TAIPEI (Taiwan News) - On Wednesday the Legislative Yuan’s Internal Administration Committee met for a preliminary review of a bill to officially recognize Aboriginal languages as national languages and provide funding to support language development.
The Committee passed the first review of the bill after two days. The bill does not require further discussion across legislative bodies and will be directly submitted to a general assembly for the final phases of approval.
In response to the UNESCO assessment that each of Taiwan’s 16 recognized Aboriginal languages are weakening, the bill was first proposed by the Legislative Yuan in January 2017. To date no laws have been enacted in Taiwan to protect Aboriginal linguistic rights.
The bill supports linguistic rights and protection. The central government will be required to establish financial foundations to promote the continued development of Aboriginal languages.
Once this bill is passed Aboriginal languages will be permitted during official government proceedings. The central government will be responsible for providing translators as needed. Communication breakdowns during official meetings have been a problem in the past.
Council of Indigenous Peoples Minister Icyang Parod of the Amis group expressed concern at the review that there are no full-time Aboriginal language teachers. Funds will be distributed among local governments overseeing Aboriginal areas to hire full-time language teachers as well as language scholars and public educational databases.
The bill is drafted in accordance with the Universal Declaration of Linguistic Rights and alongside the growing international trend of recognizing local or endangered languages with such standards. This Declaration advocates for the equality and protection of all languages.
Government subsidized Aboriginal media platforms must broadcast in Aboriginal languages no less than 50 percent of the time.
This bill will further mandate Aboriginal language promotion in all communities, Aboriginal or otherwise.