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Language Attitudes toward Written Taiwanese

 Wi-vun Taiffalo Chiung

The University of Texas at Arlington


This survey includes a total of 244 students from Tamkang University and Tamsui College in Taiwan. The students were told to evaluate seven prepared Taibun (Written Taiwanese) reading samples (written in different orthographies) on six characteristic scales. The statistical results reveal that Han character-only orthography received highest rating, Han-Roman mixed received the second highest, and Roman-only script received the lowest. Overall, the students showed positive attitudes toward Taibun. In addition to the orthography factor, students' background also affected their evaluations. The significant factors are: (1) place of residence (Taipei vs. non-Taipei), (2) major (Taiwanese and English vs. Mechanical Engineering vs. Chinese, Japanese, and Public Administration), (3) mother tongue (Taiwanese vs. non-Taiwanese), (4) language ability (Taiwanese vs. non-Taiwanese), (5) national identity (Taiwanese vs. non-Taiwanese), and (6) assertions on national status (independence vs. non-independence). In short, whether or not Taibun will be successfully promoted to a national status, highly depends on people's orthography demands and their attitudes toward written Taiwanese. Moreover, their language ability and national identity also will play an important role while they are making the determinations.


Keywords: Taibun, Romanization, Peh-oe-ji, Han-Lo, orthography, writing