Austronesian languages

The Austronesian languages (/ˌɔːstrəˈnʒən/) are a language family widely spoken throughout Maritime Southeast Asia, Madagascar, the islands of the Pacific Ocean and Taiwan (by Taiwanese indigenous peoples). There are also a number of speakers in continental Asia.[1] 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 (around 250–270 million in Indonesia alone in its own literary standard named Indonesian), Javanese, Sundanese, and Tagalog (Filipino). According to some estimates, the family contains 1,257 languages, which is the second most of any language family.[2]

EthnicityAustronesian peoples
Taiwan, Malay Peninsula, Maritime Southeast Asia, Madagascar, parts of Mainland Southeast Asia, Hainan (China), Oceania and Easter Island
Linguistic classificationOne of the world's primary language families
ISO 639-2 / 5map
The distribution of Austronesian languages

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.[3] 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 phonology was made by the German linguist Otto Dempwolff.[4] 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" and Greek νῆσος (nē̃sos "island").[5]

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, Indonesian is spoken by 199 million people. This makes it the eleventh 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, Māori, 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 (sometimes called Extra-Formosan) branch.

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


The Austronesian languages overall possess phoneme inventories which are smaller than the world average. Around 90% of the Austronesian languages have inventories of 19–25 sounds (15–20 consonants and 4–5 vowels), thus lying at the lower end of the global typical range of 20–37 sounds. However, extreme inventories are also found, such as Nemi (New Caledonia) with 43 consonants.[6]

The canonical root type in Proto-Austronesian is disyllabic with the shape CV(C)CVC (C = consonant; V = vowel), and is still found in many Austronesian languages.[7] In most languages, consonant clusters are only allowed in medial position, and often, there are restrictions for the first element of the cluster.[8] There is a common drift to reduce the number of consonants which can appear in final position, e.g. Buginese, which only allows the two consonants /ŋ/ and /ʔ/ as finals, out of a total number of 18 consonants. Complete absence of final consonants is observed e.g. in Nias, Malagasy and many Oceanic languages.[9]

Unlike in the languages of Mainland Southeast Asia, tonal contrasts are extremely rare in Austronesian languages.[10] Exceptional cases of tonal languages are Moklen and a few languages of the Chamic, South Halmahera–West New Guinea and New Caledonian subgroups.[11]


Most Austronesian languages are agglutinative languages with a relatively high number of affixes, and clear morpheme boundaries.[12] Most affixes are prefixes (Malay and Indonesian ber-jalan 'walk' < jalan 'road'), with a smaller number of suffixes (Tagalog titis-án 'ashtray' < títis 'ash') and infixes (Roviana t<in>avete 'work (noun)' < tavete 'work (verb)').[13]

Reduplication is commonly employed in Austronesian languages. This includes full reduplication (Malay and Indonesian anak-anak 'children' < anak 'child'; Karo Batak nipe-nipe 'caterpillar' < nipe 'snake') or partial reduplication (Agta taktakki 'legs' < takki 'leg', at-atu 'puppy' < atu 'dog').[14]


A 5 dollar banknote, Hawaii, circa 1839, using Hawaiian language

It is difficult to make generalizations about the languages that make up a family as diverse as Austronesian. Very broadly, one can divide the Austronesian languages into three groups: Philippine-type languages, Indonesian-type languages and post-Indonesian type languages:[15]

  • The first group includes, besides the languages of the Philippines, the Austronesian languages of Taiwan, Sabah, North Sulawesi and Madagascar. It is primarily characterized by the retention of the original system of Philippine-type voice alternations, where typically three or four verb voices determine which semantic role the "subject"/"topic" expresses (it may express either the actor, the patient, the location and the beneficiary, or various other circumstantial roles such as instrument and concomitant). The phenomenon has frequently been referred to as focus (not to be confused with the usual sense of that term in linguistics). Furthermore, the choice of voice is influenced by the definiteness of the participants. The word order has a strong tendency to be verb-initial.
  • In contrast, the more innovative Indonesian-type languages, which are particularly represented in Malaysia and western Indonesia, have reduced the voice system to a contrast between only two voices (actor voice and "undergoer" voice), but these are supplemented by applicative morphological devices (originally two: the more direct *-i and more oblique *-an/-[a]kən), which serve to modify the semantic role of the "undergoer". They are also characterized by the presence of preposed clitic pronouns. Unlike the Philippine type, these languages mostly tend towards verb-second word-orders. A number of languages, such as the Batak languages, Old Javanese, Balinese, Sasak and several Sulawesi languages seem to represent an intermediate stage between these two types.[16][17]
  • Finally, in some languages, which Ross calls "post-Indonesian", the original voice system has broken down completely and the voice-marking affixes no longer preserve their functions.


The Austronesian language family has been established by the linguistic comparative method on the basis of cognate sets, sets of words from multiple languages, which are similar in sound and meaning which can be shown to be descended from the same ancestral word in Proto-Austronesian according to regular rules. Some cognate sets are very stable. The word for eye in many Austronesian languages is mata (from the most northerly Austronesian languages, Formosan languages such as Bunun and Amis all the way south to Māori).[18]

Other words are harder to reconstruct. The word for two is also stable, in that it appears over the entire range of the Austronesian family, but the forms (e.g. Bunun dusa; Amis tusa; Māori rua) require some linguistic expertise to recognise. The Austronesian Basic Vocabulary Database gives word lists (coded for cognateness) for approximately 1000 Austronesian languages.[18]


The distribution of the Austronesian languages, per Blust (1999). Western MP and Central MP are no longer accepted.

