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A Successful Lecture by Dr. Lai at Department of Linguistics

【 Time:2019-05-28 】




            On May 22, 2019, the lecture by Yunfan Lai was successfully held in BLCU, Department of Linguistics.

Content Abstract

The past 10,000 years have witnessed the emergence of two of the largest language families in the world, one at the western end of the Eurasian continent and the other at its eastern end. Two languages make up more than 60% of the world's population: the IndoEuropean language family has 3.2 billion speakers, and the Sino-Tibetan family has 1.4 billion. Although Sino-Tibetan language has been studied since the beginning of the 19th century, scholars still have a limited understanding of the origin of this language and pay little attention to its pedigree.

In a new interdisciplinary study published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS) reveals when and where the Sino-Tibetan language originated. The team includes scientists those from the East Asian language institute in France, the Max Planck institute for human history in Germany and the institute for decision mathematics in Paris. The project used phylogenetic research methods, combined with the theory of traditional historical linguistics, to investigate 50 kinds of ancient and modern Sino-Tibetan languages, and came to the conclusion that Sino-Tibetan languages originated in northern China 7,200 years ago among the ancestors of millet farmers.