May 22, 2022

Video Find: Out of Taiwan Explained

This video explores the history of the Austronesian peoples and the Out of Taiwan theory. An old viewpoint taught that Taiwan's nine aboriginal peoples were descendants of Austronesians who migrated to the island. The Out of Taiwan theory basically turned things around, arguing that the Austronesian expansion began on Taiwan with people populating Southeast Asia to the south, the Hawaiian Islands and Easter Islands to the east, and Madagascar to the west.

The video starts out explaining the discovery of the Indo-European family and the application of that viewpoint to Austronesian languages. Identifying what words those languages share offers ideas about where they all originated. One clue: Taiwan's cold winters.

The video looks also at arguments against the Out of Taiwan theory. See it on YouTube here.

Video Introduction

The Out-of-Taiwan Theory, Explained

18,224 views Sep 26, 2020 In 1984, Robert Blust of University of Hawaii published a landmark paper proposing a radical idea: That the Taiwanese indigenous people spread out from Taiwan to colonize the lands of Southeast Asia. 

This theory, called the "Out of Taiwan hypothesis", was radical at the time and remains thoroughly debated. There is substantial support for its validity in the linguistics and archaeology, but other areas not so much.

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Enrique's Voyage Profiles

On March 28, 1521, Enrique of Malacca became the first person to complete a linguistic circumnavigation of the globe—he traveled so far in one direction that he reached a point where his language was spoken. Enrique’s journey began a decade earlier following the sack of Malacca, when he became a slave of Ferdinand Magellan. Read more.

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