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Bringing together linguistic and genetic evidence to test the Bantu expansion

Cesare de Filippo, Koen Bostoen UGent, Marc Stoneking and Brigitte Pakendorf (2012) PROCEEDINGS OF THE ROYAL SOCIETY B-BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES. 279(1741). p.3256-3263
abstract
The expansion of Bantu languages represents one of the most momentous events in the history of Africa. While it is well accepted that Bantu languages spread from their homeland (Cameroon/Nigeria) ~5,000 years ago (ya), there is no consensus about the timing and geographic routes underlying this expansion. Two main models of Bantu expansion have been suggested: The “early-split” model claims that the most recent ancestor of Eastern languages expanded north of the rain forest towards the Great Lakes region ~4,000 ya, while the “late-split” model proposes that Eastern languages diversified from Western languages south of the rain forest ~2,000 ya. Furthermore, it is unclear whether the language dispersal was coupled with the movement of people, raising the question of language shift versus demic diffusion. We use a novel approach taking into account both the spatial and temporal predictions of the two models and formally test these predictions with linguistic and genetic data. Our results show evidence for a demic diffusion in the genetic data, which is confirmed by the correlations between genetic and linguistic distances. While there is little support for the early-split model, the late-split model shows a relatively good fit to the data. Our analyses demonstrate that subsequent contact among languages/populations strongly affected the signal of the initial migration via isolation by distance.
Please use this url to cite or link to this publication:
author
organization
year
type
journalArticle (original)
publication status
published
subject
keyword
LANGUAGES, Y-CHROMOSOME, HISTORY, MTDNA, POPULATIONS, AFRICA, Bantu, lexical data, autosome, Y chromosome, mtDNA, ANGOLA, human migration
journal title
PROCEEDINGS OF THE ROYAL SOCIETY B-BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES
Proc. R. Soc. B-Biol. Sci.
volume
279
issue
1741
pages
3256 - 3263
Web of Science type
Article
Web of Science id
000306335300019
JCR category
ECOLOGY
JCR impact factor
5.683 (2012)
JCR rank
13/135 (2012)
JCR quartile
1 (2012)
ISSN
0962-8452
DOI
10.1098/rspb.2012.0318
project
KONGOKING (Political centralization, economic integration and language evolution in Central Africa: An interdisciplinary approach to the early history of the Kongo kingdom.)
language
English
UGent publication?
yes
classification
A1
copyright statement
I have transferred the copyright for this publication to the publisher
id
3104755
handle
http://hdl.handle.net/1854/LU-3104755
date created
2013-01-23 08:34:16
date last changed
2016-12-19 15:45:43
@article{3104755,
  abstract     = {The expansion of Bantu languages represents one of the most momentous events in the history of Africa. While it is well accepted that Bantu languages spread from their homeland (Cameroon/Nigeria) {\texttildelow}5,000 years ago (ya), there is no consensus about the timing and geographic routes underlying this expansion. Two main models of Bantu expansion have been suggested: The {\textquotedblleft}early-split{\textquotedblright} model claims that the most recent ancestor of Eastern languages expanded north of the rain forest towards the Great Lakes region {\texttildelow}4,000 ya, while the {\textquotedblleft}late-split{\textquotedblright} model proposes that Eastern languages diversified from Western languages south of the rain forest {\texttildelow}2,000 ya. Furthermore, it is unclear whether the language dispersal was coupled with the movement of people, raising the question of language shift versus demic diffusion. We use a novel approach taking into account both the spatial and temporal predictions of the two models and formally test these predictions with linguistic and genetic data. Our results show evidence for a demic diffusion in the genetic data, which is confirmed by the correlations between genetic and linguistic distances. While there is little support for the early-split model, the late-split model shows a relatively good fit to the data. Our analyses demonstrate that subsequent contact among languages/populations strongly affected the signal of the initial migration via isolation by distance.},
  author       = {de Filippo, Cesare and Bostoen, Koen and Stoneking, Marc and Pakendorf, Brigitte},
  issn         = {0962-8452},
  journal      = {PROCEEDINGS OF THE ROYAL SOCIETY B-BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES},
  keyword      = {LANGUAGES,Y-CHROMOSOME,HISTORY,MTDNA,POPULATIONS,AFRICA,Bantu,lexical data,autosome,Y chromosome,mtDNA,ANGOLA,human migration},
  language     = {eng},
  number       = {1741},
  pages        = {3256--3263},
  title        = {Bringing together linguistic and genetic evidence to test the Bantu expansion},
  url          = {http://dx.doi.org/10.1098/rspb.2012.0318},
  volume       = {279},
  year         = {2012},
}

Chicago
de Filippo, Cesare, Koen Bostoen, Marc Stoneking, and Brigitte Pakendorf. 2012. “Bringing Together Linguistic and Genetic Evidence to Test the Bantu Expansion.” Proceedings of the Royal Society B-biological Sciences 279 (1741): 3256–3263.
APA
de Filippo, C., Bostoen, K., Stoneking, M., & Pakendorf, B. (2012). Bringing together linguistic and genetic evidence to test the Bantu expansion. PROCEEDINGS OF THE ROYAL SOCIETY B-BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES, 279(1741), 3256–3263.
Vancouver
1.
de Filippo C, Bostoen K, Stoneking M, Pakendorf B. Bringing together linguistic and genetic evidence to test the Bantu expansion. PROCEEDINGS OF THE ROYAL SOCIETY B-BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES. 2012;279(1741):3256–63.
MLA
de Filippo, Cesare, Koen Bostoen, Marc Stoneking, et al. “Bringing Together Linguistic and Genetic Evidence to Test the Bantu Expansion.” PROCEEDINGS OF THE ROYAL SOCIETY B-BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES 279.1741 (2012): 3256–3263. Print.