From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Mass comparison is a method developed by Joseph
Greenberg to determine the level of genetic relatedness
between languages. It is now usually called multilateral
comparison. The method is generally rejected by linguists
(Campbell 2001:45), though it has some supporters.
In spite of widespread skepticism about his method, some of the
relationships established by Greenberg gradually came to be
generally accepted (e.g. Afro-Asiatic
and Niger-Congo). Others are widely
accepted though disputed by some (e.g. Nilo-Saharan), others are
predominantly rejected but have some defenders (e.g. Khoisan),
while others continue to be widely rejected and have only a handful
of defenders (e.g. Amerind).
The application of mass comparison led Greenberg not only to
propose novel classifications but to break apart previously
accepted ones. The best-known example is his rejection of the Hamitic language family.
of mass comparison
Mass comparison involves setting up a table of basic vocabulary
items and their forms in the languages to be compared. The table
can also include common morphemes. The following table was used by
Greenberg (1957:41) to illustrate the technique. It shows the forms
of six items of basic vocabulary in nine different languages,
identified by letters.
The basic relationships can be determined without any experience
in the case of languages that are fairly closely related. Knowing a
bit about probable paths of sound change allows one to go farther
faster. An experienced typologist — Greenberg was a
pioneer in the field — can quickly recognize or reject several
potential cognates in this table as probable or improbable. For
example, the path p > f is extremely frequent,
the path f > p much less so, enabling one to
hypothesize that fi : pi and
fik : pix are indeed related and go back to
protoforms *pi and *pik/x, while knowledge that
k > x is extremely frequent, x >
k much less so enables one to choose *pik over
*pix. Thus, while mass comparison does not attempt to
produce reconstructions of protolanguages — according to Greenberg
(2005:318) these belong to a later phase of study — phonological
considerations come into play from the very beginning.
The tables used in actual research involve much larger numbers
of items and languages. The items included may be either lexical,
such as 'hand', 'sky', and 'go', or morphological, such as PLURAL
and MASCULINE (Ruhlen 1987:120).
Detection of borrowings
Critics of mass comparison generally assume that mass comparison
has no means to distinguish borrowed forms from inherited ones,
unlike comparative reconstruction, which is able to do so through
regular sound correspondences. These questions were addressed by
Greenberg as of the 1950s. According to him, the key points are as
- Basic vocabulary is much less readily borrowed than cultural
- "[D]erivational, inflectional, and pronominal morphemes and
morph alternations are the least subject of all to borrowing."
- Any type of linguistic item may be borrowed "on occasion".
However, "fundamental vocabulary is proof against mass
- Mass comparison does not possess means to distinguish borrowing
in every instance: "in particular and infrequent instances the
question of borrowing may be doubtful". However, it is always
possible to detect whether borrowing is responsible for "a mass of
resemblances" between languages: "Where a mass of resemblances is
due to borrowing, they will tend to appear in cultural vocabulary
and to cluster in certain semantic areas which reflect the cultural
nature of the contact."
- The technique of mass comparison, as opposed to bilateral
comparison, provides a check on whether forms are borrowed or not
- Borrowing can never be an over-all explanation of a mass of
recurrent basic resemblances in many languages occurring over a
wide geographical area.... Since we find independent sets of
resemblances between every pair of languages, among every group of
three languages, and so on, each language would have to borrow from
- "[R]ecurrent sound correspondences" do not suffice to detect
borrowing, since "where loans are numerous, they often show such
Greenberg considered that the results achieved through this
method approached certainty (39): "The presence of fundamental
vocabulary resemblances and resemblances in items with grammatical
function, particularly if recurrent through a number of languages,
is a sure indication of genetic relationship."
