Our language, as well as the language of neighboring countries, is said to be of autronesian origins. Taken from the Latin austro, meaning southern, and the Greek neses, meaning islands, austronesian carried out one of humankind's greatest population movements from their reputed homeland in Southeast Asia to the Pacific islands, which is equivalent to one third of the globe. Before 1500, it was said to be the most widespread language. At present, it is spoken by 270 million people, including Malaysia, Indonesia, the Philippines, and Madagascar. Also spoken by the inhabitants of the Pacific islands (Micro-, Mela-, and Polynesia) and the aborigines in Taiwan, Vietnam and Campuchea, New Guinea, the Mergui Archipelago in Burma, Hainan Island, and South China, it is said to have come from one family, the Proto-Austonesian language, because of the similarities in vocabulary.
Studies suggest that speakers used words that related to rice cultivation and boat-making, this prompting them to suggest that the people who spoke this language had a culture in which ancestral homelands, horticulture, animal domestication and boat making were known. This is further supported by botanical studies that reveal that in areas populated by Austronesians, domesticated plants such as yam, taro, sugar cane, banana, breadfruit, and coconut were commonly used by the people. Further proof that the languages spoken by the above mentioned countries are one and the same can be found in the genetic evidences that link each of the countries to the autronesian origin.
WHERE THEY COME FROM
The origins of the language are said to come from approximately the coastal areas of mainland Southeast Asia and several islands in Taiwan, the Philippines, and Indonesia.Near the coasts, because these are the areas closest to the centers of early civilization and population growth.
There are two theories regarding the movement of the language.
The first one, the Mainland Origin Hypothesis, is by Peter Belwood. According to him, the movement of austronesian is from south China and Taiwan, spreading toward the south and the west. With an economy based on cereals (rice and millets), austronesia spread from the south of Yangtze River into Taiwan, and the northern Philippines in 5000BC-4000Bc and into Indonesia in 45000BC. Austronesians, according to Bellwood, replaced the hunters and the gatherers of the Pleistoscene era. Because of the population growth and the instability of agriculture, prehistoric man learned to plant crops for food. With agriculture to depend on, food supply was more stable and population increased, prompting them to look for other unoccupied areas, bringing with them their languages. This is evidenced by the fact that families of languages are found where agriculture first started (in China and New Guinea, for instance). This led to the development of new societies. These horticultural people then taught the hunters their food production techniques, eliminating their dependence on perpetual hunting.
Solheim's Island Origin Hypothesis states that austronesians originated in Southeast Asia and spread from there. Proto-Austronesian, he says, developed in Northern indonesia and the Mindanao Islands, spread northwards when maritime population developed through the Philippine Archipelago and Taiwan, the to south China. Dr. Solheim talks about the Nusantao, a maritime-oriented prehistoric people who spoke autronesian from data gathered in Mainland and Southeast Asia.Unlike Belwood who emphasizes horticulture, Solheim is uncertain whether or not this played a big role in the spreading of the language saying that proto-austronesian developed as trade language in the coast of Northern Luzon, South Taiwan, and South China during the Neolithic era, approximately 4500BC-5000BC