Article published in:In Hot Pursuit of Language in Prehistory: Essays in the four fields of anthropology. In honor of Harold Crane Fleming
Edited by John D. Bengtson
[Not in series 145] 2008
► pp. 241–262
The languages of Northern Eurasia: Inference to the best explanation
This paper discusses the development of hypotheses of classification of the languages of northern Eurasia, from the early “Scythian” hypothesis to the later Nostratic, Eurasiatic, Sino-Caucasian, and Dene-Caucasian proposals. The concept of scientific “proof ” is discussed and contrasted with an alternative concept of “best explanation.” Eurasiatic and Dene-Caucasian can then be viewed as testable and fruitful hypotheses that, so far, provide the best explanations for language diversification in northern Eurasia.
Published online: 03 December 2008