place of sound correspondences in the comparative
It is often reported that Greenberg sought to replace the
comparative method with a new method, mass comparison (or, among
his less scrupulous critics, "mass lexical comparison"). He
consistently rejected this characterization, stating for instance,
"The methods outlined here do not conflict in any fashion with the
traditional comparative method" (1957:44) and expressing wonderment
at "the strange and widely disseminated notion that I seek to
replace the comparative method with a new and strange invention of
my own" (2002:2). According to Greenberg, mass comparison is the
necessary "first step" in the comparative method (1957:44), and
"once we have a well-established stock I go about comparing and
reconstructing just like anyone else, as can be seen in my various
contributions to historical linguistics" (1990, quoted in Ruhlen
1994:285). Reflecting the methodological empiricism also present in his typological work, he viewed facts
as of greater weight than their interpretations, stating
- [R]econstruction of an original sound system has the status of
an explanatory theory to account for etymologies already strong on
other grounds. Between the *vaida of Bopp and the
*γwoidxe of Sturtevant lie more than a hundred years of
the intensive development of Indo-European phonological
reconstruction. What has remained constant has been the validity of
the etymologic relationship among Sanskrit veda, Greek
woida, Gothic wita, all meaning "I know", and
many other unshakable etymologies both of root and of non-root
morphemes recognized at the outset. And who will be bold enough to
conjecture from what original the Indo-Europeanist one hundred
years from now will derive these same forms?
The thesis of mass comparison, then, is that:
- A group of languages is related when they show numerous
resemblances in basic vocabulary, including pronouns, and
morphemes, forming an interlocking pattern common to the
- While mass comparison cannot identify every instance of
borrowing, it can identify broad patterns of borrowing, which
suffices in establishing genetic relationship.
- The results achieved approach certainty.
- It is unnecessary to establish sets of recurrent sound
correspondences or reconstructed ancestral forms to identify
genetic relationships. On the contrary, it is not possible to
establish such correspondences or to reconstruct such forms until
genetic relationships are identified.
of ‘mass lexical comparison’
It is widely believed among linguists that Greenberg's method of
language classification was limited to comparisons of words alone,
to the neglect of grammatical elements, which could often provide
more decisive evidence for language relationship or
non-relationship. Greenberg's method, many of them state, is known
as "mass lexical comparison" (e.g. Kessler 2001: ix)).
In reality, Greenberg never used the phrase "mass lexical
comparison." It is not found in any of his principal works on
language classification or anywhere else in his works. It does not
occur, for instance, in Greenberg 1955, 1957, 1960, 1971, 1987,
2000-2002, or 2005. Furthermore, the phrase "mass lexical
comparison" is not used by any of Greenberg's supporters, for
Bengtson, Harold C. Fleming, Paul
Newman, Merritt Ruhlen, Timothy Usher, or
William S.-Y. Wang.
Probably the most influential critique of mass comparison is
that by Lyle
Campbell (2004). According to Campbell, Greenberg's method of
language classification "relies on inspectional similarities in
vocabulary alone" (2004: 348):
- The best-known of the approaches which rely on inspectional
resemblances among lexical items is that advocated by Joseph
Greenberg, called 'multilateral (or mass) comparison'. It is based
on 'looking at ... many languages across a few words' rather than
at 'a few languages across many words' (Greenberg 1987: 23). The
lexical similarities determined by superficial visual inspection
which are shared 'across many languages' alone are taken as
evidence of genetic relationship. This approach stops where others
begin, at the assembling of lexical similarities. These
inspectional resemblances must be investigated to determine why
they are similar, whether the similarity is due to inheritance from
a common ancestor (the result of a distant genetic relationship) or
to borrowing, accident, onomatopoeia, sound symbolism, nursery
formations and the various things which we will consider in this
chapter. Since multilateral comparison does not do this, its
results are controversial and rejected by most mainstream
- In short, no technique which relies on inspectional
similarities in vocabulary alone has proven adequate for
establishing distant family relationships.
Greenberg consistently rejected the assertion that he relied on
lexical comparisons alone. He went so far as to publish the first
volume of his Eurasiatic work, devoted to grammatical comparisons,
two years before the second volume, devoted to vocabulary
comparisons, in an attempt to get the point across (2000: vii):
- This grammatical evidence is quite sufficient in itself to
establish the validity of the Eurasiatic language family. I have
chosen to present it first for several reasons. One of these ... is
that, despite all the facts regarding the presentation of evidence
for linguistic stocks in my previous work, the myth persists that I
only take into account vocabulary evidence.
