12 Facts About Austronesian languages

1. Austronesian languages are a language family widely spoken throughout Maritime Southeast Asia, Madagascar, the islands of the Pacific Ocean and Taiwan (by Taiwanese indigenous peoples).

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2. Major Austronesian languages include Malay, Javanese, Sundanese, and Tagalog (Filipino).

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3. In 1706, the Dutch scholar Adriaan Reland first observed similarities between the Austronesian languages spoken in the Malay Archipelago and by peoples on islands in the Pacific Ocean.

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4. Approximately twenty Austronesian languages are official in their respective countries.

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5. The geographical span of Austronesian languages was the largest of any language family before the spread of Indo-European in the colonial period.

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6. All Austronesian languages spoken outside Taiwan belong to the Malayo-Polynesian (sometimes called Extra-Formosan) branch.

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7. Exceptional cases of tonal Austronesian languages are Moklen and a few Austronesian languages of the Chamic, South Halmahera–West New Guinea and New Caledonian subgroups.

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8. The word for eye in many Austronesian languages is mata.

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9. The Oceanic Austronesian languages are not recognized, but are distributed over more than 30 of his proposed first-order subgroups.

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10. Robert Blust first presented the subgrouping model which is currently accepted by virtually all scholars in the field, with more than one first-order subgroup on Taiwan, and a single first-order branch encompassing all Austronesian languages spoken outside of Taiwan, viz.

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11. The seminal article in the classification of Formosan—and, by extension, the top-level structure of Austronesian languages—is Blust.

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12. The only exceptions, the Chamic Austronesian languages, derive from more recent migration to the mainland.

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