Austro-Asian (Austro-Asian) languages - a family (or superfamily, see below ) of languages common in Southeast Asia ( Vietnam , Thailand , Cambodia , Laos , Burma , Malaysia , China ) and in the east of India . The total number of speakers is more than 90 million people (mid-1990s, estimate). Most Austro-Asian languages are used by small groups of speakers, mainly in mountainous areas surrounded by a foreign-speaking population. The exceptions are state Vietnamese and Khmer languages.
|Area||Southeast Asia , East India|
|The number of carriers||90 million|
|Category||Languages of Eurasia|
|Munda , Mon Khmer , Nicobar|
|Language group codes|
In Russian literature, the name for this family (more precisely, its second letter) has not yet been established. If I. I. Peyros (in particular in an article in BDT , Volume 1) writes the letter “c”, then in the tradition of the Institute of Oriental Studies the letter “u” is written (for example, an article by Yu. K. Lekomtsev in LES ).
Austro-Asian languages include more than 150 languages and, in accordance with the classification generally recognized in modern science, are divided into three main branches: Munda, Mon-Khmer and Nicobar. Earlier, the impudent language was mistakenly included in the composition of the Austro-Asian languages.
According to lexicostatistics, the Nicobar branch separated from the rest of the Austro-Asian languages in the 7th millennium BC. er , while the latter were divided only two millennia later (at the same time as the Indo-European languages). Thus, it would be more correct to speak of two separate families, and to call the Austro-Asian languages the superfamily.
However, the absence of any linguistic reconstructions for Nicobaric languages significantly complicates the etymological identification of Nicobaric roots, which inevitably affects the reliability of Nicobaric materials. Therefore, in the future, this dating may noticeably change.
Below is a brief classification of I.I. Peyros (for more details, see Mund's articles and Mon-Khmer languages ), set forth in particular in his doctoral dissertation. There are other classifications of Austro-Asian languages, so see the latest Diflot classification on the English page .
Munda languages are divided into three groups.
- Northern munda
- Korku language: the states of Maharashtra and Madhya Pradesh , about 200,000 people.
- kherwari : Indian states of Bihar and Orissa : Santali , over 4 million people, uniforms , about 750,000 people, ho 400,000 people, and about a dozen smaller languages: korva , asuri, etc.
- Central Munda: Kharia (Madhya Pradesh, about 200,000 people), and Juang (Orissa, about 17,000 people); - traditionally included in the southern group, but according to lexicostatistics it is rather closer to the northern one.
- Southern Munda (Sora)
- Languages of the Northern Koraput: Sora / Jurai and Gorum ( West Bengal : over 200,000 people);
- languages of the southern Koraput: gutob, about 47,000 people, remo or bond and gata, 2500 people each.
Some scholars (Diffloth 1986), however, do not distinguish between the language groups of northern and southern Koraput.
Mon Khmer Branch
The Mon-Khmer family includes the bulk of the Austro-Asian languages and is divided into 10 groups, the relationships between which are specified.
- Khashi Group (India)
- Khmer is spoken in Cambodia and in neighboring areas of Thailand and Vietnam.
- Mon group - Mon language , incl. Nyakur dialect
- The Peir group (Cambodia and neighboring areas of Thailand) includes languages such as Chong, Samre, Pehar, etc. Its exact composition and number of speakers remain unclear.
- The Bakhnar group consists of a number of subgroups:
- southern (Vietnam): stieng (over 30,000 people), chrau (over 20,000 people), mongong dialects (about 50,000 people), sre (kehe, ma, about 80,000 people);
- Bahnar languages (Vietnam, about 90,000 people), splitting into several dialects, and tampon (Cambodia);
- northern (Vietnam), which includes about 15 languages ( sedan , 40,000 people, Jeh, about 10,000 people, Halang, Hre, Todra, etc.);
- Kua language (Vietnam, about 15,000 people);
- Alak or Halak (Laos);
- Western (mainly Laos): about 10 languages (Nyakhin, Brao, Jru or Lauvin, etc.);
- Tariang language (Laos) and several dialects close to it.
- The Katuysk group (katu) (Vietnam, Laos and migrants to Thailand) is divided into two branches:
- Western: 8 - 10 languages, including Bru (about 80,000 people), Kui-Sua, So, etc.
- Eastern: 10 - 15 languages, including Kata (about 20,000 people), Pakoha (less than 15,000 people), Taoy, Kriang, etc.
- The Vietnamese group (Vietnam, Laos) consists of a number of subgroups:
- Viet-Mueong subgroup: Vietnamese language , the official language of Vietnam (over 60 million people), Mueong language, breaking up into numerous dialects (the total number of speakers is about 1 million people), Nguon language.
- Malieng : Malieng, Maleng, Khaphong, etc .;
- Arem language
- tyt : sewing, hands, May;
- thavyng (so, phonsong or aheu);
- hung: pong, tum, dunlai;
- tho : kuoy, mon, etc.
The exact composition and number of speakers of the languages of the last six subgroups remains unknown.
- The Khmui group (Khmu) is divided into a number of small subgroups, most of which require further study:
- Khmu language (north of Laos, Vietnam, Thailand, about 300,000 people);
- Xinmul language (Vietnam);
- Kabit or Puxin and Khang languages (mainly Vietnam);
- Malabri language (Mrabri, Laos, Thailand);
- dialects (languages) pra - mal or thin (Laos, Thailand);
- recently discovered languages go and pong (Laos, Vietnam).
