An Interesting Mostly Southern Chinese Phenotype

A good friend of mine who resides in Singapore. He is very interested in his background and gave me his photo to analyze.

Looking at it, I believe he is definitely Southern Chinese fore the most part. His father is Hainanese and has a rather distinctive genotype that looks something like his son’s. His mother is a certain type of Malay that dates back to the 1400’s and is significantly mixed with European blood, mostly British and Dutch, as Europeans have a presence in the area dating back centuries. I believe that they are called Pernakans. He also has some female relatives that look very Malay. I do not know who the older man to the right is, but he looks quite Malay to me.

I think my friend ended up looking more Chinese than Malay. The Hainanese are definitely a Chinese type people. Whether they also have a Vietic type SE Asian component is not known as I do not know the history of Hainan.

Although my friend definitely has a strong Southern Chinese look, he also has another component that makes him look, well, different. I’m not going to attempt to describe this element, but it does make him look somewhat “odd,” “interesting,” or “unusual, ” from a Southern Chinese POV. A typical Southern Chinese would say that he looks like a Southern Chinese, but he’s not like us. A Southern Chinese has more of a Modern Mongoloid look. My friend is mostly modern Mongoloid, with some elements of transitional Mongoloid or archaic Mongoloid – this is what the Malays are after all – added in.

The evolution from Negritos to moderns occurred much later in Malaysia, much taking place in only the last 5,000 years. The Senoi are an example of an archaic group that is definitely Australoid yet nevertheless more progressive than the Negritos. These are the “dream people” of psychological and anthropological literature, though modern research has shown that they do not incorporate dreams as much into their waking lives as we previously thought and that the extent to which they do this was much exaggerated.

There are also Negritos (or original Asians) in Malaysia. In fact, there is a group in Malaysia that genes that date back to 72,000 YBP. This is actually before the main Out of Africa event, yet is has now been shown that other small groups went out of Africa before then.

Most of these groups were devastated by the vast Toba volcanic explosion in India 72,000 YBP that exterminated almost all humans in South and Southeast Asia. It is thought that only 1,500 of this group survived the explosion. This means that humans went through a severe genetic bottleneck no doubt accompanied by massive selection pressure and huge genetic effects. Whether this explosion’s effects extended to Central Asia (probably), the Middle East (maybe), or East Africa (unknown) is not known. At any rate, this original group departed from East Africa near Somalia and Djibouti.

The main OOA group left out of here too. No one quite knows what these people looked like but they have appeared somewhat Khoisan. The Khoisan are the most ancient group in Africa with genes dating back 52,000 YBP. Further, their click language to me seems like a good candidate for the original human language. It does seem to be quite primitive. Before that, we clearly used sign language. Neandertals could not speak due to their hyoid bones. The great apes also have this problem. So when Neantertals vocalized, they may have sounded like great apes.

The Sasquatch, which I believe is an archaic hominid related to Heidebergensis which somehow survived, has a very odd speech pattern (it speaks on the inhale, bizarrely enough – try it sometime) and a friend of mine who shot and killed two of them told me that the juveniles were using extensive sign language. They ran half the time on all four and half the time on two legs, which is very odd. Sasquatches can run up to 30 mph on all fours. That must be quite frightening to watch but it can be seen in the Port Edward Island Sasquatch footage. Anyway, enough about Bigfoot for today!

It’s not known how far modern human language dates back. Sergei Starostin feels it cannot date back more than 50,000 because so many cognates remain that we can actually construct a bit of Proto-World. One Proto-World term is “tik” meaning one, to point, index finger, etc. From this comes our word to teach. Imagine a teacher pointing at a blackboard with his index finger. I worked on an Indian language a while back and they had a very archaic word found only in the earliest vocabularies – tik, meaning “the point of a spearhead. I cannot prove it but I believe deep down inside that this is from the same root. I

It’s more of a gut feeling or intuitive thing, and intuitions are often wrong because they overgeneralize, throw out logic altogether, and rely exclusively on notoriously unreliable and subjective (the very word subjective implies emotional response) feelings, especially deep or gut feelings that can be described as “Gestalt.” I’m a birdwatcher and we use something called Gestalt to identify fleeing glimpses of a bird.

