Taishiro Yasusada's Makatau dictionary from 1898


For those who like this kind of stuff, Tashiro was a botanist, and was hired by the Japanese Prefecture to work in Taiwan. He collected these Makatau words from the people living around present day Fengshan Kaohsiung.

Taishiro passed away in Kagoshima in 1928, but he wanted to be buried in Taiwan. He was buried at present day Linsen Park in Taipei city.

The dictionary has 3 columns, Japanese, Makatau, and Ancient Aboriginal language, not exactly sure what that refers to.

People is Kitau
Aboriginals living in the mountains is Kaleiya. That corresponds to 傀儡蕃 in Taigi
Son is Alack
Ear is Tariga
Eye is Mata
Mouth is Gohon. However, in the ancient column, he wrote gaga, which seems to correlate with the Altayal word for tradition, law, taboo, gaga.
Hand is Lima

It’s amazing a document like this survived till this day.


Thank you!

Interesting… appears to be lots of cognates with Indonesian.

Towards the back of the notebook, Taishiro seems to be writing in classical Chinese in order to communicate with his Taigi speaking guides. His guides seems to have also written on the notebook for their responses.

One example on page 57:

我今日欲去北投社平埔人厝各戶 而我見頭人欲聽伊們古時講話也
Today I want to go to Beitou village and visit every Pingpu household.
I am meeting their chief to hear how they spoke in ancient times.

Are there Pingpu people from Beitou tribe among the attendees of this church?

His Holo Guide:
平埔多多有 (not sure if I got the 多多 part correctly)
There are many Pingpu attendees.

此教堂門徒中有閩人平埔人□是較多乎? (Couldn’t figure out one Kanji)
Are there more Holo or Pingpu parishioners?

His Holo Guide:
Sir, I’ll fetch someone to clarify the matter.

How many households are there in total on the slopes around Beitou tribe?

In Indonesian
Mata = Eye
Telinga/kuping= ear
Lima = five (5 fingers = hand?)

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I was also thinking:

kitau - kita - us - people

alack - anak- child - son

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Tagalog uses kita and also anak for child . Mahal din kita … I love you too darling :kissing_heart:

Back atcha, big guy. :wink:

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The alack thing is definitely a cognate.

many Formosan languages uses kita for us, e.g. Pangcah Amis.

Kitau seems to be a prefix ki, followed by the root for people, tau.

A few more words from the dictionary:
Sun - Augi
Moon - Bûlan
Star - Malanu
Wind - Bali
Cloud - Nalukam
Thunder - Lunte
East - Taliga
Road - Lalan
Flower - Lapi
Pig - Babui
Chicken - Kuka - Tolohok

The word Bali for wind is immediately recognizable. Bulan for moon also sounds like the Bunun word for moon, buan. Lalan for road, and babui for pig are also extremely prevalent.

I’m a terrible cursive reader, so there are some words I can’t figure out with confidence.


Bulan also means moon/month in Indonesian.

Close to jalan, which is walk or path in Indonesian.

Babi in Indonesian.

Baboy is pig in Tagalog . Tamad baboy … lazy pig :hugs:. @GooseEgg would be proud of me :nerd_face:

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I am indeed!

I guess it would be more accurate to say, napakatamad ng baboy 'yan (that pig is very lazy) - or maybe you could say tamad na baboy siya (she’s a lazy pig)

Then again, I’m hardly a good source for Tagalog translation because of my poor grasp of the language (ang tamad ako, parang akong baboy - I’m so lazy, like a pig)