It is possible that further research will reveal additional languages of this group.
- The palaung-va group (it is impossible to determine the number of speakers) includes:
- subgroup va: va , lava, plang and other closely related languages (Myanmar, Thailand, China);
- Angku subgroup: hu, y, etc. (China, Laos);
- Palaung subgroup: deang (palaung), Rumai, etc. (Myanmar, China);
- Lamet language (Laos);
- Riang language (Myanmar);
- Danae language (Myanmar).
- The Asli group (Malaysia) is formed by three subgroups:
- Northern subgroup ( Negro languages) with the languages Jehai (including the Mendrick dialect), Batek (including the Mintil dialect), Kensiu (including the Kintak dialect), Tonga (in Thailand), Lower Semangan and Che-wong (Si-Wong).
- the central (Middle Aslian, Senoic, Sakai) subgroup with the languages Lanoch, Tehar (about 11,000 people), Semey (Sakai, Semnam, Sabum, about 20,000 people) and jahut (yah hut, about 4,000 people).
- the southern subgroup (part of the Senoys and Protomalays ) with the languages of Semyok-beri (about 1,500 people), semele (including the Temok dialect, about 2,500 people), and besyssi (bisik).
The Nicobar branch is formed by the languages of the original population of the Nicobar Islands ( India ) and apparently consists of 4 to 5 languages: Kar (Car, about 13,000 people), Chaura (Chowra, about 1,500 people), Teressa (Teressa), Nankauri (central , Nancowry, about 13,000 people), South Nicobar (about 2,000 people) and Shompen (Shompe, less than 100 people). The latter is a practically unknown language of collectors of the interior of Greater Nicobar. Chompanes are sometimes regarded as an isolated language.
There is a macro-comparative hypothesis that has not been widely accepted in the scientific community, within which the Austro-Asian family is included in a hypothetical Austrian macro-family.
The typological diversity within Austro-Asian languages is exceptionally great. In general, rich vocalism is characteristic with relatively poor consonantism , the presence of various types of vowel phonations. In many Austro-Asian languages, the opposition of long and short vowels is phonological, the presence of implosion (no explosion when pronouncing a final syllabic consonant). Tonal (tonal) languages (for example, Vietnamese) are widespread, including purely register (Peiric) languages, but atonal (Katu group) are also found. Along with monosyllabic languages (Vietnamese, wa, etc.), languages with a two-syllable root structure (Munda languages) are represented; many languages are characterized by the presence of two types of syllables: strong and weak, preceding strong.
Austro-Asian languages are predominantly isolating languages , while maintaining prefixation . Only in the languages of the munda agglutination is developed, and from affixes suffixes and infixes prevail. There is reason to believe that the proto-Astro-Asian word was polysyllabic and atonal, and affixation was widely used in morphology and word formation. The usual structure of a simple sentence is : subject - predicate - object, but in languages of the munda the predicate is at the end.
Most Austro-Asian languages remain unwritten. There are known inscriptions in the Mon language from the VI century and in the Khmer language from the VII century (on the Indian graphic basis ); for the Vietnamese language from the XIV century, writing was used on a Chinese hieroglyphic basis , from the XVII century - on a Latin basis ; later scripts for a number of Austro-Asian languages (Khashi, Munda, a number of Vietnamese languages) - also in Latin, for the Wa language (in China) - on a Chinese basis. For some Munda languages, the original scripts created by missionaries and the Indian scripts of neighboring peoples are also used.
The first descriptions of Austro-Asian languages were made in the 17th century; nevertheless, at the beginning of the 21st century there is data (mainly lists of words) of less than half of the Austro-Asian languages. The history of the family has been studied since the beginning of the 20th century (the work of W. Schmidt, who distinguished the Austro-Asian languages as a separate family), however, due to the limited descriptive data, significant progress in this area has not yet been achieved.
- Austro-Asian languages // Great Soviet Encyclopedia : in 66 volumes (65 volumes and 1 additional) / Ch. ed. O. Yu. Schmidt . - M .: Soviet Encyclopedia , 1926-1947.
- Efimov A. Yu. Historical phonology of South Bahnaric languages. Moscow: Science, GRVL. 1990
- Lekomtsev Yu. K. Austro-Asian languages // Linguistic Encyclopedic Dictionary . - M .: SE, 1990. - S. 52-54 .
- Diffloth, G. .. Austro-Asiatic Languages // Encyclopaedia Britannica (16th edn.) Macropaedia. 1986.
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- Huffman FE Bibliography and index of mainland Southeast Asian languages and linguistics. New Haven, 1986
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- Peiros I. Comparative Linguistics in Southeast Asia // Pacific Linguistics. 1998
- Pinnow H.-J. Versuch Einer Historischen Lautlehre der Kharia-Sprache. Wiesbaden, 1959
- Schmidt W. Die Sprachen der Sakai und Semang auf Malacca und ihr Verhältnis zu den Mon-Khmer-Sprachen // Bijdragen tot de Taal-, Landen Volkenkunde. 1901. V. 52 (8)