Do you think English should be Taiwan's second official language?

You may as well make it Swahili. It’s got a roughly equivalent basis in reality.

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It would be kind of embarrassing, to say the least, if 99.99% of the population weren’t fluent in the “second official language.” Are they hoping to create fluency by fiat?

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ha ha. Yeah, that’d make speakers of Taiwanese really happy, considering there’s more of them than English speakers on the island.

How about making English the second official DOCUMENT language for all things distributed by the government (printouts and websites)? That’d bring about huge demand for english editors, whoo-hooo!!

These morons in the government really need to be committed into a mental house.

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Fluency happens over time. English is completely dominant in singapore now - many Han Singaporeans can’t speak any Chinese language well.


They should raise all native languages to national language status, and then I wouldn’t mind to have English up there as well.

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I expected to see the usual snark here in:re the fluency-slash-capacity of the general public to communicate in English, and I was not genuinely disappointed; but I thought there’d be more.

I think it’s a fuckin’ great idea for at least two good reasons and one Why The Fuck Not?

(1) English is already almost everywhere you go, even if it is bastardized, mangled, Chingrished, and misappropriated on a consistent basis. Moreover, Taiwan is perpetually in a state of flux; people coming, people going. There is a strong need for a lingua franca, and too bad Esperanto never took hold.

Honestly, we complain about the lack of English and the back-assward educational system, etc., but even a grizzled hater like yours truly is consistently relieved and impressed by the emergency reserves in the tank of the average night market vendor. It’s like English is locked behind a plate of glass a la fire extinguisher with BREAK GLASS IN CASE OF EMERGENCY stenciled across the pane. When all else fails, start speaking English - and don’t stop. And man, 95% of the time, they dig deep and come up with a couple of words that save the transaction.

My point is, go outside and look around. You might be surprised by the amount of English you see - however inconsequential or commercially mundane. Every motherfucker in this country can say “Bluetooth.” I’ve heard 'em. Every single one of 'em.

To really drive this point across, go down to any gov’t agency. They got somebody in the building who can speakee the yingwen. He or she might be at lunch, but sit tight. They’ll be back.

(2) This is a slightly more esoteric perspective, but I think anything that moves this country in a “Western” direction is a step in the right direction. Anything that moves this joint one step further from China and closer to the world-at-large is a positive. We can ALL overlook the grammar issues of spoken English if we’re sharing common goals; and I’m fairly certain those goals include democracy, freedom, prosperity, and peace. China might have the prosperity thing on flow right now, but they got bupkis on the rest of it.

Of course it’s only spit-ballin’ but I’d imagine this sort of announcement or proposal doesn’t go over well in Beijing. I can hear some Joe saying, “Wait a minute. English? We didn’t say you could do that shit.”

What better way to say to the salt blocks in Beijing that we align with these fuckers - the fuckin’ waiguoren laowai dirty foreigners - than to make English an official language? It’s kind of greasy and cold, which is the real must-try snack at the Taiwan night market.

(3) Why the fuck not? English is already compulsory up through what, high school? These fuckers can read a fuckin’ sentence, man. So maybe they shy and reticent to talk. Meh, talking is over-rated sometimes. What’s at stake here is institutionalizing the language at a national level with a minimum amount of effort. Again, why the fuck not? Plenty of other stupid-ass shit going on. If the doors to Taiwan are going to remain open, English would help level the playing field for everybody involved. Why the fuck not? Can anybody give me one good reason not to do this? I’m all ears.


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If we’re going to have a second official national language, I think it should be Korean. It’s just a much more fashionable language at the moment, and fluency would provide non-subtitled access to all the latest K-pop, Korean dramas and other trendy things from the Land of Morning Calm. Just imagine breathless fans mobbing their favorite Korean pop star at the airport being able communicate with their idol in his or her native tongue. Or being able to read the menu and order in Korean at your favorite Korean fried chicken joint.

It’s a good idea from an economic and geopolitical perspective too. The ROK is the other Asian player in Taiwan’s weight class (well, maybe not any more), and what better way to understand your economic rival than to be conversant in their language? We’ll also be better able to parse all those ill communications coming from the Norks, which is an added bonus.


Ew no. Korean is awful. Japanese is way better.

That may have been true back in the 1990s or early 2000s, but Korea is a much hotter property now. They’re just kicking Japan’s less than trendy butt in the soft power stakes these days. Sushi? Out. Korean spicy fried chicken? In!

I didn’t know that spelling doesn’t matter to such a degree.

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Why not all three?

Excuse my ignorance but what exactly happens or changes if taiwan makes English or any other language an official language?

I know in taipei at least it’s already pretty English speaker friendly. I know many people who lived here for years and haven’t learned pass hello in Chinese and manage to get around and live here pretty easily. I honestly couldn’t say the same thing about Japan and Korea.

Knowing Taiwan’s bureaucracy, probably not much.

Yeah, but their language sounds like a whiny Japanese person with a speech impediment.

Interspersed with the all-important hacking sounds. Well, the men anyway. When you get a bunch of drunk Korean guys together, it sounds like a loogie-hocking competition. I kind of like it.

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This plan crops up every few years. Like weeds. You think it is gone. Nope. And every time it is presented as something new and advanced and a panacea that will lead this Island into internationalization and kumbaya and love and peace and understanding and …

Yet ask the gummit about its international publications. Too expensive! If you want to kill this plan for good, tell em how much will it cost.