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. 417–438
The age of Mama and Papa
The global distribution of mama/papa kinship terms has been traditionally explained as the result of linguistic convergence, not of common origin. It is usually alleged that these terms are in no way resistant to linguistic change and that they are subject to constant modification, loss and replacement by other nursery-shaped kinship terms. A serious etymological survey shows that kinship nursery terms are, to the contrary, extraordinarily resistant to phonetic and semantic change, as the most ancient written data clearly prove. The cumulative evidence discards the traditional linguistic explanation for the global distribution of mama/papa words and advocates for their antiquity within the language families where they are found and, further, for their common descent from a language ancestral to all existing languages.
Published online: 03 December 2008
Cited by 1 other publications
Erben Johansson, Niklas, Andrey Anikin, Gerd Carling & Arthur Holmer
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