More anti-Taiwanese Media…

A-gu has the latest on anti-Taiwanese editorials in the local media. He makes the excellent point that “people are allowing Holo Taiwanese to die”. There is no longer the deliberate oppression of the language from the martial law era, but it’s no longer necessary – the ambivalence of the general population towards native-language education will ensure the eventual demise of the language, unless something is done to reverse this trend.

If the aboriginal languages, Hakka, and Taiwanese do die (and it will likely be in that order) I believe it will inevitably and irrevocably impoverish the cultural landscape of this country.

8 Responses to “More anti-Taiwanese Media…”

  1. A-gu says:

    Thanks for the link. And I agree with your assessment of the fate of these languages. :-/

  2. A-gu says:

    Check out these links, you might want to add them to your tool list or resources:

    That link contains a Mandarin –> Taiwanese computer assisted translator, character –> romanization converter, etc. Very cool resource.


  3. Richard says:

    As a Taiwanese-American, growing up in the U.S., I find it very sad that the main language other than English that I know may die off in the future. I’m unique in that my parents only spoke Taiwanese with me when I was young, and so I only know Taiwanese and English. My Mandarin is probably at the level of a preschooler, if not worse. Anyways, I love this blog/site. I still try to learn new vocabulary of Taiwanese as I’m pretty fluent in basic conversation stuff. I frequent this site for some vocab:

    I really wished there was a site that introduced vocab, but also an audio clip because I have a hard time reading POJ or other types of romanizations. 🙁

  4. admin says:

    Hi Richard,

    I’ve met a few Taiwanese-Americans like yourself who speak Taiwanese fluently but Mandarin not at all or at a basic level – it tends to perplex the local Taiwanese who can’t understand how a youngster could be unable to speak Mandarin! For a famous example, think of Jeff and Stan Ng (or Huang, in Mandarin) from Machi.

    POJ is not that hard to learn – I’d really encourage you to give it a go. Native speakers can pick up it very quickly, and even beginners like me can get the hang of it after a few lessons. Unfortunately there are no decent online resources in English for learning the system – I might have to do something about that situation.

  5. Silenus says:

    How is Hakka different from Taiwanese in Taiwan? I thought Taiwanese was the local variant of Hakka.

  6. admin says:

    Hakka and Taiwanese are completely different languages, though they are both part of the Chinese language family. Terms for languages in Taiwan are confusing, but Taiwanese is a local variant of Southern Min, which is known by many names in different places, including Hokkien, Hoklo, Holo, Taiyu, Tai-gi, Tai-gu, Ban-lam, Ban-lam-gi, Ban-lam-gu, Tai-oan-oe, Lanlang, Fukienese, Fujianese, Amoy, Minnan, Minnanyu, Minnanhua and probably more that I’ve forgotten.

    Taiwanese speakers make up about 15 million of Taiwan’s 23 million people, whereas Hakka is mostly limited to a few areas and has a shrinking native-speaker population, which is somewhere between 2 and 3 million, if you can believe the reports.

  7. Silenus says:

    Oh, I see. I had thought that Hokkien and Hoklo were variants of Hakka. I had thought that some in Singapore, like in Taiwan, speak Hakka, but I guess Hoklo is a more widely-spoken dialect instead.

    I kind of wonder why “Southern Min” isn’t known as Fujianese. After all, Cantonese is named after Guangdong. It seems more useful to have the dialect be named after the region that it comes from.

  8. admin says:

    Good question. Southern Min is named after the region it’s from – it’s just that it’s not immediately obvious. “Min” is the character é–©, which is used in literary sources and in abbreviations to refer to Fujian Province, and the larger Min grouping of languages (one of the top-level distinctions among Chinese languages). So “Southern Min” = “the language from the south of Fujian”.

    Although I included “Fujianese” among the list of aliases for this language, Fujianese is often used to refer to Mindong (a related but different language) – spoken in the area around Fuzhou in eastern Fujian. So if someone says Fujianese it can be difficult to know whether they mean Southern Min (Minnan) or Eastern Min (Mindong). Min contains other smaller groupings and divisions, like Puxian and Minbei, plus Qiongwen, which some people even argue doesn’t belong to the Min group at all.

    Confused? Linguists still fight over whether a particular dialect belongs to one group or the other, as there is no “black and white” – simply a procession of changing greys. The terms can be very difficult to keep straight when even the academics can’t agree sometimes.

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