On the general acceptance of Austric

Alexander Vovin vovin at hawaii.edu
Thu Apr 3 02:20:15 UTC 1997

----------------------------Original message----------------------------
I have the same impression that Laurie Reid: as far as I know from Gerard
Diffloth's publications, in particular from the article in Oceanic
lingustics 1994 that Laurie has already mentioned, he is is a mild
supporter of Austric rather than an adversary. Cf. e.g. the following
passage from the same article by Gerard Diffloth (italics are mine):
"Ironically, it is the relative poverty of shared vocabulary between
Austroasiatic and Austronesian, combined with *evident agreement in the
morphology*, that argues for *a genetic, and against a contact
relationship* between the two families, provided we allow for a great time
depth in order to avoid the obvious paradox". (p. 312)
    It does not sound like an outright rejection.
    I am aware that most Munda specialists are sceptical about Austric and
Austroasiatic itself, however as it seems there is no unity here either.
Reading the recent "Munda-jin no nookoo bunka to shokuji bunka: minzoku
gengogaku teki koosatsu (Farming culture and food culture of Munda: an
ethnolinguistic study)" by Toshiki Osada (Kyoto: Kokusai nihon bunka
kekkyuu sentaa, 1995) I was under a definite impression that its author
supports Austroasiatic.
    Besides, let us suppose that Munda languages are not related to
Austronesian or rest of the Austroasiatic (If I remember correctly, this
was the point David Stampe was making at CAMAC 1993 -- if I am wrong
please correct me). But this hardly affects Austric or even Austroasiatic
itself: Munda specialists would just remove one of the lower nodes. In
addition, as far as I can tell, Munda materials in the post-Shafer and
post-Pinnow research were not quite the main materials on which the
demonstration of Austric was based (again, please correct me if I am
missing something here), but the evidence stands predominantly on
Mon-Khmer, and now, thanks to Laurie, also on Nicobarese.
Alexander Vovin
vovin at hawaii.edu
On Wed, 2 Apr 1997, Lawrence A. Reid wrote:
>[...]   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.
> Laurie Reid

More information about the Histling mailing list