Taiwan

字 != Word

There are a few strange views regarding a number of linguistic matters in Taiwan. Even stranger in my opinion is that nobody seems to question them, not even in the academic world, even though there are contradictions every three steps. One of those strange views is to equal the Chinese 字 to the English word. This myth is easily debunked.

Where do I live?

You may not believe this mess if you do not live in Taiwan.

Thank you for your concern, but I usually find my way home. And if I should indeed lack some orientation, I can ask my Tomtom One. The problem is actually more how to tell you where I live – at least, if you do not understand hanzi, the Chinese characters.

Language-related Myths: We are Taiwaner, not Taiwanese!

No, you are lacking a wider horizon.

Every once in a while there is a small wave of media reports and e-mails explaining that the people of Taiwan should call themselves “Taiwaner” in English instead of “Taiwanese” because (Sit down, fasten your seat belt and take a Valium.) “the British used the ‘-ese’ suffix only on nations they look down upon, and we don’t want other people to look down on us”.

Zhuyin or Hanyu Pinyin IME?

Zhuyin may not always be the best choice.

"This is Taiwan, we use Zhuyin  input. So you should learn it too." This is something I have heard numerous times, but so far it was not very convincing. Why?

Well, first of all, the "we use Zhuyin" part is not quite correct. In the years I had been doing administrative work at a university's computer centre I saw plenty of requests to get this or that IME installed, because "I can only use this one." If Taiwanese may be "picky", why not me?

Sorry, I don't have an English name

Really. I am German, why would I want an English name? And this is just the start...

If you are not living in Taiwan, you may not understand why a German would need to emphasize this. The problem is that there is something rotten in the system they call education in Taiwan. Not just something, quite a few things, actually, but this is something affecting my work.

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