All we can see is what philosophers like Heidegger might call “the essence” or essential nature of the bird rather than it’s surface characteristics which are too fleeting to identify. Heidegger discusses surface versus essence interpretations of objects a lot. It seems hard to figure out but it’s easier than you think.

Logic relies on surface or appearance, including the human definition we have given to the object.

Intuition on the other hand pretty much throws out the surface stuff and looks for the “essence of the thing” or the “deep meaning” or “true meaning” of the object. We are getting into Plato here with the concept of “pure objects” that actually do not exist in reality.

An example of Platonic pure objects would be what I call the Masculine and Feminine spirit (see the brilliant and wrongly derided Otto Weininger’s “Sex and Character” for more. And Weininger comes from Nietzsche in my opinion and leads to Heidigger, also in my opinion. He seems to be a sort of a bridge between the two. Note that all were Germans, Weininger an Austrian, but oh well.

The Masculine Spirit and the Feminine Spirit is one way of dividing the universe or world in a binary manner. Not that there are not other binary methods of chopping the world into opposite halves, but this is just one of them.

I would argue that the world is half Masculine principle and half Feminine principle and that neither is better than the other and the marriage of the two opposites creates a whole that is bigger than the sum of its parts, hence the human pair bond where each pair of the male-female couple fills in the missing blanks or parts of the other one, each creating a whole person in the other where only a “half person” had existed before.

We are also getting into Taoism here, but the ancient Chinese were awful damn smart, so you ignore them at your peril in my opinion. Furthermore, the Taoist maxim of how to live your life – “moderation in all things” is an excellent aphorism, not that many of us ever do it. It’s clearly the route to a long lifespan.

To do the opposite is to burn candles at both ends, life fast, die young, and leave a pretty corpse, which sounds very romantic and appealing when young (it did to me) but which sounds increasing idiotic and even suicidal for no good reason with each advancing year past 30. I now find it laughable, pathetic, and openly suicidal and delight in mocking the concept. But I survived another 30 years past the expire date on that concept, so perhaps my new attitude is simply the inevitable product of living out that maxim twice and hence nullifying it.

There are a number of Southern Chinese groups with more of an indigenous look, sometimes prognathous. These date back to the original indigenous elements in Southern China and SE Asia, who all date back to the Negritos. The Montagnards of Vietnam are definitely one of these indigenous types. The indigenous went from

Indigenous (Negrito) -> Proto SE Asian (with Melanesian component) -> modern SE Asian (Modern Mongoloid with archaic components. This effect is quite pronounced in the Vietnamese, who were completely overrun by a Chinese invasion 2,300 years ago after which there was much interbreeding and a huge infusion of Cantonese words, which now make up 70% of Vietnamese vocabulary.

However, the core vocabulary of of Vietnamese remains Austroasiatic (a language family nevertheless with Southern Chinese roots derived from the archaic Mongoloid peoples of the region 5-7,000 YBP, who later moved into SE Asia. This core vocabulary is shared by the Munda branch of Astroasiatic, completely isolated India, particularly Eastern (Mongoloid) India. The fact that Vietic shares a common core vocabulary with the geographically separated Munda proves the existence of Austrasiatic.

In fact, it is the final convincing argument. Anyone who says that Austroasiatic does not exist is a fool.

Further, the evidence for Austroasiatic, a proven family, is no greater than the existence for Altaic, and in fact Altaic may be better proven. The “numerals” argument against Altaic is belied by the 13,000 year old Afroasiatic language, the numerals of which are a complete disaster.

Numerals are more often innovated and replaced than people think. Often the old cognates survive in archaic words or words used for related concepts, but it’s not unusual at all for the main term to be an out and out innovation. Most Altaic numerals are innovated, but there are a few cognates. Further most of the numerals have cognates in related or archaic words.

