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George van Driem

Subsequently, Sidwell a: [19] proposed that Nicobarese subgroups with Aslian , just as how Khasian and Palaungic subgroup with each other. A subsequent computational phylogenetic analysis of the Austroasiatic language family by Sidwell b [20] suggests that Austroasiatic branches may have a loosely nested structure rather than a completely rake-like structure, with an east-west division consisting of Munda, Khasic, Palaungic, and Khmuic forming a western group as opposed to all of the other branches occurring possibly as early as 7, years before present.

Integrating computational phylogenetic linguistics with recent archaeological findings, Paul Sidwell c [21] further expanded his Mekong riverine hypothesis by proposing that Austroasiatic had ultimately expanded into Indochina from the Lingnan area of southern China , with the subsequent Mekong riverine dispersal taking place after the initial arrival of Neolithic farmers from southern China.

Sidwell c tentatively suggests that Austroasiatic may have begun to split up 5, years B. Austroasiatic would have had two possible dispersal routes from the western periphery of the Pearl River watershed of Lingnan , which would have been either a coastal route down the coast of Vietnam, or downstream through the Mekong River via Yunnan. At 4, B. During the Iron Age about 2, B.

Paul Sidwell [22] considers the Austroasiatic language family to have rapidly diversified around 4, years B. The lexicon of Proto-Austroasiatic can be divided into an early and late stratum. The early stratum consists of basic lexicon including body parts, animal names, natural features, and pronouns, while the names of cultural items agriculture terms and words for cultural artifacts, which are reconstructable in Proto-Austroasiatic form part of the later stratum.

Roger Blench [23] suggests that vocabulary related to aquatic subsistence strategies such as boats, waterways, river fauna, and fish capture techniques , can be reconstructed for Proto-Austroasiatic. Blench finds widespread Austroasiatic roots for 'river, valley', 'boat', 'fish', 'catfish sp.


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Archaeological evidence for the presence of agriculture in northern Indochina northern Vietnam, Laos, and other nearby areas dates back to only about 4, years B. Hence, this points to a relatively late riverine dispersal of Austroasiatic as compared to Sino-Tibetan , whose speakers had a distinct non-riverine culture. In addition to living an aquatic-based lifestyle, early Austroasiatic speakers would have also had access to livestock, crops, and newer types of watercraft.

As early Austroasiatic speakers dispersed rapidly via waterways, they would have encountered speakers of older language families who were already settled in the area, such as Sino-Tibetan. Roger Blench [24] also proposes that there might have been other primary branches of Austroasiatic that are now extinct, based on substrate evidence in modern-day languages.

John Peterson [33] suggests that "pre- Munda " languages may have once dominated the eastern Indo-Gangetic Plain , and were then absorbed by Indo-Aryan languages at an early date as Indo-Aryan spread east.


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Peterson notes that eastern Indo-Aryan languages display many morphosyntactic features similar to those of Munda languages, while western Indo-Aryan languages do not. Other than Latin-based alphabets, many Austroasiatic languages are written with the Khmer , Thai , Lao , and Burmese alphabets. Vietnamese divergently had an indigenous script based on Chinese logographic writing.

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This has since been supplanted by the Latin alphabet in the 20th century. The following are examples of past-used alphabets or current alphabets of Austroasiatic languages. Austroasiatic is an integral part of the controversial Austric hypothesis , which also includes the Austronesian languages , and in some proposals also the Japonic languages.

A analysis using the Automated Similarity Judgment Program resulted in possible support for the Austro-Tai but emphatically not Austric languages. In this analysis, the supposed "Austric" family was divided into two separate, unrelated clades: Austro-Tai and Austroasiatic-Japonic. Several lexical resemblances are found between the Hmong-Mien and Austroasiatic language families Ratliff , some of which had earlier been proposed by Haudricourt This could imply a relation or early language contact along the Yangtze.

According to Cai et al. It is suggested that the Austroasiatic languages have some influence on Indo-Aryan languages including Sanskrit and middle Indo-Aryan languages. Indian linguist Suniti Kumar Chatterji pointed that a specific number of substantives in languages such as Hindi , Punjabi and Bengali were borrowed from Munda languages. Mitsuru Sakitani suggests that Haplogroup O1b1 , which is common in Austroasiatic people and some other ethnic groups in southern China , and haplogroup O1b2, which is common in today Japanese , Koreans and some Manchu , are the carriers of Yangtze civilization Baiyue.

