Correlation between Languages and Genes

[Follow Ups] [Post Followup] [Our Discussion Forum]

Posted by Sadie from ? ( on Wednesday, July 30, 2003 at 1:57PM :

In Reply to: Genetic relationships btwn Mediterraneans posted by Sadie from ? ( on Wednesday, July 30, 2003 at 1:49PM :

The correlation between languages and genes: the Usko-Mediterranean peoples

Antonio Arnaiz-Villena, , a, Jorge Martiez-Lasoa and Jorge Alonso-Garciáa

a Department of Immunology and Molecular Biology, H. 12 de Octubre, Universidad Complutense, 28041, Madrid, Spain (A.A-V., J.M.L); Fundacio de estudios geneicos y linguďticos, Universidad Complutense, Madrid, Spain

Received 16 May 2001; accepted 15 June 2001 Available online 30 August 2001.

The usko-Mediterraneans peoples are defined as ancient and present day populations that have lived in the Mediterranean/Middle-East/Caucasus area and have spoken a Basque related language. The present day existing populations show an HLA genetic relatedness which is more or less close according to geographical distance. The Greek sample is an outlying in all genetic analyses, because Greeks have a significant genetic input from sub-Saharan Ethiopians and Blacks. This probably occurred in Pharaonic times. Present day comparisons between genes and languages show a lack of correlation: Macedonian, Palestinians, Kurds, part of Berbers, Armenians, and Turks belong to the old Mediterranean substratum, but they do not speak a language included in the old Mediterranean Dene-Caucasian group. This is due to an "elite"-imposed culture and language. Other ethnic groups speak an "old Mediterranean language" or "usko-Mediterranean language" modified by Roman Latin (i.e., Spanish, Italians), or by other not fully explained processes (Jews). Therefore, the correlation between genes and languages may exist at a macrogeographical level, but not when more precise microgeographical studies are done, as shown in the present "usko-Mediterranean" peoples model.

Abbreviations: B; Basque language

Euskara is the autochthonous term for defining Basque language, which is currently spoken in the French and Spanish Basque departments (Figure 1) [1]. The Basque country is named Euskal Herria in the Basque language. This language is probably remaining in a relatively secluded area and was spoken in a much more widespread region [1, 2, 3 and 4]. Aquitanie (southern France, between the Garonne River, and the Atlantic Ocean) spoke Basque. Also, it is now almost certain that most of Iberia, including Andalucia and Portugal spoke a related (or ancient Basque) language: the Iberian-Tartessian [2, 3, 5 and 6]. Recently, Basque has been included in the Dene-Caucasian languages [Figure 2(a)], which were very extended over the world, but that were overflooded by Eurasian (Figure 2(b) [7]). However, it has been detected that some dead Mediterranean languages (detailed in Figure 3 ) and two Mediterranean living languages (Basque and Berber) have many common terms. The old dead languages have been studied through the many mostly religious inscriptions [4]. Basque has been maintained largely unmodified over the years until 1968, when a "Batua" (or unified) language was started for teaching at Basque schools in order to preserve the language from extinction [1]. Berber is heavily modified by the enormous cultural and linguistic Arabic pressure but is spoken by 9/12 millions people in Morocco (38%–50% of the inhabitants), 4.5/6.7 millions in Algeria (20%–30% of the inhabitants), 50.000 in Tunisia (0.7% of the inhabitants), 5/10.000 in Mauritania (0.3%–0.5% of the inhabitants), 5/10.000 in Egypt (0.01%–0.02% of the inhabitants), 1/5.000 in Libya (0.03%–0.1% of the inhabitants), and 2.000 in Melilla (Spanish-autonomous-city in North Africa; 40% of the inhabitants) [5]. The circum Mediterranean cultural and genetic flow is well established at least since several thousands years ago, even in the glacial peaks [6 and 8]. On the other hand, the "demic diffusion" model [9] of people substitution for western Europe by agriculturalists coming from the East is not valid from the anthropological, archaeological, and genetic point of view [8 and 10]. Technology arrived to western Europe in Neolithic times by circum Mediterranean cultural and genetic gene flow and a different people is no noticed in the Mesolithic/ Neolithic transition Iberian skeletons [10]. In the present paper we aim to show how people with a similar genetic background probably spoke a similar to Basque (Dene-Caucasian) language. This unity has now disappeared and Jewish, Arab, or Slav-speaking Mediterranean countries bear a similar genetic background to Eurasian language speakers (Italy, Spain, Portugal), but not to Greek speakers. The people who probably spoke a Basque-like language in ancient times (or speaks it at present) have been named "usko"-Mediterraneans, because "usko" is a word found in Basque ("the pure") and in most of the languages depicted in Figure 3 [4].