This is the most archaic layer of Austroasiatic. Some of these peoples are archaic Mongoloids with a strong Australoid component. A branch of these Australoids called Carpenterians went from India to Australia 11,000 YBP and become part of the Aborigines. Another group of archaic Australoids were called Murrayans. They came from Thailand 17,000 YBP and went to Australia. It is not known what Australians looked like before that but no doubt they were quite primitive. It’s long been thought that they have more Erectus component than the rest of us, but I’m not sure that is proven. Certainly their appearance resembles that.

The Murrayans are the core element of the Ainu, who went to the Philippines 16,000 YBP in an unusual, Caucasian appearing type, and then moved to the Southern Japanese islands north into Japan 13,000 YBP, quite possibly replacing an ancient Negrito type already there. This Negrito type definitely existed in Southern China and may well have existed in Korea. Some Australoids or especially Australoid-Mongoloid mixes can have a superficial “Caucasian” appearance, but that’s just parallel development, coincidence or more probably the fact that the possible human phenotypes is only a small subset of the possible ones.

It is this coincidentally “Caucasoid” appearance that led many observers to believe that the Ainu were somehow ancient Caucasians (Norwegians, joked one anthropologist was) that got stranded from the rest of Europoid flock way over on the other side of Asia. In fact, the Ainu are Australoid by skull and Mongoloid by genes. Their language, like the Japanese language, has an ancient Austronesian layer that has led many to falsely conclude that the Altaic Japanese language is actually an Austronesian one. The argument is even better with Ainu, the deeper group of which has not been shown to my satisfaction.

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English as a Genocidal Language Attacking Other Tongues Spoken in the Anglosphere – USA

English has had a genocidal affect on the other languages spoken here, but many non-English languages still survive and some are quite thriving.

Pennsylvania Dutch is still quite alive with 300,000 native speakers. I think is is just a dialect of Rhenish German. It’s actually two separate languages and they can’t understand each other.

There are many other languages in the US that have been taken out by English. Most of the Indian languages spoken here have been driven extinct or moribund by English. A few like Cherokee, Sioux, Navajo, Mohawk, Pueblo, some Alaskan languages, a couple of Indian languages of the US South, are still doing well.

Most of the others are in bad to very bad shape, often moribund with only 10 or fewer speakers, often elderly. Many others are extinct. However, quite a few of these languages have had a small number of middle aged to elderly speakers for the last 25 years, so the situation is somewhat stable at least at the moment.

Almost all Indian languages are not being  learned by children. But there are still children being raised speaking Cherokee, Navajo, Pueblo, Mohawk, and some Alaskan and Southern US Indian languages. Navajo is so difficult that when Navajo children show up at school, they still have  problems with Navajo. They often don’t get the  language in full until they are twelve.

However, there are revitalization efforts going on with many to most Indian languages, with varying amounts of success. Some are developing quite competent native speakers, often young people who learn the language starting at 18-20. I know that Wikchamni Yokuts has a new native speaker, a 23 year old man who learned from an old who is a native speaker. In California, there is a master apprentice program going on along these lines.

There are a number of preschool programs where elders try to teach the  languages to young children. I am not sure how well they are working. There are problems with funding, orthographies and mostly apathy that are getting in the way of a lot of these programs.

There are many semi-speakers. For instance in the tribe I worked with, many of the Indians knew at least a few words, and some of the leadership knew quite a few words. But they could hardly make a sentence.

Eskimo-Aleut languages are still widely spoken in Alaska. I know that Inuktitut is still spoken, and  there are children being raised in the language. Aleut is in poor shape.

Hawaiian was almost driven extinct but it was revived with a revitalization program. I understand that the language still has problems. I believe that there are Hawaiian medium schools that you can send your child to. There may be only ~10,000 fluent speakers but there are many more second language speakers with varying fluency.

There are actually some European based languages and creoles spoken in the US.  A noncontroversial one is Gullah, spoken on the islands of South Carolina. There may be less than 5,000 speakers, but the situation has been stable for 30-35 years. Speakers are all Black. It is an English creole and it is not intelligible with English at all.

