Indo-European and the Yamnaya.

I’ve been reading David Reich’s Who We Are and How We Got Here: Ancient DNA and the New Science of the Human Past with increasing fascination, and I’ve just gotten to the part about the original Indo-European speakers. The whole book is gripping, starting with the history of genome studies (which have exploded in the last few years) and the surprising new things that have been learned about ancient humans and their migrations and minglings, but this is neither Biochemistryhat nor Archeologyhat, so I’ve been eagerly awaiting the bit I could post about. It comes in Chapter 5, “The Making of Modern Europe”; Reich has been explaining how people of steppe ancestry arrived in Europe around 5,000 years ago and the various culture waves that entailed, with Yamnaya, Corded Ware, and Bell Beaker culture unexpectedly linked. Then he gets to Indo-European, describing Colin Renfrew’s influential 1987 hypothesis that the origin of the family “could be explained by one and the same event: the spread from Anatolia after nine thousand years ago of peoples bringing agriculture,” and David Anthony’s counterargument, the “steppe hypothesis—the idea that Indo-European languages spread from the steppe north of the Black and Caspian seas.” I’ll quote most of the rest of the chapter:

His key observation is that all extant branches of the Indo-European language family except for the most anciently diverging Anatolian ones that are now extinct (such as ancient Hittite) have an elaborate shared vocabulary for wagons, including words for axle, harness pole, and wheels. Anthony interpreted this sharing as evidence that all Indo-European languages spoken today, from India in the east to the Atlantic fringe in the west, descend from a language spoken by an ancient population that used wagons. This population could not have lived much earlier than about six thousand years ago, since we know from archaeological evidence that it was around then that wheels and wagons spread. This date rules out the Anatolian farming expansion into Europe between nine thousand and eight thousand years ago. The obvious candidate for dispersing most of today’s Indo-European languages is thus the Yamnaya, who depended on the technology of wagons and wheels that became widespread around five thousand years ago. […]

While the genetic findings point to a central role for the Yamnaya in spreading Indo-European languages, tipping the scales definitively in favor of some variant of the steppe hypothesis, those findings do not yet resolve the question of the homeland of the original Indo-European languages, the place where these languages were spoken before the Yamnaya so dramatically expanded. Anatolian languages known from four-thousand-year-old tablets recovered from the Hittite Empire and neighboring ancient cultures did not share the full wagon and wheel vocabulary present in all Indo-European languages spoken today. Ancient DNA available from this time in Anatolia shows no evidence of steppe ancestry similar to that in the Yamnaya (although the evidence here is circumstantial as no ancient DNA from the Hittites themselves has yet been published). This suggests to me that the most likely location of the population that first spoke an Indo-European language was south of the Caucasus Mountains, perhaps in present-day Iran or Armenia, because ancient DNA from people who lived there matches what we would expect for a source population both for the Yamnaya and for ancient Anatolians. If this scenario is right, the population sent one branch up into the steppe—mixing with steppe hunter-gatherers in a one-to-one ratio to become the Yamnaya as described earlier—and another to Anatolia to found the ancestors of people there who spoke languages such as Hittite.

To an outsider, it might seem surprising that DNA can have a definitive impact on a debate about language. DNA cannot of course reveal what languages people spoke. But what genetics can do is to establish that migrations occurred. If people moved, it means that cultural contact occurred too—in other words, genetic tracing of migrations makes it possible also to trace potential spreads of culture and language. By tracing possible migration paths and ruling out others, ancient DNA has ended a decades-old stalemate in the controversy regarding the origins of Indo-European languages. The Anatolian hypothesis has lost its best evidence, and the most common version of the steppe hypothesis—which suggests that the ultimate origin of all Indo-European languages including ancient Anatolian languages was in the steppe—has to be modified too. DNA has emerged as central to the new synthesis of genetics, archaeology, and linguistics that is now replacing outdated theories.

A great lesson of the ancient DNA revolution is that its findings almost always provide accounts of human migrations that are very different from preexisting models, showing how little we really knew about human migrations and population formation prior to the invention of this new technology. The vision of Indo-Europeans or “Aryans” as a “pure” group has sparked nationalist sentiments in Europe since the nineteenth century. There were debates about whether the Celts or the Teutons or other groups were the real “Aryans,” and Nazi racism was fueled by this discussion. The genetic data have provided what might seem like uncomfortable support for some of these ideas—suggesting that a single, genetically coherent group was responsible for spreading many Indo-European languages. But the data also reveal that these early discussions were misguided in supposing purity of ancestry. Whether the original Indo-European speakers lived in the Near East or in eastern Europe, the Yamnaya, who were the main group responsible for spreading Indo-European languages across a vast span of the globe, were formed by mixture. The people who practiced the Corded Ware culture were a further mixture, and northwestern Europeans associated with the Bell Beaker culture were yet a further mixture. Ancient DNA has established major migration and mixture between highly divergent populations as a key force shaping human prehistory, and ideologies that seek a return to a mythical purity are flying in the face of hard science.

I’m delighted with the peroration against the idea of purity (which has always been repugnant to me), and pleased that the idiotic reluctance to consider migration theories because the Nazis favored them seems to have faded away (incidentally, does anyone know where the stress goes on the name Kossinna? I’m guessing penultimate, but I’d like to do better than a guess). The book is well written by someone who has been at the center of the discoveries (and explains in the acknowledgments that he was reluctant to write a book because it would take time away from his research), and I am finally able to understand the discussions that the learned Hattics who know about such things have been having in the comment sections. Many thanks to Bill W., who sent me the book — it’s definitely going to feature in my year-end roundup for The Millions!

Comments

  1. Etienne says:

    Interesting. BUT…

    Since, as David Reich himself acknowledges, in his own words, that “the evidence here is circumstantial as no ancient DNA from the Hittites themselves has yet been published” (Incidentally, to my knowledge no genetic studies involving the DNA of *any* Anatolian-speaking group has ever been published), it seems extremely premature (to put it mildly) to conclude that there was no Yamnaya genetic contribution to the gene pool of Anatolian speakers, and even more premature to use this (weak) datum to speculate about an Indo-European homeland South of the Caucasus.

    Mark you, even if subsequent research were to conclusively demonstrate that no Yamnaya genetic contribution to the genetic make-up of Anatolian speakers existed, it most certainly would not follow therefrom that the spread of Anatolian must be due to some kind of “pre-Yamnaya” migration: it could simply be that the spread of Anatolian involved large-scale language shift on a much heavier scale than was the case elsewhere in Eurasia, thereby causing the loss of the original “Yamnaya” genetic component which was associated with the initial spread.

