Article

Austronesian Linguistics

Alexander Adelaar

in Linguistics

ISBN: 9780199772810
Published online October 2011 | | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/obo/9780199772810-0055
Austronesian Linguistics

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  • Linguistics
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Austronesian linguistics is the linguistic study of languages belonging to the Austronesian language family. The more than 1,200 Austronesian languages occupy a vast area. Traditionally, they are spoken in the Pacific in the area bounded by Hawai’i in the northeast, Taiwan in the northwest, Easter Island in the southeast, New Zealand in the southwest, and Wallis Island in the south. In Southeast Asia they are spoken in the Philippines; in Brunei Darussalam; and in most parts of Indonesia, Malaysia, and East Timor. Minorities speaking Austronesian languages are also found in some regions in Vietnam, Kampuchea, southern Thailand, and coastal South Burma. Much further to the west, speakers of Austronesian languages are found in Madagascar, along the East African coast. Australian languages, the Austro-Asiatic (Orang Asli) languages in the Malay peninsula, and the Papuan languages in and around New Guinea do not belong to the Austronesian language family. Genetically, the Austronesian language family has several primary branches. Most of these consist of only one or several of the twenty or so Austronesian languages of Taiwan (the so-called Formosan languages). Only one branch, Malayo-Polynesian, includes all other Austronesian languages. Historically, the Austronesian language family is commonly believed to have originated in Taiwan, from whence its members spread to other parts of Southeast Asia, to the Pacific, and to Madagascar (see Blust 2009, cited under Textbooks).

Article.  11821 words. 

Subjects: Linguistics ; Anthropological Linguistics ; Language Families ; Psycholinguistics ; Sociolinguistics

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