Eupedia Forums
Site NavigationEupedia Top > Eupedia Forum & Japan Forum
Results 1 to 3 of 3

Thread: How people talk now holds clues about human migration centuries ago

  1. #1
    Moderator Achievements:
    Three FriendsTagger First Class1 year registered50000 Experience Points
    Awards:
    Master Tagger
    Jovialis's Avatar
    Join Date
    04-05-17
    Location
    New York City
    Posts
    2,618
    Points
    70,832
    Level
    82
    Points: 70,832, Level: 82
    Level completed: 64%, Points required for next Level: 618
    Overall activity: 99.3%

    Y-DNA haplogroup
    R1b1a1a2b1 (R-F1794)
    MtDNA haplogroup
    H6a1b

    Ethnic group
    Italian
    Country: United States



    How people talk now holds clues about human migration centuries ago



    Often, you can tell where someone grew up by the way they speak.

    For example, if someone in the United States doesn't pronounce the final "r" at the end of "car," you might think they are from the Boston area, based on sometimes exaggerated stereotypes about American accents and dialects, such as "Pahk the cahr in Hahvahd Yahd."

    Linguists go deeper than the stereotypes, though. They've used large-scale surveys to map out many features of dialects. The more you know about how a person pronounces certain words, the more likely you'll be able to pinpoint where they are from. For instance, linguists know that dropping the "r" sounds at the end of words is actually common in many English dialects; they can map in space and time how r-dropping is widespread in the London area and has become increasingly common in England over the years.

    In a recent study, we applied this concept to a different question: the formation of Creole languages. As a linguist and a biologist who studies cultural evolution, we wanted to see how much information we could glean from a snapshot of how a language exists at one moment in time. Working with linguist Hubert Devonish and psychologist Ewart Thomas, could we figure out the language "ingredients" that went into a Creole language, and where these "ingredients" originally came from?

    Mixing languages to make a Creole

    When a Creole language forms, it's generally because two or more populations come together without a common language to speak. Across history, this was often in the context of colonialism, indentured servitude and slavery. For example, in the U.S., Louisiana Creole was formed by speakers of French and several African languages in the French slave colony of Louisiana. As people mix, a new language forms, and often the origins of individual words can be traced back to one of the source languages.

    Our idea was that, if specific dialects were common among the migrants, the way they pronounce words might influence the pronunciations in the new Creole language. In other words, if English-derived words in a Creole exhibit r-dropping, we might hypothesize that the English speakers present when the Creole formed also dropped their r's.

    Following this logic, we examined the pronunciation of Sranan, an English-based Creole still spoken in Suriname. We wanted to see if we could use language clues to identify where in England the original settlers came from. Sranan developed around the mid-17th century, due to contact between speakers of English dialects from England, migrants from elsewhere in Europe (such as Portugal and the Netherlands) and enslaved Africans who spoke a variety of West African languages.

    As is the case with most English-based Creoles, the majority of the lexicon is English. Unlike most English Creoles, though, Sranan represents a linguistic fossil of the early colonial English that went into its development. In 1667, soon after Sranan was formed, the English ceded Suriname to the Dutch, and most English speakers moved elsewhere. So the indentured servants and other migrants from England had a brief but strong influence on Sranan.

    Using historical records to check our work

    We asked whether we could use features of Sranan to hypothesize where the English settlers originated and then corroborate these hypotheses via historical records.

    First, we compared a set of linguistic features of modern-day Sranan with those of English as spoken in 313 localities across England. We focused on things like the production of "r" sounds after vowels and "h" sounds at the start of words. Since some aspects of English dialects have changed over the last few centuries, we also consulted historical accounts of both English and Sranan.

    It turned out that 80 percent of the English features in Sranan could be traced back to regional dialectal features from two distinct locations within England: a cluster of locations near the port of Bristol and a cluster near Essex, in eastern England.

    Then, we examined archival records such as the Bristol Register of Servants to Foreign Plantations to see if the language clues we'd identified were backed up by historical evidence of migration. Indeed, these boat records indicate that indentured servants departing for English colonies were predominantly from the regions identified by our language analysis.

    Our research was proof of concept that we could use modern information to learn more about the linguistic features that went into the formation of a Creole language. We can gain confidence in our conclusions because the historical record backed them up. Language can be a solid clue about the origins and history of human migrations.

    We hope to use a similar approach to examine the African languages that have influenced Creole languages, since much less is known about the origins of enslaved people than the European indentured servants. Analyses like these might help us retrace aspects of forced migrations via the slave trade and paint a more complete linguistic picture of Creole formations.

