Language Reveals Origins of Divinity—Michael Ramachendra SpecGram Vol CLIV, No 4 Contents The Bilemma in the Bilingual Brain—Madalena Cruz-Ferreira

Center Embeddingthe Pivotal Role of Military History

Hippolytus Drome, PhD, OBE
Professor of Linguistical History
Center for Embedding, Lima Peru

It was, naturally, with great interest that I began to read the paper of my generally esteemed colleague (Palin 2008) recently published in this generally esteemed journal. It was with a saddened heart that I finished reading. As previous authors have mentioned (M.Adam 2008, Palin 2008), the editors of this journal seem to have lost their senses, and need to re-evaluate the criteria on which they base their decisions to publish articles. Unfortunately, Palin himself contributes to, rather than alleviating, the problem which Küçük’s original paper (2007) brought forth.

Adapted from Palin 2008.
One of the main weaknesses in Palin’s argument that pivots are based on language-external events (such as geomagnetic micro-reversals and annular solar eclipses) is that it explains the synchronized timing of the pivots in the various languages under discussion, but fails to account for their relative rarity compared to such events. I myself, for example, personally experienced two solar eclipses and seven geomagnetic micro-reversals last week while on vacation, traveling from Amanpulo to Chumbe Island.

As is clear to any student of military history, the additional constraint that explains the comparative uncommonness of pivots is the co-occurrence of transformative military events. A simple review of the relevant events in world history makes it all clear. In this article, I outline the (well-documented) martial facts which ought to have been given the place of pride in previous works on this topic of so-called “center embedding.”

I note at the outset that Palin is correct in noting the general downward population trend as a result of successive pivots. However, his ludicrous claim that additional layers of center-embedding rendered each daughter language more difficult to speak or learn is evidence of his desperate and degenerate grasping at explanatory straws. While ever deeper center-embedding would no doubt render the daughter languages mildly more difficult to master, the main explanatory fact is the simple cost in lives of any military campaigning. This is a general trend, but not absolute, as we shall see below.

To take things back about as far as we can take them, we need to return to examine in some gory detail the history of each of the language groups included in Küçük’s original sample. It might well be that a close reading of Sun Tsu’s The Art of War would shed light on the even earlier prehistory of these groups, but as I cannot read Japanese I will not undertake that here. By now, readers of this woeful series are well-acquainted with the basic facts: Mam split into three daughter languages (E, Manam, and Mum, to be precise) each of which underwent subsequent elaborative developments. The martial history of these groups is the key to understanding what actually happened in each case.

E speakers (once they had creolized adequately, see Palin 2008) migrated militaristically from the Mam urheim (which has been shown by relatively recent archeological discoveries (Xiu 3997 BCE) to be somewhere near the PIE urheim) into southwest China. After a period of relative peace with their Taic neighbors, they were Austrocized and pivoted into Papua New Guinea as the Ere, but further armed conflicts led to an even greater reduction in their population, and the last remaining speaker strategically retreated to Australia and elaborated himself into Erre.

The Manam population remained with the main Mam group through an initial migration south into (one can readily surmise) modern Kenya, where an old grudge resurfaced and led to a split, with the linguistically conservative Mam speakers moving westward to settle in Guatemala, while the Manam group pivoted toward the east and landed eventually in Papua New Guinea (not so distant, in fact, from their Ere cousins). Up to this point this branch of the family would nearly qualify as pacifists, apart from their habit of clear-cutting local vegetable gardens as they traveled through an area. But soon after their arrival in Papua New Guinea, this group must have rediscovered something in the clan history books, for they took up arms with unparalleled success.

In fact, of all the Mam descendants, only the Manam achieved real military dominance, and they did so spectacularly, multiplying their population in fantastic fashion and eventually conquering a vast stretch of territory in South Asia, where they pivoted and became the Malayalam. (Palin’s claim that there must be less than 1,000 speakers of Malayalam is just one of the utterly ludicrous evidences of scholarly ineptitude with which that so-called work of scholarship is fraught. Even a proper Luddite could have found the correct number of Malayalam speakers, which, according to Wikipedia, is 4,083,478,006 as of this writing.)

The Mum-to-Mutum branch of the Mam military history tree is the most, shall we say, “mumdane,” based on what we know about pivot elaboration. Palin did not even bother to note that Mam to Mum involved a simple vowel change, but having noted that here, we can add authoritatively that this was due not to ignominious military defeat, but rather to a pronunciation disorder which caused widespread malnourishment and subsequent exmigrations by large numbers of Mam people (who, one may reasonably hypothesize, lost their center pivoting capabilities, and eventually progenitored the Basque). Those who endured the vowel shift became Mum, snatching a small territory alongside their cousins in the popular destination of Papua New Guinea. Later, in a strange twist of fate, it was a resounding defeat by their own kith and kin, the Manam, which led to a further pivoting and population reduction, giving rise to the modern Mutum.

On a final note, I must say that M.Adam’s (2008) assertion that Mam, et al., are descended from the fabled Boobboob tongue is intriguing, but ultimately unmotivated by the facts. Her folk etymological derivations of the various language names in her article are similarly amusing, but also ultimately unmotivated by the facts. On the other hand, I will agree with her generalization that Malayalam speakers are generally both live and evil.


Language Reveals Origins of Divinity—Michael Ramachendra
The Bilemma in the Bilingual Brain—Madalena Cruz-Ferreira
SpecGram Vol CLIV, No 4 Contents