After seven years of development, the Ministry of Education has completed the first official online dictionkary for Hoklo (also known as Taiwanese).
The Online Taiwan Common Hoklo Dictionary test version contains 16,000 commonly used Hoklo terms and words in transliteration.
Ministry officials said the dictionary was very user-friendly and that non-Hoklo speakers could look up Hoklo phrases by keying in their Mandarin equivalent.
Chen Hsuch-yu (陳雪玉), the executive-secretary and senior inspector of the ministry’s National Languages Committee, said the ministry had begun work on Hoklo, Hakka and Aboriginal online dictionaries in July 2001 to facilitate local language sessions in elementary and junior high schools.
The endeavor is now complete, with the three dictionaries finished in March, June and this month respectively, she said.
Users of the Hoklo dictionary can look up words by keying in headwords (“catchwords”), transliteration of the words and the words’ Mandarin equivalents through “fuzzy searches” or “focus searches,” Chen said.
They can also look up slang, place names, kinship terms, loanwords (words borrowed from another language), terms of human organs and the 24 solar terms by keying in the number of strokes of the term’s headword, she said.
Phonological differences and regional variations, including the two major variants — Chuanchou (泉州) and Changchou (漳州) — are also recognized by the dictionary, she said.
Yao Rongsong (姚榮松), chief editor of the ministry’s editing committee and a professor of Taiwanese literature at National Taiwan Normal University, said creating the dictionary was very time consuming because editors had to switch from the Taiwan Language Phonetic Alphabet they had initially used to Taiwanese romanization.
Yao said the committee would amend the dictionary in accordance with feedback after a six-month trial period.
Minister of Education Cheng Jei-cheng (鄭瑞城) said completion of the dictionary showed that the nation’s Hoklo education had now entered a new age of professionalism.
The Web site is available at http://twblg.dict.edu.tw/tw/index.htm.