Bundled up against the cold,                          young urbanites pose before Taipei                          101, rea...
2	 People and Language                At a Glance                •	 Fusion of Han, Austronesian and immigrant cultures    ...
2           People and Language              People                                       approximately 70 percent of the ...
Hakka                                          Indigenous Peoples                    The Hakka, who make up about one-    ...
2           People and Language                   To preserve and rejuvenate the cul-               tural heritage of Taiw...
as the millet-planting festival held be-          once exclusively worn by chieftains may               tween November and...
2           People and Language               be divided into eight tribes, each with               its own legend about i...
their geographic proximity to neighbors       among their society are still guided by               who speak those langua...
2           People and Language               hunting grounds. They climbed over               Mount Qilai 奇萊山 in the Cent...
when warriors returned triumphant from         hierarchy. Social affairs are handled by               war. In the present ...
2            People and Language               nearly doubled to 6.09 million. Although                                   ...
A family of three                                                                                      has become a       ...
2           People and Language               convergence spearheaded by the 2006           Taiwanese Language Phonetic Al...
Indigenous Languages                              Foreign Language Education                    Taiwan’s indigenous langua...
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People & Language. ROC (Taiwan) Yearbook 2011 Ch02 people language


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From the last edition of the ROC (Taiwan) Yearbook that used to be published by the disbanded Government Information Office (GIO).

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People & Language. ROC (Taiwan) Yearbook 2011 Ch02 people language

  1. 1. Bundled up against the cold, young urbanites pose before Taipei 101, ready to ring in the new year.02四校(indexed) 2.indd 26 2011/10/17 11:53:06 PM
  2. 2. 2 People and Language At a Glance • Fusion of Han, Austronesian and immigrant cultures • Customs of indigenous peoples • Falling birth rates and aging population O ver 95 percent of Taiwan’s population is of Han Chinese an- cestry, with the remainder composed of indigenous Austro- nesian peoples and recent immigrants. Han Taiwanese are the descendants of immigrants that arrived in two main waves—first, in the 17th century after the Manchu invasion of the main- land, and later, in 1949, when the ROC government relocated to the is- land. Austronesian peoples, meanwhile, have inhabited the island for millennia. Since the late 1990s, an increased number of marriages be- tween ROC citizens and foreign nationals has further diversified the na- tion’s ethnic makeup. Mandarin, the official language, is almost universally spoken and un- derstood, while large segments of the population also speak Holo and Hakka. In addition, Taiwan’s indigenous groups have their own Austro- nesian languages while immigrants speak a variety of tongues. Longer lifespans combined with one of the lowest birth rates in the world have made Taiwan a rapidly aging society. People over 65 now exceed 10 percent of the population, while each woman on average gives birth to one child during her lifetime. Policies have been enacted at the national and local levels to create a supportive child-rearing en- vironment, improve preventative health care and provide a comprehen- sive social security net for the graying population. 2702四校(indexed) 2.indd 27 2011/10/17 11:53:09 PM
  3. 3. 2 People and Language People approximately 70 percent of the popula- tion. During the Qing dynasty, a large Han Peoples number of Holo men from mainland Seeking refuge from upheavals dur- China married women of indigenous ing the transition between the Ming 明 Austronesian groups. Hence, many and Qing 清 dynasties, the ancestors of in Taiwan who consider themselves Taiwan’s Han 漢 peoples began migrating Han have indigenous ancestry as well. from China’s southeastern provinces to With Austronesian as well as Japanese the island in sizeable numbers in the 17th influences—the latter as the result of century. The majority of these early im- the half-century of Japanese colonial migrants were Holo 河洛人, mostly from rule from 1895 to 1945—Holo culture areas in southern Fujian Province 福建 in Taiwan is quite different from that in 省 (e.g., Zhangzhou 漳州 and Quanzhou mainland China. 