Newsletter of the Association for the Study of Language In Prehistory

Issue 26 · Spring 1996

The Emerging Synthesis: We Erred

Shucks, we got caught by a historian of science! It seems, says Roger Wescott, that our felicitous term 'emerging synthesis' is not so new and avant garde after all. We borrowed it from Colin Renfrew who may have had a disclaimer about its history in his article. In any case the term was used in the 1940s by theorists of the new synthetic theory of evolution. It is not quite appropriate for us to use because of the heavy freight of prior meaning attached to it. Our 'emerging synthesis' means only the collaboration of three disciplines pursuing a joint goal.

We therefore abandon the label 'emerging synthesis' right now. Forthwith. While we hope our members will suggest a term of our own to replace it, we propose a new label -- just for now -- until a better one can be found. Our proposal = Muttersprachwissenschaft, for short, or Metraglottogonics. We took part of that from Eric de Grolier's original "Glottogonics", his term for language origins study. We added on Greek 'metra' (womb) (Latin 'matrix') just to see if anybody salutes it.

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(c) 1996 Association for the Study of Language In Prehistory