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Re: [xmca] concepts: Missing Voices

On Apr 12, 2011, at 7:41 PM, David Kellogg wrote:

> One final missing name, and it happens to be a gentleman who attended some of the same seminars that Stanislavsky and Vygotsky took part in: the linguist N. Ia. Marr, who later led a highly dubious academic existence as founder of an anti-imperialist linguistics called "Japhetology". 
> Japhetology was built on an "out of Africa" theory of language genesis which seems to foresee the "out of Africa theories of the biological origin of humans (about which Marr could have known nothing). The idea was that since language variation was far greater in Africa than anywhere on earth, this must be the origin of human language, and all linguistics founded on Standard European languages is simply an imperialist teleology directly related to theories of racial superiority then sweeping Europe. (In this I think Marr is influenced by Whorf and Sapir, and Vygotsky's refs to Sapir may be a way of paying his debt to Marr.)

Marr may have been correct:

Phonemic Diversity Supports a Serial Founder Effect Model of Language Expansion from Africa
Science, vol 332, 15 April 2011
Quentin D. Atkinson

Human genetic and phenotypic diversity declines with distance from Africa, as predicted by a serial founder effect in which successive population bottlenecks during range expansion progressively reduce diversity, underpinning support for an African origin of modern humans. Recent work suggests that a similar founder effect may operate on human culture and language. Here I show that the number of phonemes used in a global sample of 504 languages is also clinal and fits a serial founder–effect model of expansion from an inferred origin in Africa. This result, which is not explained by more recent demographic history, local language diversity, or statistical non-independence within language families, points to parallel mechanisms shaping genetic and linguistic diversity and supports an African origin of
modern human languages.__________________________________________
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