The Yanks are with more than 200,000 members the largest Indigenous people of Taiwan . The South Amis use the term "Amis", while the North Amis mostly refer to themselves as "Pangcah". In the Amis language, "Amis" means north.
The Americans live mainly in the districts of Hualien and Taitung in eastern Taiwan and in the coastal region of Pingtung in the south of the country. Depending on the geographical settlement, the Americans are also divided into Hanshi, Siouguluan, Coastal, Taidong and Hengchun. These small groups within the ethnic minority of the Amis each have different clothes, customs and languages.
Within the matrilineal organized people, the knowledge of the tribe is passed on in their own schools. The hierarchy of the tribe is determined by an age ranking . The members of the tribe are mainly engaged in agriculture , hunting and coastal fishing . The tribe is known nationwide for its harvest festival Ilisin, which is celebrated with songs and dances in July and August.
The Amisische belongs to the Austronesian languages . In the absence of special characters, Latin letters are used as phonetic transcription. There is also a small Amis radio station that can be heard at the Hualien train station . Within the Amis settlement area, the Amis language is still mainly spoken by older people. However, there is a tendency among the younger generation to oppose the extinction of the Amis language and culture.
Relationship between Austronesian peoples and Taiwanese indigenous people
Habits, anthropological features and membership of the Austronesian language family indicate the relationship between the Austronesian peoples and the Taiwanese indigenous people. The table below shows the similarity of words in the Amis language with the languages of Paiwan , Tau and Indonesian :
|Indonesian||Empat||Lima||Tujuh||Ayah (bapak is more common)||Ibu||Mata||Belut||Makan||Beras|
A Taiwanese website for the Center for Aboriginal Studies at Chengchi National University provides basic Amis language sentences.