- Why are Kapampangan speakers completely surrounded by Tagalog speakers (a language that's not really similar to it)?
- How did Tagalog -- a Cebuano cousin -- become entrenched in the regions around Laguna de Bay and Taal Lake, instead of languages that developed on Luzon island?
- How is it that peninsular Malaysia is part of the Austronesian language region (that originated in Taiwan), when migrations from the Indian subcontinent or from southern China seems easier?
- Did volcanic eruptions completely wipe out the original inhabitants of the Indian subcontinent and Southeast Asia? Did this event, in turn, facilitate the migration of Austronesian peoples?
- What led the Austronesians to become master seafarers that populated the Pacific islands and went as far as Madagascar? Was there some important natural event?
- [Added May-27-2008] Do you know how related Mon-Khmers are to Austronesians? (Cambodians don't really look that much different from Malays).
Melvin has also pointed to a useful website, The Austronesian Basic Vocabulary Database**.
Update May-21-2008: In the comments section, Anonymous has provided some information relevant to Questions #1 to #3 above.
Specific to Question #1 and #2, i.e. the encirclement of Kapampangans by the Tagalogs, Anonymous explains:
|"Kapampangans used to populate the areas around Tondo, Nueva Ecija, Bulacan, and Bataan. At the arrival of the conquistas there were only around 70,000 Tagalogs and 70,000 Kapampangans, and the areas of Pampanga and Katagalugan were mostly covered in forest. So the areas which are now populated with Tagalogs have just been deforested and populated in the past 150 years. The encroachment of Tagalogs is a recent phenomena (due to Tagalog speaking people's population boom). The policy of Filipino (Tagalog) as national language has converted a lot of native Kapampangan speakers as well.|
Tagalogs were sent by Bornean Datus to represent Borneo's trade interests with mainland Chinese merchants in the all important port of Manila. In the beginning, Laguna and Batangas was their heartland, because that's as far as they can push (otherwise they'd meet the bolos of Kapampangan tribes if they pushed harder into Manila!) as Kapampangans had control of the Manila (Rajah Soliman, Lakan Dula and Matanda were Kapampangan). Of course, it should be remembered that Tagalogs and Kapampangans had friendly relations due to diplomacy by familial intermarriages of the aristocracy."
I take the above to mean that the encroachment of Tagalogs in what used to be the domain of the Kapampangans is a consequence of the Pax-Hispanica imposed by the Spanish colonizers which meant that previous tribal boundaries were no longer barriers to free movement.
Regarding Question #3, i.e. the presence of Austronesians in Malaysia, Anonymous offered the following hypothesis:
|"Eden in the East, the Drowned Continent of Southeast Asia by Stephen Oppenheimer posits that Austronesians had their native homeland in Sundaland-which is located in the South China Sea area bordered by Vietnam, Malaysia and Indonesia. The melting of ice after the last ice age drowned the continent, and pushed its people out of Sundaland into the Philippines, Oceania, even as far as Madagascar."|
This scenario is possible as seen from the vast areas of Sundaland submerged at the end of the last Ice Age as shown in the before and after pictures below.***
According to the Genographic Project, Y-DNA marker Haplogroup O1a-M119 associated with the Austronesians emerged 30,000 years ago so the timescales do match. So if Ice Age Sundaland was inhabited by the Austronesians, this would explain their continued presence in the Malay Peninsula. On the other hand, the as per the Wikipedia entry on the Austronesian Languages, the greatest linquistic and genetic diversity is found in Taiwan which supports the competing claim that the Austronesian language originated in that island. These conflicting facts still need to be reconciled to arrive at a coherent historical narrative.
You can read the entirety of Anonymous' explanation in the comments section.
Update May-23-2008: Anonymous has pointed to a blog by Paul K. Manansala with fascinating entries on the Austronesians (with emphasis on the Nusantao). His blog also gives a more detailed account of the Sundaland flooding events, of which there were 3 major episodes.
In one of his blog entries on the topic, Manansala gives an important warning...
"...we should not assume anything about the "race" of the Austronesian speakers, or for that matter the "Melanesians" back in the Neolithic period when these expansions occurred.The above advice is especially relevant to my previous blog entry on the Y-DNA Human Family Tree where i use mnemonic shortcuts to denote certain Haplogroups. Each linguistic group may have individuals predominantly belonging to one Haplogroup but clearly the categories of language and genetic genealogy can and do overlap.
Austronesian speakers in the Pacific -- Micronesians, Melanesians and Polynesians -- for example, all have significant percentages of Y chromosome C2 haplogroup. In some Polynesian areas, C2 is the dominant haplotype. However, C2 has not been found in Taiwan so far."
In the same blog entry, Manansala also differentiates between the 'Austronesian' and the 'Malayo-Polynesian' expansions.
Update May-27-2008: Related to Question #4 above, Melvin clarifies his question...
"About the volcanic eruption-related questions, I was actually wondering whether later eruptions kept SE Asia sparsely populated, since Sumatra and Java are littered with volcanoes. On the same vein, I also wonder whether Banahaw and Taal had helped ensure that a Visayan language (Tagalog) and not a Kapampangan/Panggalatoc relative take root in the Batangas/Quezon region."On the Austronesian origins of the Thai language, Melvin shares what he read:
"Thai originated in Taiwan as an Austronesian language but has evolved into a totally different language. Unlike other Austronesian languages that took on the seas, Thai's route was through mainland southern China. The Thais arrived in Thailand during the Song dynasty, where they displaced the Khmer Empire that once ruled the area."I have also added his Question #6 on the relationship of the Mon-Khmer with the Austronesians.
Over in his blog, Paul K. Manansala points to new research that challenges the 'Out of Taiwan' agriculture-driven origin of the Austronesian people and supports the Sundaland flooding triggered dispersal model.
*Melvin read an article last year that mentioned about a volcanic event that wiped out the population of southern India.
**Greenhill, S. J., Blust. R, & Gray, R.D. (2003-2008) The Austronesian Basic Vocabulary Database. http://language.psy.auckland.ac.nz/austronesian
***Source of Images: The Genographic Project's Atlas of the Human Journey
****Melvin read that Cambodians settled in Southeast Asia quite recently (around 3,000 years ago) and have migrated from somewhere near northern India.