The Nicobarese languages or Nicobaric languages, form an isolated group of about half a dozen closely related Austroasiatic languages, spoken by most of the inhabitants of the Nicobar Islands of India. They have a total of about 30,000 speakers (22,100 native). Most Nicobarese speakers speak the Car language. Paul Sidwell (2015:179) considers the Nicobarese languages to subgroup with Aslian.
|Nicobar Islands, India|
The Nicobar Islands. Car is at top.
The Nicobarese languages appear to be related to the Shompen language of the indigenous inhabitants of the interior of Great Nicobar Island (Blench & Sidwell 2011), which is usually considered a separate branch of Austroasiatic. However, Paul Sidwell (2017) classifies Shompen as a Southern Nicobaric language rather than as a separate branch of Austroasiatic.
From north to south, the Nicobaric languages are:
Paul Sidwell (2017) classifies the Nicobaric languages as follows.
- Sidwell, Paul. 2015. "Austroasiatic classification." In Jenny, Mathias and Paul Sidwell, eds (2015). The Handbook of Austroasiatic Languages. Leiden: Brill.
- Blench, Roger, and Paul Sidwell. 2011. "Is Shom Pen a Distinct Branch?" In Sophana Srichampa and Paul Sidwell, eds. Austroasiatic Studies: Papers from ICAAL 4. Canberra: Pacific Linguistics.
- Sidwell, Paul. 2017. "Proto-Nicobarese Phonology, Morphology, Syntax: work in progress". International Conference on Austroasiatic Linguistics 7, Kiel, Sept 29-Oct 1, 2017.
- Reid, Lawrence A. 1994. Morphological evidence for Austric. Oceanic Linguistics 33(2):323-344.
- Adams, K. L. (1989). Systems of numeral classification in the Mon–Khmer, Nicobarese and Aslian subfamilies of Austroasiatic. Canberra, A.C.T., Australia: Dept. of Linguistics, Research School of Pacific Studies, Australian National University. ISBN 0-85883-373-5
- Radhakrishnan, R. (1981). The Nancowry Word: Phonology, Affixal Morphology and Roots of a Nicobarese Language. Current Inquiry Into Language and Linguistics 37. Linguistic Research Inc., P.O. Box 5677, Station 'L', Edmonton, Alberta, Canada, T6C 4G1. ISBN 0-88783-041-2
- Sidwell, Paul. 2018. Proto-Nicobarese phonology. In Papers from the Seventh International Conference on Austroasiatic Linguistics, 101-131. Journal of the Southeast Asian Linguistics Society Special Publication No. 3. University of Hawai’i Press.