FIGURE 1. Historical Basque Country or Euskal Herria. Basque language was spoken in a much wider area both in France and Spain. Ancient Iberian and Southern France Aquitanian are identified with Basque [2, 3, 4, 5 and 6].
FIGURE 2. (A) Na-Dene Caucasian languages. The Dene-Caucasian languages include Sino-Tibetan: (Mandarin, Cantonese, Wu, Hakka, Tibetan, Burmese, Karen, Bodo), Caucasian (Abkhaz, Kabardian, Chechen, Ingush), Na-Dene (Haida, Tlingit, Athabascan, Koyukon, Navajo, Apache); Burushaski, Ket, and Basque. (B) Eurasiatic languages. The Eurasiatic languages include Indo-European (English, Spanish, Irish, Russian, Greek, Albanian, Armenian), Uralic (Finnish, Hungarian, Samoyed), Altaic (Turkish, Mongolian, Tungus), Korean, Japanese, Ainu, Bilyak, Chukchi-Kamchatkan (Chukchi, Kamchadal) and Eskimo-Aleut (Eskimo, Aleut).
FIGURE 3. Usko-Mediterranean-Languages. The only ones which are non-extinct are Basque (spoken in the area detailed in Fig. 1) and Berber (or Tamazight) spoken at present in Morocco, Algeria, Libya, Egypt, Niger, Mali, Mauritania, including the Sahara Desert. Basque and Berber were spoken in a much wider area.

Materials and methods
HLA genotyping, DNA sequencing, and statistics
Generic HLA class I (A and B) and high resolution HLA class II (DRB1 and DQB1) genotyping was performed using a reverse dot-blot technique with the Automated Innolipa system (Innogenetics N.V., Zwijndrecht, Belgium). HLA-A, -B, -DRB1, and -DQB1 allele DNA sequencing was only done when indirect DNA typing (reverse dot-blot) yielded ambiguous results [11]. Statistical analysis was performed with Arlequin v1.1 software kindly provided by Excoffier [12]. In summary, this program calculated HLA-A, -B, -DRB1, and -DQB1 allele frequencies, Hardy-Weinberg equilibrium, and the linkage disequilibrium between two alleles at two different loci. Linkage disequilibrium (D' also named LD, [13]) and its level of significance (p) for 2×2 comparisons were determined using the formulas of Mattiuz and co-workers [14] and the 11th International Histocompatibility Workshop methodology [13]. In addition, the most frequent complete haplotypes were deduced following a methodology used in the 11th International Histocompatibility Workshop: 1) the 2, 3, and 4 HLA loci haplotype frequencies [15, 16 and 17]; 2) the haplotypes previously described in other populations [15 and 17]; and 3) haplotypes which were assigned if they appeared in two or more individuals and the alternative haplotype was well defined. In order to compare allelic and haplotype HLA frequencies with other populations, the reference tables used were those of the 11th and 12th International HLA Workshops [15 and 17]. Phylogenetic trees (dendrograms) were constructed with the allelic frequencies by applying the neighbor-joining (NJ) method [18] with the genetic distances between populations (DA) [19] and using DISPAN software containing the programs GNKDST and TREEVIEW [20 and 21]. A three-dimensional correspondence analysis and its bidimensional representation was carried out using the VISTA v5.02 computer program [22] (http:/ Correspondence analysis comprises a geometric technique that may be used for displaying a global view of the relationships among populations according to HLA (or other) allele frequencies. This methodology is based on the allelic frequency variance among populations (similarly to the classical principal components methodology) and on the display of a statistical projection of the differences.

Language comparisons
Methodology used for the present work
Once shown, the contradictory (and fruitless) current dogma for approaching decipherment, we have followed a methodology which is similar to that proposed by Greenberg and Ruhlen [23]. Our premises are:

1. Languages may correctly be classified and decipherment approached with 10–20 "diagnostic" cognates (i.e., the personal pronouns and other frequently used cognates like plant names, family generics, and tools and common life terms existing in Neolithic and pre-Neolithic societies).

2. Most of the written ancient Mediterranean languages studied previously by us (i.e., Iberian-Tartesian, Etruscan, Linear A, etc.) refer to an apparently common religion [2, 3 and 24]. This decipherment has been possible to the Basque-Spanish translation of words found in the above mentioned extinct languages and showing a Basque correspondence. The topics found in this religion are: the Mother [Ama=mother, in Basque (B.)], the way of the Zen (dead, in B.) towards another life, going through The Door or Atan (B.). The flames (Kar, B.) which make the dead to be afraid, etc.

3. Most of these deciphered "Usko-Mediterranean" languages refer to the following matters: Religion and after death (90%). b) Accountancy related to food-storage and other topics (10%). This skewed thematic writing may be due to that writings have been better preserved in sanctuaries and/or palaces, and not in normal living people housing (the latter being constructed with more perishable materials). Also, Neolithic and pre-Neolithic societies may have used written words as a magic or totemic sense related to permanent keeping of possessions and also to securing a proper and pleasant after death life; casts of clerks (related or not to religion) could have further driven this tendency in order to keep up with privileges. In addition, it is obvious that primitive societies felt less secure than nowadays more complex ones; this could have led people to find religion and food register to be essential.

4. There are groups of words that are found together in the different languages (Table 1), i.e., atin as(B.), the door of darkness. Other idiomatic expressions preserved in both ancient Iberian and Basque are shown in reference [25].

5. Beginning and ending of words are problematic and unless meaning is known, it is very difficult to separate them (H may be used in Etruscan to separate words). Only known and repeated meanings (in several languages) are taken as sound cognate identification (Table 1).

6. Common and proper names are almost impossible to distinguish. Many proper names come from a common name like in English "Rose" and mainly in Mediterraneans languages like Basque (for males, Bilebai = Circumcision; Gurutz = Cross; Eztegu = Wedding; Lor = Flower; Aintza = Glory; Sein = Innocent; Lin = Linen; Ama = Maternity; Edur = Snow; Gentza = Peace; Deunoro = Saints; Bakarr = Loneliness) and Spanish (for females: Azucena = White Lily; Gloria = Glory; Cruz = Cross; Flor = Flower; Inocencia = Innocent; Lina = Linon; Nieves = Snows; Paz = Peace; Santos = Saints; Soledad = Loneliness). Ancient societies tended to name people with common names (Grat Bear, Eagle, Sitting Bull), like it is well known in North American Indians.

