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I received an undergraduate degree in Linguistics from UCLA many years ago. My main focus was historical linguistics.
I'm also interested in plants and animals and their relation to culture (ethnobiology, ethnozoology and ethnobotany — but not in the sense employed by drug users). At one time I was considering becoming a botanist, so I have some training in that field.
My special interest is plant and animal names and their history.
I've taken classes in:
- American Indian Languages (we learned a little Lakhota in class). The languages I've studied on my own are mostly Uto-Aztecan (Takic and Numic predominantly)
- Chinese (Mandarin)
- Indo-European linguistics. I only had the chance to take the first part, which was mostly phonology and sound changes, not the second, which would have covered comparative morphology and grammar
- Classical linguistics: mostly about how to derive etymologies of Greek and Latin words. A year of Latin or Greek was a prerequisite, but my self-taught competence in both was more than enough.
On my own I've concentrated on Latin, ancient Greek, Hebrew and Old English, but I've tried to learn enough in a great many languages to find words in dictionaries. I've also tried to teach myself most of the major writing systems, though there are quite a few in Africa, India and Southeast Asia that I have yet to study.
As far as historical linguistics, I'm basically familiar with the sound correspondences between most of the branches of the Indo-European language family, and have some knowledge of those in the Semitic branch of Afro-Asiatic, the Polynesian section of Austronesian and among the Takic and Numic sections of Uto-Aztecan.
In short, I'm not fluent or expert in any one language or subject, but I see lots of connections others might miss.