    Read more at: https://phys.org/news/2018-03-people...uries.html#jCp

    Using features of a Creole language to reconstruct population history and cultural evolution: tracing the English origins of Sranan

    Abstract

    Creole languages are formed in conditions where speakers from distinct languages are brought together without a shared first language, typically under the domination of speakers from one of the languages and particularly in the context of the transatlantic slave trade and European colonialism. One such Creole in Suriname, Sranan, developed around the mid-seventeenth century, primarily out of contact between varieties of English from England, spoken by the dominant group, and multiple West African languages. The vast majority of the basic words in Sranan come from the language of the dominant group, English. Here, we compare linguistic features of modern-day Sranan with those of English as spoken in 313 localities across England. By way of testing proposed hypotheses for the origin of English words in Sranan, we find that 80% of the studied features of Sranan can be explained by similarity to regional dialect features at two distinct input locations within England, a cluster of locations near the port of Bristol and another cluster near Essex in eastern England. Our new hypothesis is supported by the geographical distribution of specific regional dialect features, such as post-vocalic rhoticity and word-initial ‘h’, and by phylogenetic analysis of these features, which shows evidence favouring input from at least two English dialects in the formation of Sranan. In addition to explicating the dialect features most prominent in the linguistic evolution of Sranan, our historical analyses also provide supporting evidence for two distinct hypotheses about the likely geographical origins of the English speakers whose language was an input to Sranan. The emergence as a likely input to Sranan of the speech forms of a cluster near Bristol is consistent with historical records, indicating that most of the indentured servants going to the Americas between 1654 and 1666 were from Bristol and nearby counties, and that of the cluster near Essex is consistent with documents showing that many of the governors and important planters came from the southeast of England (including London) (Smith 1987 The Genesis of the Creole Languages of Surinam; Smith 2009 In The handbook of pidgin and creole studies, pp. 98–129).

    http://rstb.royalsocietypublishing.o.../1743/20170055

  2. #2
    Advisor Achievements:
    VeteranThree Friends50000 Experience PointsRecommendation Second Class
    Awards:
    Posting Award
    Angela's Avatar
    Join Date
    02-01-11
    Posts
    14,825
    Points
    249,628
    Level
    100
    Points: 249,628, Level: 100
    Level completed: 0%, Points required for next Level: 0
    Overall activity: 99.6%


    Ethnic group
    Italian
    Country: USA - New York



    1 out of 1 members found this post helpful.
    Quote Originally Posted by Jovialis View Post
    [I]Often, you can tell where someone grew up by the way they speak.

    For example, if someone in the United States doesn't pronounce the final "r" at the end of "car," you might think they are from the Boston area, based on sometimes exaggerated stereotypes about American accents and dialects, such as "Pahk the cahr in Hahvahd Yahd."

    Linguists go deeper than the stereotypes, though. They've used large-scale surveys to map out many features of dialects. The more you know about how a person pronounces certain words, the more likely you'll be able to pinpoint where they are from. For instance, linguists know that dropping the "r" sounds at the end of words is actually common in many English dialects; they can map in space and time how r-dropping is widespread in the London area and has become increasingly common in England over the years.

    In a recent study, we applied this concept to a different question: the formation of Creole languages. As a linguist and a biologist who studies cultural evolution, we wanted to see how much information we could glean from a snapshot of how a language exists at one moment in time. Working with linguist Hubert Devonish and psychologist Ewart Thomas, could we figure out the language "ingredients" that went into a Creole language, and where these "ingredients" originally came from?

    Mixing languages to make a Creole

    When a Creole language forms, it's generally because two or more populations come together without a common language to speak. Across history, this was often in the context of colonialism, indentured servitude and slavery. For example, in the U.S., Louisiana Creole was formed by speakers of French and several African languages in the French slave colony of Louisiana. As people mix, a new language forms, and often the origins of individual words can be traced back to one of the source languages.

    Our idea was that, if specific dialects were common among the migrants, the way they pronounce words might influence the pronunciations in the new Creole language. In other words, if English-derived words in a Creole exhibit r-dropping, we might hypothesize that the English speakers present when the Creole formed also dropped their r's.

    Following this logic, we examined the pronunciation of Sranan, an English-based Creole still spoken in Suriname. We wanted to see if we could use language clues to identify where in England the original settlers came from. Sranan developed around the mid-17th century, due to contact between speakers of English dialects from England, migrants from elsewhere in Europe (such as Portugal and the Netherlands) and enslaved Africans who spoke a variety of West African languages.

    As is the case with most English-based Creoles, the majority of the lexicon is English. Unlike most English Creoles, though, Sranan represents a linguistic fossil of the early colonial English that went into its development. In 1667, soon after Sranan was formed, the English ceded Suriname to the Dutch, and most English speakers moved elsewhere. So the indentured servants and other migrants from England had a brief but strong influence on Sranan.

