Ha̍k-si̍p Tâi-gí Tha̍k Siá ê Kè-ta̍t
The Value of Learning to Read and Write in Taiwanese
-by- Ìn Chú-lia̍t (Joel H. Linton) -- May 22, 2007
<  title slide>
Today I am going to talk about the importance of learning to read and write Taiwanese.
Kin-á-ji̍t góa boeh kap lín hun-hióng ha̍k-si̍p Tâi-gí ê tha̍k siá ê kè-ta̍t.
People say, “Oh just speak Taiwanese with your Grandparents. There is no need to read and write TAiwanese.
Ū-lâng kóng, " Ò͘, nā ē-hiaú iōng Tâi-gí kap A-kong, A-má, kóng-oē, án-ne tō-hó.
M̄-bián ē-hiáu tha̍k koh siá Tâi-oân-oē."
Q: How many of you are Hoklo Taiwanese? How many from Hakka backgrounds? Aboriginal? 2nd Generation immigrants?
Chioh mn̄g chi̍t-ê: lín siáⁿ-lâng sī Hō-ló-lâng? Kheh-lâng? Goân-chū-bîn? Iah siáⁿ-lâng sī tē jī tāi lâi-ê Tâi-oân-lâng?
Góa sī tē it tāi lâi-ê.
No matter what language, it is important to write it.
Chit-má, choân sè-kài, múi-chi̍t-ê gí-giân lóng tio̍h-aì tòng iōng jī siá--chhut-lâi. Lâng nā bē-hiáu kā i ê gí-giân iōng jī siá--chhut-lâi, án-ni aū-lâi ē-hiáu kóng ê lâng ē lú-lâi-lú chió.
<slide  LOTR picture>
Q: How many of you have seen the movie, “The Lord of the Rings”?
Chia it-tēng ū lâng khòaⁿ-kòe chi̍t chhut tiān-iáⁿ kiò-chò 魔 戒 The Lord of the Rings?
Ū khòaⁿ-kòe ê lâng, chhiaⁿ lín giâ chhiú.
Q: How many of you have read the book?
Kuí ê ū khòaⁿkòe hit pún chheh?
The book was written by an Oxford University Professor. His name is J.R.R. Tolkien
Gû-tin-Tāi-ha̍k-ê kàu-siū --- i ê miâ kiò-chò J.R.R. Tolkien --- só͘-siá-ê hit pún 魔 戒 The Lord of the Rings.
<slide Tolkien portrait>
He was a professor of Anglo-Saxon Literature.
I sī Anglo-Saxon Bûn-ha̍k-hē ê kàu-siū.
Anglo-saxon is the original English language.
Anglo-saxon sī í-chêng goân-pún ê Eng-gí.
If J.R.R. Tolkien had been born in Taiwan, he would have become a professor of Taiwanese literature.
Góa siūⁿ, nā J.R.R. Tolkien m̄-sī Eng-kok-lâng; i ê chó͘-kok nā-sī Tâi-oân, i it-tēng ē chò Tâi-oân-oē Bûn-ha̍k ê kàu-siū.
<slide Tolkien portrait>
The English language has a similar history to Taiwanese.
Eng-gí ê le̍k-sú kap Tâi-gí-ê chin chhin-chhiūⁿ.
When people began to write down the language and develop a culture and literature, Foreigners came and conquered England.
Tùi Kong-goân Lio̍k-Khòng-Khòng Nî kàu Kong-goân Chi̍t-chheng Nî, Eng-kok-lâng ū hoat-khí Eng-bûn ê bûn-ha̍k. Liáu-aū, It-Khòng-Lio̍k-Lio̍k Nî ê-sî, gōa-kok ê thóng-tī-chiá William the Conquerer lâi-kàu Eng-kok.
<slide  Battle of Hastings 1066>
The new rulers spoke the French language.
Hit-ê thóng-tī-chiá, in kóng Hoat-kok-oē.
All English literature slowly stopped being written.
Í-aū lú-lâi-lú bô lâng siūⁿ boeh iōng Eng-bûn siá-jī.
It had a negative influence on the culture and changed the language. When English was used again by the rulers, it had changed.
Chit hāng tāi-chì hō͘ Eng-gí ū bô hó ê éng-hióng.
The same kind of thing happened in Taiwan.
Tâi-oân ê le̍k-sú mā ū hoat-seng--kòe kāng-khoán ê tāi-chì.
Japanese came in 1895. They forced the Taiwanese to learn and use Japanese in schools for 50 years.
