My This paper is a critical evaluation of B. Nothofer's definition of ‘Malayic’ (§1). It also discusses his classification of Iban (or ‘Sea Dayak’) as a separate primary branch in the Malayic language group, and his analysis of some aspects of Iban phonological history (§ 2).
The Malayic language group consists of (literary, standard) Malay and all dialects and languages that are sufficiently close to Malay in order to form an exclusive subgroup with it within the Austronesian language family. In 1985 I finished a PhD thesis which is a phonological, lexical and morphological reconstruction of Proto-Malayic, the hypothetical stock-language of the Malayic subgroup. The reconstruction is made on the basis of six members of the Malayic subgroup, viz. Malay, Minangkabau, Banjarese, Middle Malay (Seraway variant) Iban and Jakartanese. In August 1986 the Dewan Bahasa dan Pustaka in Kuala Lumpur organized the International Workshop on the History of Malay, the contributions to which were published in 1988 (Mohd. Thani Ahmad and Zaini Mohamed Zain, 1988). Nothofer's paper treated the various views on the definition of the Malayic subgroup (Nothofer, 1988). Concerning my 1985 study, Nothofer made the following criticisms: definition of ‘Malayic’ is different from that of previous scholars and I do not explain in which way it differs. More particularly, my definition differs from that of Blust (1981), who also includes the Chamic languages of Vietnam and Rejang.