The inaugural National Languages Development Convention is to start next week with a series of eight online forums, the Ministry of Culture said yesterday.
The convention is aimed at encouraging public discussion of issues related to the development of the “national languages” in order to propose ways to revitalize them as they face a crisis of heritage, the ministry said.
“National languages” are defined by the Development of National Languages Act (國家語言發展法) as being the natural languages and sign languages used by ethnic groups in Taiwan.
The spirit behind the act is to ensure that national languages that are facing a crisis of heritage can be preserved, revitalized and developed equally, the ministry said.
Since the act was implemented, the use and protection of national languages has received extensive public attention, it said.
The convention, themed “Towards a New Era of National Languages,” would explore the sense of honor in relation to national languages, as well as their everyday use, education and application, it said.
The online forums are to take place from 1:30pm to 5:10pm on Saturday next week, Sunday next week, Aug. 4, Aug. 7, Aug. 8, Aug. 11, Aug. 14 and Aug. 15.
A separate formal conference is to be held in the middle of September, the ministry said.
To increase awareness of the national languages and promote their use in daily life, the ministry is also to hold 15 other online events, including lectures, interactive teaching activities, family-friendly reading sessions and podcasts, it said.
People would be able to understand the characteristics of the different languages through an immersive environment, it said.
The ministry also launched a Web site for the convention (nldc.moc.gov.tw) so that people can register and stream the forums live, it said.
Applications to take part in the forum — which is limited to 50 participants — will be open 10 days before the session begins, the Web site says.
Languages are key to passing down the cultures and memories of different ethnic groups, Minister of Culture Lee Yung-te (李永得), the convention’s general convener, told an online news conference, adding that linguistic rights are an important reflection of cultural civil rights.
Despite past efforts and legal protection of the languages, the languages of different ethnic groups have undeniably faced a severe decline amid social trends, he said, adding that he looked forward to the convention contributing to the preservation and revitalization of the national languages.
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