chapter  9
18 Pages

Pacific images

The preceding discussion of the Malagasy kalanoro brings us back to our point of departure, if not exactly in eastern Indonesia, then in Austronesia. ‘Austronesia’ denotes the region occupied by speakers of Austronesian languages, a widespread group whose largest division by far is ‘MalayoPolynesian’. Besides Madagascar, Malayo-Polynesian languages are spoken throughout Indonesia, the Philippines, in the Malay Peninsula and other southeasterly parts of Mainland Southeast Asia and in Polynesia, Micronesia and many parts of Melanesia. As an ethno-linguistic category, Austronesia therefore includes peoples discussed in Chapters 2 to 6, as well as the aboriginal population of Taiwan (formerly called Formosa), whose languages compose as many as nine further divisions comparable to Malayo-Polynesian within the Austronesian family.