On the general acceptance of Austric

David Stampe stampe at HAWAII.EDU
Tue Apr 1 20:38:32 UTC 1997

It is unquestionably honest, but I think that Sasha Vovin's impression
of the acceptance of the Austric hypothesis is wrong for Austroasiatic
scholars.  [The hypothesis, first argued by Pater Wilhelm Schmidt,
relates Austroasiatic (Munda, Mon-Khmer, Nicobarese) to Austronesian.]
At a conference in Honolulu a few years ago, Laurie Reid presented
morphological evidence for Austric.  Invited comparative Mon-Khmer
scholars (Gerard Diffloth) and comparative Munda scholars (Norman Zide,
Patricia Donegan, and myself) found Reid's paper well argued and well
worth hearing, but not compelling.  His paper and other conference
papers have now appeared in Oceanic Linguistics.  The discussants'
remarks were not solicited for publication, and since one discussant on
the AN side (Blust) has separately published a favorable response, the
lack of any published negative response might be mistaken for a
positive response.  But with the exception of L.V. Hayes, who has
separately published lexical arguments for Austric, I know of no
comparative AA scholar who regards the relationship of AA and AN as
On the other hand, we shouldn't stop looking.  Reid's conference was
the first that brought Munda and Mon-Khmer scholars together in a
decade, and the first time in nearly three decades to bring us together
with scholars of AN and other groups, and it was stimulating to discuss
common traits and problems in these languages, related or not.
David Stampe <stampe at hawaii.edu>
Dept. of Linguistics, Univ. of Hawai`i/Manoa, Honolulu HI 96822

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