Zabou, Zavoul (Man, Woman)

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Despite the hundreds and perhaps thousands of years of separation between the Yueh peoples in Taiwan and in Mainland, and despite the high degree of sinification of the Yueh people in Mainland, there are still some unmistakable traces showing a link between the two groups. Let us consider for instance the Hoklo words for man and woman: zabou and zavoul. These words do not have standard Chinese character representation, and few Chinese scholars have attempted to look at these words beyond the purely-Chinese circle. Yet, a simple comparison of these Hoklo words with the surrounding languages immediately reveals the underlying Austronesian-like connection. First of all, these words obey the Austronesian word order: adjectives after nouns. The first syllable za naturally means "person", a word that has plenty of cognate words in Taiwanese aborigine languages, like the names of ethnic groups such as: Tayal, Tsou, Thau, Ta'u (formerly know as "Yami"), and the Paiwan words for "human": tsau-tsau. (Also Tagalog's tao in the Philippines.) The name of the ethnic group She (畲) in mainland China is another probable cognate, and many Hakka and Hoklo dialects in mainland China still preserve plenty of expressions containing "shia", "sa", "ta" as indicative of "person".