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Chapitre D'ouvrage Année : 2017

The Silk Road: language and population admixture and replacement


This paper investigates the (non-)correlation between languages and genes on the Silk Road. It is expected to provide a clear picture of human migration history between Central Asia and East Asia. It aims to study models of language formation and replacement on the Silk Road after the 13th century AD. Combining natural sciences and human sciences enables us to overcome the limits of traditional methodology in historical linguistics. In light of biological and archeological research results, where dating is based on concrete materials, our investigation will trace language ancestry on the Silk Road over the same timescales. Diachronic linguistics needs new approaches to go beyond its chronological limits. The paper will first present the distribution of languages and Y chromosomes in Northwest China, then analyze their (non)correlation. Two models of language formation/replacement will be studied based on these concrete data: 1) The Elite Dominance model, initially put forth by Renfrew (1987), will be revisited and refined; 2) The Culture Dominance model, proposed in this article, will complete the first model. Finally, preliminary conclusions will be given.


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hal-01935687 , version 1 (27-11-2018)



Dan Xu, Shaoqing Wen. The Silk Road: language and population admixture and replacement. Dan Xu, Hui Li. Languages and Genes in Northwestern China and Adjacent Regions, Springer Verlag, pp.55-78, 2017, 978-981-10-4169-3. ⟨10.1007/978-981-10-4169-3_4⟩. ⟨hal-01935687⟩
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