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      Some Principles on the Use of Macro-Areas in Typological Comparison


      Language Dynamics and Change


      areality, macro-areas, typology, linguistic area

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          While the notion of the ‘area’ or ‘Sprachbund’ has a long history in linguistics, with geographically-defined regions frequently cited as a useful means to explain typological distributions, the problem of delimiting areas has not been well addressed. Lists of general-purpose, largely independent ‘macro-areas’ (typically continent size) have been proposed as a step to rule out contact as an explanation for various large-scale linguistic phenomena. This squib points out some problems in some of the currently widely-used predetermined areas, those found in the World Atlas of Language Structures (Haspelmath et al., 2005). Instead, we propose a principled division of the world’s landmasses into six macro-areas that arguably have better geographical independence properties.

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          On the Shortest Spanning Subtree of a Graph and the Traveling Salesman Problem

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            The dual origin of the Malagasy in Island Southeast Asia and East Africa: evidence from maternal and paternal lineages.

            Linguistic and archaeological evidence about the origins of the Malagasy, the indigenous peoples of Madagascar, points to mixed African and Indonesian ancestry. By contrast, genetic evidence about the origins of the Malagasy has hitherto remained partial and imprecise. We defined 26 Y-chromosomal lineages by typing 44 Y-chromosomal polymorphisms in 362 males from four different ethnic groups from Madagascar and 10 potential ancestral populations in Island Southeast Asia and the Pacific. We also compared mitochondrial sequence diversity in the Malagasy with a manually curated database of 19,371 hypervariable segment I sequences, incorporating both published and unpublished data. We could attribute every maternal and paternal lineage found in the Malagasy to a likely geographic origin. Here, we demonstrate approximately equal African and Indonesian contributions to both paternal and maternal Malagasy lineages. The most likely origin of the Asia-derived paternal lineages found in the Malagasy is Borneo. This agrees strikingly with the linguistic evidence that the languages spoken around the Barito River in southern Borneo are the closest extant relatives of Malagasy languages. As a result of their equally balanced admixed ancestry, the Malagasy may represent an ideal population in which to identify loci underlying complex traits of both anthropological and medical interest.
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              Sampling and genealogical coverage in WALS


                Author and article information

                Language Dynamics and Change
                Brill (The Netherlands )
                : 4
                : 1
                : 167-187
                Max Planck Institute for Psycholinguistics & Centre for Language Studies, Radboud Universiteit Nijmegen, The Netherlands harald.hammarstroem@ 123456mpi.nl
                Department of Linguistics, Australian National University, Australia mark.donohue@ 123456anu.edu.au
                Copyright 2014 by Koninklijke Brill NV, Leiden, The Netherlands.


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