Northern Formosan languages
(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. 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).
Also, the Atayal, Seediq, and Pazeh languages have devoiced final consonants that were present in the Proto-Austronesian (Blust 2009:616).
Li (2003) considers six western Plains languages to have split off from Proto-Northwestern Formosan. The classification is as follows.
The four coastal languages of Taokas, Babuza, Papora, and Hoanya share the following innovations (Li 2003).
- Loss of *k
- Loss of *-y
- Merger of *s and *t in non-final position
- Complete merger of *ŋ and *n
Thao shares the following innovations with the four coastal languages (Li 2003).
- Merger of *s and *t
- Merger of *ŋ and *n
Pazih has undergone the following two sound changes.
- Merger of *j and *s as /z/
- Merger of *C and *S1 as /s/
Li (2003) does not consider Pazih to be very closely related to Saisiyat (Li 2003:946).
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
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