Fri 20 Jun, 2003 08:30 am
as I was saying........can't we use religion & language to find significant and generally reliable traces of human migration. Take Latin for example, or Greek or English. There's always exceptions but it seems an overlooked resource.
I think you need to define the question a little more.
As a culture or subgroup, indivdual ie a missionary?
Isn't that what a lot of the study of linguistics is about these days?
Latin and Greek roots have nothing to do with migration. They entered the European languages through Bible and ancient philosophy, and these have universal meaning in any part of the world.
I don't think it has been overlooked at all. Linguistic analysis is precisely how they've traced the origin of the Romani (or Gypsies).
Not in today's world. It's too intermingled in most countries of today. Maybe in isolated places, but that's really difficult to find. c.i.
I don't think the question is about today's world, but about reconstructing history. Could be wrong, though.
A great deal of the work of reconstructing the colonization of the various Pacific Ocean island groups by Polynesians was done by looking at language as well, I believe. It's just like looking at genetic mutations in island populations. If these two islands have the same word for sweet potato, but it is slightly different than the word over on this island, that gives us some idea of the sequence in which the islands were reached.
Of course religion and language is one of the sources, history uses to track e.g. migration.
Besides others, of course, and not as a single method.
pd, When I visited Auckland, New Zealand, many years ago, I talked to a Polynesian couple working in a shop on one of the main streets. They told me that they can understand the languages spoken in Hawaii, because of the many similarities. They may be able to trace their culture back to the same islands, but it seems to me that the Polynesians of Rotorua and Hawaii have very definite differences. c.i.
Absolutely. The migrations throughout the islands happened a very long time ago. I just seem to remember reading somewhere that historians have been able to reconstruct the relative dates of the settlements of each of the islands based on subtle changes in the vocabulary.
Linguists have multiple typologies about groups, subgroups and supergroups of languages. There is no consensus about the need of stablishing such classifications. Comparative philology is divided between "lumpers" (contrary to classifications) and "splitters" (who like them)
The main linguistic groups that have been proposed by "splitters" are:
a) Nostratic: Afroasiatic, altaicas, dravidic, indoeuropean, eskimoaleutian and uralic tongues.
b) Sinodenocaucasian: sinotibetan, basque, na-dené (from the American plains) and caucasian.
c) Amerindian: all Native American languages, except na-dené (group b) and eskimoaleutian (group a).
d) Austrican: malaypolinesian, thai, mon-khmer y and others from Southeast Asia and the Pacific Islands.
"Lumpers" believe there was an original language, from which all the others come from. Perhaps.
Some elements to consider:
min is phallic God in ancient Egyptian; mantar is group of men in Tamil (Sri Lanka), man, in English.
qena means lady in Oromo (Africa), quani: woman, in Tasmania; kunu, wife in Kirguizian (Central Asia); queen, in English.
kuli means annus in Karuni (Saharian), kolo, means hole in Finnish; culo means annus (butt) in Spanish, Italian and probably Portugues; hole, in English.
And the word for God in Calssical Greek is theos, in Latin is Deus, in Nahuatl (Aztec) is Teotl, in Orinoco (South America) is Theos, in Chinese is Tien; in Malay is Tuan.
As for religion, there is an interesting "coincidence", the Sun God of the Hopis in Arizona is named Taiowa, and the sun in old Japan was called Taiyo-wa.
fbaezer, When did these cultures use the word for god? I'd be interested in knowing if the word for "god" was originated before the Hebrew god. c.i.
Pretty elemental words there, fbaezer! Good stuff.
The tetragramatton JHVH precedes the use of those words, if we take it that the Bible is also a compilation of ancient myths from all over the world.
So we can find:
Yoho (supreme God, among some Polinesian tribes)
Yaho (the mythic Emperor of China in the time of the Deluge)
Yavana (supreme God in Sanscrit).
Yahu (Volcan God, in Vanuatu)
And we also find:
Jove (Latin, also known as Jupiter).
In "Moby Dick", there's a "little black idol" that Quequegg adores: Yoho.
Can you provide some time periods for their use? c.i.