Greater Barito
Indonesia (Borneo), Madagascar, Southern Philippines
Linguistic classificationAustronesian

The Barito languages are around twenty Austronesian languages of Indonesia (Borneo), plus Malagasy, the national language of Madagascar. They are named after the Barito River located in South Kalimantan, Indonesia.

The Barito subgroup was first proposed by Hudson (1967),[1] comprising the three branches East Barito, West Barito, and Mahakam (Barito–Mahakam). It is thought by some to be a Sprachbund rather than a genuine clade. For example, Adelaar (2005) rejects Barito as a valid group despite accepting less traditional groups such as North Bornean and Malayo-Sumbawan.

The Malagasy language originates from the South East Borneo area (modern-day Indonesia), and it has been linked to Ma'anyan within the Southeast Barito group,[2] with Malagasy incorporating numerous Malay and Javanese loanwords.[3][4] It known that Ma'anyan people were brought as labourers and slaves by Malay and Javanese people in their trading fleets, which reached Madagascar by ca. 50–500 AD.[5][6][7] Based on linguistic evidence, it has been suggested that Malagasy was taken to East Africa between the 7th and 13th centuries.[8][3] It is likely that a separate Malagasy speech community had already formed in Borneo before the early Malagasy migrants settled in Madagascar.[9][10]

Greater Barito

Blust (2006) proposes that the Sama-Bajaw languages also derive from the Barito lexical region, though not from any established group,[11] and Ethnologue has followed, calling the resulting group 'Greater Barito'.

Smith (2017, 2018)[12][13] proposes a Greater Barito linkage with the following branches, and considers Basap to be a sister of the Greater Barito linkage, forming a Basap–Greater Barito group.

The earlier groupings East Barito (comprising Smith's Southeast Barito, Central-East Barito and Northeast Barito) and West Barito (comprising Southwest Barito and Northwest Barito) are rejected by Smith.

West Kalimantan groups

Main article: List of Dayak groups of West Kalimantan

Some Barito-speaking Dayak ethnic subgroups and their respective languages in West Kalimantan province, Indonesia:[14][15]

Group Subgroup Language Regency
Oruung Da'an Oruung Da'an Kapuas Hulu
Pangin Pangin Melawi
Uud Danum Cihie Cihie Sintang
Uud Danum Dohoi Dohoi Sintang


  1. ^ Hudson, Alfred B. 1967. The Barito isolects of Borneo: A classification based on comparative reconstruction and lexicostatistics. Data Paper no. 68, Southeast Asia Program, Department of Asian Studies, Cornell University. Ithaca, N.Y.: Cornell University,
  2. ^ Blust, Robert (2013). The Austronesian languages. Asia-Pacific Linguistics 008 (Revised ed.). Canberra: Asia-Pacific Linguistics, Research School of Pacific and Asian Studies, The Australian National University. p. 743. hdl:1885/10191. ISBN 978-1-922185-07-5. OCLC 851066712.
  3. ^ a b Adelaar, K. Alexander (2006). "Borneo as a Cross-Roads for Comparative Austronesian Linguistics". In Bellwood, Peter; Fox, James J.; Tryon, Darrell T. (eds.). The Austronesians: Historical and Comparative Perspectives. Canberra: ANU E Press. pp. 81–102. doi:10.22459/A.09.2006.04. ISBN 1-920942-85-8. JSTOR j.ctt2jbjx1.7. OCLC 225298720.
  4. ^ There are also some Sulawesi loanwords, which Adelaar attributes to contact prior to the migration to Madagascar: See K. Alexander Adelaar, “The Indonesian Migrations to Madagascar: Making Sense of the Multidisciplinary Evidence”, in Truman Simanjuntak, Ingrid Harriet Eileen Pojoh and Muhammad Hisyam (eds.), Austronesian Diaspora and the Ethnogeneses of People in Indonesian Archipelago, (Jakarta: Indonesian Institute of Sciences, 2006), pp. 8–9.
  5. ^ Dewar, Robert E.; Wright, Henry T. (1993). "The culture history of Madagascar". Journal of World Prehistory. 7 (4): 417–466. doi:10.1007/bf00997802. hdl:2027.42/45256.
  6. ^ Burney DA, Burney LP, Godfrey LR, Jungers WL, Goodman SM, Wright HT, Jull AJ (August 2004). "A chronology for late prehistoric Madagascar". Journal of Human Evolution. 47 (1–2): 25–63. Bibcode:2004JHumE..47...25B. doi:10.1016/j.jhevol.2004.05.005. PMID 15288523.
  7. ^ Kumar, Ann (2012). 'Dominion Over Palm and Pine: Early Indonesia’s Maritime Reach', in Geoff Wade (ed.), Anthony Reid and the Study of the Southeast Asian Past (Singapore: Institute of Southeast Asian Studies), 101–122.
  8. ^ Adelaar, K. Alexander (1995). "Asian Roots of the Malagasy: A Linguistic Perspective". Bijdragen tot de Taal-, Land- en Volkenkunde / Journal of the Humanities and Social Sciences of Southeast Asia. 151 (3): 325–356. doi:10.1163/22134379-90003036. ISSN 0006-2294. JSTOR 27864676. OCLC 5672481889.
  9. ^ Adelaar, K. Alexander (2017). "Who Were the First Malagasy, and What Did They Speak?". In Acri, Andrea; Blench, Roger; Landmann, Alexandra (eds.). Spirits and Ships: Cultural Transfers in Early Monsoon Asia. Book collections on Project MUSE 28. Singapore: ISEAS-Yusof Ishak Institute. pp. 441–469. doi:10.1355/9789814762779-012. ISBN 978-981-4762-75-5. OCLC 1012757769.
  10. ^ Adelaar, K. Alexander (2016). "A Linguist's Perspective on the Settlement History of Madagascar". NUSA: Linguistic Studies of Languages in and Around Indonesia. 61: 69–88. doi:10.15026/89605. hdl:10108/89605. ISSN 0126-2874. OCLC 1005142867.
  11. ^ Blust, Robert. 2006. 'The linguistic macrohistory of the Philippines'. In Liao & Rubino, eds, Current Issues in Philippine Linguistics and Anthropology. pp 31–68.
  12. ^ Smith, Alexander. 2017. The Languages of Borneo: A Comprehensive Classification. PhD Dissertation: University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa.
  13. ^ Smith, Alexander D. 2018. The Barito Linkage Hypothesis, with a Note on the Position of Basap. JSEALS Volume 11.1 (2018).
  14. ^ Bamba, John (ed.) (2008). Mozaik Dayak keberagaman subsuku dan bahasa Dayak di Kalimantan Barat. Pontianak: Institut Dayakologi. ISBN 978-979-97788-5-7.
  15. ^ Istiyani, Chatarina Pancer (2008). Memahami peta keberagaman subsuku dan bahasa Dayak di Kalimantan Barat. Institut Dayakologi.