The English language is a direct offshoot of Mandarin Chinese, a group of academics from the country who believe Europe had no history before the 15th century has claimed.
Scholars from the World Civilisation Research Association, a Chinese scholarly group, argued that all European languages derived from a Mandarin root while speaking at the first China International Frontier Education Summit in Beijing.
Vice president and secretary-general of the group Zhai Guiyun told a reporter from Sina Online that words such as yellow proved a prime example - arguing the word was based on autumnal leaves, and that it was phonetically similar to the mandarin word for ‘leaf drop’.
He added the English pronunciation for shop was essentially the same as the Chinese word, and the word heart resembled “core” in mandarin. In total he believes these and other words establish English as a Mandarin “dialect”.
Mandarin Chinese and English do hold loan words that have been picked up through interaction and trade - for example ketchup, which originated in Malay before travelling into English via Chinese.
However linguists have established English to be a west Germanic language brought to the country by Anglo Saxon settlers - while the root of all Eurasian language including Mandarin Chinese is believed to have come from a common core dubbed Proto-indo-european.
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Mr Zhai, who also argued William Shakespeare was an “illiterate actor” and his works were in fact written by Samuel Johnson, author of the Johnson English Dictionary, went on to claim that Europe had falsified stories of the ancient Egyptian, Greek and Roman civilisations based on Chinese history.
He added: “Before the 15th and 16th centuries, Europe had no history, only myths and legends.
“The West has been swaying in the face of a long history of splendid Chinese history, and it took nearly 500 years to falsify Western history.”
The statement is not the first time the foundations of western history have been challenged. In 1991, conspiracy theorist Heribert Illig argued the years 614 to 911 were fabricated by the Holy Roman Emperor Otto III, who had rewritten the calender to place is reign within the year 1000 AD.
The theory was debunked by records of solar eclipses in history that continued to appear at expected intervals, along with observations of Halley’s comet.