is an Atayalic language
The Atayalic languages are a group of Formosan languages spoken in northern Taiwan. Robert Blust considers them to form a primary branch within the Austronesian language family, However, Paul Jen-kuei Li groups them into the Northern Formosan branch, which includes the Northwestern Formosan...
spoken in the mountains of Northern Taiwan
Taiwan , also known, especially in the past, as Formosa , is the largest island of the same-named island group of East Asia in the western Pacific Ocean and located off the southeastern coast of mainland China. The island forms over 99% of the current territory of the Republic of China following...
by the Seediq
The Seediq are a Taiwanese aboriginal people who live primarily in Nantou County and Hualien County. Their language is also known as Seediq. They were officially recognised as Taiwan's 14th indigenous group on 23 April 2008...
and Truku people
The Truku people are an Indigenous Taiwanese tribe. Taroko is also the name of the area of Taiwan where the Truku tribe resides. The Executive Yuan, Republic of China has officially recognized the Truku since January 15, 2004. The Truku are the 12th aboriginal tribe in Taiwan to receive this...
. There are 4,750 speakers out of a total of 25,000 ethnic members (Tsukida 2005).
Seediq consists of three main dialects (Tsukida 2005). Members of each dialect group refer to themselves by the name of their dialect, while the Amis people call them "Taroko."
- Teruku (Truku) - 20,000 members including non-speakers. The Truku dialect, transcribed Tailuge in Chinese, gives its name to the Taroko Gorge.
- Te'uda (Tuuda) - 2,500 members including non-speakers.
- Tekedaya (Tkdaya, Paran) - 2,500 members including non-speakers.
Seediq syllables have C, CV, or CVC structures, except for some interjections which have CVCC structures (e.g., saws
, which is uttered when offering food to ancestors, and sawp
, which is the sound of an object blown by the wind). Disyllabic words can take on the following structures:
- CVCV, CVCVC
- CVCCV, CVCCVC
There are 18-19 consonants and 4 vowels (Tsukida 2005). Vowels in antepenultimate syllables are often /e/. The stressed syllable is usually the penultimate one, and is pronounced with a high pitch.
- -an: oblique case
- ne-: something possessed by the prefixed noun
Clitics, unlike affixes, do not cause phonological alterations on their roots to which they are attached.
Seediq verbs have three types of voices, which are in turn inflected for mood or aspect (Tsukida 2005:313). Nouns, however, do not inflect for voice.
- Agent voice - marked by -em- or its allomorph
In linguistics, an allomorph is a variant form of a morpheme. The concept occurs when a unit of meaning can vary in sound without changing meaning. The term allomorph explains the comprehension of phonological variations for specific morphemes....
s me or Ø
- Goal voice
- Conveyance voice
There are four basic aspect/mood categories:
- Neutral - same as non-future/imperfective
- Perfect - marked by -en-
- Non-finite - bare stem
- Hortative (i.e., when advising someone) - marked by -a(y/nay)
The future is marked by me-, mpe-, mpe-ke-
There are a total of five different verb classes (conjugation paradigms). Other verb forms include causatives, reciprocals, and reflexives. Serial verb constructions are also allowed.
Teruku Seediq has 11 word classes (Tsukida 2005:295).
- Personal pronouns
- Sentence final particles
Like many other Formosan and Philippine languages, Seediq nouns and verbs behave similarly. Adjectives can be considered as a subcategory of verbs.
The word order
In linguistics, word order typology refers to the study of the order of the syntactic constituents of a language, and how different languages can employ different orders. Correlations between orders found in different syntactic subdomains are also of interest...
of Seediq is VOS, where S corresponds to the argument marked with absolutive case
The absolutive case is the unmarked grammatical case of a core argument of a verb which is used as the citation form of a noun.-In ergative languages:...
