Native-language interest groups yesterday urged the Ministry of Education to speed up the creation of a unified phonetic system for the Hoklo language (commonly known as Taiwanese) to preserve Taiwanese culture.
Lee Shang-hsien (
At the moment, Hoklo text books use either Tongyong pinyin, the Hanyu Romanization system, or the Taiwanese Language Phonetic Alphabet (TLPA).
Lee said that the three systems did not reflect regional Hoklo accents, and added that the Hoklo language could not be preserved and passed on to the next generation without a unified phonetic system.
Language teacher Su Huang-hung (
Using the Tongyong pinyin system reduces Hoklo to only five tones, Su said.
In addition, Hoklo pronunciation changes according to syntactic context, she added.
However, Tongyong pinyin marks these cases as variant pronunciations, creating a situation in which many students do not know the original pronunciation of the words they study, Su said.
Hanyu pinyin and the TLPA are almost entirely identical, since the TLPA system was derived from Hanyu pinyin by the Ministry of Education many years ago, said Lu Ching-ching (
Lu said there were similarities among the three systems, and that all three have advantages and disadvantages.
The committee's main problem was to reach a consensus and decide on one system or to incorporate the three systems into one, she said.
Discussions are still taking place at the ministry on unifying the phonetic system, Lu added.
Huang Yu-chi (
Other representatives said that not only students, but also foreigners and foreign spouses need to learn Hoklo and are in need of a unified system.