Taiwan’s first foundation for the research and development of Aboriginal languages launched on Saturday to coincide with International Mother Language Day.
The Foundation for the Research and Development of Indigenous Languages was established in accordance with legislation that was passed in 2018 and defines its role as research and development of teaching methods for Aboriginal languages, collection of Aboriginal corpora, compilation of Aboriginal language dictionaries and the establishment of Aboriginal language databases.
Speaking at the launch ceremony, President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) said that Taiwan’s Aboriginal languages in 2017 gained national language status with the Aboriginal Language Development Act (原住民族語言發展法).
The budget for Aboriginal languages has since increased five-fold, and there are specialized Aboriginal language instructors in schools and villages, Tsai said.
Some government agencies are publishing official documents in Aboriginal languages and providing simultaneous interpretation in Aboriginal languages on a trial basis, she said.
Apart from recognizing and embracing Aboriginal languages, the government is also working to promote the mother tongues of other ethnic groups, such as the Hoklo and Hakka, Tsai said.
Taiwan’s 16 officially recognized Aboriginal languages have more than 40 dialects, according to Council of Indigenous Peoples statistics.
International Mother Language Day was approved by the UN in 1999 and is observed worldwide on Feb. 21 to promote linguistic diversity and multilingualism.
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