Northern Formosan languages

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Northern Formosan
Geographic
distribution:
Taiwan
Linguistic classification: Austronesian
  • Northern Formosan
Glottolog: west2572  (Western Plains)[1]
nort2899  (Northwestern)[2]
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(orange) Li's Northern Formosan

The Northern Formosan languages is a proposed grouping of Formosan languages that includes the Atayalic languages, the Western Plains languages (Papora, Hoanya, Babuza, and Taokas), and the Northwest Formosan languages (Pazeh and Saisiyat; Li places Western Plains with this grouping).

The Northern Formosan subgroup was first proposed by Paul Jen-kuei Li in 1985.[3] Blust (1999) rejects the unity of the proposed Northern Formosan branch. A 2008 analysis of the Austronesian Basic Vocabulary Database, however, supports the unity of the Northern Formosan branch with a 97% confidence level (see Austronesian languages#Classification).

Evidence[edit]

The following sound changes from Proto-Austronesian occurred in the Northern Formosan languages (Li 2008:215).[4]

Also, Pazeh, Saisiyat, and Thao are only Formosan languages that allow for SVO constructions, although this may be due to intensive contact with Taiwanese.[5]

Also, the Atayal, Seediq, and Pazeh languages have devoiced final consonants that were present in the Proto-Austronesian (Blust 2009:616).

Northwestern Formosan[edit]

Li (2003) considers six western Plains languages to have split off from Proto-Northwestern Formosan. The classification is as follows.

Northwestern

Pazih




Thao




Hoanya




Papora




Babuza



Taokas







The four coastal languages of Taokas, Babuza, Papora, and Hoanya share the following innovations (Li 2003).

  1. Loss of *k
  2. Loss of *-y
  3. Merger of *s and *t in non-final position
  4. Complete merger of *ŋ and *n

Thao shares the following innovations with the four coastal languages (Li 2003).

  1. Merger of *s and *t
  2. Merger of *ŋ and *n

Pazih has undergone the following two sound changes.

  1. Merger of *j and *s as /z/
  2. Merger of *C and *S1 as /s/

Li (2003) does not consider Pazih to be very closely related to Saisiyat (Li 2003:946).

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ Nordhoff, Sebastian; Hammarström, Harald; Forkel, Robert; Haspelmath, Martin, eds. (2013). "Western Plains". Glottolog 2.2. Leipzig: Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology. 
  2. ^ Nordhoff, Sebastian; Hammarström, Harald; Forkel, Robert; Haspelmath, Martin, eds. (2013). "Northwestern". Glottolog 2.2. Leipzig: Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology. 
  3. ^ Li, Paul Jen-kuei (1985). "The position of Atayal in the Austronesian family." In Li, Paul Jen-kuei. 2004. Selected Papers on Formosan Languages, vol. 2. Taipei, Taiwan: Institute of Linguistics, Academia Sinica.
  4. ^ Li, Paul Jen-kuei. 2008. "Time perspective of Formosan Aborigines." In Sanchez-Mazas, Alicia ed. Past human migrations in East Asia: matching archaeology, linguistics and genetics. Taylor & Francis US.
  5. ^ Li, Paul Jen-kuei. 1998. "台灣南島語言 [The Austronesian Languages of Taiwan]." In Li, Paul Jen-kuei. 2004. Selected Papers on Formosan Languages. Taipei, Taiwan: Institute of Linguistics, Academia Sinica.

References[edit]

  • Li, Paul Jen-kuei (2003). "The Internal Relationships of Six Western Plains Languages." In Li, Paul Jen-kuei. 2004. Selected Papers on Formosan Languages, vol. 2. Taipei, Taiwan: Institute of Linguistics, Academia Sinica.