Sunday, May 18, 2008

The Austronesian Migration: Questions and Links

My friend Melvin, who is also interested in the migrations of peoples through history has some thought-provoking questions on this subject, particularly as it relates to the Austronesian migration to the Philippines, the rest of Southeast Asia and beyond:
  1. Why are Kapampangan speakers completely surrounded by Tagalog speakers (a language that's not really similar to it)?
  2. How did Tagalog -- a Cebuano cousin -- become entrenched in the regions around Laguna de Bay and Taal Lake, instead of languages that developed on Luzon island?
  3. How is it that peninsular Malaysia is part of the Austronesian language region (that originated in Taiwan), when migrations from the Indian subcontinent or from southern China seems easier?
  4. Did volcanic eruptions completely wipe out the original inhabitants of the Indian subcontinent and Southeast Asia? Did this event, in turn, facilitate the migration of Austronesian peoples?
  5. What led the Austronesians to become master seafarers that populated the Pacific islands and went as far as Madagascar? Was there some important natural event?
  6. [Added May-27-2008] Do you know how related Mon-Khmers are to Austronesians? (Cambodians don't really look that much different from Malays).
Any answers (or links) to the above would be appreciated.

Melvin has also pointed to a useful website, The Austronesian Basic Vocabulary Database**.

Update May-21-2008: In the comments section, Anonymous has provided some information relevant to Questions #1 to #3 above.

Specific to Question #1 and #2, i.e. the encirclement of Kapampangans by the Tagalogs, Anonymous explains:

"Kapampangans used to populate the areas around Tondo, Nueva Ecija, Bulacan, and Bataan. At the arrival of the conquistas there were only around 70,000 Tagalogs and 70,000 Kapampangans, and the areas of Pampanga and Katagalugan were mostly covered in forest. So the areas which are now populated with Tagalogs have just been deforested and populated in the past 150 years. The encroachment of Tagalogs is a recent phenomena (due to Tagalog speaking people's population boom). The policy of Filipino (Tagalog) as national language has converted a lot of native Kapampangan speakers as well.

Tagalogs were sent by Bornean Datus to represent Borneo's trade interests with mainland Chinese merchants in the all important port of Manila. In the beginning, Laguna and Batangas was their heartland, because that's as far as they can push (otherwise they'd meet the bolos of Kapampangan tribes if they pushed harder into Manila!) as Kapampangans had control of the Manila (Rajah Soliman, Lakan Dula and Matanda were Kapampangan). Of course, it should be remembered that Tagalogs and Kapampangans had friendly relations due to diplomacy by familial intermarriages of the aristocracy."

I take the above to mean that the encroachment of Tagalogs in what used to be the domain of the Kapampangans is a consequence of the Pax-Hispanica imposed by the Spanish colonizers which meant that previous tribal boundaries were no longer barriers to free movement.

Regarding Question #3, i.e. the presence of Austronesians in Malaysia, Anonymous offered the following hypothesis:

"Eden in the East, the Drowned Continent of Southeast Asia by Stephen Oppenheimer posits that Austronesians had their native homeland in Sundaland-which is located in the South China Sea area bordered by Vietnam, Malaysia and Indonesia. The melting of ice after the last ice age drowned the continent, and pushed its people out of Sundaland into the Philippines, Oceania, even as far as Madagascar."

This scenario is possible as seen from the vast areas of Sundaland submerged at the end of the last Ice Age as shown in the before and after pictures below.***

Click on image to enlarge

According to the Genographic Project, Y-DNA marker Haplogroup O1a-M119 associated with the Austronesians emerged 30,000 years ago so the timescales do match. So if Ice Age Sundaland was inhabited by the Austronesians, this would explain their continued presence in the Malay Peninsula. On the other hand, the as per the Wikipedia entry on the Austronesian Languages, the greatest linquistic and genetic diversity is found in Taiwan which supports the competing claim that the Austronesian language originated in that island. These conflicting facts still need to be reconciled to arrive at a coherent historical narrative.

