International Mother Language Day 2014 – 臺語 (Taiwanese)



I can speak Taiwanese, but I do not know how to write Taiwanese. This is my first time writing in Taiwanese. Writing in Taiwanese is important because words are the way we hand down language. If we lose our language, we will not be able to understand the words and stories of our elders. We must continue to write Taiwanese and read Taiwanese. Taiwanese is our language and we must use Taiwanese to write our own stories.

When I saw “Tweet in Your Mother Language on February 21”, I decided I would participate by writing a blog post. The first paragraph is in Taiwanese Min Nan, the second paragraph is the Taiwan Mandarin translation, and the third paragraph is the English translation. There are many languages in Taiwan, and Taiwanese Min Nan is just one of them. Even though I have learned three languages in native environments, my true mother tongue is Taiwanese Min Nan. The only proof I have is an audio recording of family speaking to me only in Taiwanese when I was about one. Taiwanese is mostly a verbal language for me. Every once in a while I’ll see something online that’s meant to be read in Taiwanese, and I can usually figure it out. But writing in Taiwanese is not something I’ve attempted before, so those few sentences were a huge challenge for me!

In the Taiwanese Min Nan and Taiwan Mandarin versions, there are some characters that are the same, but are actually pronounced differently. I’ve included the romanization for each character in the following paragraphs to show the pronunciation differences. The first paragraph is Taiwanese Min Nan and the second is Taiwan Mandarin.

我 (gua) 會 (e) 曉 (hiau) 講 (kong) 臺 (tai) 語 (gi),但 (tan) 是 (si) 我 (gua) 袂 (be) 曉 (hiau) 寫 (sia) 臺 (tai) 語 (gi)。這 (tse) 是 (si) 我 (gua) 第 (te) 一 (it) 遍 (pian) 寫 (sia) 臺 (tai) 語 (gi)。寫 (sia) 臺 (tai) 語 (gi) 是 (si) 一 (tsit) 个 (e) 重 (tiong) 要 (iau) 的 (e) 代 (tai) 誌 (tsi) 因 (in) 為 (ui) 字 (ji) 是 (si) 阮 (guan) 流 (liu) 傳 (thuan) 語 (gi) 言 (gian) 的 (e) 方 (hong) 法 (huat)。若 (na) 是 (si) 阮 (guan) 拍 (phah) 毋 (m) 見 (kinn) 咱 (lan) 个 (e) 語 (gi) 言 (gian),阮 (guan) 無 (bo) 法 (huat) 度 (too) 明 (bing) 瞭 (liau) 咱 (lan) 頂 (ting) 輩 (pue) 的 (e) 字 (ji) 和 (ham) 故 (koo) 事 (su)。咱 (lan) 一 (it) 定 (ting) 愛 (ai) 繼 (ke) 續 (siok) 寫 (sia) 臺 (tai) 語 (gi)、讀 (thak) 臺 (tai) 語 (gi)。臺 (tai) 語 (gi) 是 (si) 阮 (guan) 个 (e) 語 (gi) 言 (gian),咱 (lan) 需 (su) 要 (iau) 用 (iong) 臺 (tai) 語 (gi) 寫 (sia) 阮 (guan) 个 (e) 故 (koo) 事 (su)。

我 (wo) 會 (hui) 說 (shuo) 臺 (tai) 語 (yu),但 (dan) 是 (shi) 我 (wo) 不 (bu) 會 (hui) 寫 (xie) 臺 (tai) 語 (yu)。這 (zhe) 是 (shi) 我 (wo) 第 (di) 一 (yi) 次 (ci) 寫 (xie) 臺 (tai) 語 (yu)。寫 (xie) 臺 (tai) 語 (yu) 是 (shi) 一 (yi) 個 (ge) 重 (zhong) 要 (yao) 的 (de) 事 (shi) 情 (qing) 因 (yin) 為 (wei) 字 (zi) 是 (shi) 我 (wo) 們 (men) 流 (liu) 傳 (chuan) 語 (yu) 言 (yan) 的 (de) 方 (fang) 法 (fa)。如 (ru) 果 (guo) 我 (wo) 們 (men) 遺 (yi) 失 (shi) 了 (le) 我 (wo) 們 (men) 的 (de) 語 (yu) 言 (yan),我 (wo) 們 (men) 沒 (mei) 辦 (ban) 法 (fa) 瞭 (liao) 解 (jie) 我 (wo) 們 (men) 長 (zhang) 輩 (bei) 的 (de) 字 (zi) 和 (he) 故 (gu) 事 (shi)。我 (wo) 們 (men) 一 (yi) 定 (ding) 要 (yao) 繼 (ji) 續 (xu) 寫 (xie) 臺 (tai) 語 (yu)、讀 (du) 臺 (tai) 語 (yu)。臺 (tai) 語 (yu) 是 (shi) 我 (wo) 們 (men) 的 (de) 語 (yu) 言 (yan),我 (wo) 們 (men) 需 (xu) 要 (iao) 用 (yong) 臺 (tai) 語 (yu) 寫 (xie) 我 (wo) 們 (men) 自 (zi) 己 (ji) 的 (de) 故 (gu) 事 (shi)。

Hopefully I didn’t make any major mistakes. I consulted 萌典 a lot. It is an online dictionary from, a group in Taiwan that is analyzing and organizing government data to improve transparency. This page is in English and describes the background of the group and their projects. Writing in Taiwanese was a great exercise for me. Perhaps in the future I’ll post more sentences and continue practicing.


4 thoughts on “International Mother Language Day 2014 – 臺語 (Taiwanese)

  1. I am so impressed that you made the effort to write Taiwanese! You are so right about continuing the written language. The oral tradition will go on for quite a while, but if the written language is maintained as well, it has an even better chance to continue. I love seeing the three languages together! Awesome! :-)

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