Alternate versions of the audio web extra accompanying the story “Students Document Disappearing Languages.”
University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa linguistics graduate student Apay Tang introduces and sings a song in the endangered Taiwanese language Truku.
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My name is Apay Tang and I am a graduate student in linguistics and a former director of the Language Documentation Training Center at the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa.
I’m a speaker of Truku, which is spoken in the eastern part of Taiwan in Hualien. The population of Truku is around 20,000. However, not many people under 30 speak this language anymore. In fact, the younger generations do not speak Truku any longer.
The song you are going to hear was taught to me by my grandfather, Udaw Pisaw. The song is about prayer. Many Truku people believe in Jesus, so the theme of the song is: wherever you go, there will be Jesus and others who love and pray for you.
[singing in Truku]
Bitaq ungat brax su, dmurun siida
When you pray until you have no strength…
Saw quyux ini pstug rusuq dowriq su.
your tears drop like the non-stop rain.
Knrmnan su o, mkla Yesu, rmngaw knan ddurun mu sunan.
Jesus knows your endurance and He will tell me to pray for you.
Nii ku mnealu sunan. nii ku dmurun sunan.
I am interceding for you. I am praying for you.
Csdamat ni slhbun naqih bi kuxul su o,
When you feel lonely, worried and very bad…
nii ku mnealu dmurun sunan.
I am interceding and praying for you.