Mayotte, Polynesia and New Caledonia

Comparative linguistics - Mayotte, Polynesia and New Caledonia
Posted by: Pierre L. on Oct. 21, 2023, 17:49

How many languages from the French oversea territories are included in your system? Can you include more?
Posted by: Vincent on Oct. 30, 2023, 23:51
Hi Pierre,
Yes, there are many interesting languages in the French oversea terrotiries. Many of them are creole languages which I do not include in the system as they are often a mix of languages even in their very core. But in Polynesia, New Caledonia and even Mayotte, we find a great variation of Austronesian languages. In Mayotte there is also a own Comorian dialect, which is a Bantu language. You now find all these languages in the search form and in the tree. The included Austronesian languages are:
- Tahitian (here compared with Rapa Nui if you click on the link) and
- Marquesan (here compared with Hawaiian if you click on the link)
Both are from the Oceanic branch of the Malayo-Polynesian family of Austronesian.
Austronesian languages from New Caledonia are also included in the system but they appear very isolated with very few related languages detected accros the system. These languages are Ajië, Drehu, Nengone and Paicî. Here the comparisons with some degree of detected relatedness:
- Drehu to Nengone (clearly recognizable relationship, both are languages of the Loyalty Islands)
- Drehu to Marshallese (recognizable distant relationship)
- Paicî to Fijian (next neighbour in the system, but very low signals of relatedness)
- Ajië to Maori (next neighbour in the system, but very low signals of relatedness)
In Mayotte, the Bushi language (also named Shibushi or Kibushi) is very close to Malagasy from nearby Madagascar:
- Bushi to Malagasy
Bushi is also closely related to other Malayo-Polynesian languages and Bushi's and Malagasy's next neighbours in our tree are Bajau and Dusun, both spoken in Borneo (Indonesia and Malaysia):
- Bushi to Dusun
As mentioned, Mayotte also has another local language, which is a Comorian dialect and is very close to Swahili (a major Bantu language of Africa): Shimaore (in French: Mahorais), also named Maore:
- Shimaore to Swahili
All this divesity is quite fascinating. At the same time, completely different territories appear to have been settled by sea-people sharing a common language ancestor: the two geographically most remote languages of Austronesian are Rapa Nui (the language of the Easter Islands) and Bushi (Mayotte)- and they are clearly related:
- Bushi to Rapa Nui
(I feel free to translate your message and answer in English so that everybody can benefit from our conversation).

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