. This argument ordinarily occurs clause-finally, but may be followed by a topicalized ergative
The ergative case is the grammatical case that identifies the subject of a transitive verb in ergative-absolutive languages.-Characteristics:...
argument. Like many of its other Austronesian relatives, Seediq contains voice morpheme
In linguistics, a morpheme is the smallest semantically meaningful unit in a language. The field of study dedicated to morphemes is called morphology. A morpheme is not identical to a word, and the principal difference between the two is that a morpheme may or may not stand alone, whereas a word,...
s marked on the verb which indicate which of the verb's arguments (agent, patient, etc.) is treated as the subject and thus marked with absolutive case. In noun phrases, modifiers follow the head (Tsukida 2005:304). Unlike Tagalog and many other Philippine languages, there are no linkers connecting the heads and modifiers.
There are three types of Seediq clauses (Tsukida 2005):
- Interjection clauses
- Basic clauses
- Existential/possessive clauses
Basic clauses have predicates (usually initial and consisting of single verbs, adjectives, or noun phrases), subjects, and optionally non-subject arguments and adjuncts.
Subjects can be recognized via (Tsukida 2005):
- Voice affix
- Clitic pronoun
- Quantifier floating
- Possessum demotion
Some function words are given below:
- ni - "and" (conjunction)
- deni - "and then" (conjunction)
- u, du'u, ga, dega - all meaning "in case that" (conjunction)
- nasi - "if"
- ana - "even"
- ka - subordinating conjunction, case marker, linker
- ini - negator
- adi - negates noun phrase predicates, future/perfect verb forms
- wada - past
- na'a - "had better, could have done..."
- dima - "already"
- hana - "just"
- ya'asa - "because"
- niqan - existential predicate (like Tagalog "may")
- ungat - negative existential predicate (like Tagalog "wala")
Deictics include (Tsukida 2005:303):
- niyi - this, this one
- ga/gaga - that, that one
- hini - here
- hi/hiya - there
- ga/gaga hiya - over there
There are a total of six prepositions (Tsukida 2005:303):
- quri - toward, about, in the direction of
- pa'ah - from
- bitaq - until, up to
- saw - like
- asaw - because of
- mawxay - for the sake of
Stative locatives (e.g., "on the mountain") do not take on any prepositions, but are rather placed directly after the verb without any additional marking.
Preverbal elements such as adverbs, demonstratives, and prepositions can be used to extend predicates. Below is a partial list of predicate extenders from Tsukida (2008:308).
Extenders that that are combined with adjectives/nouns
- Extenders that require neutral verb forms
- wada - past
- ga(ga) - distal progressive
- niyi - proximal progressive
- gisu - progressive, state
- meha - future, "is going to do"
- (me-)teduwa - "be able to do"
- nasi - "if"
- na'a - "could have done something but did not
- Extenders that require non-finite verb forms
- asi ~ kasi - "at once, suddenly"
- pasi - "at once"
- kani - "one did not have to do something but did it"
- ini - negative
- iya - negative imperative
- Extenders that require future forms
- saw - "is/was about to do"
- rubang - "was about to do"
- Extenders that require future/perfect forms of verbs/nouns
adi - negative
Extenders without specific requirements
- ma'a - "become"
- pekelug - "just"
- dima - "already"
- hana - "at last"
- ida - "surely"
- ya'a - uncertainty
- wana - only
- ana - "even"
- ma - "why"
- alung ~ 'alaw ~ 'arang - "as is expected"
- pida - exactly
- lengu - "planned to do..."
- binaw - confirmation
- atih - "at the last moment," "nearly"
- seperang - "purposefully, on purpose"
Teruku Seediq Personal Pronouns
| Type of
| 1p. (incl.)
| 1p. (excl.)
The cardinal numbers are:
Other numerals and numeral-related affixes (Tsukida 2005:297):
- taxa: used for humans - one person
- 'uwin: used for objects - one object
- ma- -(u)l: used to form words for 10, 20, 30, 40, 50
- ma-xa-l: 10
- m-pusa-l: 20
- me-teru-l: 30
- me-sepat-ul: 40
- me-rima-l: 50