Evaluating the Sino-Tibeto-Austronesian Hypothesis
Giorgio Orlandi (Xiamen University, Department of Humanities; thegaygenius@gmail.com)
Journal of Language Relationship, № 16/1-2, 2018 - p.1-18
This paper analyses and evaluates the alleged genetic relationship between Sino-Tibetan and Austronesian, proposed by the French sinologist Laurent Sagart. The aim of the following paper is neither to prove, nor to disprove the Sino-Tibeto-Austronesian superphylum but to argue whether the data presented in favour of this proposed genetic relationship do or do not stand the scrutiny of a historical linguist. This paper also considers the hypothetical homeland of Proto-Sino-Tibeto-Austronesian people, with an eye towards competing hypotheses, such as Sino-Indo-European. It is concluded that Sagart’s approach may be insufficient for proof of controversial cases of disputed genetic relationship, given the non-obvious relatedness of the languages he is comparing.
Keywords: Sino-Tibeto-Austronesian hypothesis, Sino-Tibetan languages, genetic relationship of languages, comparative method