Sun, Feb 22, 2009 - Page 2 News List

FEATURE : Award recipients warn of danger to dialects

ENDANGERED The UN listed all of Taiwan旧 Aboriginal languages as threatened, and far fewer Hakka can speak their mother language than was the case in the past

By Loa Iok-sin  /  STAFF REPORTER

Another award recipient, Huang Nien (黃年), who owns a kindergarten in Kaohsiung that teaches Hoklo, was not as pessimistic about the future of her mother language.

“Native languages are at the root of Taiwanese culture, but I’ve observed a gap in the continuation of the languages,” Huang said, as she explained why she first started teaching Hoklo at her kindergarten in 2006.

“Because my kindergarten is located in Zuoying District [左營], which is an area in Kaohsiung City where a lot of residents are Mainlanders and their descendants, I ran into some protests from my students’ parents.”

Instead of giving up, Huang invited those parents to join in on the school’s classes or events.

“I told stories, we sang and we did a lot of fun activities. So, gradually, parents began to accept our language policy,” Huang said. “Many kids from Mainlander families in my kindergarten are now able to speak fluent Hoklo, and some of their parents are even learning to speak it.”

Lately, Huang has made Tuesday the kindergarten’s “Hoklo day,” on which all students and teachers try to speak only Hoklo.

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