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Re: Two language families linked

From:Kristian Jensen <kljensen@...>
Date:Monday, August 28, 2000, 10:45
Barry wrote:

>I read somewhere that some linguists link Austronesian with the Tai-kadai >family. Am i remembering right? Any idea why? What would those two >families share that is enough to cause some linguists to link them >together?
I'm behind about 300 posts, so pardon me if someone already answered this. I have skimmed Benedict's book "Austro-Thai: Language and Culture" and the evidence appears to be mostly sound correspondences/changes. This proposed family also includes the Miao-Yao languages. The Austro-Asiatic languages at the time of writing (1975) was proposed only as a substrate of Austro-Thai. Basically, Austro-Thai is proposed as being predominantly disyllabic like Austronesian but Thai has preserved only the last syllable, while Miao-Yao only the first if not a prefixed form. Clusters were also significantly reduced in the Austronesian and Miao-Yao forms. For example, from my notes we have (with affixation in brackets): AT AN KD MY EYE *mapLa maTa []pra maay<maat KILL *[pa]play paTay -- tay<[p]tay DIE *[ma]play maTay []pla(a)y day<tay (where: AT=Austro-Thai, AN=Proto-Austronesian, KD=Kadai, and MY=Miao-Yao) -kristian- 8)