LINGUIST List 14.2532

Tue Sep 23 2003

Disc: Re: Genetic clicks?

Editor for this issue: Sarah Murray <>


  1. Marc Hamann, Re: 14.2531, Disc: New: Genetic clicks?

Message 1: Re: 14.2531, Disc: New: Genetic clicks?

Date: Tue, 23 Sep 2003 19:01:06 -0400
From: Marc Hamann <>
Subject: Re: 14.2531, Disc: New: Genetic clicks?

At 06:45 PM 9/23/03, Christopher Bader wrote:
>Two (perhaps geographically proximate) languages share a distinctive
>phonological feature. This feature is typologically unusual.
>Therefore, the two languages are genetically related.

My reading of the article was somewhat different.

The phenomenon under discussion was more paralinguistic: a system of
clicks that hunters used to communicate during the hunt when normal
speech might scare off prey.

Apparently two widely separated ethnic groups with no known linguistic
or other affiliation use a similar system.

As is not unusual with headlines, I didn't get the impression that it
was well chosen, as there wasn't "genetic" anything being considered
that I could discern, other than the lack of genetic affiliation
between the groups.

Actually, I'm not sure there was really a story there at all...

Marc Hamann
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