Kari Seediq
Native toTaiwan
Regioncentral, eastern, and coastal
EthnicitySeediq, Taroko
Native speakers
20,000 (2008)[1]
Language codes
ISO 639-3trv
Taroko is classified as Vulnerable by the UNESCO Atlas of the World's Languages in Danger

Seediq, also known as Sediq, Taroko, is an Atayalic language spoken in the mountains of Northern Taiwan by the Seediq and Taroko people.


Seediq consists of three main dialects (Tsukida 2005). Members of each dialect group refer to themselves by the name of their dialect, while the Amis people call them "Taroko."

  1. Truku (Truku) – 20,000 members including non-speakers. The Truku dialect, transcribed 德路固 Délùgù in Chinese.
  2. Toda (Tuuda) – 2,500 members including non-speakers.
  3. Tgdaya (Tkdaya, Paran) – 2,500 members including non-speakers.


In Seediq there are 19 consonant phonemes and 4 vowel phonemes. Among these, there are two velar fricatives, one voiceless and the other voiced, and a uvular stop. In both labial and alveolar plosive series, voice opposition is contrastive; velar and uvular series, however, only display voiceless sounds. The alveolar affricate has a marginal phonological status and is found in some interjections (such as teʼcu! "what a mess!"), loanwords and non-finite verbal forms with the gerund prefix cese- (Tsukida 2005: 292, 297).

Consonants in Seediq (Truku dialect)[2][3]
Labial Alveolar Palatal Velar Uvular Glottal
Nasal m n ŋ ⟨ng⟩
Plosive voiceless p t (ɟ ⟨j⟩) k q ʔ ⟨ʼ⟩
voiced b d
Fricative voiceless s x h
voiced ɣ ⟨g⟩
Affricate (ts ⟨c⟩)
Tap ɾ ⟨r⟩
Glide l j ⟨y⟩ w

With the graphemes c and j the practical orthography indicates the palatal allophones of t and d respectively after i and y.

The vowels are the following:

Vowels in Seediq (Truku dialect)[2]
Front Central Back
Close i u
Mid ə ⟨e⟩
Open a

Seediq also has three diphthongs, mainly ay [ai̯], aw [au̯] and uy [ui̯].

Seediq syllables have C, CV, or CVC structures, except for some interjections which have CVCC structures (e.g., saws, which is uttered when offering food to ancestors, and sawp, which is the sound of an object blown by the wind). Disyllabic words can take on the following structures:

Vowels in antepenultimate syllables are often /e/. The stressed syllable is usually the penultimate one, and is pronounced with a high pitch. In the Truku dialect stress is on the final syllable resulting in loss of first vowel in CVCCV and CVCCVC structures, for example compare: qduriq > pqdriqun, lqlaqi > lqlqian. In Taroko, up to six onset consonants are possible: CCCCCVC(VC), for example: tn'ghngkawas, mptrqdug, pngkrbkan, dmptbrinah.


As other Austronesian languages, Seediq uses reduplication to convey grammatical functions, such as pluralization and reciprocal verb form derivation. There are two kinds of reduplication: one which involves only the first syllable of the stem, with structure Cə-CV(C), and one which involves the last pair of syllables of the stem excluding codas, having structure CəCə-CV(C)CV(C). Examples are:












qehuni → qe-qehuni

tree {} REDUP-tree

"tree" {} "trees"












seʼdiq → sede-seʼdiq

person {} REDUP-person

"person" {} "people"

Along with reduplication, there are also numerous prefixes and suffixes in Seediq that intervene to alter the meaning of words in derivational and inflectional processes. Affixes include:

Clitics, unlike affixes, do not cause phonological alterations on their roots to which they are attached.


Seediq verbs have three types of voices, which are in turn inflected for mood or aspect (Tsukida 2005:313). Nouns, however, do not inflect for voice.

  1. Agent voice – marked by -em- or its allomorphs me or Ø
  2. Goal voice
  3. Conveyance voice

There are four basic aspect/mood categories:

  1. Neutral – same as non-future/imperfective
  2. Perfect – marked by -en-
  3. Non-finite – bare stem
  4. Hortative (i.e., when advising someone) – marked by -a(y/nay)

The future is marked by me-, mpe-, mpe-ke-.

There are a total of five different verb classes (conjugation paradigms). Other verb forms include causatives, reciprocals, and reflexives. Serial verb constructions are also allowed.

Word classes

Truku Seediq has 11 word classes (Tsukida 2005:295).