7. Basque language has remained with little modifications throughout time, because invasions have not modified this and other Basque society characteristics [26].

8. Basque language was much more extended than its present day limits [1].

TABLE 1. The usko-Mediterranean languages

Transliteration and translation
Iberian-Tartesian, Etruscan, and Minoan Linear A have been transliterated and finally translated as referred in: [2, 3 and 24]. Basque-Spanish cognate meanings have been the base for the translation. Berber has been distinguished from the Arab contamination by comparison with Basque [27 and 28], Iberian-Tartesian [25], and Arab [29]. The ancient Lybic scripts were studied from Chabot and Harden [30 and 31]; some of them were written in Phoenician or Punic characters. Directions of the scripts were generally vertical and only assessed by the sense of meaning [3]. Punic-Carthaginian texts were taken from D'Aneusa [32]. Hittite, Sumerian, Eblaic, and Elamite cuneiform texts were taken from the following transliterated references [33, 34, 35, 36, 37, 38, 39, 40, 41 and 42]. Egyptian texts were taken from hieroglyphic texts transliterated in Wallis Budge (1934, 1978, and 1982) and Gardiner [43]. Ugaritic language cuneiform texts were taken from Cunchillo [44]. This study has not been included in Table 1, because it is not yet completely finished; however, the thematic cognates no doubt correspond to the "Usko-Mediterranean" extinct languages. "Guanche" scripts have also been studied; it was the first native Canary Islands inhabitants' language and is close to Berber and Basque [45]. In fact, a Basque bishop was appointed for the Canary Islands after the Spanish conquest, because "he understood the aborigines language" [45].

Results and discussion
Genetic relationships among Usko-Mediterraneans
Figure 4 depicts an HLA class II neighbor-joining tree. Populations are grouped into two main branches with high bootstrap values: the first one groups both eastern (including Macedonians, Cretans, Jews, Lebanese) and western Mediterraneans (Europeans and North Africans. The second branch is formed by Greek and sub-Saharan populations. This distribution is also confirmed in the correspondence analysis (data not shown): the two groups are clearly delimited and a West to East Mediterranean gradient is shown. The Macedonian population shows the closest genetic distance with Cretans (data not shown [46 and 47]) and no discontinuity is observed with eastern and western Mediterraneans reflecting the genetic similarity among these populations. It is evidenced that Cretans-Greeks distance is high. Genetic distances using DR and DQ generic typings confirm these results (data not shown [46 and 47]) and were used in order to include other Mediterranean populations (Iranians, Armenians, Egyptians, and Turks). The DR-DQ neighbor-joining tree (Figure 4) maintains the west to east Mediterranean gradient and also the group formed by Greeks and sub-Saharan populations. Turks (old Anatolians), Kurds, Iranians, and Armenians have been shown specifically to cluster with the eastern Mediterranean groups [46]. On the other hand, genetic distances obtained by using DR-DQ generic typing allele frequencies [48 and 49] show that Iranians (1.10×10-2) and Cretans (1.54×10-2) are the two populations closest to the Macedonians followed by the other Mediterraneans populations. A discontinuity is found between Berbers (Souss) and Greeks (Attica) (9.59×10-2 vs 12.42×10-2) showing that the latter have a distant relationship with Mediterranean populations as previously described [47 and 48]. and cluster together with the sub-Saharan populations.

FIGURE 4. Neighbor-Joining dendrogram showing relatedness between Mediterranean and sub-Saharan populations. Genetic distances between populations (DA) were calculated by using HLA-DR and DQ (generic typing). Data from other populations were from references: [15, 17, 46, 47, 48, 49, 67 and 68].

Greeks are genetically related to sub-Saharans
Much to our surprise, the reason why Greeks did not show a close relatedness with all the other Mediterraneans analyzed (Fig. 4 and data not shown) was their genetic relationship with sub-Saharan ethnic groups now residing in Ethiopia, Sudan and west Africa (Burkina-Fasso). Although some Greek DRB1 alleles are not completely specific of the Greek/sub-Saharan sharing, the list of shared alleles between Greeks and sub-Saharans is self-explanatory [15 and 49]. The conclusion is that part of the Greek genetic pool may be sub-Saharan and that the admixture has occurred at an uncertain but ancient time. The origin of the West African Black ethnic groups (Fulani, Mossi, and Rimaibe sampled in Burkina-Fasso) is probably Ethiopian [50 and 51]. The Fulani are semi-nomadic hunters and gatherers and one of the few people in the area to use cows' milk and its by-products to feed themselves and to trade; their facial parameters show a Caucasian admixture. The Rimaibe Blacks have been slaves belonging to the Fulani and have frequently mixed with them [51]. Both the Oromo and Amharic peoples live in the Ethiopian mountains [51]. These obviously have in common a genetic background with the west-African groups mentioned above. Linguistic, social, traditional, and historical evidence supports an east-to-west migration of peoples through the Sahel (southern Sahara strip), although this is still debated [50 and 51]. Thus, it is hypothesized that there could have been a migration from southern Sahara which mixed with ancient Greeks to give rise to a part of the (normal case) genetic background. The admixture must have occurred in the Aegean Islands and Athens area at least. The reason why this admixture is not seen in Crete is unclear, but may be related to the influential and strong Minoan empire which hindered foreigners establishment [47]. Also, the time when admixture occurred could be after the overthrow of some of the Negroid Egyptian dynasties (Nubian or from other periods) or after undetermined natural catastrophes (i.e., dryness). Indeed, ancient Greeks believed that their religion and culture came from Egypt [52 and 53].

