Significant Lexical Similarities between a Language of Brazil and Some Languages of Southeast Asia and Oceania: From Typolocial Perspective

Vladimir Pericliev 1
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1Bulgarian Academy of Sciences

Copyright ⓒ 2016, Sejong University Language Research Institue. This is an Open-Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial License ( which permits unrestricted non-commercial use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Published Online: Jan 01, 2017


The paper examines computationally the similarities in 100-word lists of basic vocabulary between Xokleng (a language of southeastern Brazil, classified as Macro-Ge) and Tagalog and Malay (languages of Southeast Asia) and Fijian, Samoan, and Hawaiian (languages of Oceania). It is found that in all five pair-wise comparisons the resemblances found are statistically highly significant (i.e., are greater-than-chance). A plausible explanation of these results is a possible historical (i.e., genetic or diffusional) relationship between these languages, a conjecture which is in accord with our prev ious studies, as well as with some contemporary genetic investigations indicating the existence of genetic affinities between Brazilian Indians and Southeast Asian and Oceanic populations. The hypothesis suggested, however, requires a thorough historical linguistic test, including also other relevant languages. One of the basic goals of the paper is to stimulate such test.

Keywords: Macro-Ge; Austronesian; language classification; application of computational methods



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