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Language as a Clue to Prehistory

The rest of North America has a complicated pattern.

 Na-Dene languages -- speakers arrived in N America around 6,000 - 8,000 ya. Discontinuous: W Canada, SW US

 Proto-Algic language -- likely in the Columbian Plateau in NW US, around 7,000 ya. -- Algonquian, Ritwan

Ritwan is Wiyot, Yurok on the N California Coast

 Proto-Algonquian language - around 2,500 - 3,000 ya. E Canada, Colorado, Illinois-Michigan, East Coast from Virginia to Canada

Algonquian is split up by speakers of  Siouan languages and  Proto-Iroquoian language -- northern and southern branches (Cherokee) split around 3,500 - 3,800 ya.

The farthest south they got was the Köppen Dfa - Cfa boundary, roughly Virginia - Colorado.

 Prehistoric agriculture on the Great Plains and  Eastern Agricultural Complex and Initial formation of an indigenous crop complex in eastern North America at 3800 B.P | PNAS and Origins of Agriculture in Eastern North America on JSTOR

Did Iroquoian and Siouan speakers spread north with agriculture? Did they run into Algonquian speakers who got there first?
The tundra biome
The arctic is known for its cold, desert-like conditions. The growing season ranges from 50 to 60 days. The average winter temperature is -34° C (-30° F), but the average summer temperature is 3-12° C (37-54° F) which enables this biome to sustain life.

All of the plants are adapted to sweeping winds and disturbances of the soil. Plants are short and group together to resist the cold temperatures and are protected by the snow during the winter. They can carry out photosynthesis at low temperatures and low light intensities. The growing seasons are short and most plants reproduce by budding and division rather than sexually by flowering.

Animals are adapted to handle long, cold winters and to breed and raise young quickly in the summer. Animals such as mammals and birds also have additional insulation from fat. Many animals hibernate during the winter because food is not abundant. Another alternative is to migrate south in the winter, like birds do. Reptiles and amphibians are few or absent because of the extremely cold temperatures. Because of constant immigration and emigration, the population continually oscillates.
The Inuit people got around this low productivity of land by catching lots of fish and seals and the like.

It's an impressive feat, living in such a hostile climate with Paleolithic technology -- Old Stone Age technology. Neolithic technology is New Stone Age, with agriculture.
What kind of a fool would try to farm in Inuit territory? Your Victorian system of asessing technological "advancement" aside, most people who live up North now likewise depend on foraged resources to survive, more or less. The global market has just made different resources - lumber, petroleum, coal - more valuable in trade.
The Numbers List - I looked for patterns in number-name sets. Complete? (1 - 10) or incomplete?

There was a problem, however. One can be more confident that some protoform existed than that it did not exist. That is in part because lack of reconstruction may indicate instability rather than absence. Let us consider Indo-European, which is very well-studied.

"Foot" -- from *ped- -- preserved in Germanic, Italic, Celtic, Baltic, Greek, Armenian, Indo-Iranian, Tocharian, Anatolian, but not Slavic: Proto-Slavic has *stopa and *noga

"Hand" is much more difficult. Proto-Germanic *handuz, Proto-Italic *manus, Proto-Celtic *phlâmâ, Proto-Balto-Slavic *rankâ, Greek kheir, Armenian jerk', Proto-Indo-Iranian *jhastas, Tocharian A tsar, Tocharian B sar, (Anatolian) Hittite kessar, Luwian Issaris, Lycian izredi

From Greek, Armenian, Indo-Iranian, Tocharian, and Anatolian, one infers *ghesor- but it's been replaced like crazy in the other dialects.

Turning to numbers, '2' to '10' and '100' are well-preserved across Indo-Europeandom, but '1' and '1000' are less well-preserved

*oinos -- Germanic, Italic, Celtic, Balto-Slavic, Anatolian?
*oikos -- Indo-Iranian -- likely derived from *oinos
*sem -- Greek, Armenian, Tocharian, Anatolian?

Proto-Germanic *thûsundî, Latin mille, (Irish, Welsh < Latin), Proto-Balto-Slavic *tûsantis, Greek khilioi, (Armenian < Iranian), Proto-Indo-Iranian *sajhasram, Tocharian A wälts, Tocharian B yaltse

*tuHsont- -- Germanic, Balto-Slavic
*smgheslom -- Indo-Iranian
*smih2gheslih2 -- Italic
*gheslom -- Greek

The II form can be interpreted as *sm-gheslom and the Italic one as *smih2-gheslih2 with a -ih2 (>î) suffix, with the *sm- meaning "one, single", giving

*gheslom -- Italic, Greek, Indo-Iranian
On the subject of numbers, most Slavic languages have an odd kind of agreement.

2 to 4: genitive singular: of X
5 to 10 and greater: genitive plural: of X's

Slovenian uses its dual (two-things plural) for 2, and Bulgarian, lacking noun cases, does what English does: use its plural for numbers greater than 1.

Some higher numbers are exceptions. If 21 is "twenty and one", then it is with X, and if it is "one and twenty", then it is with "of X's".

