Created by slowdanse
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If you're Taiwanese, what do you speak (excludes English)?
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43 / M / Reno, NV, USA
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Posted 9/13/11
As a Taiwanese-American who was born and grew up in the Midwest of the United States, I can really claim only to speak English well, though I do know varying but much lesser amounts of Chinese (i.e. Mandarin dialect in particular), Taiwanese, Japanese, and French. Both of my parents are from the southern part of Taiwan. My mom is Hakka and speaks that dialect, learned Mandarin in school, and then learned Taiwanese from my dad. My dad is Taiwanese, and also learned Mandarin in school. They use Taiwanese primarily when talking to each other. Interestingly, my mom's Mandarin skill is better than my dad's. My dad seems to use Mandarin with reluctance, and only when necessary, as I think for him, it is considered the language of the oppressor, the invader from outside. When I decided to learn Chinese way back in my college days, I thought my parents would be pretty pleased. My mom was generally eager to help me out when I had questions, but my dad really was not-- and only later did I understand why.

I've no idea when/if/whether Taiwanese will die out as a language. From a sentimental point of view, I hope it does not. I also hear it's enjoying a resurgence or revival of sorts in Taiwan itself, after being officially suppressed for so long. In the U.S., though, it seems to me there are few if any major efforts to promulgate it here among the second and subsequent generations. When I lived in San Francisco as a medical resident, I tried to engage in more Taiwanese community activities, but never really felt I fit in. Practically everything was held in Taiwanese or sometimes Mandarin, and rarely ever translated. Unless one knew the languages well to begin with (which I don't), it was difficult to be included in whatever was going on. There were also no classes for Taiwanese, at least not for adults. I would have gladly taken them if they had been available. Oh well...

(Incidentally, a post way back mentioned the Taiwanese word for "bread." My parents, though they use Taiwanese primarly when speaking to each or other Taiwanese, nonetheless nearly always use the Mandarin word for "bread," mian bao. I don't know why.)
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16 / F / Lost
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Posted 10/31/11
I PWN YOU ALL!!!
Not really, especially since I was too lazy to read all the posts.
But I am under 25 and I can fluently speak mandarin, taiwanese, and english. Oh, yeah, and I grew up in the United States. English was my third language; however, I speak it best because I use it the most, but I can easily understand Mandarin and Taiwanese. Unfortunately, though, my reading skills are horrible. Ah, well. I'll learn. I've also taken 3 years of Spanish and aim to learn Japanese as well, so...*shrugs*
Posted 4/16/12 , edited 4/16/12

slowdanse wrote:

Just thought it'd be fun as a poll

From my observation, it seems that the only people who can still speak Taiwanese in this day and age is if they are either 25+ or if they were born in Taiwan and/or currently live there. I've also heard that the actual Taiwanese language will disappear in the next few decades. Eeeek! Let's hope not!


I was born in the U.S. and grew up in the U.S. speaking three languages; English, Mandarin, and Taiwanese/Hokkein. When I attended college, I learned intermediate-level Mandarin from Taiwanese professors. Though, I don't have many friends nearby to speak Mandarin or Taiwanese with, I can still speak all three fluently.

I don't believe the Taiwanese language should become extinct just because people choose to not study it. I believe, just like every other foreign language/dialect, the Taiwanese language has its uniqueness that separates itself from Cantonese and the other thousands of billions of dialects out there. I believe it should be the individual's choice to study the language.

I also believe that the Taiwanese culture has a lot to do with learning to speak the language. If you are of Taiwanese descent then you should know or at least be willing to learn to study it because a culture's language is one of the important aspect that makes up the culture itself; communication. Also, it is one of the things that of which makes you who you are today.

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25 / M / California
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Posted 5/14/12

pinkrusse wrote:


slowdanse wrote:

Just thought it'd be fun as a poll

From my observation, it seems that the only people who can still speak Taiwanese in this day and age is if they are either 25+ or if they were born in Taiwan and/or currently live there. I've also heard that the actual Taiwanese language will disappear in the next few decades. Eeeek! Let's hope not!


I was born in the U.S. and grew up in the U.S. speaking three languages; English, Mandarin, and Taiwanese/Hokkein. When I attended college, I learned intermediate-level Mandarin from Taiwanese professors. Though, I don't have many friends nearby to speak Mandarin or Taiwanese with, I can still speak all three fluently.

I don't believe the Taiwanese language should become extinct just because people choose to not study it. I believe, just like every other foreign language/dialect, the Taiwanese language has its uniqueness that separates itself from Cantonese and the other thousands of billions of dialects out there. I believe it should be the individual's choice to study the language.

I also believe that the Taiwanese culture has a lot to do with learning to speak the language. If you are of Taiwanese descent then you should know or at least be willing to learn to study it because a culture's language is one of the important aspect that makes up the culture itself; communication. Also, it is one of the things that of which makes you who you are today.



That's interesting. I don't see many Taiwanese kids learning Taiwanese nowadays. I daresay it's a dying language. I can also speak Taiwanese.
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43 / M / Reno, NV, USA
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Posted 5/15/12
Admittedly much easier said than done, but here's one voice (mine) urging the older generation and others in the U.S. who know the Taiwanese language well to organize and put together some learning materials for those willing to study the language (though maybe financially, it's not feasible?). I'm studying Japanese on my own (I work full time, so no time for classes, which aren't all that readily available in Reno, NV anyway), which is aided by the fact that a wide variety of teaching materials in English are readily available, from basic level through advanced, both at local bookstores, and of course online as well. I've a slew of books from various publishers (all mutually compatible as Japanese has a fairly standard, widely accepted romanization system-- of course, they teach kana and kanji as well), which I've been studying over the past few years. In contrast, over the years, I've only come across very few examples of Taiwanese teaching materials in English, which are typically only introductory, and each one with a different system to romanize/explain pronounciation. (I've also a few books teaching Taiwanese, but written in Mandarin Chinese-- too difficult for me, trying to learn one foreign language through another foreign language.)
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20 / F / Konoha
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Posted 7/23/12
I'm Taiwanese.
I can also speak Japanese, Spanish, Mandarin Chinese, and a bit of Korean.
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23 / M / California
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Posted 10/18/12
Mandarin
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14 / F / California, USA
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Posted 10/21/12
Well, my 2 of my younger cousins speaks taiwanese not mandarin, 2 of my older cousins speak french, but i don't speak taiwanese. I can understand, but i don't know how to say it
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21 / M / San Diego
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Posted 10/28/12
I can speak both Taiwanese and Mandarin. I spoke Taiwanese with my grandmother before I moved to the US when I was 5 and I had to go to Chinese school to learn Mandarin. To be honest, as long as there is constant exposure to a language, its hard to forget it.
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F / Boston-ish
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Posted 9/20/13
Old inactive thread (after deleting last post from nuked user)

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