Turks HLA profile reflects that of ancient Anatolia; Fig. 4 [46]
Anatolia (most of present-day Turkey) contains many of the earliest signs of our western civilization: Catal Huyuk, near Konya, is an urban grouping constructed in Neolithic times (7000 BC, [54]). Troy was at Turkey (Dardanelles Strait) and is famous for its war with the Spartans and other Greeks (1200 BC, see Homer's Iliad, [54]). In general, Anatolian development was quite distinct to Egypt and Mesopotamia. By 5400 BC, Hacilar culture flourished in the Southeastern Anatolian Lake District. Fortified citadels were common in central and western Anatolia and also in Mycenas by 3000 BC; this type of construction was brought to Western Europe by the Crusaders many centuries later. By 2400 BC, Anatolia had the resources and the technology to exploit bronze and was in a commanding position. Probably, local developments (and not massive invasions) led to the Hittite Empire flourishing in the central part and to the Arzawa Kingdom at the Aegean coast (1400 BC); others put Hittite origins (as autochthonous) back to the third millennium BC [54]. Still, more scholars identify Hittites with Indo-European invaders who spoke a different language (1400–1200 BC), but this is doubtful (see below and [4]). The "sea people" led to the fall of both cultures after 1200 BC. Later, Neo-Hittites (in Northern Syria), Assyrians, and Arameans held power through different times and parts of Anatolia. By 800 BC, a new Kingdom appeared: Urartu, in the Armenian mountains. Urartu rule was destroyed by Assyrians; also, Cimmerians from southern Russia broke through the Caucasus and descended on Urartu (714 BC), but were withheld by an Assyrian-Anatolian coalition. Medes (from Iran) and Babylonians invaded Anatolia in the 6th century BC; the former entered the Armenian mountains (Northwards) while the latter confronted with central Anatolian people (Lydians). Peace followed and Persians led by Cyrus defeated the Medes and overran Anatolia bringing to an end the Neo-Hittite and other so-called pre-Indo-European speaking people rule (5th century BC, [54]). Alexander the Great expelled the Persians from Anatolia (4th century BC) and after his death it was inherited by his general Selyuk. Romans, and to a lesser degree Muslims, took over Anatolia until the Turks, coming from central Asia through Iran, invaded Anatolia in 1055 AD and finally took Istanbul in 1453 AD. Turks first fought Islamic warriors, but they finally adopted Islamic religion although they held onto their conquests and expanded throughout Europe and the Mediterranean Coast [55]. In spite of all these varied invasions, present day Turkish HLA profiles reflect an older Mediterranean substratum, not very different from Jewish or Lebanese (see Fig. 4 and data not shown, [46]). It seems that the genetic input coming from the Altai mountain regions was comparatively low. Other genetic studies using classical allozyme markers also support that Anatolians belong to the older Mediterranean substratum [56]. Our results cast doubts on the "out of Anatolia" origin for the Hittites and related people who are considered by some on a linguistic basis as Indo-Europeans immigrants. Most of the Anatolian invasions detailed above may have been accomplished by a so-called "elite" dominance process [4, 23 and 57].

Kurds are also a part of the older Mediterranean stock
HLA genetic distances and haplotypes observed in Kurds place them among the Middle East-Mediterranean stock [46]; present-day Turkish and Kurdish people seem originally to belong to a similar ethnic group. The lack of any other genetic data about Kurds makes it necessary to perform further studies. However, their characteristic Mediterranean HLA haplotypes make any other origin for the Kurds unlikely. Kurdish tribes have traditionally lived in the mountains. The Halaf culture "autochthonous" people (6000 BC) (Tell Halaf, Southern Diyarbakir, Turkish Kurdistan [58, 59 and 60], and the Hurrians (2000 BC), who spoke a Caucasian (non-Indo-European) language may be the present-day Kurds more ancient substratum [58]. Urartu, Mushku, Urkish, Subara, Baini, Guti, and Manna city states evolved from the Hurrian society. Kurdistan people was regarded as a single civilization by the neighboring peoples: Sumerians referred to them as "Subaru;" Akkadians, Assyrians and Babylonians called mountain people from the area as "Guti." Mittani political power appeared by 1500 BC around nowadays Diyarbakir (Turkish-Kurdistan). The people may perhaps have come from other areas (Sindis from Iran-India); however, the name Mittani is an old Hurrian name that may still be found in extant Kurd tribes (Mattini Millani, [61]). By 1200 BC Medes and other political powers invaded Hurrian cities (and the entire Mittani) and by 850 BC the old language (probably from the Dene Caucasian group, [4 and 23]) had changed to a so-called Indo-European one throughout the mountains, probably giving rise to the present day Kurdish language. Kurdish historians consider themselves as coming from Medes [61] and Kurds have a calendar based on the destruction of the Assyrian Empire when Nineveh was occupied by Medes (612 BC). Kurds remained as "the mountains people" through Persian, Greek, and Roman Anatolian rule. By 1071, Turkish warriors imposed Islam in mostly Christian Anatolia. The first recorded name of Kurds (Kurti) was given around 1000 BC by Assyrians to people living in Mt. Azu or Hizan (near Lake Van, easternmost Turkey). Kurti town existed in Mt. Hizan until 60 years ago (nowadays Bahcesaray) [61]. "Kurts" are also mentioned by early classical historians like Polybios (133 BC) and Strabo (48 AD). "Kurti" was used in the classical world to refer to people who lived in the Kurdistan mountains (Zagros, Taurus) in the first centuries BC. Our Kurdish genetic HLA analysis [46] show that Kurds' genetic distances, haplotype, and correspondence analysis (data not shown) place Kurds among eastern Mediterraneans, suggesting that they belong, like Turks, to a very old Anatolian substratum. These data are also supported by historical data (see above).