English does:
1: singular: X
2 and greater: plural: X's

Some languages have plural markers but neverthless use singular forms with numbers, like Hungarian and Turkic languages.
  • Germanic:
    • West: Afrikaans, Dutch, English, Frisian, German (Luxembourgish, Yiddish)
    • North: Danish, Faroese, Icelandic, Norwegian, Swedish
  • Celtic: Irish, Scots Gaelic, Welsh
  • Latin/Romance: Latin, (Romance) Catalan, Corsican, French, Galician, Italian, Portuguese, Romanian, Spanish
  • Slavic:
    • South: Bulgarian, Macedonian, Serbo-Croatian (Bosnian, Croatian, Serbian), Slovenian
    • West: Czech, Polish, Slovak, Sorbian
    • East: Belarusian, Russian, Ukrainian
  • Baltic: Lithuanian, Latvian
  • Albanian
  • Greek
  • Armenian
  • Indo-Iranian:
    • Indic: Sanskrit, (present-day) Assamese, Bengali, Bhojpuri, Dogri, Gujarati, Hindi, Konkani, Maithili, Maldivian (Dhivehi), Marathi, Nepali, Odia (Oriya), Punjabi, Sindhi, Sinhala, Urdu
    • Iranian: Dari, Kurdish, Pashto, Persian, Tajik

Other Eurasian:
  • Basque
  • Georgian
  • Uralic: Estonian, Finnish, Hungarian
  • Turkic: Azerbaijani, Bashkir, Kazakh, Kyrgyz, Tatar, Turkish, Turkmen, Uyghur, Uzbek
  • Mongolian
  • Korean
  • Japanese
  • Dravidian: Kannada, Malayalam, Tamil, Telugu
  • Sino-Tibetan:
    • Sinitic: Cantonese, Chinese
    • Tibeto-Burman: Meitei, Myanmar (Burmese), Mizo, Tibetan
  • Kra-Dai: Lao, Thai
  • Hmong-Mien: Hmong
  • Austroasiatic: Khmer, Vietnamese

Malayo-Polynesian (Austronesian):
  • Philippine: Cebuano, Ilocano, Tagalog (Filipino)
  • Javanese
  • Sundanese
  • Malagasy
  • Malayic: Malay, Indonesian
  • Oceanic:
    • Fijian
    • Polynesian: Hawaiian, Maori, Samoan, Tahitian, Tongan

  • Semitic: Amharic, Arabic, Hebrew, Maltese, Tigrinya
  • Chadic: Hausa
  • Cushitic: Oromo, Somali

  • Mande: Bambara
  • Atlantic-Congo:
    • Twi
    • Volta-Congo:
      • Ewe
      • Volta-Niger: Igbo, Yoruba
      • Bantu: Chichewa (Nyanja), Ganda (Luganda), Kinyarwanda, Lingala, Luganda, Rundi (Kirundi), Shona, Sotho (Sesotho), Swahili, Tsonga, Tswana (Setswana), Xhosa, Zulu

The Americas:
  • Eskimo-Aleut: Inuit: Inuinnaqtun, Inuktitut
  • Mayan: Yucatec Maya
  • Oto-Manguean: Queretaro Otomi
  • Tupian: Guarani
  • Quechua
  • Aymara

Creoles: Haitian Creole, Krio

Constructed languages: Esperanto, Klingon
 Classification of Pygmy languages
The term Congo Pygmies (African Pygmies) refers to "forest people" who have, or recently had, a hunter-gatherer economy and a simple, non-hierarchical societal structure based on bands, are of short stature,[note 1] have a deep cultural and religious affinity with the Congo forest[note 2] and live in a generally subservient relationship with agricultural "patrons", with which they trade forest products such as meat and honey for agricultural and iron products.

Though lumped together as "Pygmies" by outsiders, including their patrons, these peoples are not related to each other either ethnically or linguistically. Different Pygmy peoples may have distinct genetic mechanisms for their short stature, demonstrating diverse origins.
Are they some relic populations? Or some offshoot populations? Or did different Pygmies have different origins, with their shortness being convergent? Origins and Genetic Diversity of Pygmy Hunter-Gatherers from Western Central Africa - ScienceDirect

They all speak languages recognizably related to languages of outside populations: Ubangian, Bantu (both Volta-Congo in Atlantic-Congo in Niger-Congo), and Central Sudanic (Nilo-Saharan). But some Pygmy languages share some forest-related vocabulary like botanical vocabulary and vocabulary related to collection of honey.
... genetic studies have shown that Pygmy populations possess ancient divergent Y-DNA lineages (especially haplogroups A and B) in high frequencies in contrast to their neighbours (who possess mostly haplogroup E).[5]

Roger Blench (1999)[8] argues that the Pygmies are not descended from residual hunter-gatherer groups, but rather are offshoots of larger neighboring ethnolinguistic groups that had adopted forest subsistence strategies. None of the Pygmy peoples live in the deep forest without trade with agricultural 'patrons'. Blench argues that Pygmies are a deeply established caste, like blacksmiths, and that there was no original Pygmy race or language.
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