Taiwan at the center of a language studies program in the United States

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  • By Rachel Lin and Liu Tzu-hsuan/staff reporter, with a staff writer

A course on Taiwan languages ​​and cultures at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) has been attended by nearly 100 students over the past two years.

UCLA launched the Taiwan Studies Lectureship in 2014 and renewed it for five years in 2020, said Pan Hui-chen (潘惠珍), secretary of the education section at the Department of International and International Education. -strait from the Ministry of Education.

The program is supported by the Department of Education and hosted by UCLA’s Asia-Pacific Center, Pan said.

Photo courtesy of the Ministry of Education

It encourages faculty to develop courses in Taiwanese studies, invites visiting Taiwanese scholars to be guest lecturers at UCLA, organizes public events, makes library acquisitions, and provides research grants to faculty and graduate students. to conduct research in Taiwan, the program’s website says.

The “Taiwan Languages ​​and Cultures” course, which was planned and designed by UCLA graduate Tsai Lin-chin (蔡林縉), was first offered in January 2020.

Students enrolling in the course must have taken Mandarin lessons for at least one year.

The course compares Hoklo (also known as Taiwanese) with the Minnan languages ​​used in Southeast Asian Chinese communities.

Through pop music, Taiwanese opera, puppetry, media, and documentaries in Hoklo, students learn about Taiwanese languages ​​and culture in hopes of showcasing the nation’s diversity.

The course has been taught by Yeh Hsin-hung (葉信鴻), a senior lecturer at Santa Clara University, since the fall semester of last year.

Yeh uses the concept of a “flipped classroom”, asking students to go through assigned documents and films in advance and share their thoughts in class.

Jao Li-ching (饒麗晴), an undergraduate student at UCLA, said that she only realized after taking the course the impact of Japanese colonization on Taiwan and the many indigenous languages ​​of the country.

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