The Atayal language is spoken by the Atayal people of Taiwan. Squliq and C’uli’ (Ts’ole’) are two major dialects. Mayrinax and Pa’kuali’, two subdialects of C’uli’, are unique among Atayal dialects in having male and female register distinctions in their vocabulary.
The language is recorded in an Atayal–English dictionary by Søren Egerod and several reference grammars. The Bible has been translated into Atayal and was published in 2002. Atayal is written in the Latin script. Atayal was one of the source languages of Yilan Creole Japanese.
The Atayal language is most commonly written in the Latin script. ⟨ng⟩ represents the velar nasal /ŋ/, and the apostrophe ⟨'⟩ represents the glottal stop. In some literature, ⟨ḳ⟩ is used to represent /q/ and ⟨č š ž⟩ are used to represent /tʃ ʃ ʒ/.
The pronunciation of certain letters differs from the IPA conventions. The letter ⟨b⟩ represents /β/, ⟨c⟩ is /ts/, ⟨g⟩ is /ɣ/, ⟨y⟩ is /j/, and ⟨z⟩ is /ʒ/.
Dialects differ slightly in their phonology. Presented below are the vowel and consonant inventories of Mayrinax Atayal (Huang 2000a). Orthographic conventions are added in <angle brackets>.
Most of these sounds are also encountered in other Formosan languages, but the velar fricative [x] is a trade mark of Atayalic languages. This sound has restricted distribution, though, as it never occurs in word-initial position.
Even though some literature includes a glottal fricative in the consonant inventory, that phoneme is phonetically realized as a pharyngeal (Li 1980), which is true for Atayalic languages in general. The alveolar fricative (s) and affricate (ts) are palatalized before [i] and [j], rendering [ɕ] and [tɕ], respectively (Lu 2005), as in the Sinitic contact languages Mandarin Chinese and Taiwanese Hokkien.
Plngawan Atayal (a subdialect of Ci'uli') differs from this inventory in that it lacks a schwa (ə), and that there are two phonemic rhotics (Shih 2008).
Squliq Atayal has a voiced alveo-palatal fricative [z] (Li 1980), but Huang 2015 doubts its phonemicity, arguing that it is an allophone of [y].
The following list of focus markers are used in Mayrinax Atayal.
Aspect markers include:
Other verbal markers include:
Dynamic and stative verbal prefixes run along a continuum. Here, they are listed from most dynamic to most stative.
Mayrinax Atayal has an elaborate case marking system. The Mayrinax case markers below are sourced from Huang (2002).
|Markers||quʔ||naʔ||naʔ, nquʔ||kiʔ||te, squʔ, sa|
The Mayrinax and Wulai Atayal personal pronouns below are sourced from Huang (1995). In both varieties, the nominative and genitive forms are bound while the neutral and locative ones are free (unbound).
|1s.||sakuʔ, kuʔ||makuʔ, mu, kuʔ||knan||kuzing, kun|
|1s.||cu, ciʔ||mu, miʔ||kuing|
|1p. (incl.)||taʔ, tiʔ||taʔ, tiʔ||itaʔ|
The following list of Mayrinax Atayal affixes is sourced from the Comparative Austronesian Dictionary (1995).
|Atayal language test of Wikipedia at Wikimedia Incubator|