Nuclear Malayo-Polynesian languages
|South East Asia and the Pacific|
The principal branches of the Nuclear Malayo-Polynesian languages:
Chamorro off-map)Sunda–Sulawesi (
Oceanic (vast majority off-map)
The Nuclear Malayo-Polynesian languages are a branch of the Austronesian family, proposed by Wouk & Ross (2002), that are thought to have dispersed from a possible homeland in Sulawesi. They are called nuclear because they are the conceptual core of the Malayo-Polynesian family, including both Malay and Polynesian. Nuclear Malayo-Polynesian is found throughout Indonesia, apart from central Borneo, Sabah, and the north of Sulawesi, and into Melanesia and the Pacific.
Nuclear Malayo-Polynesian languages are those that have abandoned the Austronesian alignment inherited from proto-Malayo-Polynesian syntax. These include the traditional geographic groupings of Central Malayo-Polynesian, Eastern Malayo-Polynesian, and part of Western Malayo-Polynesian, a part Wouk and Ross call Inner Western Malayo-Polynesian.
Inner Western Malayo-Polynesian (Sunda–Sulawesi) is therefore defined negatively, those languages of Sunda and Sulawesi not included in Central–Eastern Malayo-Polynesian. Central–Eastern is an areal group, divergent from the rest of Malayo-Polynesian due to non-Austronesian (Papuan) substrata rather than due to any genealogical relationship.
Nuclear Malayo-Polynesian is composed of a large number of smaller clades of uncertain affiliation. The following are largely uncontroversial as units:
- Tamanic (Mbaloh)
- South Sulawesi
- Batak languages
- Sumba–Flores (Bima–Sumba)
- Irarutu (Kasira)
- North Bomberai
- Kowiai (S. Bomberai)
- East Central Maluku
- West Damar
- South Halmahera
- Raja Ampat
- Bedoanas–Erokwanas ("Bomberai")
- Biakic (Cenderawasih)
- Yapen–Waropen (Cenderawasih)
- Mor (Cenderawasih)
- Iresim (with other Cenderawasih languages?)
- Tandia (with other Cenderawasih languages?)
- Yaur (with other Cenderawasih languages?)
- Yeretuar (with other Cenderawasih languages?)
ABVD (2008) 
A 2008 analysis of the Austronesian Basic Vocabulary Database found moderate lexical support for the syntactically defined Nuclear Malayo-Polynesian family, with a 75% confidence, within a fully supported Indo-Melanesian family (languages of Indonesia, Melanesia, and the Pacific, apart from northern Sulawesi). The structure of the family revealed by that provisional study, including the confidences for the unity of each branch to the nearest 5%, are as follows:
Nuclear Malayo-Polynesian (75%)
- Greater Malayo-Sumbawan (60%)
- Tamanic (Mbaloh)
- Sulawesi–Polynesian (65%)
- Sangir–Minahasan (80%)
- South Sulawesi (100%)
- Celebo-Polynesian (80%)
- Sangir and Minahasan were excluded from Nuclear MP by Wouk & Ross (2002), and included with the Philippine languages (outside Nuclear MP) by Adelaar and Himmelmann (2005)
- The connection between Nias and Central–Eastern Malayo-Polynesian is dubious, and has not been suggested by other researchers.
- Fay Wouk and Malcolm Ross (ed.), 2002, The history and typology of western Austronesian voice systems. Australian National University.
- K. Alexander Adelaar and Nikolaus Himmelmann, 2005, The Austronesian languages of Asia and Madagascar. Routledge.
- Austronesian Basic Vocabulary Database