### Re: Is linguistics a real science?

Posted:

**Thu Apr 04, 2019 6:06 pm UTC**It's worth pointing out that what a "p-value" means is just the probability of getting results at least that extreme if the null hypothesis is true. Very low p-values are would be unlikely if the null hypothesis were true, so they suggest it is false. If your p-value is below your α (basically your cutoff), you reject the null hypothesis.

So even if all your statistics were done correctly, all they would demonstrate would be that the null hypothesis was (very probably) false. In the first case, your null hypothesis was completely random assortment of letters (save the assumption that words are at least 2 letters long). In the second case, your null hypothesis is that rivers are given Croatian words starting in k(v)r no more often than Croatian words in general. This is a better null hypothesis, but even if it's false, that doesn't do very much to show your hypothesis is true. Unless you have specific evidence for your purported root, it makes no sense to assert it. There are other possibilities that also need to be rejected, such as the PIE root meaning "cut" from above.

So even if all your statistics were done correctly, all they would demonstrate would be that the null hypothesis was (very probably) false. In the first case, your null hypothesis was completely random assortment of letters (save the assumption that words are at least 2 letters long). In the second case, your null hypothesis is that rivers are given Croatian words starting in k(v)r no more often than Croatian words in general. This is a better null hypothesis, but even if it's false, that doesn't do very much to show your hypothesis is true. Unless you have specific evidence for your purported root, it makes no sense to assert it. There are other possibilities that also need to be rejected, such as the PIE root meaning "cut" from above.