The Council of Indigenous People (CIP) held the "2023 Forum on the Revitalization and Exchange of the Austronesian Languages" today, September 12th, at the International Conference Hall of the National Central Library. Representatives from New Zealand and Canada were invited to engage in comprehensive discussions regarding their respective indigenous language policies and development.
The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) has initiated the "Global Action Plan of the International Decade of Indigenous Languages 2022-2032," a ten-year global action plan for language preservation. Both New Zealand and Canada passed indigenous language laws in 2016 and 2019, respectively. In 2017, Taiwan also enacted and promulgated the Indigenous Languages Development Act. This forum aims to facilitate comprehensive exchanges and discussions on indigenous languages among these three nations.
Minister Icyang of the CIP stated that the implementation of the Indigenous Languages Development Act in Taiwan mandates the government to be responsible for promoting the preservation, transmission, promotion, and research of indigenous languages. This year's forum focuses on "Language Policy Development in Various Countries" and invites specialized discussions on language policies by the Canadian Language Museum and the New Zealand Māori Language Revitalization Commission. By listening to the measures taken by different countries to revitalize indigenous languages in the face of language loss, the participants of various backgrounds can learn from these experiences to further the efforts of language revitalization.
Furthermore, the participants in this forum predominantly used their native languages for communication. To ensure that the participants from different language backgrounds could understand each other, simultaneous interpretation was provided in seven languages: Mandarin Chinese, English, Amis, Paiwan, Atayal, Bunun, and Taroko. This arrangement fully showcased the linguistic diversity and linguistic rights of the Austronesian languages. Through the simultaneous interpretation of various languages, language barriers were overcome, fostering dialogue and connections among the islands.