My girlfriend is native Taiwanese (i.e. of the original tribes that were there before the Chinese - Half Ami and half Sakizaya). We have a really great relationship and I get on well with her brother and cousins who are all about our age (18 - 25). We primarily talk in Mandarin Chinese (I studied it in UK uni for 3 years and live in China for the past 2 years) with English dotted in the conversation.
I also get on well with her parents, although we talk purely in Mandarin. There is a bit of a shyness barrier between us (on both our parts) and I would like to show I’m making additional effort to break the ice by learning some of their native Taiwanese language (which is Ami/Amis). I was just wondering if anyone in this forum has been in a similar situation and actually learnt a reasonable amount of Ami/Amis and what resources they recommend for it (including websites and books etc.)
I even would be interested if you’ve used any good resources that include Chinese at the same time (or just Chinese > Amis).
Any recommendations and experience would be appreciated.
Thanks for those guys, I guess I’ll also need to look in a large bookshop or something next time I’m in Taipei (or is there an equivalent to Amazon in Taiwan?)
It would also be great to hear from any Forumosans who have been in a similar situation, of course most of the coverage in this forum talks about relationships etc. with “Chinese” Taiwanese (being the vast majority and all), but I’m sure I can’t be the only one learning about the native traditions, culture and languages etc.
That is the place to go. It’s in the same lane (physically, not by name) as Bongo’s pub. The bookshop has another branch in Gaoxiong (Kaohsiung).
Since you are not in Taiwan now, you might give yourself a head start by learning a related language for which you can find a textbook, e.g. Malay (Bahasa Melayu/Indonesia), Tagalog (Filipino) or Ilocano (another language of the Philippines). Malay and Tagalog are available in the Teach Yourself series.
(Note: I don’t know any of these languages so I can’t judge how closely they are related, but, for example, pig is babi in Malay, baboy in Tagalog and babui in Truku (one of the Taiwanese/Formosan aboriginal languages).