You can read the entirety of Anonymous' explanation in the comments section.

Update May-23-2008: Anonymous has pointed to a blog by Paul K. Manansala with fascinating entries on the Austronesians (with emphasis on the Nusantao). His blog also gives a more detailed account of the Sundaland flooding events, of which there were 3 major episodes.

In one of his blog entries on the topic, Manansala gives an important warning...

"...we should not assume anything about the "race" of the Austronesian speakers, or for that matter the "Melanesians" back in the Neolithic period when these expansions occurred.

Austronesian speakers in the Pacific -- Micronesians, Melanesians and Polynesians -- for example, all have significant percentages of Y chromosome C2 haplogroup. In some Polynesian areas, C2 is the dominant haplotype. However, C2 has not been found in Taiwan so far."
The above advice is especially relevant to my previous blog entry on the Y-DNA Human Family Tree where i use mnemonic shortcuts to denote certain Haplogroups. Each linguistic group may have individuals predominantly belonging to one Haplogroup but clearly the categories of language and genetic genealogy can and do overlap.

In the same blog entry, Manansala also differentiates between the 'Austronesian' and the 'Malayo-Polynesian' expansions.

Update May-27-2008: Related to Question #4 above, Melvin clarifies his question...

"About the volcanic eruption-related questions, I was actually wondering whether later eruptions kept SE Asia sparsely populated, since Sumatra and Java are littered with volcanoes. On the same vein, I also wonder whether Banahaw and Taal had helped ensure that a Visayan language (Tagalog) and not a Kapampangan/Panggalatoc relative take root in the Batangas/Quezon region."
On the Austronesian origins of the Thai language, Melvin shares what he read:

"Thai originated in Taiwan as an Austronesian language but has evolved into a totally different language. Unlike other Austronesian languages that took on the seas, Thai's route was through mainland southern China. The Thais arrived in Thailand during the Song dynasty, where they displaced the Khmer Empire that once ruled the area."
I have also added his Question #6 on the relationship of the Mon-Khmer with the Austronesians.

Over in his blog, Paul K. Manansala points to new research that challenges the 'Out of Taiwan' agriculture-driven origin of the Austronesian people and supports the Sundaland flooding triggered dispersal model.

*Melvin read an article last year that mentioned about a volcanic event that wiped out the population of southern India.
**Greenhill, S. J., Blust. R, & Gray, R.D. (2003-2008) The Austronesian Basic Vocabulary Database. http://language.psy.auckland.ac.nz/austronesian
***Source of Images: The Genographic Project's Atlas of the Human Journey
****Melvin read that Cambodians settled in Southeast Asia quite recently (around 3,000 years ago) and have migrated from somewhere near northern India.

29 comments:

Jon Limjap said...

I wonder if the Indonesian supervolcano (http://www.articlesextra.com/toba-supervolcano-indonesia.htm) had anything to do with it, though one has to consider the fact that that occurred 75,000 years ago. Perhaps it offers an indirect explanation?

Considering the volcanic nature of the region, anything could've happened to both the population and the land masses due to eruptions and lava flow.

cvj said...

Hi Jon, thanks for the link to the Toba eruption. While Toba may explain the genetic bottleneck 75,000 years ago, the Genographic Project's Atlas of Human Journey timeline would place all humans inside Africa at the time of the eruption. As i understand their timeline, the migration out of Africa would happen after Toba, so that particular eruption would not have been the one that Melvin was referring to. (Melvin, please correct me if i'm wrong.)

Incidentally, as i mentioned in Resty's blog last year, the Toba eruption may also have played a role in the humans' ability to do math.

Anonymous said...

