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The region where Austronesian languages are spoken spans over 200 degrees of longitude from Madagascar to Easter Island

Austronesia, in historical terms, refers to the homeland of the peoples who speak Austronesian languages, including Malay (Malaysian-Indonesian), Filipino, the Visayan languages, Ilocano, Javanese, Malagasy, the Polynesian languages, Fijian, Taiwan's Formosan languages, Tetum and around ten-thousand other languages.

The Austronesian homeland is thought by linguists to have been prehistoric Taiwan.[1][2]


The Austronesian language has been considered a coherent field of study for some decades.[3][4][5]

Austronesian linguistics has attracted considerable interest.[6][7]

The Austronesian linguistics and cultural world incorporates specific contexts of hierarchy which are included in linguistic form.[8]

Considerable discussion has occurred on the language in Indonesia.[9][10]

Archaeological linkages of the Austronesian world have been explored as well.[11]

Etymology of term[edit]

The name Austronesia comes from the Latin austrālis "southern" plus the Greek νήσος (nêsos) "island".

However, in contemporary terminology, the word Austronesia pertains to the regions where Austronesian languages are spoken. Austronesia then covers almost half of the globe, mostly ocean and oceanic islands, starting from Madagascar to the west until Easter Island, to the east.


Austronesia as a region has three traditional divisions: Taiwan (Formosa), the Maritime Southeast Asia, and Austronesian Oceania (Micronesia, Melanesia and Polynesia).[citation needed]



Maritime Southeast Asia[edit]

Maritime Southeast Asia covers the modern nations of:

And as well: The Pattani region of Thailand, and the Chamic areas of Vietnam, Cambodia and Hainan Island.

Islands in the vicinity, with native populations having Malay or mixed Malay ancestry, which are not considered part of the Malay Archipelago include New Guinea and the Marianas Islands.

South Asia[edit]

Eastern Sri Lanka, well as parts of the Andaman Islands inhabited by the Orang Laut.



The term Micronesia was coined in 1832 by Jules Dumont d'Urville from the Greek roots μικρός mikros 'small' and νῆσοι nēsoi 'islands', thus meaning 'small islands'.

Politically, Micronesia is divided among eight territories:


The term Melanesia was coined in 1832 by Jules Dumont d'Urville from the Greek meaning 'black islands', in reference to the dark skin of the Melanesians.

The following islands and groups of islands are traditionally considered part of Melanesia:

Other islands with populations of mixed Melanesian ancestry but are not part of the traditional Melanesian area include:


The term Polynesia was coined in 1756 by Charles de Brosses from the Greek meaning "many islands", describing the multiplicity of the islands in this area of the Pacific.

Countries and territories traditionally included in Polynesia include:

In addition to these islands in this mid-Pacific Ocean, Polynesia often is meant to include the Polynesian outliers: islands that are culturally or linguistically Polynesian, but that are geographically in Melanesia or Micronesia. Most of these are small or isolated islands, like Rennell or Tikopia in the Solomon Islands.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Blust, Robert (1985). "The Austronesian Homeland: A Linguistic Perspective". Asian Perspectives. 26: 46–67.
  2. ^ Bellwood, Peter S., (editor.); Fox, James J., 1940-, (editor.); Tryon, D. T. (Darrell Trevor), (editor.); Comparative Austronesian Project (issuing body.) (2006), The Austronesians : historical and comparative perspectives, Canberra, ACT ANU E Press, ISBN 978-1-920942-85-4CS1 maint: Multiple names: authors list (link) CS1 maint: Extra text: authors list (link)
  3. ^ Blust, R. A; Australian National University. Research School of Pacific and Asian Studies. Pacific Linguistics (2009), The Austronesian languages, Pacific Linguistics, Research School of Pacific and Asian Studies, Australian National University, ISBN 978-0-85883-602-0
  4. ^ Dyen, Isidore (1963), A lexicostatistical classification of the Austronesian languages, Yale University, retrieved 1 August 2017
  5. ^ Lanyon-Orgill, Peter A., 1924- (1953), Journal of Austronesian studies, Balmains, Scot, ISSN 0075-4137CS1 maint: Multiple names: authors list (link)
  6. ^ Wurm, S. A. (Stephen Adolphe), 1922- (1976), Austronesian languages : S.A. Wurm, ed, Dept. of Linguistics, Australian National University, ISBN 978-0-85883-155-1CS1 maint: Multiple names: authors list (link)
  7. ^ International Conference on Austronesian Linguistics (1978 : Canberra); Wurm, S. A. (Stephen Adolphe), 1922-2001, (joint ed.); Carrington, Lois, (joint ed.); Australian National University. Research School of Pacific Studies. Department of Linguistics (1978), Second International Conference on Austronesian Linguistics : proceedings, Dept. of Linguistics, Research School of Pacific Studies, Australian National University, ISBN 978-0-85883-184-1CS1 maint: Multiple names: authors list (link)
  8. ^ Jolly, Margaret; Mosko, Mark S., 1948- (1994), Transformations of hierarchy : structure, history and horizon in the Austronesian world, Harwood Academic, retrieved 1 August 2017CS1 maint: Multiple names: authors list (link)
  9. ^ Mees, Constantinus Alting, Ilmu perbandingan bahasa bahasa Austronesia, s.n, retrieved 1 August 2017
  10. ^ Najoan, J. A. Karisoh (1981), Refleksi fonem proto-Austronesia dalam bahasa Pamona, Pusat Pembinaan dan Pengembangan Bahasa, 1981, retrieved 1 August 2017
  11. ^ Mahmud, M. Irfan; Djami, Erlin Novita Idje (2011), Austronesia & Melanesia di Nusantara : mengungkap asal-usul dan jati-diri dari temuan arkeologis, Ombak : Balai Arkeologi Jayapura, Badan Pengembangan Sumber Daya, Kementerian Kebudayaan dan Pariwisata, ISBN 978-602-8335-73-7

External links[edit]