A study that combined linguistic, genetic, and archaeological evidence traced the origins of a family of languages including Japanese, Korean, Turkish, and modern Mongolian and the people who spoke them to millet farmers who inhabited an area in the northeast. China About 9000 years ago.
The findings identified Wednesday document a common genetic origin for hundreds of millions of people who speak what researchers call Transurasian languages across an area of more than 5,000 miles (8,000 km).
The findings illustrate how humankind’s embrace of agriculture after the Ice Age led to the dispersal of some of the world’s major language families. Millet was an important early crop as hunters moved to an agricultural lifestyle.
There are 98 Transurasian languages, including Korean, Japanese, and various Turkic languages in parts of Europe, Anatolia, Central Asia and Siberia, and various Mongolian languages and various Tungusic languages in Manchuria and Siberia.
The beginnings of this language family have been traced back to Neolithic millet farmers in the Liao River Valley, an area that includes parts of China’s Liaoning and Jilin provinces and the Inner Mongolia region. As these farmers moved through Northeast Asia over thousands of years, descending languages spread north and west to Siberia and the steppes, east to the Korean Peninsula and across the sea to the Japanese archipelago.
The research emphasized the complex beginnings of modern populations and cultures.
“Accepting that the roots of one’s language, culture, or people transcend current national borders is a kind of capitulation to identity, for which some people were not yet ready for the Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History and lead author of The study published in the journal Nature.
Powerful countries such as Japan, Korea and China are often portrayed as representing one language, one culture, and one genetic profile. But the fact that makes people with nationalist agendas uncomfortable is that all languages, cultures, and human beings, including those in Asia, are mixed.”
The researchers created a data set of vocabulary concepts for 98 languages, identified the core of ancestral words related to agriculture, and constructed a family tree for the language.
Archaeologist and study co-author Mark Hudson said the researchers examined data from 255 archaeological sites in China, Japan, the Korean Peninsula and Russia’s Far East, assessing similarities in artifacts including pottery, stone tools, and remains of plants and animals. They also took into account the dates of 269 ancient crop remains from different sites.
Researchers have determined that farmers in northeastern China eventually added rice and wheat millet, an agricultural package that was carried when these populations spread to the Korean Peninsula around 1300 BC and from there to Japan after around 1000 BC.
The researchers conducted genomic analyzes on the ancient remains of 23 people and examined data on others who lived in North and East Asia 9,500 years ago.
The origins of the modern Chinese languages arose independently, albeit in a similar fashion, with millet as well. Whereas the ancestors of the Transurasian languages grew broom millet in the Liao River valley, the originators of the Sino-Tibetan language family cultivated fox millet around the same time in the Yellow River region of China, paving the way for the dispersal of a separate language, Robbets said. .