Advanced

Foraging and the history of languages in the Malay Peninsula

Burenhult, Niclas LU (2020) p.164-197
Abstract
The hunter-gatherer groups of Southeast Asia represent a diverse range of adaptations. The so-called Negritos of the Andaman Islands, the Malay Peninsula and the Philippines have attracted particular attention because of long-standing claims that they represent traces of pre-agricultural Southeast Asia. Research on Andaman and Philippine prehistory has tended to maintain at least some components of this view. Research on Malayan prehistory, however, has in recent decades taken a different course, proposing that the local Semang foragers represent a physical and economic adaptation in response to Neolithic and later events. This perspective developed alongside a general revisionist trend in anthropology which questioned the notion of... (More)
The hunter-gatherer groups of Southeast Asia represent a diverse range of adaptations. The so-called Negritos of the Andaman Islands, the Malay Peninsula and the Philippines have attracted particular attention because of long-standing claims that they represent traces of pre-agricultural Southeast Asia. Research on Andaman and Philippine prehistory has tended to maintain at least some components of this view. Research on Malayan prehistory, however, has in recent decades taken a different course, proposing that the local Semang foragers represent a physical and economic adaptation in response to Neolithic and later events. This perspective developed alongside a general revisionist trend in anthropology which questioned the notion of hunter-gatherers as static relics of prehistory. The Malayan argument, inspired by a complex local situation of language–culture–biology relations, relied heavily on historical-linguistic reconstruction of the Aslian branch of Austroasiatic (Aslian languages are spoken by most aboriginal groups in the Malay Peninsula, including all of the Semang foragers). Recent genetic studies cast doubt on this Malayan perspective, suggesting instead a robust connection between the Semang foragers and the local pre-Neolithic population. In the present chapter I review the Malayan debate and, in light of new genetic and linguistic insights, outline a reinterpretation of the linguistic prehistory of the Malay Peninsula. Issues of language history, contact, change and shift are pitted against a proposed niche of hunting-gathering, in an effort to explain the current language identities and characteristics of the Semang foragers. (Less)
Please use this url to cite or link to this publication:
author
organization
publishing date
type
Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceeding
publication status
epub
subject
host publication
The Language of Hunter-Gatherers
editor
Güldemann, Tom ; McConvell, Patrick ; Rhodes, Richard A. ; ; and
pages
164 - 197
publisher
Cambridge University Press
ISBN
9781107003682
9781139026208
DOI
10.1017/9781139026208.009
project
Digital Multimedia Archive of Austroasiatic Intangible Heritage Phase II: Seeding Multidisciplinary Workspaces
Language as key to perceptual diversity: an interdisciplinary approach to the senses
language
English
LU publication?
yes
id
50f166d5-054d-42bf-a829-fb94bbc0cf39 (old id 4189995)
date added to LUP
2016-04-04 09:59:14
date last changed
2020-03-10 14:24:36
@inbook{50f166d5-054d-42bf-a829-fb94bbc0cf39,
  abstract     = {The hunter-gatherer groups of Southeast Asia represent a diverse range of adaptations. The so-called Negritos of the Andaman Islands, the Malay Peninsula and the Philippines have attracted particular attention because of long-standing claims that they represent traces of pre-agricultural Southeast Asia. Research on Andaman and Philippine prehistory has tended to maintain at least some components of this view. Research on Malayan prehistory, however, has in recent decades taken a different course, proposing that the local Semang foragers represent a physical and economic adaptation in response to Neolithic and later events. This perspective developed alongside a general revisionist trend in anthropology which questioned the notion of hunter-gatherers as static relics of prehistory. The Malayan argument, inspired by a complex local situation of language–culture–biology relations, relied heavily on historical-linguistic reconstruction of the Aslian branch of Austroasiatic (Aslian languages are spoken by most aboriginal groups in the Malay Peninsula, including all of the Semang foragers). Recent genetic studies cast doubt on this Malayan perspective, suggesting instead a robust connection between the Semang foragers and the local pre-Neolithic population. In the present chapter I review the Malayan debate and, in light of new genetic and linguistic insights, outline a reinterpretation of the linguistic prehistory of the Malay Peninsula. Issues of language history, contact, change and shift are pitted against a proposed niche of hunting-gathering, in an effort to explain the current language identities and characteristics of the Semang foragers.},
  author       = {Burenhult, Niclas},
  booktitle    = {The Language of Hunter-Gatherers},
  editor       = {Güldemann, Tom and McConvell, Patrick and Rhodes, Richard A.},
  isbn         = {9781107003682},
  language     = {eng},
  pages        = {164--197},
  publisher    = {Cambridge University Press},
  title        = {Foraging and the history of languages in the Malay Peninsula},
  url          = {http://dx.doi.org/10.1017/9781139026208.009},
  doi          = {10.1017/9781139026208.009},
  year         = {2020},
}