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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 (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.