In linguistics, Melanesian is an obsolete term referring to the Austronesian languages of Melanesia: that is, the Oceanic, Eastern Malayo-Polynesian, or Central–Eastern Malayo-Polynesian languages apart from Polynesian and Micronesian. A typical classification of the Austronesian languages ca. 1970 would divide them into something like the following branches:
- Formosan languages (Northern)
- Western Malayo-Polynesian
- Eastern Malayo-Polynesian
- Melanesian languages (including Fijian)
- Micronesian languages
- Polynesian languages
It is now known that the Melanesian languages do not form a genealogical node: they are at best paraphyletic, and very likely polyphyletic; like Papuan, the term is now used as one of convenience, and sometimes placed in scare quotes. Although the term was at least in the beginning partially racial rather than linguistic, the Melanesian and other Central–Eastern Malayo-Polynesian languages are typologically similar, due to being the Austronesian languages most heavily restructured under the influence of various Papuan language families.
Read more about Melanesian Languages: Languages of Melanesia
Famous quotes containing the word languages:
“The trouble with foreign languages is, you have to think before your speak.”
—Swedish proverb, trans. by Verne Moberg.