Hakka language immersion kindergartens showcase accomplishments

Hakka Affairs Council Minister Lee Yung-de visited kindergartens that conduct Hakka language immersion classes in Miaoli to see their achievements on Sept. 19.

Minister Lee first visited the Sanwan Day Care and the Sanwan Elementary School’s Kindergarten in the morning, where children presented a performance and had dialogues with Minister Lee in Hakka language.

In the afternoon, Minister Lee stopped by the Little Puppet Kindergarten and Renguang Kindergarten, where children played games of make-believe with Minister Lee in Hakka language fluently.

Minister Lee thanked the teachers for their efforts in passing on Hakka language and culture to the next generation. He shared his experience of learning English when he was a university student, saying that he was unable to speak English even after learning the language five hours per week due to the lack of English language environment.

Therefore, he believes that it is important to create a friendly environment for learning and speaking a language at home and at school. Hakka language has to be spoken in daily life to be kept alive.

This year, President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) has announced the amended Hakka Basic Act on Jan. 31, which makes Hakka language an official language, providing Hakka people a friendly environment for learning and speaking their mother tongue. The law also stimulates that Hakka language should be the main language of communication in cities and towns where 50% or more of the population is of Hakka ethnicity, added Minister Lee.

Minister Lee also shared what he has learned from the Catalan about their language preservation efforts during his visit to the Center for Linguistic Normalization of Barcelona (El Centre de Normalització Lingüística de Barcelona) earlier this year. Through creating a friendly environment for using Catalan in public sectors, hospitals, schools, and news outlets, as well as establish language centers to promote Catalan education in schools, Catalan has been successfully revitalized.

Although Taiwan only makes Hakka an official language this year, the Hakka Affairs Council will actively push for revitalizing and preserving Hakka culture and language to make the Hakka proud of their own language and identity.