The Usko-Mediterranean languages
It is well established that North Africans and southern Europeans are genetically related and this may be due to along lasting circum-Mediterranean cultural and genetic flow particularly during the last glacial peak [62]. Both Sumerians and Egyptians are thought to have arrived to their respective homelands before written and archaeological records about their activities were obtained. Old Canaan (nowadays Israel and Palestine), including the coast, was populated by people of unknown origin, but probably related to both Egyptians and Sumerians [63]. On the basis of our present day genetic and linguistic studies, we have postulated that many people coming from what is nowadays the Sahara Dessert started to move towards East, West, and North, being an important part of the primitive people stock of Sumerians, Egyptians, Guanche (Canary Islands), Iberians, Etruscan, Minoans, Anatolians (nowadays called Turks on only linguistic bases), Kurds, and other islanders or northern Mediterraneans [62]. The Saharan desiccation causes are now well established after 4,000 BC. and Columbia shuttle infrared photographs show that the desert was a fertile land with many lakes and rivers [47]. Sardinians first people (speaking Nuragh) could also come in part from northern Africa and Iberian scripts have been found in Sardinia. Whether the different ancient languages found in the northern Mediterranean (also belonging to the usko-Mediterranean family) were carried by Africans or were the result of a homogenization in language due to long lasting circum-Mediterranean contacts is not known. These contacts would have been possible both in glacier and inter-glacier or post-glacial periods. These languages may include the so far studied by us (see above and Table 1) and also: Nuragh (Sardinia), Ligurian (southern France), Oscan, Messapic, and Venetic (Italy), Lydian and Lycian (Anatolia, Turkey) and others. Sumer (B. Su = Fire, Mer = Land, hot-land) toponim occurs in ancient Irak, Israel (Samaria), West Crete (Samaria gorge), and Russia, north of Black Sea. Palestinians appear to the West of Canaan (nowadays Israel) more or less at the same time than Jews to Canaan; they come from Crete, according to the Bible. However, both Palestinians and Jews are now considered of ancient Canaanite tribes descent [63]. Only a few words remain from Palestinian language, but they called their prince: Seren (B. Ser or Zar = Old person, en = The most important). Also, the old Anatolian language is not Turkish, but Hittite, which belongs to the usko-Mediterranean group therefore, many of the extinct languages classified as Indo-Europeans could be revised and could belong to the "older" usko-Mediterranean family. Hittite was classified by Hrozny [64] as Indo-European with the study of only one phrase, which is now translated by us with the help of the Basque-Spanish equivalences:


Basque: NUN-INDA-N-EZ-Z(U)

Spanish: Donde-En el pantano-No-Fuego

English: Where-In the bog-Not-Fire


Spanish: La puerta-Yo-Si-Procedente-La madre-Pertenezco-Yo

English: The door-I-Yes-Coming from-The mother-belong-I

Full English translation: "Where in the bog (is) not fire, yes I (am) coming from The Door, I belong to The Mother." Hittite would be an "usko-Mediterranean" language. Therefore, the relationship between Indo-European and "usko-Mediterranean" languages may be very difficult to disentangle. In different periods, they must have been mixed up in the people's common language depending on the time when the particular studied document comes from. Different degrees of admixture may be found. However, the "usko-Mediterranean" languages seem to be quite uniform (at least the written documents); this will be commented in another work, but it may be due to the lack of a widespread writing among people. It was monopolized by clerks (probably priests and high government officers). Also, the strict religious language formulation may have contributed to the observed monotony on topics. Indo-European (or Eurasian) languages have substituted by unknown, suspected (Greeks with Iron-technology invading Minoan empire), or known (Latin speakers substituting Etruscan speakers) reasons. However, all present day Eurasian languages have "usko-Mediterranean" cognates and other language characteristics, which have not sufficiently been studied. The case of the Berber is a paradigm: many of its present day words come from an Arabic origin [65].