Typical of Greenberg's use of morphological comparisons is this
(1955: 82, 83):
- In phonology, the most important evidence of the basically
Khoisan relationships of Hottentot is the frequency of the click
sounds and the essential part they play in the economy of the
language. As in other Khoisan languages, they only occur
- Hottentot shares with the Bushman languages the following
distinctive method of root formation in which the clicks play a
fundamental part. Verb, noun and adjective roots are mostly
disyllabic, or can be reconstructed as once having been disyllabic.
The roots begin most frequently with a click, sometimes with a
non-click consonant. This is followed by a restricted group of
vowels in the second position, basically o or a.
The third position is either vacant or one of a small number of
non-click consonants occur: r, m, n or a labial (in Nama
Hottentot phonemically a p). In the fourth or final
position we find the full set of vowels - a, e, i, o, or
Throughout his work on African classifications, Greenberg's
method is the same: he begins with a discussion of morphology, and
then follows this up with a few pages of lexical comparisons.
Comparisons of the number of pages devoted to grammatical versus
lexical comparisons from the beginning, middle, and end of
Greenberg's career show the same pattern: In Greenberg 1955
(Africa), there are 38 pages of grammatical comparisons, versus 25
of lexical comparisons. In Greenberg 1971 (Indo-Pacific), there are
21 pages of grammatical comparisons versus 34 of lexical
comparisons. In Greenberg 2000-2002 (Eurasiatic), there are 179
pages of grammatical comparisons versus 181 of lexical
Greenberg did not come by this position late in his career. As
early as 1956, he stated (2005: 60):
- Only those resemblances which involve both sound and meaning
simultaneously are considered relevant for historical connections.
When the morphemes involved are roots this is called lexical
comparison, when they are affixes, grammatical. There is no
contradiction in the results attained by lexical and grammatical
comparison and both methods are employed as far as possible.
In sum, mainstream historical linguists believe that Joseph
Greenberg advocated and practiced a technique limited to lexical
comparison. Greenberg's published writings show that he advocated
the use of both lexical and grammatical data and that he carried
out this theoretical desideratum in practice. No such technique as
"mass lexical comparison" has ever existed.
legacy of the comparative method
The conflict over mass comparison can be seen as a dispute over
the legacy of the comparative method, developed in the 19th
century, primarily by Danish and German linguists, in the study of
Since the development of comparative linguistics in the
19th century, a linguist who claims that two languages are related,
whether or not there exists historical evidence, is expected to
back up that claim by presenting general rules that describe the
differences between their lexicons, morphologies, and grammars. The
procedure is described in detail in the comparative
For instance, one could prove that Spanish is related to Italian by
showing that many words of the former can be mapped to
corresponding words of the latter by a relatively small set of
replacement rules—such as the correspondence of initial
es- and s-, final -os and -i,
etc. Many similar correspondences exist between the grammars of the
two languages. Since those systematic correspondences are extremely
unlikely to be random coincidences, the most likely explanation by
far is that the two languages have evolved from a single ancestral
tongue (Latin, in this
All pre-historical language groupings that are widely accepted
today—such as the Indo-European, Uralic, Algonquian, and Bantu
families—have been proved in this way.
The actual development of the comparative method was a more
gradual process than Greenberg's detractors suppose. It has three
decisive moments. The first was Rasmus Rask's observation in 1818
of a possible regular sound change in Germanic consonants. The
second was Jacob
Grimm's extension of this observation into a general principle
(Grimm's law) in
1822. The third was Karl
Verner's resolution of an irregularity in this sound change (Verner's law) in
1875. Only in 1861 did August Schleicher, for the first
time, present systematic reconstructions of Indo-European
proto-forms (Lehmann 1993:26). Schleicher, however, viewed these
reconstructions as extremely tentative (1874:8). He never claimed
that they proved the existence of the Indo-European family, which
he accepted as a given from previous research — primarily that of
Franz Bopp, his great
predecessor in Indo-European studies.
