes that I discovered here, showing that Latin had some influence on Uto-Aztecan (Latin m- initial remains Uto-Aztecan m- initially, and Latin -rt- becomes Uto-Aztecan -kk- between vowels), I can be absolutely certain that that at least three more can be added:

1) Latin B > Uto-Aztecan P
2) Latin D > Uto-Aztecan T
3) Latin G > Uto-Aztecan K

I really don't have to give you examples because there are no voiced consonants in Uto-Aztecan to be accounted for. But I'm feeling generous. Let us consider a Latin word everyone knows and one that was most relevant to the Nephites, the Latin word for God, Deus. Now, I know by regular sound change, that the Uto-Aztecans nativized the D to T, just as John Robertson would have expected them to do.

So, now I have teus.

But the -s is merely a morphological marker, so I can ignore it and focus on the root of the word.

So now I have teu.

But of course the rest of the declension of this word, as well as the history of Latin and comparison with other Indo-European languages, confirms that the original vowel here was not a U but an O (this is appears in all other cases of the noun in the singular except the accusative and its unusual vocative).

So now I have teo.

In Classical Nahautl, the best attested of all Uto-Aztecan languages, the suffix -tl marked a noun, serving a somewhat similar function to what the S was doing at the end of the word in Deus. I can add that on now, because the word would have been nativized not only to sounds but also to the morphology of Uto-Aztecan languages. Although Nahuatl is far removed from Proto-Uto-Aztecan, it is the earliest attested, and moreover if Stubbs can use medieval Syriac, then surely I can use the earliest attested Uto-Aztecan language. At least I'm trying to be as close to Uto-Aztecan as I can.

So, adding that nominalizing suffix, I get teōtl. That just happens to be the Classical Nauhautl word for...God.

Thus, Deus = Teōtl. This is the expected result of my sound change. Therefore, my hypothesis is confirmed. But again, unlike Stubbs's hypothesis, mine at least has historical evidence that Latin actually did have contact with Uto-Aztecan languages. Moreovoer, as i believe the Nephites certainly had a dialect of Latin that they picked up from the Sabine and Faliscan exiles who had come over with the Jaredites, I see nothing contradicting revealed scripture. Lastly, mine also makes sense in light of scripture. The Book of Mormon never talks about prickly pears and penises or buttocks or other words that would have made it much more valuable as a tool for staying awake in Sacrament meeting, but it does talk an awful lot about God. GIven what we know about Nephites, it is the kind of domain where there would have been a powerful influence. Picking up with Robertson's favorite analogy, the French influence on English, French was most influential in English in the domains of law and administration, but not so much in farming, sailing, sheep-herding, and so on. We should expect certain domains to have a higher proportion of loanwords then others, you see. The Nephites did not come to the Costa Rica to teach the Uto-Aztecans about bears, fingers, hands, penises, chins, insects, and the other domains of ordinary life where borrowing is least likely to occur, which are the areas where Stubbs finds his evidence, quite improbably. No, the Nephites came as exiles from a fallen Judea, and they brought the religion with them. That religion was the core of their culture, so much so that were willing to die and—more significantly—to kill for it even a thousand years after their patriarch Lehi had come over. This wasn't a transitory thing for them. Religion is the domain of life where we should expect loanwords from the Nephite civilization, therefore. That is why my thesis makes more sense. And, so far, I have been able to deduce at least five sound changes from Latin to Uto-Aztecan, and I haven't been doing it for even a single year, let alone thirty, and have appealed to but a single language, rather than half a dozen.

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Re: Stubbs Responds to Hansen

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Amazing. Thanks for laying all that out.
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Re: Stubbs Responds to Hansen

Post by Physics Guy »

I had also forgotten about Lemmie's suggestion of Russian, but I must have read it earlier because otherwise I don't think I would have picked Russian specifically. To me Stubbs's statistical arguments just all smell like the "Bible code", which was most decisively shot down by finding equally impressive coincidences in War and Peace and Moby Dick. (The Wikipedia article on "Bible code" gives as much as I know about this all, though.)

My high school Latin has mostly corroded away but I recall the declension deus, deus, deum, dei, deo, deo (in the old NVAGDA order that I learned in my one bizarre year in a boarding school in England in the 1970's). So only two cases have u > o. Or?

(During the year in which my family was in England, taxpayers were paying for my education, so I ended up at a pretty high-end prep school. Latin was a minor subject in the curriculum, below English and Maths, though above Art and Scripture. Somehow it still had a lot more prestige than history and geography. I remember using the Ecce Romani books. In Fifth and Sixth Form we had an eccentric Dead-Poets-ish teacher who had some odd rules. Everyone had to stand up whenever anyone read out one of the "Famous Five" irregular adjectives, and whoever stood up first might win a point. I forget what the points were worth. It occurs to me now that it was all surprisingly close to Hogwarts, except alas for the magic.)

