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Darwin-L Message Log 2:12 (October 1993)

Academic Discussion on the History and Theory of the Historical Sciences

This is one message from the Archives of Darwin-L (1993–1997), a professional discussion group on the history and theory of the historical sciences.

Note: Additional publications on evolution and the historical sciences by the Darwin-L list owner are available on SSRN.


<2:12>From PICARD@Vax2.Concordia.CA  Sat Oct  2 09:05:00 1993

Date: Sat, 02 Oct 1993 10:09:29 -0500 (EST)
From: MARC PICARD <PICARD@Vax2.Concordia.CA>
Subject: Tasmanian
To: darwin-l@ukanaix.cc.ukans.edu

  Sally Thomason has quoted Colin Yallop to the effect that "What little we
can reconstruct of the pronunciation of Tasmanian languages is not conclusive
evidence as to their relationship with mainland languages". She also says that
according to Wurm "What little we can reconstruct of the pronunciation of
Tasmanian languages is not conclusive evidence as to their relationship with
mainland languages".
  In THE LANGUAGES OF AUSTRALIA, however, R.M.W. Dixon says that
"linguistically...the hypothesis that the Tasmanian languages were of the
regular Australian type is fully verified, at the phonological level... [W]e
can conclude [that] there is NO evidence that the Tasmanian languages were NOT
of the regular Australian type" (p. 233).
	One thing they might probably all agree on, however, is the fact that
"the most horrifying example of genocide from anywhere in the world was surely
Tasmania: the original population of three to five thousand - before the white
invasion in 1803 - was halved each decade, partly by introduced diseases,
partlyby murder. Then in 1830 the 300 that remained were moved to an island in
the Bass Straits. Separated from their homeland, numbers decreased even more
rapidly - there were 45 left in 1847 and only 13 by 1861; Truganini, the last
full-blood Tasmanian, died in 1876" (Dixon, p. 78).

Marc Picard

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