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The Proto-Malayo-Polynesian language (PMP) is the reconstructed ancestor of the Malayo-Polynesian languages, which is by far the largest branch (by current speakers) of the Austronesian language family. Proto-Malayo-Polynesian is by definition ancestral to all (certain) Austronesian languages spoken outside Taiwan, and Yami language on Taiwan's Orchid Island. Tai–Kadai languages are hypothesized to be a branch of Austronesian (but not Malayo-Polynesian), further scientific investigation is necessary to determine the relationship. (see Austro-Tai languages). The first systematic reconstruction of Proto-Austronesian (="Uraustronesisch") by Otto Dempwolff was based on evidence from languages outside of Taiwan, and was therefore actually the first reconstruction of what nowadays is known as Proto-Malayo-Polynesian.[1]

However, Roger Blench (2016)[2] doubts that there was actually the existence of a single unitary Proto-Malayo-Polynesian language. Rather, Malayo-Polynesian expansion across the Luzon Strait consisted of multi-ethnic crews rapidly settling across various locations in maritime Southeast Asia, as suggested by both archaeological and linguistic evidence. There was also a Malayo-Polynesian migration to Hainan; Blench (2016) notes that both Hlai and Austronesian peoples use the foot-braced backstrap loom as well.

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  1. ^ Dempwolff, Otto (1934-37). Vergleichende Lautlehre des austronesischen Wortschatzes. (Beihefte zur Zeitschrift für Eingeborenen-Sprachen 15;17;19). Berlin: Dietrich Reimer. (3 vols.)
  2. ^ Blench, Roger. 2016. The boiling pot: 4000 years ago in the Luzon straits.

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