Austronesian languages

  • austronesian
    ethnicityaustronesian peoples
    geographic
    distribution
    malay peninsula, maritime southeast asia, madagascar and parts of mainland southeast asia, oceania, easter island and taiwan
    linguistic classificationone of the world's primary language families
    proto-languageproto-austronesian
    subdivisions
    • rukai
    • tsouic
    • puyuma
    • northwest formosan
    • western plains
    • atayalic
    • east formosan
    • bunun
    • paiwan
    • malayo-polynesian
    iso 639-2 / 5map
    aust1307[1]
    austroneske jazyky.jpg
    distribution of austronesian languages

    the austronesian languages (ən/, ə/, -/, ə-/) are a language family widely spoken throughout taiwan, malay peninsula[2], maritime southeast asia, madagascar and the islands of the pacific ocean. there are also a few speakers in continental asia.[3] they are spoken by about 386 million people (4.9% of the world population). this makes it the fifth-largest language family by number of speakers. major austronesian languages include malay (indonesian and malaysian), javanese, and filipino (tagalog). according to some estimates, the family contains 1,257 languages, which is the second most of any language family.[4]

    in 1706, the dutch scholar adriaan reland first observed similarities between the languages spoken in the malay archipelago and by peoples on islands in the pacific ocean.[5] in the 19th century, researchers (e.g. wilhelm von humboldt, herman van der tuuk) started to apply the comparative method to the austronesian languages. the first extensive study on the history of the sound system was made by the german linguist otto dempwolff.[6] it included a reconstruction of the proto-austronesian lexicon. the term austronesian was coined by wilhelm schmidt. the word is derived from the german austronesisch, which is based on latin auster "south wind" and greek νῆσος "island").[7]

    the family is aptly named, because most austronesian languages are spoken by island dwellers. only a few languages, such as malay and the chamic languages, are indigenous to mainland asia. many austronesian languages have very few speakers, but the major austronesian languages are spoken by tens of millions of people. for example, malay is spoken by 250 million people. this makes it the eighth most-spoken language in the world. approximately twenty austronesian languages are official in their respective countries (see the list of major and official austronesian languages).

    by the number of languages they include, austronesian and niger–congo are the two largest language families in the world. they each contain roughly one-fifth of the world's languages. the geographical span of austronesian was the largest of any language family before the spread of indo-european in the colonial period. it ranged from madagascar off the southeastern coast of africa to easter island in the eastern pacific. hawaiian, rapa nui, maori, and malagasy (spoken on madagascar) are the geographic outliers.

    according to robert blust (1999), austronesian is divided into several primary branches, all but one of which are found exclusively in taiwan. the formosan languages of taiwan are grouped into as many as nine first-order subgroups of austronesian. all austronesian languages spoken outside taiwan (including its offshore yami language) belong to the malayo-polynesian branch. these are sometimes called extra-formosan.

    most austronesian languages lack a long history of written attestation. this makes reconstructing earlier stages—up to distant proto-austronesian—all the more remarkable. the oldest inscription in the cham language, the Đông yên châu inscription dated to the mid-6th century ad at the latest, is the first attestation of any austronesian language.

  • typological characteristics
  • lexicon
  • classification
  • major languages
  • history
  • hypothesized relations
  • writing systems
  • comparison charts
  • see also
  • notes
  • references
  • further reading
  • external links

Austronesian
EthnicityAustronesian peoples
Geographic
distribution
Malay Peninsula, Maritime Southeast Asia, Madagascar and parts of Mainland Southeast Asia, Oceania, Easter Island and Taiwan
Linguistic classificationOne of the world's primary language families
Proto-languageProto-Austronesian
Subdivisions
ISO 639-2 / 5map
aust1307[1]
Austroneske jazyky.jpg
Distribution of Austronesian languages

The Austronesian languages (ən/, ə/, -/, ə-/) are a language family widely spoken throughout Taiwan, Malay Peninsula[2], Maritime Southeast Asia, Madagascar and the islands of the Pacific Ocean. There are also a few speakers in continental Asia.[3] They are spoken by about 386 million people (4.9% of the world population). This makes it the fifth-largest language family by number of speakers. Major Austronesian languages include Malay (Indonesian and Malaysian), Javanese, and Filipino (Tagalog). According to some estimates, the family contains 1,257 languages, which is the second most of any language family.[4]

In 1706, the Dutch scholar Adriaan Reland first observed similarities between the languages spoken in the Malay Archipelago and by peoples on islands in the Pacific Ocean.[5] In the 19th century, researchers (e.g. Wilhelm von Humboldt, Herman van der Tuuk) started to apply the comparative method to the Austronesian languages. The first extensive study on the history of the sound system was made by the German linguist Otto Dempwolff.[6] It included a reconstruction of the Proto-Austronesian lexicon. The term Austronesian was coined by Wilhelm Schmidt. The word is derived from the German austronesisch, which is based on Latin auster "south wind" and Greek νῆσος "island").[7]

The family is aptly named, because most Austronesian languages are spoken by island dwellers. Only a few languages, such as Malay and the Chamic languages, are indigenous to mainland Asia. Many Austronesian languages have very few speakers, but the major Austronesian languages are spoken by tens of millions of people. For example, Malay is spoken by 250 million people. This makes it the eighth most-spoken language in the world. Approximately twenty Austronesian languages are official in their respective countries (see the list of major and official Austronesian languages).

By the number of languages they include, Austronesian and Niger–Congo are the two largest language families in the world. They each contain roughly one-fifth of the world's languages. The geographical span of Austronesian was the largest of any language family before the spread of Indo-European in the colonial period. It ranged from Madagascar off the southeastern coast of Africa to Easter Island in the eastern Pacific. Hawaiian, Rapa Nui, Maori, and Malagasy (spoken on Madagascar) are the geographic outliers.

According to Robert Blust (1999), Austronesian is divided into several primary branches, all but one of which are found exclusively in Taiwan. The Formosan languages of Taiwan are grouped into as many as nine first-order subgroups of Austronesian. All Austronesian languages spoken outside Taiwan (including its offshore Yami language) belong to the Malayo-Polynesian branch. These are sometimes called Extra-Formosan.

Most Austronesian languages lack a long history of written attestation. This makes reconstructing earlier stages—up to distant Proto-Austronesian—all the more remarkable. The oldest inscription in the Cham language, the Đông Yên Châu inscription dated to the mid-6th century AD at the latest, is the first attestation of any Austronesian language.

Other Languages
azərbaycanca: Avstroneziya dilləri
Bân-lâm-gú: Lâm-tó gí-hē
客家語/Hak-kâ-ngî: Nàm-tó Ngî-hì
Bahasa Indonesia: Rumpun bahasa Austronesia
Lingua Franca Nova: Linguas austronesian
Māori: Austronesian
Dorerin Naoero: Edorer Otereinitsiya
norsk nynorsk: Austronesiske språk
oʻzbekcha/ўзбекча: Avstronez tillari
Simple English: Austronesian languages
slovenščina: Avstronezijski jeziki
srpskohrvatski / српскохрватски: Austronezijski jezici
Tiếng Việt: Ngữ hệ Nam Đảo
吴语: 南島語系
粵語: 南島語系
中文: 南島語系