The language of the Transeurasian farmers
The Farming Language Dispersal Hypothesis makes the radical and controversial claim that many of the world’s major language families owe their present-day distribution to the adoption of agriculture by their early speakers. Especially for regions such as Northern Asia, where farming is only marginally viable, this claim has been seriously called into question. This paper investigates to what extent agriculture impacted the dispersal of the Transeurasian language family, i.e. the genealogical grouping consisting of the Turkic, Mongolic, Tungusic, Koreanic and Japonic languages. For this purpose, I establish the internal family structure of Transeurasian, reconstruct cultural vocabulary and situate the Transeurasian languages in time and space. Assessing the cultural reconstructions and mapping the tree topology, time-depth and homeland on the demographic transitions visible in the archaeological and genetic record, I find indications that proto-Transeurasian was spoken by people gradually adopting farming and that its dispersal was indeed driven by agriculture.
Keywords: Transeurasian, Farming Language Dispersal Hypothesis, genealogical relatedness, homeland, Neolithic
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