泉州) as well as Hakka 客家人 from east- A traditional Holo residence typi- ern Guangdong Province 廣東省 (mainly cally featured red-brick walls and a Huizhou 惠州, Chaozhou 潮州 and what is red-tile roof. The most basic structure known today as Meizhou 梅州). consisted of a rectangular building with Immigrants from Quanzhou settled a main living room sandwiched between in coastal regions and those from Zhang- two other rooms. Depending on a fami- zhou tended to gather on inland plains, ly’s wealth and size, wings were added, while Hakka immigrants inhabited hilly creating a four-sided, enclosed com- areas. Clashes between these groups pound or three-sided, semi-enclosed over resources led to the relocation of compound with a central courtyard. some communities, and, as time passed, Houses in the Kinmen Folk Culture Vil- varying degrees of intermarriage and as- lage 金門民俗文化村 best represent such similation took place. traditional dwellings, whereas the Lin An-tai Historical Home 林安泰古厝 is the Holo oldest and best-preserved example of The Holo people are the largest traditional Holo residential architecture Han group in Taiwan, accounting for in Taipei City 臺北市. The Lin An-tai Historical Home, with a traditional courtyard and elegant decorations, is the best-preserved example of a Holo residence in Taipei City. (Zheng Han-yin, courtesy of the Tourism Bureau) 2802四校(indexed) 2.indd 28 2011/10/17 11:53:14 PM
  4. 4. Hakka Indigenous Peoples The Hakka, who make up about one- Indigenous Malayo-Polynesian peoples fifth of the Han population in Taiwan, have have lived on the island for millennia, a long history of periodic migration— with archeological evidence confirming hence the name Hakka, which literally their presence dating back 12,000 to means “guest people.” Traditionally, their 15,000 years. Their languages belong to residences were made with black-brick or the Austronesian linguistic family, whose white-plastered brick walls and black-tile speakers are known for their migratory roofs. Some pre-modern Hakka residences history and inhabit an area of the globe were built with red bricks and red tiles, that stretches from Madagascar Island in indicating a Holo influence. the west to Easter Island in the east and The Hakka were also known for their from Taiwan in the north to New Zealand communal spirit, as exemplified by their in the south. multistory weilongwu 圍龍屋 apartment- Though distinct from each other in style dwellings, which could accommodate many ways, the various indigenous groups hundreds of people. The fortress-like struc- in Taiwan share certain customs with one ture of such buildings—with no windows another and with Austronesian peoples on the ground level—and concentration in other parts of the world. These include of so many people provided collective building elevated houses, weaving with security in earlier times when govern- bamboo and rattan, tattooing and chewing ment was weak and local communities betel nuts. These groups also have similar had to look after themselves. Examples observances, such as coming-of-age cer- of weilongwu architecture can be seen in emonies and harvest festivals. Taichung City’s 臺中市 Dongshi District 東 Over the centuries, while the more 勢區 and Pingtung County’s 屏東縣 Neipu remote indigenous groups have tended Township 內埔鄉. to maintain distinctive communities, oth- Hakka traditions include tea-farming ers have blended in with Han society. opera, folk songs (see Chapter 17, “Cul- With today’s society-wide appreciation ture”) and worship of the Lords of the of ethnic diversity and affirmation of Three Mountains 三山國王 and yimin 義 ethnic equality, however, many who still 民, ancestors who sacrificed their lives to remember and treasure their Austronesian protect their communities. heritage—including descendants of the Siraya 西拉雅, Luilang 雷朗 and Pazeh 巴 Immigrants Arriving in 1949 則海 peoples—are pushing to receive of- The ROC government’s relocation to ficial recognition as indigenes. Taiwan in 1949 occasioned an influx of 1.3 As is the trend the world over, the million people from the Chinese mainland cultures and lifestyles of Taiwan’s indig- to the island. The majority were soldiers, enous peoples have changed radically in civil servants or teachers. Unlike earlier the course of modernization. No longer immigrants, these people came from all are their livelihoods based on hunting and over the mainland and included not only gathering or slash-and-burn agriculture, Han Chinese but also ethnic groups from while many live and work in urban areas. Mongolia, Tibet and southwestern China. Succeeding generations are losing fluency The cultural influence of this wave of im- in their ancestral tongue as Mandarin has migrants can be seen, for example, in the become the standard. Much of traditional fact that all major regional Chinese cui- indigenous culture, therefore, is in danger sines may be found in Taiwan. of disappearing. 2902四校(indexed) 2.indd 29 2011/10/17 11:53:14 PM
