Southern Puluqish (master post) (tentative: Dec. 26, 2022)

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As shown to date on the clickable tree, the Puluqish group has three branches: Northern Puluqish, Paiwan and Southern Austronesian. Some evidence, presented here tentatively, suggests that Paiwan and Southern Austronesian subgroup together, forming a Southern Puluqish group against Northern Puluqish.

1. final denasalization of *nj. PAN *nj (*j in standard orthography) was a palatal nasal which evolved to a prenasalized palatal stop [ɲɟ] through palatal glide fortition. This phoneme was poorly integrated in the consonantal system, which had no prenasalized stops. In a majority of languages the situation was regularized through loss of the nasal component via independent denasalizing shifts. In others, the stop component was lost. In the present phylogeny the last language to exhibit a nasal reflex of *nj in the direct line of evolution from PAN to PMP is Amis (Northern Puluqish). No Southern Puluqish language (Paiwan, MP, Kra-Dai) has nasal reflexes of *nj. This pattern suggests that a last denasalizing change of *nj, reflected in Paiwan and in all MP and Kra-Dai languages took place in Proto-Southern Puluqish.

2. Elimination of *baCaqan ’10’ and generalization of  *puluq. Eastern Walu-Siwaish had innovated *baCaqan ’10’.  Then Puluqish innovated *puluq. The two forms coexist in Puyuma, showing they were in competition in Proto-Northern Puluqish.  In southern Puluqish, there is no competition anymore: *baCaqan has been eliminated and *puluq remains the only word for ’10’. 

3. *b[i]lih ‘to buy, sell’. The PAN word for ‘to buy, sell’, reflected in Saisiyat, Pazeh, Thao, Seediq, Kavalan, was *baliw. This was displaced in Paiwan and MP by *b[i]lih ‘buy, sell’: Paiwan veli ‘buy, sell’, Proto-Bisayan *bilíh ‘to buy’ (Zorc < ABVD). In Kra-Dai, Proto-Hlai (Norquest) *ɾi:wʔ C ‘to sell, exchange’ still reflects *baliw, but Proto-Lakkja (Theraphan via ABVD) *wlei C2 ‘to buy’ reflects *b[i]lih. Note Kra-Dai tone C from PAN *-h, the expected development (Sagart 2019).


ABVD:  Austronesian Basic Vocabulary Database. Online at Accessed December 26, 2022.

ACD:Austronesian Comparative dictionary. Online at Accessed December 26, 2022.

Sagart, Laurent (2019). A model of the origin of Kra-Dai tones. Cahiers de Linguistique Asie Orientale, 2019, 48 (1), pp.1-29. ⟨10.1163/19606028-04801004⟩

Theraphan L.-Thongkum (1992) A preliminary reconstruction of Proto-Lakkja (Cha Shan Yao). Mon-Khmer Studies 20: 57-89.

Zorc, David Paul. The Bisayan Dialects of the Philippines: Subgrouping and Reconstruction. Canberra, Australia: Dept. of Linguistics, Research School of Pacific Studies, Australian National University, 1977. As cited in the ABVD.

Cite this blog post
Laurent Sagart (2022, December 26). Southern Puluqish (master post) (tentative: Dec. 26, 2022). Sino-Tibetan-Austronesian. Retrieved May 19, 2024, from

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