HOME
        TheInfoList






Thao (Thao: Thau a lalawa), pronunciation [θau], also known as Sao, is the language of the Thao people, a tribe of Taiwanese aborigines in the region of Sun Moon Lake in central Taiwan. In 2000, there were 5 or 6 speakers living in Ita Thaw (伊達邵) village (traditionally called Barawbaw), all but one of whom were over the age of sixty.[citation needed] Two elderly native speakers died December 2014 including chief Tarma (袁明智), age 75.

Thao is a Formosan language of the Austronesian family; Barawbaw and Shtafari are dialects.

Phonology

Consonants

Thao is a Formosan language of the Austronesian family; Barawbaw and Shtafari are dialects.

Orthographic notes:

  • /θ ð ʃ/ are written ⟨th z sh⟩. /θ/ is though written ⟨c⟩ in Blust's dictionary.
  • /ɬ/ is written ⟨lh⟩
  • /ŋ/ is written ⟨ng⟩. It's though written ⟨g⟩ in Blust's dictionary.
  • /ʔ/ is written ⟨'⟩

Notes:

  • The glides /j w/ are derived from the underlying vowels /i u/ to meet the requirements that syllables must have onset consonants and to indicate stress placement accurately.
  • [v] is an allophone of /w/ occurring intervocalically.

Vowels

Consonant inventory
  Bilabial Labio-
dental
Dental Alveolar Post-
Alveolar
Velar Uvular Glottal
Plosive p b         t d     k   q   ʔ  
Fricative     f (v) θ ð s   ʃ           h  
Lateral Fricative             ɬ                  
Tap or Flap               ɾ                
Nasal   m           n
Vowel inventory
Front Central Back
High i u
High (e) (o)
Low a

Notes:

  • Stress is penultimate, otherwise can be written ⟨á í ú⟩ as in "dadú", but doubling ⟨aa ii uu⟩ is also frequently used, as in "daduu".
  • [e] and [o] occur as allophones of /i/ and /u/, respectively, when preceded or followed either by /q/ or /r/.

Morphology

Thao has two or arguably three patterns of reduplication: Ca-reduplication, full reduplication, and rightward reduplication (which is sometimes considered to be a form of full reduplication).

Thao verbs have the following types of focus (Blust 2003:239).

  1. Actor: -um- (present), ma- (future)
  2. Patient: -in, -in-
  3. Locative: -an

Syntax

Thao word order can be both SVO and VSO, although the former is derived from Taiwanese Hokkien (Blust 2003:228).

The Thao personal marker is "ti" (Blust 2003:228). Negatives include "ani" and "antu"; "ata tu" is used in "don't" constructions. The perfect is marked by "iza", the past by an infix just after the primary onset consonant "-in-" and the future by the prefix "a-". Imperatives are marked by "-í" and softer imperatives or requests roughly translated as "please" by "-uan" sometimes spelled "-wan" which can co-occur with "-í".

Pronouns

The Thao personal pronouns below are from Blust (2003:207). Note that there is only 1 form each for "we (exclusive)," "you (plural)" and "they."

Thao Personal Pronouns
Type of
Pronoun
Nominative Accusative Genitive Agent Patient
1s. yaku yakin nak[3]
2s. ihu ihu-n m-ihu[4] uhu uhu-n
3s. thithu thithu-n thithu[5]
1p. (incl.) ita ita-n m-ita
1p. (excl.) yamin yamin yamin
2p. maniun maniun maniun
3p. thaythuy thaythuy thaythuy

Other pronouns include:

  • minmihu - for you
  • panmihu - as for you
  • panihun - because of you
  • shanaihun - up to you
  • shaunatazihun - go to your place
  • shmunaihun - bring to you
  • nakin - for me
  • panyakin - as for me
  • pashiyakin - leave me
  • shanayayakin - up to me
  • shmunayakin - bring me

Affixes

The following affixes are sourced from Blust (2003:92-188) and adjusted to the modern spelling.