  5. 5. 2 People and Language To preserve and rejuvenate the cul- tural heritage of Taiwan’s aborigines, by a male leadership group that included members of different age groups. Though the Cabinet-level Council of Indigenous these practices are no longer prevalent, Peoples (CIP) 行政院原住民族委員會 was their influence over the Amis can still be established in 1996. The CIP is in charge seen today. of formulating policies and planning and implementing programs to improve the Atayal lives of indigenous groups in the areas of There are about 81,500 Atayal, education and culture, health and welfare, whose homeland is in northern Taiwan’s employment and land management. central mountainous region. In bygone As of the end of 2010, the collective times, important affairs were decided by population of the 14 officially recognized a council of elders, and social interac- indigenous groups stood at approximately tion was regulated by the ancient gaga 512,700 (including about 23,000 people system of rules and beliefs, violation of who did not identify themselves as be- which, the Atayal believed, would result longing to any one group), or about 2 in punishment by spirits. Ancestral spirit percent of the total population of Taiwan. veneration is still an important group Their communities spread over 16,000 ritual among the Atayal. square kilometers, or about 45 percent of The Atayal have developed sophisti- Taiwan’s total land area. The three largest cated weaving skills featuring intricate groups—the Amis 阿美, the Paiwan 排灣 patterns and designs, which, in the past, and the Atayal 泰雅—accounted for nearly could determine a woman’s social status. 70 percent of the indigenous population. In Atayal tradition, red is a favored color for clothing, as it symbolizes blood and Amis the vitality of life, and is believed to be Numbering about 187,700 and resid- imbued with the power to dispel evil. V- ing mainly in the valleys and coastal areas shaped facial tattooing was once a part of eastern Taiwan, the Amis are Taiwan’s of Atayal coming-of-age ceremonies, largest indigenous group. They are divided in recognition of courage among young into the Nanshi 南勢, Xiuguluan 秀姑巒, men and embroidery mastership among Coastal 海岸, Taitung 臺東 and Hengchun young women. 恆春 tribes. Each tribe has its own dialect, set of customs and style of dress. The Bunun group’s most important festival is the Numbering over 52,500, the Bunun annual Ilisin harvest festival, which is held 布農 are concentrated in Taiwan’s central variously from one to seven days between and southeastern mountainous regions of July and September. It includes rituals an average altitude of 1,000 to 2,000 me- for celebrating the transformation of boys ters. Millet is revered by the Bunun, who into men and is well known for the vibrant traditionally based their concept of time singing and dancing of participants. on the biorhythm of millet and believed Formerly, the Amis had a matrilineal that millet plants have souls and feelings. clan structure and system of inheritance. Bunun society used to have a patriarchal Decisions on family affairs including fi- structure, with single households typically nance and property holdings were made consisting of multifamily clans number- by the female head of household. Public ing up to 60 members. affairs involving tribal politics, consen- Major Bunun festivals include the sual laws and religion were dealt with “millet ceremony” at harvest time as well 3002四校(indexed) 2.indd 30 2011/10/17 11:53:14 PM
  6. 6. as the millet-planting festival held be- once exclusively worn by chieftains may tween November and December, where be donned by others, although the head- their famed eight-part harmony Pasibutbut dress still remains privileged attire. is sung to the gods for a bountiful harvest. The Paiwan are famed for their glazed The pre-hunt “ear-shooting ceremony,” or bead ornamentation and skill in carv- Malahtangia, is a ritual in which arrows ing wood and stone. One of their most are shot at animals’ ears in the belief, in commonly used decorative motifs is the earlier times, that this would ensure a suc- highly esteemed hundred-pace viper cessful hunt. These days, it only marks (Agkistrodon acutus) totem. Bunun boys’ passage into adulthood. It is believed that during the Paiwan’s 15-day Maleveq celebration, held once ev- Kavalan ery five years, the spirits of their ancestors The Kavalan 噶瑪蘭, with 1,250 mem- come down from Dawu Mountain 大武山 to bers, are one of the eastern coastal peoples, commune with them. In earlier days, their most of whom have been assimilated reverence for ancestral spirits was symbol- through marriage into the dominant Han ized by sculptures inside their dwellings. population since the latter’s arrival in the plains of Hualien 花蓮 and Taitung counties. Puyuma Nevertheless, people of Kavalan ancestry The Puyuma 卑南, based in Taitung are striving to revive their cultural heritage, including language, myths and shamanist County and numbering about 12,200, can practices, with Xinshe 新社 community in Hualien County’s Fengbin Township 豐濱鄉 serving as their cultural hub. Believing that every living creature has its own spirit, the Kavalan have de- veloped unique rituals, including the Kisaiiz group healing ceremony to dis- pel evil spirits. They traditionally have a matrilineal clan structure and system of inheritance, but clan chiefs—who are elected—can be male or female. Paiwan The Paiwan are about 90,200 strong and comprise two major subgroups in southern Taiwan: the Ravar 拉瓦爾亞 and the Butsul 布曹爾亞. In bygone days, this group had a social hierarchy consisting of chieftains, nobles, warriors and com- moners, with individuals’ place in society easily identified by their clothes and decorative apparel. Commoners tilled the land but could be elevated to the warrior class through marriage or by achieve- ments in warfare, hunting or sculpturing. Today, the clothing designs that were 3102四校(indexed) 2.indd 31 2011/10/17 11:53:18 PM
