Taiwan, formally Formosa is an island full of cultures. Her history is deeply embedded in multi-cultural exchanges due to a long list of colonization. Thus, there are or at least there were many languages spoken before the standard Mandarin when the Chinese took over. Taiwan maintains its independence, but as it stands is not recognized by mainland China as an independent country.
The relevance to my site is that the languages that were spoken are of Austronesian ancestry. This is a commonality with the dances I perform as many Polynesian languages are also Austronesian in nature. In fact, it’s this similarity that drew me to the Polynesian dance arts as a young artist so many years ago. Finally, I found the main dance genre I wished to concentrate my main efforts in. Of course, I will always be a student of all the dance genres I’ve studied throughout life, but Polynesian dance, specifically Hula holds my heart the most.
It’s not easy to find resources where one can learn one of the main languages of Taiwan, Taigi, or as some refer to it Hokkien. I’ve compiled a list of sites where one could begin their language journey. I have found that in recent years, more and more people who have Hokkien knowledge have been putting forth their content onto social media and online platforms we can all access.
Bite-size Taiwanese is a great podcast giving you lessons you can truly learn on your own time. They also have many learning resources on their website. I have bought their book Short Takes which has audio files on the website you can download. Bite-size Taiwanese has posts on Instagram and you can listen to their podcast wherever you listen to podcasts.
I loved that I found this Common Taiwanese Phrases video on a Hawaiian News site on YouTube. This is a great way to start. Play this video a few times to begin with.
If you want more discussion behind the language learning Aiong Taigi’s channel is worth checking out. Most of his videos are not short. This is for the long haul.
Sometimes, some Chinese language teachers also supply some Taiwanese knowledge into the mix.
Here is another beginner video for Hokkien. Some numbers, greetings, words, and phrases are introduced here. Again, make sure to watch the video a few times.
I found this video interesting to listen to different dialects spoken in Taiwan and beyond.
Another language that people might speak in Taiwan and other Asian places is Hakka. This is another fading language. You won’t find Hakka or Hokkien on Duolingo.
This is another great Hokkien phrase video. It is different from the others.
If you need a break from language learning, here is a fun recipe for the Taiwanese castella cake.
That’s it for now. Please comment if you have another resource or channel where people can learn Hokkien (Taigi) or other rare languages that are spoken in Taiwan such as Hakka or the indigenous Taiwanese languages.