Volume 1, Issue 1 (December 2023) – 5 articles

Cover Story (View full-size image):
Three routes of southward migration for Han Chinese revealed by Y chromosome diversity.
The Han Chinese is the majority population of China. How they expanded to the present distributed region is crucial to the natural history of East Asians. The patrilineal genetic marker, Y chromosome, is strongly correlated to the nature of ethnic groups, and therefore, is well applied in molecular anthropology. Clustering analyses of the Y chromosome haplogroup distributions revealed that Han Chinese can be divided into five geographic subgroups. The Northern subgroup is ancestral, and three migration routes could be derived, e.g. to the southwest (Upper Yangtzi subgroup), to the central south (Canton subgroup), and to the southeast (Lower Yangtzi subgroup and Fujian-Taiwan subgroup). This genetic pattern of Han Chinese was also supported by various evidences from linguistics, archaeology, ethnological cultures, historical records, etc.  View this manuscript


18 April 2023


12 June 2023

Encounter between Present Female Characters and Neolithic Inscribed Symbols Prior to Oracle-bone Inscriptions

Inscribed symbols of Neolithic Age were sometimes suspected to be initial writing prior to developed writing system. The earliest developed writing system in China was Oracle-bone inscriptions (OBIs) of Bronze Age and researchers have long sought its predecessor. Here, we reported that two continuous symbols on a stone ax of Neolithic Liangzhu culture found their identical duplicates in a unique writing system on brocade belts woven by present women in Shanghai suburb. Women in this group duplicated the hereditary text for weddings only once each generation in the past, and they can still interpret these two characters, implying that the two identical Liangzhu symbols may have the similar meanings. The meanings and patterns are both similar to those in OBIs, suggesting that Liangzhu symbols might be one of the predecessors of OBIs. Integrating philology, genetics, linguistics, and folklore, we discussed that special small population may inherit both the genetic structure and convert culture for extremely long time, such as this population in southern Shanghai.


20 July 2023

Fine-scale Genetic Structure of Geographically Distinct Patrilineal Lineages Delineates Southward Migration Routes for Han Chinese

The Han Chinese (HAN) represent the world’s largest ethnic group, and their genetic structure has been the focus of numerous studies. Yet previous studies failed to draw out finer population stratification of patrilineal HAN, due to limitations in sample size and genetic marker density. This essay employs a Y-haplogroup frequency dataset from virtually whole China aiming to draw out a detailed genetic structure of the patrilineal HAN. We provide an overview of the Y chromosome haplogroup distributions, and find that the patrilineal HAN can be divided into five geographic subgroups. Analysis of Molecular Variance (AMOVA) provided further support for the five-substructure model. By comparing patrilineal and matrilineal descent, we revealed stronger geographical aggregation for patrilineal HAN. Moreover, populations with patrilineal descent showed lower levels of haplogroup diversity (HD) compared to those with matrilineal descent, suggesting potential population bottleneck of patrilineal HAN. The larger HD among northern patrilines verified historical migration of HAN from north to south, which validated by neighbor joining tree (NJ-tree). Overall, we speculate the southward migration routes for Han Chinese, and the HAN south of the Nanling Mountains may have entered via the middle reaches of the Yangtze River, rather than via eastern coastal provinces.


08 August 2023

Where Do Chinese Doublets Come From?—The Doublets from Prehistory to the Era of the Book of Poetry

The earliest writing in China is the oracle bone inscriptions of the Shang Dynasty, which records early Chinese, also known as oracle bone Chinese, which are all monosyllabic-words (1300 BC). In the Bronze Inscriptions of the Western Zhou Dynasty and later handed down documents, doublets appear (beginning in 1046 BC). At present, the philological academy believes that the doublets recorded with two Chinese single-characters come from reduplication of two single-character symbols, but there is no complete argument and reliable evidence. This article, by using the opposite method of argument, reversely assumes that the single-characters (monosyllabic words) come from doublets and tries to demonstrate it. The article proves the truth of the origin of doublets based on the word distribution and semantic correspondence between doublets and single-characters in “the Book of Poetry”, that is, doublets are the source and single-characters are flows. Among them, 39.66% of the doublets have no corresponding single-characters, and they are the characters created to record doublets; 41.92% of the meanings of doublets have nothing to do with the meanings of single-characters, which proves that the doublets does not come from the combination of single-characters; 12.46% of the meanings of doublets are interpreted as the meanings of single-characters, which are the subjective errors of later generations of interpreters; the remaining 5.66% are only associated with proclitics and enclitics rather than single-characters. Finally, the article proposes that doublets originate from a unique mechanism of expressive morphology, which is a new type of etymological theory outside the morphological grammar system, and can create various polysyllabic ideophones, including the onomatopoeia or mimetic words. The article proves that a language begins with the creation of words. In the prehistoric period before the oracle bone inscriptions, Chinese ancestors had invented a large number of distinctive doublets (AA), couplets (AB) and other polysyllabic words (xA, or ABB, ABA’B), or ideophones. Due to the difficulty of writing, the doublets were hidden in spoken language for hundreds of years. It was not until the time of “Book of Poetry” and “Book of History” in the bronze inscriptions of the Western Zhou Dynasty that it entered the history and has continued to this day. Doublets are the earliest Chinese words and the beginning of Chinese civilization.


14 December 2023