The internal structure of the Austronesian languages is complex. The family consists of many similar and closely related languages with large numbers of dialect continua, making it difficult to recognize boundaries between branches. The first major step towards high-order subgrouping was Dempwolff's recognition of the Oceanic subgroup (called Melanesisch by Dempwolff).[4] The special position of the languages of Taiwan was first recognized by André-Georges Haudricourt (1965),[19] who divided the Austronesian languages into three subgroups: Northern Austronesian (= Formosan), Eastern Austronesian (= Oceanic), and Western Austronesian (all remaining languages).

In a study that represents the first lexicostatistical classification of the Austronesian languages, Isidore Dyen (1965) presented a radically different subgrouping scheme.[20] He posited 40 first-order subgroups, with the highest degree of diversity found in the area of Melanesia. The Oceanic languages are not recognized, but are distributed over more than 30 of his proposed first-order subgroups. Dyen's classification was widely criticized and for the most part rejected,[21] but several of his lower-order subgroups are still accepted (e.g. the Cordilleran languages, the Bilic languages or the Murutic languages).

Subsequently, the position of the Formosan languages as the most archaic group of Austronesian languages was recognized by Otto Christian Dahl (1973),[22] followed by proposals from other scholars that the Formosan languages actually make up more than one first-order subgroup of Austronesian. Robert Blust (1977) first presented the subgrouping model which is currently accepted by virtually all scholars in the field,[23] with more than one first-order subgroup on Taiwan, and a single first-order branch encompassing all Austronesian languages spoken outside of Taiwan, viz. Malayo-Polynesian. The relationships of the Formosan languages to each other and the internal structure of Malayo-Polynesian continue to be debated.

Primary branches on Taiwan (Formosan languages)

In addition to Malayo-Polynesian, thirteen Formosan subgroups are broadly accepted. The seminal article in the classification of Formosan—and, by extension, the top-level structure of Austronesian—is Blust (1999). Prominent Formosanists (linguists who specialize in Formosan languages) take issue with some of its details, but it remains the point of reference for current linguistic analyses. Debate centers primarily around the relationships between these families. Of the classifications presented here, Blust (1999) links two families into a Western Plains group, two more in a Northwestern Formosan group, and three into an Eastern Formosan group, while Li (2008) also links five families into a Northern Formosan group. Harvey (1982), Chang (2006) and Ross (2012) split Tsouic, and Blust (2013) agrees the group is probably not valid.

Other studies have presented phonological evidence for a reduced Paiwanic family of Paiwanic, Puyuma, Bunun, Amis, and Malayo-Polynesian, but this is not reflected in vocabulary. The Eastern Formosan peoples Basay, Kavalan, and Amis share a homeland motif that has them coming originally from an island called Sinasay or Sanasay (Li 2004). The Amis, in particular, maintain that they came from the east, and were treated by the Puyuma, amongst whom they settled, as a subservient group.[24]

Blust (1999)

Families of Formosan languages before Minnanese colonization of Taiwan, per Blust (1999)
(abandoned in Blust 2013)
  Western Plains
  Northwest Formosan
  East Formosan
(based on a single merger, of pAN *n and *j)
  • Mantauran, Tona, and Maga dialects of Rukai are divergent
  Paiwan language (south-eastern tip of Formosa)

(outside Formosa)

Li (2008)

Families of Formosan languages before Minnanese colonization, per Li (2008). The three languages in green (Bunun, Puyuma, Paiwan) may form a Southern Formosan branch, but this is uncertain.

This classification retains Blust's East Formosan, and unites the other northern languages. Li (2008) proposes a Proto-Formosan (F0) ancestor and equates it with Proto-Austronesian (PAN), following the model in Starosta (1995).[25] Rukai and Tsouic are seen as highly divergent, although the position of Rukai is highly controversial.[26]

Blust (2013) debunks Li's Northern Formosan: of the five shared innovations posited by Li, he finds that none of them define that group of languages.

Sagart (2004, 2021)

Nested branches of Austronesian languages according to Sagart. Languages colored red are outside the other branches but are not subgrouped. Kradai and Malayo-Polynesian would also be purple.

Sagart (2004) proposes that the numerals of the Formosan languages reflect a nested series of innovations, from languages in the northwest (near the putative landfall of the Austronesian migration from the mainland), which share only the numerals 1–4 with proto-Malayo-Polynesian, counter-clockwise to the eastern languages (purple on map), which share all numerals 1–10. Sagart (2021) finds other shared innovations that follow the same pattern. He proposes that pMP *lima 'five' is a lexical replacement (from 'hand'), and that pMP *pitu 'seven', *walu 'eight' and *Siwa 'nine' are contractions of pAN *RaCep 'five', a ligature *a or *i 'and', and *duSa 'two', *telu 'three', *Sepat 'four', an analogical pattern historically attested from Pazeh. The fact that the Kradai languages share the numeral system (and other lexical innovations) of pMP suggests that they are a coordinate branch with Malayo-Polynesian, rather than a sister family to Austronesian.[27][28]

Sagart's resulting classification is:[29]

Austronesian (pAN ca. 5200 BP)