  2. Etienne dumps cold water. But what if things run otherwise? Could even the Euphratic hypothesis tickle at some truth? There were colonization missions from Mesopotamia northward to Caspian shores and beyond. It’s always seemed an odd direction, to be sure. My apologies. This is like sprinkling fairy dust until there’s more evidence.

  3. David Marjanović says:

    mixing with steppe hunter-gatherers in a one-to-one ratio to become the Yamnaya as described earlier

    Actually the people of the Khvalynsk culture, which then split into the Yamnaya/Pit Grave culture (which stayed in place) and the Afanasievo culture (which, amazingly, rumbled east all the way to the Altai without looking left or right).

    the idiotic reluctance to consider migration theories because the Nazis favored them

    Naturally, “pots, not people” begs to be taken to extremes; but it wasn’t downright idiotic. North of the Pyrenees, as I learned from a paper posted right here, the Bell Beaker culture was the result of a massive invasion. South of them, no such thing is visible in the ancient DNA – the pots must have spread there without the people.

    incidentally, does anyone know where the stress goes on the name Kossinna? I’m guessing penultimate, but I’d like to do better than a guess

    I guessed initial, because I guessed the name could be of Czech origin, and my Slavic stress instincts are neoštokavian (antepenultimate except exceptions)… but you’re right, says Wikipedia: “Kossinna was a Germanized Mazur. He was born in Tilsit, East Prussia”. What non-Germanized Mazurs speak is classified as Polish; penultimate it is, then.

    Since, as David Reich himself acknowledges, in his own words, that “the evidence here is circumstantial as no ancient DNA from the Hittites themselves has yet been published” (Incidentally, to my knowledge no genetic studies involving the DNA of *any* Anatolian-speaking group has ever been published)

    BZZZZZT! Outdated. The relevant LH discussion starts with this comment, which contains a link to a paper that confirmed Reich’s hypothesis just two weeks and two days ago.

    Maybe we should reconsider Gamq’relidze & Ivanov.

    Could even the Euphratic hypothesis tickle at some truth?

    Wouldn’t surprise me, as I said in the linked thread.

  4. What is more, there is nothing to rule out a previous spread of Indo-European (Anatolian or not) into Europe before Yamnaya, those languages being lost.

    All discussions of the “origin point” of a language are actually about the point of breakup. We believe that Proto-Austronesian broke up on Taiwan, and we know that Taiwan was settled long before this event, but we do not know if (Pre-)Proto-Austronesian speakers came to Taiwan from the mainland, or if PAN evolved on Taiwan itself.

  5. Naturally, “pots, not people” begs to be taken to extremes; but it wasn’t downright idiotic.

    I’m not calling the idea idiotic but the reluctance to consider anything the Nazis approved of. It’s more praiseworthy than, but just as stupid as, the reluctance to consider anything that puts a spoke in the wheels of one’s nationalistic fantasies. Facts is facts.

  6. marie-lucie says:

    “Pots, not people” seems to suggest trade rather than migration.

  7. Trond Engen says:

    The fun thing about this is that it provokes a lot of new thinking. There are more than one way to spread a language, but if neither pots nor people came across the Caucasus (or the Bosporus) from the Steppe in the right timeslot, it’s becoming less probable (but not impossible) that Anatolian languages came that way at that time. It was already clear that some IE branching would have had to be before Yamnaya, and since Ante-Yamnaya Steppe culture received both pots and people from various sources in the dynamic age of early nomadism (= early long-distance trade), it was also a distinct (but largely unexplored) possibility that Indo-European was brought to the Steppe meltingpot by one of the contributing cultures. I’ve had three such candidates, Cucuteni-Tripolye in the west, Botai in the east, and Maykop in the south. Of these, Cucuteni-Tripolye was ruled out because of the lack of movements from the Balkans into Anatolia. Botai is now ruled out for complete lack of genetic affiliation. But Maykop and the related cultures south of the Caucasus are just getting more interesting.

    If even the Euphratic hypothesis is to be believed there was an IE language with three-genders and Kentum features spoken in Mesopotamia in the second half of the fourth millennium BCE. That would move the dissolution of Non-Anatolian back in time, and by extension the Anatolian/Non-Anatolian split even further.

  8. David Marjanović says:

    and Kentum features

    Uh, “kentum” just means “lack of satem” here.

  9. Trond Engen says:

    True. Not relevant in the contex. I meant something like delaryngealized, but in the clear light of the tropical Norwegian morning sun, that would be too hasty.

  10. E M Forster’s test for people who fancy their racial purity: give the full names of all your great grandparents.

  11. Lars (the original one) says:

    Now you made me look it up…

    Axel Valdemar Mathiesen
    Pouline Mathiesen f. Andersen
    Johannes Johannessen
    Marie Jensine Johannessen f. Jensen
    Jacob Pedersen
    Maren Kirstine Pedersen f. Kristensen Kjær
    Hans Jürgen Heinrich de Wolff
    Gertrud Marie Mariane de Wolff

    (My maternal grandmother’s parents were cousins and had the same surname after a Dutch immigrant to Flensburg three generations further back who ‘improved’ his surname Wulf in passing it on to his sons, among them the H.I.H. de Wolff who my great grandfather was named after. No nobility here).

    Maybe I should carry that list and ask immigration opponents to produce theirs when I tell them they are talking shit.

    The other interpretation is that Danes are an inbred lot.

  12. Athel Cornish-Bowden says:

    E M Forster’s test for people who fancy their racial purity: give the full names of all your great grandparents

    Not a very demanding test:

    William Cornish-Bowden
    Elizabeth Browning
    Edward Kitson
    Catherine Eales
    Charles Duncan
    Harriette Elizabeth Colcough
    John McMurtry
    Sarah Patton

    All WASPs (assuming Church of Ireland counts as WASP)! However, I wouldn’t claim to “fancy [my] racial purity”.

    I could go back another generation (but not two).

  13. a paper that confirmed Reich’s hypothesis

    The last author of that paper, Eske Willerslev, has been involved in many recent ancient genome studies, 13 are listed for 2018 so far. One from 2016, A genomic history of Aboriginal Australia, briefly discusses aboriginal languages. Others include early horse-herders and horses.

  14. Christian Weisgerber says:

    Stu: Kentum and satem are observable properties of old IE languages, but there is no fundamental split between the two. Some branches developed into kentum, others into satem. It is debatable whether the satem languages form a common subgroup, but the kentum ones certainly don’t.

  15. In other words, it’s not that the difference doesn’t exist, it’s just become a lot less significant. Sort of like East vs. West Germans.

