Tuesday, May 8, 2018

Bear Claw to LPIE

A lot of fur has been flying in the PIE debate recently which has been brought about by the addition of the most recent Near East genomes.  Enjoy the wonder while you can.


I'm now going to take a big bear claw to the notion that PIE can exist without EHG.  A number of the chief Harvard scientists are essentially suggesting this possibility, Lararidis, 2018.  As a consequence, LPIE becomes a chapter in a kaleidoscope narrative.  I'm all about some Gordon Whitakker Proto-Euphratean, but that's a separate topic.  This is about PIE, exterior day 1.


I'll offer a short narrative below to mete out where I think the stronger points can be found to dispel a southern, one half of itself origin.  Maybe I'll expand on these later.


"Strange Wives Part 1"

1.  Proto-Indo-European was the inevitable development of a world-system seeking to gain access to patrilocal, riverine communities in its periphery.  Traders cemented their interests with these fisher-woodsmen around the northern half and western inlets of the two seas the old fashioned way - by making them cousins.  Look no further than academia or entertainment to see what factors drive marriage decisions (and to see how quickly they dissolve when nepotic incentives dry up).  For incipient IE, this had to have happened at leadership levels and perhaps on a more massive scale involving women.

Since these rather small riverine villages were strongly patrilocal, the issues of trade - protection, passage and privilege - could be cultivated by the marriage of a southern-speaking daughter to the foreign lord, with loyalties and shared interests being nursed and expanded generation after generation.  There was an incentive for southern outfits in this global economy to develop these relationships, if for no other reason than to crowd out competing interests.

Make no mistake, the contribution of southern ancestry in PIE (the steppe) originates from this sophisticated world-system on a continuous basis, not some well-positioned archaeological culture in the northern reaches.  These northern and southern ancestries combined to create PIE.

The development of PIE at its most fundamental level requires interaction between these two spheres.  In all likelihood, a global trade language emanating from the Southern Caucasus/Northern Euphrates was widely understood in the basins of both seas, its river villages, and - apparently in many northern homes.  Perhaps a dynamic was in place for hundreds and hundreds of years in which very fertile crescenters overwhelmed the men of renown.

"Strange Wives Part 2"

2.  What is Late Proto-Indo-European?  What should it be?

LPIE is the Corded Ware-ization of the surviving IE groups, excluding Anatolian, Tocharian and Euphratean (if that exists, which I think it does).  That means all surviving IE cultures, to which I would include the Bell Beakers, have significant CW ancestry by different means.  In the case of the Beakers, it is strangely female-mediated over a short segment of time.

Am I wrong about those points?


One point worth considering is the similar but different situation at transitioning Lepenski Vir.  A similar bridal arrangement tamed these patrilocal barbarians, except the stream of ladies is coming from Western Anatolia it seems.  You can see the social process is similar, and necessary.  What this shows is that the situation was the rule, not the exception.

It's exceedingly difficult to see IE developing south of the seas.  The social and linguistic ingredients just aren't there.  Well, half of it is.

8 comments:

  1. Some issues:

    "Make no mistake, the contribution of southern ancestry in PIE (the steppe) originates from this sophisticated world-system on a continuous basis, not some well-positioned archaeological culture in the northern reaches."

    Gradual incorporation of brides doesn't result in language shift. The brides adopt their husband's community's language in those cases. So, in that narrative, PIE is EHG language with some loan words. Trade would also give rise to loan words and loaned technology. And, there is no good reason that almost all of that technology shouldn't come from just one archaeological culture, specifically, the first to develop and share that technology. If the first developer of tech doesn't share and a later one does, you could get into an ancient Mac v. PC situation where the most widely shared tech spreads even though another is earlier or better, but a single source with maximal linguistic loan word impact and introgression (because those trade ties are most important leading to more bride sharing with that culture) can make sense.

    To get a new language distinct from EHG, you would need new brides to arrive all at once en masse, or perhaps a system where EHG men seasonally live in another culture and then seasonally hunt/herd on the plains, leading to bilingualism on a mass scale from which a new hybrid or creole language emerges.

