[Yami Language][Culture][Sacrificial Rites][Photo]


  The Yami language, spoken on Orchid Island, belongs to the Ivatan or Bashiic language group, which has a very close relationship to the Philippines ' Itbayaten, Ivatan, and Babuyan languages (Sheerer 1908, Asai 1936, McFarland 1980). The Batanic Island is located between Luzon and Taiwan (Gonzalez 1966). Many Batanic myths and legends often mention the name “Yami” (dihami) (Yamada 1966), and refer to them as originating from the Batanic Island and migrating farthest to the north. So the word Yami comes from the Batanic people. That is why the Japanese scholar Tori called the local people Yami (Benedek 1987:21) when he conducted linguistic research on the island. The local people call themselves “ People on the island” (pongso no tao) .

  Yami is a Philippine Batanic language, a part of the Austronesian family. The most common word formation processes in Yami are Affixation and Reduplication. Yami affixation manifests the three features characterizing Agglutinating Languages. (1) A word consists of a root and several affixes; (2) The root and affixes are relatively easily separated; and (3) Each affix generally has only one meaning. For example, nipakanan (< ni-pa-kan-an) ‘the place where an animal has been fed or the place where someone has been treated a meal' is formed with the bound root –kan ‘eat' and several clearly separated affixes, each having its own meaning, such as –an ‘location', pa- ‘causative', and ni- ‘perfective'. The verb form changes to reflect the semantic role of the “Subject” of the sentence: Agent, Patient, Location, and Instrument/Benefactive. A sentence structure can be analyzed as composed of a Predicate followed by a Subject. The relationship of the two components represents an equation A= B.








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