August 2006, MPI-EVA Leipzig
Tom Güldemann (Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary
Alena Witzlack-Makarevich (Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary
Claudia Schmidt (Conference
Department of Linguistics
Deutscher Platz 6
Internal historical aspects
is the demographic range of hunter-gatherer speech communities?
there special social practices of hunter-gatherers which are relevant
for historical linguistics, e.g., linguistic avoidance, social networks
transcending language groups, linguistic exogamy, lack of reference
varieties and/or reinforcement of linguistic norms?
are the patterns of language contact among hunter-gatherer populations
and how do these influence language change in them?
can be discerned from attested language spreads of hunter- gatherer
populations in terms of their historical triggers, underlying social
processes, speed, geographical patterns (e.g., correlating with
ecological zones), degree of language replacement, etc.?
is the range of genealogical diversification in hunter- gatherer
are the different patterns of language densities and by what are they
determined (e.g., ecological factors etc.)?
is the typological profile of areas which predominantly consist of
different hunter-gatherer language families (e.g., southern Africa, Australia, Bering Strait, Gran Chaco)?
are the differences between non-sedentary~low density and
sedentary~high density hunter-gatherer groups?
linguistic elements (e.g., vocabulary) be linked with archaeological
External historical aspects
are the patterns of language contact of hunter-gatherers with food
producing colonizers (e.g., kind and stability of clientship, etc.)?
is the time depth of the earliest contact with food producing
colonizers in a certain area?
there differences in contact patterns of hunter-gatherers with
agriculturalists vs. pastoralists?
are the circumstances of language shift of hunter-gatherers towards
languages of their food-producing neighbors (e.g., Okiek, Pygmy, San,
Dama, Negrito, Vedda) and do these target languages still betray
linguistic traces of their substratum?
hunter-gatherer substrates be identified in other linguistic
populations who have incorporated hunter-gatherers?
there cases where a formerly food-producing population (speaking a
language of such a group) seems to have acquired a hunter-gatherer
subsistence secondarily (e.g., Mlabri) and what can we learn from them?
Global geographical patterns
is the world-wide distribution of language families whose populations
are predominantly/ exclusively hunter-gatherers?
there cases of hunter-gatherer populations with a coastal/seafaring
rather than a terrestrial orientation?
the case that hunter-gatherers had a profound substrate influence on
the first food-producing colonizers on a wider scale, is there any
chance to correlate modern areal patterns with the global typological
profile before the spread of food production?
updated by Alena Witzlack-Makarevich on 23/08/2006