East Asian Languages
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East Asian Languages
East Asian
East Asia, South Asia, Southeast Asia, Oceania, Madagascar
Linguistic classificationProposed language family
Early form
Proto-East Asian

The East Asian languages are a language family (alternatively macrofamily or superphylum) proposed by Stanley Starosta in 2001. The proposal has since been adopted by George van Driem.


Early proposals

Early proposals of similar linguistic macrophyla, in narrower scope:[1]

  • Austroasiatic, Austronesian, Kra-Dai, Tibeto-Burman: August Conrady (1916, 1922)[2][3] and Kurt Wulff (1934, 1942)[4][5]
  • Austroasiatic, Austronesian, Kra-Dai, Hmong-Mien: Paul K. Benedict (1942)[6], Robert Blust (1996)[7], Ilia Peiros (1998)[8]
  • Austroasiatic, Austronesian, Kra-Dai, Tibeto-Burman, Hmong-Mien: Stanley Starosta (2001)

Precursors to the East Asian proposal:

Starosta (2005)

Location of the Peiligang culture

Stanley Starosta's (2005)[16] East Asian proposal includes a "Yangzian" branch, consisting of Austroasiatic and Hmong-Mien, to form an East Asian superphylum. However, Starosta considers his proposed Yangzian to be a direct sister of Sino-Tibetan rather than Austronesian, which is more distantly related to Sino-Tibetan as a sister of Sino-Tibetan-Yangzian. He considers Proto-East Asian to have been a disyllabic (CVCVC) language spoken from 6,500 to 6,000 BCE by Peiligang culture and Cishan culture millet farmers on the North China Plain (specifically the Han River, Wei River, and central Yellow River areas).[17]

Starosta (2005) proposes the following Proto-East Asian morphological affixes, which are found in Proto-Tibeto-Burman and Proto-Austronesian, as well as in some morphologically conservative Austroasiatic branches such as Nicobaric.[18]

  • *m(V)- 'agent of V-ing'
  • *-Vn 'patient of V-ing'
  • *sV- 'instrument of V-ing'
  • *n(V)- 'perfective'

van Driem (2012)

The following tree of East Asian superphylum (macrofamily) was proposed by George van Driem in 2012 at the 18th Himalayan Languages Symposium, held at the Benares Hindu University.[1][19]

According to van Driem, the linguistic evidence for the East Asian languages matches the genetic evidence from Y-DNA Haplogroup O.[20] (Further information: Father Tongue hypothesis)

Larish (2006, 2017)

According to Michael D. Larish, the languages of Southeast and East Asia descended from one proto-language (which he calls "Proto-Asian"). Japonic is grouped together with Koreanic as one branch of the Proto-Asian family. The other branch consists of the Austronesian, Austroasiatic, Kra-Dai, Hmong-Mien and Sino-Tibetan languages.[21][22]