There is at least one form of French creole spoken in Louisiana.  There is also an archaic form of French Proper called Continental French that resembles French from 1800. It has 2,000 speakers. Louisiana French Creole still has ~50,000 speakers. People worry about it but it has been stable for a long time. Many of the speakers are Black.

Texas German is really just a dialect of German spoken in Texas. There are only a few elderly speakers left.

There are a few Croatian languages spoken in the US that have diverged dramatically from the languages back home that they are now different languages. The status of these languages vary. Some are in good shape and others are almost dead. One of these is called Strawberry Hill Gorski Kotar Kaikavian spoken in Missouri. It is absolutely a full separate language and is no longer intelligible with the Gorski Kotar Kaikavian spoken back home.

There are other European languages spoken in the US, but they are not separate from those back home. Most are going out.

There are many Mandarin and especially Cantonese speakers in the US.

There are many Korean speakers in the US, especially in California.

There are a fair number of Japanese speakers in the US, mostly in California.

There are many speakers of Khmer, Lao, Hmong, and Vietnamese in the US. Most are in California but there are Hmong speakers in Minnesota also.

There are quite a few speakers of Arabic languages in the US. Yemeni, Syrian, and Palestinian Arabic are widely spoken. There are many in New York City, Michigan and California.

There are also some Assyrian speakers in  the US and there are still children being raised in Assyrian. Most are in California.

There are quite a few Punjabi and Gujarati speakers in the US now. We have many Punjabi speakers in my city.

There are quite a few Urdu speakers here. Most of all of these speakers are in California.

Obviously there are many Spanish speakers in the US. English is definitely not taking out Spanish. They are mostly in the Southwest, Florida, and New York City, but they are spreading out all across the country now.

There are a few Portuguese speakers in the US. All also speak English. They are mostly in California but some are back east around Massachusetts.

The Sicilian Italian spoken in the US by Italian immigrants is still spoken fairly widely to this day. It has diverged so much from the Sicilian back home that when they go back to Sicily, they are not understood. This is mostly spoken in large cities back east.

There are quite a few Armenian speakers in the US and children are still being raised in Armenian. Most are in California.

There are some Persian speakers in the US, but not a lot. Most of these are in California too.

All of these languages are the same languages as spoken back home.

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Repost: The Classification of the Vietnamese Language

