Sunday, November 30, 2003

Just read about an Auckland University study that traces the English language back to Turkish farmers.

"For almost two centuries linguists and archaeologists debated two theories on the origins of the language family whose members ranged from Greek and Hindi to German and English.

It was thought the language was either spread by rampaging Kurgan horsemen who swept down on Europe and the Near East from the steppes of Russia 6,000 years ago, or by farmers from Anatolia (modern day Turkey) who had tilled their way westwards several millennia earlier."

Associate Professor Russell Gray and PhD student Quentin Atkinson believe that the latter version is true. They used "computational methods derived from evolutionary biology to study the problem for the past five years."

Indo-European languages appear to have "expanded with the spread of agriculture from Anatolia 7,800 to 9,800 years ago".

The pair analysed thousands of words from 87 languages (past and present).

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