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The languages of Northern Eurasia: Inference to the best explanation

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Abstract

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.

References

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