It-Pat-Kiú-Ngó͘ Nî ê-sî, Ji̍t-Pún-lâng lâi. Thóng-tī Tâi-oân gō͘-cha̍p nî, in kiông-pek Tâi-oân ê ha̍k-hāu kan-na ē-tàng iōng Ji̍t-pún-oē .
Then the ChungHwaMinGuo (ROC) came and forced everyone to use Mandarin in schools for another 50 years.
Aū-lâi, Tiong-Hôa-Bîn-Kok lâi, koh gō͘-cha̍p nî bián-kióng Tâi-oân-lâng tī ha̍k-hāu kan-na ē-tàng iōng Hôa-gí .
All the local languages: Taiwanese, Hakka, and Aboriginal languages were suppressed.
In kìm-chí lâng iōng pún-thó͘-oē.
It took away the strength of Taiwanese language and literature.
Chit hāng tāi-chì m̄-nā kìm-chí Hō-ló-oē, Kheh-oē, kap múi chi̍t-cho̍k-ê goân-chū-bîn oē, mā hō͘ Tâi-oân ê gí-giân bûn-ha̍k kap bûn-hòa lú-lâi-lú jio̍k, lú-lâi-lú siau-sit-khì.
<slide  Silmarillion Picture>
Professor Tolkien wrote a story to restore Anglo Saxon culture and literature.
In-uī goân-pún ê Eng-kok bûn-hòa í-keng bô-khì, Eng-kok-ê hit-ê kàu-siū boeh hôe-ho̍k í-chêng ê Eng-kok bûn-hòa.
Só͘-í i siá 魔 戒 The Lord of the Rings hit pún chheh.
<Video Clip of Theodred's Funeral>
Although Tolkien invented languages, the one in the video is not His language. It is Anglo-saxon.
Sui-jiân Tolkien ka-tī chō sin-ê gí-giân, m̄-ku lán tú-tú thiaⁿ-ê m̄-sī i chō-ê. Hit-ê gí-giân sī Anglo-Saxon.
<slide  Eowyn singing funeral dirge>
That whole funeral illustrates Anglo-Saxon culture. It's beautiful.
Lán khòaⁿ-tio̍h-ê sōng-lé, lâi-bin ū chin-chē Anglo-Saxon suí ê bûn-hòa.
But that culture was lost and is only now being looked at again.
Chit-ê chiok suí ê bûn-hòa ū siau--sit-kòe. M̄-ku chòe-kīn koh khai-sí ū khòaⁿ-tio̍h.
Maybe some of you can have the same influence in Taiwan.
Lán chia khó-lêng ū chi̍t-koá ê lâng tùi Tâi-gí ē ū kāng-khoán ê éng-hióng.
It is very important to learn to read and write Taiwanese.
Só͘-í nā ē-hiáu tha̍k koh siá Tâi-gí sī tùi lán aū-pái ū chin tōa-ê pang-chō͘, sī chin te̍k-pia̍t-ê.
<slide  farmer at work>
Did you know that Taiwanese is a very literary language?
Lín chai bô. Pún-lâi Tâi-gí sī chi̍t-ê ū bûn-ha̍k ê gí-giân.
It is ironic that it is now the language spoken by farmers and people who did not study advanced degrees.
Chim-á sóa piàn-chò sī bô tha̍k chheh, bô chuí-chún ê lâng, teh kóng-ê oē. Ū-iáⁿ thiⁿ chha tī tē. Chha chin-chē.
Knowing how to read and write Taiwanese will help you understand the history of language and culture.
Lán nā ū o̍h Tâi-gí àn-chóaⁿ siá, àn-chóaⁿ tha̍k, lán tō chai-iáⁿ hit jī sī àn-chóaⁿ lâi-ê, sī àn-chóaⁿ cho͘-sêng-ê.
<slide  map Europe -- Roman empire>
East Asia's language history is very similar to Europe.
Tang-A le̍k-sú kap Aū-chiu-ê chin chhin-chhiūⁿ.
Thousands of years ago, the Roman Empire spread the Latin Language across Europe.
Nn̄g chheng nî-chêng, Lô-má tè-kok hō͘ La-teng-bûn tī Aū-chiu thôan-khoah (hoân-si̍t, seⁿ-thòaⁿ).
After that, Latin developed into different languages like Italian, French and Spanish.
