The Austronesians in Madagascar and their interaction with the Bantu of the East African coast: Surveying the linguistic evidence for domestic and translocated animals.

The Malagasy language is generally considered part of the Barito languages of Borneo and these, in turn, have recently been linked to the Sama-Bajaw group. The dispersal of the Sama-Bajaw in the seventh century was impelled by the expansion of the Srivijaya Malay. Although there is evidence for Austronesian navigators crossing the Indian Ocean prior to 0 AD, they came from a different region of SE Asia, and were not associated with the settlement of Madagascar. The origin of Bantu words in the Malagasy lexicon has been attributed to a wide scatter of East African languages, but it appears that the source of nearly all of them is the Swahili/Sabaki group, which would have dominated the incipient trading networks in this region from the seventh and eighth centuries onwards. This paper takes as a case study the terminology of domestic animals, all of which appears to derive from the languages of the Swahili group, except for nineteenth century introductions. Recent zoogeographic research also suggests the translocation of domestic and wild species across the Mozambique Channel and between the islands; and the Malagasy name for the wild pig, lambo, which reflects Austronesian names for 'bovine'. A provisional list of Malagasy borrowings from Sabaki languages is given in an appendix.
pages 18-43
Historical linguistics
Animal words
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