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Hawksinger wrote :
> There are about a gazillion 'stone age' languages to study.  Try about
> 1000 in New Guinea, ALL of the Americas at contact and many of those
> have been studied and documented, not enough of them, but many of them.

'hunting-gathering' and 'gardening' languages, not 'stone age' languages:-)
I agree with you. Too bad that some New Guinean languages are not discussed so often. They are very different. As Ruhlen points it, New Guinea is one of the few places around the world where agriculture was developped from gathering. In the Middle-East : Indo-European, Dravidian, Semitic and Caucasian populations grew dramatically with the advent of agriculture, spread out and migrated and overflowed other hunter-gatherers' peoples so their populations and languages went extinct except for some peoples who immediately imitated the migrants as Basques apparently did. But in New-Guinea, most tribes adopted gardening agriculture right from the beginning of its advent (from 7000 BC on) so none could overgrow the other ones on the island. That's why NG languages keep being so diverse. In North and South-America and in Australia huge areas were not settled by agricultural peoples, so the language diversity could also be kept there.
That's why 'hunting-gathering' languages of America and Australia and 'gardening' languages of NG found in a limited area are much more different from each other than are Indo- Dravi- Semi- Caucasian or Uto-Aztec languages found on a huge continent.
Mathias


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