A prehistoric thoroughfare between the Ganges and the Himalayas

van Driem, George (2014). A prehistoric thoroughfare between the Ganges and the Himalayas. In: Jamir, Tiatoshi; Hazarika, Manjil (eds.) 50 Years after Daojali-Hading: Emerging Perspectives in the Archaeology of Northeast India (pp. 60-98). New Delhi: Research India Press

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The greater Himalayan region, including the Tibetan plateau in the north and the Gangetic plain in the south, served as the principal prehistoric thoroughfare for the
peopling of East and Southeast Asia. The descendants of ancient migrants through this region ultimately settled lands as far away as New Zealand, Madagascar and the Americas. Several of the keys to understanding the ethnogenesis of human diversity in Asia include the Father Tongue correlation, possible refugia during the Last Glacial Maximum and the hypothesis that language families may have arisen as the result of demographic bottlenecks in prehistory. Ethnolinguistically informed inferences based on Asian Y chromosomal phylogeography permit a reconstruction of episodes of ethnolinguistic prehistory which lie beyond the linguistic event horizon, i.e. beyond the time depth empirically accessible to historical linguistics. The origins of the language families which make up the hypothetical Uralo-Siberian and East Asian linguistic phyla are argued to have lain in the northeastern corner of the Indian subcontinent. Several other Asian language families are shown to be tied to the subcontinent. The Centripetal Migration model, which assumes that
migrations in quest of a better life unfolded in both centrifugal and centripetal directions with respect to technologically more advanced centres of civilisation,
is opposed to the Farming Language Dispersal theory, which assumes that all linguistic dispersals were driven by agricultural centrifugal migration.

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




Research India Press




George van Driem

Date Deposited:

24 Sep 2014 15:45

Last Modified:

05 Dec 2022 14:31





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