Sunday, July 24, 2011

An Urge to Write Hoklo Taiwanese Found Among Taiwan's Youth

Hoklo Taiwanese is having an impact in the younger generation.

Take a look at this fascinating article in the Taipei Times: Hoklo expands to new arenas — the Web and resumes

How will it all turn out? A root problem is that Hoklo has been treated by the educational establishment as a "dialect." If the Hoklo language had its own places for usage and the students learn to write it as a distinct language, then the youth would be less likely to feel like they need to mix it into Mandarin. Look to multilingual societies like Switzerland to see how that would work out.

They would have times when they used Mandarin to write in certain contexts and Hoklo Taiwanese in other contexts.

Hopefully, the powers that be will not conflate the slang found in the resumes with the legitimate writing of Hoklo Taiwanese.

Hoklo expands to new arenas — the Web and resumes

By Chen Yi-ching and Tseng Hung-ju / Staff Reporters

Sun, Jul 24, 2011

While “cyber-speak” might puzzle those who do not frequent online forums and chatrooms, the unique lingo has become even more of a riddle lately as Hoklo (commonly known as Taiwanese) is gradually incorporated into popular usage.

For example, the term “older sister” would be written as “阿寄” (a-tsi), the term “eating rice” becomes “呷奔” (tsiah-png), “matter” becomes “代誌” (tai-tsi) and “interesting” becomes “促咪” (tshu-bi).

This year, more colloquial Hoklo terms have entered the lexicon of the nation’s netizens, including terms such as “安爪” (an-tsuann, meaning “what’s up” in Hoklo), “休跨” (sio-kua, meaning “a little” in Hoklo) and “啊嗯勾” (a-en-kou, meaning “but” in Hoklo).

However, the incorporation of Hoklo into cyber-speak is not a new phenomenon as in previous years other terms made their way into cyber-speak, such as “凍蒜” (tong-suan, meaning “get elected” in Hoklo) and “莊孝維” (tsong-hsiao-ui, meaning “playing dumb” in Hoklo).

According to writer and Internet celebrity Lucifer Chu (朱學恒), the unique culture of Taiwan’s cyber-speak also reflects the “gang effect,” referring to the trend that groups of friends constantly develop their own unique vocabulary and culture that is understood only be those who are in the same circle.

Chu said riddle-like terminology that requires a bit of guesswork and thought is more likely to become popular than lingo that is mundane.

Chu said the increasing incorporation of Hoklo into cyber-speak is fun for Taiwanese netizens and it helps increase their cultural recognition.

However, despite the creativity and fun of cyber-speak, Yes123, an online job bank, found that young job seekers may be too accustomed to Internet lingo as some of the terms are beginning to appear on resumes posted on the site.

Yes123 said some the resumes submitted by young job hunters were riddled with strangely written words that baffled their human resource directors.

For example, some resumes mixed Hoklo and Chinese, used emoticons or incorporated the zhuyin fuhao (bo po mo fo system), a phonetic system used in Taiwan, to substitute a Chinese character, such as using “ㄉ” for “的.”

Writing their resumes in a linear fashion without punctuation marks or misusing punctuation marks, such as using exclamation marks or tildes in place of periods, was also part of the informal style used by a number of young job hunters, the job bank added.

Yes123 Public Relations director Lin Ming-hui (林明慧) said that although creative resumes might get a potential employer’s attention, “it is not always a good idea and may be seen as an inability to express oneself articulately.”

Wang An-lun (王安倫), assistant vice president of ATEN International Co’s Human Resources Department, said there are many young people writing their resumes in lighthearted and witty ways, adding that about 10 percent of resumes submitted to ATEN used either the phonetic system, emoticons, Internet slang or Chinese-Hoklo terms such as ho-ka-tsai, (好家在, meaning “fortunately” in Hoklo).

“If it was an application for [the position of] sales [person], it may be interpreted as being creative, but it would not be appropriate for law or engineering-related jobs and would prompt a human resources director to worry about the potential negative effect to the company’s professional image and corporate culture,” Wang said.
Lion Travel vice president Chen Cheng-ta (陳正達) said out of 100 resumes submitted to the firm, 5 to 10 percent were found to contain inappropriate language.

“A resume is the first impression a company has of an applicant, and overt lightheartedness or wit has a detrimental effect because it gives off the impression of overt casualness. This makes hiring directors worry that the applicant may lack discipline which could have a negative impact in the future,” Chen said.


Published on Taipei Times :
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