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LIN 106 Homework 3: Farmers And Their Languages First Expansions (Article Critique Sample)


LIN 106: Homework 3(due Wednesday, November 8 at the beginning of class)Summary of “Farmers and their languages: The first expansions”For this assignment, you first must read the article, “Farmers and their languages: The firstexpansions,” by Jared Diamond and Peter Bellwood, which appeared in Science in 2003. A copyof the article has been posted on UBLearns along with this assignment.Your task: Summarize and discuss, in around two to three pages, the major points of the article.A good summary will answer questions such as: What is the authors’ main hypothesis? Whatkinds of evidence do they use to make their arguments? What kinds of evidence challenge theirhypothesis? Do you think that these problems are serious enough to falsify the authors’hypothesis, or do you think the explanations they provide for some of the potential problems aresufficient?You do not need to discuss each of the fifteen case studies of languages families in your summary,but you should mention at least a few (3–4) in order to be able to properly convey the generalstructure of the article’s main arguments.Note: Your next assignment will involve an in depth critique of your choice of one of the fifteenlanguage family case studies found in the article. You might want to be thinking about that whileyou’re preparing for this assignment.GradingThe following factors will be considered during assessment of your assignment:1. Clearly and accurately summarizing the authors’ main hypothesis (5 points)2. Clearly discussing the kinds of evidence they use to support their hypothesis (5 points)3. Clearly discussing some of the potential challenges to their hypothesis (5 points)4. Providing your own assessment of the merit of the author’s hypothesis (5 points)5. Integrating discussion of several of the case studies into your assignment (5 points)


Farmers and Their Languages: The First Expansion
Institution of affiliation
Farmers and Their Languages: The First Expansion
The author's main hypothesis
The most extensive movements and replacements of human populations since the end of the Ice Ages resulted from the geographically uneven rise of food production around the world. The first farming societies thereby gained considerable advantages over hunter-gatherer societies. But most of those resulting shifts of populations and languages are complex, controversial, or both. The most basic analysis being that prehistoric agriculture dispersed hand in hand with human genes and language as farmers and their cultures replaced neighboring hunters and gatherers and their culture. According to the authors, farmers did not chase away the people as they sometimes intermarried. This resulted in the dilution of the genes hence the culture got slowly eroded. With time, communities had a hybrid population that consisted of 10% local hunters and gatherers and 90% of the population invaded by farmers. The authors raise the issue of language distortion by explaining the discordance that occurred between languages was caused by the change in a society where the minority language was diluted by a significant language in every considerable step. The inhabitants remain indigenous while the language changes significantly over the years. However, this change occurs over short distances and does not cover large geographical areas.
Evidence to support the hypothesis
The hypothesis can be justified by the preliminary evidence which showed that the farmers indeed displaced the hunters and gatherers. Also this theory can be proven by the traces of language, genes, skeletal types, domesticates and archaeologically visible culture that could be traced back to

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