Can Speakers of Indonesian/Malay and Speakers of Polynesian Languages Understand Each Other?
Bahasa Indonesia and Polynesian languages like Ka ‘Ōlelo Hawai‘i and Te Reo Māori are distant relatives spoken in different parts of the vast maritime territory occupied by the Austronesian language family, one of the world’s largest language families. Many of these languages are spoken in isolated areas extremely distant from their genetic relatives and are therefore not in direct contact. For instance, the distance between Sumatra and New Zealand is greater than the distance between Ireland and Western China. If we take Malagasy, spoken on Madagascar off the coast of East Africa into account, the Austronesian languages are (at least in pre-Columbian times) the most widely-dispersed language family on Earth. The question is: Can Indonesians understand speakers of Polynesian languages such as Hawaiian and Maori?
During this talk, Brian will welcome a speaker of Indonesian and a speaker of a Polynesian language to interact on screen and to attempt to communicate with one another in their respective languages. The results might surprise you!