Eden in the East, the Lost Continent of Southeast Asia by Oppenheimer posits that Austronesians had their native homeland in Sundaland-which is located in the South China Sea area bordered by Vietnam, Malaysia and Indonesia. The melting of ice after the last ice age drowned the continent, and pushed its people out of Sundaland into the Philippines, Oceania, even as far as Madagascar. Of course there was a lot of inter-migration since as well, which makes it harder for linguists to reconstruct the geographical origin of the proto-language.

Kapampangans used to populate the areas around Tondo, Nueva Ecija, Bulacan, and Bataan. The encroachment of Tagalogs is a recent phenomena (due to Tagalog speaking people's population boom). The policy of Filipino (Tagalog) as national language has converted a lot of native Kapampangan speakers as well.

Tagalogs were sent by Bornean Datus to represent Borneo's trade interests with mainland Chinese merchants in the all important port of Manila. In the beginning, Laguna and Batangas was their heartland, because that's as far as they can push (otherwise they'd meet the bolos of Kapampangan tribes if they pushed harder into Manila!) as Kapampangans had control of the Manila (Rajah Soliman, Lakan Dula and Matanda were Kapampangan). Of course, it should be remembered that Tagalogs and Kapampangans had friendly relations due to diplomacy by familial intermarriages of the aristocracy.

Anonymous said...

Also, at the arrival of the conquistas there were only around 70,000 Tagalogs and 70,000 Kapampangans. And the areas of Pampanga and Katagalugan were mostly covered in forest. So the areas which are now populated with Tagalogs have just been deforested and populated in the past 150 years.

Anonymous said...

And also, if you have a look at google maps, you can see that Pampanga is the largest vast flat land in most of the Philippines (second is the Cagayan Valley and some areas in Mindanao) and even in the whole of South East Asia, which made it the most suitable farming area for agricultural Austronesians. This is the reason why the brave Kapampangans came to populate it-they wanted the best farm land for their ethnic group. And so the bravest people had the best farm land.

If you think this "best warrior" thing is just jingoism, it's not. Just look at how those Kapampangan warriors eventually became the guardia sibil and the preferred army of the Spanish colonial government. Also, those pesky Kapampangans continued this defiant spirit with the Hukbalahaps and the Communist Party. Of course, they've mellowed now because of prosperity.

Anonymous said...

And I forgot to mention the Macabebe Scouts who worked for the Americans.

cvj said...

Hi Anonymous, thanks very much for the above information. I have quoted excerpts in the main entry.

Anonymous said...

More theory on Pampango incursion in the present Pampanga:

"The Pampangos (according to tradition) originated from the largest island of the Orient, which is that of Sumatra or Trapobana (although -some apply the latter name to Zeilan), which is located below the line. That island is seven hundred leguas in circumference, and is near the land of Malaca and Malayo, and for that reason it is included in the Aurea Chersonesus. In the midst of that great island of Sumatra there is a large lake, on whose surrounding marge many different peoples have their abodes. According to Father Colin (who himself examined him), a Pampango who had lost his way reached that place; and, having discovered that there were men there of his own build, language, and clothing, approached, and entered into conversation with them in his own elegant Pampango tongue. They answered him in the same speech, and one of their old men said: "You are descendants of the lost people who, in former times, left here to settle other lands, and have never been heard of since." From this it appears that one may infer the origin of the Pampangos. But it is not easy to determine whether they came from Sumatra direct, or settled first in Borney, because of the nearness of its lands and domains, and thence passed on to settle the islands of this archipelago; although it appears from the statements of some who have been in Borney for a time that they even find there sufficient indications that the Pampangos originated, some from Sumatra and others from Malayo. It is certain that if the island of Borney was not a land continuous with that of these islands in past centuries (and arguments are not lacking for this), at least many islets are found lying in a row and near one another, with which Borney is closely connected.

Anonymous said...

I got that by the way from page 308 of Blair and Robertson's The Philippine Islands, 1493-1803 volume 1, no. 40, which can be found here:
http://name.umdl.umich.edu/AFK2830.0001.040

Anonymous said...

