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Japanese-Korean-Turkish language group traced to farmers in ancient China

thomas

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Neolithic millet farmers in the Liao River valley, an area encompassing parts of the Chinese provinces of Liaoning and Jilin and the region of Inner Mongolia, are the origin of 98 trans-Eurasian languages, including Korean and Japanese as well as various Turkic languages including Turkish in parts of Europe, Anatolia, Central Asia and Siberia, various Mongolic languages including Mongolian in Central and Northeast Asia, and various Tungusic languages in Manchuria and Siberia.


A study combining linguistic, genetic and archaeological evidence has traced the origins of the family of languages including modern Japanese, Korean, Turkish and Mongolian and the people who speak them to millet farmers who inhabited a region in northeastern China about 9,000 years ago. The findings detailed earlier this month document a shared genetic ancestry for the hundreds of millions of people who speak what the researchers call trans-Eurasian languages across an area stretching more than 8,000 kilometers. The findings illustrate how humankind's embrace of agriculture following the ice age powered the dispersal of some of the world's major language families. Millet was an important early crop as hunter-gatherers transitioned to an agricultural lifestyle. There are 98 trans-Eurasian languages. Among these are Korean and Japanese as well as: various Turkic languages including Turkish in parts of Europe, Anatolia, Central Asia and Siberia; various Mongolic languages including Mongolian in Central and Northeast Asia; and various Tungusic languages in Manchuria and Siberia.



A tiny grain of millet may have given birth to one of the most mysterious—and widespread—language families on Earth, according to the largest study yet of linguistic, archaeological, and genetic evidence from about a dozen countries across Asia. The Transeurasian languages, sometimes known as Altaic, include the languages of Siberia, Mongolia, Central Asia, and possibly Japan and the Korean Peninsula. The new study suggests the language family arose in northeastern China 9000 years ago, expanding with the spread of agriculture.

How agriculture gave rise to one of the world's most mysterious language families
 
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