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LANGUAGE COMPETITION AND CHALLENGES IN PLURILINGUAL EDUCATION: THE CASE OF A HAKKA SCHOOL IN TAIWAN

Keywords: English , Hakka , identity , plurilingual education

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Abstract:

The Council of Europe and Taiwan are both promoting plurilingual and intercultural educations for all students, regardless of social group. This paper aims to challenge the assumption that language learning can be expected to benefit all students equally. A Taiwanese socio-cultural study of junior high school students’ (age 13) English language learning processes is used as an example for discussion. Findings from the Hakka School, which is the focus of this paper, revealed emerging inequality arising from the enforcement of a mother-tongue education policy in Taiwan. Language competition and identity clashes are creating a new and worrisome divide that threatens to widen existing gaps not only between urban and rural regions but also among other social groups within Taiwanese society. This study leads to sev-eral conclusions, highlighting implications for teachers of first and second languages, including English, other educators, and policy makers in areas like Europe and Taiwan.

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