Voices of Taiwan

  Language is more than just what we use to talk to each other. The way we speak expresses who we are, where our ancestors1 came from, and where we are going to in the future. Language is closely connected to culture, which means it is part of our personal identities. Even though Taiwan is merely a small island, many languages are spoken on it. Some are languages in the Chinese language family while others began right here on the island. Together, these languages and others make up the voices of Taiwan.

  The first languages in Taiwan were the Formosan languages. These are the languages of the indigenous2 peoples of Taiwan. Initially, there were 26 Formosan languages, but many of them have become extinct. The first ones to die out were those spoken on the western plains because of foreign traders3 and explorers4. Today, some people are putting a lot of effort into saving Formosan languages before they are lost for good. The Formosan languages have great historic value. Linguists5 have discovered that the languages spoken on almost all of the Pacific islands came from Taiwan. Examples include the languages of Hawaii, Madagascar, New Zealand, and mainland6 Malaysia.

  Hakka is one of the languages that were brought over from China. Those who speak it have ancestors who once lived in Guangdong, Jiangxi, or Fujian. Hakka people moved around a lot in history. Therefore, Hakka speakers can be found throughout the world.




《Building Your Vocabulary》
1. closely adv. 密切地,緊密地
The two murder cases are closely related.
2. identity n.(民族、個人等的)認同感
Koreans have a strong national identity.
3. merely adv. 僅僅,只不過