Taiwan is a fascinating country with a rich linguistic heritage. As a traveler or someone interested in Taiwanese culture, it’s essential to have a basic understanding of the languages spoken in Taiwan. While Mandarin Chinese is the official language, there are several other languages and dialects that play significant roles in Taiwan’s linguistic landscape. In this article, we will explore five languages spoken in Taiwan that you need to know.
As the official language of Taiwan, Mandarin Chinese is widely spoken and understood throughout the country. It became the primary language after the formation of the Republic of China in 1945. Mandarin Chinese is taught in schools and used in official settings. It has become the most common language spoken by the majority of the population, particularly those under 60 years old.
Taiwanese, also known as Hokkien, is a prominent language in Taiwan. It is widely spoken and remains popular in everyday life, despite Mandarin Chinese being the official language. Taiwanese is often used colloquially and is the common language among the Taiwanese people.
Hakka is another significant language spoken by a small population in Taiwan. It is a Chinese language with affinities to both Cantonese and Mandarin Chinese. Hakka speakers contribute to Taiwan’s linguistic diversity and cultural heritage.
Taiwan is home to various indigenous groups, each with its own distinct language. These indigenous languages, belonging to the Austronesian language family, have been spoken by Taiwanese indigenous peoples for thousands of years. Some examples of indigenous languages include Amis, Atayal, Bunun, Paiwan, and Puyuma .
English plays a significant role in Taiwan, especially in the realms of education, business, and tourism. Many Taiwanese people study English as a second language, and you can find English-speaking communities and services in major cities and tourist destinations. English proficiency is relatively high among the younger generation.
Taiwan’s linguistic landscape is a captivating tapestry of languages and dialects. While Mandarin Chinese serves as the official language, Taiwanese (Hokkien), Hakka, indigenous languages, and English also hold importance. Understanding these languages will enhance your experience when visiting Taiwan and foster a deeper appreciation for its diverse cultural heritage.