Sep 16, 2018 Culture Comments Off on Legislative report questions plan to make English official language
Taipei, Sept. 16 (CNA) The Legislature is advising the executive branch of the government to tone down its plan to make English an official language in Taiwan and focus instead on building a bilingual education system in which English would be a medium of instruction.
The suggestion was made by the Legislature's Organic Laws and Statutes Bureau in a report this month that addressed Premier Lai Ching-te's (???) plan to set a goal next year to designate English as an official language alongside Mandarin Chinese.
If what the Cabinet wants to see is greater English proficiency in Taiwan, it should seek to create a bilingual education system in which the languages of instruction in schools would be both Chinese and English, the legislative report said.
Equipping students with better English language skills would give them a competitive advantage in the international arena and is absolutely necessary, but that is a very different kettle of fish from making English an official language, the report said.
Although Mandarin Chinese is Taiwan's mainstream language, the country does not have any legally established official languages.
Noting that fact, the report said Taiwan would first have to introduce a law to designate its official languages, which are generally understood to mean the languages mandated for official use.
However, the government should be cautious about making such a decision, the report stated, as it identified two problems that it said would arise if English was designated by law as an official language in Taiwan.
First, the report said, English would have to be used in state organs, official texts and citizen interaction with government agencies.
The government should carefully assess the practicality of such a scenario because Taiwan is not like those territories that were colonized by Britain or the United States and therefore had English as medium of communication for a long time before making it an official language, the report said.
Second, giving official status to a language by means of legislation would indicate priority over other languages used in Taiwan, which would conflict with the objectives of the draft national languages development act, the report said.
It pointed out that the draft bill, which the Cabinet submitted to the Legislature in January, is aimed at protecting and promoting all the languages used by the different ethnic groups in Taiwan.
Source: Focus Taiwan News Channel
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