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The linguistic archeology of the Ryukyu Islands

Abstract : What are the Ryukyuan languages? How and whence did these languages arise and diversify? The history of the evolution of the Ryukyuan languages is a fundamental issue that still remains by and large unsolved. The study of the prehistory of human populations is not the preserve of archaeology, but is located at the interface with other disciplines such as anthropology and linguistics. In particular, the insights from historical linguistics have proven especially valuable, and though it is often not possible to establish a straightforward equation between a people, a culture, and a language, the history of languages is obviously inseparable from that of their speakers. Since each discipline has its own limitations, the only viable approach to a holistic reconstruction of the past of human populations is an interdisciplinary one, a “new synthesis” that triangulates the different kinds of evidence offered by archaeology, anthropology, and linguistics.
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Thomas Pellard. The linguistic archeology of the Ryukyu Islands. Heinrich, Patrick; Miyara, Shinsho; Shimoji, Michinori. Handbook of the Ryukyuan languages: History, structure, and use, De Gruyter Mouton, pp.13−37, 2015, 978-1-61451-161-8. ⟨10.1515/9781614511151.13⟩. ⟨hal-01289257⟩



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