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Indigenous Languages of the Pacific

Apart from large groupings of languages spoken on the island of New Guinea, all indigenous languages of the Pacific belong to a single language family, Austronesian. Austronesian is also the dominant family of island Southeast Asia, and Taiwan, the Philippines, and the Indonesian archipelago, encompassing all regions of Borneo and the independent nation Timor Leste. There are only a small number of Austronesian languages spoken in mainland Southeast Asia, these mostly on the Malay Peninsula. Island Southeast Asia is thus included in the discussion here, which centers on languages of the Austronesian family, with reference to typologically characteristic features of languages from the main subgroups. This is a region where over 2,000, or close to 30%, of the world’s languages are spoken, more than 1,200 ...

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