Aug 28, 2012

Tracing the Origins of Indo-European Languages

Yet another study passing its data-crunching off as a great discovery.

Lol, I didn't know that Greek is supposedly closer to, say, Nepali than it is to Russian...
I guess I don't know how to read graphs, otherwise I should be able to decipher Nepali better than Russian. Albanian is supposedly older than Sanskrit-based languages, what nonsense! 
Did the authors bother to do any sort of triangulation study or historical validation?
The NYTimes article notes that the data-crunching was based on cognates only, and that morphology should be taken into account too. That is consistent with Linguistics 101: roots matter; if you're trying to compare and contrast languages or assess their evolution, you need to look at roots and morphemes (i.e. etymology & morphology).
Here is the language-development tree: