Liao Hsiu-kuang (
"I have only one heartfelt wish, and that is to hand down Taiwanese language culture to later generations intact" says 88-year-old Liao.
Liao taught Japanese during the colonial period, and later taught Chinese under Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) rule.
PHOTO: WANG MIN-WEI, TAIPEI TIMES
During the White Terror he was imprisoned on Green Island and in a military prison in Taipei for seven years. During his sixth year, a prisoner in a neighboring cell gave him several Taiwanese language dictionaries, which sparked his interest in researching the language.
Although Taiwanese is his native language, Liao has used his fluent Japanese and Mandarin to contribute to and edit other Taiwanese dictionaries published in Japanese. In his work he has insisted on using the word "Taiwanese" rather than "Hoklo," a practice which has been adopted in other Taiwanese dictionaries in other countries.
Liao says that most Taiwanese dictionaries on the market today use a pinyin-like romanization system.
However he believes that since Korean, Japanese and Arabic have their own indigenous phonetic transcription systems, Taiwanese should have its own as well. Therefore in his dictionary Liao uses his own hybrid system of Zhuyin transcription (
Liao says that his unfulfilled desire is to have the draft published. He said he is willing to give it to a non-profit publishing house because he did not write it for profit or fame, but to use his remaining years to do his utmost to contribute to Taiwan and Taiwanese language culture.
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