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Updated: 6/21/2020


Austronesian Comparative Dictionary


I have included a separate module of the dictionary called ‘Noise’ (in the information-theoretic sense of meaningless data that can be confused with a true signal). The reason for this is that the search process that results in valid cognate sets inevitably turns up other material that is superficially appealing, but is questionable for various reasons. To simply dispose of this ‘information refuse’ would be unwise for two reasons. First, further searching might show that some of these questionable comparisons are more strongly supported than it initially appeared. Second, even if the material is not upgraded through further comparative work it is always possible that some future researcher with different standards of evaluation will stumble upon some of these comparisons and claim that they are valid, but were overlooked in the ACD. By including a module on ‘Noise’ I can show that I have considered and rejected various possibilities that might be entertained by others.

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(Dempwolff: *bun)


Malay buncroupier at a Chinese gaming mat
Toba Batak bunabundant, of a bumper crop of rice

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(Dempwolff: *bali)

accompany, escort

Ngaju Dayak balianshamaness
Malagasy vadypartner, husband, wife, companion, associate
Malay belianshaman

This set of forms, which Dempwolff (1934-38) assigned to *bali contains material reflecting two distinct etyma (*balian, *baliw₂).

(Dempwolff: *teman ‘accustomed to’)

accustomed to

Iban temanattendant on a superior, escort; (hence polite for) companion, partner
Malay təmanattendance on a person of higher rank than oneself; friend
Karo Batak temancomrade, friend
Toba Batak tomandecent, chaste, reserved
Fijian tomato accompany, help
Fijian toma-nato help one another

Dempwolff (1938) proposed ‘Uraustronesisch’ *teman ‘accustomed to’.

across:   obstruct, stretch across

Tae' pampaŋtransverse, stretched across the breadth of
Manggarai pampaŋobstruct, restrain, hinder, prevent; separate (as two people who are fighting)

action, manner

Balinese indikaction, behavior; matter, thing, topic (of speech)
Buginese indiʔmanner, way of behaving

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address:   term of address for females

Cebuano íaʔterm of address for older women
Iban iakterm of address for girls
Tolai iaprefix used before names of females
Ngadha ioterm of address between women

address:   term of address for girls

Sundanese enofriendly term for young girls ( = enod)
Manggarai enuMiss, term of address for a girl if one does not know her name (endu)

adze something:   chop, split, adze something

Thao taqtaqchopping of wood; to chop wood
Thao taqtaqto chop or adze something
Thao ta-taqtaqadze used to hollow out canoe hull, etc.
Thao taqtaqto split bamboo
Paiwan taqtaqsplit bamboo

The Thao form could reflect either *saqsaq or *taqtaq, the Paiwan form only *saqsaq. Probably a chance resemblance.

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(Dempwolff: *bati ‘house servants’)

affinal relative

PWMP batiqaffinal relative (?)
Maranao batiʔbrother-in-law (man speaking)
Subanon batiʔbrother-in-law of a woman, sister-in-law of a man (Elkins and Hendrickson 1984)
Binukid batiʔbrother-in-law (man speaking)
Javanese batihone’s household, one’s dependents

Also Buli bati ‘friend’. Identical to Dempwolff (1920) *bati ‘house servants’, and probably a chance resemblance.

affirmative particle

Aklanon hamakparticle used for strong emphasis or stress
Minangkabau amakyes; very well; alright

affix:   passive affix

Malagasy a-verbal prefix joined to roots and forming a passive verb
Lakalai -apassive formative, suffixed to verbs
Nggela -asuffix to form a past participle passive
Arosi -asuffix added to the transitive termination of verbs to make a past participle passive, and so a passive form of the verb
Fijian ca-passive prefix

The suffixed *-a in Oceanic languages probably is identical to *-a '3sg. object'. The prefixed a- in Malagasy and Fijian is assumed to have no historical connection, either between these two languages, or with any of the suffixes cited here.

after:   follow, go after

Aklanon apasfollow after, go a little later
Hiligaynon apasfollow, go after
Cebuano apasfollow and catch up with; go after someone to bring him home
Maranao apascatch; miscarriage; go after
Amis apaclate in arising; slow to arrive; primitive

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Balinese buinagain, still, further, more
Balinese buin manieven tomorrow
Balinese buin pidanlater, afterwards
Mongondow buiagain, repeat, do over, return, bring back, give back

ago:   a moment ago, in a moment

Tae' attuʔa moment, in a second
Manggarai entukjust now

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amends:   make amends

Bontok ʔáwidmake supplication to spirits while walking along a trail.
Kankanaey ʔáwidto exorcise; to conjure
Manobo (Western Bukidnon) hawidgift which is given to someone to salve hurt feelings

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and, with

Tsou hoand
Saaroa ɬaand
PRuk laand
PSS naand
Buginese naand
Makassarese naelement used to introduce consecutive senses, the connection of words in addition and comparison (the introduction of the second part of a comparison); and

The three Formosan forms almost certainly are cognate, and may point to PAn *Na. However, uncertainty concerning a possible Rukai-Tsouic subgroup, and the unknown history of borrowing between Rukai and Tsouic make such a reconstruction premature. In any case, the similarity of the South Sulawesi words to these is probably best treated as a product of convergence.

anew:   begin anew

Sundanese babakannew settlement on previously uninhabited land; colony
Javanese bambanbegin anew
Ngadha vavaprocess of making a new start


Malay béraŋrising anger, fury, passion
Amis firaŋanger

animal trap

Ifugaw (Batad) attibset a rat or mouse trap; catch a rat or mouse in a trap
Simalungun Batak atip-atipanimal trap

animal:   venomous animal

Casiguran Dumagat ipelpoisonous snake (small and greenish)
Miri n-ifalcentipede


Aklanon bitíkflea (as on dogs)
Hiligaynon bitíkflea, tick
Ngaju Dayak bitikant (collective term for all varieties)
Malagasy vitsikaants, emmets. Fig. many, numerous, as ants

Chance. The Ngaju Dayak and Malagasy terms reflect a Proto-Barito innovation; those in Bisayan languages reflect *bitik 'spring up suddenly'.

