I'm an amateur linguist and recently wrote a paper called "The relationship between Proto-Indo-European and Proto-Yeniseian" which mostly comprises a short history of the Yeniseian language family, some typology and a list of 74 cognates between these two families. I submitted it to a couple of journals and (obviously) none accepted it, because it's not done by linguistics standards. But I also came across this paper by Merrit Ruhlen called "The origin of the Na-Dene", which focuses on what some would call "random look-alike words" (similar to what I did), and isn't what scientists would mention as actual, elaborate linguistic proof. And yet, his paper got published in PNAS. How can I improve my paper? Do you have any advice? Here's the link to my paper: https://ling.auf.net/lingbuzz/005734 and ruhlen's: https://web.archive.org/web/20110708074324/http://www.merrittruhlen.com/files/1998c.pdf , if anyone is interested. Thanks.
From your paper:
Chance is ruled out by probability, because two unrelated language families can’t have 74 accidental resemblances.
The problem is, this simply isn't true. Here are 109 accidental resemblances between Mandarin and English.
Ruhlen makes a similar claim in his paper, but he's similarly wrong. Look at Vajda 2010 for a specific rebuttal of his methodology. In particular:
Random similarities in basic vocabulary are insufficient to demonstrate language relatedness. A list of look-alike words can be compiled, even using basic vocabulary, between any human languages.
Systematic correspondences are needed to establish relatedness (and that's what Vajda tries to do); lists of similar-looking words aren't enough.
What I'm going to say might sound a bit depressive to you, but I think from experience that your paper has no chance of being published, no matter what.
- The first problem is that the relationship PIE vs PY is gigantic and extremely ambitious, and it cannot be adressed in a paper. It's more a topic for a (huge) monograph.
- Besides, you have to discuss the other proposals like PY vs Caucasic, and again this cannot be done within the limited space of a paper.
- I cannot think of any Journal that would accept that kind of paper. As a rule, Journals do not like extremely innovative papers and rather like sober and uncontroversial papers.
- People who have worked on Yenisseian do not favor a relationship with PIE, so it is probable that peer-review of your paper will be fairly hostile.
- Incidentally, your paper is weak as regards contents and methodology, but I think this is not the worst issue.
If you have an account on Academia.edu, you might consider opening a session with comments to see what other people have to say about your paper.
Other people already commented on your difficulties regarding publication, but you probably would like to receive a feedback regarding the essence of your paper.
I am sorry to disappoint you, but from the table of personal pronouns it seems that Yenissean are not even Mitian languages, those which are characterized with 1st person singular pronouns starting with m- (as in English me) and 2nd person singular pronouns starting with t- (as in English thou).
If there is any relation between the two families, it is far beyond the Mitian node.