Teachers try to revive dying language

P. Kerim Friedman kerim.list at oxus.net
Fri Jan 16 18:01:50 UTC 2004

I was referring to ingressive pulmonic air.


That it is a long shot is an understatement. The SIL ethnologue claims
that there are 5,000 Tsou speakers in Taiwan, out of a population of
around 6,000.


However, SIL researcher Greg Huteson has estimated the actual number of
speakers to be around 350! This is based on the number of Tsou who are
over 50 years old, which seems to be a reasonable approach (given the
history of Aborigine language and education policies, and the
experiences of those working with Aborigine languages).

One of the biggest problems for all of Taiwan's Aborigine languages is
the fact that there are no jobs in the rural areas, so the working age
adults are all living in the cities, or at construction sites in the
mountains, leaving the children at home with the grandparents. You'd
think this would be good for language learning, since many of the
grandparents don't speak mandarin very well (some speak better Japanese
than Mandarin). Indeed it does work out this way for some children, but
what happens is that many of these children are pretty much left to
raise themselves.

- kerim

On Jan 16, 2004, at 9:16 AM, Stan & Sandy Anonby wrote:

> Are you agreeing Tsou revival is a long shot, or that Tsou has
> ingressive
> pulmonic air?
> -Stan
> ----- Original Message -----
> From: "P. Kerim Friedman" <kerim.list at oxus.net>
> To: <lgpolicy-list at ccat.sas.upenn.edu>
> Sent: Friday, January 16, 2004 9:30 AM
> Subject: Re: Teachers try to revive dying language
>> Yes it is.
>> - kerim
>> On Jan 16, 2004, at 8:12 AM, Stan & Sandy Anonby wrote:
>>> Sounds like a real long shot, but the process might still be
>>> worthwhile.
>>> Tsou is one of the (extremely rare) languages reported to use
>>> ingressive
>>> pulmonic air for some of its phonemes, no?
>>> Stan

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