The Austroasiatic central riverine hypothesis
Paul Sidwell (Centre for Research in Computational Linguistics (Bangkok),
Journal of Language Relationship, № 4, 2010 - p.117-134
Abstract: The paper considers the vexing issues of the homeland and dispersal of the Austroasiatic languages. A critical analysis finds little firm support for nested sub-groupings among a dozen recognised branches, while lexical analyses suggest a long-term pattern of contact and convergence within mainland Southeast Asia. These facts are interpreted as consistent with a stable long-term presence in Indo-China, probably centred on the Mekong River. The most geographically distant branch — the Munda of India — is treated as a highly innovative outlier, and the evolution of Munda root structure is reconstructed, consistent with this theory.
Keywords: Austroasiatic languages, Munda languages, comparative method, language relationship, lexicostatistics