The particular case of the Canary islands first inhabitants
The Canary Islands first inhabitants were called "Guanches." They were noticed to speak a Basque-like language and a Basque was appointed to christianise the Islands [45]. Some of the toponimics or other names may be translated by using the old Basque-language-Spanish-English equivalences [28]. Lanzarote or Lancelot island was ruled by a King called Guadarfia (B. = "our-double horn"); the leader might have wore a double horned hat. Fuerteventura island had two rulers Guize (B. = man) and Ayoze (B. = knife). Armiche ruled on Hierro islands (B. = house-spider). Gomera islands has four subdivisions Agana (B. = the brotherhood dead), Hipalan, Malagua, and Orone (B. = hurricane). Great Canaria island rulers were the Guanartemes (B. = our brotherhood of sinner land). Tenerife was subdivided in eight parts; two of them were Anaga (B. = the brotherhood of the dead), Abona (B. = the entrance). The present capital "Santa Cruz" was named Anazu or (B. = the brotherhood of fire); the most important cultural city La Laguna, was named Aguere (B. = panoramic, view), and it is certainly a high city with a magnificent view. For more Guanche words translation, consult references: [4 and 5]. However, Guanches not only spoke "Guanche" which may be regarded as very close to the protoberber language found in the Libyan inscriptions [2 and 3], but also ancient Iberian, as shown in Table 2. In the last ten years, many rock inscriptions have been found, throughout the eastern Canary Islands, Lanzarote, and Fuerteventura. They have been shown to be Iberian inscriptions with a funerary and religious meaning (Table 2) [66]. These have been named the Iberian-Guanche inscriptions. Thus, while the genetic identity of the Canary Islands inhabitants seem to be quite homogeneous [9] and close to North African Berbers, two type of languages (Guanche and Iberian) were spoken by the first inhabitants. Therefore, the strong correlation between genes and languages is artifactual [9] and may sometimes be found at a macrogeographical level, particularly if some data are not considered. However, when studying populations at a microgeographical level a correlation between genes and language is not found (i.e., Guanche people/Iberian and Guanche language (Table 2) [9 and 66]; present-day Turks/ Turk language [9 and 46]; genetical North African Berbers (most of the population)/ Arabic imposed language [9, 48 and 66].


This work was supported in part by grants from the Spanish Ministry of Education (PM95-57 and PM96-21) and the Madrid Regional Government (06/70/97 and 8.3/14/98). We are grateful to Alberto Garcia for his help with art design work on the computer.

1. J. Intxausti. Euskera, La lengua de los Vascos, Elkar-Eusko Jaurlaritza, Donosita-San Sebastia (1992).

2. A. Arnaiz-Villena and J. Alonso-Garciá. El origen de los vascos y otros pueblos mediterraeos, Editorial Complutense SA, Madrid (1998).

3. Arnaiz-Villena A, Alonso-Garciá J. Minoicos, Cretenses y Vascos. Un estudio geneico y ling&uumlitico. Madrid: Editorial Complutense SA, 1999.

4. Arnaiz-Villena A, Alonso-Garcia J. The Usko-Mediterranean languages. In: Arnaiz-Villena, ed.: Prehistoric Iberia: genetics, anthropology and linguistics. New York: Kluwer-Plenum, 2000.

5. A. Arnaiz-Villena and J. Alonso-Garciá. Egipcios, Bereberes, Guanches y Vascos, Editorial Complutense SA, Madrid (2000).

6. A. Arnaiz-Villena, J. Martinez-Laso and A. Alonso-Garcia, Iberia: Population genetics, Anthropology, and linguistics. Hum Biol 71 (1999), p. 725. Abstract-Elsevier BIOBASE | Abstract-MEDLINE

7. M. Ruhlen, The Basque language is included in the Dene-Caucasian language family. In: Arnaiz-Villena, Editor, Prehistoric Iberia: genetics, anthropology and linguistics, Kluwer-Plenum, New York (2000).

8. A. Arnaiz-Villena and D. Lubell, Prehistoric Iberia: Genetics, Anthropology and Linguistics. Curr Anthropol 41 (2000), p. 636. Full Text via CrossRef

9. L. Cavalli-Sforza, P. Menozi and A. Piazza. The History and Geography of Human Genes, Princeton University Press, Princeton (1994).

10. M. Jackes, D. Lubell and C. Meiklejohn, Healthy but mortal: Human biology and the first farmers of Western Europe. Antiquity 71 (1997), p. 273.

11. A. Arnaiz-Villena, M. Timo, A. Corell, P. Peez-Aciego, J.M. Marti-Villa and J.R. Regueiro, Primary immunodeficiency caused by mutations in the gene encoding the CD3-g subunit of the T-lymphocyte receptor. NEng JMed 327 (1992), p. 529. Abstract-MEDLINE | Abstract-EMBASE

12. L. Excoffier and M. Slatkin, Maximum-likelihood estimation of molecular haplotype frequencies in a diploid population. Mol Biol Evol 12 (1995), p. 921. Abstract-Elsevier BIOBASE | Abstract-MEDLINE | Abstract-EMBASE | Abstract-BIOTECHNOBASE

13. T. Imanishi, T. Akaza, A. Kimura, K. Tokunaga and T. Gojorobi, Estimation of allele and haplotype frequencies for HLA and complement loci. In: K. Tsuji, M. Aizawa and T. Sasazuki, Editors, HLA 1991 Vol. I, Oxford University Press, Oxford (1992).

14. P.L. Mattiuz, D. Ihde, A. Piazza, R. Ceppelini and W.F. Wodmer, New approaches to the population genetics and segregation analysis of the HLA system. Histocompatibility Testing 1970, Munksgaard, Copenhagen (1970).

15. J. Clayton and C. Lonjou, Allele and Haplotype frequencies for HLA loci in various ethnic groups. In: D. Charron, Editor, Genetic Diversity of HLA, Functional, and Medical Implications Vol. 1, EDK, Paris (1997).

