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Austronesian Linguistics

Dr. Hsiu-Chuan Liao

This course aims to provide a general introduction to the Austronesian language family, the world’s second largest language family with more than 1,200 languages spoken in great territorial range extending some 206 degrees of longitude from Madagascar in Africa to Easter Island/Rapa Nui in the Pacific, and over 70 degrees of latitude from Taiwan/Formosa to the South Island of New Zealand.    

Topics to be covered include (but are not limited to the following): 

(a) A bird’s-eye view of the geographical, cultural, demographic, and historical background to the Austronesian language family 

(b) Classification: internal groupings of Austronesian languages and external relationships of Austronesian languages

(c) Typology of Austronesian languages—Sound Systems

(d) Typology of Austronesian languages—Morphosyntax

(e) Language in society: speech style/register (e.g. speech levels in Island Southeast Asia; respect language in Micronesia and Polynesia; gender-based speech differences; hunting languages, fishing languages, and territorial languages; ritual languages)