  7. 7. 2 People and Language be divided into eight tribes, each with its own legend about its origins. For in- swing ceremony for eligible young men and women. The higher and longer a stance, while the mythology of the Nan- woman can be swung by her beau, it is wang 南王 tribe says their ancestors were said, the greater the couple’s chance of born from bamboo, that of the Zhiben having a blessed marriage. 知本 tribe claims that their progenitors The Rukai share many cultural tra- sprang from stone. ditions with the neighboring Paiwan, In traditional Puyuma society, prop- including similar attire, headdresses and erty ownership was matrilineal, with beliefs connected to the hundred-pace vi- the eldest daughter inheriting the fam- per. The two groups also had well-defined ily’s wealth. Shamanistic practices were social hierarchies with noble and powerful common with “white” shamans healing clans holding higher positions in the com- the sick and “black” shamans inflicting munity. But unlike bilineal Paiwan society curses. A communal trakuban build- in which the eldest progeny—regardless ing served as the tribal political center of gender—inherited the family property, and as a school for males, who, before among the Rukai, the eldest son was the marriage, underwent military training designated heir. and were tasked with defending the community. Some young men still wear Saisiyat head wreaths in recognition of having The Saisiyat 賽夏, numbering nearly attained manhood. 6,000 and scattered across Miaoli 苗 Puyuma women are known for their 栗 and Hsinchu 新竹 counties, are best skill at producing exquisite embroidery. known for their Pas-ta-ai ceremony that Geometric patterns of dancing figures commemorates the spirits of the Ta-ai—a executed in cross-stitch style are among short-statured, dark-skinned people who the features that make Puyuma embroi- they say were the earliest inhabitants of dery unique. Taiwan and passed on many of their skills to the Saisiyat. Legend has it that because Rukai Ta-ai men sexually harassed Saisiyat The approximately 12,100 Rukai 魯凱 women, the enraged Saisiyat men killed are concentrated in Kaohsiung City 高雄市 virtually all of them. Afterward, the Saisi- as well as Pingtung and Taitung counties. yat experienced years of poor harvests. To Traditionally, they had a patriarchal hi- placate the spirits of the dead Ta-ai, ritual erarchy with chieftains, nobles, warriors chanting and dancing are performed four and commoners. The lily was symbolic of nights in a row once every other year. nobility, and only highly regarded com- The Saisiyat are a patriarchal society. moners recognized as spiritually pure or Traditionally, each clan is represented brave had the honor of adorning them- by an animal, plant or other totem and selves with the flower. Still, commoners marriage must be between members of could elevate their social status by bring- different clans. During the Qing dynasty, ing in large harvests or by marrying up. the Saisiyat adopted Chinese surnames As part of the annual Tsatsapipianu derived from their clan totems, such harvest festival held in August, Rukai as Feng 風 (wind), Ri 日 (sun) and Xia men bake millet cakes on stone slabs and 夏 (summer). Saisiyat culture contains divine the harvest in the coming year strong influences from the Atayal. Some based on the qualities of the cakes. The members of the Saisiyat can speak both climax of the Tsatsapipianu is a rope the Atayal and Hakka languages due to 3202四校(indexed) 2.indd 32 2011/10/17 11:53:19 PM
  8. 8. their geographic proximity to neighbors among their society are still guided by who speak those languages. an ancient gaya or waya set of rules for everyday life, including family affairs, Sakizaya religious ceremonies and social roles. The Sakizaya 撒奇萊雅, a matrilineal The Sisin is regarded by the Sediq as society, are a small group with a popula- a sacred bird, whose songs, traditionally, tion of about 560 who live on the Qilai 奇 were interpreted as guidance for making 萊 plain in Hualien County. Because they important decisions such as those regard- have closely interacted with the Amis for ing hunting or marriage. a long period of time, the customs and at- tire of the two groups became essentially Thao identical, but only about 30 percent of the With a population