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For the Indo-European family of languages, a common hypothesis is that it originated in central Asia, somewhere north of the Caspian and/or Black Seas.

Do we have any idea where the Sino-Tibetan family of languages originated, or at least of the Chinese branch of this family?

I believe most of the oldest Chinese prehistoric remains are scattered along or around the valley of the Yellow River. Is that also where it is hypothesised that the oldest forms of the language originated, and/or the oldest place where its Sino-Tibetan ancestral speakers dwelled?

  • No, the definition of Sino-Tibetan is controversial even. – Jacob May 18 '18 at 8:44
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    The entire family is from the Tibetan plateau, where groups either stayed in Tibet (Tibetan/Bhutanese), migrated slightly north-east (Qiangic languages, e.g. Tangut), migrated south (Burmese), or took a longish journey east (Chinese). Some migrated southwest, and as a result there are still some scattered varieties of Sino-Tibetan in India. You'll probably get a better answer at Linguistics StackExchange. – droooze May 18 '18 at 20:41
  • @droooze: Thanks, this could be an interesting answer! – Cerberus May 22 '18 at 2:56
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didn't this wiki page provided enough "basic" knowledges:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_China

"the earliest written record of chinese" (aka oracle script) was found in bones (of ox, cow) and shells (of tortoise) in 安陽. it's about 商 dynasty (bc 1600–1046).

about the preceding one, 夏 dynasty (bc 2070 - 1600); there was one newest discovery, related to the myth "great flood", and 鯀 & 禹:

this megaflood was occurred in bc 1922 ±28, in the place of 喇家 (in today qinghai)

http://www.bbc.com/news/science-environment-36966274

have fun :)

  • Thanks for answering, some interesting information! But how about the hypothesised area of origin where the earliest Chinese was spoken? This was presumably a long time before writing was invented. – Cerberus May 18 '18 at 16:35
  • well, the chinese page of the first link had more info: zh.wikipedia.org/zh-hk/中国历史 there's a proposal "from egypt" zh.wikipedia.org/zh-hk/中国历史#出埃及説 . my guess (without proves, evidences) would be qinghai (amdo in tibetan's view), or central asia. – 水巷孑蠻 May 18 '18 at 17:21
  • OK interesting! – Cerberus May 22 '18 at 2:56

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