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Re: Stubbs Responds to Hansen

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Physics Guy wrote:
Thu Jun 11, 2020 2:12 am
My high school Latin has mostly corroded away but I recall the declension deus, deus, deum, dei, deo, deo (in the old NVAGDA order that I learned in my one bizarre year in a boarding school in England in the 1970's). So only two cases have u > o. Or?
Yes, I hastily omitted the genitive, but the reasoning is because I had the earlier form in my mind: 2nd declension nouns ending in -us are all descended from -o stem nouns in Indo-European, and inscriptional evidence, as well as spelling variants as far back as Plautus and even Cicero (e.g. servom and servos vs. servum and servus) show that that -o still existed in Latin as such. The shift from -o to -u was a reflection of a period where Latin had word initial stress, resulting in reduced vowels in post-initial syllables but vowels that still maintained the rounded quality of the original -o vowel. When the stress pattern of the language was reconditioned based on the heavy vs. light distinction in syllables (simplifying here), the -u was reanalyzed. But we have plenty of evidence of the early stages to know that -us was originally -os, that the genitive was not -ī but rather -osyo (e.g. the Lapis Satricanus, close in time to Lehi), the dative was -oi (e.g. the Praeneste Fibula), and so on. The -o was definitely original, and I was too lazy to go through all of that last night.

Incidentally, it just occurred to me that another example of my new sound change from Latin to Uto-Aztecan is confirmed by the evidence:

For the rule "Latin D > Uto-Aztecan T," we have not only deus > teōtl, but also Latin dīcō > Uto-Aztecan tïkwe, both of which mean "say." Stubbs would have us connect this with Hebrew dibbēr, but that requires three sound changes and postulating a second dialect in order to explain the change "bb" > "kw." Latin dīcō is more parsimonious. The shift of kw > c is, as you can see from what I've written above, very normal (it's simply the shift from labiovelar to a velar, typologically very common). But the reverse is not that unusual in this instance because of the -o vowel that follows, which his rounded (i.e. it has labial feature), thus you have the reanalysis of c as labiovelar kw because of the labialized vowel next to the to the c. A similar phenomenon happened with the Indo-European word for "horse" *ek'wos, which was originally a palato-velar (k') next to a labial semivowel that was then reanalyzed as a labiovelar in, e.g. Greek—hippos (with its secondary development of labiovelar > p). But if you know Latin equus, you may remember a variant spelling ecus, which shows that that labial element in a velar consonant next to a rounded vowel was unstable and thus open to innovation (see Allen, Vox Latina, 19-20); other examples are quom and cum, sequuntur and secuntur. That is what happened with the Uto-Aztecans when they got Latin from Lehi. And the secondary shift of the final -ō > -e is easy to explain as vowel reduction, and those of you who know Old English and Old High German will remember seeing some archaic examples of a verb ending -u (which by now, Physics Guy, you can see as related to -o), the regular ending of which is -e. For example, from the Old English metrical charms we have the form biddu ("Biddu ealle bliðu mode ðæt me beo Matheus helm, Marcus byrne..." in a prayer to the evangelists, "I pray to all, with a joyful mind, that Matthew be a helmet for me, that Mark be a coat of mail for me" etc.).

What strikes you as more likely, dibbēr > tïkwe or dīcō > tïkwe?
Physics Guy wrote:
Thu Jun 11, 2020 2:12 am
I remember using the Ecce Romani books. In Fifth and Sixth Form we had an eccentric Dead-Poets-ish teacher who had some odd rules. Everyone had to stand up whenever anyone read out one of the "Famous Five" irregular adjectives, and whoever stood up first might win a point. I forget what the points were worth. It occurs to me now that it was all surprisingly close to Hogwarts, except alas for the magic.)
The problem is that you were using Ecce Romani and using the British order of cases. Putting the vocative and accusative after the nominative denudes Latin nouns of their magical potential. Spells must be done exactly, as you know from your work with equations in physics (you can't just put that negative sign anywhere, can you?).
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Re: Stubbs Responds to Hansen

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Yes, apparently it’s, “Wingardia leviOOSa!”