Brugmann, who succeeded Schleicher as the leading authority on
Indo-European, and the other Neogrammarians of the late 19th century,
distilled the work of these scholars into the famous (if often
disputed) principle that "every sound change, insofar as it occurs
automatically, takes place according to laws that admit of no
exception" (Brugmann 1878).
The Neogrammarians did not, however, regard regular sound
correspondences or comparative reconstructions as relevant to the
proof of genetic relationship between languages. In fact, they made
almost no statements on how languages are to be classified
(Greenberg 2005:158). The only Neogrammarian to deal with this
question was Berthold Delbrück, Brugmann’s
collaborator on the
Grundriß der vergleichenden Grammatik der indogermanischen
Sprachen (Greenberg 2005:158-159, 288). According to
Delbrück (1904:121-122, quoted in Greenberg 2005:159), Bopp had
proved the existence of Indo-European in the following way:
- The proof was produced by juxtaposing words and forms of
similar meanings. When one considers that in these languages the
formation of the inflectional forms of the verb, noun and pronoun
agrees in essentials and likewise that an extraordinary number of
inflected words agree in their lexical parts, the assumption of
chance agreement must appear absurd.
Furthermore, Delbrück took the position later enunciated by
Greenberg on the priority of etymologies to sound laws (1884:47,
quoted in Greenberg 2005:288): "obvious etymologies are the
material from which sound laws are drawn."
The opinion that sound correspondences or, in another version of
the opinion, reconstruction of a proto-language are necessary to
show relationship between languages thus dates from the 20th, not
the 19th century, and was never a position of the Neogrammarians.
Indo-European was recognized by scholars such as William Jones (1786) and
Franz Bopp (1816) long before the development of the comparative
Furthermore, Indo-European was not the first language family to
be recognized by students of language. Semitic had been recognized by
European scholars in the 17th century, Finno-Ugric in the 18th. Dravidian was recognized in the
mid-19th century by Robert Caldwell (1856), well before the
publication of Schleicher's comparative reconstructions.
Finally, the supposition that all of the language families
generally accepted by linguists today have been proved by the
comparative method is untrue. For example, although Eskimo-Aleut has long been
accepted as a valid family, "Proto-Eskimo-Aleut has not yet been
reconstructed" (Bomhard 2008:209). Other families were accepted for
decades before comparative reconstructions of them were put
forward, for example Afro-Asiatic
and Sino-Tibetan. Many languages are
generally accepted as belonging to a language family even though no
comparative reconstruction exists, often because the languages are
only attested in fragmentary form, such as the Anatolian language Lydian
(Greenberg 2005:161). Conversely, detailed comparative
reconstructions exist for some language families which nonetheless
remain controversial, such as Altaic and Nostratic.
A continuation of earlier
Greenberg claimed that he was at bottom merely continuing the
simple but effective method of language classification that had
resulted in the discovery of numerous language families prior to
the elaboration of the comparative method (1955:1-2, 2005:75) and
that had continued to do so thereafter, as in the classification of
Indo-European in 1917 (Greenberg 2005:160-161). This method
consists in essentially two things: resemblances in basic
vocabulary and resemblances in inflectional morphemes. If mass
comparison differs from it in any obvious way, it would seem to be
in the theoretization of an approach that had previously been
applied in a relatively ad hoc manner and in the following
- The explicit preference for basic vocabulary over cultural
- The explicit emphasis on comparison of multiple languages
rather than bilateral comparisons.
- The very large number of languages simultaneously compared (up
to several hundred).
- The introduction of typologically based paths of sound
The positions of Greenberg and his critics therefore appear to
provide a starkly contrasted alternative:
- According to Greenberg, the identification of sound
correspondences and the reconstruction of protolanguages arise from
- According to Greenberg’s critics, genetic classification arises
from the identification of sound correspondences or (others state)
the reconstruction of protolanguages.
