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Sabahan languages

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Sabah, Borneo
Linguistic classificationAustronesian

The Sabahan languages are a group of Austronesian languages centered on the Bornean province of Sabah.


Blust (2010)[edit]

The constituents are separated into two families in Blust (2010):

Northeast Sabahan
Southwest Sabahan

Lobel (2013)[edit]

Lobel (2013b, p. 47, 361) proposes the following internal classification of Southwest Sabahan, based on phonological and morphological evidence.[1]

Lobel (2013:367–368) lists the following Proto-Southwest Sabahan phonological innovations that were developed from Proto-Malayo-Polynesian. (Note: PSWSAB stands for Proto-Southwest Sabahan, while PMP stands for Proto-Malayo-Polynesian.)

  • PMP *h > PSWSAB Ø
  • PMP *a > PSWSAB *ə / _# (possibly be an areal feature in Sabah or northern Borneo, since this is also found in Idaanic)
  • PMP *R > PSWSAB *h / (a,i,u)_(a,ə,u)
  • PMP *R > PSWSAB *g / ə_
  • PMP *-m- > ø in PSWSAB reflexes of the PMP pronoun forms *kami ‘1EXCL.NOM’, *mami ‘1EXCL.GEN’, and *kamu ‘2PL.NOM’
  • Reduction of most PMP consonant clusters to either singletons or prenasalized clusters

Smith (2017)[edit]

Smith (2017)[2] proposes a North Borneo group comprising the North Sarawak, Northeast Sabah, and Southwest Sabah branches.


  1. ^ Lobel (2013b), pp. 36–68
  2. ^ Smith, Alexander (2017). The Languages of Borneo: A Comprehensive Classification (PDF) (Ph.D. dissertation). University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa.