Taiwan is home to a rich tapestry of linguistic cultures. Except for Mandarin, however, other local languages all face a risk of disappearance. To ensure the sustainable transmission and development of at-risk languages and cultures, the government in 2017 declared indigenous languages and Hakka to be national languages, and in 2019 further stipulated that the natural languages and sign languages used by the different ethnic groups in Taiwan are all considered national languages. Moreover, in 2021 the first National Languages Development Convention was held and in 2022 a board to promote national languages was established. Now, the government is advancing a 2022-2026 plan for comprehensive development of national languages. This plan will utilize seven major implementation strategies to promote the revitalization and advancement of all national languages, in order to achieve linguistic and cultural equality and bolster the multicultural development of Taiwan.
Seven major strategies
■ Improve preservation of linguistic materials: Conduct large-scale audio and video interviews of elderly people and relevant professionals to preserve linguistic data. Improve collection and conservation of linguistic materials for Taiwanese, the Matsu dialect, Taiwan Sign Language and other languages.
■ Standardize writing systems: Update local language writing systems and promote input methods for Taiwanese, Hakka and indigenous languages.
■ Perform language certification: Continue administration of national language certification tests. Increase public awareness of certification tests to encourage all people to participate.
■ Broaden quantity and scope of promotional activities: Expand initiatives such as nationwide language and cultural contests, language camps, and fostering of native-speaking households and communities.
■ Create friendly environments: Increase the genres and quality of broadcast media programming. Collaborate with the private sector to develop diverse and cross-disciplinary content including audiobooks, games, comics and animation.
■ Strengthen educational resources: Strengthen support for teacher training, curriculums and immersive preschools for national languages. Establish comprehensive e-learning platforms for national languages.
■ Build up supplementary resources: Establish digital resource websites, publish teaching manuals, and increase staffing of instructors for national languages.