Applying Official Language Plus from the Perspectives of Linguistic Human Rights and Multiculturalism in Taiwan
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Taiwan began its political reform of languages in the 1990s. At this time, "Mandarin Plus" (Official Language Plus) became the core of Taiwanese language policy to deal with the aftermath of forced national linguistic assimilation under Chiang's administration (1945-1988). Mandarin Plus, defined as teaching vernacular languages other than Mandarin, was legalized by a series of administrative ordinances based on the authority of the Ministry of Education. The plan includes compulsory vernacular language education, Taiwan Mother Tongue day, regional bilingual education, language integration courses, language teacher certification, and teacher training courses. However, political muscle rather than a solid legal foundation was used to deal with the aftermath of Mandarin Only. Whether Mandarin Plus can achieve either the multiculturalism envisioned by the constitutional amendments or the full potential of linguistic human rights remains in doubt. Therefore, further analysis is needed on whether Taiwan can comply with its constitutional aspiration and achieve linguistic human rights. This dissertation poses, examines and answers several questions from the perspective of linguistic human rights and applies the framework of language planning and international law to the Taiwanese situation. The questions considered include: What legal history and current issues affect language planning and policy in Taiwan? What is the applicable approach of `normative standards' on language law? What is the source of law for the concept of linguistic human rights? What specific linguistic human rights can be identified? What conflicts exist between the current Mandarin Plus centric system and normative standards of linguistic human rights? This dissertation does not intend to negate the indispensability of the de facto official language in Taiwan. Rather, using international human rights law as a framing device for linguistic human rights, it pursues a balanced perspective between the official language and other languages while proposing legal modifications needed to contribute to Taiwan's special language circumstances. Analysing Mandarin Plus centric language planning in Taiwan using the concepts of linguistic human rights contributes to our understanding of a related model -- the U.S. English Plus system -- and extends our understanding of the linguistic human rights domain.
- Law