  •   Pazeh, Kulon
    (These four languages are outside Pituish, but Sagart is agnostic as to any relationship among them, other than retaining Blust's connection between Pazeh and Kulon)
  • Pituish
    (pAN *RaCepituSa 'five-and-two' truncated to *pitu 'seven'; *sa-ŋ-aCu 'nine' [lit. one taken away])
    • Limaish
      (pAN *RaCep 'five' replaced by *lima 'hand'; *Ca~ reduplication to form the series of numerals for counting humans)
      • Enemish
        (additive 'five-and-one' or 'twice-three' replaced by reduplicated *Nem-Nem > *emnem [*Nem 'three' is reflected in Basay, Siraya and Makatao]; pAN *kawaS 'year, sky' replaced by *CawiN)
        •   Siraya
        • Walu-Siwaish
          (*walu 'eight' and *Siwa 'nine' from *RaCepat(e)lu 'five-and-three' and *RaCepiSepat 'five-and-four')
          •   West WS: PaporaHoanya
            (pAN *Sapuy 'fire' replaced by *[Z]apuR 'cooking fire'; pAN *qudem 'black replaced by *abi[Z]u, found in MP as 'blue')
          •   Central WS
            (pAN *isa etc. 'one' replaced by *Ca~CiNi (reduplication of 'alone') in the human-counting series; pAN *iCit 'ten' replaced by *ma-sa-N 'one times'.)
            • Bunun
            • RukaiTsouic
              (CV~ reduplication in human-counting series replaced with competing pAN noun-marker *u- [unknown whether Bunun once had the same]; eleven lexical innovations such as *cáni 'one', *kəku 'leg')
          • East WS (pEWS ca. 4500 BP)
            (innovations *baCaq-an 'ten'; *nanum 'water' alongside pAN *daNum)
            •   Puluqish
              (innovative *sa-puluq 'ten', from *sa- 'one' + 'separate, set aside'; use of prefixes *paka- and *maka- to mark abilitative)
              • Northern: AmiPuyuma
                (*sasay 'one'; *mukeCep 'ten' for the human and non-human series; *ukak 'bone', *kuCem 'cloud')
              • Paiwan
              • Southern Austronesian (pSAN ca. 4000 BP)
                (linker *atu 'and' > *at after *sa-puluq in numerals 11–19; lexical innovations such as *baqbaq 'mouth', *qa-sáuŋ 'canine tooth', *qi(d)zúR 'saliva', *píntu 'door', *-ŋel 'deaf')


The Malayo-Polynesian languages are—among other things—characterized by certain sound changes, such as the mergers of Proto-Austronesian (PAN) *t/*C to Proto-Malayo-Polynesian (PMP) *t, and PAN *n/*N to PMP *n, and the shift of PAN *S to PMP *h.[30]

There appear to have been two great migrations of Austronesian languages that quickly covered large areas, resulting in multiple local groups with little large-scale structure. The first was Malayo-Polynesian, distributed across the Philippines, Indonesia, and Melanesia. The second migration was that of the Oceanic languages into Polynesia and Micronesia.[31]


A map of the Austronesian expansion. Periods are based on archeological studies, though the association of the archeological record and linguistic reconstructions is disputed.

From the standpoint of historical linguistics, the place of origin (in linguistic terminology, Urheimat) of the Austronesian languages (Proto-Austronesian language) is most likely the main island of Taiwan, also known as Formosa; on this island the deepest divisions in Austronesian are found along small geographic distances, among the families of the native Formosan languages.

According to Robert Blust, the Formosan languages form nine of the ten primary branches of the Austronesian language family (Blust 1999). Comrie (2001:28) noted this when he wrote:

... the internal diversity among the... Formosan languages... is greater than that in all the rest of Austronesian put together, so there is a major genetic split within Austronesian between Formosan and the rest... Indeed, the genetic diversity within Formosan is so great that it may well consist of several primary branches of the overall Austronesian family.

At least since Sapir (1968), writing in 1949, linguists have generally accepted that the chronology of the dispersal of languages within a given language family can be traced from the area of greatest linguistic variety to that of the least. For example, English in North America has large numbers of speakers, but relatively low dialectal diversity, while English in Great Britain has much higher diversity; such low linguistic variety by Sapir's thesis suggests a more recent origin of English in North America. While some scholars suspect that the number of principal branches among the Formosan languages may be somewhat less than Blust's estimate of nine (e.g. Li 2006), there is little contention among linguists with this analysis and the resulting view of the origin and direction of the migration. For a recent dissenting analysis, see (Peiros 2004).

The protohistory of the Austronesian people can be traced farther back through time. To get an idea of the original homeland of the populations ancestral to the Austronesian peoples (as opposed to strictly linguistic arguments), evidence from archaeology and population genetics may be adduced. Studies from the science of genetics have produced conflicting outcomes. Some researchers find evidence for a proto-Austronesian homeland on the Asian mainland (e.g., Melton et al. 1998), while others mirror the linguistic research, rejecting an East Asian origin in favor of Taiwan (e.g., Trejaut et al. 2005). Archaeological evidence (e.g., Bellwood 1997) is more consistent, suggesting that the ancestors of the Austronesians spread from the South Chinese mainland to Taiwan at some time around 8,000 years ago.

Evidence from historical linguistics suggests that it is from this island that seafaring peoples migrated, perhaps in distinct waves separated by millennia, to the entire region encompassed by the Austronesian languages (Diamond 2000). It is believed that this migration began around 6,000 years ago (Blust 1999). However, evidence from historical linguistics cannot bridge the gap between those two periods. The view that linguistic evidence connects Austronesian languages to the Sino-Tibetan ones, as proposed for example by Sagart (2002), is a minority one. As Fox (2004:8) states:

Implied in... discussions of subgrouping [of Austronesian languages] is a broad consensus that the homeland of the Austronesians was in Taiwan. This homeland area may have also included the P'eng-hu (Pescadores) islands between Taiwan and China and possibly even sites on the coast of mainland China, especially if one were to view the early Austronesians as a population of related dialect communities living in scattered coastal settlements.