According to Chaubey et al.

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According to Zhang et al. Austroasiatic languages. Not to be confused with Austronesian languages or Afro-Asiatic languages. Main article: Proto-Austroasiatic language. Austric languages Main article: Austric languages. Glottolog 3. Retrieved 15 October Dynamics of Human Diversity , — Canberra: Pacific Linguistics. Peiros Rice and the Austroasiatic and Hmong-Mien homelands. Enfield Ed. Jenny Eds. Leiden: Brill. Are there four additional unrecognised branches of Austroasiatic? Summarized in Sidwell and Blench BMC Evolutionary Biology.

The Handbook of Austroasiatic Languages. A comprehensive phylogenetic analysis of the Austroasiatic languages. Phylogeny, innovations, and correlations in the prehistory of Austroasiatic. Austroasiatic deep chronology and the problem of cultural lexicon. Waterworld: lexical evidence for aquatic subsistence strategies in Austroasiatic. Chinese and Thai treatments of zero anaphora are compared by Cole Egerod includes Thai and Chinese in a study of phonation types.

Substantial comparative studies involving Thai and other Asian languages seem regrettably sparse, but include the studies of Japanese and Thai formulaic expressions by Wongkhomthong and of self-reference in these languages by Chirasombutti Thai-English comparisons often have an applied-linguistics focus. Pioneering studies include Kruatrachue on phonology and Chaiyaratana on syntax. A sample of others includes studies on pronominalization, considered by Chomaitong ; on definiteness, by Lamchote ; on aspect, by Noochoochai ; and on intonation, by Kanchanathat For applied studies featuring error analysis, translation problems or difficulties Thai speakers have with specific features of English, representative studies are by Ariyapitipun , Meemeskul-Martin , Palmer , Richards , Schmidt , Suwattee , and by Van Syoc Diachronic sources relating to Tai family and to Tai-Kadai are mentioned in section 1.

These hypotheses also refer to orthographic history. See Anuman Rajadhon , , Hartmann a , Court and Diller b a for historical hypotheses as to how Indic-based orthographies and literary culture, including Thai writing, have developed and spread in the Southeast Asian context. The inventor s of Thai writing certainly had Khmer orthography in mind, and perhaps Mon, but significant innovations were introduced as well.

These included tone-marking, horizontal rather than vertical representation of clusters, phasing out of redundant vowel-initial graphemes and the creation of new segmental symbols as needed. The latter were usually accomplished through modifications made to existing Khmer-type letters representing similar sounds; thus a new [f] symbol was an enhancement of a given [ph] letter. The impression is strong that the original impetus for Sukhothai script involved great care and attention to Tai sound-system detail along with a semiotic attempt to represent perceived phonetic closeness through graphical similarity.

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Result: diachronic linguists should take this orthography seriously. Although it is clear that Thai orthography in general can be traced back to South Indic scripts, intermediate points are still professionally debated.

The tradition that Thai writing originated in the reign of King Ramkhaeng of Sukhothai r. Also, the historical relations of Thai and Lao scripts are somewhat contentious, although existing material evidence strongly indicates that a Sukhothai-type script had spread east to Lao-speaking areas by the early sixteenth century and constituted the prototype for standard Lao writing. Mon writing, on the other hand, was the basis for Lanna Northern Thai script, currently under resuscitation, also known to the east as tham i. Discussion and further sources are included in Danvivathana and in Diller a.

For those with interest in how lexical, syntactic and semantic aspects of the Thai language has evolved since the Sukhothai era of about seven centuries ago, a good place to start is with the commentaries and texts of Na Nagara and Griswold They present and discuss key literary sources of the Sukhothai period, although their perspectives are mainly philological and historical.

A difficulty encountered in some philological work is the tendency to assume that Sukhothai texts are a direct reflection of earlier stages of Central Thai, or even coincide phonetically with modern Thai, whereas Sukhothai Thai probably stood in a less direct line with it. Note that Brown, , , considers Southern Thai varieties to be the more direct descendants of Sukhothai Thai. To their credit, Na Nagara and Griswold frequently cite cognate material from non-Central dialects. Weroha too provides comparisons with local varieties.

Mikami summarizes other features of Thai of the early period, while Bamroograks makes significant progress in understanding Sukhothai discourse patterns.