(Linguistica Reflection) : From Asu, We’re Brothers

white_labrador_dog_2_197421I found this meme picture from social media. It sounded funny as it told about how similar we are as Austronesian language family. Austronesian itself means ‘southern lands’ which stretched from Taiwan in the north to New Zealand in the south and from Madagascar in the west to Rapa Nui in the east. The largest Austronesian languages are : Indonesian-Malay surely, Javanese (spoken by more than 80 millions) and Tagalog (Filipino). There are many similar basic words found among the languages and even though separated for thousand years, those Austronesian people are actually brothers.


Even the shocking one for me is Taiwan, where the natives are not from Sinitic people but Austronesian one divided into several tribes, and unfortunately some of them have already been sinicized while others are severely endangered. Meanwhile Madagascar has got similar root words with particularly Maanyan language (South and Central Kalimantan, Indonesia). You see, the similarities cannot be avoided though sometimes are concealed with different spelling or pronunciation.

Asu (ah-soo) means dog in many Austronesian members. The languages which say ‘asu’ or its spelling variants for dog are (taken from my facebook status and some more additional) :

Bunun (Taiwan) : asu
Amis (Taiwan) : wacu
Urak Lawoi (Thailand) : asu
Cham (Cambodia-Vietnam) : asuw
Jarai (Vietnam) : asao
Ilokano (Philippines) : aso
Pangasinense (Philippines) : aso
Kapampangan (Philippines) : asu
Tagalog/Filipino : aso
Maguindanaon (Philippines) : aso
Maranao (Philippines) : aso
Gaddang (Philippines) : atu
Tboli (Philippines) : ohu
Javanese (Indonesia) : asu
Komering (Indonesia) : asu
Acehnese (Indonesia) : asee
Gayo (Indonesia) : asu
Nias (Indonesia) : nasu
Sumbawa (Indonesia) : asu
Manggarai (Indonesia) : acu
Sabu (Indonesia) : ahu
Dawan (Indonesia-East Timor) : asu
Tetum (Indonesia-East Timor) : asu
Sikka (Indonesia) : ahu
Lamaholot (Indonesia) : aho
Bugisnese (Indonesia) : asu
Duri (Indonesia) : asu
Toraja (Indonesia) : asu
Kaili (Indonesia) : asu
Pamona (Indonesia) : asu
Banggai (Indonesia) : asu
Sangir (Indonesia) : asu
Tonsea (Indonesia) : asu
Tontemboan (Indonesia) : asu
Tombulu (Indonesia) : asu
Bajo (Indonesia and surroundings) : asu
Ngaju (Indonesia) : asu
Kanayatn (Indonesia) : asu’
Tidung (Indonesia) : asu
Ot Danum (Indonesia) : asu
Punan Hovongan (Indonesia) : asu
Bakumpai (Indonesia) : asu
Ahe (Indonesia) : asu’
Kadazan-Dusun (Malaysia) : tasu
Sarawakan Malay (Malaysia) : asuk
Sungai (Malaysia) : asu
Rungus (Malaysia) : tasu
Bidayuh (Malaysia) : kasung
Bornean Bisaya (Malaysia-Brunei) : asu

Not all Austronesian languages have same word for dog, such as some languages like Rejang, Banjar, and other Bornean languages refer dog as kuyuk . as for millenia they have been diversed and developed their own cultures. But, as the brother languages, they share at least some similar (or identical) ancient vocabularies and surely same root as Austronesian people.

Finally, I close this sharing with the meme I found in social media. Different nationalities, but same root.


Tangerang, 13 February 2016



2 Comments Add yours

  1. Aa sou ka …*ekspresi Jepang*
    Baru tahu saya, kukira asli bahasa Jawa 🙂

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