Asian Spectator



Responding to International Mother Language Day, Taiwan builds an environment friendly to indigenous languages

  • Written by Council of Indigenous Peoples

TAIPEI, TAIWAN - Media OutReach[1] - 23 February 2021 - In response to UN's call for the preservation of mother languages, International Mother Language Day -- Indigenous Language Revitalization Award Ceremony and Forum on Taiwan Indigenous Language Development was held in Taiwan on February 20 and 21. Indigenous languages and official languages were used together throughout the events, including Indigenous Language Revitalization Award Ceremony and a keynote speech on the Historical Truth of Indigenous Language Loss and National Language Revitalization Strategy.

Responding to International Mother Language Day, Taiwan builds an environment friendly to indigenous languages

President Tsai Ing-wen presenting Indigenous Language Children Award to the 5-year-old recipient, LregeaiRukai

Delegates from 14 countries including the Republic of Palau, and heads of local governments and NGOs were invited, reaching an attendance of 300 people. President Tsai Ing-wen and Premier Su Tseng-chang of the Executive Yuan presented a total of 12 awards to accredited individuals, groups and organizations for indigenous language revitalization. Among which, the recipient of the Indigenous Language Children Award, Lregeai, is a five-year-old with Rukai person, who has already won many awards in relation to indigenous languages. Kating Mulas, the recipient of the Indigenous Language Teacher Award is fluent in both Bunun, her mother language, and Pangcah/Amis, the language she teaches, and is extremely gifted in language learning.

Minister Icyang ‧ Parod of the Council of Indigenous Peoples delivered his remark entirely in Pangcah/Amis. Delegates attending the meeting on behalf of various organizations used a total of 10 different languages, including Truku, Drekay, Thakongadavane, Bunun, Kanakanavu, Pangcah/Amis, Atayal, Kavalan, Pinuyuanan, and Chinese. Simultaneous interpreting service for various indigenous languages was provided as per international conferences, showcasing indigenous languages for the nation to become acquainted with, so that together we can create an environment friendly to indigenous languages.

Enacted in 2016, the Indigenous Languages Development Act set in motion various measures for language revitalization, leading to the quintuple of budget with even more manpower invested towards language revitalization. With the government coordinating indigenous language promotion organizations, manpower and resources, we hope to effectively revitalize indigenous languages and cultures through such consensus meetings.

Minister Icyang ‧ Parod pointed out that without indigenous languages, there will be no indigenous rituals and ceremonies; without indigenous languages, indigenous cultures will cease to be passed on. As the origin of the Austronesian, linguistic diversity is Taiwan's gift to the world in its most beautiful form. The two-day event sees consensus reached amongst indigenous language development organization and professionals, together we continue to promote the research, preservation, promotion and passing on of indigenous languages, and give voice to the beautiful Austronesian languages in Taiwan.


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Authors: Council of Indigenous Peoples

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