April 2, 2002



ааааа 1. What Is Paleolinguistics?


The purpose of paleolinguistics is restoration of culture through language. Put simply, paleolinguistics is an explicit methodology which permits understanding of culture through language.


а Basic paleolinguistic concepts and methods:


а Language very precisely transmits culture through theа

а expression of fundamental cultural constants (J.G.Herder,

а E. Sapir, B.L. Whorf, A. Wierzbicka);


а Language is a way of organising reality (Jost Trier);


а Non-linear perusal of the texts;


а The semantic fields are extracted from facts of language

аа (Walter Porzig);


а Contextual perusal of each texts. Language through culture and culture through language. It may be the most important paleolinguistic idea. СCause there arenТt many people who can understand clearly what does it mean. Ha-ha-ha!!! Yeah! Here I can permit myself to laugh and everybody who click at the hyperlink above understand it.


а Anthropological and ethnographic literature devoted to the

а culture under study can be used for interpretation only to

а the extent that it elucidates meaning of different culture-

а specific concepts, which is encountered directly in the

а considered texts. In short, it is both possible and

а necessary to use assorted literature on the culture under

а study, but the object of research should be specific texts. If

а there are two disputable interpretations, the dispute should

а always be decided for the benefit of that interpretation

а which has arisen directly from research of the texts,

а instead of from ethnography and anthropology.


ааааа 2. Basic Paleolinguistic Method


ааааа Suppose we have some texts on some language X, which

ааааа serves some culture X.


ааааа We need to elucidate concepts as understood in the given

ааааа culture X, for example, space and time.


ааааа For this purpose we have to do the following:


a)    We list from the texts everything related to time, and

аааа in another list everything related to space;

b)    We grade the lexicon in these two lists on semantic

аааа fields; number and patterns language X suggests;

c)    Statistics (frequency analysis) is useful because it

аааа allows us to identify the most relevant cultural

аааа constants. But when we have only incidentally selected

аааа texts, the meaning and value of this method is

аааааааааа lacking. Only as quantity increases can such text be

аааааааааа used for statistical purposes, and only as long as we

аааааааааа have not considered all texts in general on theа

аааааааааа language X. The texts can be selected by a random

аааааааааа sampling, so the most important keywords for

аааааааааа comprehending this culture in all samplings

аааааааааа would be encountered just sometimes.


d)    In short, a lexicon which is interesting for us is simply

аааа structured on semantic fields, and statistics plays the

аааа slave role. We are not interested in how many of this or

ааа аthat spatial or temporal markers we encounter in the

аааа texts; we are interested in the relationship between

аааааааааа number of markers of the given semantic field to the

аааааааааа total number of markers identified from these texts.


аааааааааа You can also look at the Aynu traditional space view IТveаааа

аааааааааа received using this method



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