Notes and references

  1. ^ a b van Driem, George. 2013. "East Asian ethnolinguistic phylogeography", Bulletin of Chinese Linguistics, 7 (1): 135-188.
  2. ^ Conrady, August. 1916. Eine merkw rdige Beziehung zwischen den austrischen und den indochinesischen Sprachen. Aufsätze zur Kultur- und Sprachgeschichte vornehmlich des Orients: Ernst Kuhn zum 70. Geburtstage am 7. Februar 1916 gewidmet von Freunden und Schülern, 475-504. München: Verlag von M. & H. Marcus.
  3. ^ Conrady, August. 1922. Neue austrisch-indochinesische Parallelen. Asia Major: Hirth Anniversary Volume, 23-66. London: Robsthan and Company.
  4. ^ Wulff, Kurt. 1934. Chinesisch und Tai: Sprachvergleichende Untersuchungen. Copenhagen: Levin & Munksgaard.
  5. ^ Wulff, Kurt. 1942 [posthumous]. Über das Verhältnis des Malay-Polynesischen zum Indochinesischen. Copenhagen: Munksgaard.
  6. ^ Benedict, Paul King. 1942. Thai, Kadai and Indonesia: A new alignment in southeastern Asia. American Anthropologist 44:576-601.
  7. ^ Blust, Robert. 1996. Beyond the Austronesian homeland: The Austric hypothesis and its implications for archaeology. Prehistoric Settlement of the Pacific, ed. by Ward H. Goodenough, 117-160. Philadelphia: American Philosophical Society.
  8. ^ Peiros, Ilia. 1998. Comparative Linguistics in Southeast Asia. Canberra: Pacific Linguistics.
  9. ^ Schlegel, Gustave. 1901. Review: 'Elements of Siamese Grammar by O. Frankfurter, Ph.D., Bangkok: Printed at the American Presbyterian Mission Press, Leipzig, Karl W. Hiersemann, 1900'. T'oung Pao (Série II), II:76-87.
  10. ^ Schlegel, Gustave. 1902. Siamese Studies. T'oung Pao, New Series II, Volume II, Supplement. Leiden.
  11. ^ Ostapirat, Weera. 2005. Kra-Dai and Austronesian: Notes on phonological correspondences and vocabulary distribution. The Peopling of East Asia: Putting Together Archaeology, Linguistics and Genetics, ed. by Laurent Sagart, Roger Blench and Alicia Sanchez-Mazas, 107-131. London: Routledge Curzon.
  12. ^ Ostapirat, Weera. 2013. Austro-Tai revisited. 23rd Annual Meeting of the Southeast Asian Linguistic Society, Chulalongkorn University, Bangkok, 29 May 2013.
  13. ^ Schmidt, Wilhelm. 1906. Die Mon-Khmer Völker, ein Bindeglied zwischen Völkern Zentral-Asiens und Austronesiens. Archiv für Anthropologie Neue Folge V:59-109.
  14. ^ Reid, Lawrence A. 1994. Morphological evidence for Austric. Oceanic Linguistics 33.2:323-344.
  15. ^ Reid, Lawrence A. 2005. The current status of Austric: a review and evaluation of the lexical and morphosyntactic evidence. The Peopling of East Asia: Putting Together Archaeology, Linguistics and Genetics, ed. by Laurent Sagart, Roger Blench and Alicia Sanchez-Mazas, 132-160. London: Routledge Curzon, London.
  16. ^ Since Starosta died on July 18, 2002, his paper, originally written in 2001, was published posthumously.
  17. ^ Starosta, Stanley (2005). "Proto-East Asian and the origin and dispersal of languages of east and southeast Asia and the Pacific". In Sagart, Laurent; Blench, Roger; Sanchez-Mazas, Alicia (eds.). The Peopling of East Asia: Putting Together Archaeology, Linguistics and Genetics. London: Routledge Curzon. pp. 182-197. ISBN 978-0-415-32242-3.
  18. ^ Reid, Lawrence A. (1994). "Morphological evidence for Austric" (PDF). Oceanic Linguistics. 33 (2): 323-344. doi:10.2307/3623132. JSTOR i285831.
  19. ^ van Driem, George. 2016. "The Eastern Himalayan corridor in prehistory", pp. 467-524, Vol. II in Elena Nikolaevna Kolpa?kova, ed., ? ? -- Problems in Chinese and General Linguistics. St. Petersburg: Izdatel'stvo Studija « NP-Print ».
  20. ^ van Driem, George. 2018. "The East Asian linguistic phylum: A reconstruction based on language and genes", Journal of the Asiatic Society, LX (4): 1-38.
  21. ^ Larish, Michael D. (January 2006). Possible Proto-Asian Archaic Residue and the Statigraphy of Diffusional Cumulation in Austro-Asian Languages (PDF). Tenth International Conference on Austronesian Linguistics. Retrieved .
  22. ^ Larish, Michael. 2017. Proto-Asian and its branches: An archeolinguistic approach for the history of Eastern Asia. Linguistic Society of the Philippines.

See also

External links

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