ONLINE METAPRAGMATIC DISCOURSE ON “ENGLISH AS TAIWAN’S SECOND OFFICIAL LANGUAGE”: MULTILINGUALISM AND IDEOLOGICAL CONTESTATION
Wan-Hsin Ann Lee
This study analyzes online discussion regarding the proposal of the officialization of English as Taiwan’s second official language in October 2017 to investigate how Taiwan responds to a conceptualization of a global market in which English is generally perceived to be dominant. As Taiwan does not practice a de jure official language, the public’s feverish metapragmatic online discussion allows for the examination of the ideologizing process of English and ‘official languages.’ The news viewers evaluate not the proposal text itself, but the inferred interpretations. The study distinguishes two levels of language ideologies—shared language ideologies which contribute to the meaning-making and emergent language ideologies which are discursively introduced through the evaluation of shared language ideologies. Specifically, the study discusses (1) how online news viewers talk about English and the idea of official languages, (2) how multilingualism in the Taiwanese context is conceptualized in the public’s discussion regarding the officialization of English, and (3) how different layers of the dynamic ideological processes are evidenced by discursive elements.