Linguistic analysis of the Proto-Austronesian language stops at the western shores of Taiwan; any related mainland language(s) have not survived. The only exceptions, the Chamic languages, derive from more recent migration to the mainland (Thurgood 1999:225).

Hypothesized relations

An example of hypothetical Pre-Austronesian migration waves to Taiwan from the mainland. (The Amis migration from the Philippines is controversial).
Path of Migration and Division of Some of the Major Ethnicities with their genetically distinctive markers, adapted from Edmondson and Gregerson (2007:732) . The sketched migration route M119-Baiyue from Southeast Asia corresponds to the southern origin hypothesis of early Austronesians.

Genealogical links have been proposed between Austronesian and various families of East and Southeast Asia.


An Austro-Tai proposal linking Austronesian and the Kra-Dai languages of the southeastern continental Asian mainland was first proposed by Paul K. Benedict, and is supported by Weera Ostapirat, Roger Blench, and Laurent Sagart, based on the traditional comparative method. Ostapirat (2005) proposes a series of regular correspondences linking the two families and assumes a primary split, with Kra-Dai speakers being the people who stayed behind in their Chinese homeland. Blench (2004) suggests that, if the connection is valid, the relationship is unlikely to be one of two sister families. Rather, he suggests that proto-Kra-Dai speakers were Austronesians who migrated to Hainan Island and back to the mainland from the northern Philippines, and that their distinctiveness results from radical restructuring following contact with Hmong–Mien and Sinitic. An extended version of Austro-Tai was hypothesized by Benedict who added the Japonic languages to the proposal as well.[32]


A link with the Austroasiatic languages in an 'Austric' phylum is based mostly on typological evidence. However, there is also morphological evidence of a connection between the conservative Nicobarese languages and Austronesian languages of the Philippines. Robert Blust supports the hypothesis which connects the lower Yangtze neolithic Austro-Tai entity with the rice-cultivating Austro-Asiatic cultures, assuming the center of East Asian rice domestication, and putative Austric homeland, to be located in the Yunnan/Burma border area.[33] Under that view, there was an east-west genetic alignment, resulting from a rice-based population expansion, in the southern part of East Asia: Austroasiatic-Kra-Dai-Austronesian, with unrelated Sino-Tibetan occupying a more northerly tier.[33]


French linguist and Sinologist Laurent Sagart considers the Austronesian languages to be related to the Sino-Tibetan languages, and also groups the Kra–Dai languages as more closely related to the Malayo-Polynesian languages.[34] Sagart argues for a north-south genetic relationship between Chinese and Austronesian, based on sound correspondences in the basic vocabulary and morphological parallels.[33] Laurent Sagart (2017) concludes that the possession of the two kinds of millets[lower-alpha 1] in Taiwanese Austronesian languages (not just Setaria, as previously thought) places the pre-Austronesians in northeastern China, adjacent to the probable Sino-Tibetan homeland.[33] Ko et al.'s genetic research (2014) appears to support Laurent Sagart's linguistic proposal, pointing out that the exclusively Austronesian mtDNA E-haplogroup and the largely Sino-Tibetan M9a haplogroup are twin sisters, indicative of an intimate connection between the early Austronesian and Sino-Tibetan maternal gene pools, at least.[35][36] Additionally, results from Wei et al. (2017) are also in agreement with Sagart's proposal, in which their analyses show that the predominantly Austronesian Y-DNA haplogroup O3a2b*-P164(xM134) belongs to a newly defined haplogroup O3a2b2-N6 being widely distributed along the eastern coastal regions of Asia, from Korea to Vietnam.[37] Sagart also groups the Austronesian languages in a recursive-like fashion, placing Kra-Dai as a sister branch of Malayo-Polynesian. His methodology has been found to be spurious by his peers.[38][39]


Several linguists have proposed that Japanese is genetically related to the Austronesian family, cf. Benedict (1990), Matsumoto (1975), Miller (1967).

Some other linguists think it is more plausible that Japanese is not genetically related to the Austronesian languages, but instead was influenced by an Austronesian substratum or adstratum.

Those who propose this scenario suggest that the Austronesian family once covered the islands to the north as well as to the south. Martine Robbeets (2017)[40] claims that Japanese genetically belongs to the "Transeurasian" (= Macro-Altaic) languages, but underwent lexical influence from "para-Austronesian", a presumed sister language of Proto-Austronesian.

The linguist Ann Kumar (2009) proposed that some Austronesians might have migrated to Japan, possibly an elite-group from Java, and created the Japanese-hierarchical society. She also identifies 82 possible cognates between Austronesian and Japanese, however her theory remains very controversial.[41]


Blevins (2007) proposed that the Austronesian and the Ongan protolanguage are the descendants of an Austronesian–Ongan protolanguage.[42] But this view is not supported by mainstream linguists and remains very controversial. Robert Blust rejects Blevins' proposal as far-fetched and based solely on chance resemblances and methodologically flawed comparisons.[43]

Writing systems

A sign in Balinese and Latin script at a Hindu temple in Bali
A manuscript from the early 1800s using the Batak script

Most Austronesian languages have Latin-based writing systems today. Some non-Latin-based writing systems are listed below.

Comparison charts

Below are two charts comparing list of numbers of 1-10 and thirteen words in Austronesian languages; spoken in Taiwan, the Philippines, the Mariana Islands, Indonesia, Malaysia, Chams or Champa (in Thailand, Cambodia, and Vietnam), East Timor, Papua, New Zealand, Hawaii, Madagascar, Borneo, Kiribati, Caroline Islands, and Tuvalu.

