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Linguistic Testimony And Migration Histories

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Chapter Summary

The application of linguistic evidence in tracing human migrations has a long scholarly history. This chapter begins with two examples of the classical methods of tracing the paths of long-term migration through language evidence. From there it moves on to the less widely known methods of loanword analysis, presenting several historical case studies to illustrate some of the more telling ways in which this kind of evidence can advance the historical understanding of migration in global history. The spread of a language has always been accompanied by the migration of speakers of the language. The Numic and the Bantu examples illustrate how the evidence of language relationships and the mapping of those relationships reveal origin areas and outline the broad directions of such migrations. The problem of Indonesian migration to Madagascar, bringing the Malagasy language and culture to the island, has been the topic of a number of studies.

Keywords: Bantu; human migrations; linguistic evidence; loanword analysis; Malagasy language; Numic



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