Darwin-L Message Log 1:261 (September 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.

<1:261>From sally@pogo.isp.pitt.edu  Wed Sep 29 16:40:44 1993

To: darwin-l@ukanaix.cc.ukans.edu
Subject: Re: drift
Date: Wed, 29 Sep 93 17:44:24 -0400
From: Sally Thomason <sally@pogo.isp.pitt.edu>

About David Wigtil's comment that a language isn't like a
biological organism: actually, the right biological unit
to compare a language to is a species, not an organism.
And species *are* fuzzy in some of the same ways languages
are-- lots of variation, for instance; comparable kinds of
difficulty in deciding whether you're dealing with two
species/languages or mere subspecies/dialects; the problem
of hybridization; etc.  Again, it has to be emphasized that
the analogies aren't perfect, but there is nevertheless
a lot that can usefully be compared.

 Sally Thomason

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