Somewhere in Sumatra in Indonesia, and Borneo are the ancestors of Philippine Kapampangans, which really fascinates me.

cvj said...

Hi Anonymous, with that info on the Kapampangans, the more i think about it, there may really might be something going for Oppenheimer's Sundaland as 'Atlantis'-style catastrophe scenario. Do you have any info on when the Kapampangans first settled in Luzon?

Anonymous said...

It's hard to tell since we're dealing with prehistoric Philippines as there's a dearth of archeological studies on the subject. But it hasn't stop others from speculating. I remember a post by sambali.blogspot.com speculating on the time period-very esoteric stuff. The guy is Kapampangan and he cites sources, though he doesn't specify what page. But you can tell from his writings that he's really into the subject matter and it's a good starting point.

cvj said...

Anonymous, thanks for the link to Paul K. Manansala's fascinating blog!

The Nashman said...

Oppenheimer mentioned that he is still looking for "Filipino" samples...I guess a new book is on the way.

cvj said...

Hi Nash, i hope so. I'm wondering whom he means by 'Filipino'since that category did not exist back then.

The Nashman said...

current "filipino" gene samples are basically taken from someone who lives in the philippines and self-identifies as pinoy.. so the 'filipino' is only a geographic description..besides, 500 years is a blink of an eye in the timescales of human evolution..

it's one of those databases that the larger the sample size, the better..so presumably you want 'filipino' samples from the ethnic groups primarily because of the lesser amount of mixing...

my friend an i have both sequenced our mtdna, where my friend self-identifies himself as 'lowland mestizo' and me an 'igorot', plotting our mtdna into the phylogenetic tree shows i cluster with the highland papua new guinea-native american mtdna's while his clusters in the chinese-korean..

to amuse myself, i put in just 16 mtdna samples of my caucasian colleagues, my mtdna, and that of a chimpanzee...the phylogenetic tree showed me and the chimp closer together while the caucasians form a separate cluster...basically, my mtdna is older...


balik tayo kay oppenheimer - he is quite good because he ties up the science with the historical and cultural evidences that's why his theories are very convincing...he ties up the 'mananggal' stores across the ASEAN with human movement for example (how brilliant!)

and those not yet finished Pinoy DNA databases - I think UP is already rectifying the situation and will come up with a complete pinoy database soon. I met a good Pinoy scientist ages ago at the Sanger Centre (one of many which sequenced the human genome) whose research lab in the philippines is doing exactly this...

cvj said...

On the Pinoy DNA databases, that's good news! Do let me know if they publish the information in the database. Will it have Y-DNA as well?

Anyway, i think there's money to be made in sequencing DNA for a fee. Last year i spent 250 US Dollars to trace my paternal genetic history. When i mailed my DNA samples (to the Genographic Project), the post office attendant recognized the package, and said that there was quite a number of people doing the same thing here in Singapore, so it seems to be a somewhat popular activity.

The Nashman said...

ah oo, richard sykes' spin off charges £180 for it

Now that you mention it, it's a brilliant idea! UP can charge with minimum profit to fund one scholar or two and we actually build up the database with more samples!

actually it's cheap, only the pcr machine is expensive..once you have the sequence, it goes to bioinformatics...you are then basically limited by computing power. (Judging by the number of people playing ragnarok, our country is not exactly short on computing power..)

generally, databases, after publication, are offered for the public domain...for mtdna i used this http://www.genpat.uu.se/mtDB/

cvj said...

Nash, thanks for the link to the database although i'm afraid i don't know enough to be able to understand the content in that form.

You're right about available computing power, although i'm not sure how much idle computing time we can get from the Network gaming PCs. Another source could be the IT vendors. UP can solicit sponsors or form partnerships just like what National Geographic did with IBM.

The Nashman said...

The swedish database is a list of mtdna sequences. (I assume there is a Y database somewhere).

If you know your sequence, you can align them with those in the database using ClustalX. This program will also calculate a phylogenetic tree but you need a separate program to display the tree. It is very user-friendly (just text files..)

