Darwin-L Message Log 2:15 (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.

<2:15>From idavidso@metz.une.edu.au  Sun Oct  3 18:08:07 1993

Date: Mon, 4 Oct 1993 09:11:28 +0700
To: Darwin-L@ukanaix.cc.ukans.edu
From: idavidso@metz.une.edu.au (Iain Davidson)
Subject: Re: Tasmanian

Sally Thomason <sally@pogo.isp.pitt.edu> writes:
"But that doesn't provide evidence that the two groups are genetically
related, i.e. that they belong in the same language family; a close
typological match like that could be due *either* to inheritance *or*
to borrowing.  Without more evidence about Tasmanian, it's likely to
be impossible to distinguish between those two historical sources of
the shared features  That is: the typological match, together with
shared vocabulary items, makes it clear that there was *some*
historical connection between the two groups (hardly surprising, since
they were close to each other geographically); ."

There is one thing all scholars of Tasmania are agreed about.  That is that
there has been no contact across Bass Strait for a long time.  The
isolation was probably at about 12 thousand, and there is emerging
archaeological evidence for the progressive isolation and abandonment
(mechanism unknown) of the Bass Strait islands.  So loan words and contacts
between Tasmanian and mainland Australian languages seem highly unlikely,
unless they took place in the 19th century.

Iain Davidson
Archaeology and Palaeoanthropology
University of New England
Armidale NSW 2351
Tel (067) 732 441
Fax  (International) +61 67 73 25 26
      (Domestic)   067 73 25 26

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