Tsat language

Native to China
Region Hainan
Ethnicity Utsul
Native speakers
4,000 (2007)[1]
Language codes
ISO 639-3 huq
Glottolog tsat1238[2]

Tsat, also known as Utsat, Utset, Hainan Cham, or Huíhuī (simplified Chinese: 回辉语; traditional Chinese: 回輝語; pinyin: Huíhuīyǔ), is a language spoken by 4,500 Utsul people in Yanglan (Chinese: 羊栏) and Huixin (Chinese: 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.

Unusually for an Austronesian language, Tsat has developed into a solidly 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]


Hainan Cham tones correspond to various Proto-Chamic sounds.[4]

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


  1. Tsat at Ethnologue (18th ed., 2015)
  2. Hammarström, Harald; Forkel, Robert; Haspelmath, Martin; Bank, Sebastian, eds. (2016). "Tsat". Glottolog 2.7. Jena: Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History.
  3. Graham Thurgood (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.
  4. Thurgood, Graham. 1993. "Phan Rang Cham and Utsat: Tonogenetic themes and variants." In Jerold A. Edmondson and Kenneth J. Gregerson (eds.), Tonality in Austronesian languages, 91-106. Oceanic Linguistics Special Publication, 24. Honolulu: University of Hawaii Press.


  • Jerold A. Edmondson (1993). Tonality in Austronesian languages (illustrated ed.). University of Hawaii Press. ISBN 0-8248-1530-0. 

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