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Laurent Sagart (French: [sagaʁ]; born 1951) is a senior researcher at the Centre de recherches linguistiques sur l'Asie orientale (CRLAO – UMR 8563) unit of the Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique (CNRS).[1]

Laurent Sagart
Born1951 (age 67–68)
Academic background
Alma materUniversity of Paris 7 (Ph.D.)
University of Provence (doctorat d'État)
Academic work
InstitutionsCentre National de la Recherche Scientifique
Main interestsChinese linguistics, Sino-Tibetan, Austronesian
Chinese name
Traditional Chinese沙加爾
Simplified Chinese沙加尔



Born in Paris in 1951,[2] he earned his Ph.D. in 1977 at the University of Paris 7[3] and his doctorat d'État in 1990 at University of Aix-Marseille 1.[4] His early work focused on Chinese dialectology. He then turned his attention to Old Chinese, attempting a reconstruction of Old Chinese that separated word roots and affixes.[5] His recent work, in collaboration with William H. Baxter, is a reconstruction of Old Chinese that builds on earlier scholarship and in addition takes into account paleography, phonological distinctions in conservative Chinese dialects (Min, Waxiang) as well as the early layers of Chinese loanwords to Vietnamese, Hmong-Mien and to a lesser extent, Tai-Kadai.[6] A reconstruction of 4000 Chinese characters has been published online.[7] Their 2014 book has been awarded the Bloomfield prize of the Linguistic Society of America.[8]


Sagart is probably best known for his proposal of the Sino-Austronesian language family. He considers the Austronesian languages to be related to the Sino-Tibetan languages,[9] and also treats the Tai–Kadai languages as a sister group to the Malayo-Polynesian languages within the Austronesian language family. Inclusion of Tai-Kadai into Austronesian is based on the recognition of post-Proto-Austronesian innovations, notably in the numeral system, that Tai-Kadai shares with proto-Malayo-Polynesian. The nesting pattern formed by these innovations in the Formosan languages allowed Sagart to present a phylogeny of the basal region of the Austronesian family tree in which Malayo-Polynesian is not a primary branch of the family, as in Robert Blust's scheme,[10] but a low-level branch within the most nested Formosan subgroup.[11]

Selected worksEdit

  • Sagart, Laurent (1982). "A List of Sung Him Tong Hakka words of dubious etymology". Cahiers de Linguistique Asie Orientale. 11 (2): 69–86. doi:10.3406/clao.1982.1116. ISSN 0153-3320.
  • Sagart, Laurent (1993). "Chinese and Austronesian: Evidence for a Genetic Relationship". Journal of Chinese Linguistics. 21 (1): 1–63.
  • Sagart, Laurent (1994). "Proto-Austronesian and Old Chinese Evidence for Sino-Austronesian". Oceanic Linguistics. 33 (2): 271–308. doi:10.2307/3623130. JSTOR 3623130.
  • Sagart, Laurent; Baxter, William H. (1997). "Word Formation in Old Chinese". In Packard, Jerome L. (ed.). New Approaches to Chinese Word Formation. Perspectives in Analytical Linguistics. 105.
  • Sagart, Laurent (1999). The Roots of Old Chinese. Current Issues in Linguistic Theory. 184. Amsterdam: John Benjamins Publishing.
  • Sagart, Laurent (2004). "The Higher Phylogeny of Austronesian and the Position of Tai-Kadai". Oceanic Linguistics. 43 (2): 411–44. doi:10.1353/ol.2005.0012.
  • Shā Jiā’ěr 沙加尔 [Laurent Sagart] and Bái Yīpíng 白一平 [William H. Baxter]. 2010. Shànggǔ Hànyǔ de N- hé m- qiánzhuì 上古汉语的 N- 和 m- 前缀. Hàn-Zàng yǔ xuébào 汉藏语学报 [Journal of Sino-Tibetan Linguistics] 4. 62–69.
  • Sagart, Laurent; Baxter, William H. (2014). Old Chinese: A New Reconstruction. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
  • Sagart, Laurent and Jacques, Guillaume and Lai, Yunfan and Ryder, Robin and Thouzeau, Valentin and Greenhill, Simon J. and List, Johann-Mattis. 2019. "Dated language phylogenies shed light on the ancestry of Sino-Tibetan". Proceedings of the National Academy of Science of the United States of America 21. 10317-10322. doi:10.1073/pnas.1817972116


  1. ^ "Laurent Sagart". Centre de recherches linguistiques sur l'Asie orientale. Archived from the original on 2013-10-14. Retrieved 2013-11-14.
  2. ^ "Interview with Laurent Sagart". Archives Audiovisuelles de la Recherche (in French). Retrieved 2013-11-14.
  3. ^ Sagart, L. (1982) Phonologie du dialecte Hakka de Sung Him Tong. Paris: Langages croisés. 153p.
  4. ^ Sagart, L. (1993) Les dialectes gan. Paris: Langages Croisés. 285 p.
  5. ^ Sagart, L. (1999). The Roots of Old Chinese. Current Issues in Linguistic Theory, 184. Amsterdam: John Benjamins.
  6. ^ Baxter, William H. and Laurent Sagart. In press. Old Chinese: a new reconstruction. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
  7. ^ Baxter, W; Sagart, L, Baxter-Sagart Old Chinese reconstruction (v. 1.00), archived from the original on 2011-08-14, retrieved 2012-12-11
  8. ^ "Old Chinese: A New Reconstruction wins Bloomfield Book Award".
  9. ^ Sagart, L. (2005) Sino-Tibetan-Austronesian: an updated and improved argument. In L. Sagart, R. Blench and A. Sanchez-Mazas (eds) The peopling of East Asia: Putting together Archaeology, Linguistics and Genetics 161–176. London: RoutledgeCurzon.
  10. ^ Blust, R. (1999) Subgrouping, circularity and extinction: some issues in Austronesian comparative linguistics. In: Elizabeth Zeitoun and Paul Jen-kuei Li (eds.) Selected Papers from the Eighth International Conference on Austronesian linguistics, 31–94. Taipei: Institute of Linguistics (preparatory office).
  11. ^ Sagart, L. (2004). "The higher phylogeny of Austronesian and the position of Tai-Kadai". Oceanic Linguistics. 43 (2): 411–444. doi:10.1353/ol.2005.0012.

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