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Languages of Taiwan

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Republic of China, Chung-hua Min-kuo. Formerly Formosa. 22,749,838. Population includes 349,120 tribal people, or 2% of the population, Han Chinese 97.8%. National or official language: Mandarin Chinese. Literacy rate: 90%–92%. Immigrant languages: Chinese Sign Language, Halh Mongolian (6,000), Kalmyk-Oirat, Tibetan (2,000), Uyghur, Vietnamese. Also includes people from the Philippines (50,000). Information mainly from P. Li 1990; T. Sebeok 1971; D. Tryon 1995; S. Tsuchida 1976; S. Wurm and S. Hattori 1981. Deaf population: 30,000 to 1,302,969 (1998). Deaf institutions: 8. The number of individual languages listed for Taiwan is 26. Of those, 22 are living languages and 4 have no known speakers.
Amis

[ami] 138,000 (2002 Council of Indigenous Peoples, Executive Yuan, ROC). Ethnic population: 137,651. Between Hualien and Taitung, valley plains and east coast by the sea. Alternate names: Ami, Amia, Bakurut, Lam-Si-Hoan, Maran, Pagcah, Pangcah, Pangtsah, Sabari, Tanah.  Dialects: Central Amis (Haian Ami, Hsiukulan Ami), Tavalong-Vataan (Kwangfu, Kuangfu), Southern Amis (Peinan, Hengch’un Amis, Taitung), Chengkung-Kwangshan, Northern Amis (Nanshi Amis). The Chengkung-Kwangshan dialect is most similar to Central Amis dialect.  Classification: Austronesian, East Formosan, Central 
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Amis, Nataoran

[ais] 5 (2000 S. Wurm). Hualien area and north of Fenglin. Alternate names: Nataoran, Natawran, Tauran.  Dialects: Nataoran, Sakizaya (Sakiray, Sakiraya), Kaliyawan (Kaliyuawan), Natawran, Cikosowan, Pokpok, Ridaw. Not generally understood by other Amis. The Sakizaya dialect is even more divergent from Central Amis [ami]. In recent years dialects converged. Lexical similarity: 50% with Central Amis.  Classification: Austronesian, East Formosan, Central  Nearly extinct.
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Atayal

[tay] 84,300 (2002 Council of Indigenous Peoples, Executive Yuan, ROC). Ethnic population: 78,957 (1989 govt. figure), including 50 Mayrinax speakers left (2000 L. Huang). Northeast mountains, south of Ketagalan [kae]. Alternate names: Ataiyal, Attayal, Bonotsek, Shabogala, Taijyal, Taiyal, Takonan, Tangao, Tayal, Tyal, Yukan.  Dialects: Sqoleq (Squliq), Ts’ole’ (Ci’uli’). Mayrinax is a Ci’uli’ subdialect.  Classification: Austronesian, Atayalic 
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Babuza

[bzg] 4 (2000 S. Wurm). Ethnic population: 35. West central coast and inland, Tatu and Choshui rivers and beyond. Alternate names: Babusa, Favorlang, Favorlangsch, Jaborlang, Poavosa.  Dialects: Poavosa, Taokas. Taokas dialect has no remaining speakers.  Classification: Austronesian, Western Plains, Central Western Plains  Nearly extinct.
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Basay

[byq] Extinct. North, Tam Shui to Kungliao area, Fengtzulin, Taipei, Sangchung, and northeast Suao and east of Ilan area. Alternate names: Basai, Kawanuwan.  Dialects: Trobiawan, Linaw-Qauqaul.  Classification: Austronesian, East Formosan, Northern 
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Bunun

[bnn] 38,000 (2002 Council of Indigenous Peoples, Executive Yuan, ROC). Ethnic population: 37,989. East central plain, south of the Sediq (Taroko) [trv]. Alternate names: Bubukun, Bunan, Bunti, Bunum, Vonun, Vunum, Vunun, Vunung.  Dialects: Randai, Tondai, Shibukun (Sibukun, Sibukaun, Sibucoon, Sivukun), North Bunun (Takitudu, Taketodo, Takebakha, Takibakha), Central Bunun (Takbanuao, Takivatan, Takevatan), South Bunun (Ishbukun), Takopulan.  Classification: Austronesian, Bunun 
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Chinese, Hakka

