The 2023 Symposium on Indigenous Languages in China and Taiwan

Submitted by Rick Aguilar on

By Kathryn Medill

On May 10-11, 2023, scholars from across the world met at the University of Washington to discuss the indigenous languages of China and Taiwan. This symposium was organized by Talant Mawkanuli, who directs the MELC Department’s Turkic and Central Eurasian Studies program. Dr. Mawkanuli has been at the UW since 2008, where he teaches Kazakh and other Central Eurasian languages as well as content courses.

The program included keynotes from two invited speakers, Dr. Fang Xu on “The Fate of the Shanghai Dialect,” and Dr. Gregory Anderson on “A Typology of the Ecologies of Language Endangerment in Asia.” Four panels followed these intriguing lectures, focused on theoretical bases for and approaches to scholarship on indigenous languages, methods and methodological challenges for studying indigenous languages in China and Taiwan, and current research into these indigenous languages. Many of these languages are endangered, as they lack support from national administrations and have dwindling numbers of native speakers. However, several of them have been the targets of revitalization efforts.

Further details of the symposium’s program can be found here: Symposium on Indigenous Languages in China and Taiwan: The Dynamics of Revitalization vs. Devitalization | Middle Eastern Languages and Cultures | University of Washington

We thank many other units at the UW, including the East Asian Center, the divisional Dean of Humanities, the Simpson Center for the Humanities, the Department of Linguistics, the Department of Asian Languages and Literatures, and the Taiwan Studies Program for sponsoring this symposium alongside MELC.