A Grammar of Yami

1 Introduction

  Yami is a Philippine Batanic language, spoken by 3,800 residents on Orchid Island in Taiwan . The name “Yami” was originally used by the Batanic people to refer to the group that had immigrated to the very north end of the Batanic Islands (Gonzalez 1966). The self-reference of the Yami people is Tao ‘human' and their language is called ciriciring no Tao ‘human speech'. Although the younger generation of Yami prefers to be identified as Tao instead of Yami , this issue has not been without controvery. This paper will use the traditional name Yami , simply because previous studies on this language have used this name for academic research.

  Previous studies on various parts of Yami grammar are listed chronologically as follows: Sheerer (1908), Asai (1936), Jeng (1981), Benedek (1987), Tsuchida et al. (1987, 1989), Li & Ho (1989), Ho (1990, 1993), Shih (1996), Chang (2000), Guo (1998), Dong & Rau (2000), Rau (2002ab, 2004, 2005) and Rau & Dong (2005). This paper is a comprehensive analysis of the Yami reference grammar, based on a much larger body of data, the result of many years of collaboration between the two authors.