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Doubly landlocked countries

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suze
49745.  Tue Feb 07, 2006 7:45 pm Reply with quote

I guess the short answer is "nobody knows".

Each of the groups of languages can be traced to a common ancestor. For example, the Indo-European languages can be traced to one original, which linguists call Proto-Indo-European (PIE). PIE was never written down, but parts of it have been reconstructed from the study of the other Indo-European languages.

There are those who have spent lifetimes working on PIE. From what is known, the speakers of PIE lived somewhere to the north of the Black Sea, were familiar with horses, cattle and sheep but not pigs, knew about lakes but not oceans, and lived in a place where snow fell. Their heyday is estimated to have been around 4000 BC, and their state of technology was Bronze Age.

The other major language groups have also been studied with a view to reconstructing a Proto language, with varying degrees of success. Proto Uralic (PU) is reasonably well understood, and there are some who see this and PIE having had a common ancestor.

The two main strands of evidence for this are i) the two groups lived reasonably close together - although linguists descend into jargon here and say they had proximate urheimaten and ii) they had words for many of the same things (horses, cattle and sheep but not pigs, and so on). What has - crucially - not been shown is any solid purely linguistic evidence for a common ancestry.

Obviously, Proto Indo European Uralic - if it ever existed - was a very long time ago. Even so, there are some who try to go even further back in defining common ancestors, even to the extent of Proto World. Notably, a highly eccentric American named Merritt Ruhlen believes in it, but the linguistics community largely shuns him and his current lectureship is in biology.

There are two main objections to the Proto World theory.

1. If Proto World ever existed, it was at least 100,000 years ago, possibly much more. It is utterly impossible to reconstruct a language spoken that long ago. There can therefore be no proof of it ever having existed.

2. DNA analyses suggest that the migrations away from the cradle of humanity in East Africa took place about 200,000 years ago. Some anthropologists believe that mankind of that era did not have the faculty of speech, but could only vocalise in the way that chimpanzees do. If this is correct, then the migrations took place before speech existed. In this case, there is no reason whatsoever why there should be have been one Proto World language.

I hope this goes some way to answering the question. I make no mention of Swadesh lists, the problem of what language (if any) Neanderthal man spoke, and other things which come into a full exposition on the subject. Plenty of learned books on these subjects if anyone really want to know.

Meanwhile I close with something which is a little OT but fun. When I was at university I took an anthropology module. The lecturer had a theory that ancient homo sapiens men kept Neanderthal women as sex slaves. The two kinds of human could not communicate with one another, and it seems probable that homo sapiens man could not impregnate Neanderthal woman. Lecturer appeared to think there were benefits to a relationship whereby the woman could not speak or procreate. Male of course ...

 
tetsabb
49746.  Tue Feb 07, 2006 7:54 pm Reply with quote

djgordy wrote:
Lichtenstein and Uzbekistan.


DJ is right on that.
But I think Uzbekistan is a bit of a cheat, as it borders Kazazhstan, which itself has a coastline on the Caspian, which is not freshwater, but is not itself connected to an ocean.
That satisfies Wiki to qualify Uzbekistan as doubly landlocked.

 
djgordy
49766.  Wed Feb 08, 2006 4:53 am Reply with quote

The Caspian Sea thing didn't fool me because about 18 months ago I won a bet as to what the largest land-locked country was. Someone had looked in an old encyclopaedia and said it was Mongolia, which is probably was at the time the book was written. But since the layers peeled away from the Soviet Onion, Kazakstan became the largest land locked country.

 
dr.bob
49772.  Wed Feb 08, 2006 6:11 am Reply with quote

Didn't the question of doubly-landlocked countries come up on the show once? Maybe back in the A series.

I definitely remember hearing about it before.

 
tetsabb
49972.  Thu Feb 09, 2006 11:15 am Reply with quote

Moving on along the thread, a few more observations from looking at the atlas.