Aū-lâi, La-teng-bûn hoat-tián piàn-chò chi̍t-kóa bô kāng-khoán ê gí-giân. Chhin-chhiūⁿ: Ì-tāi-lī-oē, Hoat-kok-oē, Se-pan-gâ-oē.
But even until 1700, people still wrote in Latin even if they spoke in a different language.
M̄-ku kàu It-Chhit-Khòng-Khòng Nî, lâng liân kóng pa̍t-ê gí-giân iā iáu iōng La-teng-bûn siá-jī.
Even other kinds languages like English got many words from Latin.
Sui-jiân Eng-gí m̄-sī tùi La-teng-bûn lâi-ê gí-giân, m̄-ku mā ū chin-chē jī sī tùi La-teng-bûn lâi-ê.
<slide  East Asia>
The Chinese Empire spread across East Asia.
Sio̍k Tang A-chiu Hàn-jîn-ê Tè-kok mā ū kāng-khóan ê éng-hióng.
In East Asia, Classical Chinese developed into many distinct languages like Cantonese, Hakka, and Min-nan.
Tī Tang A-chiu, bûn-giân-bûn hoat-tián piàn-chò chi̍t-kóa bô kāng-khoán ê gí-giân. Phì-jū-kóng: Kńg-tang-oē, Kheh-oē, kap Bân-lâm-oē.
But people still wrote mainly in classical Chinese.
M̄-ku, tōa-pō͘-hūn ē-tàng kā jī siá--chhut-lâi-ê lóng sī bûn-giân-jī.
and also, many Classical Chinese words came into non-Chinese languages such as Korean.
Pa̍t-ê gí-giân, chhin-chhiūⁿ Hân-kok-oē, mā ū iōng chin-chē bûn-giân-jī.
<slide  Korean-Taiwanese Consonant-Vowel Homology map>
I was born in Korea so I can speak a little Korean.
Góa sī tī Hân-kok chhut-sì--ê. Góa ē-hiáu kóng chi̍t-sut-á Hân-kok-oē.
When I came to Taiwan, I was very surprised to hear many words that sounded like Taiwanese.
Chin chhú-pi, góa lâi Tâi-oân ê-sî, góa thiaⁿ-kòe chin-chē chin sêng Hân-kok-oē ê Tâi-oân-oē.
Korean and Taiwanese preserve consonant and vowel sounds from Classical Chinese. These sounds no longer are in Mandarin.
Hân-kok-oē kap Tâi-oân-oē iáu ū bûn-giân goân-pún ê chú-im kap bó-im ê hoat-im. M̄-ku hôa-gí í-keng bô hit ê siaⁿ. Chim-á ê Tiong-bûn kap bûn-giân-bûn í-keng bô kāng-khoán--a.
<slide  consonant-vowel comparison>
Also, Korean's preserved Chinese Character Usage of the original classical Chinese. Taiwanese also did. Mandarin has changed.
Hân-kok-oē kap Tâi-oân-oē iōng ê Hàn-jī sī guân-pún iōng ē Hàn-jī. Chim-á ê Tiong-bûn iōng-ê Hàn-jī chin-chē sī sin-chō-ê.
Lán só͘ kóng-ê chiah-ê gí-giân sī Tâi-bûn siōng-kīn kó͘-bûn.
<slides [13, 14, 15, 16] examples>
If you read the Tang Dynasty Poems, you might sometimes the rhyming works better in Taiwanese than if you read in Mandarin. Also the tone sequence and structure matches Taiwanese better than Mandarin.
Lán nā iōng Tâi-gí tha̍k Tông-si, lán ē khah chheng-chhó thiaⁿ-tio̍h pêⁿ-im, tāng-im kap ūn ê kiàn-chō (kò͘-chō). Ū-sî-chun iōng Hôa-gí tha̍k, ūn ê kiàn͘-chō mā chheng-chhó, m̄-ku pêⁿ-im, tāng-im tō bô it-têng.
Mandarin only has four tones. Taiwanese has seven. So Mandarin lost some.
In-ūi Hôa-gí ê im-tiāu (koân-kē-im) chī ū sì-im. Tâi-gí ê im-tiāu ū chhit-im.
Taiwanese has two kinds of pronunciation of Chinese Characters- Literary and Regular.
Nā bòeh tha̍k Hàn-jī, Tâi-gí ū nn̄g khoán ê hoat-im tō-sī jī-im kap pe̍h-oē-im.
Also, if you know how to Write Taiwanese Chinese characters, you will find much cultural richness and beauty.
