Taiwanese Hokkien is one of the major languages in Taiwan, but nowadays, people usually communicate in Mandarin Chinese unless you live in southern Taiwan, where a lot of the local business is still conducted in Hokkien. On top of that, parents rarely speak Taiwanese to their kids at home. Thus, fewer kids from the younger generation feel the need to learn and speak Hokkien. And for foreigners, you can easily get by with only speaking Mandarin. So there isn't an urgent need to learn the Taiwanese language either.
Since fewer and fewer people are learning Taiwanese, there aren't many resources for learners of Hokkien, especially for those who don't speak Chinese. Most of the materials and tools are created for Taiwanese people. However, we still found a few excellent and useful tools that can help you get started with learning the Taiwanese language and learn it more efficiently.
6 Helpful Tools to Help You Learn Taiwanese Hokkien
Resources 1 & 2 are more suitable for Hokkien learners who are intermediate to advanced Chinese leaners since the information is in Chinese only. If you are a beginner, I recommend you to start with Easy Taiwanese Lessons, Spoken Hokkien, and Glossika as they will give you a head start on the language.
1. iTaigi & 教育部辭典 (The Dictionary Made by the Ministry of Education of Taiwan)
Let's say you're watching Taiwanese dramas actively, and you come across words that you have never seen before. You need to look them up but not sure where to go. iTaigi and the dictionary made by the Ministry of Education of Taiwan are here to help.
iTaigi lets you look up words with corresponding Chinese characters, i.e., if you're looking kitchen up, you can type in 廚房, and you will get all the results related to Chinese word-廚房. iTaigi also provides many other learning resources such as other great dictionaries, lists of common words, etc.
Like iTaigi, you can also look words up with corresponding Chinese characters, but you can also look up words using their pronunciation with the Ministry of Education's dictionary. Once you find the word that you are looking for, you will be able to hear the pronunciation and see how the word is used in a sentence.
Taigi Kho is a Facebook page manages by Mr. Yokita Lim, who is very knowledgeable and passionate about the Taiwanese language. On his page, he shares a great variety of information, including accents in different areas, pronunciation tips, loanwords in Taiwanese Hokkien, etc. Yokita also offers Taiwanese classes in various topics such as Business Taiwanese, Medical Taiwanese, and more. He also has extensive experience in teaching foreigners and solving the problems that Taiwanese learners often encounter.
If you are currently learning Taiwanese Hokkien, don't hesitate to drop him a message when you hit a plateau or run into problems. We had a pleasure to have him in the office sharing Taiwanese learning tips with us earlier this year. If you want to find out about what he shared, read our article "Taigi Kho: Preserving and Passing on the Taiwanese Language".
Easy Taiwanese Lessons is a YouTube channel owned by a Taiwanese girl, whose name is YuChi. In her videos, you will learn about Taiwanese culture, Taiwanese Hokkien grammar & vocabulary, native Taiwanese Hokkien expressions, etc. And, her videos are all pretty easy to follow. If you are looking to learn about the Taiwanese language in a more casual setting, this YouTube channel is for you.
Spoken Hokkien is a very helpful book for beginners. It comes with audio material for learners of Taiwanese Hokkien. It is to prepare learners for basic to the intermediate everyday conversation in the Taiwanese language whether he/she is visiting or living in Taiwan.
It is designed for Taiwanese Hokkien learners, whose native language is English, who are starting with little or no knowledge of the Taiwanese language. It emphasizes speaking, listening and communicating, but also presents the written language through the Roman alphabet. The lessons contain dialogue, vocabulary, and phrase patterns. There are also additional vocabulary, exercises, cultural information, and grammatical explanations for hardcore learners.
5. Dramas or Shows in Taiwanese Hokkien
Watching shows or dramas helps improve your listening skills in your target language. The same theory applies to Taiwanese Hokkien as well; however, it's going to be more challenging in this case. Why? There are many Taiwanese Hokkien dramas for you to choose from, such as 飛龍在天 (fēi lóng zài tiān) and 金家好媳婦 (jīn jiā hǎo xí fù), but most of them come with Chinese subtitles only.
Dramas in Taiwanese Hokkien are often dramatic and sometimes unrealistic, but somehow addicting. You learn the most natural, the most colloquial Taiwanese Hokkien that you might not learn in your Taiwanese courses. On top of that, you also learn about the culture of Taiwan. If you are someone who can read Chinese characters or an intermediate Taiwanese Hokkien learner, this method is for you.
By using Glossika, you'll be able to mimic the way a child acquires a language while getting optimal results by immersing yourself in Taiwanese Hokkien on a daily basis. Knowing and mastering the ever-changing tones in Taiwanese Hokkien can be challenging. However, the more you hear and use them, the more clear you will be. Glossika shows you how tones change in real-life conversations. Our spaced repetition training build up your understanding of the tones by familiarizing you little by little with various sentence structures and patterns.
Taiwanese Hokkien can be easy and fun to learn, and the rewards you get are much deeper and much more than just being able to speak a language. At Glossika, we take a firm stand in language preservation. That's why we provide local dialects or languages that aren't as resourceful to the public on our platform for FREE. What are you still waiting for?
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