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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
- ‘The other group speaks an Austronesian language.’
- ‘Samoan belongs to a group of Austronesian languages spoken throughout Polynesia.’
- ‘Small Austronesian languages are another area of current research.’
- ‘Seven Austronesian languages are spoken, all of which belong to the Malayic Malayo-Polynesian group.’
- ‘It has similarities to English as well as to the Austronesian languages spoken by the plantation laborers.’
- ‘Today, Austronesian languages are spoken from Madagascar in the west, to Easter Island in the east.’
- ‘Archaeological evidence supports the commonly held theory that peoples speaking Austronesian languages first came to the islands some 4,000 years ago.’
[mass noun] The Austronesian family of languages.
- ‘The indigenous languages belong to the Central Oceanic branch of Eastern Austronesian and are divided into eastern and western branches.’
- ‘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.’
From German austronesisch, based on Latin australis southern (see austral) + Greek nēsos island.
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