Wed, May 29, 2019 - Page 3 News List

Lee praises Miaoli council for holding session in Hakka

MOTHER TONGUE:As 65 percent of the population of Miaoli County speaks Hakka, it should be the main official language, the Hakka Affairs Council said

By Chang Hsun-teng and Jake Chung  /  Staff reporter, with staff writer

Hakka Affairs Council Minister Lee Yong-te listens at the Miaoli County Council yesterday as two interpreters translate county councilors’ remarks from Hakka into Mandarin.

Photo: Chang Hsun-tung, Taipei Times

The Miaoli County Council yesterday became the first in the nation to hold a session entirely in the Hakka language and was awarded the “Hakka-friendly Environment” marker by the Hakka Affairs Council.

Hakka Affairs Council Minister Lee Yung-te (李永得) said the accomplishment was a historic day for the development of Taiwanese culture.

The council had initiated trial-runs for full-Hakka sessions since Monday last week, a move that was supported by Miaoli County Council Speaker Chung Tung-chin (鍾東錦) and other councilors, the agency said.

During the trial sessions, the council provided two translators to translate the Hakka question-and-answer session into Chinese, Lee said.

Lee yesterday pledged that the agency would fully fund all the translator fees for Miaoli County Council sessions.

The agency said the move had a legal basis in the Hakka Basic Act (客家基本法), promulgated on Jan. 31 last year, the National Languages Development Act (國家語言發展法), passed on Dec. 25 last year, and the Regulations to Implement Hakka as an Official Language (客語為通行語實施辦法).

As about 65 percent of the population of Miaoli County speaks Hakka, it should be the main official language of the county, as stated in the Hakka Basic Act, the agency said.

Miaoli County has spearheaded the return of Hakka language to public use among city and county councils nationwide, Lee said.

Lee also commended the county council for fostering a Hakka-friendly environment.

“If children do not learn Hakka when they are young, they will never be able to learn it,” Lee said.

Speaking, rather than learning, is how the native tongue is passed from one generation to the next, Lee said, adding that to foster such an environment, Hakka must be spoken not only at home, but also in public places such as the county council and township offices.

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