[hak] 2,370,000 in Taiwan (1993). Taoyuan, Hsinchu, Miaoli, Pingtung counties. Shi Xien in north and south; Hi-Lu in central, north central. Dialects: Hailu (Hoiluk, Hoilluk, Hi-Lu), Sanhsien (Shigen, Shixien, Shi Xien).  Classification: Sino-Tibetan, Chinese 
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Chinese, Mandarin

[cmn] 4,320,000 in Taiwan (1993). Mainly Taipei and 5 provincial cities. Alternate names: Guoyu, Kuoyu, Mandarin, Putonghua.  Dialects: Taibei Mandarin.  Classification: Sino-Tibetan, Chinese 
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Chinese, Min Nan

[nan] 15,000,000 in Taiwan (1997 A. Chang). Tainan, Penghu Archipelago, cities on east coast, western plain. Alternate names: Min Nan, Minnan.  Dialects: Amoy (Taiwanese).  Classification: Sino-Tibetan, Chinese 
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Japanese

[jpn]   Classification: Japonic 
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Kanakanabu

[xnb] 8 (2005 SIL). Ethnic population: 250 (UNESCO). Central, Sanmin Township, Kaohsiung County, Minchuan village area. Alternate names: Kanabu, Kanakanavu.  Classification: Austronesian, Tsouic  Nearly extinct.
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Kavalan

[ckv] 24 (2000 P. Li). Ethnic population: 200. Northeast coast, above Toucheng to Ilan, nearly to Suao, and inland to Tayal language area. No longer spoken in the original area; a few migrants to the east coast, Hsishe village, Fengpin Township, Hualien County (1990). Alternate names: Cabaran, Kabalan, Kabaran, Kamalan, Kavanan, Kavarauan, Kbalan, Kibalan, Kiwaraw, Kiwarawa, Kuvalan, Kuvarawan, Kuwarawan, Kvalan, Shekwan.  Dialects: Kareovan (Kareowan).  Classification: Austronesian, East Formosan, Northern  Nearly extinct.
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Ketangalan

[kae] Extinct. North central, Panchiao area and northwest, west, and southeast. Alternate names: Ketagalan, Tangalan.  Classification: Austronesian, Unclassified 
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Kulon-Pazeh

[uun] 1 (2000 P. Li). West coast area, east of Tayal, Cholan area, Houli, Fengyuan, Tantzu, Taichung, Tungshih. Alternate names: Kulun.  Classification: Austronesian, Northwest Formosan  Nearly extinct.
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Paiwan

[pwn] 66,100 (Council of Indigenous Peoples 2002). Ethnic population: 66,084. South, mountains southeast. Alternate names: Butanglu, Kadas, Kale-Whan, Kapiangan, Katausan, Li-Li-Sha, Paiuan, Payowan, Samobi, Samohai, Saprek, Stimul, Tamari.  Classification: Austronesian, Paiwan 
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Papora-Hoanya

[ppu] Extinct. North central coast around Lishui, Chingshui, Shalu, and inland to Taichung. Alternate names: Bupuran, Hinapavosa, Papola, Vupuran.  Dialects: Papora, Hoanya.  Classification: Austronesian, Western Plains, Central Western Plains 
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Puyuma

[pyu] 8,490 (Council of Indigenous Peoples 2002). Ethnic population: 8,487. Along the east coast south of Taitung and inland. Alternate names: Kadas, Panapanayan, Pelam, Pilam, Piyuma, Pyuma, Tipun.  Dialects: Nanwang, Pinan.  Classification: Austronesian, Puyuma 
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Rukai

[dru] 10,500 (Council of Indigenous Peoples 2002). Ethnic population: 10,543. South central mountains, Ping Tung area, 11 villages; Taitung area, 2 or 3 villages; west of the Puyuma [pyu]. Alternate names: Banga, Bantalang, Bantaurang, Drukai, Drukay, Dukai, Dyokay, Kadas, Rutkai, Sarisen, Taloma, Tsalisen, Tsarisen.  Dialects: Budai, Labuan, Tanan, Maga, Tona, Mantauran. Mantauran, Tona, and Maga dialects are divergent.  Classification: Austronesian, Rukai 
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Saaroa

