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Abstract

The Austroasiatic phylum spans South and Southeast Asia, with more than 150 languages over at least a dozen branches. Comparative-historical work on Austroasiatic has been done for over a century, yet it has proceeded only in fits and starts, such that today we are still not sure how the branches fit together as a family. In this review, the history of efforts to understand the classification of Austroasiatic is examined, and the features that distinguish each of the constituent branches are described.