Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Pacific people spread from Taiwan

ScienceDaily (2009-01-27) --

New research into language evolution suggests most Pacific populations originated in Taiwan around 5,200 years ago. Scientists at The University of Auckland have used sophisticated computer analyses on vocabulary from 400 Austronesian languages to uncover how the Pacific was settled.

"The Austronesian language family is one of the largest in the world, with 1200 languages spread across the Pacific," says Professor Russell Gray of the Department of Psychology.

"The settlement of the Pacific is one of the most remarkable prehistoric human population expansions. By studying the basic vocabulary from these languages, such as words for animals, simple verbs, colours and numbers, we can trace how these languages evolved. The relationships between these languages give us a detailed history of Pacific settlement."

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1 comment:

  1. This is not new - the migration paths have been known for some time, thanks to earlier work on regional languages. Nine peoples expanded from Taiwan to SE Asia and the Pacific, each with their own tongue.

    The research in this article validates the pervious work and has some interesting new insights.