    Using historical records to check our work

    We asked whether we could use features of Sranan to hypothesize where the English settlers originated and then corroborate these hypotheses via historical records.

    First, we compared a set of linguistic features of modern-day Sranan with those of English as spoken in 313 localities across England. We focused on things like the production of "r" sounds after vowels and "h" sounds at the start of words. Since some aspects of English dialects have changed over the last few centuries, we also consulted historical accounts of both English and Sranan.

    It turned out that 80 percent of the English features in Sranan could be traced back to regional dialectal features from two distinct locations within England: a cluster of locations near the port of Bristol and a cluster near Essex, in eastern England.

    Then, we examined archival records such as the Bristol Register of Servants to Foreign Plantations to see if the language clues we'd identified were backed up by historical evidence of migration. Indeed, these boat records indicate that indentured servants departing for English colonies were predominantly from the regions identified by our language analysis.

    Our research was proof of concept that we could use modern information to learn more about the linguistic features that went into the formation of a Creole language. We can gain confidence in our conclusions because the historical record backed them up. Language can be a solid clue about the origins and history of human migrations.

    We hope to use a similar approach to examine the African languages that have influenced Creole languages, since much less is known about the origins of enslaved people than the European indentured servants. Analyses like these might help us retrace aspects of forced migrations via the slave trade and paint a more complete linguistic picture of Creole formations.

    Read more at: https://phys.org/news/2018-03-people...uries.html#jCp
    Very interesting. I think I remember discussions here on our Board about the fact that the "dialects" or "accents" of different areas in the U.S. stems from the counties in England which provided most of the migrants to those states.

    The majority of the Puritan settlers of the New England states came from Puritan strongholds in eastern England like Suffolk, Essex, Norfolk and parts of Lincolnshire. The "Cavaliers" of the lowland south were more from the southwest, Devon, Wiltshire etc. if I remember correctly and were Royalist sympathizers. Appalachia was settled more by people from the borders or the Scots/Irish, who in large degree were from southern Scotland around the Borders anyway.

    There's a book called Albion's Seed which documents it.
    https://books.google.com/books?id=wW...0books&f=false

    This is Shakespeare as it would have originally been pronounced:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Hi-rejaoP7U

    Some linguists seem to feel that the dialect and pronunciation of certain regions in the U.S., or Australia have preserved the English of Shakespeare's time better than it has been preserved in England. I wonder if linguists who specialize in Indo-European take that sufficiently into account.


    Non si fa il proprio dovere perchè qualcuno ci dica grazie, lo si fa per principio, per se stessi, per la propria dignità. Oriana Fallaci

  3. #3
    Regular Member Achievements:
    OverdriveVeteranThree Friends25000 Experience Points
    Yetos's Avatar
    Join Date
    02-10-11
    Location
    Makedonia
    Posts
    5,191
    Points
    39,404
    Level
    61
    Points: 39,404, Level: 61
    Level completed: 28%, Points required for next Level: 946
    Overall activity: 10.0%

    Y-DNA haplogroup
    G2a3a
    MtDNA haplogroup
    X2b

    Ethnic group
    Makedonian original
    Country: Greece



    English is about to be the next 'big mamma' of many languages,
    these languages they will evolute their own way, till they become official languages,
    At Alexandreia Greek teachers needed codes so to tone and pronounce correct Hellenistic Greek the students,
    Latin manage to gave heritage creating some daughter languages, at West
    and expand to the New world creating more there so to be one of the most geographicaly expand languages occupying at least 1 continent.
    Slavic although one language spoken to almost East Europe and split to the many today
    Germanic took N Europe and England
    But English is about to overlap all, maybe even PIE,

    when Iwas studying English at school,
    teacher told us about a concress of commonwealth
    the Nigerian English speakers, and India ones, find it hard to understand each other fast, comparing with other areas speakers,
    Africaans is already on this way.
    Last edited by Yetos; 04-03-18 at 07:24.
    ΟΘΕΝ ΑΙΔΩΣ OY EINAI
    ΑΤΗ ΛΑΜΒΑΝΕΙΝ ΑΥΤΟΙΣ
    ΥΒΡΙΣ ΓΕΝΝΑΤΑΙ
    ΝΕΜΕΣΙΣ ΚΑΙ ΤΙΣΗ ΑΚΟΛΟΥΘΟΥΣΙ ΔΕ

    When there is no shame
    Divine blindness conquers them
    Hybris (abuse, opprombium) is born
    Nemesis and punishment follows.

    Εχε υπομονη Ηρωα
    Η τιμωρια δεν αργει.

Tags for this Thread

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •