van Driem, George (2014). Trans-Himalayan. In: Owen-Smith, Thomas; Hil, Nathan W. (eds.) Trans-Himalayan Linguistics. Trends in linguistics. Studies and monographs: Vol. 266 (pp. 11-40). Berlin: De Gruyter Mouton

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This Trans-Himalayan tale unites two narratives, an historical account of scholarly thinking regarding linguistic phylogeny in eastern Eurasia alongside a reconstruction of the ethnolinguistic prehistory of eastern Eurasia based on linguistic and human population genetic phylogeography. The first story traces the tale of transformation in thought regarding language relationships in eastern Eurasia from Tibeto-Burman to Trans-Himalayan. The path is strewn with defunct family trees such as Indo-Chinese, Sino-Tibetan, Sino-Himalayan and Sino-Kiranti. In the heyday of racism in scholarship, Social Darwinism coloured both language
typology and the phylogenetic models of language relationship in eastern Eurasia.
Its influential role in the perpetuation of the Indo-Chinese model is generally left
untold. The second narrative presents a conjectural reconstruction of the ethnolinguistic prehistory of eastern Eurasia based on possible correlations between genes and language communities. In so doing, biological ancestry and linguistic affinity are meticulously distinguished, a distinction which the language typologists of yore sought to blur, although the independence of language and race was stressed time and again by prominent historical linguists.

Item Type:

Book Section (Book Chapter)


06 Faculty of Humanities > Department of Linguistics and Literary Studies > Institute of Linguistics

UniBE Contributor:

van Driem, George


400 Language > 410 Linguistics




Trends in linguistics. Studies and monographs


De Gruyter Mouton




George van Driem

Date Deposited:

15 Sep 2014 14:28

Last Modified:

05 Dec 2022 14:31




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