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UNIT 3: Human Migrations

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VIDEO SEGMENT: Linguistic Clues: Bantu Expansion in Sub-Saharan Africa

The study of language can offer important clues about the historic migration of peoples around the world. Some distinctive linguistic features, such as click sounds, can reveal patterns of movement if they are found in geographically distant populations. Also, similar words in different languages can demonstrate common origins.

This video segment uses the Bantu migrations in Africa as an example of the ways the study of language can help scholars trace human movement in the distant past. Between 6,000 and 1,000 years ago, Bantu speakers from the Lake Chad region spread out over most of sub-Saharan Africa. By about 1000 BCE., the pace of Bantu migrations quickened. They may have been aided in this process by their ability to make and use iron tools and weapons, which could have given them an advantage over other human communities.

The incorporation into Bantu languages of words from other language groups, including words related to agriculture and herding, provides evidence both of other groups Bantu speakers encountered and indicates that they may have acquired knowledge of these processes from non-Bantu speakers.

SELECTED IMAGES AND MAPS


Obed Zilwa, BUSHMEN WALKING IN KALAHARI (1999). Courtesy of AP/ Wide World Photos.

Anonymous, SIR WILLIAM JONES (n.d.). Courtesy of the Library of Congress.


Baba Wague Diakite, UNTITLED (2000). Courtesy of Baba Wague Diakite.

Hot Pepper Studios, created for Bridging World History, LAND INHABITED BY BANTU SPEAKERS AFTER EXPANSION INTO SOUTHERN AND EASTERN AFRICA, C. 3000 TO 2000 B.C.E. (2004). Courtesy of Oregon Public Broadcasting.



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