of about 700, the Sakizaya language overlaps with that of Thao 邵 people’s homeland is in the envi- the Amis. It was not until 2007 that the rons of Nantou County’s Sun Moon Lake Sakizaya were officially recognized as a 日月潭. One of their legends has it that distinct indigenous group. their ancestors discovered the lake while Fusion with the Amis is said to have chasing a white deer and moved there come about when the Sakizaya fled their after seeing the area’s beauty and natural coastal plain homeland and sought ref- abundance. Later, they began to cultivate uge in the mountains after losing a battle crops on earth-covered bamboo rafts against Qing troops in the 19th century. floating on the lake and became adept at Only by disguising themselves as Amis carving hollowed-out tree-trunk canoes. did they avoid being annihilated. Among the Thao’s unique preserved tradi- To this day, Sakizaya elders still per- tions is the pestle song and dance, mostly form the rice-giving Mivakivaki ritual for performed by women, during which the welcoming young people into the ranks rhythm is set by tapping pestles on stone. of adults. The Thao are a patriarchal society. Decisions regarding ceremonial rituals Sediq are made by the chief, a hereditary posi- The Sediq 賽德克 were officially rec- tion passed on from father to eldest son. ognized as one of Taiwan’s indigenous In the corner of many Thao homes hangs peoples in 2008. Numbering about 7,100, an ulalaluan, a basket containing ances- they are mostly concentrated in Nantou tors’ clothing arranged in chronological County’s 南投縣 Ren-ai Township 仁愛鄉. layers, in which ancestral guardian spirits The Sediq are famous for their courageous are believed to dwell. uprising against the Japanese colonial rul- ers beginning with the Wushe Incident 霧 Truku 社事件 in 1930 (see Chapter 3, “History”). The homeland of the Truku 太魯閣, The Sediq are renowned for the in- who number about 26,800, stretches tricacy of their weaving and embroidery, from Hualien County in the vicinity of with a preference for star-like and other the famous Taroko Gorge 太魯閣峽谷 into geometric patterns against a white back- the mountainous western borderlands of ground. Traditionally, face tattooing was Nantou County. Three to four centuries a prominent cultural feature of the Sediq, ago, it is said, an increase in population symbolizing men’s courage and skills in prompted a group of Truku to set off east- hunting and women’s domestic virtues ward from their original haunts in Nantou and exquisite skills in embroidery. Some in search of more cultivatable land and 3302四校(indexed) 2.indd 33 2011/10/17 11:53:19 PM
  9. 9. 2 People and Language hunting grounds. They climbed over Mount Qilai 奇萊山 in the Central Moun- County’s 嘉義縣 Alishan Township 阿里 山鄉 and are divided into northern and tains 中央山脈 and settled in Hualien’s southern subgroups that have variations Liwu River Valley 立霧溪谷. in dialect and customs. Their social and Truku chiefs are elected and are duty- political organization is characterized by bound to represent their tribal villages in a patriarchal structure and well-organized external affairs, mediate internal disputes clans. In earlier times, public affairs were and maintain social harmony. Regarded as conducted by men in the kuba, a sacred the teachings of Truku ancestors, the gaya building where rituals were held and rules of conduct used to be strictly ob- young men had to stay to receive training served in the belief that violation of them before getting married. by even one person could bring extensive The Homeyaya harvest ceremony, held punishment upon an entire clan or tribe. in July or August, is the Tsou’s most im- Ceremonies are held every year to praise portant celebration. Skilled at hunting and and seek the blessings of ancestral spirits. preparing animal hides in bygone times, In bygone days, facial tattoos were they observed taboos against hunting bears a noted feature of the Truku, and only or leopards. The Miyatjgu ceremony of adults who had mastered hunting or one of the Tsou tribes, which had been embroidery skills were allowed to wear discontinued for many years, was revived them. Among Truku traditions that remain in 1993. It is based on a belief that ances- important today are weaving and knitting, tral spirits bringing peace, health, beauty along with knife-making techniques and and other blessings reside in sacred shell shamanistic practices. beads. Priests are the keepers of the beads, which are brought out into public view Tsou only for the annual ceremony. Numbering about 6,800, the Tsou 鄒 Another important tradition is the people are concentrated mostly in Chiayi Mayasvi or victory ceremony, conducted Dressed in traditional garb, indigenous Tsou women from Alishan Township in Chiayi County sing an ode to the springtime cherry blossom. (Wu Yuan-yuan, courtesy of the Tourism Bureau) 3402四校(indexed) 2.indd 34 2011/10/17 11:53:24 PM
