Tsou is a member of the Formosan group of Austronesian languages. It is spoken in the central mountains of Taiwan southeast of Chiayi (嘉義), particularly in Alishan Township (阿里山鄉) in Chiayi County (嘉義縣), and also in Hsinyi Township (信義鄉) in Nantou County (南投縣). In 2005 there were about 4,000 speakers of Tsou. The majority of speakers are adults, and while about 90% of elderly Tsou people speak their language, only 10% of young Tsou speak it. Most younger Tsou people speak Mandarin instead.
There are four main dialects of Tsou. The Tapangu (Tapaŋʉ) and Tfuea (Tfuya) dialects are the most spoken. The Duhtu or Luhtu dialect has few remaining speakers, and the Iimucu dialect is no longer spoken.
Efforts are being made to revitalise Tsou. These include teaching it in schools, compiling a dictionary, and translating the Bible into Tsou.
‘A mi’o meoisi ci zomʉ. ‘La’u paavi na ‘e mo meoyisi ci yopngu‘u, ‘la’u kokaekaebʉ toesoso ta pepe. Ho ‘lea’u toe pepe, ‘Lea’u pee’la aiti ‘o’la nomcovhi ci ma^maica.
I am a big bird. I open my big wings, and happily fly to the sky. When I am flying high, I can see things far away.
Information about the Tsou language
Page last modified: 23.04.21
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