[sxr] 6 (2000 S. Wurm). Ethnic population: 300 (2000 UNESCO Red Book). West central mountains, south and southeast of Minchuan, along Laonung River. Alternate names: La’alua, La’arua, Pachien, Paichien, Rarua, Saarua, Saroa, Shishaban, Sisyaban.  Dialects: Similar to Kanakanabu [xnb].  Classification: Austronesian, Tsouic  Nearly extinct.
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Saisiyat

[xsy] 4,750 (Council of Indigenous Peoples 2002). Ethnic population: 7,900. Western mountains, west of the Atayal [tay], Nanchuang Township, Miaoli County and Wufong Township, Hsinchu County. Alternate names: Amutoura, Bouiok, Saiset, Saisett, Saisiat, Saisiett, Saisirat, Saisyet, Saisyett, Seisirat.  Dialects: Taai (North Saiset), Tungho (South Saiset). Dialect differences are mainly phonological and lexical (1978 P. Li).  Classification: Austronesian, Northwest Formosan 
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Siraya

[fos] Extinct. Southwest, Tainan area, Peimen to Hengchun to Tapu. Alternate names: Baksa, Formosan, “Pepo-Hwan” , “Pepohoan” , Sideia, Sideis, Sideisch, Siraia, Siraiya.  Dialects: Siraya, Makatao (Makattao, Takaraya, Tta’o), Pangsoia-Dolatok, Taivoan (Tevorang), Lamai.  Classification: Austronesian, East Formosan, Southwest 
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Taiwan Sign Language

[tss]   Alternate names: Taiwan Ziran Shouyu.  Dialects: Taipei, Tainan, Kaohsiung. 2 major dialects. Sources from which the sign language developed were indigenous sign systems before 1895, Japanese occupation and education 1895–1946, Mainland Chinese Sign Language brought by refugees in 1949 and some from Hong Kong since. Lexical similarity: 50% with Japanese Sign Language [jsl].  Classification: Deaf sign language 
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Taroko

[trv] 20,000 (2008 R. Covell). Central, east, and coast; mountains north, Puli area; coast south of Hualien, south of the Atayal [tay]. Alternate names: Bu-Hwan, Che-Hwan, Daiya-Ataiyal, Hogo, Iboho, Paran, Saediq, Sazek, Sedek, Sedeq, Sediakk, Sedik, Seedek, Seedeq, Seedik, Sejiq, Shedekka, Taruku, Toda, Toroko, Truku.  Dialects: Teruku (Truku), Te’uda (Tuuda), Tekedaya (Tkdaya, Paran). Dialects differ mainly in phonology and lexicon, some in grammar.  Classification: Austronesian, Atayalic 
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Thao

[ssf] 6 (2000 S. Wurm). Ethnic population: 248 (1989). Central, Sun Moon Lake southeast shore, Te-hua village, and Ta-p’ing-lin 14 kms. away. Alternate names: Chui-Huan, Chuihwan, Sao, Sau, Shao, Suihwan, Vulung.  Dialects: Brawbaw, Shtafari.  Classification: Austronesian, Western Plains, Thao  Nearly extinct.
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Tsou

[tsu] 2,130 (Council of Indigenous Peoples 2002). Ethnic population: 2,127. West central mountains southeast of Chiayi, Alishan (Mt. Ali) area. Alternate names: Namakaban, Niitaka, Tibola, Tibolah, Tibolak, Tibolal, Tso, Tsoo, Tsu-U, Tsu-Wo, Tsuou, Tzo.  Dialects: Duhtu, Luhtu, Tapangu, Tfuea, Iimutsu.  Classification: Austronesian, Tsouic 
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Yami

[tao] 3,380 (Council of Indigenous Peoples 2002). Ethnic population: 3,384. Orchid Island, Botel Tobago (Lanyu) Island, southeast coast. Alternate names: Botel Tabago, Botel Tobago, Lanyu, Tao, Tawu.  Dialects: Similar to northern Philippines Ivatan [ivv].  Classification: Austronesian, Malayo-Polynesian, Philippine, Bashiic, Yami 
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