From ancient Cham to modern dialects: two thousand years of language contact and change

Author: Graham Thurgood. 1999.

Oceanic Linguistics Special Publication No. 28. Honolulu: University of Hawai‘i Press. xvii + 407 pp

Reviewed by R. A. Blust  at : Oceanic Linguistics
Volume 39, Number 2, December 2000

31ECT0C8QAL._SX308_BO1,204,203,200_As early as 192 a.d., Chinese dynastic records refer to “Lin-yi,” a powerful Indianized state that ³ourished in coastal mainland southeast Asia south of the Vietnamese in the Red River delta and north of Funan in the Mekong delta. In this groundbreaking work, Thurgood (T) documents the remarkable linguistic history of Lin-yi, better known to Western historians as Champa. A bird’s-eye view of major events in the linguistic history of Champa can be summarized roughly as follows:

(1) Somewhat over 2,000 years ago, an Austronesian-speaking population that was not yet completely differentiated from those speaking Malayic languages of western Indonesia arrived on the coast of Vietnam. Continue reading

The Early History of the Eastern Part of the Southeast Asian Mainland

I recently received a copy of a new book entitled Ancient Vietnam: History, Art and Archaeology by Anne-Valérie Schweyer, a French scholar whose specialty is Cham epigraphy. It was published by River Books in Bangkok.

River Books has published some very nice volumes which are essentially “travel guides for educated people.” They are beautifully illustrated books which contain historical and cultural information about places in Southeast Asia, and they usually include references and a bibliography so that even scholars can find them useful.

Shweyer’s work unfortunately does not contain references or a bibliography. It also contains some embarrassingly out-dated information, such as the claim that “the term Việt refers to an ethnic group, probably coming from southern China around the beginning of the Christian era.” So the book has its weaknesses.

However, it also has a great strength, and that is that it is “Cham centric.”

Continue reading