Taiwanese (臺語 / Tâi-gí)

Taiwanese is a variety of Mĭn Nán (Southern Min) spoken in Taiwan. The ancestors of the majority of Taiwanese people came from the southern part of Fujian province and their language is very similar to the language of that region, particular to the dialect of Xiamen.

Taiwanese is also known as 臺語/台語 (tâi-gí), 福佬 (ho̍h-ló) or Hoklo, 閩南語 (Bân-lâm-gí) or Southern Min, or Taiwan Hokkien.

Until the 1980s use of the Taiwanese language was banned in schools and the number of Taiwanese programmes on the radio and television was restricted. These restrictions have now been lifted and Taiwanese is taught as a subject in some schools and used as a medium of instruction in others. Some companies have made Taiwanese as their official language and Taiwanese broadcasts are now common.

Today about 70% of the population of Taiwan (15 million people) speak Taiwanese and most also speak Mandarin. Taiwanese is spoken in most parts of Taiwan and some people are more comfortable using Taiwanese than Mandarin.

Ways of writing Taiwanese

Taiwanese first appeared in writing in the late 19th century in a Romanisation system known as Pe̍h-ōe-jī (POJ). Since then a number of different methods of writing Taiwanese have been devised, some using the Latin alphabet, some using Chinese characters, some using Japanese kana, and others using a mixture of the different scripts.

Pe̍h-ōe-jī (POJ)

Pe̍h-ōe-jī (白話字) or Church Romanization is a Latin-based orthography for varieties of Southern Min, especially those spoken in Taiwan and Xiamen (Amoy). It was devised by Western missionaries during the 19th century and proved popular in Xiamen, and later spread to Taiwan. It was used to publish a variety of religious and secular material, including a translation of the Bible and the Taiwan Church News, Taiwan's first newspaper.

POJ was suppressed between 1895 and 1945 when Taiwan was occupied by the Japanese, and also during the period of martial law under the Kuomingtang (1947–1987), and is no longer widely used, except by some Christians in Taiwan, learners of Taiwanese and a few others. Since 2004 it has been possible to type in POJ on computers, and input methods and online dictionaries have been developed.

Taiwanese phonetic transcription system (DT)

The Taiwanese phonetic transcription system or Daī-ghî tōng-iōng pīng-im (臺語通用拼音) is a way of writing Taiwanese using the Latin alphabet. It is based on Tongyong Pinyin (通用拼音), the official Romanization of Mandarin Chinese in Taiwan between 2002 and 2008.

Modern Literal Taiwanese (MLT)

Modern Literal Taiwanese (MLT) is a Latin-based orthography for Taiwanese based on the Taiwanese Modern Spelling System (TMSS), which was developed in 1945 by Professor Liim Keahioong, formerly of the Cheng-Kung University in Taiwan, and based on POJ. MLT using only standard Latin letters without any diacritics and indicates tones with spelling.

The Taiwanese Romanization System

The Taiwanese Romanization System (台灣閩南語羅馬字拼音方案 / Táiwān Mǐnnányǔ Luómǎzì Pīnyīn Fāng'àn / Tâi-ôan Lô-má-jī Peng-im Hong-àn), which is often refered to as Tâi-lô or Tailo, is a transcription system for Taiwanese. It is derived from Pe̍h-ōe-jī and has been officially promoted by Taiwan's Ministry of Education since 2006.

Extended bopomofo

An version of the phonetic script known as bopomofo or zhuyin fuhao (注音符號) is used to some extent in Taiwan to annotate the Taiwanese pronunciation of characters and to write Taiwanese words for which there are no characters.

Taiwanese pronunciation

This chart shows the transcription and pronunciation of Taiwanese in Pe̍h-ōe-jī (POJ), the Taiwanese phonetic transcription system (DT), Modern Literal Taiwanese (MLT), Extended bopomofo (BPMF), and the International Phonetic Alphabet [IPA].

Taiwanese pronunciation - initials

Taiwanese pronunciation - finals

Taiwanese tone indication

Sample text in Taiwanese

人皆生而自由;在尊嚴及權利上均各平等。人各賦有理性良知,誠應和睦相處,情同手足。

Source: http://zh.wikisource.org/wiki/世界人權宣言

Transliteration - Pe̍h-ōe-jī (POJ)

Lâng-kai sing jî tsū-iû, tsāi tsun-giâm ki̍p khuân-lī siōng koh pîng-tíng. Lâng koh hù-iú lí-sìng liông-ti, sîng-ìng huê bo̍k sann tshù, tsîng tông tshiú tsiok.

Transliteration - Taiwanese phonetic transcription system (DT)

Lǎng-kai sing rǐ zū-iǔ, zāi zun-ghiǎm gip kuǎn-lī siōng goh bǐng-díng. Lǎng goh hù-iú lí-sìng liǒng-di, sǐng-ìng huě bok sann cù, zǐng dǒng ciú ziok.

Transliteration - Modern Literal Taiwanese (MLT)

Laang-kai sing jii zu-iuu, zai zun-giaam kip khuaan-li siong koh piing-tíng. Laang koh hù-iú lí-sìng lioong-ti, siing-ìng huee bok sann zhù, ziing toong zhiú ziok.

Translation

All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights. They are endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood.
(Article 1 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights)

Sample video in Taiwanese

See more videos like this on Wikitongues

Information about Taiwanese | Taiwanese phrases | Tower of Babel in Taiwanese | My Taiwanese learning experiences | Taiwanese learning materials

Chinese Translation
中文翻譯
of names and phrases

Links

Information about Taiwanese
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Taiwanese_Hokkien
http://www.ntcu.edu.tw/tailo/default.htm
http://www.taiwanderful.net/guides/learning-taiwanese
http://guamae.moe.gov.tw

Information about written Taiwanese
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Daighi_tongiong_pingim
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Modern_Literal_Taiwanese
http://www.taiwanderful.net/guides/writing-taiwanese-using-chinese-characters
http://www.taioanji.com

Online Taiwanese lessons
http://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PL41797BA5E0DBB4FD&feature=plcp
http://taiwanesevocabulary.wordpress.com/
http://www.taiwanese-oki.idv.tw/
http://taiwanesegrammar.wordpress.com/
http://learntaiwanese.taioaan.org

Learn Taiwanese with Glossika Mass Sentences

Omniglot Chinese
Omniglot Chinese
learn to read, write and pronounce Chinese characters

Available for
Android & iPhone

Online Taiwanese dictionaries
http://twblg.dict.edu.tw/holodict_new/
http://210.240.194.97/TG/jitian/tgjt.asp
http://210.240.194.97/q/q.asp
http://www.edutech.org.tw/dict/Harnji-gwsuu0.htm
http://taigi.fhl.net/dict/
http://www.taiwanesedictionary.org

Taiwanese phrases
http://wikitravel.org/en/Taiwanese_phrasebook

Online radio in Taiwanese (and in Mandarin and Hakka)
http://www.bcc.com.tw
http://big5.soundofhope.org/category-478-1.htm

Sinitic (Chinese) languages

Dungan, Cantonese, Fuzhounese, Gan, Hakka, Mandarin, Puxian, Shanghainese, Taiwanese, Teochew, Wenzhounese, Xiang