  16. More like the difference between rhotic and non-rhotic accents of English.

  17. Trond Engen says:

    My eight great grandparents:

    Olav Jakobsen Engen
    Anne Elise Albertine Pedersdatter
    Ludvig Johan Andreassen
    Anna Kristine Ingebrigtsdatter
    Nils Høyum
    Anna Johanesdatter Husløs
    Kristian Pedersen
    Lina Larsdatter Rud

    All were born in different parts of rural Norway, and most of them in very modest circumstances. I think it’s the rurality of my ancestors that make them such a homogenous lot. My last foreign-born ancestor was Nils Høyum’s father, an immigrant quarry worker (from rural Sweden). My father’s mother’s side isn’t quite as modest, allowing a couple of priests further back, and those branches eventually lead east and south. My wife’s family is much more mercantile and clerical than mine, and far more branches end up abroad.

    @Christian: It’s been far too long!

    I think mainstream opinion is that some branches may have satemized together (or at least were in contact at the time), but it’s such a trivial development that it’s not diagnostic as a shared innovation. But I’m an off-license peddler of opinion. My sense of “mainstream” may be a little off.

    Piotr: More like the difference between rhotic and non-rhotic accents of English.

    Or that. See above.

    I’m wondering what the recent results will mean for the percieved closeness of Indo-Iranian, Greek and Armenian (or Greco-Armenian).

  18. I think it’s quite clear that satem is a common development and diagnostic if not of common branching than at least of a common regional development. Centum is diagnostic of nothing.

  19. There was a discussion here a few years ago about the centum words in Bangani and what might or might not be their significance. Has Bangani come up again in the literature since then?

  20. More like the difference between rhotic and non-rhotic accents of English.

    You’re trying to be linguistically relevant, whereas I’m trying to amuse Stu.

  21. Has Bangani come up again in the literature since then?

    As far as I know, nobody has published any fieldwork on Bangani since 1997 (Anvita Abbi’s team), so we can only recycle old data.

  22. J.W. Brewer says:

    I found E.M. Forster’s recommendation somewhat bizarre. Perhaps this is due to a difference in naming patterns in the U.S. as compared to the U.K. of the era in which Forster’s great-grandparents would have been born. I am myself pretty WASPy. Of the eight surnames borne by my great-grandparents (including the maiden names of my great-grandmothers), only one is notably “ethnic-sounding” (two of the remaining seven are ultimately of Dutch origin, but not so aggressively so to appear non-WASPy on their face) and the ethnicity it sounds like is German. But in the U.S. most “American-sounding” names are fatally ambiguous from a racial-purity standpoint, in the sense that black Americans (except for some recent immigrants, and the outliers from once-Francophone Louisiana) have historically drawn from the same basic pool of surnames as WASPs and, if not always from exactly the same stock of given names at least from a stock that overlaps very heavily, especially three or more generations back. Indeed, one of my great-grandfathers had a given name (Leroy, although he more often spelled it Le Roy) which by the mid-20th-century had become a stereotypically black name but apparently was not yet marked in that way when he was born in 1855. Even fancy-schmancy WASPy names of the “Thurston Howell III” variety are also extant in the black community, e.g. Spottswood W. Robinson III (1918-1998), a prominent civil-rights lawyer who later became a federal judge. Probably the only way to have a really unambiguously “white” name in the U.S. is to have a markedly-ethnic one (Seamus O’Shaughnessy, Shlomo Finkelstein, that sort of thing).

  23. Stu Clayton says:

    We are amused, though nonplussed.

  24. You can speak a pure form of a language even though it’s full of historic and pre-historic borrowings, right? The timeframes of the so-called racial purity are probably limited in a similar way. The other factor is homogeneity (substantial similarity between the members of the in-group in comparison with out-groups), meaning that as long as the genetic admixture has spread relatively evenly in the population, this population is perceived as “pure”. In actuality, most European peoples are substantially genetically similar to each other, so it’s too easy to overlook the remnants of genetic heterogeneity / population structure.

  25. David Eddyshaw says:

    Hilaire Belloc used to say that you belonged to “the flower of the bourgeoisie” if you knew the maiden names of all four of your great-grandmothers. He was evidently less refined than EMF. However, the question is here not racial purity but snobbery.

    I am proud to say I fail miserably on both criteria.

  26. You can speak a pure form of a language even though it’s full of historic and pre-historic borrowings, right?

    I don’t understand. What would that mean?

  27. Trond Engen says:

    In Norway, for people my generation or older, just having four great grandmothers with family names is a sure sign of bourgeoisie. None of my eight ancestors above had inherited family names at birth, but they all had farm names or patronymics turned into family names during their lifetime.

  28. David Marjanović says:

    Kentum refers to a phonological merger: palatalized into plain velars. (Not the other way around as in half of West Caucasian.) Satəm refers to two things at once: the purely phonetic shift that turned the palatalized velars into various affricates and then often fricatives, and the merger of labialized into plain velars.

    The kentum merger shows up in Germanic, Italo-Celtic, Greek and Hittite. The satəm merger shows up in Balto-Slavic, Indo-Iranian and conditionally in Albanian; whether it’s conditional in Armenian seems to have been controversial, and I don’t know any details. Both are found in Tocharian, where all nine velar consonants collapsed into one. The satəm shift is found in Balto-Slavic, Indo-Iranian, Albanian, Armenian, the Daco-Thraco-Illyrian mess and the Luwian branch of Anatolian.

    Germanic and Italo-Celtic could be sister-groups, though I haven’t finished reading the apparently latest paper on Dybo’s law (which apparently fails to cite the second-latest). Balto-Slavic and Indo-Iranian share the ruKi rule (…except it seems not to have operated before *u in Nuristani…) and Weise’s law (depalatalization of velars before *n *l *r in the same syllable), both of which must have operated before the satəm shift.

    I wonder if the kentum merger is a substrate effect, while the satəm shift is a natural homegrown development devoid of external influence. But that’s most likely impossible to test.

  29. Even a seemingly quintessentially ethnic name is no guarantee of racial “purity” in America. I had my house inspected for hail damage (after a storm of genuine golf-ball-sized stones, which was just amazing to watch) by a man named Sligh McGloutherin, which is about the most Scoth-Irish name I could ever possibly dream up. However, Mr. McGloutherin was also manifestly of a mixed racial background. He had a clear mix of African-American and northern European features, such as fairly dark skin but even darer freckles.

    Incidentally, the only other place were I have encountered Sligh as a name was in Norby the Mixed-Up Robot by Isaac Asimov and his wife Janet. Most of the names in the Norby books were much more ordinary than the made-up ones used in Asimov’s novels of the more distant future. (I was personally always impressed with Hober Mallow, which seems, from a phonotactic viewpoint, like a perfectly reasonable English name; it just isn’t one.) However, there were plenty of uncommon names mixed in with the Fargo Wells types. A man assigned to follow the main characters in the first book is named “Sligh”; Fargo, the protagonist’s brother, jokes about him being a “sly spy,” prompting Sligh to spell his name. However, as a name Sligh is actually the same word as sly!

