June 6th, 2013, 06:08 AM #1
timlohrentz is offline
Petaluma, California, USA
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Default Language and Genetics Show Taiwan to Chile Migration (Not from Siberia)
Based on a comparative analysis of the Taiwanese aboriginal language, Siraya, and the oldest Mayan language Ch’orti’, there is a likelihood that Taiwan was the origin point for the Maya and most of the indigenous in the Americas. Furthermore it is consistent with the idea that the Mayan-related migration was by ocean rather than overland. This would deal a major blow to the theory that the origin point for America’s indigenous was Siberia or Mongolia and that they arrived by way of the Bering Strait.
Earlier I have linked all of the South American and Central American indigenous to the migration that landed at Monte Verde, Chile. All of the first settlements in South America, such as Taima-taima, Venezuela; El Abra Tocanpica, Colombia; Lapa do Boquete, Brazil; and Cueva Guitarrero, Peru appear to have come from Monte Verde and spoke a language that is close to proto Ch’orti’. Central American and Mexican first peoples likely came from Taltal, Chile, site of the oldest mine in the Americas, and radiated out from the first landing location of Toluca Beach, El Salvador. I have yet to demonstrate that many if not most of the indigenous of present-day Canada and the U.S. are a result of migrations either from South or Central America, also linking them to Monte Verde, and, likely, to Taiwan.
The first peoples of South America were familiar with water craft and likely traveled by raft from Monte Verde, Chile, to Taima-taima, Venezuela, moving around South America in a counter-clockwise motion near the Pacific shore, through the Straits of Magellan, and then along the Atlantic shore. They also arrived to the other sites mentioned above by raft. The sailing stones of four early rafts, corresponding to the Maya migration, remain at Toluca Beach, El Salvador, likely dating to about 8700 BCE. The first peoples were sailing people, quite familiar with the ocean.
When looking for the origin place and people of the Monte Verde migration, I looked at the ancient populations along the western Pacific. The aboriginals of Australia came to mind but it is not clear that they maintained a sailing culture after first arrival to Australia. I considered Japan but did not find a record of population in 13,000 BCE. The most famous western Pacific ocean people are the people who make up the Austronesian language group – Indonesians, Malaysians, Filipinos, Polynesians, etc. But the Austronesian language group has its origin in Taiwan – nine out of ten Austronesian language branches are Formosan according to Robert Blust. In 13,000 BCE it does not appear that the people of this language group had dispersed beyond Taiwan.
full-size map The Taiwanese aboriginal languages are commonly called the Formosan languages. Siraya is part of the East Formosan branch. It was spoken at the time of the arrival of the Dutch along the southwest coast of Taiwan. Its historic area has been hypothesized to center on the Chianan Plain, which is one of the most fertile in Taiwan. I chose Siraya because it is a coastal language rather than a mountain language, thus more likely to be ocean people. Based on the name Siraya and its location bordering on nearly all of the other Formosan languages I think that it is one of the older Formosan languages. But given that the Americas migration would have taken place in about 13,000 BCE, the Formosan languages may not have diverged much. Therefore, looking at any of the Formosan languages should reveal similar linguistic connections with Ch’orti’.
The linguistic similarities between Siraya and Ch’orti’ are found mostly in the cultural heritage words, such as those for close relatives and parts of the body.
Comparison of Cultural Words, Siraya and Ch’orti’
The close translations of similar meaning words for mother, grandmother, father, son or daughter, and human are very significant. These are among the words least likely to change in a language. This similarity of so many of these words could not happen randomly. Furthermore, similar words with related meanings for body, cheek, and limb are also important.
Although sky (bulum) in Siraya flips to earth (lum) in Ch’orti’, these are both basic elements of nature. In addition we see a similar Siraya word for field or land (uma) with a close correspondence to land (lum). Another Siraya word for land or soil malii corresponds closely with mar/mal in Ch’orti’. Finally it is significant that the word Siraya has meaning in Ch’orti’ – “to be raised up”. Most important is the first syllable – raise in Ch’orti’. More comparative words are listed at the end of this post in the form of an appendix.
The languages do not appear to share personal pronouns, which is another way show linkage between two related languages.
1st singular iau in, ne’n
2nd singular imhu ne’t
3rd singular teni u, y
1st plural imatta no’n
2nd plural imumi no’x
3rd plural ta neini u
One phonetic similarity between the two languages is an exchanging of the ‘l’ and ‘r’. In Ch’orti’ this appears to be complete, where there has been only one letter pronounced halfway between ‘l’ and ‘r’, like Japanese, at least until modern times. In Siraya there appear to be two separate letters but in some words are inter-changeable. One example of this is the word for cat, which can be either ruklau or luklao.
