Proposals that have been put forward in the past concerning the affiliations of Eskimo-Aleut languages are followed up in the light of recent progress in reconstructing the proto-languages concerned. Those linking Eskimo-Aleut with the Uralic languages and Yukagir are particularly promising, and reconstructions for many common elements are presented. The entire region "Great Beringia" is scoured for typological evidence in the form of anomalies and constellations of uncommon traits diagnostic of affiliation or contact. The various threads lead back to mesolithic times in south central Siberia, when speakers of a "Uralo-Siberian" mesh of related languages appears to have moved along the major waterways of Siberia. Such a scenario would acount for the present distribution of these languages and the results of their meeting with remnants of earlier linguistic waves from the Old World to the New.
Michael Fortescue is Professor of General Linguistics in the Department of Scandinavian Studies and Linguistics of the University of Copenhagen, Denmark.