“In cases where words attest in distinct languages but are not reconstructed to a proto-language period, no star precedes the word, for example, mwana nya nhiti "fertility medicine.”
“The literature is particularly useful for offering examples of the way proto-language features from within the Ruvu group — and sometimes for eras that predate proto-Ruvu — persisted as important features of recent Ruvu societies.”
“We know however from linguistic evidence that Etruscan and Rhaetic, as explained by Woodard, can be traced back to a common 'Tyrsenic' proto-language dated to the end of the 2nd millenium BCE.”
“Rather, it was a core element of an early worldview that envisaged kinship-linked ancestors and other spirit forces in ongoing conversation with the corporeal world, and that worldview can be reconstructed to the very early Niger-Congo period, perhaps to its proto-language period.”
“A major concern is that the use of linear lines to represent the divergence of a proto-language into its daughters implies that languages diverge suddenly, as if they splinter off of the proto-language.”
“This is confirmed when words exhibit regular sound shifts and when they retain the proto-language meaning.”
“And each descendent language embodies the linguistic features of its proto-language.”
“For historians, recovering the words spoken by extant-language speakers 'proto-language ancestors is akin to archaeologists discovering ancient, rare artifacts.”
“They are meant to be suggestive of periods of suspected heavy contact that lead to skewed cognation rates after the proto-language began to diverge, but they do not attempt to quantify the influence of those relationships.”
“Once the proto-language phonological system and descendant language sound shifts are identified, the words that are cognate and those that are not can be systematically identified, and the total number of cognates shared by each language pairing can be counted up and calculated as a percentage of the whole one hundred-meaning list.”
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