Amis and Puyuma are two languages of south-eastern and eastern Formosa. In Blust’s Austronesian subgrouping (Blust 1999) they belong to different primary branches of the AN family: Amis to his East Formosan branch, along with Siraya (a west coast language), and the north Formosan languages Kavalan, Basay and Trobiawan; while Puyuma forms a branch unto itself. The ground for East Formosan is the alleged change of PAN *j, construed as a voiced palatalized velar stop, to *n. East Formosan requires at least one prehistoric migration. The phylogenetic study of Gray et al. finds no support at all for Blust’s East Formosan. Sagart (2004, 2015) argues that the PAN phoneme know as *j was a nasal so that the modern nasal reflexes are in fact a retention—which explains their discontinuous geographic distribution at the periphery of Taiwan. It is the nonnasal reflexes which are innovative—which fits well with their continuous geographical distribution in Taiwan.
In my phylogenetic scheme, which is based on the nested distribution of numerals 5-10 in Taiwan (Sagart 2008, modified from Sagart 2004), both Amis and Puyuma are Puluqish languages. Puluqish includes all Austronesian languages where the word for ‘10’ reflects *puluq. This subgroup also includes Paiwan, and, outside of Taiwan, Malayo-Polynesian and Kra-Dai languages. Within Puluqish, there is some evidence that Amis and Puyuma subgroup together, forming a northern puluqish group opposite southern puluqish, i.e. Paiwan+MP+KD. Here are six lexical innovations uniquely shared (afaik) by the two northern puluqish languages. The first two concern the numeral system.
- ‘one’ *sasay: Amis cacay ‘one’, Puyuma sasaya (< *sasay-a) ‘one’ (counting things). These forms reflect PAN *sa, short form of PAN *isa/esa ‘one’, reduplicated, plus intrusive -y- inserted beween final -a in the word-base and the linker -a- following it. Thus Puyuma has ɖaɖua-ya ‘two’, iwaiwa-ya ‘nine’, but ta-taɭu-a ‘three’, pitu-pitu-a ‘seven’, waɭu-waɭu-a ‘eight’ (all counting things);
- ‘ten’ *mukeCep. In both languages, inherited *puluq is attested only as the serial-counting word for ‘ten’. When counting human and non-human referents a reflex of *mukeCep is used: Amis moketep, Puyuma mukʈəp;
- ‘bone’ *ukak: Amis ‘okak ‘bone’, Puyuma ukak ‘bone’;
- ‘cloud’ *kuCem ‘cloud’: Amis kotem ‘black cloud’, Puyuma kuʈəm ‘(big black) cloud’ (mi-a-kuʈəm ‘big black clouds promising rain’);
- ‘activity, skill *Nemak: Amis dmak ‘an activity, a happening; the things one does; to move’ (Fey); ‘activity, affair, business; to move; situation’ (Namoh); Puyuma lemak ‘know-how; skill’.
- ‘hat’ *kabuŋ: Amis kafoŋ ‘hat; anything worn on the head’ (Fey); Puyuma kabuŋ ‘hat’, mi-kabuŋ ‘wear a hat’ (Cauquelin).
Blust, R. (1999) Subgrouping, circularity and extinction: some issues in Austronesian comparative linguistics. In: Elizabeth Zeitoun and Paul Jen-kuei Li (eds.) Selected Papers from the Eighth International Conference on Austronesian linguistics, 31-94. Taipei: Institute of Linguistics (preparatory office).
Sagart, L. (2004) The higher phylogeny of Austronesian and the position of Tai-Kadai. Oceanic Linguistics 43,2: 411-444.
Sagart, L. (2008) The expansion of setaria farmers in East Asia: a linguistic and archaeological model. In Sanchez-Mazas A, Blench R, Ross M, Peiros I, Lin M, eds. Past human migrations in East Asia: matching archaeology, linguistics and genetics, 133-157. Routledge Studies in the Early History of Asia, London: Routledge.
Sagart, L. (2015) ‘East Formosan’ and the PAN palatals. Paper presented at the 13th International Conference on Austronesian Linguistics, Taipei, July 18-22, 2015.