Taiwan’s tribal languages are being preserved and promoted as part of government efforts to further safeguard the ethnic diversity of the country, Vice President Chen Chien-jen said Dec. 9.
Language is the foundation of cultural identity, Chen said. As more children learn and speak indigenous tongues, they will grow to serve as guardians of customs and traditions for the next generations, he added.
Chen made the remarks during the opening ceremony of an exhibition promoting tribal languages organized by the Cabinet-level Council of Indigenous Peoples. The event seeks to raise public awareness of the rich heritage of Taiwan’s tribes, as well as the important contribution they make to the cultural makeup of the country.
According to Chen, the Indigenous Languages Development Act plays a key role in fostering an environment conducive to learning and speaking tribal tongues. Passed by the Legislature in June 2017, the landmark bill affords national status to the dialects of the 16 officially recognized indigenous peoples’ groups.
Another important piece of legislation is the Education Act for Indigenous Peoples, Chen said. Programs and subsidies under the bill are supporting the development of an immersive language learning environment for tribal children while increasing the number of related classes offered by schools around Taiwan, he added.
Indigenous peoples have lived in Taiwan for millenniums. The latest CIP statistics peg the population of Taiwan’s tribal members at around 567,000, or 2.4 percent of the total 23.58 million. (RAY-E)
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