Is Kansas Trebly-landlocked, in terms of American states and Canadian Provinces?

Is there a definitive answer to 'How far from the sea can one get?' I reckon, again not counting the Caspian, somewhere around Novosibirsk or Urumqi looks promising.

Looking at the Europe/Asia/Africa landmass, has anyone worked out the furthest distance one could walk without crossing saltwater? I imagine the starting point would have to be either easternmost Siberia or Johor Baharu, finishing up at Gibraltar or (the Suez Canal being artificial), Cape Town.

Hmmmmmm

 
eggshaped
49973.  Thu Feb 09, 2006 11:19 am Reply with quote

Quote:
has anyone worked out the furthest distance one could walk without crossing saltwater?


You could go round the M60 forever.

(which is what it feels like most nights)

 
dr.bob
49976.  Thu Feb 09, 2006 11:29 am Reply with quote

If you don't specify it has to be in a straight line, then the possibilities are endless :)

 
Tas
49980.  Thu Feb 09, 2006 11:35 am Reply with quote

Quote:
If you don't specify it has to be in a straight line, then the possibilities are endless :)


Assuming a finite Universe, and not one that doubles back on itself....oh, sod! Wrong thread!

:-)

Tas

 
tetsabb
49998.  Thu Feb 09, 2006 11:58 am Reply with quote

Well of course you could go from Moscow to Petersburg via Capetown, Vladivostok, Lisbon, Beijing and Timbuktu, but I was thinking generally in terms of shortest route from, say, Vladivostok to Capetown.......

 
Woodsman
50546.  Sat Feb 11, 2006 9:21 am Reply with quote

This has evolved from a Doubly Landlocked thread into a Doubly Tonguetied thread.

 
gerontius grumpus
50644.  Sat Feb 11, 2006 6:51 pm Reply with quote

tetsabb wrote:
Well of course you could go from Moscow to Petersburg via Capetown, Vladivostok, Lisbon, Beijing and Timbuktu, but I was thinking generally in terms of shortest route from, say, Vladivostok to Capetown.......


Ask Michael Palin.

 
tetsabb
50648.  Sat Feb 11, 2006 7:11 pm Reply with quote

...or, more likely, the researchers for his programmes?

 
AndyE
50711.  Sun Feb 12, 2006 8:12 am Reply with quote

tetsabb wrote:
Is Kansas Trebly-landlocked, in terms of American states and Canadian Provinces?


I'm guessing that you define trebly-landlocked as meaning that the state is landlocked, all its neighbours are landlocked, and all of their neighbours are landlocked as well.

If that is what you mean, then:

Doubly landlocked states: Colorado, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska, South Dakota, Utah, Wisconsin, Wyoming.

Trebly landlocked state: Nebraska (borders South Dakota, Iowa, Missouri, Kansas, Colorado and Wyoming)

Kansas is let down by bordering Oklahoma, which in turn borders Texas, which is on the sea.

(Assuming that a shoreline on the Great Lakes does not prevent a state being landlocked, but that Hudson Bay does so prevent a Canadian province.)

The furthest city from the sea in the world is generally held to be Ürümqi or Wulumuqi (the former is the Uighur form, the latter is the officially preferred Chinese) in north west China. The population in the 2000 census was a bit more than 2 million, so it's not just a village, and the nearest sea is about 1400 miles away.

 
djgordy
50725.  Sun Feb 12, 2006 10:56 am Reply with quote

AndyE wrote:


Doubly landlocked states: Colorado, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska, South Dakota, Utah, Wisconsin, Wyoming.


There was a guy on some tv programme who went to California from Denver. It was the first time he had ever seen the sea and he was genuinely overcome.

 
Woodsman
50770.  Sun Feb 12, 2006 3:46 pm Reply with quote

Did AndyE have more tme on his hands than was alloted, or that we thought he had.

qualifies as interesting, just the same

Leaves to start list of triply-landlocked counties in the Lower 48.

 

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