Language Crisis Living in Taiwan

Last updated on December 24th, 2014 at 12:10 am

I have written some-what long post to one of the traveler’s social website.

It’s about my language crisis while living in Taiwan.

I’m a bilingual since I started my elementary education.

However, though I can speak Mandarin reasonably fluently, reading and writing Chinese characters are still not my forte.

It’s like in any Chinese conversation, my listening can literally miss out 30% of spoken words. Or 80% of illiteracy for reading a written-article.

I bet any Chinese teacher would have utterly failed me, without any thought of supplements.

Fine. That’s not the point I’m trying to convey.

After all, living for some months in Tainan, or Taiwan or Taipei, I have been speaking mostly Mandarin to the locals.

No doubt, the local people happily recognize me as a genuine ‘Taiwanese’.


To some extend, what has intriguingly surprised and amazed me, is there are some delivery man asking me road direction of places, with their native languages, i.e Taiwanese Language.

I consider that as a Chinese dialect, and not Chinese Mandarin.

Mind you, I have no issues on Taiwanese Language, 38.6% proficiency if one were to generously grade me in listening and speaking.

Frankly speaking, local people are truly friendly and I don’t encounter any cultural shock here.

So what’s my message about?

After months of Mandarin, Chinese, and in Taiwan, I realized that my English I used to speak, has slowly becoming more like ‘Chinglish’. Or ‘Taiglish’?

What’s ‘Chinglish’? My definition…. Its an English language blends with some Chinese accent or sounds-like.

For example, “你的後面” has become “you behind” and not the correct English of “behind you”.

The pronoun and adjective got mixed up!

That got me pondering why many Taiwanese students love to have a chance to speak English Language, preferably to a Native speaker….

I re-quote, “… speak English Language, preferably to a Native speaker…”

But I’m a Chinese. So?

That’s become the language crisis I’m encountering now!

Most locals don’t speak English to me. Well, it could my problem that I don’t initiate to speak English to them too. I’m passive. These also put me in a dilemma of which language should come first.

Enough said.

Anyway, CHIUNG-I TSENG’s idea is totally brilliant!

I’m still learning my English, by the way.

Pls keep me inform if there is any outings.

Thank you.


Above original post taken from Couchsurfing Forums