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apart:   stand apart

Ngaju Dayak pampaŋthe ends of the antlers of deer; more generally the ends of anything similar; raised part, excrescence on something else
Malay pampaŋkemudi fork-support for paddle-rudder
Bare'e pampastand at right angles to one another, as pieces of wood that are tied into a cross; stand out straight, as buffalo horns that do not curve

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(Dempwolff: *ali)

argue, quarrel, dissention

Tagalog alievil influence; demoniac or diabolic urge
Malagasy adya fight, combat, quarrel, contention, battle, dispute, contest, attack, assault, war


Tolai (Nodup) ābaklower arm
Manam sabaarm

Potentially a reflex of *sabak, but the limited distribution suggests that this is a product of chance.

(Dempwolff: *liŋa ‘hand, arm’)

arm:   hand arm

Ngaju Dayak leŋæhand, arm
Fijian liŋaforearm and hand, forelegs of an animal

Chance. This is yet another example of the many forced comparisons in Dempwolff (1938). The Ngaju Dayak form clearly reflects PMP *leŋen ‘forearm, lower arm’. The loss of word-final -n in obligatorily possessed nouns has led to reanalysis in other languages of Borneo, as in Uma Juman Kayan, where the reflex of PMP *ipen ‘tooth’ in constructions such as ipen-naɁ ‘his/her tooth’ has be reinterpreted as ipeɁ-naɁ ‘his/her tooth’ (with obligatory morpheme-final glottal stop). The Fijian word is most likely a reflex of POc *lima ‘hand’, with a sporadic replacement of *m by its labiovelar equivalent, as with Mota limwa ‘hand; five’. Dempwolff ignored the irregularity in the vowel correspondences of both syllables, and proposed Uraustronesisch *liŋa ‘hand, arm’ despite the availability of far better-supported words for this meaning.


Aklanon íluk-onunderarms, armpit
Cebuano ílukarmpit; carry under the arm
Kelabit ilekarmpit

Chance. Together with the Cebuano and Aklanon forms, Maranao, Manobo (Western Bukidnon) irek, Mongondow iok 'armpit' indicate PCPh *irek.

arms:   clasp in the arms

Tetun fahaclasp in the arms
Buruese babahold or carry in the arms

around:   wind around

Gedaged bidbidlooped, wound about, convoluted, coiled
Fijian vivito wrap up, as a mat; to bind, as a bandage
Tontemboan wiʔmbitto twist, as sugar palm fibers into a rope

article:   definite article

Chamorro idefinite article
Nggela ni(preposition with many meanings)
Nggela ia prefix to some nouns, probably a form of
Arosi idefinite article used with nouns, verbs treated as nouns, and pronouns.

Probably a reflex of *qi 'genitive marker' in Nggela and Arosi. I assume that the similarity to Chamorro i is due to chance.

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aside:   push aside

Kayan iunpush sideways; wipe or brush aside
Ngadha iuturn, bend or push to the side

(Dempwolff: *puhun ‘to ask permission’)

ask permission

Tagalog puhonsolicit
Malagasy mi-fonabeg pardon, to entreat, to solicit
Malay pohonrequest, solicit
Malay bər-mohonask permission

Dempwolff (1938) used this comparison to propose *puhun ‘to ask permission’. However, I am unable to find the Tagalog form in any dictionary available to me, or in any other Philippine language, and the Malagasy word, if cognate, may be a Malay loan.

(Dempwolff: *si(dD)aŋ ‘steep, precipitous’)

aslant, steep, precipitous

Ngaju Dayak sidaŋ ~ siraŋoblique, slanting (as something that was cut at an oblique angle)
Malagasy síranasloping

Dempwolff (1938) proposed *si(dD)aŋ ‘steep, precipitous’, but this comparison appears to be confined to Ngaju Dayak and Malagasy. It is thus best treated as ‘noise’ not on grounds of false cognation, but rather on the grounds that it cannot be reconstructed for a proto-language of any considerable time-depth.

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(Dempwolff: *daga ‘to be related’)

aunt, older woman

Tagalog dagaaunt, older woman
Malagasy raharelative of the same sex

Dempwolff (1938) proposed ‘Uraustronesisch’ *daga ‘to be related’, but Dahl (1976:106-107) has rightly dismissed this comparison as invalid.

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away:   sweep away

Pangasinan palísburn weeds in a seedbed or other piece of land
Kapampangan palísbroom
Tagalog pálisleveler; straight-edged tool for leveling grains to the mouth of measuring devices; sweeping off or away
Rotinese haliwipe off, wipe away, rub away, brush away (esp. of tears, but also of dirt)

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Label hēkaxe
Kilivila bekustone axe blade (important object of men's wealth)

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Austronesian Comparative Dictionary, web edition
Robert Blust and Stephen Trussel
2010: revision 6/21/2020
email: Blust (content) – Trussel (production)
D:\Users\Stephen\Documents\Visual Studio 2008\Projects\prjACD\prjACD\bin\Debug\acd-n_a.htm

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