Language Policy

, Volume 6, Issue 1, pp 53–72 | Cite as

Mandarin-Only to Mandarin-Plus: Taiwan

  • Mandy Scott
  • Hak-khiam Tiun


This article focuses on language-in-education policies and planning in relation to the three Sinitic languages taught in formal education in Taiwan today: Mandarin – the usual medium of instruction, and Holo Taiwanese and Hakka – the home and/or ancestral languages of the majority of the population (We use the term Sinitic language to avoid using ‚Chinese dialect’ with its implications of lower status and links with the national and cultural entity of China). These policies will be analyzed in the context of Taiwan’s social and political history, current debates about identity, language rights and resources, and concerns about Taiwan’s status in the international community. Taiwan’s unique situation illustrates the complex relationship between language, ethnicity, national identification, and economic and global concerns. The Taiwan case also demonstrates the power, as well as the limitations, of government sponsored language planning.


elementary and secondary language education language colonization language in education planning language policy and planning multiculturalism sinitic languages Taiwan writing systems 



Democratic Progressive Party


Government Information Office




Ministry of Education


People’s Republic of China


Republic of China


United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, Inc. 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Anthropology, Research School of Pacific and Asian StudiesAustralian National UniversityCanberraAustralia
  2. 2.Department of Chinese Language and LiteratureNational Taitung UniversityTaitungTaiwan

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