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Kinmen calls on central government to recognize local language

Kinmen language not on list of official written languages, Matsu's is

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Kinmen County Council speaker Hung Yun-tien says Kinmen people are dissatisfied with the lack of language representation in central governme...

Kinmen County Council speaker Hung Yun-tien says Kinmen people are dissatisfied with the lack of language representation in central governme... (CNA photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — Councilors on Taiwan’s outlying island of Kinmen have called on the central government to include their local language in the list of the Cabinet’s official written languages.

Kinmen County Council issued a statement on Thursday (March 30) that said the Kinmen dialect is distinct from Taiwanese Hokkien, Fujian Hokkien, and Taiwanese, and that the differences would be obvious to anyone on the main island of Taiwan who communicates with Kinmen people, per CNA. The council speaker Hung Yun-tien (洪允典) said his constituents were dissatisfied with the lack of language representation in central government.

Hung said the Kinmen language has not been included in the Cabinet's list of official written languages, and proposed amendments to change this. On March 6, the Ministry of Culture released a report that recommended Taiwan Indigenous languages, varieties of Taiwanese Hakka, Taiwanese, Matsu language, Hokkien, and Taiwanese sign language be included in the list of languages for official government communications, but Kinmen's language failed to make the list.

According to the council’s press release, Kinmen's language originated as a subdialect of Hokkien from the Fujian city of Quanzhou that sits to the north of Kinmen. It is distinct from the languages spoken in the nearby cities of Xiamen and Zhangzhou.

Taiwan has 28 official spoken languages that are to be “respected for free use by all,” according to the Ministry of Culture.