  10. 10. when warriors returned triumphant from hierarchy. Social affairs are handled by war. In the present day, it is held every the male heads of household and fishing year in February or August involving par- groups, while disputes are settled by the ticipation of the whole tribe. Celebrations immediate family and relatives of parties of newborns, coming-of-age rituals and to the argument. restoration of the kuba are all conducted Immigration and Emigration at this time. The three-day, two-night cer- emony opens with dancing and singing to welcome the gods, and ends at midnight The National Immigration Agency of the last day when the deities are again 入出國及移民署 under the Ministry of the sent off. Interior (MOI) is in charge of affairs related to emigration and immigration. Yami Between 1991 and 2010, the number of Orchid Island 蘭嶼 off Taiwan’s south- foreign nationals (not including people east coast is home to about 3,900 indige- from mainland China) living in Taiwan nous people officially known as the Yami jumped from around 30,000 to 418,802, 雅美, but who, in their own language, mainly due to the arrival of blue-collar refer to themselves as the Dawu (or Tao) guest workers beginning in the early 達悟, which means “the people.” Unlike 1990s as well as an increase in marriages the indigenous peoples of Taiwan proper, between ROC citizens and foreign na- their traditional livelihood and culture are tionals. In December 2010, guest workers tied to the ocean. Unique aspects of their in the fields of manufacturing and con- customs include loincloths worn by males struction accounted for about 40 percent as daily attire and a hair-swinging dance of the total foreign population in Taiwan, performed by women. while domestic helpers and care givers The Mivanwa and Mangegen are accounted for about 36 percent. two of the most important rituals for the Marriages of ROC citizens to foreign- Yami. The former is held in February ers peaked in 2003 at 54,634 couples, ac- or March to pray for an abundance of counting for one in every three marriages. flying fish, while the latter seeks bless- In 2010, this figure dropped to 21,501, ings for a new boat. Though flying fish or one in every six marriages, with 62.01 are an important part of their diet, the percent of non-ROC spouses from main- Yami have designated times and seasons land China, Hong Kong and Macau, for catching and eating the fish to avoid 24.24 percent from Southeast Asia and depleting the stock. A large-size, canoe- 13.75 percent from other areas. style Yami boat, which has a capacity In 2010, around 16,000 ROC citizens of 10 adults, is constructed by putting emigrated to other countries. Statistics together 21 to 27 wooden planks without show the United States was the top desti- using a single nail. nation, followed by Canada, Australia and Traditional Yami homes are houses New Zealand. of stone and wood built in depressions hewn out of stony hillsides facing the ocean. This enables them to withstand Demographic Trends fierce typhoon or gale winds, to remain The official population statistics of cool in the summer and to retain heat in Taiwan indicated that there were 3.12 mil- the winter. Traditional society is patriar- lion people living on the island in 1905. chal, but with no formal social or political Forty years later, the population had 3502四校(indexed) 2.indd 35 2011/10/17 11:53:24 PM
  11. 11. 2 People and Language nearly doubled to 6.09 million. Although Statistics show that the declining a baby boom after World War II greatly birth rate has been accompanied by a increased the population, subsequent poli- rising average age of marriage and a cies and family planning slowed growth. rising divorce rate. Between 1971 and The population growth rate in 1957 was 2010, the average age at marriage rose 3.19 percent, which declined to 1.77 per- from 28.8 years to 33.9 years for men cent in 1982 and further dwindled to 0.18 and from 22.8 years to 30.5 years for percent in 2010. women. Meanwhile, the divorce rate The total fertility rate (the average rose from 0.04 percent in 1971 to 0.25 number of children born to a woman percent in 2010. during her childbearing years) was five Taiwan is now an aging society, as the during the 1960s. It then fell to two in the proportion of people aged 65 and older 1980s, and was 0.9 in 2010. This latest has been steadily increasing. In 1949, it figure is among the lowest in the world. was 2.5 percent of the population, and In 2010, the number of babies born hit in 2010, 10.74 percent. The 15-64 age a record low of 166,886, with a ratio of group, which comprised 56.4 percent 109.46 boys to 100 girls, while the crude of the total population in 1949, grew to birth rate dropped from 2.3 percent in 73.61 percent during the same period. 