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Basay language

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Title: Basay language  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Language: English
Subject: Austronesian languages, Languages of Taiwan, Ketagalan language, East Formosan languages, Languages of China
Collection: Extinct Languages of Asia, Formosan Languages, Languages of Taiwan
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia

Basay language

Basay was a Formosan language spoken around modern-day Taipei in northern Taiwan by the Basay, Qauqaut, and Trobiawan peoples. Trobiawan, Linaw, and Qauqaut were other dialects (see East Formosan languages).

Basay data is mostly available from Erin Asai's 1936 field notes, which were collected from an elderly Basay speaker in Shinshe, Taipei, as well as another one in Yilan who spoken the Trobiawan dialect (Li 1999). However, the Shinshe informant's speech was heavily influenced by Taiwanese, and the Trobiawan informant, named Ipai, had heavy Kavalan influence in her speech.


There are four optional case markers in Basay (Li 1999:646).

  • a - nominative, ligature (Shinshe dialect)
  • ta - nominative (Trobiawan dialect)
  • li - locative (Shinshe dialect)
  • u - oblique (Trobiawan dialect)

Some function words include (Li 1999):

  • pai 'future'

Trobiawan negators include (Li 1999):

  • mia 'not' (Shinshe dialect: mayu 'not (yet)')
  • asi 'don't' (Shinshe dialect: manai 'don't')
  • (m)upa 'not to want'
  • (Shinshe dialect: kualau 'not exist')

Yes-no questions are marked by u ~ nu (Li 1999:657).


Basay verbs, like Kavalan verbs, distinguish between agent-focus (AF) and patient-focus (PF) verbs (Li 1999:650). The perfective prefixes na- and ni- are allomorphs.

Basay Focus System
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