Festival plans to
celebrate Taiwanese romanization
WRITING HISTORY: Organizers of the festival said
the system had a significant impact on the nation¡¦s cultural development, as
well as on education and literature
By Wang Chun-chung and Stacy Hsu / Staff reporter, with staff
Members of government and civic
organizations who have organized a festival on Hoklo romanization, better known
as Taiwanese, pose for a picture in Greater Tainan on Friday.
Photo: Wang Chun-chung, Taipei Times
As the birthplace of a romanization system
for the Taiwanese language, Greater Tainan will stage a series of events this
month in an effort to revitalize the long-standing transcription system for
Hoklo, commonly known as Taiwanese, and underscore its historical significance.
Under the banner of the Festival on Taiwanese Romanization, the events are being
staged by government and civic organizations, including the Greater Tainan
Government¡¦s Cultural Affairs Bureau and Education Bureau, the Taiwan Church
Press and National Cheng Kung University¡¦s (NCKU) Center for Taiwanese Language
Derived from ¡§Peh-oe-ji¡¨ ¡X a romanization system also known as Church
Romanization in which Hoklo first appeared in written form ¡X the Taiwanese
Romanization System was widely used in the past, event organizers said.
Organizers said that the writing system had a significant impact on the nation¡¦s
cultural enlightenment movements during the Japanese colonial period, as well as
on general education promotion and creation of literary works.
The festival is set to feature an exhibition of culturally significant items
related to the transcription system, including Taiwan¡¦s first printing press,
donated in 1880 by British medical missionary James Laidlaw Maxwell for printing
romanized Hoklo, and the debut issue of the nation¡¦s first printed newspaper,
the Taiwan Prefectural City Church News.
A guided tour of the so-called ¡§Treasure Hall¡¨ (»E¬Ã°ó), the publisher of Taiwan
Prefectural City Church News and predecessor of the Taiwan Church Press, and to
the former residence of the paper¡¦s founder, British missionary Thomas Barclay,
will also be available to visitors who register in advance.
To provide people with a glimpse into how the printing industry used to work,
the Taiwan Church Press has put on display a replica of the nation¡¦s first
printing press for visitors to try out, organizers said.
Chiung Wi-vun (½±¬°¤å), an associate professor at NCKU¡¦s Department of Taiwanese
Literature, said the festival is also marking the centennial of the publication
of the first romanized Hoklo dictionary, created by British missionary William
Campbell in 1913, as well as the 80th anniversary of the publication of a
Taiwanese translation of the Bible¡¦s Old Testament by Thomas Barclay in 1933.
A dictionary-consulting contest using Campbell¡¦s dictionary was held yesterday
to commemorate his dedication to the system of writing, Chiung said, which is
being followed by a three-day international conference on Taiwanese Romanization
at NCKU between May 18 and May 20.
Chiung said the conference, titled ¡§Preservation and Development of Culture
Heritage,¡¨ would feature presentations of more than 80 research papers on the
transcription system by academics from Taiwan, Vietnam, Holland, Japan, Germany
The conference will also demonstrate the nation¡¦s intent to apply for inclusion
of the Taiwanese romanization system in UNESCO¡¦s Intangible Cultural Heritage
list, Chiung added.