Taipei’s Metro green line is about to open, and MRT people are having a tough time deciding how to pronounce Taipei Arena Station in Taigi and Hakka.
Apparently, MRT is claiming that there’s no right way of saying 台北小巨蛋 in Taigi and Hakka. However, that’s ridiculous, how hard is it to say Taipei Arena Station in Taigi and Hakka? The obvious choice is that since the name is in Hanji, and both Taigi and Hakka use every single one of those Hanji, they can just read these Hanji as is.
So in Taigi it would be “Tâi-pak Sió Kī-tàn”
in Hakka it would be “Toi11-bed2 seu31 ki24-tan5”
Done, simple as that right?
Nope, someone decided that since there’s no current usage of ki-tan in either languages, that it would be pointless to pronounce them as such, as if there was an existing usage in Mandarin before translation were made from Tokyo Dome’s acronym the BIG EGG (from BIG Entertainment and Gold Game!).
By the way, it seems totally idiotic to use the term 巨蛋 for every single domed stadium in the first place. The BIG EGG acronym was probably trademarked, and also already fell out of favor long ago. Keep using the term 巨蛋 seems inappropriate. Domed stadiums should be called what they actually are, Domed frigging stadiums.
In Taigi the candidates would be:
“Sió Uan-kong-kuán” (小圓拱館) Domed arena, literally arched arena, the word 圓拱 is used to describe architectural arch.
“Sió Inn-tíng Thé-io̍k-kuán” (小圓頂體育館) Domed stadium, literally domed stadium.
“Sió Tòo-muh Thé-io̍k-kuán” (小 Dome 體育館) phonetic transliteration of the English word Dome.
I mean in Japan they would call such a stadium ドーム Domu, since it’s going to be a borrowed word anyway, why not go to the source.
That again is vetoed by the Transportation ministry, Taipei city and people at the MRT. In the end, they say since there’s no existing usage for Domed arenas in Taigi and Hakka, frak Taigi and Hakka, the station named would be repeated in Mandarin 3 frigging times. So when an MRT pulls into the Taipei Arena station, you would hear “Táiběi Xiǎo Jùtàn. Táiběi Xiǎo Jùtàn. Táiběi Xiǎo Jùtàn. Taipei Arena Station”, as if the passengers have amnesia and need to be reminded 3 times in the same frigging language.
It’s not as if since there’s no appropriate existing transliteration for 巨蛋 into English, that the MRT would drop English station name call at 台北小巨蛋 station, and just pronounce 台北小巨蛋 in Mandarin. It’s simply called Taipei Arena in English, so why can’t they do the same for Taigi and Hakka and choose a name that makes more sense?
The same thing was done to Hanshin Jutan in Kaohsiung as well, after the Transportation ministry vetoed the proposed “Tuā-lia̍p-nn̄g” (大粒卵), because they thought it isn’t elegant.
It’s as if the government deemed that Taigi and Hakka no longer have the right to create or add new vocabulary.
Another sign is that a professor who teaches Taiwanese at an university likes to row call in Mandarin during the first class of a semester and have the student reply back how they would pronounce their name in Taiwanese.
A student with the surname 鄭 said his last name should be pronounced at Tēnn (Tsiang-tsiu accent 漳州腔). The professor asked where he’s from, and he said his family have always lived in Sann-tīng-poo (三重). The professor/linguist said actually if your family is from Sann-tīng-poo, you would more likely pronounce your name as Tīnn (Tsuân-tsiu accent 泉州腔), but since you’ve said you would pronounce it as Tēnn, I will say it as you say it.
A couple weeks later the student answered the row called using “Tīnn”. The professor asked why he changed the way he pronounced his name, the student said he went home, asked his elderly, and they told him they would pronounce it as “Tīnn”. Taigi is dying to the point that traditionally Taiwanese families wouldn’t even bother to teach their children how their names should be pronounced in Taigi. Instead, they have to learn it from the teaches at school or via popular culture, where all localizations will soon disappear.