Comparison chart-numerals
Austronesian List of Numbers 1-10012345678910
Proto-Austronesian *əsa
Formosan languages 012345678910
Atayal qutuxsazingcyugalpayatmagalmtzyu / tzyumpitu / pitumspat / spatmqeru / qerumopuw / mpuw
Seediq kingaldahaterusepacrimammterumpitummsepacmngarimaxal
Truku kingaldhatruspatrimamataruempitumaspatmngarimaxal
Thao tahatushaturushpattarimakaturupitukashpattanathumakthin
Papora tanu nya tul pat lima minum pitu mehal mesi metsi
Babuza nata naroa natura naspat nahop naitu naito natap maitu tsihet
Taokas tatanu rua tool'a lapat hasap tahap yuweto mahalpat tanaso tais'id
Pazeh adang dusa tu'u supat xasep xasebuza xasebidusa xasebitu'u xasebisupat isit
Saisiyat 'aeihae'roSa'to:lo'SopathasebSayboSi:SayboSi: 'aeihae'maykaSpathae'hae'lampez / langpez
Tsou coniyusotuyusʉptʉeimonomʉpituvoyusiomaskʉ
Bunun tasʔadusataupaathimanuumpituvausivamasʔan
Rukai ithadrusatulrusupatelrimaenemepituvalrubangatepulruku / mangealre
Paiwan itadrusatjelusepatjlimaenempitjualusivatapuluq
Puyuma sadruwatelupatlimaunempituwaluiwapulu
Kavalan usiquzusautuluuspatulimaunemupituuwaluusiwarabtin
Basay tsa lusa tsu səpat tsjima anəm pitu wasu siwa labatan
Amis cecaytosatolospatlimaenempitofalosiwapulu' / mo^tep
Sakizaya cacaytosatolosepatlimaenempitowalosiwacacay a bataan
Siraya sasaat duha turu tapat tu-rima tu-num pitu pipa kuda keteng
Taivoan tsaha' ruha toho paha' hima lom kito' kipa' matuha kaipien
Makatao na-saad ra-ruha ra-ruma ra-sipat ra-lima ra-hurum ra-pito ra-haru ra-siwa ra-kaitian
Yami asaadoaatloapatalimaanemapitoawaoasiamasa ngernan
Qauqaut calusacuusəpatcimaanəmpituwacusiwalabatan
Malayo-Polynesian languages 012345678910
Proto-Malayo-Polynesian *əsa
Acehnese sifar










Banjar asaduataluampatlimaanampituwalusangasapuluh
Batak, Toba sadaduatoluopatlimaonompituualusiasampulu
Buginese ceddiduatelluempalimaennengpituaruaaseraseppulo
Cia-Cia dise
Cham saduaklaupaklimanamtujuhdalapansalapansapluh
Javanese (Kawi)b[44] sunya