  30. Greg Pandatshang says:

    I suppose if we assume traditional *ḱ *k *kʷ were primordially *k *q *kʷ, then kentumisation is simply a shift *q > *k which occurred in all Indo-European branches, with no innovations unique to the kentum languages.

  31. David Marjanović says:

    But why would we do that? Why would we assume that [k] palatalized in all environments (except for Weise’s law)? Why would we assume that [q] > [k] happened several times, while [q] > [χ] (i.e. a merger with *h₂!) never happened*, and [q] > [ʔ] (i.e. disappearance and/or a merger with *h₁) never happened either? And why are there roots beginning with *ke- and not just *ka-?

    * Evidence erased by Grimm’s law, assuming that [q] held on for a long time after the disappearance of *h₂.

  32. J.W. Brewer says:

    Scotch-Irish is un-ethnic and de-facto WASPy enough for my purposes, because enough of them came to the U.S. early enough to a) have faded into oblivion as an ethnic-group-as-such (these are the same people who are disproportionately likely to just answer “American” to the census question about ancestry) and b) have been a material portion of the antebellum slaveowning class, which is the most relevant factor for getting into the black American surname pool. Right now it appears that the most prominent American surnamed McGlothern (I assume a spelling variation of the same name) is a black high school football player in Texas who is apparently an excellent cornerback and being heavily recruited by various leading colleges.

    Indeed, modern Ulster retains the tendency for grown men in public office formally named William to be universally known as Willie, which is less common for whites in the U.S. If you moved the prominent Loyalist MP Willie McCrea to the Chicago board of alderman, everyone would assume he was black.

  33. Trond Engen says:

    Y: There was a discussion here a few years ago

    Thanks. Also on Euphratic. What my warm and tired brain was trying to recreate yesterday night was essentially my comment of December 12, 2015, at 3:07 pm. Calling it “Kentum” was grasping for Whittaker’s contention that Euphratic shares features with northwestern IE. Mentioning “delaryngealized” was echoing the suggestion that it belongs somewhere near the base of the Non-Anatolian branch. Except that being near the base wouldn’t mean delaryngealized.

    David M.: The kentum merger shows up in Germanic, Italo-Celtic, Greek and Hittite. The satəm merger shows up in Balto-Slavic, Indo-Iranian and conditionally in Albanian; whether it’s conditional in Armenian seems to have been controversial, and I don’t know any details. Both are found in Tocharian, where all nine velar consonants collapsed into one. The satəm shift is found in Balto-Slavic, Indo-Iranian, Albanian, Armenian, the Daco-Thraco-Illyrian mess and the Luwian branch of Anatolian.

    A development from palatal stops to retroflex (or thereabouts) sbillants is quite ordinary. Some version of that has happened independently in many modern European languages. But the RUKI rule and Weise’s law are not.

    Greek is in its own fettle of quiche when it comes to consonants.

    Greg P.: I suppose if we assume traditional *ḱ *k *kʷ were primordially *k *q *kʷ, then kentumisation is simply a shift *q > *k which occurred in all Indo-European branches, with no innovations unique to the kentum languages.

    Depending on viewpoint. The kentum merger of *k’ and *k would arguable be a bigger innovation than the purely phonetic satem chain shift .(Satemization would have had to take place no later than *q > *k.)

  34. You can speak a pure form of a language even though it’s full of historic and pre-historic borrowings, right?

    I don’t understand. What would that mean?
    Isn’t linguistic purism a nearly universal thing in every culture? Like with English, it’s typically assumed that the post-Saxon borrowing “contaminated” English, while earlier borrowing didn’t affect its purity? “Too old” admixtures are tolerated, perhaps also because the sources of these admixtures are no longer around, and there are no fears of continued change of the contemporary language. Say, the existential threat to the “purity” of Finnish language is English, and of course the purists there aren’t concerned by a vast layer of older / pre-historic Germanic influences.

    By the same token, the great mixing of peoples 5 or 6 millennia ago may be just far too ancient to qualify as an “impurity” to those who are vainly concerned, yes, with some lists of great grandparents

  35. Greg Pandatshang says:

    while [q] > [χ] (i.e. a merger with *h₂!) never happened*, and [q] > [ʔ] (i.e. disappearance and/or a merger with *h₁) never happened either?

    That is a very reasonable question which I had never thought about before. I would tend to imagine that [q] > [k] happened early on when areal effects were still possible across all dialects, which makes it a single development, not one occurring independently in multiple places. Some fronted [k] at the same time as a chain shift, which led to the Satəm shift, but most did not.

    Carrasquer Vidal (a supporter of the velar-uvular-labiovelar model) argues for an underlying /i/ (distinct from the surface *i that appears in the zero grade) that merges with most other vowels into *e in almost all environments, but remains distinct after the uvular stop; something along the lines of /Ci/ > /Cə/ > /Ce/ (where C is any consonant but [q] or laryngeals) and /Ca/ > /Cə/ > /Ce/, but /qi/ > /kə/ > /ke/ and /qa/ > /ka/ > /ka/. I don’t recall him saying so specifically, but presumably he thinks that some instances of reconstructed *h₁e are really *h₂i > *h₂ə > *h₂e. In my mind, it seems simpler just to assume that the [q] > [k] shift occurred around the same time that vowel coloring became phonemic, with the result that it operates sporadically.

  36. Trond Engen says:

    Me: I think it’s the rurality of my ancestors that make them such a homogenous lot.

    Y: By the same token, the great mixing of peoples 5 or 6 millennia ago may be just far too ancient to qualify as an “impurity” to those who are vainly concerned, yes, with some lists of great grandparents

    E.M. Forster’s test might work for bourgeois bigotry, but working, rural people had eight grandparents from a couple of neighbouring parishes. For them nationalism (or nativism) could be a social movement for les damnés de la terre. Urban elites, copied by local elites, had foreign names and used fancy words. It was easy to think that uneven access to the outside world had given them an advantage as harbingers of change. And in a world of few choices and hardly visible development for the better every change was a threat to an already precarious state.

  37. Case in point. A storied ancient Nordic population, the Icelanders. Published today. They are fairly genetically distant from their Scandinavian ancestors due to random drift effects in a smallish population. They were also composed of nearly equal parts of Celtic and Norse ancestry, although a sliver of the former got lost over time due to social stratification favoring the progeny of the Norse.
    science.sciencemag.org/content/360/6392/1028
    So, the first step is uneven mixing, resulting in deep and lasting racial inequality, but gradually fading, and a millennium later, perceived as a pure homogenous state.