This ran first a long time ago, but I just sold an ad on this post, so I decided to repost it. Rereading it, it’s a great Historical Linguistics post.
One of the reasons that I am doing this post is that one of my commenters asked me a while back to do a post on the theories of long-range comparison like Joseph Greenberg’s and how well they hold up. That will have to wait for another day, but for now, I can  at least show you how some principles of Historical Linguistics, a subfield that I know a thing or two about. I will keep this post pretty non-technical, so most of you ought to be able to figure out what is going on.
Let us begin by looking at some proposals about the classification of Vietnamese.
The Vietnamese language has been subject to a great deal of speculation regarding its classification. At the moment, it is in the Mon-Khmer or Austroasiatic family with Khmer, Mon, Muong, Wa, Palaung, Nicobarese, Khmu, Munda, Santali, Pnar, Khasi, Temiar, and some others. The family ranges through Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos, Thailand, Malaysia, Burma, China, and over into Northeastern India.
It is traditionally divided into Mon-Khmer and Munda branches. Here is Ethnologue’s split, and here are some other ways of dividing up the family.
The homeland of the Austroasiatics was probably in China, in Yunnan, Southwest China. They moved down from China probably around 5,000 years ago. Some of the most ancient Austroasiatics are probably the Senoi people, who came down from China into Malaysia about 4,000 years ago. Others put the time frame at about 4-8,000 YBP (years before present).
A major fraud has been perpetrated lately based on Senoi Dream Therapy. I discussed it on the old blog, and you can Google it if you are interested. In Anthropology classes we learned all about these fascinating Senoi people, who based their lives around their dreams. Turns out most of the fieldwork was poor to fraudulent like Margaret Mead’s unfortunate sojourn in the South Pacific.
The Senoi resemble Veddas of India, so it is probably true that they are ancient people.  Also, their skulls have Australoid features. In hair, they mostly have wavy hair (like Veddoids), a few have straight hair (like Mongoloids) and a scattering have woolly hair (like Negritos). Bottom line is that ancient Austroasiatics were probably Australoid types who resembled what the Senoi look like today.
There has long been a line arguing that the Vietnamese language is related to Sino-Tibetan (the family that Chinese is a part of). Even those who deny this acknowledge that there is a tremendous amount of borrowing from Chinese (especially Cantonese) to Vietnamese. This level of borrowing so long ago makes historical linguistics a difficult field.
Here is an excellent piece by a man who has done a tremendous amount of work detailing his case for Vietnamese as a Sino-Tibetan language. It’s not for the amateur, but if you want to dip into it, go ahead. I spent some time there, and after a while, I was convinced that Vietnamese was indeed a Sino-Tibetan language. One of the things that convinced me is that if borrowing was involved, seldom have I seen such a case for such a huge amount of borrowing, in particular of basic vocabulary. I figured the  case was sealed.
Not so fast now.
Looking again, and reading some of Joseph Greenberg’s work on the subject, I am now convinced otherwise. There is a serious problem with the cognates between Vietnamese and Chinese, of which there are a tremendous number.
This problem is somewhat complex, but I will try to simplify it. Briefly, if Vietnamese is indeed related to Sino-Tibetan, its cognates should be not only with Chinese, but with other members of Sino-Tibetan also. In other words, we should find cognates with Tibetan, Naga, Naxi, Tujia, Karen, Lolo, Kuki, Nung, Jingpho, Chin, Lepcha, etc. We should also find cognates with those languages, where we do not find them in Chinese. That’s a little complicated, so I will let you think about it a bit.
Further, the comparisons between Chinese and Vietnamese should be variable. Some should look quite close, while others should look much more distant.
So there’s a problem with the Vietnamese as ST theory.
The cognates look like Chinese.
Problem is, they look too much like Chinese. They look more like Chinese than they should in a genetic relationship. Further, they look like Chinese and only Chinese. Looking for relationships in S-T outside of Chinese, and we find few if any.
That’s a dead ringer for borrowing from Chinese to Vietnamese. If it’s not clear to you how that is, think about it a bit.
Looking at Mon-Khmer, the case is not so open and shut. There seem to be more cognates with Chinese than with Mon-Khmer. So many more that the case for Vietnamese as AA looks almost silly, and you wonder how anyone came up with it.
But let us look again. The cognates with AA and Vietnamese are not just with its immediate neighbors like Cambodian and Khmu but with languages far off in far Eastern India like Munda and Santali. There are words that are found only in the Munda branch in one or two obscure languages that somehow show up again as cognates in Vietnamese.
Now tell me how Vietnamese borrowed ancient basic vocabulary from some obscure Munda tongue way over in Northeast India? It did not. How did those words end up in some unheard of NE Indian tongue and also in Vietnamese? Simple. They both descended long ago from a common ancestor. This is Historical Linguistics.
The concepts I have dealt with here are not easy for the non-specialist to figure out, but most smart people can probably get a grasp on them.
A different subject is the deep relationships of AA. Is AA related to any other languages? I leave that as an open question now,  though there does appear to be a good case for AA being related to Austronesian.
One good piece of evidence is the obscure AA languages found in the Nicobar Islands off the coast of Thailand. Somehow, we see quite a few cognates in Nicobarese with Austronesian. We do not see them in any other branches of AA, only in Nicobarese. This seems odd,  and it’s hard to make a case for borrowing. On the other hand, why cognates in Nicobarese and only in Nicobarese?
Truth is there are some cognates outside of Nicobarese but not a whole lot. In historical linguistics, one thing we look at is morphology. Those are parts of words, like the -s plural ending in English.
In both AA and Austronesian, we have funny particles called infixes. Those are what in English we might call prefixes or suffixes, except they are stuck in the middle of the word instead of at the end or the beginning. So, in English, we have pre- as a prefix meaning “before” and -er meaning “object that does X verb”. So pre-destination means that our lives are figured out before we are even born.  Comput-er and print-er are two objects, one that computes and the other that prints.
If we had infixes instead, pre-destination would look something like destin-pre-ation and comput-er and print-er would look something like com-er-pute and prin-er-t.
Anyway, there are some fairly obscure infixes that show up not only in some isolated languages in AA but also in far-flung Austronesian languages in, say, the Philippines. Ever heard of the borrowing of an infix? Neither have I? So were those infixes borrowed,  and what are they doing in languages as far away as Thailand and the Philippines, and none in between? Because they  got borrowed? When? How? Forget it.
Bottom line is that said borrowing did not happen. So what are those infix cognates doing there? Probably ancient particles left over from a common language that derived both Austronesian and AA, probably spoken somewhere in SW China maybe 9,000 years ago or more.
Why is this sort of long-range comparison so hard? For one thing, because after 9,000 years or more, there are hardly any cognates left anymore, due to the fact of language change. Languages change and tend to change at a certain rate.
After 1000X years, so much change has taken place that even if two languages were once “sprung from a common source,” in the famous words of Sir William Jones in his epochal lecture to the Asiatic Society in Calcutta on February 2, 1786, there is almost nothing, or actually nothing, left to show of that relationship. Any common words have become so mangled by time that they don’t look much or anything alike anymore.
So are AA and Austronesian related? I think so, but I suppose it’s best to say that it has not been proven yet. This thesis is part of a larger long-range concept known as “Austric.” Paul Benedict, a great scholar, was one of the champions of this. Austric is normally made up of AA, Austronesian, Tai-Kadai (the Thai language and its relatives) and Hmong-Mien (the Hmong and Mien languages). Based on genetics, the depth of Austric may be as deep as 30,000 years, so proving it is going to be a tall order indeed.
What do I think?
I think Tai-Kadai and Austronesian are proven to be related (more on that later). AA and Austronesian seem to be related also, with a lesser depth of proof. Hmong-Mien seems to be related to Sino-Tibetan, not Austric.
The case for Vietnamese being related to S-T is still very interesting, and I still have an open mind about it.
All of these discussions are hotly controversial, and mentioning it in linguistics circles is likely to set tempers flaring.