Old Javanese[45] dassa
(sa' / sak)
Javanese (Krama) nolsetunggalkalihtigasekawangangsalenempituwolusangasedasa
Javanese (Ngoko)[46] nolsiji from sahijiloro from ka-rwa (ka-ro)telupapatlimaenempituwolusangasepuluh
Kelantan-Pattani kosongsoduwotigopaklimonetujohlapesmilespuloh
Madurese nolsettongdhuwa'tello'empa'lema'ennempetto'ballu'sanga'sapolo
Makassarese lobbang
Indonesian/Malay kosong
Minangkabau ciekduotigoampeklimoanamtujuahsalapansambilansapuluah
Moken cha:?thuwa:?teloj
(cʰɛwaːy / sɛwaːy)
Rejang doduaitlaupatlêmonumtujuakdêlapênsêmbilansêpuluak
Sasak sekekdueteloempatlimeenampitukbaluksiwaksepulu
Sundanese nolhijiduatiluopatlimageneptujuhdalapansalapansapuluh
Terengganu Malay kosongseduwetigepaklimenangtujohlapangsmilangspuloh
Tetun nolidaruatoluhatlimanenhituualusiasanulu
Tsat (HuiHui)c sa˧ *
ta˩ **
tʰua˩kiə˧pa˨˦ma˧naːn˧˨su˥paːn˧˨tʰu˩ paːn˧˨piu˥
There are two forms for numbers 'one' in Tsat (Hui Hui; Hainan Cham) :
^* The word sa˧ is used for serial counting.
^** The word ta˩ is used with hundreds and thousands and before qualifiers.
Ilocano ibbong
Ibanag awantaddayduwatalluappa'limaannampituwalusiyammafulu
Pangasinan sakeyduwataloapatlimaanempitowalosiyamsamplo
Kapampangan alámétung/ isáadwáatlúápatlimáánampitúwalúsiámapúlu
Tagalog walâ isá dalawá tatló apat limá anim pitó waló siyám sampû
Bikol warâ sarô duwá tuló apát limá anóm pitó waló siyám sampulò
Aklanon uwaisaea
Karay-a wara(i)saradarwatatloapatlimaanəmpitowalosiyamnapulo
Onhan isyadarwatatloupatlimaan-ompitowalosiyamsampulo
Romblomanon isaduhatuyoupatlimaonumpitowayosiyamnapuyo
Masbatenyo isad
Hiligaynon walaisaduhatatloapatlimaanompitowalosiyamnapulo
Cebuano walausaduhatuloupatlimaunompitowalosiyamnapulo
Waray warayusaduhatuloupatlimaunompitowalosiyamnapulò
Tausug siparisaduwaupatlimaunumpituwalusiyamhangpu'
Maranao isadowatəlopatlimanəmpitowalosiyawsapolo
Benuaq (Dayak Benuaq) erayduaqtoluuopaatlimaqjawatnturuwalosiesepuluh
Lun Bawang/ Lundayeh na luk dihecehduehteluhepatlimehenemtudu'waluhliwa'pulu'
Dusun aisoisoduotoluapatlimoonomturuwalusiamhopod
Malagasy aotraisa
Sangirese (Sangir-Minahasan) sembaudaruatateluepalimaenengpituwalusiomapulo
Oceanic languagesd 012345678910
Chuukese eetérúúwéénfáánniimwoonfúúswaanttiwengoon
Fijian saivaduaruatoluvaalimaonovituwaluciwatini
Gilbertese akeateuanauouatenuaauanimauaonouaituawanuaruaiwatebwina
Hawaiian 'ole'e-kahi'e-lua'e-kolu'e-hā'e-lima'e-ono'e-hiku'e-walu'e-iwa'umi
Māori koretahiruatoruwhārimaonowhituwaruiwatekau
Marshallese[50] o̧ojuonruojiluemānļalemjiljinojimjuonralitōkratimjuonjon̄oul
Motue[51] taruatoihaniimatauratoihitutaurahanitaurahani-tagwauta
Niuean nakaitahauatolulimaonofituvaluhivahogofulu
Rapanui tahiruatorurimaonohituva'uivaangahuru
Rarotongan Māori kareta'iruatorurimaono'ituvaruivanga'uru
Rotuman taruafoluhakelimaonohifuvạlusivasaghulu
Sāmoan otasiluatolufalimaonofituvaluivasefulu
Tahitian hō'ē
pititorumahapaeōnohituva'uivahō'ē 'ahuru
Tongan noatahauatolufanimaonofituvaluhivahongofulu
taha noa
Tuvaluan tahi
Yapese dæriiy
Comparison chart-thirteen words
English one two three four person house dog road day new we what fire
Proto-Austronesian *əsa, *isa *duSa *təlu *əpat *Cau *balay, *Rumaq *asu *zalan *qaləjaw, *waRi *baqəRu *kita, *kami *anu, *apa *Sapuy
Tetum ida rua tolu haat ema uma asu dalan loron foun ita saida ahi
Amis cecay tosa tolo sepat tamdaw luma wacu lalan cidal faroh kita uman namal
Puyuma sa dua telu pat taw rumah soan dalan wari vekar mi amanai apue,
Tagalog isa dalawa tatlo apat tao bahay aso daan araw bago tayo / kami ano apoy
Bikol sarô duwá tuló apát táwo haróng áyam dalan aldáw bàgo kitá/kami anó kaláyo
