On Sunday President Chen Shui-bian spoke at a ceremony marking the opening of Tackalan Boulevard, which connects the Southern Taiwan Science Park to the Sun Yat-sen Freeway. This name differs from most Taiwan road names in several ways:
- it is not disyllabic
- it does not originate in China
- it is not Mandarin
Rather, it is from a language spoken in Taiwan hundreds of years ago.
Chen said giving the major road an Aboriginal name was inspiring and symbolic of the trailblazing spirit of the Aboriginal tribes known as the Pingpu.
Authorities chose the name “Tackalan” because the new road crosses Anting Township (安定), which Dutch colonizers called by the Aboriginal name.
Note: “Anting” is bastardized Wade-Giles. The proper spelling — in Hanyu Pinyin, as well as in all of Taiwan’s official romanization systems for the last twenty years is Anding (Āndìng.
Centuries ago, Tackalan was a thriving river-fishing location populated by Aboriginals. It gradually grew into a farming village as the river became congested with silt….
Another of the three major roads [around the science park], Baccloangh Boulevard, is open to traffic, while the third, Siraya East Road — named after a Pingpu tribe — is under construction.
Here are the names as well as Chinese characters given in news reports:
- Tackalan Boulevard (in Mandarin: Zhíjiānòng Dàdào / 直加弄大道)
- Baccloangh Boulevard (in Mandarin: Mùjiāliū Dàdào / 目加溜大道)
- Siraya East Road (Mandarin stories give this as Siraya Boulevard: Xīlāyǎ dàdào / 西拉雅大道)
For the spellings in romanization I’m having to take the CNA story’s word for it, which is often not a good idea.
I do not know what the street signs themselves look like. The new guidelines from the Ministry of the Interior, however, do not make me confident that the spellings will follow those of the original languages. (They give, for example “Kaidagelan Boulevard” — a romanization of the Mandarinized 凱達格蘭大道 / Kǎidágélán Dàdào — rather than the proper “Ketagalan Boulevard.”) Thus, the signs may well give Mandarinized forms in Tongyong Pinyin (i.e., not Tackalan but Jhijianong, not Baccloangh but Mujialiou, and not Siraya but Silaya). I’d greatly appreciate pictures, in case any readers are ever in that area.
- President praises use of Aboriginal name for new road, Taipei Times (slightly cleaned up CNA story), November 12, 2007
- Táinán Xiàn / Nán-Kē “Zhíjiānòng Dàdào” tōngchē — Chén zǒngtǒng jiǎncǎi xǔyuàn jǐng (南縣／南科「直加弄大道」通車 陳總統剪綵許願景), ET Today, November 12, 2007