References

Author and date unknown, What Makes Vietnamese So Chinese? An Introduction to Sinitic-Vietnamese Studies.
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The Roots of the Alphabet(s)

Probably most of you do not know that we are all using a variant of the ancient Phoenician alphabet. Actually I am not sure if that is precisely true, as I think the Phoenician alphabet was preceded by an Assyrian one. But at any rate, our classic Western alphabets all came out of the Levant and Mesopotamia in some way or other. Indeed, it is even theorized that many of the syllabaries in use in Central, South and Southeast Asia are also rooted in this original alphabet from the Levant.

Of course, Chinese and consequently Korean and Japanese alphabets have another origin.

One might wish to throw the odd SE Asian orthographies such as Thai, Lao, Burmese, Vietnamese, Javanese, Sundanese and Khmer there, but my understanding is that all of those SE Asian orthographies were actually derived from syllabaries originally designed in India.

A few writing systems such as Georgian, Armenian and Cree may have been created de novo, but I might have to look that up. The only non-Middle Eastern derived orthography that immediately comes to my mind is the Chinese ideographs.

The origins of the Assyrian/Phoenician alphabet appear to have been ultimately in Egyptian hieroglyphics. So the ancient Egyptians really started it all when it comes to writing down words, at least for the West.

Chinese ideographs may date from even earlier. Chinese bone writing goes way back.

Very early European writing such as runic systems and similar systems in Asia such as the Turkic Orkhon inscriptions may not be related to the Phoenician system at all. The Yukaghir in Siberia and the Yi in South China may also have designed de novo systems.