One other similarity between Ch’orti’ and Siraya is that both languages appear to be agglutinative, that is larger words are formed by creating compounds from smaller words. One example from about the time when the first peoples arrived in Chile in 12,800 BCE, that is, when proto Ch’orti’ separated from proto Formosan, is the name of the river by Monte Verde, Chile: Chinchihuapi. Chin is to vibrate, ch’i is small, and wahpi is continuous: a small continuously vibrating river.
Linking the Maya and other American indigenous to the Siraya language also links them to the Malay-Filipino-Polynesian branch of the Austronesian languages. Polynesian folklore says that they came from Hawaiki. In Ch’orti’ this would be “water source of the heart”: ha’-wih-ki’ (or “heart origin in the water”).
The genetics of the Austronesian language speakers also link the Polynesian to the Taiwanese aboriginals, with the genetic separation from mainland China occurring between 10,000 and 20,000 years ago, marked by several unique genetic mutations. The Maya and American indigenous do not share in those genetic mutations. This means that the migration to the Americas either originated from China before the Taiwanese aboriginals left the mainland or it departed from Taiwan soon after the migration from China to Taiwan (but before any genetic mutations had occurred). This is feasible given the migration to the Americans about 15,000 years ago.
There were at least five migrations from Asia to the Americas. The first two were the hunter migration most likely across the Bering Strait and the sea people migration from Taiwan to Chile, described in this post. The former seems to correspond to mitochondrial haplogroups C and D, while the latter corresponds to haplogroup B. It is hard to explain the presence of haplogroup B in the Americas using a Bering Strait narrative. In fact the branch of haplogroup B that is found in the Americas (B2) is closest to Asian B4b1 which is most densely found among the aboriginals of Hainan and Taiwan (7%). This strongly supports a Taiwan to the Americas migration. It is also possible that either haplogroup C or D also corresponds to a Taiwan to the Americas migration. The Popol Vuh mentions two instances of the Maya marrying hunter group women (Xibalba) which helps explain the mixing of haplogroups in much of the Americas. Obviously intermarrying would have happened beyond the Maya. The last three migrations to the Americas include the Na-Dene and Eskimo migrations, which seem to correspond to haplogroup A, and a mysterious fifth migration that corresponds with haplogroup X, which I will explain later.
pacific ocean routes.jpg
It is worth speculating about the route that was taken from Taiwan to Monte Verde, Chile. For any of the routes I do not believe that there were any intermittent settlements – they only stopped for fresh water, to hunt and gather useful plants.
Route A would have hugged the coastline the whole way except I think it would have been more likely to follow the Aleutian Islands rather than the Bering Strait. This would have been longest and slowest of the routes, although it would have had favorable currents much of the time. The big question that Route A raises is why they did not settle anywhere along the way instead of going all the way south along the South American coast to Monte Verde? The tropical areas of Mexico, Central America and northern South America would have been desirable. The only answer that makes sense to me is that they wanted to see the entirety of the continents before settling down near the far south point. While the nearby Andes would have been impacted by the Ice Age, Monte Verde itself was close enough to the ocean that it would have had a somewhat warmer climate.
Route B follows the very favorable Japan and North Pacific currents and then south parallel to the North and South American coastlines. But it seems like Route A is much more likely for a North Pacific migration, allowing for food and water. Perhaps a combination of A and B would be the most likely, involving several coastline stops but not necessarily hugging the coast.
Route C would have gone south to the Philippine Islands, along New Guinea, then most likely along the Solomon Islands to New Caledonia to New Zealand. From New Zealand it goes a little further south to catch the South Pacific current which would propel the sail rafts the several thousand miles in open ocean to the tip of Chile. Then the migration route followed the coast until it found the first habitable area, Monte Verde. For nearly half of this route there would have been coastline stops.
Route C makes the most sense in answering the question why the first settlement was at Monte Verde. Route C does require a level of sailing proficiency and logistical sophistication to traverse several thousand miles of open ocean. The sailing proficiency is not hard to explain considering a Taiwan base – they would have had to sail from China to reach Taiwan and likely habitually sailed along the Ryukya Islands between Taiwan and Japan. Food, water, and directional navigation would have been the most difficult logistical issues. Food could be solved through fishing and seaweed collection. Rain can be collected in containers and dew will drip down sails to collect at end points of the sails.
The directional navigation could simply have been using the sun and stars as guides. Of course if there are several overcast days one can easily turn the wrong way. This is where reading currents and reading winds can come in handy and something that ocean people can be adept at.
The sharing of numerous cultural words and cognates between Siraya and Ch’orti’ makes a strong case for Taiwan be the source of the migration to Chile that became the Maya and many other indigenous people in the Americas. The linguistic connection is backed up by the genetics, specifically the presence of the mitochondrial haplogroup B in the Americas and its concentration among Taiwanese aboriginals. At least one migration to the Americas does not seem to fit the Siberia – Bering Strait model.
Appendix: Possible Cognates, Siraya and Ch’orti’
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