LINGUIST List 15.1076

Thu Apr 1 2004

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

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


Directory

  1. Leo J. Moser, Discussion: How China discovered America...?
  2. Stan & Sandy Anonby, Re: 15.1043, Disc: Re: How China discovered America...?

Message 1: Discussion: How China discovered America...?

Date: Fri, 26 Mar 2004 08:12:57 -0800
From: Leo J. Moser <leoacadon.com>
Subject: Discussion: How China discovered America...?


Robert Orr wrote to the LINGUIST List on 24 Mar 2004, 5:50 (snipped):
Linguist 15.1010

> 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 "sampan" (literally "three boards" -- in southern Chinese) is not a
sailing ship at all. It is a very small boat/raft, made up by
definition of only a few boards. They are used on small streams and
perhaps in harbors.

> a raft is
> balsa in South America, palso in China, etc."

A word like "palso" exists in no dialect of Chinese. Syllable final -l
is not at all characteristic of the Sinitic languages.

Standard Chinese for "raft" is fa2zi, mu4pai2, mu4fa2.

Also my sources give English "balsa" as from Spanish (or Portuguese)
meaning "raft." Matters pertaining to small rafts and ferries in
Spanish use the root: balsear, balsero, 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.

Why no evidence since?

"Chinese" was often a symbol of the "exotic" in places such as
Peru. Recall that Peruvians often call a recent President "el Chino"
although his family background is Japanese.

> It looks a little bit suspicious, but Menzies ' does seem to have done
> his homework in the book as a whole.
> Any comments?

Nothing cited is in my opinion any convincing evidence at all. The
possibility of such a trip exists -- as does the possibility of
countless other things.

Also I see no evidence of basic homework from the above, like citing
what word in what dialect of Chinese from what era had any similarity
to the Spanish "balsa".

Leo J. Moser
author: The Chinese Mosaic:
Peoples and Provinces of China.
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Message 2: Re: 15.1043, Disc: Re: How China discovered America...?

Date: Tue, 30 Mar 2004 14:42:58 -0400
From: Stan & Sandy Anonby <stan-sandy_anonbysil.org>
Subject: Re: 15.1043, Disc: Re: How China discovered America...?


There is an archaeological site about an hour west of Prince George,
British Columbia, Canada, called Chinlac. Chinlac was a centre for
the Carriers, and was abandoned before European contact. When I lived
in Prince George in the 1990's, one of the seven longhouses had been
excavated, and they had found a Chinese coin from the 1200's.

Stan Anonby

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