The Influence of Christianity on the Indigenous Languages of Taiwan: a Bunun Case Study

In: International Journal of Taiwan Studies
Rik De Busser Associate Professor, National Chengchi University, Taiwan,

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This paper discusses two major ways in which the introduction of Christianity exerted an important influence on the Bunun language. In the second half of the twentieth century, Christian churches were instrumental in the protection of indigenous languages, including Bunun, against the cultural and linguistic unification policies of the Taiwanese government. In a different way, work on Bible translation in Bunun has resulted in the creation of a pan-dialectal religious vocabulary and led to the creation of a de facto standard variant of the language based on the Isbukun dialect. Today, a complex relationship exists between this written standard and other Bunun dialects.

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