Tsat language

Last updated
Native to China
Region Hainan
Ethnicity Utsul
Native speakers
4,000 (2007) [1]
Language codes
ISO 639-3 huq
Glottolog tsat1238
ELP Tsat

Tsat, also known as Utsat, Utset, Hainan Cham, or Huíhuī (simplified Chinese :回辉语; traditional Chinese :回輝語; pinyin :Huíhuīyǔ), is a tonal language spoken by 4,500 Utsul people in Yanglan (羊栏) and Huixin (回新) villages near Sanya, Hainan, China. Tsat is a member of the Malayo-Polynesian group within the Austronesian language family, and is one of the Chamic languages originating on the coast of present-day Vietnam.



Hainan Cham tones correspond to various Proto-Chamic sounds. [2]

Hainan Cham Tonogenesis
Tone value
(Hainan Cham)
Type of tone
(Hainan Cham)
Proto-Chamic final sound
55High*-h, *-s; PAN *-q
42Falling*-p, *-t, *-k, *-c, *-ʔ; *-ay
Voiced final: default
24Rising*-p, *-t, *-k, *-c, *-ʔ; *-ay
Voiceless final: voiced stop / affricate initial
11LowVowels and nasals
Voiced final: default
33MidVowels and nasals
Voiceless final: voiced stop / affricate initial


Unusually for an Austronesian language, Tsat has developed into a tonal language, probably as a result of areal linguistic effects and contact with the diverse tonal languages spoken on Hainan including varieties of Chinese such as Hainanese and Standard Chinese, Tai–Kadai languages such as the Hlai languages, and Hmong–Mien languages such as Kim Mun. [3]


  1. Tsat at Ethnologue (18th ed., 2015) (subscription required)
  2. Thurgood, Graham (1993). "Phan Rang Cham and Utsat: Tonogenetic Themes and Variants". In Edmondson, Jerold A.; Gregerson, Kenneth J. (eds.). Tonality in Austronesian Languages. Oceanic Linguistics Special Publication, 24. Honolulu: University of Hawaii Press. pp. 91–106.
  3. Thurgood, Graham (1999). From Ancient Cham to Modern Dialects: Two Thousand Years of Language Contact and Change: With an Appendix of Chamic Reconstructions and Loanwords. University of Hawaii Press. p. 239. ISBN   0-8248-2131-9 . Retrieved 2011-05-15.

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