Taiwan - Languages

Most people on Taiwan now speak Mandarin Chinese (Peking dialect). It is the official language and is used in administration, jurisprudence, education, and, to a large extent, in commerce; it has come into increasingly common use during the last three decades. The Wade-Giles system of romanization, which has been replaced on the mainland by the pinyin system, is still used in Taiwan.

Native Taiwanese speak a variety of southern Chinese dialects, but mainly Southern FuKienese. This is the native tongue of about 70% of the population. It has also influenced the vocabulary of Mandarin spoken on Taiwan. There is also a sizable population of Hakka speakers. This dialect is mainly spoken in Kwantung Province on the mainland. As a result of 50 years of Japanese rule, most Taiwanese and aborigines over the age of 60 speak or understand Japanese. Tribal peoples speak dialects of the Malay-Polynesian family which have no written script.

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