[EDLING:111] Taiwan: Language is never a first line of defense
Francis M. Hult
fmhult at DOLPHIN.UPENN.EDU
Sun May 13 13:32:17 UTC 2007
Language is never a first line of defense
As frictions in the Taiwan Strait continue without apparent sign of a
resolution, some Taiwanese have reached the conclusion that language is another
tool the nation should use for its defense.
Many commentators have claimed that teaching Mandarin in Taiwan only plays into
Beijing's hands and brings Taiwan ever closer to unification. Instead, those
pundits contend, Taiwan should redouble its efforts to teach Taiwanese and
expatriates not Mandarin, but Hoklo (commonly known as Taiwanese) or other
The problem with this vision is that it is predicated on the false, albeit not
uncommon, belief that language is the same thing as culture.
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