On the general acceptance of Austric

Lawrence A. Reid reid at hawaii.edu
Wed Apr 2 21:55:45 UTC 1997

----------------------------Original message----------------------------
It would have been good if we could have had alternative explanations for
the comparative evidence that I (and others before and after me) have
produced for the Austric hypothesis in print, or at least in a form that we
could carefully look at and evaluate.  I think that David Stampe's inclusion
of Gerard Diffloth as among the scholars present at the CAMAC conference as
among those who do not endorse a genetic relationship between AA and An
languages is perhaps misleading.  Although not wildly enthusiastic about the
strength of the lexical evidence that has been accrued to date, he makes it
clear in his published paper in Oceanic Linguistics 33 (1994), that what
there is is convincing, and that he finds other explanations for the
morphological evidence for the relationship such as coincidence or borrowing
to be unacceptable.
But perhaps Gerard has changed his mind since then.  One An scholar who is
not convinced is Stan Starosta, who is presently trying to develop a
substratal account which will hold water.
Laurie Reid
At 10:38 AM 4/1/97 -1000, you wrote:
>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
Lawrence A. Reid
Professor of Linguistics
Department of Linguistics            Office: (808) 956-3223
University of Hawaii                 Home:   (808) 396-8302
Moore Hall 569                       FAX:    (808) 956-9166
1890 East-West Road                  E-mail: reid at hawaii.edu
Honolulu, HI 96822

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