LINGUIST List 9.425

Fri Mar 20 1998

Sum: Genetic Affiliation of "Exotic" Languages

Editor for this issue: Martin Jacobsen <>


  1. Jan K Lindstrom, Genetic Affiliation of "Exotic" Languages

Message 1: Genetic Affiliation of "Exotic" Languages

Date: Fri, 20 Mar 1998 15:12:23 +0200 (EET)
From: Jan K Lindstrom <>
Subject: Genetic Affiliation of "Exotic" Languages

I had in january a query concerning the genetic affiliation and the
principal geographical location of a group of languages that seem
rather exotic, meaning unfamiliar, at least from a North European
point of view: Agta, Bahasa, Kinande, Lardil, Maranungku, Marshallese,
Mokilese, Pangasinan, Tangale, Tarok. I had come across these
languages in secondary sources where the genetic/geographical
background information was left quite vague, or, okay, up to the
reader to be found out.

As always, Linguist (or linguists) provided the needed help. I
received nearly 30 replies, some of which were very elaborate. I have
thanked personally all the respondents, but here comes yet a huge
collective thank you!

Many respondents appropriately pointed out where one can look for help
when trying to identify languages. The most at hand alternative would
be the on-line web-resource Ethnologue (The Ethnologue Language Name
Index and The Ethnologue Language Family Index), which is a catalogue
of more than 6,700 languages spoken in 228 countries:

The service is based on the text of the original printed volumes of:

Grimes, Barbara F. Ethnologue. Languages of the world. Summer
Institute of Linguistics, Inc. Dallas, Texas. 13th edition currently,
966 pages.

For the interested, there are other printed sources as well:

Habermann, Clemens Peter--Groeschel, Bernhard--Wassner, Ulrich
Hermann: Sprache & Sprachen. Wiesbaden: Harrassowitz. 1997.

Crystal, David: The Cambridge encyclopedia of language. Cambridge
University Press. 1987.

Ladefoged, Peter and Ian Maddieson: The sounds of the world's
languages. Oxford: Blackwell. 1996.

Ruhlen, Merrit: A guide to the world's languages Vol.1. Stanford:
Stanford University Press. 1987.

If it is of any interest, I provide below general information on the
languages mentioned in my query.

Austronesian, spoken in the Philippines. Several languages are
referred to with this name.

Not a name of a language but simply the word 'language' (with Sanskrit
origins) in the Melayu language (Austronesian;
Malayo-Polynesian). However, the name Bahasa is used in combination
with national varieties of the language. Thus, Bahasa Melayu/Malaysia,
Bahasa Indonesia, Bahasa Sasak (on the island of Lombok). Variations
are also spoken in the Philippines, Brunei Darussalam, Madagascar,
Soth Africa, and southern Thailand (Patani).

Called also Nandi/Nande, spoken in Zaire. It is a Bantu language in
the Niger (Benue)-Congo family.

Australian language in the Pama-Nyungam family, spoken on Mornington
Island in the Gulf of Carpentaria, Queensland.

or Maranunggu. Australian language in the Daly family, spoken in the
Daly River region of the Northern Territory.

An Austronesian (Malayo-Polynesian) language spoken on Marshall
Islands, northern Pacific Ocean.

An Austronesian (Eastern Oceanic) language, spoken in Micronesia on
the island of Ponape.

A (Western) Austronesian (Malayo-Polynesian) language, spoken in
Philippines on the northwest coast of Luzon Island.

An Afro-Asiatic (West Chadic) language, spoken in Nigeria (Bauchi

A Niger (Benue)-Congo language spoken in Nigeria (Plateau and Gongola

Jan Lindstrom
Dept of Scandinavian lgs
University of Helsinki
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