I sat and watched Ten Canoes the other day. The language in it sounded like Tamil. Which was a surprise. Just like years ago I realised that Japanese and Tamil words were interchangeable in a sentence. So I went looking for research where others may have found this too. I came across this:
Perhaps most similar to Australian languages are the Dravidian languages of southern India. Tamil, for example, has five places of articulation in a single series of stops, paralleled by a series of nasals, and no fricatives (thus approaching the Australian proportion of sonorants to obstruents of 70% to 30%). Approaching the question from the opposite direction: according to the latest WHO data on the prevalence of chronic otitis media (Acuin 2004:14ff), Aboriginal Australians have the highest prevalence in the world – 10-54%, according to Coates & al (2002), up to 36% with perforations of the eardrum. They are followed – at some distance – by the Tamil of southern India (7.8%, down from previous estimates of 16-34%), … (from http://www.flinders.edu.au/speechpath/Manly%20final.pdf)
Then I started to look at other linking the tamil and the Aboriginal. And here I encountered a lot of material. I big proportio of this has to be discounted as it is typically in the vein of the Indian or Tamil suprematist. Quickly – that vein is one that claims that Tamil is the original language – and the class of languages called Dravidian ( an unfortunate appellation?) is huge and spread all over the world. Some claim the flaw in this na,ing has given rise to the feeling that Tamil ( as dravidian) is the original language. Still now we can start to read about DNA evidence. See this:
Dr Rao and his colleagues sequenced the mitochondrial genomes of 966 people from traditional tribes in India. They reported several of the Indian people studied had two regions of their mitochondrial DNA that were identical to those found in modern day Australian Aboriginal people. (http://s1.zetaboards.com/anthroscape/topic/2011921/1/)
Also – http://www.biomedcentral.com/1471-2148/9/173/abstract/
Then there is the Human Genome Project and here is what that has to say:
During his own journey in pursuit of the Y chromosome story in the late 1990s, Wells took blood samples from males of Dravidian ancestry in southern India. The Dravidians were among India’s earliest colonists; they now live among the descendants of a later wave of Sanskrit speakers — like Latin and ancient Greek, Sanskrit is an a branch of the Indo-European ‘mother tongue’, more closely related to modern English and French than to Dravidian.
Wells was looking for a genetic marker called M130, the most ancient, non-African, Y-chromosome marker. It is rare in Dravidians, but quite common in Australian Aboriginal males — and, intriguingly, in the Na Dene peoples of the Pacific north-west of North America.
The Na Dene peoples are descended from a second, later wave of immigrants into North America, who were ultimately of Sino-Tibetan stock — M130 is both the oldest non-African Y-chromosome marker, and the most travelled.
Wells’ suspicion that M130 might have survived, at very low frequency, in southern coastal regions of India, was proven correct
The first African emigres left a durable calling card on the coastal migratory route between Africa and Australia.
Which is of course mystifying and a bit thrilling. Do I carry M130 I wonder. If yes what would that mean to me? Or should I just learn the (which) language?