The Liu Dui Culture Research Association on Saturday unveiled the nation’s first domestically compiled lexicon of Hakka-language words in the Liu Dui dialect, an effort that took a decade of work and cost about NT$7 million (US$233,085 at the current exchange rate).
The two-volume, 1,400-page lexicon collected more than 20,000 phrases and words, and is estimated to be of great value in helping people learn the Liu Dui dialect and culture, the association said.
It could also become a reference book for teachers, the association added.
The lexicon collected phrases and common words used in daily speech, as well as local sayings, phrases and words describing the history of the area and the local life, it said.
Association Director Tseng Tsai-chin, a retired teacher, served as the editor-in-chief of the project.
Reached for comment yesterday, Tseng said he wanted to compile the lexicon because he thought that the Sisian dialect, which is the main dialectal group to which the Liu Dui subgroup belongs, was underused at meetings or when presiding as a judge over events related to the Hakka language.
The two most-used dialectal groups out of the five groups of the Hakka language used in Taiwan are the Sisian, which is more prevalent in southern Taiwan, and the Hailu, which is more prevalent in the north.
The other three groups are the Dapu, Raoping and Jhaoan.
The 12 Hakka-speaking townships spread across Pingtung County and Kaohsiung all speak the Liu Dui subdialect, which can be further subdivided into three smaller groups — one used by those in Neipu, Wanluan, Jhutian and Linluo townships in Pingtung; the second used in Gaoshu, Changjhih, Jiadong and Sinpi townships; and the third used in the Mainong, Shanlin and Liouguei districts of Kaohsiung.
This is evidence of the richness of the Liu Dui subdialect and one of the unique characteristics of the Sisian dialect, Tseng said.
The association’s funding mainly came from the Hakka Affairs Council, he said.
Having completed multiple volumes of Liu Dui-centric words and vocabulary, he said that he reorganized them into a lexicon, as multiple volumes of vocabulary would prove difficult to use.
While the project was a part of Tseng’s “Liu Dui to save its own dialect” project, he said he was astonished and glad to receive help from Hakka people nationwide, adding that the encouragement also greatly motivated the project’s six editors.
A total of 1,200 copies were produced for the first print, but the association was left with only 200 sets after gifting copies to people who helped produce the lexicon, it said.
The sets are priced at NT$2,000 each and come with a CD to help the learning process, the association said.