Oceanic languages

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Oceanic
Geographic
distribution:
Melanesia, Micronesia, Polynesia
Linguistic classification: Austronesian
Proto-language: Proto-Oceanic
Subdivisions:
Glottolog: ocea1241[1]

The branches of Oceanic
  Admiralties and Yapese
  St Matthias
  Western Oceanic
  Temotu
  Southeast Solomons
  Southern Oceanic
  Micronesian
  Fijian–Polynesian
The black ovals at the northwestern limit of Micronesian are the Sunda–Sulawesi languages Palauan and Chamorro. The black circles in with the green are offshore Papuan languages.

The approximately 450 Oceanic languages are a well-established family of Austronesian languages. The area occupied by speakers of these languages includes Polynesia as well as much of Melanesia and Micronesia.

Though covering a vast area, Oceanic languages are spoken by only two million people. The largest individual Oceanic languages are Eastern Fijian with over 600,000 speakers and Samoan with an estimated 370,000 speakers. Kiribati (Gilbertese), Tongan, Tahitian, Māori, Western Fijian and Kuanua (Tolai) each have over 100,000 speakers.

The common ancestor which is reconstructed for this group of languages is called Proto-Oceanic (abbr. POc).

Classification[edit]

The Oceanic languages were first shown to be a language family by Sidney Herbert Ray in 1896 and, besides Malayo-Polynesian, they are the only large established family of Austronesian languages. Grammatically, they have been strongly influenced by the Papuan languages of northern New Guinea, but they retain a remarkably large amount of Austronesian vocabulary.[2]

Lynch, Ross, & Crowley (2002)[edit]

According to Lynch, Ross, & Crowley (2002), Oceanic languages often form linkages with each other (see wave model). Linkages, for which no proto-language can be reconstructed, stand in contrast to families, for which proto-languages can actually be reconstructed. They propose three primary groups of Oceanic languages. (See links for the details of their classification.)

Admiralties family
Languages of Manus, its offshore islands, and small islands to the west
Western Oceanic (WOc) linkage
Languages of the north coast of Irian Jaya, Papua New Guinea, excluding the Admiralties, and the western Solomon Islands. West Oceanic is made up of three or four sub-linkages and families:
Central–Eastern Oceanic (CEOc) linkage
Nearly all languages of Oceania not included in the Admiralties and Western Oceanic. Central–Eastern consists of five subgroups:

The "residues" (as they are called by Lynch, Ross, & Crowley) which do not fit into the three groups above but are still classified as Oceanic are:

St. Matthias Islands
Yapese
(perhaps part of the Admiralties)

Ross & Næss (2007) removed Utupua–Vanikoro to a new primary branch of Oceanic:[3]

Temotu

Word order[edit]

Word order in Oceanic languages is highly diverse, and is distributed in the following geographic regions (Lynch, Ross, & Crowley 2002:49).

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ Nordhoff, Sebastian; Hammarström, Harald; Forkel, Robert; Haspelmath, Martin, eds. (2013). "Oceanic". Glottolog 2.2. Leipzig: Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology. 
  2. ^ Mark Donohue and Tim Denham, 2010. Farming and Language in Island Southeast Asia: Reframing Austronesian History. Current Anthropology, 51(2):223–256.
  3. ^ Ross, Malcolm and Åshild Næss (2007). "An Oceanic Origin for Äiwoo, the Language of the Reef Islands?". Oceanic Linguistics 46: 456–498. 

References[edit]