Reconstruction ofPalaungic languages

Proto-Palaungic is the reconstructed proto-language of the Palaungic languages of mainland Southeast Asia.[1]


Paul Sidwell (2015) suggests that the Urheimat (homeland) of Proto-Palaungic was in what is now the border region of Laos and Sipsongpanna in Yunnan, China. The Khmuic homeland was adjacent to the Palaungic homeland, resulting in many lexical borrowings among the two branches due to intense contact. Sidwell (2014) suggests that the word for 'water' (Proto-Palaungic *ʔoːm), which Gérard Diffloth had used as one of the defining lexical innovations for his Northern Mon-Khmer branch, was likely borrowed from Palaungic into Khmuic.

Reconstructed forms

The following list of Proto-Palaungic reconstructions, organized by semantic category, is from Sidwell (2015: 100-111).

Personal pronouns
singular dual plural
1st person (inclusive) *ʔɔːʔ *ʔaːj *ʔɛʔ
1st person (exclusive) - *jaːr *ˀjɛ/eːʔ
2nd person *miːʔ *paːr *pɛʔ
3rd person *ʔan; *ʔɤːn *gaːr, *gɛʔ *giːʔ
Cereal cultivation
Agriculture and village economy
Fruits and plant products
Domesticated animals
Housing and infrastructure

Lexical similarities with Khmuic

Sidwell (2015) notes that Palaungic and Khmuic share many lexical items, but considers this phenomenon to be a result of lexical diffusion due to intense language contact. Sidwell (2015:112-113) lists the following Proto-Palaungic forms as having diffused from Palaungic into Khmuic.

Palaungic > Khmuic lexical forms

Sidwell (2015:113) lists the following Proto-Palaungic forms as having diffused from Khmuic into Palaungic.

Khmuic > Palaungic lexical forms

Sidwell (2015:114) lists the following Proto-Palaungic forms that are also shared with Khmuic but not with other Austroasiatic branches, and is unsure of whether they diffused from Palaungic to Khmuic or vice versa.

See also


  1. ^ Sidwell, Paul. 2015. The Palaungic Languages: Classification, Reconstruction and Comparative Lexicon Archived 2019-10-23 at the Wayback Machine. München: Lincom Europa.