GENEALOGY-DNA-L ArchivesArchiver > GENEALOGY-DNA > 2010-12 > 1291507427
From: "Lancaster-Boon" <>
Subject: [DNA] R1b and R1a fate
Date: Sun, 5 Dec 2010 01:03:47 +0100
>What is your evidence that Indo-Aryan was in the steppes? (Hard evidence I
mean) The way I see it, Indo-Aryan is attested in South Asia, with a
tantalizing link in Syro-Anatolia (the Mitanni).
>You seem to be confused about what Indo-Aryan is; it is not the same as
Indo-Iranian. But, that's not really an issue as neither Indo-Iranian is
attested in the steppes (or anywhere for that matter), only Iranian is.
OK, I see a problem. Yes, I should have refered to the parent of Iranian as
Indo-Iranian, not Indo Aryan. With that clarification I hope you can see
that I have named two waves of language dispersal which apparently occurred
on the steppes. Indo Iranian and Iranian.
You are right that the Indic branch need not have entered the steppes.
> With respect to the Tocharians, I am not really interested in whether a
theory is "mainstream" or not, but on what evidence there is for it.
Tocharian is a language of a 1st millennium AD urban civilization of
Xinjiang. To connect it with steppe nomads 3,000 years before its
attestation requires some work, and I see absolutely no reason to accept it
because this theory because it happens to be "mainstream".
That is fine. Effectively though, if a person was on one side of the room,
you turn around and seen them on the other side of the room, the
uncontroversial assumption would be that this person did not need have
jumped out the window and used a matter transporter to re-enter the room on
the other side, but likely just crossed the room.
I guess that leaves open the possibility that Tocharian's homeland is where
PIE originated? In that case there was still a dispersal of an early
PRE-Indo Iranian language. That is a third dispersal of a PIE language
across the steppes, one way or the other. I do not believe we can reasonably
assert that the Tocharians and Europeans spoke related language because of
> If we look at Europe, the vast majority of the continent's surface has had
language shifts over the last few thousand years, too many to count. Same
for Anatolia, same for the Middle East.
I agree. I also see no reason to assume continuity on the steppes. But for
some reason there is a link between some languages in Europe and some
languages that were in China. It is reasonable to assume that an ancestral
language somehow dispersed, carried by humans, over some selection of
regions in between those two places, one way or another.
Apart from the steppes, what routes are there? Perhaps you are a proponent
of a Middle Eastern origin or dispersal for IE? Even then, it would be very
hard to avoid more languages than just Iranian having dispersed through or
very close to the regions often referred to as the steppes. Maybe Tocharian
could have got there via Afghanistan but what about Baltic?
> Thus, I see no real reason to ascribe a remarkable linguistic continuity
at the extreme end of the periphery of IE over thousands of years and thus
to link Tocharian with "steppe nomads".
No one is asserting this?
>Finally, with respect to the alleged centrality of the steppe, I was
quite clear: the center of the Indo-European world is in Europe and
Anatolia NOT in the steppes. The steppes are the periphery of the
Indo-European world where only a single branch of the family (the
Iranian) is attested. The entirety of Asia (except Anatolia) has only
two branches of IE, the Indo-Iranian and the Tocharian.
You are comparing apples with oranges. It is a bit like when we see people
arguing about what the most common Y clade in Europe is. Do you count R1b as
a clade when comparing to E1b1b or R1? It is of course a crazy question. You
can not county different levels from different clades as if they were all
apples. What we can say is that Tocharian and Indo-Iranian are as far apart
as they can be in the cladistics of this language family. And we know
Iranian must have over-run a lot of over languages, because like you said
there is "no real reason to ascribe a remarkable linguistic continuity".