The Ministry of Education (MOE) on Friday held a ceremony in Taipei in honor of International Mother Language Day to recognize individuals and groups for their efforts promoting bentu (本土, “local” or “native”) languages.
The ministry has presented awards for outstanding contribution to the promotion of bentu languages to 156 people and 37 groups since the award’s inception in 2008, it said in a statement.
The awards are aimed at recognizing language diversity, respect and coexistence, and realizing the protection and equality of different languages, it said.
This year, eight people and two groups were selected to receive the honor, while a new category was created to highlight those who have dedicated their lives to passing down bentu languages, it said.
Tso Hong-hu (曹逢甫), a professor emeritus at National Tsing Hua University’s Institute of Linguistics, was presented with the inaugural lifetime contribution award, the ministry said.
Over the span of decades, he published more than 100 research papers on the Hoklo (commonly known as Taiwanese) and Hakka languages, and at the age of 80 remains committed to promoting language education, it said.
While chairman of the ministry’s National Languages Committee, he pushed for the compilation of online dictionaries of common Hoklo and Hakka words, which laid an important foundation for the promotion and preservation of bentu languages, it said.
Among the eight people who received the outstanding contribution award are Hoklo lyricist Wang Wu-hsiung (王武雄) and Chu Ching-yi (朱清義), who is the chairman of an association dedicated to the development of the Amis language.
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