Atlatl # 5 (1985)
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The Dating Game: One Last Look at Glottochronology: The Case of Some Arabic DialectsIn a series of seminal articles, Swadesh (1951, 1955) and Lees (1953) developed the theories of lexicostatistics and glottochronology, and detailed the methods for their application. There followed a spate of enthusiastic studies to test and refine those methods, discussed by Hymes (1960) in his lengthy evaluation of the progress of lexicostatistical theory. At that time, Hymes deemed the glottochronological method a potentially useful tool for the dating of language splits, and called for its further refinement. Yet, since Bergsland and Vogt's (1962) scathing and cogent critique of the method, glottochronology has been neglected. Neither defended nor disproven definitively, glottochronology seems to have died a silent death. Our purpose in this paper is to resurrect it once again, to test the method with data from nine modern dialects of Arabic, to examine the problems involved in its application, and to scrutinize the assumptions which underlie the theory.
Measles Eradication: The Role of the AnthropologistIn the Western response to infectious disease, priority has been given to preventive medicine and particularly to immunizations. The number of available vaccines is multiplying rapidly, and research directed at developing an even wider range of prophylactic agents is accelerating. Infectious disease continues to be the most important public health problem in the developing world, and vaccine—preventable disease is a cause of significant mortality and morbidity in these areas. Because the World Health Organization has called for the provision of immunizations to all of the world's children by 1990, it is likely that more anthropologists will be called upon to facilitate community acceptance of such programs. In addition to functioning as community mediators, anthropologists have other responsibilities with respect to immunization theory and practice. These include evaluating cost analyses, considering the legal and ethical aspects of immunizations, and examing the consequences of changes in epidemiological patterns in an evolutionary framework. It is also important to study the development of Western disease theory and associated practices in cultural and historical contexts.