Native toTaiwan
EthnicityBasay, Qauqaut
Extinctmid-20th century
  • Basay proper
  • Trobiawan
  • Linaw–Qauqaut
Language codes
ISO 639-3byq
Formosan languages 2008.png
(dark green, north) The Kavalanic languages: Basai, Ketagalan, and Kavalan

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.

Li (1992) mentions four Basaic languages: Basay, Luilang, Nankan, Puting.[1] Nankan and Puting are close to Kavalan, whereas Luilang is divergent.[2]


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

Some function words include (Li 1999):

Trobiawan negators include (Li 1999):

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
Type of prefix Neutral Perfective Future
Agentive focus (AF) -um-, m- na-mi- -um- ... -a, m- ... -a
Patient focus (PF) ni- -au
Locative focus (LF) -an ni- ... -an -ai


The Basay pronouns below are from Li (1999:639).

Basay Personal Pronouns
Neutral Nominative Genitive Oblique
1st person singular yaku kaku, -ku maku-, -aku; naku, -ak yakuan, kuan, kuanan
plural excl. yami -mi yami, -ami; nami, -am yamian, mian, mianan
incl. mita kita, -ita mita, -ita; nita, -ta ... , ... , tianan
2nd person singular isu kisu, -su misu, -isu; nisu, -su ~ -is isuan, suan, isuanan, suanan
plural imu kimu, -mu -imu; nimu, -im imuan, ... , imuanan
3rd person singular -ia
plural -ia



  1. ^ Li, Paul Jen-kuei (2001). "The Dispersal of the Formosan Aborigines in Taiwan" (PDF). Language and Linguistics / Yǔyán jì yǔyánxué. 2 (1): 271–278. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2020-08-08. Retrieved 2021-06-30.
  2. ^ Tsuchida, Shigeru. 1985. Kulon: Yet another Austronesian language in Taiwan?. Bulletin of the Institute of Ethnology, Academia Sinica 60. 1-59.

General references