With the evolution of society in Taiwan, daily use of indigenous languages has become increasingly rare. The government has determined that a number of the nation's 16 indigenous languages are facing extinction. To ensure that these languages are preserved and remedy injustices of the past, the Indigenous Languages Development Act was promulgated on June 14, 2017 to define these mother tongues as official national languages.
Four moves to revive indigenous languages
◆ Popularization: Indigenous language specialists will be appointed to assist schools, villages and communities in studying, preserving and popularizing native dialects. Local indigenous languages will be added to signage and used in official documents. In addition, educational materials will be produced along with the broadcast of native-language television programming. All tribes will receive assistance with establishing language popularization organizations.
◆ Education: Instructors fluent in indigenous languages will be hired to supplement current staff at elementary, junior and senior high schools, and language learning centers will be established at certain universities. The state will provide subsidies for colleges to offer language classes, and language immersion preschools will be opened.
◆ Preservation: Mentorship programs will be made available to save endangered indigenous languages. In addition, a data repository for indigenous languages will be established, and new words and terms created to encompass the vocabulary of modern life.
◆ Research: An indigenous language research foundation will be launched to develop, preserve and teach native tongues.