Lán nā ē-hiáu iōng Hàn-jī siá Tâi-gí, lán ē-táng chai khah-chē bûn-hòa ê suí.
<slide  cultural richness of Taiwanese language>
Q: How many of you can write POJ?
Lán chia ū kúi-ê lâng ē-hiáu siá Tâi-gí iōng ê pe̍h-oē-jī?
It is good if you can learn and use Taiwanese romanization.
Nā lán o̍h àn-chóaⁿ iōng pe̍h-oē-jī siá Tâi-gí ū chi̍t-kóa chin hó ê chú-tê.
1. Romanization shows inherent language structure in Taiwanese that cannot be seen reading characters.
1. Nā iōng Hàn-jī siá Tâi-gí, lán khòaⁿ--bē-chhut-lâi i ê gí-giân kiàn-chō (kò͘-chō). Nā iōng pe̍h-oē-jī lán ē-tàng chai-iáⁿ (chin chheng-chhó).
<slide  e.g. sing/plural pronouns, demonstrative pronouns>
I am sure that there are many other structure relationships in the Taiwanese language and I hope your class will discover some.
2. Although the MOE has designed BoPoMoFo to use for Taiwanese, it is only to help pronounce characters and is not meant to be written by itself. Romanized Taiwanese is respected as independent of Characters.
2. Lán ē-tàng bé Tâi-gí pe̍h-oē-jī ê chheh.
3. Like English, the Taiwanese language has many contractions.
3. Chhin-chhiūⁿ Eng-gí, chin-chē Tâi-gí jī ū nn̄g-ê-siaⁿ ha̍p-chò chi̍t-ê siaⁿ kóng.
Chinese Characters are not able to express this.
Iōng Hàn-jī bô hoat-tō͘ siá hit hāng tāi-chì.
<assignment --- can they come up with some contractions>
<slide  e.g. hō͘-lâng = hông niā-niā = niâ sì-cha̍p = sia̍p>
You could do a class project to compile all of the common contractions.
4. Using characters will often lead us to write Taiwanese incorrectly because we are used to Mandarin words.
4. In-ūi ta̍k-ê í-keng si̍p-koàn iōng Hàn-jī siá Hôa-gí. Só͘-í lán khòaⁿ Hàn-jī kóng Tâi-gí ê-sî tiāⁿ-tiāⁿ kóng m̄-tio̍h.
<slide  e.g. tāi-ke vs. ta̍k-ê>
5. Romanization can help us compare regional accents. Chinese characters cannot help us compare accents.
So Romanization helps cultural understanding and research.
My mother and father-in-law are from I-Lan where people say " chia̍h-puiⁿ "... instead of " chia̍h-png." And " mûiⁿ " instead of " mn̂g."
6. You can type using romanization on the internet, etc. I have a website that shows how to make tone marks.
But there is one thing to remember with Romanization.
If you know how to pronounce Taiwanese romanization, pronouncing English words is different. English does not have a consistent sound for each letter. Taiwanese romanization has a consistant sound for each letter.
Siá Tâi-gí iōng pe̍h-oē-jī ū chi̍t-ê ài kì-tit: Pe̍h-oē-jī ê hoat-im kap Eng-gí ê Lô-má-jī ê hoat-im bô kāng-khóan.
So I have developed a phonetic script based on J.R.R. Tolkien's script that expresses even more closely the relation between different sounds.
Só͘-í, goá ū iōng ê sin-jī sī tùi J.R.R. Tolkien chō-ê sin-jī lâi-ê.
Every sound matches exactly.
Só͘-ū tùi Tolkien lâi-ê jī kan-na ū chi̍t-ê hoat-im niā-niā.
What about you?
Chim-á, lín ū siūⁿ boeh chhòng-siàⁿ?
-- you can restore the culture and languages of Taiwan
-- Begin to write in Taiwanese
-- class project --- submit articles to the Taiwanese wikipedia.
-- writing stories for Taiwan's cultures like Tolkien did for England.
<slide  Resources.>
<play NETV video clip>
Business cards w/ Map to Taiwan Shop, and PCT Bookstore (source of much romanized material)
Material online already in Romanization.
in Taiwanese Romanization
Taiwanese Hàn Character.
English Amoy Dictionary & Taiwanese-English Dictionary --- Maryknoll Language Institute
A Dictionary of Southern Min by Bernard L.M. Embree --- Taipei Language Institute
A Dictionary of the Amoy Vernacular by W. Campbell --- Taiwan Church Press
back to Taiwanese language resources