Open classes
Closed classes

Like many other Formosan and Philippine languages, Seediq nouns and verbs behave similarly. Adjectives can be considered as a subcategory of verbs.


The word order of Seediq is verb–object–subject (VOS), where S corresponds to the argument marked with absolutive case. This argument ordinarily occurs clause-finally, but may be followed by a topicalized ergative argument. Like many of its other Austronesian relatives, Seediq contains voice morphemes marked on the verb which indicate which of the verb's arguments (agent, patient, etc.) is treated as the subject and thus marked with absolutive case. In noun phrases, modifiers follow the head (Tsukida 2005:304). Unlike Tagalog and many other Philippine languages, there are no linkers connecting the heads and modifiers.


There are three types of Seediq clauses (Tsukida 2005):

  1. Interjection clauses
  2. Basic clauses
  3. Existential/possessive clauses

Basic clauses have predicates (usually initial and consisting of single verbs, adjectives, or noun phrases), subjects, and optionally non-subject arguments and adjuncts.

Subjects can be recognized via (Tsukida 2005):

  1. Voice affix
  2. Clitic pronoun
  3. Quantifier floating
  4. Relativization
  5. Possessum demotion

Function words

Some function words are given below:

Deictics include (Tsukida 2009:132-133):

There are a total of six prepositions (Tsukida 2005:303):

Stative locatives (e.g., "on the mountain") do not take on any prepositions, but are rather placed directly after the verb without any additional marking.

Predicate extenders

Preverbal elements such as adverbs, demonstratives, and prepositions can be used to extend predicates. Below is a partial list of predicate extenders from Tsukida (2008:308).

  1. Extenders that require neutral verb forms
    1. wada – past
    2. ga(ga) – distal progressive
    3. niyi – proximal progressive
    4. gisu – progressive, state
    5. meha – future, "is going to do"
    6. (me-)teduwa – "be able to do"
    7. nasi – "if"
    8. na'a – "could have done something but did not
  2. Extenders that require non-finite verb forms
    1. 'asi ~ kasi – "at once, suddenly"
    2. pasi – "at once"
    3. kani – "one did not have to do something but did it"
    4. 'ini – negative
    5. 'iya – negative imperative
  3. Extenders that require future forms
    1. saw – "is/was about to do"
    2. rubang – "was about to do"
  4. Extenders that require future/perfect forms of verbs/nouns
    1. 'adi – negative
  5. Extenders that are combined with adjectives/nouns
    1. ma'a – "become"
  6. Extenders without specific requirements
    1. pekelug – "just"
    2. dima – "already"
    3. hana – "at last"
    4. 'ida – "surely"
    5. ya'a – uncertainty
    6. wana – only
    7. 'ana – "even"
    8. ma – "why"
    9. 'alung ~ 'alaw ~ 'arang – "as is expected"
    10. pida – exactly
    11. lengu – "planned to do..."
    12. binaw – confirmation
    13. 'atih – "at the last moment," "nearly"
    14. seperang – "purposefully, on purpose"


Truku Seediq personal pronouns
Type of
Direct Oblique Independent
Subject Genitive
1s. yaku kenan (ne-)naku =ku =mu
2s. isu sunan (ne-)nisu =su =su
3s. hiya hiyaan ne-hiya =na
1p. (incl.) 'ita tenan (ne-)nita =ta =ta
1p. (excl.) yami menani (ne-)nami =nami =nami
2p. yamu munan (ne-)namu =namu =namu
3p. dehiya dehiyaan ne-dehiya - =deha


The cardinal numbers are:[6]

  1. kingal
  2. deha
  3. teru
  4. sepat
  5. rima
  6. mataru
  7. mpitu
  8. maspat
  9. mengari
  10. maxal

Other numerals and numeral-related affixes (Tsukida 2005:297):


  1. ^ Kari Seediq at Ethnologue (18th ed., 2015) (subscription required)
  2. ^ a b Tsukida 2005, p. 293.
  3. ^ Hsu 2008, pp. 6–9.
  4. ^ Tsukida 2005, pp. 294–295
  5. ^ Tsukida, Naomi. セデック語(台湾)の文法 (in Japanese). pp. 132–133.
  6. ^ Campbell, W. (1915). Sketches from Formosa. London: Marshall Brothers. p. 43. Here are the ten numerals : Khial, Dahah, Turuh, Supat, Rimah, Maturuh, Mapitah, Mashupat, Mugarih, Machal.

Further reading