  38. marie-lucie says:

    I am not very closely acquainted with PIE, but I don’t remember seeing /q/ among its inventory. Of course I could be wrong, but where can I read about the evidence for it?

  39. Greg Pandatshang says:

    It’s appealing on typological grounds because of the much greater frequency of *ḱ vs. *k. The idea pops up every now and then. Not sure I’ve ever seen a detailed argument for it. Kümmel simply lists “velar” (= uvular) with no explanation: https://www.academia.edu/1538887/Typology_and_reconstruction_The_consonants_and_vowels_of_Proto-Indo-European

  40. David Marjanović says:

    In my mind, it seems simpler just to assume that the [q] > [k] shift occurred around the same time that vowel coloring became phonemic, with the result that it operates sporadically.

    I don’t understand what you mean: do you think [q] > [k] only happened during the individual losses of *h₂?

    It’s appealing on typological grounds because of the much greater frequency of *ḱ vs. *k.

    That’s pretty much the only argument for it, and strikes me as an error, because in the West Caucasian *kʲ *k *kʷ situation, *kʲ (like *kʷ) is so much more common than *k that two of the three branches have merged *k into *kʲ rather than the other way around.

    An explanation for this imbalance is easy to invent: start with a boring old /a e i o u/ system, then blame all frontness and rounding on the consonants (leaving you with /a ə/ and a tripled consonant system), then simplify the enormous consonant system and – in IE but not West Caucasian – shift [a ə] to [e o] one way or another.

    What I find a particularly strong counterargument is that the uvular interpretation of course extends to the voiced and aspirated consonants. If you thought /kʲ k kʷ/ is rare, well, /ɢ/ is rare, too, and /ɢʱ/ seems to be completely unattested. We’d expect lots of IE branches to have merged *g and especially *gʰ wholesale into *h₃ by a shift to [ʁ], yet that never happened.

    If you combine it with the classical glottalic hypothesis, so that *g comes out as [qʼ], we’d expect lots of shifts to [ʔ], (i.e. disappearance and/or a merger with *h₁). No known cases. If you use the updated glottalic hypothesis instead, *g becomes the implosive [ʛ], which seems to be attested in about two languages worldwide, though I don’t know what it would likely change into.

  41. Trond Engen says:

    X: Case in point. A storied ancient Nordic population, the Icelanders. Published today. They are fairly genetically distant from their Scandinavian ancestors due to random drift effects in a smallish population. They were also composed of nearly equal parts of Celtic and Norse ancestry, although a sliver of the former got lost over time due to social stratification favoring the progeny of the Norse.

    I haven’t looked at the whole text, but this looks very useful as a comparison for effects of genetic drift elsewhere. Icelanders are a small population and a millennium is a long time, but it’s actually a large population and a short time compared with some of the Neolithic/Bronze Age results we’ve become used to. I also wonder if the non-random component of the genetic drift can be estimated and maybe say something about social stratification of societies.

  42. If you combine it with the classical glottalic hypothesis, so that *g comes out as [qʼ], we’d expect lots of shifts to [ʔ]

    Do we? I don’t think qʼ > ʔ is especially common, and even q > ʔ seems to happen mainly in smallish consonant systems where it has no “support” from other uvular obstruents.

    (Also there’s already the whole alleged “Kortlandt Effect” between *d and *h₁. Maybe equivalents with *g just haven’t been sought out well enough yet.)

    A third long-running approach of course is that PIE proper only had the *ḱ and *kʷ series, and that all supposed instances of the *k series either come from the two “main” series by neutralizations (Weise’s Law, boukolos rule, etc.), or are post-PIE areal vocabulary. I think this is likely to be on to something… but I’m less sure if it can be really the full story.

  43. January First-of-May says:

    I am proud to say I fail miserably on both criteria.

    Same (if probably with less pride), though it’s very possible that I will eventually find out. (At the moment, it’s 2/4 on the maiden names, and either 1/8 or 5/8 on the full names depending on whether patronymics are included; a bit more might be added if I could consult my misplaced written-down genealogical tree attempts, but even then it wouldn’t be a full mark on either.)

    However, as 50% Russian and 50% (Ashkenazi) Jewish, while perhaps technically racially pure (we don’t really get that many non-whites around in Europe, anyway), I’m probably the walking antithesis to ethnic purity (especially the National Socialist version thereof).

  44. David Marjanović says:

    Do we? I don’t think qʼ > ʔ is especially common, and even q > ʔ seems to happen mainly in smallish consonant systems where it has no “support” from other uvular obstruents.

    [q] > [ʔ] has happened a lot in Arabic/Maltese, I think more than once, though I don’t actually know. [qʼ] is generally pretty stable, but when ejectives are lost as a category, [ʔ] is at least an obvious option… one thing it has changed into in some Caucasian languages (which retain ejectives as a category) is the epiglottal stop.

    (Also there’s already the whole alleged “Kortlandt Effect” between *d and *h₁. Maybe equivalents with *g just haven’t been sought out well enough yet.)

    I was actually going to bring that up to say that it involves *d and not *g… but yes, nobody seems to have checked if there are any cases involving *g. Nobody outside Leiden seems to have checked for *d either, right?

    I’m probably the walking antithesis to ethnic purity

    I have you beat on that one.

  45. marie-lucie says:

    David M: start with a boring old /a e i o u/ system, then blame all frontness and rounding on the consonants (leaving you with /a ə/ and a tripled consonant system), then simplify the enormous consonant system and – in IE but not West Caucasian – shift [a ə] to [e o] one way or another.

    In my own reconstruction of an Amerindian family (where q is part of the inventory at any stage) I need almost all these steps: Start with “/a ə/ and a tripled consonant system” then “blame all frontness and rounding on the consonants” then “shift /ə/ to /e o/” depending on the consonants (and go from there).

  46. Trond Engen, if the Yamnaya expansion circa 3000-2800bce that wiped out the Tripolye-Cucuteni culture caused a refugee movement into the Balkans, and the refugees also spoke their own PIE, that gives them eight centuries to develop southward and enter Anatolia from the west, introducing Anatolian languages absent any Yamnaya genetic markers. I understand that you’re telling us there’s no evidence of any cultural infusion west-to-Anatolia during these centuries. If the Phrygians entered Anatolia from the Thracian area and spoke a language very close to Greek, that points to a west-to-east tradition, but perhaps I’ve got the Phrygians wrong as well. All those beautiful Colin McEvedy maps in my head — do I have to throw them entirely away?

