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Malayo-Sumbawan languages

Sumatra, Java, Borneo, Vietnam, Bali, West Nusa Tenggara
Linguistic classificationAustronesian
Malayo-Sumbawan languages.svg
The Malayo-Sumbawan languages
The languages in Cambodia, Vietnam, Hainan, and the northern tip of Sumatra are Chamic languages (purple). The Ibanic languages (orange) are found mostly inland in western Borneo, perhaps the homeland of the Malayic peoples, and across Sarawak. The Malayan languages (dark red) range from central Sumatra, across Malaya, and throughout coastal Kalimantan. Sundanese (pink), Madurese (ocher), and the Bali–Sasak languages (green) are found in and around Java.

The Malayo-Sumbawan languages are a proposed subgroup of the Austronesian languages that unites the Malayic and Chamic languages with the languages of Java and the western Lesser Sunda Islands, except for Javanese (Adelaar 2005).[2][3] If valid, it would be the largest demonstrated family of Malayo-Polynesian outside Oceanic. The Malayo-Sumbawan subgroup is however not universally accepted, and is rejected e.g. by Blust (2010) and Smith (2017).[4][5]


According to Adelaar (2005), the composition of the family is as follows:[2]


Javanese is specifically excluded; the connections between Javanese and Bali–Sasak are mainly restricted to the 'high' register, and disappear when the 'low' register is taken as representative of the languages. This is similar to the case of English, where more 'refined' vocabulary suggests a connection with French, but basic language demonstrates its closer relationship to Germanic languages such as German and Dutch. Moken is also excluded.

Sundanese appears to share sound changes specifically with Lampung, but Lampung does not fit into Adelaar's Malayo-Sumbawan.[6]


  1. ^ Hammarström, Harald; Forkel, Robert; Haspelmath, Martin, eds. (2017). "Malayo-Sumbawan". Glottolog 3.0. Jena, Germany: Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History.
  2. ^ a b Adelaar, Alexander. 2005. Malayo-Sumbawan. Oceanic Linguistics, Vol. 44, No. 2 (Dec., 2005), pp. 357-388.
  3. ^ K. Alexander Adelaar and Nikolaus Himmelmann, The Austronesian languages of Asia and Madagascar. Routledge, 2005
  4. ^ Blust, Robert (2010). "The Greater North Borneo Hypothesis". Oceanic Linguistics. 49 (1): 44–118. doi:10.1353/ol.0.0060. JSTOR 40783586.
  5. ^ Smith, Alexander D. (2017). "The Western Malayo-Polynesian Problem". Oceanic Linguistics. 56 (2): 435–490. doi:10.1353/ol.2017.0021.
  6. ^ Karl Andebeck, 2006. 'An initial reconstruction of Proto-Lampungic'

External links