Time limits of the
Besides systematic changes, languages are also subject to random
mutations (such as borrowings from other languages, irregular
inflections, compounding, and abbreviation) that affect one word at
a time, or small subsets of words. For example, Spanish
perro (dog), which does not come from Latin, cannot be
rule-mapped to its Italian equivalent cane (the Spanish
word can would be the Latin-derived equivalent but is much
less used in everyday conversations, being reserved for more formal
purposes). As those sporadic changes accumulate, they will
increasingly obscure the systematic ones — just as enough dirt and
scratches on a photograph will eventually make the face
On this point, Greenberg and his critics agree, as over against
the Moscow school, but they draw contrasting conclusions:
- Greenberg’s critics argue that the comparative method has an
inherent limit of 6,000 – 10,000 years (depending on the author),
and that beyond this too many irregularities of sound change have
accumulated for the method to function. Since according to them the
identification of regular sound correspondences is necessary to
establish genetic relationship, they conclude that genetic
relationships older than 10,000 years (or less) cannot be
determined. In consequence, it is not possible to go much beyond
those genetic classifications that have already been arrived at
(e.g. Ringe 1992:1).
- Greenberg argued that cognates often remain recognizable even
when recurrent sound changes have been overlaid by idiosyncratic
ones or interrupted by analogy, citing the cases of English
brother (2002:4), which is easily recognizable as a
cognate of German Bruder even though it violates Verner’s
law, and Latin quattuor (1957:45), easily recognizable as
a reflex of Proto-Indo-European *kʷetwor even though the changes e
> a and t > tt violate the usual
sound changes from Proto-Indo-European to Latin. (In the case of
brother, the sound changes are actually known, but
intricate, and are only decipherable because the language is
heavily documented from an early date. In the case of
quattuor, the changes are genuinely irregular, and the
form of the word can only be explained through means other than
regular sound change, such as the operation of analogy.)
- In contrast, the "Moscow school" of linguists, perhaps best
known for its advocacy of the Nostratic hypothesis (though active
in many other areas), has confidence in the traceability of regular
sound changes at very great time depths, and believes that
reconstructed proto-languages can be pyramided on top of each other
so as to attain still earlier proto-languages, without violating
the principles of the standard comparative method.
The mathematics of
An unexpected offshoot of the controversy over mass comparison
has been a new debate over the mathematics of language
From an early date, Greenberg (esp. 1957:36-44) argued that mass
comparison rests on a mathematical basis. Although "[t]he most
straightforward method of eliminating chance would be the
calculation of the expected number of chance resemblances between
two languages", "[i]n practice, this proves extremely difficult"
(1957:37). For one thing, "it requires ... a frequency weighting of
phonemes", along with an evaluation of "the possibilities of
phonemic combination" (ib.). Complicating the issue, it is often
the case that languages with very different levels of relationship
show "approximately the same" number of resemblances (ib.). The
solution, according to Greenberg, is to consider multiple languages
at once (ib.): the key lies in their overlapping relationships, not
in their two-by-two resemblances. According to him
- The following fundamental probability considerations apply. The
likelihood of finding a resemblance in sound and meaning in three
languages is the square of its probability in two languages. In
general, the probability for a single language must be raised to
the (n – th) power for n languages. Thus if five
languages each showed a total of 8 per cent sound-meaning
resemblance to one another, on a chance basis one would expect
(0.08) or 0.00004096 resemblances in all five languages. This is
Ringe’s attack on
In a series of articles, Donald Ringe (1992, 1993, 1995, 1996)
has attacked Amerind, Nostratic, and other proposals of
"long-range" language classification on mathematical grounds. In
his view "the remoter relationships cannot be demonstrated because
the languages in question have diverged too much" (ib.). According
to Ringe, sound change renders linguistic relationships untraceable
over time. The level of chance resemblances between languages,
however, is relatively high. Not having considered the possibility
of chance resemblances, the relationships Greenberg alleges are
indistinguishable from coincidence.
Greenberg replied that he had considered this very possibility
in his previous work, which Ringe had failed to cite and thus,
presumably, to read (2003:79). This began an ongoing series of exchanges
between scholars inclined to support mass comparison and those
inclined to oppose it.
Today there are three distinct views on the mathematics of
language classification with respect to mass comparison.
- One view, represented by Donald Ringe, holds that language
classification can be mathematized and the results show that mass
comparison is invalid, finding only resemblances that do not rise
above the level of chance.
