Yami language

Yami Language

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Yami language

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The Yami language (雅美), also known as Tao (), is a Batanic language spoken by the Tao people of Taiwan. It is spoken on Orchid Island, 46 kilometers southeast of the main island of Taiwan. Yami is known as ciriciring no Tao, or "human speech," by its native speakers (Rau 2006:79). Yami is the only language of Taiwanese aborigines that does not fit in with the other Formosan languages but instead shares linguistic similarities with the Ivatan language spoken in the Batanes of northern Philippines.


Yami has 20 consonants and 4 vowels, namely (Rau 2006:79-80):

  • Consonants (in Yami script)
    • Stops: /p, b, t, d, k, g, '/
    • Fricatives: /v, s, h/ (/s/ is a retroflex)
    • Nasals: /m, n, ng/
    • Liquids: /l, r/
    • Affricates: /c, j/ (palatal affricates)
    • Trills: /z/ (alveolar trill)
    • Glides: /w, y/


Iraralay Yami, spoken on the north coast, distinguishes between long and short consonants (e.g., opa 'thigh' vs. oppa 'hen' form one such minimal pair) (Rau 2006:81).


The following list of Yami verbal inflections is from Rau (2006:135).

Dynamic intransitive
  • -om-/om- (subjunctive: N-)
  • mi-
  • ma-
  • maN-
  • maka-
  • maci-/masi-/macika-/macipa-

  • ma- (subjunctive: a-)
  • ka- ... -an (subjunctive: ka- ... -i)

  • pi-
  • pa-
  • paN- (subjunctive: maN-)
  • paka- (subjunctive: maka-)
  • paci- (subjunctive: maci-)

  • -en (subjunctive: -a)
  • -an (subjunctive: -i)
  • i- (subjunctive: -an)

Stative functioning as......

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