1981 to 0.72 percent. Conversely, the proportion of those under 15 years of age has been decreasing. Based on these trends, the Council for Population by Age Economic Planning and Development 行 政院經濟建設委員會 in its 2010 population Thousand persons % estimate report has forecast that Taiwan’s 25,000 100 2.45 2.49 3.03 4.40 6.50 8.80 10.74 population will peak at 23.43 million in 22,406 23,162 2022, and then fall to 18.84 million in 20,606 2060. By then, the proportion of those 20,000 80 aged 65 or older will increase to 41.6 18,194 percent, while the percentage of those in the 15-64 age group will decline to 48.9 15,000 60 14,995 percent and the percentage of people un- 55.46 51.66 58.26 64.00 67.10 70.40 73.61 der 15 will fall from 15.7 percent in 2010 11,149 to 9.4 percent. Moreover, the proportion 10,000 40 of women in the 15-49 childbearing age 7,869 group will plummet from 54.4 percent in 2010 to 28.5 percent. These trends create 5,000 20 a tremendous pension burden for work- 42.09 45.85 38.71 31.60 26.30 20.80 15.65 ers: by 2060, just 1.2 members of the 0 0 working-age population will support each 51 61 71 81 91 01 10 elderly person. Total population To address the aging of the population 65 years of age and above (%) and its effects on national development, the government has been promoting a new 15-64 years of age (%) population policy. This policy, mirroring Under 15 years of age (%) those adopted by other nations facing a “graying” society, aims to establish a Source: Ministry of the lnterior comprehensive social security net, further 3602四校(indexed) 2.indd 36 2011/10/17 11:53:26 PM
  12. 12. A family of three has become a norm in Taiwan, where birth rates are among the lowest in the world. raise the quality of life through education, language of the ROC, large segments of promote environmental protection and its population speak Holo 河洛語 and Hak- sustainable development, and formulate ka 客語, and Austronesian languages are an appropriate immigration policy. still used by indigenous peoples. At the Measures to reverse the falling birth same time, the study of foreign languages rate include improving pre- and post-natal has taken root as the nation becomes care, building an environment conducive more connected to the world community to child-rearing as well as providing care and as more immigrants have made the and birth subsidies. In 2011, a nationwide ROC their home. child care subsidy program was launched for qualifying families with children Official Language under 2 years of age. Taipei City also Mandarin, known as Guoyu 國語 in implemented its own package of subsi- the ROC, is the nation’s official language. dies that includes birth grants in addition To help people learn proper Mandarin to monthly child care allowances. pronunciation, the Ministry of Education (MOE) formulated the Mandarin Phonetic Languages Symbols 注音符號 in 1913 as a standard phonetic system. This system, consist- The written language intelligible to ing of 37 phonetic symbols and four tone speakers of all Sinitic tongues is Chinese, marks, is still taught in schools today. one of the few ideograph-based writ- Over the years, a variety of Roman- ing systems still in use on a large scale. ization styles have been developed to While mainland China adopted simplified make Chinese phonetics easier to learn. characters in 1956 in a bid to ameliorate The most popular among these are the its widespread illiteracy, the ROC con- Wade-Giles system, the Tongyong Pinyin tinues to employ traditional written char- system 通用拼音 and the Hanyu Pinyin acters. Although Mandarin is the official system 漢語拼音. To conform to a global 3702四校(indexed) 2.indd 37 2011/10/17 11:53:28 PM
  13. 13. 2 People and Language convergence spearheaded by the 2006 Taiwanese Language Phonetic Alphabet U.N. Conference on the Standardization 臺灣閩南語音標系統 in 1998. In 2006, the of Geographical Names, the ROC gov- MOE rolled out the Taiwanese Roman- ernment decided in 2008 to switch to the ization Scheme 臺灣閩南語羅馬字拼音方 Hanyu Pinyin system. (For a comparison 案 for use in Holo teaching and language of different Romanization systems, see textbooks. However, most native speakers Appendix IV.) of the Taiwanese dialect of Holo remain With a substantive commitment to untrained in reading these systems. language education, the ROC offers some of the best resources in the world Hakka for foreigners wishing to study Man- The Hakka language in Taiwan has darin. The Mandarin Training Center five variants, of which the Sixian 四縣 and 國語教學中心, established in 1956 by Hailu 海陸 dialects are the most widely National Taiwan Normal University 國 spoken. Sixian is prevalent in Hakka com- 立臺灣師範大學, was the first institution munities in Kaohsiung City and Miaoli to offer language courses for foreign- and Pingtung counties; and Hailu is most ers in Taiwan. Today, 30 university- commonly spoken by the Hakka popula- affiliated institutions provide Mandarin tion of Hsinchu County. programs. Details on Mandarin pro- Like Holo, Hakka is primarily an oral grams are available on an English- language, and fluency in Hakka is becom- language website set up by the MOE at ing increasingly rare among young people http://www.studyintaiwan.org. in Taiwan. To promote the language, the Council for Hakka Affairs (CHA) 行政 Other Languages 院客家委員會 has carried