Official bilingualism in a multilingual nation: a study of the 2030 bilingual nation policy in Taiwan

Alessandra Ferrer*, Tzu Bin Lin

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Citations (Scopus)


Since the late 1980s, Taiwan has moved away from Mandarin-only language policy in favour of greater recognition of local Taiwanese languages as part of a greater localisation movement. While continuing to implement language policies aimed at promoting local Taiwanese languages, in December 2018, Taiwan announced intent to implement a bilingual language policy to incorporate English by 2030, titled Bilingual Nation. Applying Ball’s (1993) policy as discourse framework, this paper endeavours to investigate the Bilingual Nation policy planning and rhetoric so as to shed light on Taiwan’s official conceptualisation of national identity. The case study finds that English is the primary focus of Bilingual Nation policy documents and is relegated to the discursive arenas of internationalisation and global economic competition. English is rarely discussed in tandem with any other specific language or language category, with little consideration for the interaction of English and Taiwan’s official national languages. In sum, Bilingual Nation acts as an affirmation of the current status quo in Taiwan’s official conception of national identity: muddled, with the assumption of Mandarin at its centre. Questions remain for Bilingual Nation and its ability to push beyond a symbolic state effort for internationalisation or unproductive labours for international status.

Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Multilingual and Multicultural Development
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 2021


  • Bilingual education
  • internationalisation
  • language policy
  • national identity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cultural Studies
  • Education
  • Linguistics and Language


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