Kavalan proverbs

posted by Kaihsu Tai on November 16th, 2007

My grandmother’s grandmother was said to be a Kavalan. Recently, a dictionary of the Kavalan language appeared (ISBN 978-986-00-6993-8). On pages 52 and 53, there are some proverbs (narrated by Ulaw Pan, reinterpreted by Abas, and recorded by Paul Li):

kua, aimu qa-rimk =ka haw!
sikawma=pa=iku timaimu.
qnaRu zin-na sikawman-ku timaimu: assi =ka trapus haw.
snaquni zin-na 'lak si, mai =ita q<um>nut.
nia-niana zin-na -ta nani na 'lak si, mai =ita paq-sukaw tu anem.
snaquni zin-na =ita na 'lak si, qa-nngi-an -ta anem -ta haw.
m-ati =ita sni-sni, mai =ita s<m>ap-sapang haw.
mangay =imu snaquni haw.
paqa-qa-nngi =ita m-atiw ta 'lak-an haw.

Alright, you do keep quiet, please!
I shall talk to you.
Because I shall talk to you[:] do not forget about the old teachings.
No matter what other people do to us, let’s not get angry.
No matter what other people say to us, do not feel sad.
No matter how other people behave to us, we should be nice to them in our heart.
Wherever we go, we should not be mischievous but behave ourselves.
You should watch out [for] what might happen.
We should be careful when we go to other people’s place.

The Kavalan people were evangelized by Saint George Leslie Mackay.

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  1. On November 16, 2007 at 17:16 Mike said:

    Kaihsu, do you happen to have any other books in Kavalan, such as the bible?

  2. On November 17, 2007 at 15:24 Kaihsu Tai said:

    Not really. There are only hundreds of speakers of Kavalan left today (if even that many), so it is not the focus of the work of the Bible Society in Taiwan. There are Bible translations in other indigenous Formosan languages though, several of them recent publications, as people there get more confident of their mother tongues.

  3. On November 21, 2007 at 12:07 Kaihsu Tai (Oxford, England) said:

    According to the Bible Society in Taiwan, the native-language translations of the Bible already published are these nine: Taiwanese (Amoy), 'Amis (Pangcah), Paiwan, Bunun, Atayal (Tayal), Truku (Taroko), Tao (Yami), Rukai, and Hakka. I recently met John Whitehorn of the United Reformed Church, who had a hand in the Paiwan translation.