Friday, October 6, 2017

The Tâigí accent - a new normal

I've been only using Tâigí and English for more than one year.
I've got lots of thoughts on this experience and it will take more than one post to talk about it. This time I want to talk about accent.

I don't know if it's because Tâigí and Manderin Chinese are both tone-based language, unlike English, when it comes to accent, people in Taiwan are especially not so tolerant about having an accent speaking Tâigí.
Or perhaps it's just that the environment - after all, it's an island - it has been relatively isolated therefore it hasn't been seen as often that language is spoken by non-native speakers.  (Compare to countries like the US, UK where immigrants are commonly seen in society.)
Or perhaps it's the ROC-Manderin-centric single-dynamic viewpoint influence. I don't really know. But if you speak Tâigí with an accent, which is easy to have if you are not a native speaker or growing up, you didn't have the chance to actually say it in daily life.  People here would jokingly laugh at you, pick on your accent and therefore as a language learner, you would be easily discouraged and want to give up early on.

This makes the already-difficult language promotion even harder. Because the only way to get rid of the accent is to speak the language!! Even if by practicing so hard, you'd still have the accent. And that's my point. What about the accent? What's wrong with it?
If we are going to save the language, we must accept that we will have to go through a phrase that when most people speak Tâigí (and other native language) with an accent. And that's FINE.
Because it is the fact that we are trying to get out of the colonial period. We are all learning the native language like we were foreigners - and we sort of are considering how unfamiliar we are with our own culture.
It's sad, it's ridiculous but it's TRUE. 

We should recognize it, make peace with it, get over it and start learning our native languages like we are foreigners with a humble attitude and funny accent. So what?
Let the funny accent be a new normal. We should all be speaking in our native languages in funny accents but we are PROUD. We will be proud to be ourselves.

#taigi #taiwanese #learntaiwanese #learntaigi #taigu #formosa #formosan #taioan #poj #accent #newnormal

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