Abstract

This study examines the relationship between genetic distance and linguistic affiliation for five regional sets of populations from Eurasia and West Africa. Human genetic and linguistic diversity have been proposed to be generally correlated, either through a direct link, whereby linguistic and genetic affiliations reflect the same past population processes, or an indirect one, where the evolution of the two types of diversity is independent but conditioned by the same geographical factors. By controlling for proximity, indirect correlations due to common geography are eliminated, and any residual relationships found are likely to reflect common linguistic-genetic processes. Clear relationships between genetic distances and linguistic relatedness are detectable in Europe and East and Central Asia, but not in the Middle East, Southeast Asia, or West Africa. We suggest that linguistic and genetic affiliations will only be correlated under specific conditions, such as where there have been large-scale demic diffusions in the last few thousand years, and relative sedentism in the subsequent period.

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Additional Information

ISSN
1534-6617
Print ISSN
0018-7143
Pages
pp. 331-344
Launched on MUSE
2003-08-27
Open Access
No
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