- Oct 2017
- United States
Why didn’t Austronesian, as well as Asian Cultures, spread to Australia?
& why didn’t Austronesian spread around Mainland Asia?
Like they did with SE Asia?
Austronesian is the second largest language family in the world at 1,257 languages, second only to the Niger-Congo language family in Africa at 1,538 languages.
The main theory for Austronesian origins is the Out-Of-Taiwan theory, & next to that is the Out-Of-Sundaland theory.
Which theory do you subscribe to more & why?
They would have developed a maritime culture in insular SE Asia before spreading eastwards to the Pacific & later through the Indian Ocean.
Also, why isn’t Austronesian spoken in Mainland Southeast Asia, as well as East & South Asia? The currents leading into the Indian Ocean from SE Asia would drift objects close to Sri Lanka & India.
Probably because of northern migrations swamping them?
The vast geographical extent of Austronesia makes its absence in northern Australia puzzling.
The north coast of Australia is just below the Indonesian islands, a hotspot of Austronesian languages.
Perhaps it has something to do with the currents around those waters - do they deflect away from Australia?
There’s the Indonesian Throughflow, which are currents bringing waters from the Pacific to Indian Oceans:
The Indonesian Throughflow would drift objects from Wallacea to Northern & Western Australian coasts.
Evidence for non-European contact with Australia is very scant.
Probably the only evidence for outside visit are from Indonesian Makassan contacts starting in the 18th Century, & DNA samples from indigenous groups in the Northern Territory reveal Indian markers from around 140 generations ago, at around 4,000 years ago.
Genetic studies of dingoes suggest an Indian origin.
Migrants from India settled in Australia 4,000 years ago before Captain Cook's arrival (and they took their dingos with them) | Daily Mail Online
Other than that, there doesn’t seem to be any hard evidence of outside visit. There’s no evidence of Asian civilizations (Greater India & China), nor Austronesian visitation of Australia.
There being evidence even in the first place of pre-European visitation of Australia is remarkable in itself.
The Indonesian islands seem to serve as a maze barrier for Australia, & they along with Micronesia seem to be the frontiers for Asian Civilizations.
So this makes the Down Under a truly isolated continent.
The ancestors of indigenous Australians would certainly have had to sail to Australia, making them among the earliest known mariners, as Australia & New Guinea were never connected to mainland Asia & has always been an isolated continent ever since splitting from the super-continent Gondwana 180 million years ago.
How there is scant evidence of pre-European visitation of Australia makes the initial aboriginal migration to Australia even more mysterious. Most likely prehistoric humans island-hopped from Sundaland through Wallacea to already isolated New Guinea and then south to Australia, & when the ice age ended & flooded SE Asia, it isolated Australia to outsiders ever since, & sometime afterwards the waves of Mongoloid migrations began replacing the native Australoids in SE Asia.
Austronesian languages are spoken in various coastal areas of northern New Guinea, but haven’t penetrated to the interior. Why is this? What’s probably argued is that the interior was too rugged & hilly for the Austronesian maritime lifestyle, but they did penetrate in other large mountainous SE Asian islands. Could it have something to do with race that separated Austronesians from Papuans?
So, what are your opinions?