Barito languages

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Greater Barito
southern Borneo, Madagascar, Southern Philippines
Linguistic classification Austronesian
Glottolog grea1283[1]

The Barito languages are around twenty Dayak (Austronesian) languages of Borneo, Southern Philippines, plus Malagasy, the national language of Madagascar. They are named after the Barito River.

The Barito family is thought by some[who?] to be a Sprachbund joining three groups – East Barito, West Barito, and Mahakam (Barito–Mahakam) – rather than a genuine clade. For example, Adelaar (2005) rejects Barito as a valid group despite accepting less traditional groups such as North Bornean and Malayo-Sumbawan.

Greater Barito

Blust (2006) proposes that the Sama-Bajaw languages also derive from the Barito lexical region, though not from any established group,[2] and Ethnologue has followed, calling the resulting group 'Greater Barito'.

Smith (2017)[3] proposes a Greater Barito linkage with the following branches, and considers Basap to be a sister of the Greater Barito linkage, forming a Basap–Greater Barito group.


  1. ^ Hammarström, Harald; Forkel, Robert; Haspelmath, Martin, eds. (2017). "Greater Barito". Glottolog 3.0. Jena, Germany: Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History. 
  2. ^ Blust, Robert. 2006. 'The linguistic macrohistory of the Philippines'. In Liao & Rubino, eds, Current Issues in Philippine Linguistics and Anthropology. pp 31–68.
  3. ^ Smith, Alexander. 2017. The Languages of Borneo: A Comprehensive Classification. PhD Dissertation: University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa.
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