Genetics and diffusion

Prof. E. Morgan Kelley PhD

The Genetic, or gradual and systematic, theory of language change is explained with specific reference to the study of Nostratics, the search for a common "Mother Tongue" encompassing most of the languages of the world. Some problems exist with this theory. One of these is the basic question of the chronology used. Modern research has called into question many of the suppositions about exactly how much time has passed between one point and another. Alternative models are presented in some detail. Then, of course most importantly, the "steady-state" theory does not allow for significant cultural exchange (Diffusion) as an engine for linguistic change. A very important factor in diffusionist theory are the group which Dr. Horst Friedrich calls the "Atlanto-Semites" for diffusion across the sea, and the group I call "Scytho-Semites" for diffusion over broad land masses. When tracing the expansion of these peoples, a study of person- and place-names (onomastics) has proven to be very helpful. Using a knowledge of myth and metaphor, coupled with a broader understanding of consonant transformation, some interesting connections come to light. Two tribal names, "Dan" and "Gwich'in" are described at length. The first seems to have spread from the Near East across the Atlantic to America; the second reaches from the interior of Asia across the Pacific to the New World. On the whole, it appears that scientists who fail to take into account the importance of Diffusion will gradually fall by the way.