  • a- : only found in /kan/ 'eat'
  • -ak : '1st person singular (I)'
  • ak- ... -in : 'morning, noon, evening meals'
  • an- : uncertain function
  • -an : Verbal uses can be indicative, imperative, or adversative.
  • i- : prefix or clitic particle marking location
  • -i : imperative
  • -ik : patient focus (1st person singular)
  • -in- : perfective or completive aspect
  • -in : patient focus
  • ish- : found most with intransitive verbs (uncommon prefix)
  • ka- : 'to make an X', 'two times' (with reduplication)
  • ka- ... -an : meaning unclear
  • kal- : 'X told'
  • kalh- : 'to pile, spread'
  • kash- : 'intensity, repetition'
  • kashi- : meaning uncertain
  • kashi- ... -an : 'pull by the X'
  • kashun- : derives verbs referring to positions of the human body, or sometimes objects such as boats
  • kat- : 'gradually become X'
  • ki- : 'stand, stay'; other possible meanings as well
  • ki- ... -an : 'be affected with pain in the X'
  • kilh- : 'search for, seek'
  • kin- : 'to pick or gather X'
  • kit- ... -in : 'infested with X'
  • ku- : 'to perform an action with X' (when used with tools or weapons); less specific in other contexts
  • kun- : 'sudden or abrupt action', 'to eat the X meal', 'to do X times'; meaning unclear sometimes
  • la- : usually found in expressions of quantity of degree
  • lhin- : causative sense
  • lhun- : swelling-related meanings, etc.
  • m- : marks the genitive in 'you (2s)' and 'we (incl.)'
  • ma- : marks stative verbs, occasionally nouns derived from stative verbs
  • ma- : active verb prefix
  • ma- : prefix marking the future in actor focus verbs
  • ma- : 'tens' (used with numbers)
  • mak

    Notes:

    • The glides /j w/ are derived from the underlying vowels /i u/ to meet the requirements that syllables must have onset consonants and to indicate stress placement accurately.
    • [v] is an allophone of /w/ occurring intervocalically.

    Vowels

    Thao has two or arguably three patterns of reduplication: Ca-reduplication, full reduplication, and rightward reduplication (which is sometimes considered to be a form of full reduplication).

    Thao verbs have the following types of focus (Blust 2003:239).

    1. Actor: -um- (present), ma- (future)
    2. Patient: -in, -in-
    3. Locative: -an

    Syntax

    Thao word order can be both SVO and VSO, although the former is derived from reduplication: Ca-reduplication, full reduplication, and rightward reduplication (which is sometimes considered to be a form of full reduplication).

    Thao verbs have the following types of focus (Blust 2003:239).

    1. Actor: -um- (present), ma- (future)
    2. Patient: -in, -in-
    3. Locative: -an

    Syntax

    Thao word order can be both SVO and VSO, although the former is derived from Taiwanese Hokkien (Blust 2003:228).

    The Thao personal marker is "ti" (Blust 2003:228). Negatives include "ani" and "antu"; "ata tu" is used in "don't" constructions. The perfect is marked by "iza", the past by an infix just after the primary onset consonant "-in-" and the future by the prefix "a-". Imperatives are marked by "-í" and softer imperatives or requests roughly translated as "please" by "-uan" sometimes spelled "-wan" which can co-occur with "-í".

    PronounsTaiwanese Hokkien (Blust 2003:228).

    The Thao personal marker is "ti" (Blust 2003:228). Negatives include "ani" and "antu"; "ata tu" is used in "don't" constructions. The perfect is marked by "iza", the past by an infix just after the primary onset consonant "-in-" and the future by the prefix "a-". Imperatives are marked by "-í" and softer imperatives or requests roughly translated as "please" by "-uan" sometimes spelled "-wan" whi

    The Thao personal marker is "ti" (Blust 2003:228). Negatives include "ani" and "antu"; "ata tu" is used in "don't" constructions. The perfect is marked by "iza", the past by an infix just after the primary onset consonant "-in-" and the future by the prefix "a-". Imperatives are marked by "-í" and softer imperatives or requests roughly translated as "please" by "-uan" sometimes spelled "-wan" which can co-occur with "-í".

    The Thao personal pronouns below are from Blust (2003:207). Note that there is only 1 form each for "we (exclusive)," "you (plural)" and "they."

    Thao Personal Pronouns
    Type of
    Pronoun
    Nominative Accusative Genitive Agent Patient
    1s. yaku yakin nak
    • minmihu - for you
    • panmihu - as for you
    • panihun - because of you
    • shanaihun - up to you
    • shaunatazihun - go to your place
    • shmunaihun - bring to you
    • nakin - for me
    • panyakin - as for me
    • pashiyakin - leave me
    • shanayayakin - up to me
    • shmunayakin - bring me

    Affixes

    The following affixes are sourced from Blust (2003:92-188) and adjusted to the modern spelling.

    • a- : only found in /kan/ 'eat'
    • -ak : '1st person singular (I)'
    • ak- ... -in : 'morning, noon, evening meals'
    • an- : uncertain function
    • -an : Verbal uses can be indicative, imperative, or adversative.
    • i-