- Another view, represented by William Baxter and Alexis
Manaster Ramer (1999) and by Greenberg himself, holds that
language classification can be mathematized and the results show
that mass comparison is valid, finding resemblances that go far
beyond what can be expected by chance.
- A third view, represented by Johanna Laakso, holds that
language classification cannot be reduced to mathematics. Laakso is
unwilling to give up correspondences that appear to be "intuitive"
but in fact represent logical perceptions that most people are
unwilling to theorize because of their subtlety and fineness, yet
which are quite real and indispensable. As she states in a review
of Angela Marcantonio's The Uralic Language Family:
- [T]he traditional model of linguistic relatedness cannot be
completely and exactly algorithmised; rather, it is a pattern
explanation consisting of many interlinked parts, complex and yet
tolerating gaps in its construction. In many details it seems to be
based on intuition and fingertip feeling, but, actually, it is
dependent of various external and internal background factors.
Toward a resolution of
In spite of the apparently intractable nature of the conflict
between Greenberg and his critics, a few linguists have begun to
argue for its resolution. Edward Vajda, acclaimed for his recent
demonstration of Dené-Yeniseian, attempts to
stake out a position that is sympathetic to both Greenberg’s
approach and that of its critics, such as Lyle Campbell and Johanna
Starostin, a member of the Moscow school, argues that
Greenberg’s work, while perhaps not going beyond inspection, presents
interesting sets of forms that call for further scrutiny by
comparative reconstruction, specifically with regard to the
proposed Khoisan and Amerind families.
- Bomhard, Allan R. 2008. Reconstructing Proto-Nostratic:
Comparative Phonology, Morphology, and Vocabulary, 2 volumes.
- Bopp, Franz. 1816. Über das Conjugationssystem der
Sanskritsprache in Vergleichung mit jenem der griechischen,
lateinischen, persischen und germanischen Sprache.
Frankfurt-am-Main: Andreäischen Buchhandlung.
- Brugmann, Karl. 1878. Preface to the first issue of
Morphologische Untersuchungen auf dem Gebiete der
indogermanischen Sprachen. Leipzig: S. Hirzel. (The preface is
signed Hermann Osthoff and Karl Brugmann but was written by
- Brugmann, Karl and Berthold Delbrück. 1886-1893. Grundriß
der vergleichenden Grammatik der indogermanischen Sprachen, 5
volumes (some multi-part, for a total of 8 volumes). Strassburg:
- Caldwell, Robert. 1856. A Comparative Grammar of the
Dravidian or South-Indian Family of Languages. London:
- Campbell, Lyle. 2001. Beyond the Comparative Method. In
Historical Linguistics 2001. Selected papers from the 15th
International Conference on Historical Linguistics, Melbourne,
13–17 August 2001. Eds. Blake, Barry J., Burridge, Kate, Taylor,
- Campbell, Lyle. 2004. Historical Linguistics: An
Introduction, 2d edition. Cambridge, Massachusetts: MIT
- Delbrück, Berthold. 1884. Einleitung in das
Sprachstudium, 2d edition. Leipzig: Breitkopf und Härtel.
- Delbrück, Berthold. 1904. Einleitung in das Studium der
indogermanischer Sprachen, 4th and renamed edition of
Einleitung in das Sprachstudium, 1880. Leipzig: Breitkopf
- Georg, Stefan/Vovin, Alexander. From Mass Comparison to Mess
Comparison: Greenberg's "Eurasiatic" Theory, Diachronica 20/2,
- Greenberg, Joseph H. (1955).
Studies in African Linguistic Classification. New Haven:
Compass Publishing Company.
reprint of eight articles published in the Southwestern Journal
of Anthropology from 1949 to 1954, with minor
- Greenberg, Joseph H. (1957).
Essays in Linguistics. Chicago: University of Chicago
- Greenberg, Joseph H. 1960. "The general classification of
Central and South American languages." In Selected Papers of
the Fifth International Congress of Anthropological and
Ethnological Sciences, 1956, edited by Anthony F.C. Wallace,
791-94. Philadelphia|publisher=University of Pennsylvania Press.
