The Multilingual and Multiorthographic Taiwan-Based Internet

Hsi Yao Su*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

25 Citations (Scopus)


This chapter investigates creative uses of writing systems on the electronic bulletin boards (BBSs) of two college student organizations in Taipei, Taiwan. Data were collected from postings on bulletin boards and semi-structured interviews with members of the student organizations and it was analyzed using qualitative and ethnographic methods. Four popular creative uses of writing systems are identified and discussed: the rendering in Chinese characters of the sounds of English, Taiwanese, and Taiwanese-accented Mandarin, and the recycling of a transliteration alphabet used in elementary education. It is argued that these practices are enabled by the written nature of the Internet, the orthographic systems available in the society, and the multilingual situation in Taiwan, and that everyday meanings associated with the writing systems and languages are appropriated and reproduced through online practice, resulting in a unique mode of communication.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe Multilingual Internet
Subtitle of host publicationLanguage, Culture, and Communication Online
PublisherOxford University Press
ISBN (Electronic)9780199788248
ISBN (Print)9780195304794
Publication statusPublished - 2007 Sept 1


  • Chinese
  • Code switching
  • Mandarin
  • Multilingualism
  • Orthography
  • Playfulness
  • Taiwanese
  • Transliteration
  • Writing systems

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Arts and Humanities


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