My one and only

In the Formosan data recorded by Ino (1998:25), Taokas and Papora, two west-coast Formosan languages, have for ‘one’ the following forms: Sinkon (Taokas) tanu, Hajyovan and Vudol (both Papora) tanu. The form occurs reduplicated in Tanatanahu and Hameyan (both Taokas): tata:anu, and as ta’a:nu in Varaval (Taokas). The base form may reconstruct as *tanu or *sanu (not *Canu, since Sinkon Taokas reflects *C as s: masa ‘eye’, sareina ‘ear’, samani ‘to cry’; and the same is true of Papora: masa, sarina, samani: ). This is etymon #30 in the ABVD. The PAN word for ‘one’ is generally acknowledged to be *isa, which  seems to favor *sanu over *tanu.

However  Natauran Amis tanu ‘only, just’ (Bril, p.c., 31 March 2020) can only go back to *tanu.  I hypothesize that the original meaning of *tanu was ‘only’, as in Amis, and that  in Papora and Taokas the word shifted to ‘only one’ and ultimately to ‘one’, displacing earlier forms containing *isa (contra Tsuchida 1982:10).

(updated Dec 27, 2022)

References

Ino, Yoshinori 伊能嘉矩. 1998. 巡臺日程 Xún Tái Rì Chéng [A Formosan itinerary]. In 伊能嘉矩番語調查手冊 Ino Yoshinori fānyǔ diàochá shǒucè [Ino Yoshinori’s field records], ed. by : T. Moriguchi, pp. 13-201. Taipei: Southern Materials Center.

Tsuchida, Shigeru. 1982. A comparative vocabulary of Austronesian languages of Sinicized ethnic groups in Taiwan. Part I: West Taiwan. Memoirs of the Faculty of Letters, University of Tokyo No 7.

Cite this post as: Laurent Sagart, "My one and only," in Sino-Tibetan-Austronesian, 04/04/2020, https://stan.hypotheses.org/613.

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