label r shifted
Session B7
Indigenous and Ethnic Toponyms under the State Policy of the Standardization of Geographical Names
康培德 Peter Kang
Department of Taiwan and Regional Studies, National Dong Hwa University, Taiwan

        Following the proposal of United Nations Conferences on the Standardization of Geographical Names (UNCSGN), the authority of ROC (Republic of China) on Taiwan launched the policy of standardization of geographical names in Hualien County in the year of 2013 by summoning meeting in each township. The participants included the representatives of township government and local elders. The staffs from the Department of Land Administration, Ministry of the Interior, and the scholars were the observer.

        The indigenous and ethnic toponyms in the studied area are from different origins composed of Formosan Austronesians or Taiwanese Indigenous Peoples, Taiwanese Hokkien, Hakka, and Japanese. Regarding the selection of geographical names for standardization, the Department of Land Administration follows the formal resolution on each Township meeting organized by the County Government. Nevertheless, the selection and the official translation of standardized geographical names involves a more complex process, which turns into a battle ground among different bureaucratic organizations, as well as among various cultural and political ideologies. On the legal and institutional levels, it is the clash between the Hanyu spelling decreed and promoted by the Ministry of Education since the year of 2008 on the one hand and the preferred Romanized spelling bulletined by the Council of Indigenous Peoples for the indigenous toponyms on the other hand. On the cultural level, it is the conflict between the Mandarin-dominated and the Hakka or Hokkien-focused ethnic toponyms for the written characters and their spellings, whereas on the ideological level, it is the confrontation between the Sinocentric and the pro-PRC (People's Republic of China) position on the one hand and the de-Sinicized but Taiwanized advocate based on the Formosan Austronesian uniqueness on the other hand.

        The current paper would critically points out the aforementioned confrontation on various cases of the selection and the official translation of indigenous and ethnic toponyms in different Township meetings for standardization of geographical names. Attention would be given to the composition of committee members in each Township meeting, and the diverse discourses during the meeting for the pros and cons in choosing the standard toponyms, as well as the subsequent Romanized translation.