Signs of Taiwanese Hoklo and Taiwanese Hakka languages dying

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.

news.ltn.com.tw/news/life/paper/818867

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.

blog.xuite.net/khoguan/blog/246143312

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.

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That’s absolutely absurd.

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So ridiculous. :frowning:

Par for the course for Taiwan government linguists.

“Why not just read the characters 小巨蛋 in their Taigi pronunciation?”

“The Taiwanese pronunciation is 細粒大粒卵.”

“No, the pronunciation for 小巨蛋. Those three characters.”

“No, no, Taiwanese doesn’t have these three characters. It’s 細粒大粒卵.”

I can’t count the number of times I’ve had this conversation. Here’s a great article, btw: thinkingtaiwan.com/content/3249

[quote=“Hokwongwei”]“Why not just read the characters 小巨蛋 in their Taigi pronunciation?”

“The Taiwanese pronunciation is 細粒大粒卵.”

“No, the pronunciation for 小巨蛋. Those three characters.”

“No, no, Taiwanese doesn’t have these three characters. It’s 細粒大粒卵.”

I can’t count the number of times I’ve had this conversation. Here’s a great article, btw: thinkingtaiwan.com/content/3249[/quote]

Since most people born in the 80s (people who are now in charge and running the show at mid-government positions) don’t know the difference between literary pronunciation and colloquial pronunciation, it is not surprising. I’ve seen a research paper on how younger generations are losing grasp of which words should use literary pronunciations.

台北社子方言的語音變異與變化
ling.sinica.edu.tw/files/pub … 6_2050.pdf
and other thesis/papers that I can’t find pdfs to, such as
臺灣閩南語語音層次競爭演變之研究
文白讀音選用的世代差異─以高雄為例

A healthy language either in-cooperate loan words or make up new words, if a language is unable to do this for something as simple as a dome stadium, it’s on it’s way out…

Thanks for the in-depth explanation, Hansioux. I was reading the press release the other day at trtc.com.tw/ct.asp?xItem=864 … &mp=122035 and was at loss to understand where the problem is, and why are they putting so much attention to this while neglecting to fix the bigger inconsistencies in the naming scheme (e.g. “松江南京”), trim the unnecessarily long names or even change the confusingly similar ones.

Surely “台北小巨蛋” is just a proper name, so why not simply transpose the pronunciation character-by-character? In any case, if the name ends up being read out in Mandarin three times in a row that’s really going to be beyond ridiculous.

I propose the term

Khiong-tíng Thé-io̍k-kuán (穹頂體育館)

[quote=“hansioux”]I propose the term
Khiong-tíng Thé-io̍k-kuán (穹頂體育館)[/quote]
Stop it already! Your thinking will put scores of underutilized bureaucrats out of work!

[quote=“yuli”][quote=“hansioux”]I propose the term
Khiong-tíng Thé-io̍k-kuán (穹頂體育館)[/quote]
Stop it already! Your thinking will put scores of underutilized bureaucrats out of work![/quote]

Think of the poor Taigi and Hakka announcers making less money than the Mandarin announcer because they have one less station call to record :whistle:

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One thing that bugs me riding the MRT is the cacophony of announcements each stop.

IT is simply insane to have Mandarin and Taiwanese and Hakka (did i miss one?) for each stop.

In the bay area, BART only announces in ENGLISH.

There is no reason why the MRT should NOT just use Mandarin ONLY. And have the signs display in Mandarin and English for those who are deaf or don’t understand Mandarin.

Everyone who is under the age of 60 in Taiwan , who is born and raised there can understand Mandarin. Unless they have never set foot in a school of any kind.

So there is really no reason for all that noise pollution.

Just announce in MANDARIN only for each stop and have the signs display in English and Mandarin.

END OF STORY AND FULL STOP.

It’s never that simple, my dear Tommy.

Of course it’s political. Mandarin, the national language, first, followed by Taiwanese, with Hakka only third. Sources tell me they spent some time figuring out the most politically correct order.

The problem isn’t how many languages are present, but how unnecessarily long-winded the stories… er… announcements are.

My version: “Stand clear of closing doors.”

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It’s service - service with people in mind. :slight_smile:

In major trains in Finland, announcements are made at least in Finnish, Swedish, and English, and in northern and central Switzerland in German, French, and English (youtube.com/watch?v=OhWR7Fc1o10). In Germany (at least in the south and west where i have recently traveled) announcements are made in German and English (if they wanted to do justice to the major immigrant groups, announcements would also have to be made in Turkish, Serbian/Croatian, Russian, Arabic, and a few more languages, but they don’t do that - OTOH, you can get some written information material in these languages and more). In Belgium, a different approach is taken: since everybody knows all the languages spoken in that little country ( :wink: ), [quote]announcements on board trains reflect the official language of the region that the train passes through. In Flanders, all announcements will be in Dutch; similarly in Wallonia, all announcements will be in French. In Brussels, announcements will be in French and Dutch.[/quote] (Source: Wikipedia) In many other countries and also in regions with a culture that is different from the dominant culture of the country you are in you will similarly hear multi-lingual announcements in trains. Multi-lingual station announcements are equally common (example: Barcelona - Spanish and Catalan). This alone makes traveling by train in Europe a fascinating experience.

Of course, not everybody needs to hear all this, but nowadays many people riding trains listen to music via headphones anyway, regardless of what language(s) the announcements may be made in. :wink:

I’d like to see some hard statistics, but I wonder if the people who rely on Japanese might outnumber those who rely on Hakka, English or Minnan on the MRT.

I bet they would. I’ve always thought it would make more sense to have just Guoyu, Japanese, and English. They could even consider Korean if they want to boost tourism from there.

Of course, nobody would ever dare make the proposal to cut Taigi or Hakka outright.

I bet they would. I’ve always thought it would make more sense to have just Guoyu, Japanese, and English. They could even consider Korean if they want to boost tourism from there.

Of course, nobody would ever dare make the proposal to cut Taigi or Hakka outright.[/quote]

I’d imagine that English is only really necessary at a few stations, ones where tourists and business travelers may go. CKS, 101, Main Station, Nangang Exhibition, Longshan Temple etc. I can’t imagine many English-only passengers really need, say, Qilian or Wanlong.

I tend to disagree. Even though the announcer’s pronunciation is pretty spot-on, she still slightly Anglicizes it. If my parents heard the Chinese announcer say 唭哩岸, they probably wouldn’t catch all the foreign-sounding vowel sounds , but when the English speaker slows it down and makes them a bit more familiar as Qi li an, it’s easier for someone who knows no Chinese to follow.

For the record, when I was in Prague last month, I couldn’t follow the station names as announced by the Czech-only system.

They should just tune into ICRT for some free Hakka Lessons, Joseph Lin will have this shit sorted in a matter of seconds.

In all seriousness, the political reach of Hakka special interest groups is startling.

The number of Hakka museums, parks, special areas,festivals is out of control. How many non-Hakka people have the inclination to visit a Hakka museum?