Puluqish (master post)

(view clickable tree) (to list of innovations, sorted by node)

(Jump up one level to Eastern Walu-Siwaish)

(Jump down one level to northern Puluqish; to southern Austronesian)

Puluqish (Sagart 2008) is an Austronesian subgroup defined mainly by the innovative numeral *puluq ‘ten’ (here) and the use of prefixes *paka- and *maka- to indicate abilitative meaning (here).

The Puluqish group includes three languages of southern and southeastern Taiwan: Amis, Puyuma, and Paiwan, plus Malayo-Polynesian and Kra-Dai. Malayo-Polynesian and Kra-Dai form southern Austronesian; Amis and Puyuma form northern Puluqish. Gray et al. (2009, supplementary evidence) regard Paiwan as the Formosan language most closely related to Malayo-Polynesian. At the time of writing (February 2022), however, I am not aware of any uniquely shared innovation of Paiwan and MP, apart form the total elimination of *baCaqan  ‘ten’ from the numeral system and the generalization of *puluq in that meaning. Until more innovations are identified, I am treating northern Puluqish, southern Austronesian and Paiwan as coordinate branches under Puluqish (see clickable tree).

Critics of Puluqish had underlined the lack of an etymology for *puluq (e.g. Winter 2010: 284): this apparent opacity seemed to indicate that *puluq is as ancient as the lower Austronesian numerals *isa ‘one’, *duSa ‘two’ etc.  The etymology of *puluq has now been determined (here).

The new etymology implies that the original Puluqish word for ’10’ was actually *sa-puluq (one-puluq) rather than just *puluq. The *sa- component was lost in Amis and Puyuma but preserved in Paiwan, Malayo-Polynesian and Kra-Dai. The irregular phonetic shape of one word for ‘nine’ in Puyuma confirms the loss (here).

Puluqish clashes with Blust’s East Formosan (Blust 1999) and with Ross’s Nuclear Austronesian (Ross 2009; now abandoned by him). See my criticisms of these constructs here and here.


Blust, Robert A. 1999. Subgrouping, circularity and extinction: some issues in Austronesian comparative linguistics. In: Elizabeth Zeitoun and Paul Jen-kuei Li (eds.) Selected Papers from the Eighth International Conference on Austronesian linguistics, 31-94. Taipei: Institute of Linguistics (preparatory office).

Gray, R.D., A.J. Drummond and S. Greenhill (2009) Language Phylogenies Reveal Expansion Pulses and Pauses in Pacific Settlement. Nature, 323, 479-483.

Ross, Malcolm D. 2009. Proto Austronesian verbal morphology: a reappraisal. Austronesian historical linguistics and culture history. A festschrift for Robert Blust, ed. by Alexander Adelaar and Andrew K. Pawley (eds), 285-316. Canberra: Pacific Linguistics.

Sagart, L. (2008) the expansion of setaria farmers in East Asia: a linguistic and archaeological model. In Sanchez-Mazas A, Blench R, Ross M, Peiros I, Lin M, eds. Past human migrations in East Asia: matching archaeology, linguistics and genetics, 133-157. Routledge Studies in the Early History of Asia, London: Routledge.

Sagart, L. 2014. In Defense of the Numeral-based Model of Austronesian Phylogeny, and of Tsouic. Language and Linguistics 15(6) 859–882.

Sagart, L. 2015. East Formosan and the PAN palatals. Paper presented at the 13th International Conference on Austronesian Linguistics, Taipei, July 18-22, 2015.

Sagart, Laurent.2014. In Defense of the Numeral-based Model of Austronesian Phylogeny, and of Tsouic. Language and Linguistics 15(6) 859–882.

Winter, Bodo. 2010. A note on the higher phylogeny of Austronesian. Oceanic Linguistics 49:282‒87.

Cite this post as: Laurent Sagart, "Puluqish (master post)," in Sino-Tibetan-Austronesian, 09/04/2020, https://stan.hypotheses.org/651.

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