Malayo-Sumbawan languages

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Sumatra, Java, Borneo, Vietnam, Bali, West Nusa Tenggara
Linguistic classification Austronesian
Glottolog mala1536[1]
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 itself.[2] If valid, it would be the largest demonstrated family of Malayo-Polynesian outside Oceanic.

Javanese has similarities with Balinese and Sasak of the Lesser Sundas, which several classifications have taken as evidence for a relationship between them. However, the similarities are specifically with the "high" social registers (formal language / royal speech) of Balinese and Sasak; when the "low" register (commoner speech) is considered, the connections of Bali and Sasak appear to be with Madurese and Malay rather than with Javanese. Thus Balinese and Sasak are included in Malayo-Sumbawan, while Javanese is excluded. This is somewhat similar to the situation with English, where more 'refined' vocabulary suggests a connection with French, but basic language demonstrates its closer relationship to other Germanic languages such as German and Dutch.


According to Adelaar (2005), the composition of the family is as follows:[3]


Javanese is specifically excluded; the connections between Javanese and Bali–Sasak are restricted to the 'high' register, and disappear when the 'low' register is taken as representative of the languages. Moken is also excluded.

Sundanese appears to share sound changes specifically with Lampung, but Lampung does not fit into Adelaar's Malayo-Sumbawan.[4]


  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. ^ K. Alexander Adelaar and Nikolaus Himmelmann, The Austronesian languages of Asia and Madagascar. Routledge, 2005
  3. ^ Adelaar, Alexander. 2005. Malayo-Sumbawan. Oceanic Linguistics, Vol. 44, No. 2 (Dec., 2005), pp. 357-388.
  4. ^ Karl Andebeck, 2006. 'An initial reconstruction of Proto-Lampungic'