Note:  Do not rely on this information. It is very old.

Malayo Polynesian

Malayo-Polynesian, a term current in popular ethnological writings, although in ethnology it has absolutely no significance. There is no Malayo-Polynesian race, the peoples thus grouped together being quite distinct. [Malays, Polynesians]; but in philology the expression has a very definite meaning, comprising nearly all the languages of the Indian and Pacific Oceans, except those of Australia and parts of New Guinea. This great linguistic family thus extends with little interruption more than half round the globe, from Madagascar in the extreme west to Easter Island in the extreme east, and from New Zealand northwards to Hawaii. It also comprises on the Asiatic mainland nearly the whole of the Malay peninsula and parts of Indo-China, Its diffusion over this vast area, and amongst races of diverse origin, such as the yellow Malays, the brown Polynesians, and the black Papuans, is one of the unsolved problems of anthropology, and, for reasons that cannot here be discussed, must be referred back to extremely remote times. Malay proper is usually, but wrongly, taken as the typical member of the group. Malay is in a comparatively degraded state, and far more archaic forms occur both in the extreme west (Malagasy of Madagascar). and in the extreme east (Tahiti), and, as shown by Codrington even amongst the Melanesians (Papuans) of the Solomons and New Hebrides. All attempts to connect Malayo-Polynesian with the Aryan, the Semitic, and other linguistic families have failed, and it must consequently be regarded as an irreducible stock language. Except in the Philippine Islands (Tagala-Bisayan), where grammatical forms have acquired a considerable development, it is characterised by a general absence of inflections and even of agglutinated elements, a puzzling simplicity of structure, and a feeble phonetic system, conspicuous especially in the eastern Polynesian branch, which has been described as "a language without a backbone." Combinations of two or more consonants are mostly impossible, and all words and even syllables must end in vowels, as may be seen in such geographical names as Tamatave (Madagascar), Paumotu, Tahiti, etc. (Pacific Ocean).