    "In all likelihood, a global trade language emanating from the Southern Caucasus/Northern Euphrates was widely understood in the basins of both seas, its river villages, and - apparently in many northern homes."

    PIE is very different grammatically and structurally from all of the known living and dead non-PIE languages of the Caucasus mountains, the Zargos Mountains, the Anatolian highlands, the Mesopotamian lowlands and the Semitic languages the followed in the Near East. All of those languages except Semitic also share a constellation of features with at least some of those features present in each that are absent entirely from PIE. You can't get to PIE from there. It can't be genetic offspring of those languages even if it borrows some words from them.

    "LPIE is the Corded Ware-ization of the surviving IE groups, excluding Anatolian, Tocharian and Euphratean (if that exists, which I think it does)."

    The case for the existence of a Euphratean language related to PIE other than by loan words is exceedingly weak. Anatolian languages are the most divergent linguistically from other PIE languages, but there is other evidence to suggest that this divergence is not due to particularly ancient divergence. There are good archaeological narratives in which Tocharian does diverge early, but like most Tocharian issues there are lots of competing plausible narratives. The question of how divergent Tocharian is relative to LPIE languages is also not settled and is muddled by the fact that it was in contact with non-Tocharian IE languages for centuries on the Silk Road before it was first attested in writing ca. 2500 years after the Tarim Basin was first settled by IE speakers.

    "all surviving IE cultures, to which I would include the Bell Beakers, have significant CW ancestry by different means. In the case of the Beakers, it is strangely female-mediated over a short segment of time."

    The linguistic affiliation of the Beakers is still not a matter upon which we have good evidence as whatever preceded Celtic was wiped out by Celtic in the Iron Age, the genetic story of the Bell Beakers is manifestly not uniform, and we really don't have a good understanding of the relationship of the low steppe early Iberian Beakers to the high steppe Beakers elsewhere.

    "Am I wrong about those points?"

    Probably, in several respects at least as noted above.

    "It's exceedingly difficult to see IE developing south of the seas. The social and linguistic ingredients just aren't there. Well, half of it is."

    Agreed.

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    1. Man, counter-bear claw!

      "PIE is EHG language with some loan words"

      I'd say PIE is an EHG language with a lot of loan words, like English being intimately and grammatically Germanic despite having a lexicon that's mostly other stuff. With the exception of the Norman invasion, much of that Romantic influence was a long-term trend. But morphologically, IE and Uralic are stunningly similar in some basic ways such as pronouns and interrogatives which seems to make its position the upper hand, or the husband's language as you might imply. OTOH, laryngeals and ablaut are more convincingly influence from south of the border and I think that they are now totally or mostly lost says a lot.

      I'm not sure we disagree on your second point. English is grammatically and personally German despite a mountain of real/fake Romanic and Ancient Greek words. So I do not imply that IE has a genealogical relationship with any particular language south of the border, but has instead vacuumed up many influences and high culture from those languages, which came from meaningful contact through trade and cohabitation.

      "The linguistic affiliation of the Beakers is still not a matter upon which we have good evidence"

      I'll agree with there being a lack of concrete evidence either way. I base my opinion on what I've interpreted as aspects of their religion, household structure and the idea of male-based society of exclusive citizen warriors. Beyond that, couldn't say for sure.

      "Agreed"

      Finally!

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  2. Some historical examples:

    1. Iberians arrive in the New World, overwhelmingly men who are taking local wives en masse. Linguistic impact on Spanish - slight simplification of local dialect but not significant substrate impacts on Spanish. Genetics is majority local after a few generations, but language is 95% from the patriline founders. High prestige of conquerors in post-Columbian socio-economic system was relevant.

    2. Japanese conquer the Jomon. Male dominated Yayoi is about 55% of male and much smaller portion of female ancestry. About 45% of modern Japanese Y-DNA is Jomon (especially Y-DNA D), with female ancestry a mix of Yayoi, Jomon and Chinese mostly. Linguistic impact of Jomon (Ainu-like) language on Japanese language is less than 5% of words including toponyms and less excluding toponyms with very little or no grammatical change. High prestige of Yayoi relative to Jomon in post-conquest period was relevant to this pattern. Jomon fisher-gatherers actually had more staying power in Japan than Neolithic men did in Meso-America.

