LINGUIST List 14.3055

Mon Nov 10 2003

Media: New Scientist Review of Forster and Toth

Editor for this issue: Steve Moran <>


  1. Mark Liberman, New Scientist review of Forster and Toth

Message 1: New Scientist review of Forster and Toth

Date: Fri, 07 Nov 2003 20:41:48 +0000
From: Mark Liberman <>
Subject: New Scientist review of Forster and Toth

The November-December issue of New Scientist includes a badly-informed
and credulous review of Forster and Toth, 'Toward a phylogenetic
chronology of ancient Gaulish, Celtic, and Indo-European', PNAS
(2003), which Larry Trask discussed more critically in Linguist
14.1876. The New Scientist review begins with the extraordinary claim
that ''[e]ver since Darwin proposed an evolutionary tree to describe
the descent of species, linguists have sought to apply the concept in
their own field... Now historical linguists may stand to benefit by
borrowing a second idea from evolutionary biology.''

I've discussed this review at somewhat greater length, with
appropriate links, in

Language-Family: Indo-European; Code: IE
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