Robert Blust

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Phylogenetic methods have revolutionised evolutionary biology and have recently been applied to studies of linguistic and cultural evolution. However, the basic comparative data on the languages of the world required for these analyses is often widely dispersed in hard to obtain sources. Here we outline how our Austronesian Basic Vocabulary Database (ABVD)(More)
A number of well-documented sound changes in Austronesian languages do not appear to be either phonetically or phonologically motivated. Although it is possible that some of these changes involved intermediate steps for which we have no direct documentation, the assumption that this was always the case appears arbitrary, and is in violation of Occam’s(More)
The Austronesian (AN) language family contains nearly 20% of the world’s languages, and extends more than halfway around the globe, from Madagascar to Easter Island. The more than 1200 historically attested languages in this family are descended from an ancestor that probably was spoken on Taiwan between 5500 and 6000 years ago. In the course of the AN(More)
INTRODUCTION.1 Many Austronesian (An) languages—particularly those of Taiwan, the Philippines, and northern portions of Borneo and Sulawesi—have elaborate systems of verb morphology. To choose just one of many possible examples, Thao, spoken by fewer than 2fteen persons around Sun-Moon Lake in central Taiwan, has over 200 pre2xes, in2xes, suf2xes,(More)
The notes and articles in this series are progress reports on work being carried on by students and faculty in the Department. Because these papers are not finished products, readers are asked not to cite from them without noting their preliminary nature. The authors welcome any comments and suggestions that readers might offer. For the past forty years,(More)
This paper studies the noun phrase structure of Paiwan demonstratives by examining in detail the typology of demonstratives, possessives and numerals in Formosan languages. Four main issues are addressed: in Formosan languages (A) whether the word order variation in nominals may be best accounted for along the lines of the antisymmetry condition in Kayne(More)
The notes and articles in this series are progress reports on work being carried on by students and faculty in the Department. Because these papers are not finished products, readers are asked not to cite from them without noting their preliminary nature. The authors welcome any comments and suggestions that readers might offer. Cantonese lyrics are found(More)