  47. David Marjanović says:

    that gives them eight centuries to develop southward and enter Anatolia from the west, introducing Anatolian languages absent any Yamnaya genetic markers.

    Then we’d expect more Western Hunter-Gatherer and much less Caucasian Hunter-Gatherer ancestry in the Hittite genomes that were recently sequenced than was actually found.

    If the Phrygians entered Anatolia from the Thracian area and spoke a language very close to Greek, that points to a west-to-east tradition

    Yes, but the Phrygians arrived only after the collapse of Hittite power.

  48. SFReader says:

    I thought Phrygians spoke a language which later developed into Armenian.

    At least that was what Dyakonov told his readers in 1970s.

    Is that theory disproved now?

  49. Greg Pandatshang says:

    I don’t understand what you mean: do you think [q] > [k] only happened during the individual losses of *h₂?

    No, in this scenario, *h₂ would have to continue for a while after [q] > [k] if it colored vowels consistently. I’m suggesting that the vowel coloring (whatever its exact phonetic nature) would have been perceived as a subphonemic allophone until around the same time that [q] > [k] occurred. Subsequently, the colored vowel was reanalyzed as a distinct phoneme, with the result that the coloring persisted after the laryngeals later became silent. If [q] > [k] (assuming that uvulars color and velars don’t) occurred before this reanalysis, then we’d expect no coloring from that consonant. If [q] > [k] occurred after the reanalysis, we’d expect consistent coloring. If it occurred at the same time, we might expect an inconsistent result.

  50. David Marjanović says:

    Is that theory disproved now?

    AFAIK it remains a serious contender, but Piotr has said different things in different years about Armenian if I understood him right…

  51. Greg Pandatshang says:

    It’s not clear to me that anybody beyond the far fringes of ideologues would care about racial purity on a scale beyond what we’re talking about here. Before the last few decades, the European genetic mix had been fairly stable since the Yamnaya-like invasion 5,000 years ago. That seems like more than enough purity to me. When I say “far fringes of ideologues”, I’m thinking of the people who want there to be an unchanging, timeless racial essence, such that 5,000 years seems like chump change in comparison. This is, incidentally, the same mindset that justifies anti-Semitism in terms of a unchanging “Semitic” racial essence. In this framework, if Jews become more like “us” such as through intermarriage, that’s a very bad thing, because their pith remains Semitic, and they’ve merely appropriated some of our genes and culture with which to disguise themselves. That said, I’m doubtful that anybody is really anti-Semitic because of ideas like these; rather than the ideas being a rationalisation for an anti-Semitism which was there beforehand.

  52. Trond Engen says:

    If I understand it correctly, there’s evidence for a migration across the Bosporus that could be the Phrygians. What there is no evidence for (for now, anyway) is a migration from the Balkans of (I.E.) Anatolians, but there’s genetic evidence of east-to-west migrations in Anatolia, carrying genes associated with Caucasus and the Zagros mountains.

    The two Hittites included in the latest study is a meagre base for definitive conclusions, but they do point in the same direction.

  53. If Greeks of the proto-heroic era preceded the Phrygians on a path down an interior Balkan route from the north, encountering Pelasgians in mainland Greece, and Anatolian Carians in the islands, possibly Anatolian-speaking Cretans, daunted by differently languaged Tyrrhenians in Lesbos and a Tyrrhenian homeland in Arzawa — well, here you have the situation. Anatolians are established so far to the west that they almost must have come from the same counter-clockwise direction around the Black Sea, not wiping all else out, but with their own heroic Hittite wave in front pushing eastward and first to commingle, least in racial and genetic purity because that’s the way with front waves. The Hittites were so magnificently uninterested in purity that they adopted gods from the Hurrian pantheon. This is the movie that plays in my head, and it fails in the face of genetic testing. Does it fail completely? Are there genetic tests of Lydians and Lycians and Carians that would point to one direction or the other? Switching from genes to language, don’t the Luwians, west of the Hittites, speak a purer “Anatolian” with less borrowing from non-IE languages? I don’t ask as if I know the answer. I’ve always assumed yes, but that’s because I’ve made assumptions that might be false. I’d love to read more deeply, if there’s anything published in English.

  54. Nobody outside Leiden seems to have checked for *d either, right?

    The latest review I have seen is from Romain Garnier of Wékwos fame, but I don’t recall how many truly new cases he scouts out.

  55. Trond Engen says:

    @Phil Jennings: That’s more or less the movie I have had playing in my head since Mallory & Adams. Genetics speaks against it for now, but for all I know it could be resurrected by more archaeology and fine-masked genetic mapping. Few ancient Anatolian genomes have been mapped, and I don’t think we can be sure about their ethnic affiliation. The two Hittites could be conquered locals or mercenaries. The handful of Luwians could be of the local substrate.

  56. Ha, I just gotten to the part where Reich destroys that ignoramus Nicholas Wade, who I’ve often had occasion to take to task over the years (“ill-informed,” “spavined.” “muddled“). The section begins on p. 260 and ends near the bottom of p. 262 (“Wade is suggesting that popular racist ideas about the differences that exist among populations have something to them”).

  57. Christopher S says:

    Wade gets carried away sometimes, but some of the speculative “racist” theories he quotes will probably end up having some merit, which even Reich himself has admitted elsewhere. The challenge is maintaining the appropriate level of skepticism and caution (which the speculators often lack), while keeping an open mind about average genetic differences among human populations (which the equity-obsessed left has failed at, hence the need for the wake-up calls by Reich, Sam Harris, and others).

    “It is likely that a few stereotypes [about average genetic differences among human populations] will be validated by findings from genetics.” – David Reich, How to Talk About ‘Race’ and Genetics

  58. There’s a big difference between racist theories and genetic differences among human populations; he goes into considerable detail about all of this, with much more patience for ideologues of all stripes than I would be able to muster.

  59. David Marjanović says:

    Sam Harris? A wake-up call from the guy who’s so obsessed with his fear of Islam that he wants airports to profile against people who look like they could be Muslims?

  60. Yeah, don’t put Reich in that company.

  61. “It is likely that a few stereotypes [about average genetic differences among human populations] will be validated by findings from genetics.”

    Indeed. And it is likely that a stopped clock, back when such things still existed, will be correct twice a day. Which technically makes it more accurate than one that consistently loses or gains time and is only reset every day or longer. As Vajda says, a few of Greenberg’s etymologies linking Yeniseian with Na-Dene are correct as well (he is too polite to say “only a few”).

  62. As Vajda says, a few of Greenberg’s etymologies linking Yeniseian with Na-Dene are correct as well (he is too polite to say “only a few”)

    25% of Ruhlen’s etymologies, IIRC.

