“Why (social) anthropology needs (historical) linguistics: the cross-sibling substitution drifts in Austronesian languages” by Robert Blust, 15/09/2016, University of Hawaii at Manoa

“If we accept that cultures have histories then we must ask if there is a way to access those histories without documentation.  Since languages have histories, and historical linguists have

studied them successfully for the past 200 years, it makes sense when possible to apply the Comparative Method of linguistics to the study of culture history.  This case study argues that the history of sibling terms in Austronesian languages strongly supports 1) a Proto-Malayo-Polynesian (PMP = Proto-Extra-Formosan) society with lineal descent, and more particularly 2) an ongoing process in which the cross-sibling terms were replaced over time in many languages independently by terms that originally meant ‘wife-giving group’ or ‘wife-

taking group’, supporting an inference of PMP asymmetric alliance.”