Critics of the Book of Mormon often deride it for its apparent lack of archaeological corroboration. Indeed, most of the evidence that bears on the authenticity of the Book of Mormon is “internal,” meaning evidence derived from the text of the book itself. Those given to rejecting an ancient origin for the Book of Mormon often denigrate the value of internal evidence, perhaps considering anything not in the purview of Indiana Jones to not be “real” evidence. For some, it seems, physical remains are all that counts.
As someone whose interests are primarily linguistic, and as someone who loves and believes in the Book of Mormon, I find this intellectually and spiritually disingenuous. Frankly, ignoring the importance of linguistic evidence in a study is unscientific.
Consider the study of the Indo-European language family, and its prehistoric origins among groups of people who spoke a language that we call Proto-Indo-European.