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Austronesian Language Structure Vs. West Germanic Language Structure

Austronesian Language Structure Vs. West Germanic Language Structure
austronesian language

The world may be in a state of chaos for the most part, there is an order to things. A day always ends after twenty-four hours and the sun always sets in the evening. However, among all the chaos, we find it difficult to believe that there could be an order to everything. We see it around us every day but we also see the destruction and the disasters. This is why the two doesn’t add up in our minds. We fail to understand that the two can co-exist at the same time. The natural order of things around us has been there since the beginning of time. But even in man-made things, there is an order and a system that regulates them.

We have established many disciplines and all of them have laws, rules, hypothesis, and theories. There are many things they have in common. But the most noticeable one is that they all have a structure. If you pick up a Chemistry book and see the periodic table, you will notice that there is a system according to which elements are assigned their particular spots. This is why it is important to remember the order because it also explains the features of the elements and if someone messes up the order, they will also mix up the features and end up ruining their experiment.

There are hierarchies and structures in societies too. It isn’t something that is only limited to the scientific fields. Proper systems were established for all disciplines. The structure in Psychology is as important as it is in Mathematics. A type of disorder cannot be understood out of its category. Otherwise, it will affect the treatment process of the client. In linguistics, the situation is no different. There are families, branches, and structure that define the features of a language in one way or another.

austronesian language

Austronesian Language Structure:

austronesian language

Austronesian is the world’s fifth largest language family by number of speakers. It is spoken in Madagascar, islands of Pacific Ocean, and Maritime Southeast Asia. After Niger-Congo, this family contains the most number of languages in the world. The current number stands at 1,257. One-fifth of the world’s tongues fall under this family. But most of these don’t have too many speakers, just as is the case with most of the Niger-Congo languages. Majority of the Austronesian languages are spoken on islands.

Malay, Javanese, and Filipino are the major members of the group and have the most number of speakers. Malay alone have 250 million speakers and is the 8th most spoken language in the world. Understanding the structure of a diverse family is not easy because most of the members are quite different from each other. So, to make things easier, it is divided in three parts:

  • Philippine-type: The word order in this type is mostly verb-initial. The most prominent feature of this branch is the retention of the Philippine-type voice alterations.
  • Indonesian-type: In sharp contrast with the first type, this category has brought down the voice system to be a contrast between two voices. The word order of this type is mostly verb-second.
  • Post-Indonesian: In this type, the voice-marking affixes no longer preserve their functions because the original system has broken down.

West Germanic Language Structure:

West Germanic is the branch that contains today’s most widely spoken language, English. Prominent tongues like German and Dutch are also a part of this group. Today, English is an official language of over 60 countries and is spoken by almost 2 billion people all over the world. It is also considered a lingua franca of the world and helps people communicate when they don’t know each other’s native languages.

The structure of Austronesian and West Germanic is not really comparable since one is a family and the other is a branch but a few features of the latter can help people analyze the differences between the two.

  • All the vernaculars of this branch share many lexemes which are a foreign concept to the speakers of North and East Germanic languages.
  • In the old languages, the phonology matched that of Proto-Germanic, but lowering of the long front vowels is something which has become common in the modern tongues of this branch.
  • A lot of words among all the West Germanic languages sound the same. They are even spelled in somewhat similar fashion, which makes it easier to guess their meaning. However, despite this similarity, most of the members of the branch don’t share a lot of features today. Frisian is considered the oldest living relative of English but even that is completely different today than what it used to be, which is why the two are not mutually intelligible.
  • Although Frisian is the closest relative of English, the latter also shares a lot of vocabulary with Dutch. Which goes to show that similarities between any members of the group is possible.

Today, Dutch and English both have adopted a lot of words from each other, which is why some linguists say the speakers of latter can easily learn the former. As for the structure of Austronesian and West Germanic, the differences are pretty clear, even if you are not a linguist. The two groups originated in completely different places and also had their own mother tongue. However, both are important categories and have their own place on the international front. Austronesian and West Germanic both have members with more than a hundred million speakers.

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