Laurent Sagart

Laurent Sagart
Born1951 (age 69–70)
Academic background
Alma materUniversity of Paris 7 (Ph.D.)
University of Provence (doctorat d'État)
Academic work
InstitutionsCentre National de la Recherche Scientifique
Main interestsChinese linguistics, Sino-Tibetan, Austronesian
Chinese name
Traditional Chinese沙加爾
Simplified Chinese沙加尔

Laurent Sagart (French: [sa'gaʁ]; born 1951) is a senior researcher at the Centre de recherches linguistiques sur l'Asie orientale (CRLAO – UMR 8563) unit of the Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique (CNRS).[1]


Born in Paris in 1951,[2] he earned his Ph.D. in 1977 at the University of Paris 7[3] and his doctorat d'État in 1990 at University of Aix-Marseille 1.[4] His early work focused on Chinese dialectology. He then turned his attention to Old Chinese, attempting a reconstruction of Old Chinese that separated word roots and affixes.[5] His recent work, in collaboration with William H. Baxter, is a reconstruction of Old Chinese that builds on earlier scholarship and in addition takes into account paleography, phonological distinctions in conservative Chinese dialects (Min, Waxiang) as well as the early layers of Chinese loanwords to Vietnamese, Hmong-Mien and to a lesser extent, Tai-Kadai.[6] A reconstruction of 4000 Chinese characters has been published online.[7] Their 2014 book has been awarded the Bloomfield prize of the Linguistic Society of America.[8]


Sagart is best known for his proposal of the Sino-Austronesian language family. He considers the Austronesian languages to be related to the Sino-Tibetan languages,[9] and also treats the Tai–Kadai languages as a sister group to the Malayo-Polynesian languages within the Austronesian language family.


Laurent Sagart also contributed to Indo-European studies. He co-authored a proposal that the ability to digest milk played an important role in the Indo-European expansion (Garnier et al. 2017), and took part in a controversy in French academia concerning Indo-European studies (Pellard et al. 2018).

Selected works

  • Sagart, Laurent (1982). "A List of Sung Him Tong Hakka words of dubious etymology". Cahiers de Linguistique Asie Orientale. 11 (2): 69–86. doi:10.3406/clao.1982.1116. ISSN 0153-3320.
  • Sagart, Laurent (1993). "Chinese and Austronesian: Evidence for a Genetic Relationship". Journal of Chinese Linguistics. 21 (1): 1–63.
  • Sagart, Laurent (1994). "Proto-Austronesian and Old Chinese Evidence for Sino-Austronesian". Oceanic Linguistics. 33 (2): 271–308. doi:10.2307/3623130. JSTOR 3623130.
  • Sagart, Laurent; Baxter, William H. (1997). "Word Formation in Old Chinese". In Packard, Jerome L. (ed.). New Approaches to Chinese Word Formation. Perspectives in Analytical Linguistics. 105. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  • Sagart, Laurent (1999). The Roots of Old Chinese. Current Issues in Linguistic Theory. 184. Amsterdam: John Benjamins Publishing.
  • Sagart, Laurent (2004). "The Higher Phylogeny of Austronesian and the Position of Tai-Kadai" (PDF). Oceanic Linguistics. 43 (2): 411–44. doi:10.1353/ol.2005.0012. S2CID 49547647.
  • Shā Jiā’ěr 沙加尔 [Laurent Sagart] and Bái Yīpíng 白一平 [William H. Baxter]. 2010. Shànggǔ Hànyǔ de N- hé m- qiánzhuì 上古汉语的 N- 和 m- 前缀. Hàn-Zàng yǔ xuébào 汉藏语学报 [Journal of Sino-Tibetan Linguistics] 4. 62–69.
  • Sagart, Laurent; Baxter, William H. (2014). Old Chinese: A New Reconstruction. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
  • Garnier, Romain; Sagart, Laurent; Sagot, Benoît (2017). "Milk and the Indo-Europeans". In Robbeets, Martine; Savelyev, Alexander (eds.). Language Dispersal Beyond Farming. pp. 291–311. doi:10.1075/z.215. hdl:11858/00-001M-0000-002E-910A-0. ISBN 978-90-272-1255-9. S2CID 135078791. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  • Pellard, Thomas; Jacques, Guillaume; Sagart, Laurent (2018). "L'indo-européen n'est pas un mythe". Bulletin de la Société de Linguistique de Paris. 113 (1): 79–102. doi:10.2143/BSL.113.1.3285465.[10]
  • Sagart, Laurent; Jacques, Guillaume; Lai, Yunfan; Ryder, Robin; Thouzeau, Valentin; Greenhill, Simon J.; List, Johann-Mattis (2019). "Dated language phylogenies shed light on the ancestry of Sino-Tibetan". Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America. 116 (21): 10317–10322. doi:10.1073/pnas.1817972116. PMC 6534992. PMID 31061123.


  1. ^ "Laurent Sagart". Centre de recherches linguistiques sur l'Asie orientale. Archived from the original on 2013-10-14. Retrieved 2013-11-14. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  2. ^ "Interview with Laurent Sagart". Archives Audiovisuelles de la Recherche (in French). Archived from the original on 2015-04-14. Retrieved 2013-11-14. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  3. ^ Sagart, L. (1982) Phonologie du dialecte Hakka de Sung Him Tong. Paris: Langages croisés. 153p.
  4. ^ Sagart, L. (1993) Les dialectes gan. Paris: Langages Croisés. 285 p.
  5. ^ Sagart, L. (1999). The Roots of Old Chinese. Current Issues in Linguistic Theory, 184. Amsterdam: John Benjamins.
  6. ^ Baxter, William H. and Laurent Sagart (2014). Old Chinese: a New Reconstruction. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
  7. ^ Baxter, W; Sagart, L, Baxter-Sagart Old Chinese reconstruction (v. 1.00), archived from the original on 2011-08-14, retrieved 2012-12-11 CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  8. ^ "Old Chinese: A New Reconstruction wins Bloomfield Book Award".
  9. ^ Sagart, L. (2005) Sino-Tibetan-Austronesian: an updated and improved argument. In L. Sagart, R. Blench and A. Sanchez-Mazas (eds) The peopling of East Asia: Putting together Archaeology, Linguistics and Genetics 161–176. London: RoutledgeCurzon.
  10. ^ https://hal.archives-ouvertes.fr/hal-01871582

External links

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