(Reprinted in Greenberg 2005, 59-64.)
- Greenberg, Joseph H. (1963). The
Languages of Africa. Bloomington: Indiana University
version of Greenberg 1955.)(From the same publisher: second,
revised edition, 1966; third edition, 1970. All three editions
simultaneously published at The Hague by Mouton & Co.)
- Greenberg, Joseph H. 1971. "The Indo-Pacific hypothesis."
Current Trends in Linguistics, Volume 8: Linguistics in
Oceania, edited by Thomas F. Sebeok, 807-871. The Hague:
Mouton. (Reprinted in Greenberg 2005.)
- Greenberg, Joseph H. (1987).
Language in the Americas. Stanford: Stanford University
- Greenberg, Joseph H. (2000).
Indo-European and Its Closest Relatives. Stanford:
Stanford University Press.
- Greenberg, Joseph H. (2002).
Indo-European and Its Closest Relatives: The Eurasiatic
Language Family, Volume 2: Lexicon. Stanford: Stanford
- Greenberg, Joseph H. (2005).
Genetic Linguistics: Essays on Theory and Method, edited
by William Croft. Oxford. Oxford University
- Kessler, Brett. 2001. The Significance of Word Lists:
Statistical Tests for Investigating Historical Connections Between
Languages. Stanford, California: CSLI Publications.
- Laakso, Johanna. 2003. "Linguistic
shadow-boxing." Review of The Uralic Language Family:
Facts, Myths and Statistics by Angela Marcantonio.
- Lehmann, Winfred P. 1993. Theoretical Bases of
Indo-European Linguistics. London: Routledge
- Ringe, Donald. 1992. "On calculating the factor of chance in
language comparison." American Philosophical Society,
Transactions 82.1, 1-110.
- Ringe, Donald. 1993. "A reply to Professor Greenberg."
American Philosophical Society, Proceedings 137,
- Ringe, Donald A., Jr. 1995. "'Nostratic' and the factor of
chance." Diachronica 12.1, 55-74.
- Ringe, Donald A., Jr. 1996. "The mathematics of 'Amerind'."
Diachronica 13, 135-54.
- Ruhlen, Merritt. 1987. A Guide to the World's
Languages. Stanford: Stanford University Press.
- Ruhlen, Merritt. 1994. On the Origin of Languages: Studies
in Linguistic Taxonomy. Stanford: Stanford University
- Schleicher, August. 1861-1862. Compendium der
vergleichenden Grammatik der indogermanischen Sprachen. Kurzer
Abriss der indogermanischen Ursprache, des Altindischen,
Altiranischen, Altgriechischen, Altitalischen, Altkeltischen,
Altslawischen, Litauischen und Altdeutschen, 2 volumes.
Weimar: H. Boehlau.
- Schleicher, August. 1874. A Compendium of the Comparative
Grammar of the Indo-European, Sanskrit, Greek, and Latin
Languages, translated from the third German edition by Herbert
Bendall. London: Trübner and Co. (An abridgement of the German
- Hock, Hans Henrich and Brian D. Joseph. 1996. Language
History, Language Change, and Language Relationship: An
Introduction to Historical and Comparative Linguistics.
Berlin: Mouton de Gruyter.
- Kessler, Brett and A. Lehtonen. 2006. "Multilateral comparison
and significance testing of the Indo-Uralic question." In
Phylogenetic Methods and the Prehistory of Languages,
edited by Peter Foster and Colin Renfrew. McDonald Institute for
Archaeological Research. (Also: Unofficial prepublication draft (2004).)
- Matisoff, James. 1990. "On megalocomparison." Language
- Greenberg, Joseph H. 1990. "The American Indian language
controversy." Review of Archaeology 11, 5-14.
- Newman, Paul. 1995. On Being Right: Greenberg’s African
Linguistic Classification and the Methodological Principles Which
Underlie It. Bloomington: Institute for the Study of Nigerian
Languages and Cultures, African Studies Program, Indiana
- Ruhlen, Merritt. 1994. The Origin of Language: Tracing the
Evolution of the Mother Tongue. New York: John Wiley and