    Still a lot more than the racial stereotypes that will be likely validated genetically. The British gene for dry humor and the Swiss gene for boringness are still very far from being identified.

  63. Yes, but only 8 (IIRC) in absolute terms. See Zompist’s list of Quechua-Chinese resemblances for just how many resemblances sheer coincidence can produce.

  64. David Marjanović says:

    These are slightly less rigorous than the Greenberg/Ruhlen method in that they rely too much on spellings… anyway, the URL lacks an L at the end.

  65. I have fixed the URL with Hattic powers.

  66. Reminder that most of Zompist’s examples are not strictly speaking demonstrated to be chance resemblances. A priori it is entirely possible that Quechua and Chinese are related, and that a few words from their common ancestor have managed to survive in both in a recognizeable shape.

    It is still possible to demonstrate something to be a chance resemblance, though. The method would be similar to how you show that French feu and German Feuer are not cognate — we know that the first can be traced back to Latin focus, which now shows a /k/ that has no counterpart in German, a back vowel rather than a front rounded one, and the meaning ‘hearth’ instead of ‘fire’. So the development of /ø/ and the meaning ‘fire’ is at most convergent, not a marker of common origin from a Proto-Franco-German #føə ‘fire’.

    I would expect that once we look at what is known of Quechuan and Mandarin historical phonology and historical semantics, many of the similarities will indeed evaporate. However, to positively demonstrate something as a chance resemblance, this step is obligatory. Just listing similarities and then going “but doesn’t that look improbable” is not sufficient. (It’s argument from incredulity, basically.)

    (This point has an analogue also for the genetics debate, which I will leave as an exercise for readers to assemble.)

  67. January First-of-May says:

    …Now I wonder if there’s a pair of actual cognates somewhere that look very similar but actually just happened to converge from much more different (but still cognate) forms.

    Like… mild example I just found on Wiktionary: West Frisian and Slovene trije both mean “three”, but actually the former goes back to Proto-Germanic *þrīz, and the latter to Proto-Slavic *trьje, which are no longer quite as similar. There’s probably a better example somewhere.

  68. Trond Engen says:

    French eau “water” and Scandinavian å “(small) river”.

  69. marie-lucie says:

    Trond: at the Northern tip of France (across from England, just next to Belgium) there is a small river called the Aa flowing into the sea.. According to Wikipedia.fr the word is of Germanic origin and related to words like awa, ewe, all of which are related to latin aqua. If so, then your Scandinavian word must belong to the same set as eau!

  70. Trond Engen says:

    Yrs. Same origin. Near identical contemporary pronunciation. Very different paths.

  71. Trond Engen says:

    I might add that the Normand river Aa reflects an older stage, ON a: (> ModSc. [O], ModIc./WNo.dial. [ao]).

  72. marie-lucie says:

    The location of the river is quite far from Normandy. But of course Normandy is the territory that was ceded to Scandinavians but it does not mean that some of them had not roamed or even settled all along the coast before the peace settlement. Among the cities close to the river is Dunkerque (Dunkirk), which I suppose is Scandinavian?

  73. Rodger C says:

    I think names in that corner of France are Dutch. The area is shown on maps as Dutch-speaking, which it may no longer be, France being France.

  74. SFReader says:

    Actually they are Frankish.

    Franks, you see, spoke a language which was the direct ancestor of Dutch.

    Franks in France assimilated and became French.

    Those who didn’t, became Dutch.

  75. Names like Dunkirk are Flemish; they are in a part of France that historically (into the 20th century) was Flemish-speaking. I don’t know how alive the Flemish language is there today. Whether it’s okay to call Flemish “Dutch”, better discuss that with the Flemish.

  76. David Marjanović says:

    They’re increasingly OK with it.

  77. Trond Engen says:

    French Wikipedia has a nice little article on the rivers Aa.

    It’s only in Not Too Western Scandinavian it’s pronounced as French. It’s only in English it’s written as French.

  78. Trond Engen says:

    The North Germanic and Western West Germanic forms look fairly regular, although the variety of vowel outcomes in Dutch is beyond me. As I’ve undoubtedly mentioned to boredom before, some Northern Norwegian dialects have åga in the definite in hydronyms. I have no other explanation for that than archaism. Low Saxon Au(e) may be another archaism. High German Ach looks more like a borrowing from Latin.

    This reminds me that I’ve been intrigued by the Scottish river Ewe. It doesn’t look Gaelic, but it doesn’t look Old Norse either. (But on the other hand, that English spelling could represent almost anything Gaelic.)

  79. David Marjanović says:

    More cognates of eau in river names are in the German Wikipedia. Interestingly, the article says some are Celtic; Celtic has elsewhere been said not to have a cognate unless that one Celtiberian inscription really means “through water” by tarakuai.

    The much shorter English article repeats the claim about Celtic, but is also full of bad historical linguistics that I’m too tired to fix now.

  80. Trond Engen says:

    Yes. I have a comment in moderation where I say that High German Ache looks like a borrowing from Latin. I should have thought of checking German Wikipedia.

  81. David Marjanović says:

    That’s actually what I thought – because I had read it somewhere long ago – before I looked it up right now. However, as m-l said, there don’t seem to be any cases of aqua being used in river names. The distribution in Upper German fits the persistence of Germanic *x as opposed to its loss in the more northern Aa forms.

  82. I have a comment in moderation

    Out now. Good you mentioned it; I’m watching Argentina-Iceland and am a bit distracted.

  83. Trond Engen says:

    No problem. So am I. Though I suspect we root for different teams.

  84. Well, congratulations, Iceland deserved that tie. I just hope Argentina wakes up before their next game.

  85. SFReader says:

    That Icelandic goalkeeper has unhumanly long hands

  86. He’ll never have to buy a drink again in Iceland. Or maybe anything else.

  87. David Marjanović says:

    Unlike that Moroccan player who scored the own goal yesterday. :-S

    I retroactively put a comment into moderation by adding a link. It seems to have disappeared?

  88. Trond Engen says:

    I don’t know. It’s difficult to be that sort of hero at a place where everybody knows somebody on the team. “Yeah, that was a good save, but that garage needs painting and he hasn’t called his aunt for six months.”

  89. Trond Engen says:

    I retroactively put a comment into moderation by adding a link. It seems to have disappeared?

    That’s how I often end up in moderation too. The comments usually stay visible, but the one about the different Germanic forms just diappeared. I didn’t think much about it, but it’s unusual. A change in the software?

  90. I have liberated the comment.

  91. Trond Engen says:

    David M.: Unlike that Moroccan player who scored the own goal yesterday. :-S

    A dangerous game

  92. David Marjanović says:

    Thanks.

    A change in the software?

    Yes, but long ago; it’s as old as the editing time window, I think.

