Across the West: Human Population Movement and the Expansion of the Numa

Dr. Dave Rhode
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The handsomely bound, well-illustrated volume is divided into four sections: Background, Theoretical and Methodological Issues, Regional Perspective, and Summary. The first section includes an introduction and four papers detailing the history of debate and current ideas regarding the chronology of Numic migration. Sutton and Rhode present an excellent review of previous research that helps to set the stage for readers unfamiliar with the subject.

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This is followed by an important paper by Barker and Pinto that touches on some of the legal and political issues surrounding studies of prehistoric ethnicity as it relates to recent legislation regarding the patrimony and disposition of cultural remains. Subsequent papers by Grayson and Madsen offer opposing views on the timing of the Numic expansion.

Both agree that giottochronological age estimates are of little value, but differ significantly in their views regarding archaeological evidence for the migration, with Madsen arguing for a traditionally late date and Grayson for a more tentatively early arrival. At the heart of this issue, and much of the present volume, is a more fundamental debate concerning the stability of Great Basin adaptations that are interpreted by some as unchanging and by others as highly dynamic. Clearly, this issue needs to be resolved inasmuch as a population replacement versus colonization of unoccupied lands could scarcely have occurred without an adaptive discontinuity Author: Michael Delacourt.

Across the West: Human Population Movement and the Expansion of the Numa

The westernmost extension—the spread of Finnic into Finland and Saami into Scandinavia—occurred less than 1, years ago, before which first ancestral Saami, then early Finnic, had been adopted by agricultural people in the east Baltic area probably Germanic- and Baltic-speaking; both of these are Indo-European branches.

Spreads of North Saami within Saami in Scandinavia and Nenets within Samoyedic in Siberia are also recent and involved the spread of reindeer herding. These spreads were at high latitudes and involved sparse and mobile populations even the agriculturalists of southern Finland were relatively mobile and sparse, relying on slash-and-burn methods and moving to new fields from time to time. The known large spreads—Saami, Finnic, Tundra Nenets—can therefore be assumed to have involved symbiosis, and it is these large spreading languages that have the highest proportions of causativization Table 7 , supporting the hypothesis.


Table 7. Uralic languages: Proportion of the nine verb pairs that use causativization. The very earliest spreads, which brought the Anatolian languages Hittite and its sisters to what is now Turkey and the ancestors of at least Greek, Latin, and the Celtic languages to Europe, may have been migrations with formation of local outposts Anthony, that only later grew by language shift, as was happening with Latin in early historical times; or they may have begun with invasion, conquest, and wholescale language and culture replacement in southeastern Europe Parpola, The migration-and-outpost scenario could have produced occasional local cases of symbiosis, but more probably the outpost languages were economically prestigious and remained discrete.

The invasion scenario is unlikely to have produced symbiosis. What is striking about Indo-European is its low overall frequency of causativization Table 8 ; the European cluster of low causativization in Figure 3 is mostly Indo-European languages.

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For the modern languages the structural reason for this is that their most common kind of pairing derives the non-causal from the causal by reflexivization see again Table 1. Reflexivization is a post-classical development: absent from Greek, beginning to occur in Latin, halfway developed in Old Church Slavic ninth century , and evidently it spread between early Romance, Germanic, and Slavic by calquing 6. Table 8. Indo-European: Proportion of the nine verb pairs that use causativization. Table 8 shows proportions of causativization in some Indo-European languages and branches. Differences within and beween European branches have no obvious cause they have not been studied closely for this survey.

Comparison across the whole family reveals three general principles. First, contact with causativizing languages can increase causativization; the clear example is Western Armenian, with Turkish and Persian contact effects 7. Second, light verb constructions, common in Iranian languages, lower the frequency of causativization.

Third, causativization levels are high in the Indo-Iranian branch, especially in its eastern representatives. This branch spread rapidly across the entire steppe about 4, years ago, propelled by development of metallurgy and metalworking in the Ural area and military advances including chariot technology. Speakers of early Indo-Iranian came to dominate, and finally absorbed, the the western Central Asian oasis civilizations of the Bactria-Margiana Archaeological Complex Hiebert, ; Witzel, , and the entire branch shows contact effects from a Dravidian or Dravidian-like language the Dravidian family is indigenous to India usually attributed to that episode.

The Indic branch shows further contact effects from Dravidian. The Dravidian languages have high proportions of causativization, and it is plausible, though far from proven, that the Indo-Iranian high causativization results from these contacts.

Whether any of these contacts could have produced symbiosis is a different question. Military conquest as across the steppe and economic dominance as in Central Asia and later in northwestern India usually do not, but substrata can, and certainly the deep intermingling of Indo-European and Dravidian-like or Indic-like myth and religion in Vedic Sanskrit suggests something like symbiosis 8. Therefore it is at least possible that the high proportions of causativization in Indo-Iranian result from symbiosis. If not symbiosis, they may result from ordinary close contact involving calquing. Western Central Asia is desert and sparsely populated—except for the oasis cities, which have large and dense populations, and were the main target of Indo-Iranian dominance. Therefore the Indo-Iranian spread to the cities was a language spread through a dense population.

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The Uto-Aztecan family, about 5, years old, ranges north-south from Shoshoni in the northern U. The family probably originated in or near Mexico, i. Much later came the Aztec imperial spread. Daughter languages are spoken mostly by agriculturalists or in the Great Basin hunter-gatherers focusing on plant-based and especially seed-grinding subsistence.

