Barito languages

Greater Barito
southern Borneo, Madagascar
Linguistic classification:


Glottolog: grea1283[1]

The Barito languages are around twenty Dayak (Austronesian) languages of Borneo, plus Malagasy, the national language of Madagascar. They are named after the Barito River.

The Barito family is thought by some to be a Sprachbund joining three groups – East Barito, West Barito, and Mahakam (Barito–Mahakam) – 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.

Blust (2006) proposes that the Sama-Bajaw languages also derive from the Barito lexical region, though not from any established group,[2] and Ethnologue has followed, calling the resulting group 'Greater Barito'.


  1. Hammarström, Harald; Forkel, Robert; Haspelmath, Martin; Bank, Sebastian, eds. (2016). "Greater Barito". Glottolog 2.7. Jena: Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History.
  2. Blust, Robert. 2006. 'The linguistic macrohistory of the Philippines'. In Liao & Rubino, eds, Current Issues in Philippine Linguistics and Anthropology. pp 31–68.
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