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The Classification of the Vietnamese Language

One of the reasons that I am doing this post is that one of my commenters asked me a while back to do a post on the theories of long-range comparison like Joseph Greenberg’s and how well they hold up. That will have to wait for another day, but for now, I can  at least show you how some principles of Historical Linguistics, a subfield that I know a thing or two about. I will keep this post pretty non-technical, so most of you ought to be able to figure out what is going on.
Let us begin by looking at some proposals about the classification of Vietnamese.
The Vietnamese language has been subject to a great deal of speculation regarding its classification. At the moment, it is in the Mon-Khmer or Austroasiatic family with Khmer, Mon, Muong, Wa, Palaung, Nicobarese, Khmu, Munda, Santali, Pnar, Khasi, Temiar, and some others. The family ranges through Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos, Thailand, Malaysia, Burma, China, and over into Northeastern India.
It is traditionally divided into Mon-Khmer and Munda branches. Here is Ethnologue’s split, and here are some other ways of dividing up the family.
The homeland of the Austroasiatics was probably in China, in Yunnan, Southwest China. They moved down from China probably around 5,000 years ago. Some of the most ancient Austroasiatics are probably the Senoi people, who came down from China into Malaysia about 4,000 years ago. Others put the time frame at about 4-8,000 YBP (years before present).
A major fraud has been perpetrated lately based on Senoi Dream Therapy. I discussed it on the old blog, and you can Google it if you are interested. In Anthropology classes we learned all about these fascinating Senoi people, who based their lives around their dreams. Turns out most of the fieldwork was poor to fraudulent like Margaret Mead’s unfortunate sojourn in the South Pacific.
The Senoi resemble Veddas of India, so it is probably true that they are ancient people.  Also, their skulls have Australoid features. In hair, they mostly have wavy hair (like Veddoids), a few have straight hair (like Mongoloids) and a scattering have woolly hair (like Negritos). Bottom line is that ancient Austroasiatics were probably Australoid types who resembled what the Senoi look like today.
There has long been a line arguing that the Vietnamese language is related to Sino-Tibetan (the family that Chinese is a part of). Even those who deny this acknowledge that there is a tremendous amount of borrowing from Chinese (especially Cantonese) to Vietnamese. This level of borrowing so long ago makes historical linguistics a difficult field.
Here is an excellent piece by a man who has done a tremendous amount of work detailing his case for Vietnamese as a Sino-Tibetan language. It’s not for the amateur, but if you want to dip into it, go ahead. I spent some time there, and after a while, I was convinced that Vietnamese was indeed a Sino-Tibetan language. One of the things that convinced me is that if borrowing was involved, seldom have I seen such a case for such a huge amount of borrowing, in particular of basic vocabulary. I figured the  case was sealed.
Not so fast now.
Looking again, and reading some of Joseph Greenberg’s work on the subject, I am now convinced otherwise. There is a serious problem with the cognates between Vietnamese and Chinese, of which there are a tremendous number.
This problem is somewhat complex, but I will try to simplify it. Briefly, if Vietnamese is indeed related to Sino-Tibetan, its cognates should be not only with Chinese, but with other members of Sino-Tibetan also. In other words, we should find cognates with Tibetan, Naga, Naxi, Tujia, Karen, Lolo, Kuki, Nung, Jingpho, Chin, Lepcha, etc. We should also find cognates with those languages, where we do not find them in Chinese. That’s a little complicated, so I will let you think about it a bit.
Further, the comparisons between Chinese and Vietnamese should be variable. Some should look quite close, while others should look much more distant.
So there’s a problem with the Vietnamese as ST theory.
The cognates look like Chinese.
Problem is, they look too much like Chinese. They look more like Chinese than they should in a genetic relationship. Further, they look like Chinese and only Chinese. Looking for relationships in S-T outside of Chinese, and we find few if any.
That’s a dead ringer for borrowing from Chinese to Vietnamese. If it’s not clear to you how that is, think about it a bit.
Looking at Mon-Khmer, the case is not so open and shut. There seem to be more cognates with Chinese than with Mon-Khmer. So many more that the case for Vietnamese as AA looks almost silly, and you wonder how anyone came up with it.