    Subsequently, there is consistent large scale import of brides for elites from China over several centuries into Japan. This has almost no grammatical or phonetic impact on Japanese, a notable and distinguishable mtDNA and autosomal impact (although challenging to distinguish from Yayoi women's contribution), and maybe 30%-35% lexical contribution to Japanese in that time period when China was considered higher prestige than Japan. This Chinese bride import by Japanese elites in the 1st millennium CE is probably the best historically attested analogy to the EHG-Caucasian relationship narrative you suggest for the formative period of PIE.

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    1. "This Chinese bride import by Japanese elites in the 1st millennium CE is probably the best historically attested analogy to the EHG-Caucasian relationship narrative you suggest for the formative period of PIE."

      This concept has started to grow on me. At first I thought the imported wives thing was kind of ridiculous. But looking at long-term marriage patterns even in moderns, it doesn't seem so far fetched after all.

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  3. Nice summary
    The typological similarities between IE & Caucasian (NWC & S) are well described
    Your idea is well formed . But consider this - maybe a stage is missing - how did the forest fishers become patriarchal ?

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    1. Thanks!

      I've supposed that a number of these lucrative fishing sites were conducive to patrilocalism, where the livelihood of men was dependent on a work in one area. The Lepenski Vir is an excellent example, which means whirpool. Same with the Narva people at Zvejnieki fishing off a lagoon, or the location of the Samara bend villages like Lebyazhinka. Even Villabruna was positioned at the same point on the river's anatomy.

      I'm not sure there's enough Y and mtdna to show this, but I would think patrilocalism can predate agriculture in some cultures. Aside from being patrilocal and patriarchal, the infusion of southern mythology and the need to form larger, more agressive war bands on the grasslands might have been a pivotal point in IE patriarchalism.

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  4. Your idea that Kurgan Bell Beaker was "Corded Ware-ized" and that this process was female mediated is way off. The recent paper, Genome Diversity in the Neolithic Globular Amphora Culture and the Spread of Indo-European Languages, found that GAC's mtDNA profile was closest to Bell Beaker and not at all similar to that of Corded Ware, Srubnaya, and Yamnaya. That means BB could not have had a Corded Ware mtDNA profile. If Bell Beaker men acquired their IE language and steppe dna from CW, then BB should have a CW-like mtDNA profile, but it doesn't.

    Here's something else. In cultures that are patrilocal, that is, in which the bride goes to live with the groom's family, it is the groom's language and culture which prevail. Your idea is that CW women went to live with BB grooms and their families and converted them all to IE language and culture. Not likely. On page 153 of his book, The Horse The Wheel and Language, Anthony mentions the fact that in tribal societies foreign brides become hyper-correct imitators of their husband's culture rather than innovators.

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    1. Sorry to approve your comment so late. I've been inundated with spam.



      "If Bell Beaker men acquired their IE language and steppe dna from CW, then BB should have a CW-like mtDNA profile, but it doesn't."

      I do not believe that Bell Beaker acquired its IE language from the CW because CW was very likely already Satemized before it began breaking up. Given that Afanasievo is wholly identical to Yamnaya, and Afanasievo is the best and only candidate for the Tocharian group, and probably Gutian as well given certain arguments, then it is more likely that the Western Centum languages were spread with the Beaker Culture, which as you know is paternally related to the Yamnaya, albeit with an unknown coalescence date.

      If you believe that "Kurgan" proto-Beakers exterminated CWC and mated with Western Neolithics, then that's simple enough. But the evidence thus far shows that the Beakers exterminated Neolithics (Britain) and mated with CWC (in Germany and the Netherlands).

      Then, you have the task to explain why steppe ancestry in Beakers is 50% and the prior CWC is 75% from the same town. That would mean that steppe ancestry was even lower - later! Shouldn't the opposite be true?

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