In history class we learned that Native Americans descend from people who migrated from Siberia 12,000 years ago, supposedly traveling through the Bering Strait, and then, as time went on, they began to descend into other territories of the continent. There are many theories and investigations that relate Asian and American languages, such as the connections between Chinese and Maya languages, but linguistics only accepts 2 relations between Asian and American languages. In this post I will present 5 existing theories.
The conection between asian and amerindian languages
The most obvious relationship between Asian and Amerindian languages is found in the Eskimo-Aleutian language family, which are spoken in Alaska, the Canadian Arctic, Greenland, and Siberia in Russia. Among the languages of this family are the Yupik languages, which are spoken by 14,000 Alaskan Yupik Eskimos. On the other hand, the central Siberian Yupik dialect is spoken by 1000 people in the far eastern part of Russia and the Naukanski dialect is spoken by approximately 100 people in the villages of Lorenzo, Lorino and Whalen, and around the Chukotka peninsula, in Eastern Siberia.
The second probably proven connection to Asia are the Na-Dene languages. Edward Vajda seems to have discovered a technical connection between the Na-Dene languages and the Yenisei languages of which only Ket remains. The Yenisei languages were spoken in central Siberia on the Yenisei river and may have moved from the Lake Baikal area. Na-Dene languages are a language family that is spoke in Canada, Alaska, the Pacific coast, and in the American southwest. Navajo is the most spoken language of this group with about 200,000 speakers.
Native Americans Zuni and the Japanese people are related
The Zuni tribe has perplexed the anthropologists with their language, they speak a language that is too similar to Japanese to be a coincidence. Anthropologists can not understand why this connection exists. The Zuni Indians are very different from other tribes in the United States. Not only their religion, language and blood type is different from the rest of the tribes, but they are the only ones that have a connection with the Japanese. This prompted some researchers and scientists to discover that both Zuni and Japanese have a similar frequency of type B blood, a rare type of kidney disease and very specific oral traditions about their origins. There is a theory that says that Buddhist missionaries somehow came to California around the 12th century.
Most scientists believe that the Zuni are different because they have remained isolated for many years from other tribes. Professor Nancy Davis of the University of Chicago has a different theory that could solve the mystery of why the Zuni culture is so different from the rest.
Professor Davis suggests that the Zuni Indians made strong contact with the Buddhist monks who migrated in the 14th century from Japan to the west coast of what is now the American continent. In her book, The Zuni Enigma: A Native American People’s Possible Japanese Connection, Professor Davis presents her evidence that an ancient Japanese-zuni connection is possible and compatible.
Some words are similar between both languages, as an example, clan in Zuni is ‘kwe’ and in Japanese ‘kwai’. The word for priest in Japanese is ‘shawani’, while in zuni it is ‘shiwani’. Both the zuni and the Japanese use the verb as the last word of a sentence, a feature that only 45% of languages share. This may not seem like much, but the Zuni language is very different in this to the other languages around it. Below is a comparative table with some lexical similarities between both languages.
|To be inside||Uchi||Uchi|
The gallinomero language and its similarity to Chinese
Below is a table showing the similarities between the gallinomero language of the southern russian river, in California, USA and the Chinese language.
|Outside||Way to||Wei teu|
The Mayan language and its similarity with Chinese languages
The Mayans created one of the oldest cultures in the world and share common ancestry with the Chinese that date back approximately 5000 years. This can be seen in the great similarity between the words of both languages.
|English||Chinese mandarin||Yucatec maya|
|Wood for burning||Chai||Che|
If we compare now ancient Mayan and ancient Chinese we can see that the similarity is more evident and, clearly you can see that they share a common origin.
Ancient Mayan and Ancient Chinese comparison
|English||Ancient Chinese||Ancient Maya|
The ancient Chinese shown here is from a book called Classic Poems, which contains poems and songs collected around 1000 BC.
Because the Pacific separated the Chinese and the Mayans, the correspondence is not exact and sometimes there is only similarity, but we can see the trace of a common origin because the number of similar words are very many, so it is not a simple coincidence. The reason why linguists do not accept the relationship between these languages is because both have very different grammatical structures, Mayan languages are ergative and Chinese languages are accusative.
The commonly used words shared by Maya and Chinese were used to provide a way to calculate the time in which these two languages separated. In linguistics a table of 100 basic words is used, of these only 26 are similar between Mayan and Chinese, if we eliminate 4 ambiguous words of them, 22 remain. This results in 5000 years ago the Maya separated from the Chinese. This result coincides with the following research results in linguistics, archeology, anthropology and history.
1. About 4600 years ago, the primitive Mayan language was separated into different dialects.
2. Maya pottery dates back around 4500 years.
Similarities between the Tupi language and Japanese
The Tupi language is spoken in the United States and shares many lexical similarities with Japanese.
There are many more similarities between Asian and Amerindian languages, but these were only 7. There is no doubt that there are still many mysteries in history to be discovered and that’s very exciting.