Chinese characters for Taiwanese–a new list from Taiwan’s MOE

Taiwan’s Ministry of Education has released a list of Chinese characters that can be used for writing common words in Taiwanese. (Note: PDF file.) I’ve provided a few examples at the end of this post.

The minister of education stated last week that students will not be tested on Chinese characters for Taiwanese, so I doubt there will be a widespread effort to learn these. Moreover, some of these characters are not presently in Unicode, making their use in practical applications at best difficult. (And even if they were in Unicode, that doesn’t mean fonts would include them or that a significant number of people would have such fonts.)

More characters and readings are to be released later. But since this list of just three hundred entries took the ministry four years to compile (not counting the many years various scholars worked on this before then), I don’t think anyone should be expecting much more to be released soon.

Here is the ministry’s press release on this.


  1. ???????????????????????????????????????????????????????????
    1. ???
      ???????????????????????????????????????????????????????????kiánn?????????kué?????????????????????????????[webmaster’s note: written together as one character] ?in??????**?[webmaster’s note: see PDF for these characters] ?tshit-thô????????????????Unicode?????????????????????????????????????????????????????
    2. ????
      ??????????????????????????tsh?ng sann??????????????á??????bô?? ????sán??????g?ng??????óo/ué??????????????????????????????
    3. ????
  2. ?????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????
    1. ??????????????????????????????ê????ê??????????????????????tsi?t-ê??????it–ê??????????????????tsi?t-ê???????????????????????it–ê????????guá-ê???????
    2. ???????????????????????????????m?????????t?????????suí????????kh?g????????kha????????báng?????????ts??????????háu????????tsiânn????????l?ng?????

Here are nine entries from the list of three hundred.

建議用字 音讀 又音 對應華語 用例 異用字
recommended character pronunciation alternate reading corresponding Mandarin example different wording
ba̍k   目鏡、目眉  
bang   蚊子 蠓仔、蠓罩
蠻皮 bân-phuê bân-phê, bân-phêr 頑強不化 你真蠻皮 慢皮
bat pat 認識、曾經 捌字、捌去  
beh bueh, berh 要、如果、快要 欲食飯、欲知、強欲 要、卜
  微、細小、輕微 風微微仔吹、微微仔笑  
bīn   臉、面 面色、面熟  
明仔載 bîn-á-tsài miâ-á-tsài, bîn-nà-tsài 明天、明日 明仔載會好天 明仔再、明旦載
  無、沒有 無錢、無閒  


4 thoughts on “Chinese characters for Taiwanese–a new list from Taiwan’s MOE

  1. Thanks for posting this. I read the news about it last week and was curious to see the list.

    While I think it is important to have a standard character set for Hoklo Taiwanese, if the government is really serious about promoting the language it must use some form of romanisation.

  2. Not only romanization but a distinctive form of romanization that doesn’t look like warmed-over pinyin (IMHO there’s at least anecdotal evidence that a distinctive appearance can help a minority orthography) I’d go for the church orthography (perhaps slightly tweaked) since it has a distinct look and has the most tradition (IINM).

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