Any standalone computer can handle this, depends how many iterations you want to run...and how much of the database you want to compare...you can just take your sequence and compare it the 'asian' dna for example, will probably take 2 hours..(or less)

Incidentally, there is a new method that compares from across the entire genome (Single Nucleotide Polymorphisms) not just Y or mtDNA..

The Nashman said...

PS. Stephen Oppenheimer will be in UP this year (I think he goes every year naman...)

Garuda00 said...

http://language.psy.auckland.ac.nz/austronesian/research.php

according to that article Tagalogs are the first to split in the central philippine language group bikolano is from luzon as well as well as dozens of aetas/dumagats who speak central philippine as well in short the ancestors of visayans and mansakan speakers are invaders from luzon,as well as the manobos.

Kapampangan,Tagalog and Bikolano has transitional dialects in their borders transitional dialects of kapampangan and tagalog use both tagalog and kapampangan words and transitional dialects of bikolano and tagalog use tagalog and daet bikol words the same thing happens to bisakol languages which have bikol features.

Namayan in present Metro Manila is the tagalog kingdom of prehispanic area while Tondo is kapampangan,i think namayan speaks a transitional dialect as well as tondo but tondo is more kapampangan.

northern tagalogs still don't really understand the southern tagalogs who use na- instead of -um-.

cvj said...

Garuda, thanks for the explanation and the link!

Garuda00 said...

tagalog in metro manila,rizal,bulacan and bataan has kapampangan and sambalic words and kapampangan verbs and they far outnumber the speakers of the southern tagalog dialects and kapampangan,some of the southern tagalogs of the urban areas shift to the northern varieties especially those nearer to manila the same thing happens to kapampangan,i think kapampangans are doing something to protect their language but not southern tagalog,i think they are both threatened by a transitional dialect in between of them and they can become extinct because of erosion of purer dialects aka dialect levelling,i dunno about the status of the transitional dialects near bicol speaking areas such as the marinduque and camarines norte dialects.

Garuda00 said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Garuda00 said...

If Luzon Kingdom was not conquered by the spanish,Luzon will be predominantly kapampangan and ilocano,ibanag,tagalog and bikolano will be minor ethnic groups each consisting of a few million speakers.

A majority of tagalog speakers are descendants of kapampangan speakers who avoided being recruited by spanish as slaves and missionaries by changing their native tongue.

Garuda00 said...

I meant mercenary not missionary

Garuda00 said...

Eurocentrism and Filipino Identity

I think we do not need the western concept of nation and nationalism and we don’t need a colonial name we need to look east and we need to look for our own identity, before the Spanish or any White men came our places were named by us such as Luzon was called Ginto and Mindoro was Ma-it the name Luzon is a misnomer, many of our regions and villages were named either by western names or misnomer names because of these misnomer names many of our old legends became unbelievable and stupid.

We don’t need to follow western concepts to define ourselves,what we need is to follow our own concept and use eastern concepts as a model instead of western concepts of language policy and state.

Before Europeans came we had no concept of ethnic or tribe what we have is the concept of “pakikisama” and the idioms in the archipelago are associated with the area they are spoken and they have a dialect continuum it means that idioms here in our archipelago are connected to each other by transitional dialects spoken between them but sulu was not a part of this area the bajaus of sulu were never a part of that continuum, the idioms in china and japan are like that too an example in china is that the dialects in the border of Guangdong, Fujian and Jianxi have transitional characteristics between Hakka and Jiangxinese this thing happens in our idioms as well but allot of these dialects had been lost because of encouraged migration during the colonial era without adjusting or Pakikisama.

Elena Delgado said...

I think I remember reading a posit that Thai, like other Malayo Polynesian languages probably came from the Philippines ( Taiwan before that) & remigrated back to China via boats where they were influeced by the other tonal languages. From there, they took the land ruite into Thailand.