    A dangerous game

    Ah, that’s the one. May he stay the only one.

  93. Trond Engen says:

    May he stay the only one.

    Indeed. And may no country be like Colombia of the eighties and nineties.

    Looking back I wonder how much the murder of Andrés Escobar may have contributed to the demise of the drug cartels.

  94. David Marjanović says:

    As in “this time they’ve gone too far”?

    But then, one of the Wikipedia articles says he probably wouldn’t have been murdered if Pablo Escobar (no relation) had still been alive, so maybe the point of no return for the drug cartels came first.

  95. Trond Engen says:

    Or as in losing the “at least they get the trains to run on time”* sympathy.

    *) That’s a metaphor.

  96. David Marjanović says:

    Fun fact: the trains are running on time right now in Italy (says Der Spiegel), but not in Germany at all.

  97. SFReader says:

    Since it’s somehow got diverted into official LH World Cup thread, my congratulations to Mexico and funny complaint from German newspaper:

    Problem Nummer eins: In Russland sprechen alle Russisch. Pro­blem Nummer zwei: Man glaubt es kaum, aber die Russen schreiben auch noch Russisch. Und Problem Nummer drei: Sie sprechen kein Englisch. Und sie schreiben auch kein Englisch.

  98. Yes, my congratulations to Mexico as well — great game! (And that is indeed a funny complaint.)

  99. Funny in the German sense, that is, elephantine.

  100. Is schoder German?

    “The ribbon of solid gold is divided into 170 or 180 pieces, each about an inch square. These are put into a cutch made of French paper four inches square. That is beaten until we get the gold to the edges. It is handled with pincers at that time. It is beat half an hour. The pieces are then piled twenty on top of each other. They are then cut in four and doubled over, making 720. They are then put in a ‘schoder,’ or finer mold cut down. We fill the schoder with those leaves in the middle, and beat it out to the edges. We beat it about two hours, until we draw about ten pennyweights off the schoder.”

  101. SFReader says:

    It’s misspelling of English word shoder from verb

    shoad

    Etymology
    From Middle English shode, schode, from Old English *(ġe)scād, ġescēad (“separation, distinction, discretion, understanding, argument, reason, reckoning, account, statement, accuracy, art, manner, method”), from Proto-Germanic *skaidą (“separation, distinction”), from Proto-Indo-European *skÁit-, *skÁi- (“to cut, divide, separate”). Related to Old English scādan (“to separate, divide, part, make a line of separation between”). More at shed.

    Noun
    shoad (plural shoads)

    Separation; distinction.
    A chasm or ravine.
    A line of parting of the hair of the head; a part (in the hair); the top of the head.
    (mining) Loose fragments (often of metal ore) mixed with earth.
    Verb
    shoad (third-person singular simple present shoads, present participle shoading, simple past and past participle shoaded)

    (mining) To seek for a vein or mineral deposit by following a shode, or tracing them to whence they derived.

  102. Thanx!

  103. Trond Engen says:

    Eng. shoad = German Scheiden, surely. In German-derived Norwegian mining terminology the Ertzscheider was the specialist separating the ore.

  104. Since this is the official LH World Cup thread: Sublime Goal, Philosophical Narrator: World Cup Broadcaster Andrés Cantor Predicts the Future.

    Ronaldo had produced a feast for the senses. And there was an added element for those of us watching on Telemundo, the Spanish-language channel. The broadcaster Andrés Cantor narrated it in a way I had never heard, at least not with such consistency: In the first half of this sequence, he switched to the future tense.

    Unlike in literature, where stories are usually delivered in the past tense, a soccer game is normally chronicled in the present, and, needless to say, in real time. Ronaldo is so well known and so accomplished that fans around the world know his every move. Cantor, who is Argentine, automatically—and, it seems to me, unconsciously — switched tenses. Ronaldo was getting ready. He positioned himself in front of the ball. Then Cantor said: Ronaldo will find a sweet spot on the field, he will take three steps back from the ball and one step to the left, he will inhale deeply as he looks to the left, then to the referee, and he will score his third goal of the match.

    In other words, he was prophesying Ronaldo’s actions, step by step. As he was telling what was about to happen, Ronaldo, an instant later, did exactly that.

  105. Impressive. Now, if Cantor only were able to do that before the match…. 😉

  106. I remember that in 1986, at the height of my passion for the Mets (gloriously rewarded at the end of the season!), I watched or listened to virtually every game they played, and I got to the point that I could see Darryl Strawberry at the plate and say “He’s going to get a hit now” and he would.

  107. Trond Engen says:

    For a long time in my youth I used to be able to feel if a penalty shot would succeed or not. I don’t think that’s unusual. Friends told of the same thing, and there are subtle clues in the attitude and behaviour of both players, their teammates, the referee and the audience. The point is that I’ve lost it. I don’t know if I’ve become less sensitive or if football has changed.

  108. Alas, we’ll never know if the Babe really called his home run or not.

    As for the effects mentioned above, they have to do at least in part with confirmation bias, otherwise known as “remembering the hits and forgetting the misses”.

  109. Trond Engen says:

    confirmation bias, otherwise known as “remembering the hits and forgetting the misses”.

    I’m of course aware of that, and I kept some sort of record at the time. But there are other forms of confirmation bias that I tried to handle, but maybe not successfully. First, I didn’t always call a judgment. In situations of doubt, I may have switched the call post facto. Similarly, in some cases I changed my call right before the shot, and I may have judged my own decision based on the outcome.

  110. Just a warning that comments in moderation will not be freed until halftime, and then only if Argentina is doing well enough that I can focus on other things.

  111. In fairness, the next line from the Abendblatt article is: »Doch das größte Problem von allen: Ich spreche kein Russisch.« It’s entirely clear that problem is with him, and the rest of the article is very positive about the Russians.

    I drew Saudi Arabia in the local sweepstakes, and am full of optimism given that they only lost 1-0 to Uruguay! I may yet manage the surprisingly-less-terrible-than-expected consolation prize.

  112. If Argentina is doing well
    80 minutes into the match, and I’m afraid pending comments are in for a long mourning period…

  113. I am not a happy camper, but I’m not giving up on Argentina until they get on the plane home. If they can manage to beat Nigeria, they’ve got a chance in this weird group.

  114. Trond Engen says:

    You have to root for Nigeria against Iceland tomorrow. If Iceland beats Nigeria, both Croatia and Iceland will advance with a draw, so they’ll rest their top players and play a boring 0:0 draw, as is the custom on such occasions. With a draw tomorrow, Croatia will win the group even if they lose to Iceland, so they’ll rest all their players and lose to Iceland.

Speak Your Mind

*