Dwindling use of tribal languages in Taiwan
The daily use of tribal language of Taiwan’s original inhabitants or Taiwan’s aborigines by tribal offspring younger than 20 years old averages 25%. Among Taiwan’s aborigines 61 years old and older, daily use of their tribal languages averages 79%.
Taiwan officially recognizes 16 aboriginal tribes and 42 aboriginal languages.
Among the Thao aborigines 20 years old and younger, 9.9% use their tribal language while among the Atayal aborigines 20 years old and younger, 70% use their tribal language. Among the Kavalan aborigines 20 years old and younger, 29% of them can speak their tribal language.
The Thao aborigines reside in the Nantou and Sun Moon Lake area near the Bunun tribe in Hsinyi Hsiang (village district). The Thao and the Bunun cooperate and intermarry, and many Thao aborigines have come to speak Bunun.
The Saisiyat aborigines reside in the Miaoli area. They live amongst the Atayal and the Hakka, therefore, the Saisiyat aborigines sometimes do not speak their own tribal language but instead speak Hakka or Atayal.
Only 30% of aboriginal elders teach their offspring to speak and use their tribal languages.
Taiwan’s new high speed passenger train, the Puyuma of TRA (Taiwan Railway Administration), scheduled to run on the eastern Taitung railway line was dispatched to run the MRT (Metropolitan Rapid Transport) route from Taipei to Kaohsiung beginning on February 6, 2016, two days before the Chinese New Years day on February 8, 2016, to help TRA transport the Chinese New Year’s crowd of travelers back home for the holidays and back to work following the holidays.
Puyuma is one of the aboriginal tribes of the Taitung area.