Definition of Austronesian in English:


Syllabification: Aus·tro·ne·sian
Pronunciation: /ˌôstrōˈnēZHən


  • Of, relating to, or denoting a family of languages spoken in an area extending from Madagascar in the west to the Pacific islands in the east. Also called Malayo-Polynesian.
    More example sentences
    • Today, Austronesian languages are spoken from Madagascar in the west, to Easter Island in the east.
    • Small Austronesian languages are another area of current research.
    • Archaeological evidence supports the commonly held theory that peoples speaking Austronesian languages first came to the islands some 4,000 years ago.


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  • The Austronesian family of languages.
    More example sentences
    • He is continuing experiments on the Indo-European issues, and has new work on Austronesian in progress.
    • Some people argue against it, but I think the evidence for Austronesian is very strong.
    • The indigenous languages belong to the Central Oceanic branch of Eastern Austronesian and are divided into eastern and western branches.


from German austronesisch, based on Latin australis 'southern' (see austral) + Greek nēsos 'island'.

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