Suvarna Garge (Editor)

Puyuma language

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Native to  Taiwan
Native speakers  8,500 (2002)
ISO 639-3  pyu
Ethnicity  Puyuma people
Language family  Austronesian Puyuma
Glottolog  puyu1239
Puyuma language

The Puyuma language or Pinuyumayan (Chinese: 卑南語; pinyin: Pēinán Yǔ) is the language of the Puyuma people, a tribe of indigenous people on Taiwan (see Taiwanese aborigines). It is a divergent Formosan language of the Austronesian family. Most speakers are older adults.


Puyuma is one of the more divergent of the Austronesian languages, and falls outside reconstructions of Proto-Austronesian.


The internal classification of Puyuma dialects below is from (Ting 1978). Nanwang is usually shown to be the relatively phonologically conservative dialect but grammatically innovative, as it preserves proto-Puyuma voiced plosives and syncrets case.

  • Proto-Puyuma
  • Nanwang
  • (Main branch)
  • Pinaski–Ulivelivek
  • Rikavung
  • Kasavakan–Katipul
  • Puyuma-speaking villages are:

    Puyuma cluster ('born of the bamboo')
  • Puyuma (Chinese: Nanwang 南王)
  • Apapulu (Chinese: Paosang 寶桑)
  • Katipul cluster ('born of a stone')
  • Alipai (Chinese: Pinlang 賓朗)
  • Pinaski (Chinese: Hsia Pinlang 下賓朗); 2 km north of Puyuma/Nanwang, and maintains close relations with it
  • Pankiu (Chinese: Pankiu)
  • Kasavakan (Chinese: Chienhe 建和)
  • Katratripul (Chinese: Chihpen 知本)
  • Likavung (Chinese: Lichia 利嘉)
  • Tamalakaw (Chinese: Taian 泰安)
  • Ulivelivek (Chinese: Chulu 初鹿)
  • Phonology

    Puyuma has 18 consonants and 4 vowels:


    Puyuma verbs have four types of focus:

    1. Actor focus: Ø (no mark), -em-, -en- (after labials), me-, meʔ-, ma-
    2. Object focus: -aw
    3. Referent focus: -ay
    4. Instrumental focus: -anay

    There are three verbal aspects:

    1. Perfect
    2. Imperfect
    3. Future

    There are two modes:

    1. Imperative
    2. Hortative future

    Affixes include:

  • Perfect: Ø (no mark)
  • Imperfect: Reduplication; -a-
  • Future: Reduplication, sometimes only -a-
  • Hortative future: -a-
  • Imperative mode: Ø (no mark)
  • Syntax

    Puyuma has a verb-initial word order.

    Articles include:

  • i – singular personal
  • a – singular non-personal
  • na – plural (personal and non-personal)
  • Pronouns

    The Puyuma personal pronouns are:


    The Puyuma affixes are:


    Puyuma language Wikipedia

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