Austronesian languages

related topics
{language, word, form}
{group, member, jewish}
{theory, work, human}
{math, number, function}
{island, water, area}
{area, part, region}
{work, book, publish}
{car, race, vehicle}

The principal branches of the Malayo-Polynesian languages:

The branches of the Oceanic languages:

The black ovals at the northwestern limit of Micronesian are the Sunda-Sulawesi languages Palauan and Chamorro. The black circles in with the green are offshore Papuan languages.

The Austronesian languages are a language family widely dispersed throughout the islands of Southeast Asia and the Pacific, with a few members spoken on continental Asia. It is on par with Bantu, Indo-European, Afroasiatic and Uralic as one of the best-established ancient language families. Otto Dempwolff, a German scholar, was the first researcher to extensively explore Austronesian using the comparative method. Another German scholar, Wilhelm Schmidt, coined the German word austronesisch[1] which comes from Latin auster "south wind" plus Greek nĂªsos "island". The name Austronesian was formed from the same roots. The family is aptly named, as the vast majority of Austronesian languages are spoken on islands: 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. Some Austronesian languages are official languages (see the list of Austronesian languages).

Different sources count languages differently, but Austronesian and Niger-Congo are the two largest language families in the world, each having roughly one-fifth of the languages counted. The geographical span of Austronesian is the largest of any language family before the spread of Indo-European in the colonial period, ranging from Madagascar off the east coast of Africa to Easter Island in the eastern Pacific. Hawaiian, Rapanui, and Malagasy (spoken on Madagascar) are the geographic outliers of the Austronesian family.

Austronesian has several primary branches, all but one of which are found exclusively on 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, sometimes called Extra-Formosan.


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