16. A. Arnaiz-Villena, J. Martiez-Laso, E. Goez-Casado, N. Diaz-Campos, P. Santos, A. Martinho and H. Breda-Coimbra, Relatedness among Basques, Portuguese, Spaniards, and Algerian studied by HLA allelic frequencies and haplotypes. Immunogenetics 47 (1997), p. 37. Abstract-BIOTECHNOBASE | Abstract-MEDLINE | Abstract-EMBASE | Full Text via CrossRef

17. T. Imanishi, T. Akaza, A. Kimura, K. Tokunaga and T. Gojobori, Allele and haplotype frequencies for HLA and complement loci in various ethnic groups. In: K. Tsuji, M. Aizawa and T. Sasazuki, Editors, HLA 1991 Vol. 1, Oxford University Press, Oxford (1992).

18. N. Saitou and M. Nei, The neighbor-joining method: a new method for reconstructing phylogenetic trees. Mol Biol Evol 4 (1987), p. 406. Abstract-MEDLINE

19. M. Nei, Genetic distances between populations. Am Nat 106 (1972), p. 283. Full Text via CrossRef

20. M. Nei, Analysis of gene diversity in subdivided populations. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA 70 (1973), p. 3321. Abstract-MEDLINE

21. M. Nei, F. Tajima and Y. Tateno, Accuracy of estimated phylogenetic trees from molecular data II. Gene frequency data. J Mol Evol 19 (1983), p. 153. Abstract-EMBASE | Abstract-MEDLINE | Abstract-BIOTECHNOBASE

22. F.W. Young and C.M. Bann, A Visual Statistics System. In: R.A. Stine and J. Fox, Editors, Statistical Computing Environments for Social Researchers, Sage Publications, New York (1996).

23. M. Ruhlen. The Origin of Language, John Wiley, New York (1994).

24. A.N. Pouliamos. Anthropological data on the origin of the Creta, Actas Segundo Congreso Internacional Estudios Cretenses, Atenas (1969).

25. J. Alonso-Garcia, M.J. Castro, J. Martinez-Laso and A. Arnaiz-Villena, Deciphering the Iberian-Tartesian language. In: Arnaiz-Villena, Editor, Prehistoric Iberia: Genetics, anthropology and linguistics, Kluwer-Plenum, New York (2000).

26. Collins R. Los Vascos.Madrid: Alianza Universidad, 1989.

27. M. Sota, P. Lafitte and L. Akesolo. Diccionario Retana de Autoridades del Euskera (10 vol.), La Gran Enciclopedia Vasca, Bilbao (1976).

28. J. Kerexeta. Diccionario Amaia de la lengua vasca, Ed. Ernesto Gutierez, Madrid (1990).

29. F. Corriente Cordoba. Diccionario Arabe-Espa&ntildeol, Espasa Calpe, Madrid (1977).

30. J.B. Chabot. Recueil des Inscriptions Lybisnes, Imprimerie Nationale, Paris (1940).

31. D. Harden. The Phoenicians, Penguin Books, London (1971).

32. A. D'Aneusa. Crestomazza Etrusca Epigrafica, Paideia Editrice, Brecia (1997).

33. E. Forrer. The Boghazkoi texte in umschrift, JC Hinchs Buchhane, Leipzig (1922).

34. F. Somer. Hethische texte, JC Hinchs Buchhane, Leipzig (1924).

35. E. Neufeld. The Hittite laws, Luzaz and Cotld, London (1951).

36. E. L'Aroche. Les hieroglyphes Hittites, Centre Nat. Recherches, Paris (1960).

37. B.C. Ethler. Literary structure in the Laws of Shuma, University of Pennsylvania (American-Oriental Series), Pennsylvania (1991).

38. M.L. Thomsen. The Sumerian language, Copenhagen Studies in Assimology, Copenhagen (1991).

39. J. Botero. L'Europe de Gilgames, Gallimard Editions, Paris (1992).

40. A. Finet. Le code of Hammurapi, Les Editions du Cerf, Paris (1998).

41. D. Segarra. La ofrenda en Ebla. El coro de Mul, Editorial Complutense, Madrid (1989).

42. W. Stolper. Texts from Tall-I Mabyan I, Occasional publications of the Babylonian fund, Philadelphia (1984).

43. A. Gardiner. Egyptian grammar, Griffith Institute, Ashmolean Museum, Oxford (1982).

44. J.L. Cunchillo. Visto desde Ugarit, Clasicas, Madrid (1984).

45. F. Krutwig. Garaldea, sobre el origen de los vascos, Txertoa, San Sebastian (1978).

46. A. Arnaiz-Villena, M. Carin, N. Bendikuze, E. Gomez-Casado, J. Moscoso, C. Silvera, A. Pacho, L. Allende, J. Guillen and Martinez-Laso, HLA alleles and haplotypes in the Turkish population: relatedness to Kurds, Armenians and other Mediterraneas. Tissue Antigens 57 (2001), p. 308. Abstract-Elsevier BIOBASE | Abstract-BIOTECHNOBASE | Abstract-EMBASE | Abstract-MEDLINE | Full Text via CrossRef

47. A. Arnaiz-Villena, P. Iliakis, M. Gonzaez-Hevilla, J. Longas, E. Gomez-Casado, K. Sfyridaki, J. Trapaga, C. Silvera, C. Matsouka and J. Martinez-Laso, The origin of Cretan population as determined by characterization of HLA alleles. Tissue Antigens 53 (1999), p. 213. Abstract-BIOTECHNOBASE | Abstract-EMBASE | Abstract-MEDLINE | Full Text via CrossRef