Rinconada Bikol əsad darwā tolō əpat tawō baləy ayam raran aldəw bāgo kitā onō kalayō
Waray usa duha tulo upat tawo balay ayam,
dalan adlaw bag-o kita anu kalayo
Cebuano usa,
duha tulo upat tawo balay iro dalan adlaw bag-o kita unsa kalayo
Hiligaynon isa duha tatlo apat tawo balay ido dalan adlaw bag-o kita ano kalayo
Aklanon isaea,
daywa tatlo ap-at tawo baeay ayam daean adlaw bag-o kita ano kaeayo
Kinaray-a (i)sara darwa tatlo apat tawo balay ayam dalan adlaw bag-o kita ano kalayo
Tausug hambuuk duwa tu upat tau bay iru' dan adlaw ba-gu kitaniyu unu kayu
Maranao isa dowa təlo pat taw walay aso lalan gawi’i bago səkita/səkami antona’a apoy
Kapampangan métung adwá atlú ápat táu balé ásu dálan aldó báyu íkatamu nánu apî
Pangasinan sakey dua,
too abong aso dalan ageo balo sikatayo anto pool
Ilokano maysa dua tallo uppat lima innem pito walo siam sangapulo
Ivatan asa dadowa tatdo apat tao vahay chito rarahan araw va-yo yaten ango apoy
Ibanag tadday dua tallu appa' tolay balay kitu dalan aggaw bagu sittam anni afi
Yogad tata addu tallu appat tolay binalay atu daddaman agaw bagu sikitam gani afuy
Gaddang antet addwa tallo appat tolay balay atu dallan aw bawu ikkanetam sanenay afuy
Tboli sotu lewu tlu fat tau gunu ohu lan kdaw lomi tekuy tedu ofih
Lun Bawang/ Lundayeh eceh dueh teluh epat lemulun/lun ruma' uko' dalan eco beruh teu enun apui
Indonesian/Malay sa/se,
dua tiga empat orang rumah,
anjing jalan hari baru kita, kami apa,
Old Javanese esa,
wwang umah asu dalan dina hañar, añar[53] kami[54] apa,
Javanese siji,
awaké dhéwé,
kula panjenengan[55]
Sundanese hiji dua tilu opat urang imah anjing jalan poe anyar,
arurang naon seuneu
Acehnese sa duwa lhèë peuët ureuëng rumoh,
asèë röt uroë barô (geu)tanyoë peuë apui
Minangkabau ciek duo tigo ampek urang rumah anjiang labuah,
hari baru awak apo api
Rejang do duai tlau pat tun umêak kuyuk dalên bilai blau itê jano,
Lampungese sai khua telu pak jelema lamban kaci ranlaya khani baru kham api apui
Buginese se'di dua tellu eppa' tau bola asu laleng esso baru idi' aga api
Temuan satuk duak tigak empat uwang,
jalan aik,
bahauk kitak apak apik
Toba Batak sada dua tolu opat halak jabu biang dalan ari baru hita aha api
Kelantan-Pattani so duwo tigo pak oghe ghumoh,
anjing jale aghi baghu kito gapo api
Chamorro håcha,
hugua tulu fatfat taotao/tautau guma' ga'lågu[56] chålan ha'åni nuebu[57] hita håfa guåfi
Motu ta,
rua toi hani tau ruma sisia dala dina matamata ita,
dahaka lahi
Māori tahi rua toru whā tangata whare kurī ara hou tāua, tātou/tātau
māua, mātou/mātau
aha ahi
Gilbertese teuna uoua tenua aua aomata uma,
auti (from house)
kawai bong bou ti tera,
-ra (suffix)
Tuvaluan tasi lua tolu toko fale kuli ala,
aso fou tāua a afi
Hawaiian kahi lua kolu kanaka hale 'īlio ala ao hou kākou aha ahi
Banjarese asa duwa talu ampat urang rūmah hadupan heko hǎri hanyar kami apa api
Malagasy isa roa telo efatra olona trano alika lalana andro vaovao isika inona afo
Dusun iso duo tolu apat tulun walai,
tasu ralan tadau wagu tokou onu/nu tapui
Kadazan iso duvo tohu apat tuhun hamin tasu lahan tadau vagu tokou onu,
Rungus iso duvo tolu,
apat tulun,
tasu dalan tadau vagu tokou nunu tapui,
Sungai/Tambanuo ido duo tolu opat lobuw waloi asu ralan runat wagu toko onu apui
Iban satu, sa,
siti, sigi
dua tiga empat orang,
rumah ukui,
jalai hari baru kitai nama api
Sarawak Malay satu,
dua tiga empat orang rumah asuk jalan ari baru kita apa api
Terengganuan se duwe tige pak oghang ghumoh,
anjing jalang aghi baghu kite mende, ape,
gape, nape
Kanayatn sa dua talu ampat urakng rumah asu' jalatn ari baru kami',
ahe api
Yapese t’aareeb l’ugruw dalip anngeeg beaq noqun kuus kanaawooq raan beqeech gamow maang nifiiy

