"John H. Jenkins" <jenkins@...> writes:
> On Aug 24, 2005, at 6:46 PM, Andrew Dunbar wrote:
> > Please correct me if I'm wrong. I thought that in Taiwan everybody
> > spoke the local Chinese "dialect" and was later educated in
> > Mandarin and that the traditional characters are used there. Does
> > anybody know if they would be typing the bopomofo pronunciation
> > for the local "dialect" or Mandarin?
> Mandarin. Min (Taiwanese) is spoken by only a minority of the
> population. Mandarin is the standard dialect, as in the PRC.

Additional to Minnan, Hakka is also quite common. And subway
announcements are in Mandarin, Minnan, Hakka and English in Taipeh (in
that order). Of course, there are more minorities in Taiwan: the
aboriginal inhabitants.

I rarely heard anyone speak Minnan fluently, unfortunately. Anyway --
I was in Taipeh only. More rural Taiwan speaks much more Taiwanese.
To call it a minority would be strange. According to the Ethnologue,
15,000,000 speak Taiwanese, 4,300,000 speak Mandarin, and 2,300,000
speak Hakka.

Actually I only recall hearing a longer spoken Minnan text on the
plane when an L1 speaker of Minnan made announcements. Although the
announcements on the plane were regularly both in Mandarin and Minnan
(and in English), most speakers could not pronounce Minnan perfectly.
But when pronounced natively, it sounded like one of the most
beautiful languages of the Chinese family. Very pleasant to my ear
(and highly complex due to the tone sandhi).


> > If Mandarin then uneducated people would not be able to use
> > computers, electronic dictionaries, etc. This problem was avoided
> > in Hong Kong by using input methods based on the script rather
> > than the sounds of any particular "dialect". Is this right?
> Cantonese-speakers rarely use phonetic input because they're not
> trained in school to do a phonetic analysis of the sounds they make
> when they speak, so it's very difficult for them. They find shape-
> based systems easier to manage.

Bopomofo has characters for typing Minnan and Hakka, so I'd assume
that in Taiwan, natives would type those in Bopomofo on the Taiwanese
keyboards, too.