The two major spreads in the family are the spread of Nahuatl with the Aztec empire and the Spanish conquest which used classical Nahuatl as official contact language , and the spread of the Numic branch through the Great Basin after a severe drought in the middle ages destroyed the early agricultural economy there. A small sample of Uto-Aztecan languages Table 9 gives some support to the correlation of causativization with symbiosis, with mobility and large spreads implying symbiosis. The others are settled agriculturalists; the Tohono O'odham were partly transhumant between summer and winter water sources the transhumant population, inhabiting the driest part of the range, gave Hill her example of contingent access to resources and her documentation of variability in such populations.

Table 9. Uto-Aztecan languages: Proportion of the nine verb pairs that use causativization. The widespread Austronesian family originated on or near Taiwan some 6, years ago and spread through Island Southeast Asia and thence to near and far Oceania The spread to New Guinea and nearby islands involved coastal or offshore settlement and usually intensive contact and intermarriage as indicated by grammatical and lexical influence and genetic evidence.

The spread to Micronesia and Polynesia involved colonization of previously uninhabited islands. As a result of this long history of migration the family is very large, with about 1, daughter languages. The eight languages in Table 10 , representing all the Austronesian languages in my database, are a grossly inadequate sample of this diversity, but they cover the geographical range and some of the branches.

They give some support to the hypothesis. High proportions might be expected in languages of Island Southeast Asia, where pre-Austronesian populations were absorbed in the early stages of spreading, populations are dense, and there is a history of statehood, which makes changing alliances and oscillating dominance plausible. In New Guinea and the nearby large islands, Austronesian languages colonized coastal areas, occupied a maritime economic niche, and interacted and intermarried with indigenous horticulturalists.

The outcome is sometimes linguistically mixed households with multilingualism beginning in childhood, and grammatical convergence, but languages that remain discrete because they are associated with descent groups.

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If the situation described by Ross for north coastal New Guinea is at all common, the distinction of ethnic and inter-ethnic language and the different directions of phonological and lexicosemantic influence show that the languages are ideologically distinct and not sociolinguistically neutral. Symbiosis should not occur in such situations and the proportion of causativization should not be high.

In remote Oceania, where languages mostly occupy small islands that do not foster diversity and offer few day-to-day contacts with other languages, symbiosis should not be common and causativization rates should not be high. In Table 10 , the highest proportions are indeed found in Island Southeast Asia Malay, Acehnese and lower proportions are found elsewhere, supporting the hypothesis or at least not undermining it, but a much larger survey and community-specific accounts of sociolinguistics are needed to draw any firm conclusions.

Causativization, and specific causative morphology, are ancestral in Austronesian, and here it is the retention of an attractor state that is relevant. Retention rates are lower in places where symbiosis is unlikely to have occurred, higher where it might have occurred. Table Austronesian languages: Proportions of the nine verb pairs that use causativization, and broad locations. The Balkan Sprachbund, or Balkan language area, in the southern part of the Balkan Peninsula, is the exception that proves the rule. The languages of the Sprachbund are Greek, Albanian, Macedonian, Bulgarian, southeastern Torlak Serbian, Arumanian Balkan Romanian , and Romani; Turkish has been present for several centuries but does not participate in the Sprachbund.

The Sprachbund is a textbook case of a linguistic area involving contact, multilingualism, and grammatical convergence Causativization is low in the Balkan Sprachbund, not appreciably different from the rest of western Europe. There has been a good deal of lexical borrowing, extensive grammatical convergence, but no selection of the attractors covered here The evident reason is that Balkan sociolinguistics is quite different from symbiosis. There is multilingualism beginning in childhood, clear language identity, language discreteness, and low tolerance for mixing and code switching.

All of the languages except for Romani are national languages with written standards that further inhibit selection and mixture though Arumanian and Torlak Serbian are quite different from the national standards. Symbiosis and selection are not expected in this situation and they have apparently not occurred in the Balkan Sprachbund. Non-linguistic causation, in the domain studied here, is evidently for real, but it is not a simple cause-and-effect matter. We need a three-factor model. First, alignment with event-structure semantics and the ready availability of sources of causativizing morphemes make causativization a potential attractor.

Second, the sociolinguistics of symbiosis lets selection operate. Third, the right combination of environmental and sociolinguistic conditions lets selected variants be propagated and take root. The environmental factors include deserts and high latitudes, and it should be emphasized again that the actual cause is not these geophysical environments but the sparse populations they host. The m-T and n-m pronoun patterns used as introductory illustration have striking geographical distributions: well attested in one macrocontinent and rare elsewhere.

Causativization is less black-and-white, found to appreciable extents everywhere except Europe, and it is more frequent worldwide. Some of the difference may be in how the two are measured causativization is sought over a larger wordlist than the basic first and second person pronouns , but the main factor must be ease of selection: borrowing of pronouns is generally inhibited, but pattern copying of verb derivational structure is more readily tolerated as shown by accommodation of derivational types to those of neighboring languages, discussed for Western Armenian and Romani.

Language families vary in their mean frequencies of causativization, and most of that variation reflects not the non-linguistic causes described here but relatively stable family traits. Therefore the effect of symbiosis and the relevant environmental factors is to raise or lower proportions of causativization relative to family means.

There is no absolute threshold above which symbiosis can be confidently posited and below which it cannot. Symbiosis is a product of intense contact, but not all intense contact produces symbiosis. The Balkan Sprachbund is the clearest case of intense contact without symbiosis. Other areas known to have language identity, linguistic discreteness, and grammatical but not lexical convergence include northern Australia and much of Amazonia, where societies and languages are smaller and languages are mostly unwritten but the sociolinguistics and striking combination of shared grammar and discrete lexicons are also present.

Another kind of contact situation without symbiosis is asymmetrical dominance, where one language is more widely used or valued than another for reasons such as political dominance, national language used in education vs.