Name of the Language

Kanakanavu (pronounced [kanaka'navu]) is the name used both for the language and the cultural group of the Kanakanavu people by the ethnic community.

The first written records are from the Dutch colonial period in the 17th century where they named a little group in that region Cannacannavo (Blusse et al. 2003[1996]). After the Dutch colonial period, the Han-Chinese population on the island grew enormously and they became the dominating group on the island. Before the 1980s, the group and the language were subsumed under the category of Alishan mountain tribes or under the Tsou tribe, a close neighbor to the group in that region. Only in the 1980s, with the first ethnological and linguistic work on the group and the language, the name was transcribed into Chinese. Since Chinese syllable structure has no syllable vu, names like Kanabu or Kanakanabu卡那卡那布are used to refer to the Kanakanavu group and the language.

Copyright: Ilka Wild 2013