out a number of Over the last decade, there has been plans, including creating a database for growing awareness of the importance basic Hakka language materials, publish- of preserving Taiwan’s rich linguistic ing dictionaries of the various Hakka heritage. This has led the central and lo- dialects, providing funds to schools to cal governments to promote education in teach Hakka and sponsoring research on Holo, Hakka and Austronesian languages. the Hakka language and culture through Since 2001, primary school students have university programs. been required to take courses in at least The CHA also administers language one of these languages. proficiency tests at various levels. In 2010, a record number of over 15,600 Holo people registered for the elementary-level Holo is the mother tongue of the Holo test, which was an increase of 135 per- population in Taiwan. Among a variety of cent over the previous year, while some methods for representing this language in 6,000 registered for the intermediate and written form, the earliest and most popular high-intermediate levels. The pass rate for one was the Romanization system known the elementary test was 69 percent, and as Pėh-oē-jī 白話字, which was first intro- the intermediate and high-intermediate duced by Presbyterian missionaries. tests 84 percent. Indicative of broad inter- Many attempts have been made est in the language, exam passers in 2010 in Taiwan over the years to promote ranged from ages 7 to 84. Nearly 10 per- a natively formulated written system. cent of the elementary exam takers came The MOE, for instance, unveiled the from non-Hakka backgrounds. 3802四校(indexed) 2.indd 38 2011/10/17 11:53:29 PM
  14. 14. Indigenous Languages Foreign Language Education Taiwan’s indigenous languages, clas- For decades, English as a foreign sified by linguists as Formosan languages, language has been a required subject for belong to the same Proto-Austronesian students in junior and senior high schools language family as Malay and Hawai- in Taiwan. In 2005, English was made ian. A number of Taiwan’s indigenous compulsory from the third grade. In sup- languages were Romanized by Christian port of English learning, the MOE com- missionaries during the Dutch colonial missioned the Language Training and period in the 17th century (see Chapter 3, Testing Center 語言訓練測驗中心 to develop “History”). A notable example is the writ- tests for five proficiency levels. From its ing system developed for the Siraya who inception in 2000 to 2010, nearly 4.3 mil- used this system for signing contracts lion people had taken these exams. with Han people into the 19th century. In As for alternatives to English, the 2005, the CIP and the MOE jointly pro- MOE implemented the Plan for the Pro- mulgated the Romanization-based Writ- motion of Second Foreign Language ing Systems for Indigenous Languages 原 Study in Senior High Schools 推動高級中 住民語言書寫系統. To date, these writing 學第二外語教育計畫 in 1999. By the first systems cover 14 indigenous languages semester of the 2010-2011 school year, and 42 dialects. about 530,000 students had taken elective Overall, the number of indigenous courses under this plan, including Japa- language speakers has been declining nese, French, German, Spanish, Korean, largely due to an education policy in the Russian, Vietnamese, Indonesian and second half of the last century that pro- Latin. The most popular choice in 2010 moted Mandarin and discouraged the use was Japanese. of Holo, Hakka and indigenous languages Numerous public and private edu- in schools. As a result, younger genera- cational institutions provide the public tions of students gradually lost fluency in with ample opportunities to learn foreign their mother tongues. languages. While the most popular for- To help keep indigenous languages eign languages taught in Taiwan remain alive, the MOE has included these lan- English and Japanese, interest in major guages in school curricula while the CIP European languages has been growing. has conducted proficiency tests. A policy Also, a rising number of immigrants and has also been instituted to encourage in- guest workers from Southeast Asia has digenous students to acquire language cer- prompted schools to provide courses in tification, whereby a student’s high school such languages as Indonesian, Thai and and university entrance exam score is Vietnamese. These languages were, for increased by 35 percent if he or she passes the first time, included in the MOE’s sub- an indigenous language proficiency test. sidy program in 2010. • Ministry of the Interior: http://www.moi.gov.tw Related • Council of Indigenous Peoples: http://www.apc.gov.tw Websites • Taiwan Indigenous Peoples Culture Park: http://www.tacp.gov.tw • Council for Hakka Affairs: http://www.hakka.gov.tw • Ministry of Education: http://www.moe.gov.tw • National Immigration Agency: http://www.immigration.gov.tw • Council for Economic Planning and Development: http://www.cepd.gov.tw 3902四校(indexed) 2.indd 39 2011/10/17 11:53:30 PM