[Corpora-List] English is close to Sandinavian languages: diachronic studies please

Charles Hall CharlesHall at rocketmail.com
Sun Dec 2 23:53:52 CET 2012

ah, yet another example of a misguided use of computational approaches based on simplistic understanding of language. and especially diachronic linguistics Historically, there wasn't any language we might call Danish until ca 1100 [i.e. after the Norman Conquest] or so when the Old East Norse dialect started to split into Danish and Swedish. Since that development is well documented historically, any analysis that posits a "closer" relationship between "English" and "Danish" that fails to explain why that would not then also be the case for English and Swedish is just another  lovely "correlation proves causation" fallacy of which we already have quite enough.

In other words, [attention, rant follows], you have to do heaps of background research before you toss innocent data  into the hungry maws of the compunaut....

and just to remind, genetic background, genetic distribution doesn't have to have anything to do with what languages are spoken. Ethnic groups routinely add, dump, or replace languages with wild abandon. As the Endangered Language Fund points out, about 50% of the worlds' 7000 languages will disappear this century.

and on that happy note,

Best wishes,


  ************* Charles Hall, Ph.D., dr.h. University of Memphis, Department of English Applied Linguistics and EFL/ESL 901.313.4496

www.charleshall.info www.l4law.org


From: Nicholas Sanders <nix at semiotek.org> To: corpora at uib.no Sent: Friday, November 30, 2012 5:46 PM Subject: Re: [Corpora-List] English is close to Sandinavian languages

On 30 Nov 2012, at 14:34, Patrick Juola <juola at mathcs.duq.edu> wrote:

There's a well-attested history of English and the rest of the Germanic languages that puts English fairly firmly in the West Germanic family along with Frisian and Saxon, and at a greater distance, Dutch and standard German. I make no claim to be fit to enter this debate, but I feel it worthwhile to mention Stephen Oppenheimer's "The Origins of the British" which

… demonstrates that the Anglo-Saxon invasions contributed just a tiny fraction (5%) to the English gene pool. Two thirds of the English people reveal an unbroken line of genetic descent from south-western Europeans arriving long before the first farmers. The bulk of the remaining third arrived between 7,000 and 3,000 years ago as part of long-term north-west European trade and immigration, especially from Scandinavia - and may have brought with them the earliest forms of English language.

Whether it does so demonstrate, I (as noted) am not not qualified to say!


Nicholas J A Sanders ___________________ semiotek

+44 [0]7092 153 409 nix at semiotek.org ___________________

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