But let us look again. The cognates with AA and Vietnamese are not just with its immediate neighbors like Cambodian and Khmu but with languages far off in far Eastern India like Munda and Santali. There are words that are found only in the Munda branch in one or two obscure languages that somehow show up again as cognates in Vietnamese.
Now tell me how Vietnamese borrowed ancient basic vocabulary from some obscure Munda tongue way over in Northeast India? It did not. How did those words end up in some unheard of NE Indian tongue and also in Vietnamese? Simple. They both descended long ago from a common ancestor. This is Historical Linguistics.
The concepts I have dealt with here are not easy for the non-specialist to figure out, but most smart people can probably get a grasp on them.
A different subject is the deep relationships of AA. Is AA related to any other languages? I leave that as an open question now,  though there does appear to be a good case for AA being related to Austronesian.
One good piece of evidence is the obscure AA languages found in the Nicobar Islands off the coast of Thailand. Somehow, we see quite a few cognates in Nicobarese with Austronesian. We do not see them in any other branches of AA, only in Nicobarese. This seems odd,  and it’s hard to make a case for borrowing. On the other hand, why cognates in Nicobarese and only in Nicobarese?
Truth is there are some cognates outside of Nicobarese but not a whole lot. In historical linguistics, one thing we look at is morphology. Those are parts of words, like the -s plural ending in English.
In both AA and Austronesian, we have funny particles called infixes. Those are what in English we might call prefixes or suffixes, except they are stuck in the middle of the word instead of at the end or the beginning. So, in English, we have pre- as a prefix meaning “before” and -er meaning “object that does X verb”. So pre-destination means that our lives are figured out before we are even born.  Comput-er and print-er are two objects, one that computes and the other that prints.
If we had infixes instead, pre-destination would look something like destin-pre-ation and comput-er and print-er would look something like com-er-pute and prin-er-t.
Anyway, there are some fairly obscure infixes that show up not only in some isolated languages in AA but also in far-flung Austronesian languages in, say, the Philippines. Ever heard of the borrowing of an infix? Neither have I? So were those infixes borrowed,  and what are they doing in languages as far away as Thailand and the Philippines, and none in between? Because they  got borrowed? When? How? Forget it.
Bottom line is that said borrowing did not happen. So what are those infix cognates doing there? Probably ancient particles left over from a common language that derived both Austronesian and AA, probably spoken somewhere in SW China maybe 9,000 years ago or more.
Why is this sort of long-range comparison so hard? For one thing, because after 9,000 years or more, there are hardly any cognates left anymore, due to the fact of language change. Languages change and tend to change at a certain rate.
After 1000X years, so much change has taken place that even if two languages were once “sprung from a common source,” in the famous words of Sir William Jones in his epochal lecture to the Asiatic Society in Calcutta on February 2, 1786, there is almost nothing, or actually nothing, left to show of that relationship. Any common words have become so mangled by time that they don’t look much or anything alike anymore.
So are AA and Austronesian related? I think so, but I suppose it’s best to say that it has not been proven yet. This thesis is part of a larger long-range concept known as “Austric.” Paul Benedict, a great scholar, was one of the champions of this. Austric is normally made up of AA, Austronesian, Tai-Kadai (the Thai language and its relatives) and Hmong-Mien (the Hmong and Mien languages). Based on genetics, the depth of Austric may be as deep as 30,000 years, so proving it is going to be a tall order indeed.
What do I think?
I think Tai-Kadai and Austronesian are proven to be related (more on that later). AA and Austronesian seem to be related also, with a lesser depth of proof. Hmong-Mien seems to be related to Sino-Tibetan, not Austric.
The case for Vietnamese being related to S-T is still very interesting, and I still have an open mind about it.
All of these discussions are hotly controversial, and mentioning it in linguistics circles is likely to set tempers flaring.

References

Author and date unknown, What Makes Vietnamese So Chinese? An Introduction to Sinitic-Vietnamese Studies.
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