Taiwan’s Truku language shares similar words with Indonesian

Taiwan’s Truku language shares similar words with Indonesian
A performance from Taiwan's indigenous Truku tribe which shows their social life was held for guests and visitors at Taroko Village Hotel on Monday (Feb 10, 2020). (Indonesia Window)
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Jakarta (Indonesia Window) – Located on two different regions in a far distance with different ethnicity, it is almost impossible to find similarities between Taiwanese in East Asia and Indonesian people in Southeast Asia.

However, of the 14 indigenous tribes in the Formosa Island, there is the Truku tribe whose language is somewhat similar with that of Indonesia.

This was known by several Indonesian journalists who visited Taiwan at the invitation of the Taipei Economic and Trade Office (TETO) on February, 7-12 in which they have an opportunity to spend a night at the Taroko Village Hotel in the eastern part of the Formosa Island, about 157 kilometers from Taiwan’s capital of Taipei.

Daniel, a friendly hotel employee who welcomed the reporters, said there are several words in the Truku language that are similar to Indonesian.

“Say numbers in your language,” Daniel, who is from the Truku tribe, told the journalists.

As the Indonesian journalists were counting from one to ten, they found  number four (4) and number five (5) are similar in both languages.

In the Truku language, number four is pronounced “sa-ampat”, and in Indonesian, four is “empat”. Five in Truku is “lima”, and it is just the same in Indonesians.

In addition, the Truku tribe say “makan” for “eat”, and it is just the same in Indonesian, Daniel said, adding that “pig” is called “babui” in Truku language, while Indonesians say it “babi”.


The Taroko National Park website mentioned that the Truku tribe is an expansion of the Atayal tribe.

Truku, also known as Taroko, was officially approved as the 12th indigenous tribe in Taiwan in January 2004.

After 250 years apart from Atayal, the Taroko (Truku) language is developing in a   different way.

The Taroko people have a fairly developed culture. For their living, they mainly practice slash-burn farming, hunting, fishing and concocting.

When fighting with other tribes, the Taroko people beheaded their enemies, then celebrated the victory with reveling and drinking to strengthen the solidarity and safety of the tribe.

However, that habit had been abolished since many years ago, and the abolishment was also imposed on the rituals of face tattooing and tooth-filing.

The Taroko people’s weaving skill is highly developed. Both men and women wear traditional gunny attires with tea-brown stripes on a white background, and they also have ornaments on their heads, ears, necks, and feet.

The craft skill of the Taroko tribe (weaving, gunny spinning, working with wood and rattan, and net knotting) is among the best in Taiwan.

Taiwan’s Truku language shares similar words with Indonesian
The breathtaking nature of Taroko gorge which is dominantly composed of metamorphic rocks. (Indonesia Window)

The Taroko people usually choose small terraces in mountains on which they set up their villages.

The Truku tribe inhabits a 92,000-hectare area of the Taroko National Park which spans the Hualien and Nantou Counties, and Taichung City.

Taroko’s nature is steep metamorphic cliffs dominated by green, white, black and grey colors. The nature has 27 peaks which are more than 3,000 meters high.

Reporting by Indonesia Window

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