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Apr 2, 2008

Holo education plans

TVBS, which hates the idea of anyone being lierate in Holo Taiwanese, is upset with an effort by the MOE to encourage those kids studying Holo to use it in practical, fun ways! That plan included:

  • 3rd graders write e-mail in romanized Holo Taiwanese.
  • 5th graders use Holo Taiwanese to chat on MSN.
  • Middle schoolers use Holo Taiwanese to write a blog.
Obviously, this would be a big step toward widespread Holo Taiwanese literacy. The TVBS report further posits that bopomo ㄅㄆㄇ, aka Zhuyin fuhao (注音符號), English and romanizations for Holo, Hakka and aboriginal languages would make children "very confused" with all these crazy writing systems!

[The article fails to mention that children only have to, and indeed can probably only, pick a single native language (Holo, Hakka or one of the aboriginal tongues) to study at school, and that being able to write a language is sort of an obvious part of nearly all language training.]

The report starts and finishes by noting this plan is currently under review after previously having a green light (though no source is really cited for this assertion), and also speculates without evidence that Ma's election is the cause for the plan's delay/cancellation.

That makes no sense to me. I'd try to hurry it up if I were them, not slow things down!

Update: According to the Taigu-bang, this among other topics is simply under review and discussion at this point. There was a conference yesterday on these topics, which is apparently how TVBS came up with its report information (notice the blatant lie that the plan was somehow canceled due to Ma's election).

The romanization issue is also under review -- it appears the unified standard will be dropped to allow teachers to use whichever system they believe best. That, I think, will be a big mistake, though if a unified character system for all words is insisted upon, the disaster could be mitigated to some degree.

2 comments:

D. Corey Sanderson said...

I'm not versed in this issue, but it sounds like another case of politicians instating legislation even though they don't understand teaching methods. Hell, even though it matters little to Taiwanese, the non-standardization of things like Pinyin (Hanyu, Tongyong, Wade-Giles) is a sticking point for foreigners learning Chinese (except for formal classes teaching Zhuyin fuhao).

Maybe what I should ask is: is the legislation being pushed written by politicians or teachers? And, do teachers care enough about the early teaching of Hakka, Taiwanese, etc., to push for a standardization of written method?

阿牛 said...

The group forming most of these plans is a council within the Executive Yuan with the now out-dated name of Mandarin Promotion Council.

It's heavily influenced by academics, and some spend time arguing over a spelling standard instead of the nitty gritty of really teaching people the language. Though conferences are held with the normal teachers and other interest groups to get their input.