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Re: Stubbs Responds to Hansen

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Point 41 has Stubbs "clarification" on the borrowing thesis. I have to say, When I read a post by Symm, it might take a couple passes but I get the gist of it. I honestly can't say that I can follow Stubbs at all. I think in addition to an overly ambitious project that has taken place in a vacuum, he's not great at communicating his ideas.
Stubbs wrote:Some have questioned sound correspondences applying to loanwords. Borrowings and sound correspondences are not mutually exclusive. Early borrowings also obey laws of sound change subsequent to their entrance into the data. The problem with Rogers’s criticism is that he assumes [Page 285]common descent from Afro-Asiatic. In contrast, descent from a first millennium BCE Hebrew-Aramaic offshoot that joined with a language family in ancient America may be an easier way for some to visualize it. Indeed, borrowed vocabulary is often identified by its departure from the sound correspondences of the larger backdrop of a deeper time-depth; however, if the borrowing or the infusion occurred near the origins of the language family, then its vocabulary would adhere to a system of sound changes from that point on. As Robertson comments, there is an initial compulsory transformation of some sounds to accommodate the phonological inventory of the speakers of the receiving language,123 and he gives examples of consistencies in sound change among borrowed lexica. He also adds, “There are many studies that deal with rules of borrowing. Changes are not random, as Hansen claims, but largely rule- governed.”124 Some initial changes relative to that initial contact seem apparent: for example, initial r- > t- probably occurred because those with whom they mixed did not have initial r- in their phonological inventory, though intervocalic -r- occurs as an allophone. Similarly, other Near East fricatives became stops: x > k and ġ > k and f > p. So there is a larger pattern of Near East fricatives becoming stops in the initial position. After the initial reception, normal sound changes would be expected from that point on. The data suggest that that process happened early in UA because most of the few cognate sets that are found in all or nearly all UA branches belong to the Near East infusion.
I'm just bringing this over for now. More later.
FARMS refuted:

"...supporters of Billy Meier still point to the very clear photos of Pleiadian beam ships flying over his farm. They argue that for the photos to be fakes, we have to believe that a one-armed man who had no knowledge of Photoshop or other digital photography programs could have made such realistic photos and films..." -- D. R. Prothero

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Re: Stubbs Responds to Hansen

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Stubbs wrote:Some have questioned sound correspondences applying to loanwords. Borrowings and sound correspondences are not mutually exclusive. Early borrowings also obey laws of sound change subsequent to their entrance into the data. The problem with Rogers’s criticism is that he assumes common descent from Afro-Asiatic. In contrast, descent from a first millennium BCE Hebrew-Aramaic offshoot that joined with a language family in ancient America may be an easier way for some to visualize it. Indeed, borrowed vocabulary is often identified by its departure from the sound correspondences of the larger backdrop of a deeper time-depth
Just as I said above: borrowings are detected by deviations from expected patterns. In the absence of some external clue, it is rather more than "often" that borrowings are determined in this way.
Stubbs wrote:however, if the borrowing or the infusion occurred near the origins of the language family, then its vocabulary would adhere to a system of sound changes from that point on.
If the data set at "that point on" represents the totality of your data, then you have no way of knowing what's behind it—you don't know what patterns characterize the language at the earlier stage—and therefore cannot determine whether borrowing. This is functionally the same as arguing for descent, so Rogers is not mistaken in his assumption because that is the only way to make sense of Stubbs's argument of a connection between Uto-Aztecan and Nephitish. Stubbs is trying to have it both ways here.
Stubbs wrote:As Robertson comments, there is an initial compulsory transformation of some sounds to accommodate the phonological inventory of the speakers of the receiving language, and he gives examples of consistencies in sound change among borrowed lexica. He also adds, “There are many studies that deal with rules of borrowing. Changes are not random, as Hansen claims, but largely rule- governed.” Some initial changes relative to that initial contact seem apparent: for example, initial r- > t- probably occurred because those with whom they mixed did not have initial r- in their phonological inventory, though intervocalic -r- occurs as an allophone. Similarly, other Near East fricatives became stops: x > k and ġ > k and f > p. So there is a larger pattern of Near East fricatives becoming stops in the initial position.
All of this is irrelevant without first establishing that there even was a Uto-Aztecan language before the Nephites. I could just as well say that Nephite fricatives developed into stops and discard this notion of borrowing and language contact. In that case I would be arguing for a genetic descent, implying that Uto-Aztecan was actually a descendant of the language spoken by the Nephites and not a separate language family that was affected through contact with theirs. I wonder why Stubbs and Robertson want to avoid that.
Stubbs wrote:After the initial reception, normal sound changes would be expected from that point on. The data suggest that that process happened early in UA because most of the few cognate sets that are found in all or nearly all UA branches belong to the Near East infusion.
There you have it: all or nearly all of Uto-Aztecan was filtered through the Nephite language. It might as well be genetic descent, then. How does Stubbs even know there was something like Uto-Aztecan in place here to borrow Nephite words if all of his evidence for such a language is based on his assumptions about the Nephite language? Stubbs, conveniently, is at complete liberty to tell us what that Nephite language is, and especially what parts of it influenced Uto-Aztecan.

