Friday, August 17, 2012

Meet a "Neandertal"

An anthropologist friend sent this photo of a reconstruction of a Neandertal* (i.e. variety of archaic Homo) on exhibit at the Neanderthal Museum in Mettmann, Germany.


When I first saw the photo, I was haunted by the impression that I had met this person somewhere. Another (linguist) friend provided the answer (see below the fold):



This is Albert Valdman, world-renowned linguistic scholar of French and French Creole languages.  I met Albert some years back when he gave a talk at the University of Florida (there were less than a dozen people present as I recall).  We exchanged some materials: he shared with me a copy of his material on Cajun French and I sent him my small but growing lexicon of Carriacou French Creole. 

Note: This in no way implies that Professor Valdman exhibits any of the negative traits sometimes popularly attributed to "Neandertals."  For that matter, neither did they.

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* The spelling of Neanderthal with "h" was replaced in 1901 by Neandertal; there is some inconsistency in the way this is applied to this population of the species Homo sapiens.

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