Taoyuan Airport goes Taiwanese

In other airline-related news, Taoyuan International Airport (formerly known as Chiang Kai-shek International), Taiwan’s main air transportation hub, is to add Taiwanese to the Mandarin, English and Japanese already used for public announcements, FTV reports via Yahoo News.

This is in line with the policies of other transportation companies (both public and private) to increase the representation of the other languages of Taiwan besides Mandarin. Taipei’s modern MRT network, for example, has station announcements first in Mandarin, then Taiwanese, Hakka and finally English.

Such moves have definite benefits for the dwindling number of older Taiwanese people who speak Mandarin imperfectly or not at all, while raising the profile of Taiwan’s second-most widely spoken language. However, language issues in Taiwan are highly politicised and it’s not a stretch to imagine that a change such as this is part of a points-scoring exercise. Perhaps I am just too cynical…

On the whole, this move by itself is not terribly significant, but it does represent an example of a trend towards the increasing visibility of Taiwanese on a national and administrative level. Whether this is a deep-seated change or merely tokenism on the part of Taiwan’s elected representatives remains to be seen.

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