You can see how this all works then: he posits this sound rule (r > t), meaning that Uto-Aztecan speakers interpreted Semitic/Egyptian "r" as a "t." He thus assumes that the Uto-Aztecan dialect did not have an "r" sound at the point of infusion. Why does that matter? Because if these correspond (that is, if r > t), then there has been Semitic/Egyptian influence on Uto-Aztecan and the Book of Mormon is what they told us in Primary. For that to work, Uto-Aztecan must not have had an "r" sound when it came into contact with Nephitish. So what is the evidence for that? The evidence is that Uto-Aztecan speakers interpreted Semitic/Egyptian "r" as "t." The claim depends upon itself for evidence.
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Re: Stubbs Responds to Hansen

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27. Nonlinguistic evidence of Semitic infusion in ancient America
According to Hansen there is zero independent (other, nonlinguistic) evidence of Semitic infusion in ancient America. This is in line with the accepted paradigm because the DNA evidence of Semitic infusion does not receive much press, so most people are oblivious. However, the DNA parallels between Arabs and Uto-Aztecan peoples have been published in at least four different publications by Cavalli et al., Guthrie, Jett, and Leonard.86



So I looked at his sources in footnote 86. All I can say is wow. Just wow. History and Geography of Human Genes is seriously outdated. It was published in 1994, the human genome was sequenced in 2003 and the plethora of published research since then makes Stubbs use of this book for a source highly suspect. The remainder of his sources are in diffusionist publications of questionable credibility and often written by amateurs. For example, Guthrie is a chemist. I can't believe that Stubbs is even trying to use these kind of things and then claim that his work is credible and reputable. I might as well go read May's Ancient America magazine, the Interpreter has put itself into that same category of crank writings.

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Re: Stubbs Responds to Hansen

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Thank you Symmachus. After going over that a couple of times, this sentence stuck out:
Stubbs wrote: In contrast, descent from a first millennium BCE Hebrew-Aramaic offshoot that joined with a language family in ancient America may be an easier way for some to visualize it
It might be more clear to just admit this *is* what he's saying rather than some might visualize it this way -- except for the first contact problem, which is critical:
Symmachus wrote:He thus assumes that the Uto-Aztecan dialect did not have an "r" sound at the point of infusion. Why does that matter? Because if these correspond (that is, if r > t), then there has been Semitic/Egyptian influence on Uto-Aztecan and the Book of Mormon is what they told us in Primary.
The problem with a descent-only model is it ignores Lehi's ship.

It's maddening though:
Stubbs > Robertson wrote:Changes are not random, as Hansen claims, but largely rule- governed.” Some initial changes relative to that initial contact seem apparent: for example, initial r- > t- probably occurred because those with whom they mixed did not have initial r- in their phonological inventory, though intervocalic -r- occurs as an allophone.
Obviously, that's not what Hansen was talking about. I'm sure Hansen knows how borrowing works. In the context of the comparative method, borrowings are "random" as Hansen said, it's the stuff that can't be pinned down by sound-change rules. But that doesn't mean they are random in the ultimate sense of the word "random". Robertson is equivocating. If borrowing were deterministic in the same way the comparative method for descent is deterministic, then we wouldn't need the comparative method, we could just apply the borrowing rules and what's left over would be descent.

Wait---isn't that what Stubbs is doing?

Symm has provided several examples of how borrowing can work. in this case, Stubbs has a particular example of how a borrowing could have worked, but as Symm and Hansen say, there is no way to show a borrowing is constrained to happen that way. But assume a borrowing did happen like this such that Lehi's ship stays afloat. Once we have several of such examples and Father Lehi is happy, then we can construct plausible sound-changes for both before and after the time of infusion, and speculate on what Uto-Aztecan prior to Lehi was.

But that would be drawing target around arrow as has been remarked, no matter how consistent the model might seem.
FARMS refuted:

"...supporters of Billy Meier still point to the very clear photos of Pleiadian beam ships flying over his farm. They argue that for the photos to be fakes, we have to believe that a one-armed man who had no knowledge of Photoshop or other digital photography programs could have made such realistic photos and films..." -- D. R. Prothero

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