Taiwanese

Tezuk

举人
I am aware the number of foreigners learning Taiwanese/Hokkien probably isn't very high, but would you have any interest in making an add-on for Pleco?

The Taiwanese Education Department has a free dictionary (with voice recordings), which is very useful.

http://twblg.dict.edu.tw/holodict/index.htm

If this dictionary could be converted to be used for Pleco, it would be amazing. The government works very hard to promote Taiwanese so I hope they would be willing to perhaps let you use the information for free??? I would be willing to pay, but even if you offered it as a free add-on, perhaps it could be an idea to market the company's name or just make pleco the ultimate multi-regionalect Chinese tool, haha.
 

mikelove

皇帝
Staff member
We've tried contacting the MoE several times already but can't seem to get so much as a response out of them... this has been the case with pretty much every Taiwanese dictionary maker we've contacted, actually, we're either ignored or rudely rebuffed. We had one promising lead a month or so ago, but they turned out to have highly unrealistic expectations as far as royalties and their level of control over the finished product.
 

mikelove

皇帝
Staff member
Tezuk said:
What a shame...did you try calling them directly?
Yes, actually even did get a reply at one point saying they'd discuss it with their board but haven't been able to get anything out of them since then.
 

Taffy

秀才
Can you use Creative Commons-licensed dictionaries? A little while back I persuaded Maryknoll to license their Taiwanese-English dictionary this way - you can download it from http://www.taiwanesedictionary.org/. It doesn't have Chinese characters, but Un-gian (http://203.64.42.21/iug/Ungian/SoannTen ... Taihoa.asp) would most likely be willing to license his under similar conditions, meaning one could create a hybrid dictionary of the two.

If you'd be interested in pursuing this route, just drop me a PM.
 

mikelove

皇帝
Staff member
Taffy said:
Can you use Creative Commons-licensed dictionaries? A little while back I persuaded Maryknoll to license their Taiwanese-English dictionary this way - you can download it from http://www.taiwanesedictionary.org/. It doesn't have Chinese characters, but Un-gian (http://203.64.42.21/iug/Ungian/SoannTen ... Taihoa.asp) would most likely be willing to license his under similar conditions, meaning one could create a hybrid dictionary of the two.

If you'd be interested in pursuing this route, just drop me a PM.
We can indeed, but our dictionary conversion queue is pretty long at the moment - we can certainly consider it when things calm down, though. The main issue would be adding Taiwanese romanization support to our search engine - seems like as with Cantonese (and unlike with Mandarin) there really isn't one system that's sufficiently well-established that we could satisfy (almost) everyone with it, we'd need to cover 2 or 3 at least.
 

Taffy

秀才
The romanisation issue need not be as tricky as all that - I'd say pick one of Peh-oe-ji or Tai-lo and stick with it - the systems are so close that any reader of one can learn the other in half an hour (and in fact most students probably know both already). Of the two I'd go with Peh-oe-ji, because the bulk of the materials available in romanisation use that system. To be honest though converting databases from one to the other is a trivial operation, so if you went with Tai-lo it wouldn't be a big issue. The other romanisations are essentially hobby horses for a few enthusiasts, much like Gwoyeu Romatzyh for Mandarin.

As something to think about for the future, extending your current five-tone recognition, colouring, and testing system to cover the seven tones of Taiwanese would be a huge boon for us few learners of the language. I don't know that there's the user base to justify your time on updating that though.
 

Tezuk

举人
Taffy said:
The romanisation issue need not be as tricky as all that - I'd say pick one of Peh-oe-ji or Tai-lo and stick with it - .
I agree completely Taffy, but Tai-lo is my choice of romanisation. No doubt old material is largely Peh-oe-ji, but it seems everything new will probably be Tai-lo. I think the MOE online dictionary and IME really are important factors to the necessity for garnering large support for Tai-lo. The dictionary I believe to be the future of Taiwanese, as finally they seem to be doing some standardisation for characters.
 

Taffy

秀才
I'd agree with you if I could be convinced of the MoE's good intentions and their ability to bring romanised Taiwanese to a larger audience. Unfortunately I'm sure of neither. Add to this the fact that many people active in the Tai-bun community intensely mistrust any government interference, and I think it's far from clear that Tai-lo will come to dominate.

On a personal level though I'd be quite happy dealing with either in my language learning - like I said before, conversion between the two is regular and trivial. Using Tai-lo also eliminates the tricky o͘ character that often causes display problems.
 
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