Published September 14, 2019
This video was recorded by Kaisanan Ahuan in Taiwan. Taokas is a Formosan language of Taiwan, where it is Indigenous to much of Miaoli County in the country's western coast—the ancestral lands of the Taokas people for which the language is eponymously named. Due to centuries of language shift brought on by assimilating pressures of Mandarin and Taiwanese Hokkien, Taokas fell into decline in the twentieth century and was eventually classified as a "dormant" language by Ethnologue and UNESCO. However, thanks to the hard work of language champions like Kaisanan, a revitalization process is underway as a part of a wider fight for formal recognition as an Indigenous people. Taokas is perhaps most closely related to the Babuza language of Taiwan's Changhua county. Both the Taokas and Babuza peoples helped form the Kingdom of Middag, which was conquered by China's last imperial dynasty in the 18th century. Broadly, Taiwan's Indigenous Formosan languages are classified as Austronesian, meaning they share genealogy with languages across Southeast Asia and the Pacific, from Malaysian to Hawaiian. In fact, there is a growing consensus among historical linguists that the entire Austronesian language family originated in Taiwan.