48. E. Gomez-Casado, P. del Moral, J. Martinez-Laso, A. Garciá-Goez, L. Allende, C. Silvera-Redondo, J. Longas, M. Gonzaez-Hevilla, M. Kandil, J. Zamora and A. Arnaiz-Villena, HLA genes in Arabic-speaking Moroccans: Close relatedness to Berbers and Iberians. Tissue Antigens 55 (2000), p. 239. Abstract-EMBASE | Abstract-Elsevier BIOBASE | Abstract-BIOTECHNOBASE | Abstract-MEDLINE | Full Text via CrossRef

49. A. Arnaiz-Villena, K. Dimitroski, A. Pacho, J. Moscoso, E. Gomez-Casado, C. Silvera, P. Varela, M. Blagocvska, V. Zdravkovska and J. Martinez-Laso, HLA genes in Macedonians and the sub-Saharan origin of the Greeks. Tissue Antigens 57 (2001), p. 118. Abstract-Elsevier BIOBASE | Abstract-BIOTECHNOBASE | Abstract-EMBASE | Abstract-MEDLINE | Full Text via CrossRef

50. C. McEvedy. The Penguin Atlas of African History, Ed. Penguin Books Ltd, London (1980).

51. A. Gonem. The Encyclopedia of the Peoples of the World, Jerusalem Publishing House Ltd, Jerusalem (1996).

52. Herodotus. History, Ed. Gredos, Madrid (1989).

53. M. Bernal. Black Athena: The Afroasiatic roots of classical civilization, Free Association Books, New Brunswick, Rutger University Press, London (1987).

54. J.G. Macqueen. The Hittites, Thomes and Hudson Ltd, London (1999).

55. G. Steiner, The intransitive-passival conception of the verb in languages of the ancient Near East. In: F. Plank, Editor, Ergativity: Towards a theory of grammatical relation, Academic Press, New York (1979).

56. A. Brega, R. Scacchi, M. Cuccia, B. Kirdar, G. Peloso and R.M. Corbo, Study of 15 protein polymorphisms in a sample of the Turkish population. Hum Biol 70 (1998), p. 715. Abstract-Elsevier BIOBASE | Abstract-MEDLINE

57. C. Renfrew. Archeology and Language: The puzzle of Indo European origins, Jonathan Cape, London (1987).

58. W. von Soden. The Ancient Orient, Eerdmans Publishing Co, Grand Rapids (1994).

59. J. Reade. Mesopotamia, Harvard University Press, Cambridge (1991).

60. J. Mellaart. The Neolithic of the Near East, Scribner, New York (1975).

61. Izady M. Lecture on "Kurds" at Harvard University, 10th March, 1993. Kurdish Life 1993: p 7.

62. J. Martinez-Laso, E. Gomez-Casado and P. Varela, Genetic and historical relationships among Mediterraneans. In: A. Arnaiz-Villena, Editor, Prehistoric Iberia: Genetics, anthropology and linguistics, Kluwer-Plenum, New York (2000).

63. A. Arnaiz-Villena, N. Elaiwa, C. Silvera, A. Rostom, J. Moscoso, E. Goez-Casado, L. Allende, P. Varela, M.J. Castro and J. Martiez-Laso, The origin of Palestinians and their genetic relatedness with other Mediterraneans. Hum Immunol 62 (2001), p. 889. Abstract-MEDLINE | Abstract-Elsevier BIOBASE | Abstract-EMBASE

64. B. Hrozny. "Die Losung des Hethetischen problems." Mitteilungan der Deutschen Orient-Gesellschaft 56 (December) (1915), pp. 17–50.

65. J.M. Dallet. Dictionaire Kabyle-Francis, Selaf, Paris (1982).

66. A. Arnaiz-Villena and J. Alonso-Garcia. Egipcios, Bereberes, Guanches y Vascos (2nd Edition ed.),, Editorial Complutense SA, Madrid (2001).

67. J. Martiez-Laso, D. De Juan, N. Martiez-Quiles, E. Goez-Casado, E. Cuadrado and A. Arnaiz-Villena, The contribution of the HLA-A, -B, -C and -DR, -DQ DNA typing to the study of the origins of Spaniards and Basques. Tissue Antigens 45 (1995), p. 237. Abstract-MEDLINE | Abstract-BIOTECHNOBASE | Abstract-Elsevier BIOBASE | Abstract-EMBASE

68. J. Martiez-Laso, E. Gazit, E. Goez-Casado, P. Morales, N. Martinez-Quiles, M. Alvarez, J.M. Martin-Villa, V. Fernandez and A. Arnaiz-Villena, HLA DR and DQ polymorphism in Ashkenazi and non-Ashkenazi Jews: comparison with other Mediterraneans. Tissue Antigens 47 (1996), p. 63. Abstract-MEDLINE | Abstract-Elsevier BIOBASE | Abstract-EMBASE | Abstract-BIOTECHNOBASE

Address reprint requests to: Antonio Arnaiz-Villena, email:

-- Sadie
-- signature .

Follow Ups:

Post a Followup

E-Mail: ( default )
Optional Link ( default )
Optional Image Link ( default )

This board is powered by the Mr. Fong Device from