OPINION: In Kaohsiung, There Are Limits to the Multilingual Love

The axes are out for a politician advocating for languages other than English and Chinese to be kept out of the classroom.

The News Lens
Date: 2018/09/20
By: Eryk Smith

Credit: Wikipedia

In a video report from August, the Kuomintang (KMT)’s Kaohsiung mayoral candidate Han Kuo-yu (韓國瑜) said public schools should only teach Chinese (Mandarin) and English. “Home languages should be taught/learned at home,” Han said.

The comments were not welcomed by those who support in-school instruction of Taiwanese, Hakka and or native Taiwanese languages. But does Han have a point?

Language requirements for local students evoke strong reactions from many, including expats. But unless you have a child or children in the Taiwanese public-school system or are from or connected to one of the language communities that would be affected by public-school polices, maybe just give the arguments on both sides some thought rather than going keyboard warrior.

This week, representatives from a Hakka-promotion/preservation community met to denounce Han’s comments, and while there appeared to be some partisan politics involved, I do not doubt the sincerity of many who said they don’t want to see their language (which is of course deeply connected to their culture) die out.

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