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International Journal of Taiwan Studies CfP: Language and Society in Taiwan

International Journal of Taiwan Studies Topical Section Call for Papers

“Language and Society in Taiwan”

Since the beginning of the twentieth century, Taiwan has undergone continuous and profound sociolinguistic changes. Modern language planning was initiated by the Japanese colonial government and its decision to establish Japanese as Taiwan’s national language (kokugo). This policy introduced three innovative moments: first, the modern concept of a national language was for the first time introduced to Taiwan. Second, by actively implementing the spread of the national language, the Japanese colonial period marks the beginning of institutionalised linguistic hierarchies. Third, the top position within this hierarchy was attributed to Japanese, a new language on Taiwan’s linguistic map. After the regime change in 1945, the KMT government continued this national language policy, the only significant change being the replacement of Japanese with Mandarin. As a result of national language planning, Taiwan society at large has undergone two major language shifts. By 1945, according to historical reports, the use of the Japanese language was widespread, and had even entered private domains. At the end of the twentieth century, Mandarin had been successfully established as Taiwan’s dominant language of education, government administration and media; its use in private domains had reached unprecedented levels. At the same time, since the late twentieth century, the reverse effects of national language planning have become increasingly obvious: a growing marginalisation and even endangerment of the mother tongues of the great majority of Taiwan’s population, i.e. the Austronesian languages of ethnic minorities, Hakka and the Southern Min dialects collectively referred to as Hoklo or Taiwanese. For some 20 years, this process of marginalisation and endangerment has been an issue of closely connected debates on the re-definition of national language policies, language in education, and Taiwan identity at large.

Against this historical backdrop, this topical section of the International Journal of Taiwan Studies (IJTS) welcomes papers that address recent developments in Taiwan’s language planning. Due to the current shortage of empirical studies that engage with language policies after 2000, we particularly encourage inquiries into the effects of mother tongue education, the promulgation of language laws, and non-governmental language activism. Moreover, although the fields of language planning and societal multilingualism have witnessed the introduction of new frameworks, concepts and approaches in the past years, Taiwan has played only a marginal role in theory building. Therefore, contributions that apply concepts such as linguistic justice or agency in language planning to Taiwan’s language situation are particularly welcome.

To signal your interest and intent to write an article in this topical section please email an abstract (300-400 words) along with a short bio (50-100 words) to the guest editors: Professor Henning Klöter (Humboldt University of Berlin, email: and Julia Wasserfall ( by 31 January 2020.


By 31 January 2020: Submission of abstract.

By 29 February 2020: Decision by guest editors on invitations for manuscript submission.

By 31 August 2020: Submit manuscript (5000-7000 words) to Professor Henning Klöter and Julia Wasserfall, for review by editors.

By 31 January 2021: Submit manuscript online to the IJTS for double-blind peer review.


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