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Updated: 6/21/2020


Austronesian Comparative Dictionary


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ker    ket    key    kic    kin    kit    kni    kno    

kava: Piper methysticum

Baluan kawkava: Piper methysticum
Lou kakava: Piper methysticum
Pohnpeian sa-kaukava: Piper methysticum; any intoxicating beverage; to be intoxicated, to be drunk
Samoan ʔavaa shrub (Piper methysticum); kava, a beverage made with the dried and pulverized root of that shrub mixed with water; a cup of kava ceremonially handed to an orator (as distinguished from a cup for a chief)
Tongan kavakava: either the plant (Piper methysticum) or the beverage made from its crushed root
Niue kavathe pepper plant (Piper methysticum); drink made from the bruised roots of the kava; any intoxicating liquor
Rarotongan kavabitterness, sourness, etc.; to be bitter, sour or acrid, to be biting to the taste
Maori kawaunpleasant to the taste, bitter, sour; a sprig of any tree, or sometimes a small sapling pulled up by the roots, used in certain ceremonies
Hawaiian ʔawathe kava (Piper methysticum), a shrub four to twelve feet tall with green jointed stems and heart-shaped leaves, native to Pacific islands, the root being the source of a narcotic drink of the same name used in ceremonies

As argued by Lebot et al. (1997), the kava plant is a product of human cultivation and refinement which probably began in Vanuatu and then spread into other parts of the Pacific after the arrival of Austronesian speakers. It’s distribution remains scattered except in Polynesian-Fiji, where it is almost universal.

ker    ket    key    kic    kin    kit    kni    kno    


(Dempwolff: *kuluk ‘head covering’)

kerchief:   head covering, kerchief, headcloth

Tagalog taŋ-kulokraincoat
Mapun kōk ~ ta-kōkhead of person or animal; leader of a group
Ngaju Dayak kolok ~ ta-kolokhead; a knob, button, etc. as decoration on a staff, etc.
Malay təŋ-kolokhead-wrapper; kerchief; headcloth
Toba Batak tahulukcap, kind of head covering (said to be from Malay)
Minangkabau tiŋ-kulukheadcloth worn by women; it is of the nature of a wrapper, and provides the long pendent ends that are seen hanging behind the large payakombo headdress worn on gala occasions
Javanese kulukcrown; fez-like headdress worn by palace retainers on formal occasions

Borrowing from Malay. Dempwolff (1938) reconstructed *kuluk ‘head covering’.


Sambal (Botolan) takoríʔtea kettle
Tagalog takúriʔtea kettle
Bikol takuríteapot, kettle
Cebuano takúriʔkettle

Borrowing from Tagalog.


Ilokano liábekey; monkey wrench; pliers
Agutaynen liabikey
  liabi-anto unlock something with a key

Borrowing of Spanish llave ‘key, spanner, tap, faucet’.


Ilokano yábewrench
Cebuano yábikey for a lock or for a winding mechanism
Mansaka yabikey

From Spanish llave ‘key’.

ker    ket    key    kic    kin    kit    kni    kno    


(Dempwolff: *sipak ‘kick’)


Ilokano sípahacky sack: a kind of boys’ game that consists of standing in a circle and kicking up a small, light ball, keeping it in the air as long as possible
  ag-sípato play this game
  sipá-ento kick
Tagalog sípaɁa kick; a striking with the foot; a game using a rattan ball and consisting of an exchange of kicks to keep the ball aloft
  máni-nípaɁa kicker (said of horses that are prone to kick)
  sipáɁ-into kick
Maranao sipaɁrattan ball; game in which rattan ball is used; to kick
Ngaju Dayak sepaka rattan ball about the size of a coconut; one throws it in the air, and then in competition must try to keep it aloft with either hands or feet, not letting it touch the ground
Malagasy vua-tsípakakicked at
  ma-nípakato kick
  tsipáh-inato be kicked
Iban sipakkick up in the air
Malay sepakstriking out with the leg; kicking aside; spurning out of the way
  sepak ragagame of kicking a basketball with the side of the foot
Bahasa Indonesia sepakkick (forward or to the side)
  sepak ragaa game played with a ball woven of rattan, using the foot and head (to keep it aloft)
Sundanese sepaka backward kick (as of a horse)
  ñepakkick backward with the foot or leg
Old Javanese a-sepakto kick (esp. with the hind legs, of a horse)
Javanese sépak-anthat which is kicked
  ñépakto kick
  sépak bola, sépak ragasoccer game
Balinese sépakto kick (of man or horse)

This comparison is a particularly striking example of a widespread Malay loanword that has acquired cognate morphology in such widely separated languages as Ilokano, Tagalog and Malagasy, and could easily be mistaken for a native word if irregularities in the sound correspondences did not expose its historically secondary status. Based on data from Javanese, Malay, Ngaju Dayak the clearly irregular Malagasy form, and Fijian sevaki Dempwolff (1938) reconstructed *sipak ‘kick’.

kind of lance

Tagalog sulígiɁdart; a small spear or lance
Malay səligiwooden dart or javelin; sometimes a light strip of bamboo sharpened at both ends for use as a caltrop or in catching crocodiles; sometimes a heavy wooden javelin with a hardwood point
Toba Batak suligibamboo lance
Minangkabau suligiwooden dart or javelin
Old Javanese suligia kind of spear, javelin
  a-nuligito throw the suligi
Sasak səligilance made of areca wood

Borrowing from Malay.


Casiguran Dumagat buladórkite
Tagalog buladórkind of kite; skyrocket; small-scaled flying fish
Aklanon buladórkite
Hiligaynon buladúrkite

Borrowing of Spanish volador

kite (type)

Ilokano sapi-sápikind of triangular kite
Tagalog sapi-sápiɁa type of kite
Bikol sapí-sápikite (American; ordinary kite with a tail)
Chamorro sapi-sapitype of kite

The Chamorro word was borrowed from a Philippine language, presumably during the Spanish colonial period.

ker    ket    key    kic    kin    kit    kni    kno    


knife:   machete, bush knife

Kapampangan pálaŋbolo
Tagalog paláŋflat-nosed bolo
Melanau (Mukah) paraŋbush-knife, machete
Ngaju Dayak paraŋsaw of a sawfish
Iban paraŋlarge knife, chopper
Malay paraŋcleaver, machete; to chop
Toba Batak paraŋmachete, bush knife
Sundanese paraŋmachete
Rembong paraŋmachete

The Philippine forms and many others (Melanau (Mukah), Toba Batak, Rembong, possibly Ngaju Dayak) appear to be loans from Malay. Maranao paraŋ 'hand trowel, weeding tool' is assumed to be a semantically altered loan or a chance resemblance.

knowledgeable:   learned knowledgeable

Tagalog paháma very learned person; a genius; very learned; erudite
Malay pahamto understand; to be versed in
  kuraŋ pahamignorance
Javanese pahambody of knowledge or thought; doctrine; -ism; to understand, be knowledgeable
Muna fahamuunderstand, grasp

Borrowing from Malay, ultimately from Arabic.

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Austronesian Comparative Dictionary, web edition
Robert Blust and Stephen Trussel
2010: revision 6/21/2020
email: Blust (content) – Trussel (production)