LINGUIST List 15.1010

Thu Mar 25 2004

Disc: Re: How China discovered America...?

Editor for this issue: Sarah Murray <sarahlinguistlist.org>


Directory

  1. Steven Adelewitz, Re: 15.986, Disc: How China discovered America...?
  2. Mark Irwin, Discussion: How China discovered America...?

Message 1: Re: 15.986, Disc: How China discovered America...?

Date: Wed, 24 Mar 2004 06:33:06 -0500
From: Steven Adelewitz <BronxHotPOP.com>
Subject: Re: 15.986, Disc: How China discovered America...?


Greetings All,

Robert Orr wrote to the LINGUIST List on 24 Mar 2004, 5:50 (snipped):

> The recent work
> 	Menzies, Gavin. 2003. 1421. The Year China Discovered
> 	America. New York: Harper & Collins.
> makes some very interesting, albeit vague, suggestions about possible
> Chinese linguistic influence on the languages of the Andes (p. 226).
> 
> "A sailing ship is chamban in Colombia, sampan in China, a raft is
> balsa in South America, palso in China, etc."
> 
> He also makes the startling statement that until the late 19th century
> villagers in a mountain village in Peru spoke Chinese, citing an the
> Peruvian historian Padron.
> 
> It looks a little bit suspicious, but Menzies ' does seem to have done
> his homework in the book as a whole.
> 
> Any comments?

During the 16th century, in which Spain colonized Peru, it also
colonized the Philipines, from which it conducted trade with
China. Also, it is known that Chinese sailors served on Spanish ships,
even in the early years of trans-Pacific trade. And so on. I would
suggest that these data provide room for an alternative
hypothesis. And I'm sure other subscribers will find still more
explanations of why his data are inconclusive at best. Too bad Menzies
hasn't found any artifacts (a shipwreck would be nice) that can be
conclusively assigned to early Chinese visitors to South America.

But hey, who knows? Absence of evidence is after all, not evidence of
absence.

Peace,
Steve
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Message 2: Discussion: How China discovered America...?

Date: Wed, 24 Mar 2004 01:33:45 -0500 (EST)
From: Mark Irwin <irwinhuman.kj.yamagata-u.ac.jp>
Subject: Discussion: How China discovered America...?


Merely as a point of order, it should perhaps be pointed out that in
order to avoid any confusion on the part of readers who have a non-US
edition of the work Robert Orr refers to in his posting, the original
title is '1421: The Year China Discovered the WORLD' (2002, published
in London, NZ, Australia, South Africa). I will refrain from making
any facetious comments as to why Harper & Collins deemed it necessary
to change the title.
	

-Mark Irwin
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