Recent years have seen much discussion on the use and meaning of typological argumentation when reconstructing language history and language relations. We address the conclusions and methodology of a paper "Structural phylogenetics and the reconstruction of ancient language history" (Science, Sept. 23, 2005), which claims that, on the basis of a typological comparison, the non-Austronesian languages and (Austronesian) Oceanic spoken to the imediate east of new Guinea can be shown to belong to two unrelated genetic entities. We argue that the data and disucssion in this paper do not allow us to conclude that the non-Austronesian languages in the study form a valid linguistic group in any hisotircal sense, or that the methods they apply can be used to make claims about lingquistic relatedness.


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pp. 348-387
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