DU1 Taiwan

DIALOGE UNIT 1: “Not Our Fault, But Our Fault-Lines”: Languages on the Taiwan Fault-Line


Taiwan, the homeland of Austronesian languages, crisscrossed by many earthquake fault-lines, has become the variegated borderline between China and the Pacific over the past four centuries. Waves of European, Japanese and repeated Chinese invasions followed, one upon the other, creating a unique blend which is often called a linguistic laboratory.

This project aims at a large-scale documentation and investigation of indigenous language use in the media (predominantly the indigenous TV station) and its impact on the survival of the 42 dialects still in use in the 16 recognized aboriginal tribes. More than ten years of TV news broadcast in the 8 major indigenous languages will be macro-indexed and representative parts will be chosen to be fine-grain analyzed to see the factual sinicization of language use (vocabulary, grammar, pragmatics) with a sociolinguistic evaluation of the changes following. The interim results of the documentation will be the central core of a multimedia database, serving interested European researchers, as an entry point into Taiwan borderline languages research.

The important issue here is that we create reliable access with exemplary explanations and a materials database for the European linguistic and anthropological community for understanding and joining the research of what is happening linguistically on the Pacific and Sinitic fault-line.

František Kratochvíl, MA. Ph.D.
Mgr. Petr Janda


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