1 June 2009

The first year: overview and prospects

Well, it’s the first anniversary of Language Continuity, and in general terms I’m quite happy about it. I’ve published 44 posts so far, covering a variety of subjects, mainly in the field of historical linguistics (see OVERVIEW below). The number of readers has grown steadily since the beginning, with a total of 4,942 visits in one year (10,806 page views), averaging 13.5 visits and 29.6 page views per day (statistics from SiteMeter; period: 1st June 08 – 31st May 09).

In Language Continuity I am particularly interested in new theories and proposals that challenge traditionally held views on language. I’m sure that some readers must have been surprised at some of the proposals, but I must say I generally present them as possible (and interesting) new directions in linguistics, and not as the new ‘dogma’ destined to substitute the old one. Publishing posts has encouraged me to go on reading and researching, and at the same time has provided me with interesting feedback from readers, which I greatly value.

Now, what about the future? I hope to continue publishing the blog, and I actually have a lot of ideas for new posts. But I also have other plans. I will very probably start my PhD very soon (I hope my project is accepted), and it will be, not surprisingly, about languages in prehistory. The fact is that I started my post-graduate studies many years ago, in the early nineties, but I never finished my PhD (on the left you can see a picture of me at that time, in Whitby Abbey, Yorkshire). I decided that I wanted to do other things in life, partially because at that time I was not sure about what type of research I was really interested in. But I kept reading about linguistics (and many other things) and thinking that one day I might find the right motivation or the right mood to start researching. So here I am, at 41, ready to start my PhD, after about fifteen years in the ‘real world’. Maybe it’s not a bad idea after all. Who knows? I suppose it just depends on the person and the circumstances.

As I said earlier, I’d like to go on with the blog, publishing at least one or two posts a month. But at this moment I feel it would be interesting for me to hear your opinions about it: Do you find the blog interesting or useful? Would you change anything? Do you think blogs of this kind make any sense at all? Do you think it’s a good idea to resume my doctorate studies now or should I keep on as an independent researcher?... You can use the “comments” facility (or send me an e-mail) to express your opinions. Remember that, even though the blog is written entirely in English, you can write your comments in other languages too (French, German, Spanish, Catalan, Italian, Portuguese, Occitan, Galician,...).

Finally, an OVERVIEW of Language Continuity in its first year:
- I have published some posts with criticism of some traditional views on language change (here), language family trees (link), proto-Indo-European vocabulary (link), the domestication of the horse in connection with Indo-European expansion (link) and the Laryngeal Theory of PIE (here and here).

- I have presented various aspects of the Paleolithic Continuity Theory, with a series of proposals aimed at revising some important concepts in historical linguistics. First, a general introduction (here) and a post about alternative names for the theory (link); then some practical applications: language continuity in Scandinavia (link), Greece (link), Switzerland (link); origins of the Celts (here and here); Alinei’s theory about the Etruscans (link).

- In some other posts I have talked about some further applications of the Continuity Paradigm: social stratification in antiquity (link), languages in the Roman Empire (link), the formation of Romance languages (here, here and here), the expansion of Arabic (link), population and languages in the Mediterranean since the Paleolithic (link).

- Some posts are dedicated to individual scholars, with an analysis of their main contributions to linguistics or anthropology: Mario Alinei, Xaverio Ballester, Steven Pinker, Matteo Meschiari and Paul Shepard, Georges Dumézil, Francesco Benozzo, Gabriele Costa, Colin Renfrew.

- Another area of interest in Language Continuity is linguistic anthropology, with some posts about zoonyms (here and here), anthropology in connection with ancient European literary traditions (here and here), and Dumézil’s theories (link).

- I have also written about human evolution and the origins of language: general introduction (here), the Out of Africa theory (link), and the Neanderthals (link). (Population) genetics is also a common theme in this blog, as can be seen in several of the previously mentioned posts and in this one about Darwin’s geneaological trees.

- General linguistics and human languages are also present in the blog: criticism of traditional philosophical writing (link), concepts about language (3 posts: here, here and here), toponymy (link), and criticism of American linguistics (link).


D. Sky Onosson said...

As someone who also spent a period of time outside academia, you give me hope for the future! I left school after completing my B.A. and pursued an entirely different career in music for a decade. I have since returned and am now at the end of my M.A. in Linguistics, and will hopefully graduate this year, at the age of 37.

I for one certainly hope you keep this blog going - I may not post very often, but I have read all of your articles since I first discovered this place. I think that appreciation of non-mainstream thought is very important - though as you say, not just to replace dogma with more dogma. It is always important, and in no place more so than academia, to question authority and our own assumptions.

Keep it up!

- Sky

Eloy said...

Me alegra saber que continuarás escribiendo en el blog, es uno de los más interesantes que he visto; todos los tópicos son apasionantes y motivadores. Y la teoría de la continuidad es una alternativa interesante frente a la visión "tradicional".

Felicidades en este primer aniversario,
Eloy Cano


Bhrogan said...

Estimado señor,
permítame felicitarle por su blog, y decirle que es un estímulo para todos aquellos que nos sentimos interesados es contrastar viejos esquemas y nuevos. La dialéctica, ya me entiende.
Quisiera trasladarle una pregunta: ¿hay algún libro editado en España acerca de la Teoría de la Continuidad (más allá de los artículos científicos)? ¿Hay alguna posibilidad de acceder a los profesores Ballester, Alinei o Benozzo (por caso) en castellano?
Muchas gracias por su blog, le esperamos en su segundo aniversario.


Jesús Sanchis said...

Sky, Eloy and Bhrogan: Thank you very much for your kind words, I really appreciate them.

Bhrogan: Most of the books about the PCT are published in Italian and, as far as I know, they haven't been translated into Spanish. Prof. Ballester, however, publishes his books in Spanish. Another possibility is Portuguese: there's a series of short PCT books published by Apénas Livros in that language. You can take a look at these and other texts in www.continuitas.com.

Anonymous said...

Congratulations, Jesús, for your first year.
Life decissions must be taken when somethig is moving inside you, so ¡¡take this exciting moment for you and start sharing all your knowledge with other researchers communities!!.
Doing it at University will be an opportunity for you to research deeper than you may do by yourself, eventhough you are currently doing a great work !!!

All the best,


JoseAngel said...

Hah, June 1 is my birthday too! Congratulations, and do keep it up. I for one will keep on coming here and learning a lot I hope, as I've done so far. And good luck with your PhD, sometimes it's a traumatic experience, I hope it won't be one; what's certain is that after those years you've been postponing it you'll be in a better position to write a more original thesis, following your own guidance.

Jesús Sanchis said...

Begoña and JoseAngel, thank you very much for your encouraging words.

And JoseAngel: happy birthday!

TomiSpev said...

When will you write something about Slavic languages?
Apart from Allinei's views, may I suggest Florin Curta. He wrote an interesting article:
The Slavic Lingua Franca
There is also a book written by him about the "creation" of the idea of Slavs:
The Making of the Slavs