Wed, Dec 11, 2019 - Page 14 News List

Han Chinese student wins first prize in Aboriginal language competition
「山寨版原住民」張貴詠瞞過耆老 拿下原住民族語朗讀特優

Chang Kuei-yung displays her National Language Contest in Taipei Aboriginal language oral reading award with tutor Tseng Hsiao-yung in Kaohsiung on Nov. 28.

Photo: Hung Chen-hung, Liberty Times

Chang Kuei-yung, a student at Chung Shan Industrial & Commercial School’s Department of Applied English, has been mistaken for an Aborigine ever since she was a young girl, which kindled in her a curiosity and love of the culture of Taiwan’s Aboriginal peoples. Despite her love of Aboriginal culture, Chang didn’t have a deep exposure to the culture until she began studying at Chung Shan Industrial & Commercial School. Chang joined the school’s Aboriginal dance club and entered a special project competition during which time she was guided by Tseng Hsiao-yung, a support teacher at the school and a member of the Rukai community in Kaohsiung’s Maolin Township. Tseng encouraged Chang to enter the 2019 National Language Contest in Taipei, held by the Ministry of Education, and to compete alongside Aboriginal students in the Aboriginal language oral reading competition. Whether practicing adjusting her accent or reading from a text, far from finding it an arduous task, Chang took pleasure in preparing for the competition and made rapid progress.

Recollecting the day of the competition, Chang said she had butterflies in her stomach right up until the start. When she saw that the panel of judges included elders from Maolin, she knew that she would have to draw on all of her abilities if she were to “hoodwink” them into believing she was an Aborigine. After composing her nerves, as soon as she took to the stage Chang began to display the fruits of her practice, maintaining a steady poise and an authentic accent. Chang won over the judges and saw off competition from numerous Aboriginal challengers to scoop first prize.

Chang says she normally takes part in harvest festivals with her Aboriginal friends and says in the future she intends to study another Aboriginal language. Chang also hopes that she can use her “fake” Aborigine credentials to effectively promote Aboriginal culture in a novel way.

Tseng says that it is extremely rare for a non-Aborigine to be able to speak an Aboriginal language to such a high ability and adds that having volunteered to coach Chang, she did not disappoint him by throwing herself at the task with ambition and zeal.

School principal Lin Chao-yi says that there are 226 Aboriginal students currently enrolled at Chung Shan Industrial & Commercial School and adds that the achievements of Aboriginal students last year were outstanding, with many gaining entry into National Kaohsiung Normal University and National Pingtung University.

(Translated by Edward Jones, Taipei Times)







Comments will be moderated. Keep comments relevant to the article. Remarks containing abusive and obscene language, personal attacks of any kind or promotion will be removed and the user banned. Final decision will be at the discretion of the Taipei Times.

TOP top