Thu, Oct 04, 2018 - Page 4 News List

Center teaches Aboriginal languages

DANGER OF DYING OUT:More than 200 people have signed up for the courses that would be rotated on a trimester basis and would be divided into four levels

By Wang Chun-chi and Jake Chung  /  Staff reporter, with staff writer

Staff members and government officials give the thumbs-up sign at the opening of National Dong Hwa University’s Aboriginal Languages Learning Center in Hualien County on Monday.

Photo copied by Wang Chun-chi, Taipei Times

The Aboriginal Languages Learning Center at National Dong Hwa University in Hualien County is offering six Aboriginal language courses in a bid to increase the number of people who speak them.

The center — funded by the Council of Indigenous Peoples — is part of the Ministry of Education’s Aboriginal Language Teacher Fostering Program.

Six other universities established similar centers in August.

The center is offering courses on the Amis, Bunun, Truku, Sediq, Sakizaya and Kavalan languages, center director Lee Pei-jung (李佩容) said.

The courses would be rotated on a trimester basis, and would be divided into elementary, intermediate, upper intermediate and advanced levels, Lee said.

The Sakizaya and Kavalan languages are considered endangered, and the center would start those courses even if only one student signs up, Lee said.

The Puyuma, Thao, Hla’alua and Kanakanavu languages, as well as versions of the Rukai language spoken in Teledrka, Oponoho and Kungadavan villages in Kaohsiung are also considered endangered by the council.

However, villagers have refused to be assigned to the Rukai-language group, saying they are distinct from the Rukai in both culture and language.

“We hope that our efforts would alleviate and provide a solution to the situation where Aboriginal languages are in danger of dying out, as the younger generation is not learning them,” Lee said.

More than 200 people have signed up for more than seven classes at the center, including the language courses and other advanced courses, for a total of 20 credits, Lee added.

The center provides an environment for students to learn the languages, Lee said, adding that hopefully some of them would take certification exams to teach Aboriginal languages.

The council is also promoting language apprenticeship programs to help preserve the Aboriginal languages and their derivatives.

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