See also


  1. Setaria italica and Panicum miliaceum.


  1. Blust, Robert Andrew. "Austronesian Languages". Encyclopædia Britannica. Retrieved 26 October 2016.
  2. Robert Blust (2016). History of the Austronesian Languages. University of Hawaii at Manoa.
  3. Pereltsvaig (2018), p. 143.
  4. Dempwolff, Otto (1934–37). Vergleichende Lautlehre des austronesischen Wortschatzes [Comparative phonology of the Austronesian vocabularies] (3 vols). Beihefte zur Zeitschrift für Eingeborenen-Sprachen (Supplements to the Journal of Native Languages) 15; 17; 19 (in German). Berlin: Dietrich Reimer.
  5. John Simpson; Edmund Weiner, eds. (1989). Official Oxford English Dictionary (OED2) (Dictionary). Oxford University Press.
  6. Blust (2013), p. 169.
  7. Blust (2013), p. 212.
  8. Blust (2013), pp. 215–218.
  9. Blust (2013), pp. 220–222.
  10. Crowley (2009), p. 100.
  11. Blust (2013), pp. 188–189, 200, 206.
  12. Blust (2013), p. 355.
  13. Blust (2013), pp. 370–399.
  14. Blust (2013), pp. 406–431.
  15. Ross (2002), p. 453.
  16. Adelaar, K. Alexander; Himmelmann, Nikolaus (2005). The Austronesian Languages of Asia and Madagascar. Routledge. pp. 6–7. ISBN 978-0415681537.
  17. Croft, William (2012). Verbs: Aspect and Causal Structure. Oxford University Press. p. 261. ISBN 978-0199248599.
  18. Greenhill, Blust & Gray 2003–2019.
  19. Haudricourt (1965), p. 315.
  20. Dyen (1965).
  21. Grace (1966).
  22. Dahl (1973).
  23. Blust (1977).
  24. Taylor, G. (1888). "A ramble through southern Formosa". The China Review. 16: 137–161. The Tipuns... are certainly descended from emigrants, and I have not the least doubt but that the Amias are of similar origin; only of later date, and most probably from the Mejaco Simas [that is, Miyako-jima], a group of islands lying 110 miles to the North-east.... By all accounts the old Pilam savages, who merged into the Tipuns, were the first settlers on the plain; then came the Tipuns, and a long time afterwards the Amias. The Tipuns, for some time, acknowledged the Pilam Chief as supreme, but soon absorbed both the chieftainship and the people, in fact the only trace left of them now, is a few words peculiar to the Pilam village, one of which, makan (to eat), is pure Malay. The Amias submitted themselves to the jurisdiction of the Tipuns.
  25. Starosta, S (1995). "A grammatical subgrouping of Formosan languages". In P. Li; Cheng-hwa Tsang; Ying-kuei Huang; Dah-an Ho & Chiu-yu Tseng (eds.). Austronesian Studies Relating to Taiwan. Taipei: Institute of History and Philology, Academia Sinica. pp. 683–726.
  26. Li (2008), p. 216: "The position of Rukai is the most controversial: Tsuchida... treats it as more closely related to Tsouic languages, based on lexicostatistic evidence, while Ho... believes it to be one of the Paiwanic languages, i.e. part of my Southern group, as based on a comparison of fourteen grammatical features. In fact, Japanese anthropologists did not distinguish between Rukai, Paiwan and Puyuma in the early stage of their studies"
  27. Laurent Sagart (2004) The Higher Phylogeny of Austronesian and the Position of Tai-Kadai
  28. Laurent Sagart (2021) A more detailed early Austronesian phylogeny. Plenary talk at the 15th International Conference on Austronesian Linguistics.
  29. The tree can be found at the following link. Click on the nodes to see the proposed shared innovations for each.
    Laurent Sagart (July 2021). "Shared innovations in early Austronesian phylogeny" (PDF).
  30. Blust (2013), p. 742.
  31. Greenhill, Blust & Gray (2008).
  32. Solnit, David B. (March 1992). "Japanese/Austro-Tai By Paul K. Benedict (review)". Language. Linguistic Society of America. 687 (1): 188–196. doi:10.1353/lan.1992.0061. S2CID 141811621.
  33. Sagart et al. 2017, p. 188.
  34. van Driem, George (2005). "Sino-Austronesian vs. Sino-Caucasian, Sino-Bodic vs. Sino-Tibetan, and Tibeto-Burman as default theory" (PDF). In Yogendra Prasada Yadava; Govinda Bhattarai; Ram Raj Lohani; Balaram Prasain; Krishna Parajuli (eds.). Contemporary Issues in Nepalese Linguistics. Kathmandu: Linguistic Society of Nepal. pp. 285–338 [304]. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2011-07-26. Retrieved 2010-10-29.
  35. Sagart et al. 2017, p. 189.
  36. Ko 2014, pp. 426–436.
  37. Wei et al. 2017, pp. 1–12.
  38. Winter (2010).
  39. Blust (2013), pp. 710–713, 745–747.
  40. Robbeets, Martine (2017). "Austronesian influence and Transeurasian ancestry in Japanese: A case of farming/language dispersal". Language Dynamics and Change. 7 (2): 210–251. doi:10.1163/22105832-00702005.
  41. Kumar, Ann (2009). Globalizing the Prehistory of Japan: Language, Genes and Civilization. Oxford: Routledge.
  42. Blevins (2007).
  43. Blust (2014).
  44. Siman Widyatmanta, Adiparwa. Vol. I dan II. Cetakan Ketiga. Yogyakarta: U.P. "Spring", 1968.
  45. Zoetmulder, P.J., Kamus Jawa Kuno-Indonesia. Vol. I-II. Terjemahan Darusuprapto-Sumarti Suprayitno. Jakarta: PT. Gramedia Pustaka Utama, 1995.
  46. "Javanese alphabet (Carakan)". Omniglot.
  47. from the Arabic صِفْر ṣifr
  48. Predominantly in Indonesia, comes from the Latin nullus
  49. lapan is a known contraction of delapan; predominant in Malaysia, Singapore and Brunei.
  50. Cook, Richard (1992). Peace Corps Marshall Islands: Marshallese Language Training Manual (PDF), pg. 22. Accessed August 27, 2007.
  51. Percy Chatterton, (1975). Say It In Motu: An instant introduction to the common language of Papua. Pacific Publications. ISBN 978-0-85807-025-7
  52. s.v. kawan, Old Javanese-English Dictionary, P.J. Zoetmulder and Stuart Robson, 1982
  53. s.v. hañar, Old Javanese-English Dictionary, P.J. Zoetmulder and Stuart Robson, 1982
  54. s.v. kami, this could mean both first person singular and plural, Old Javanese-English Dictionary, P.J. Zoetmulder and Stuart Robson, 1982
  55. Javanese English Dictionary, Stuart Robson and Singgih Wibisono, 2002
  56. From Spanish "galgo"
  57. From Spanish "nuevo"


Further reading

  • Bengtson, John D., The "Greater Austric" Hypothesis, Association for the Study of Language in Prehistory.
  • Blundell, David. "Austronesian Dispersal". Newsletter of Chinese Ethnology. 35: 1–26.
  • Blust, R. A. (1983). Lexical reconstruction and semantic reconstruction: the case of the Austronesian "house" words. Hawaii: R. Blust.
  • Cohen, E. M. K. (1999). Fundaments of Austronesian roots and etymology. Canberra: Pacific Linguistics. ISBN 0-85883-436-7
  • Marion, P., Liste Swadesh élargie de onze langues austronésiennes, éd. Carré de sucre, 2009
  • Pawley, A., & Ross, M. (1994). Austronesian terminologies: continuity and change. Canberra, Australia: Dept. of Linguistics, Research School of Pacific and Asian Studies, The Australian National University. ISBN 0-85883-424-3
  • Sagart, Laurent, Roger Blench, and Alicia Sanchez-Nazas (Eds.) (2004). The peopling of East Asia: Putting Together Archaeology, Linguistics and Genetics. London: RoutledgeCurzon. ISBN 0-415-32242-1.
  • Terrell, John Edward (December 2004). "Introduction: 'Austronesia' and the great Austronesian migration". World Archaeology. 36 (4): 586–590. doi:10.1080/0043824042000303764. S2CID 162244203.
  • Tryon, D. T., & Tsuchida, S. (1995). Comparative Austronesian dictionary: an introduction to Austronesian studies. Trends in linguistics, 10. Berlin: Mouton de Gruyter. ISBN 3110127296
  • Wittmann, Henri (1972). "Le caractère génétiquement composite des changements phonétiques du malgache." Proceedings of the International Congress of Phonetic Sciences 7.807–810. La Haye: Mouton.
  • Wolff, John U., "Comparative Austronesian Dictionary. An Introduction to Austronesian Studies", Language, vol. 73, no. 1, pp. 145–156, Mar 1997, ISSN 0097-8507
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