chapter  7
15 Pages

Language hegemony in its relation to Chinese marriage migrants’ mothers’ adaptations to and educational involvements in Taiwan

Taiwan has always been a multi-cultural society where various languages are

spoken: Taiwanese, Hakka, the aboriginal languages, and Mandarin, imposed by

the KMT as the national language in 1945. The emergence in the late 1980s of

the so-called ‘‘foreign brides,’’ or female marriage migrants (FMMs), as more

and more Taiwanese men are seeking marriage partners from Southeast Asian

countries and from mainland China, has slowly reshaped the linguistic landscape.

The number of Taiwanese men marrying internationally has indeed been rising

rapidly in recent years. In 2003, for example, 31.9 percent of Taiwanese men, or

1 out of 3.1, married women from counties other than Taiwan (Ministry of the

Interior, 2004). The number dropped in recent years due to the restrictions put in

place in 2003 by the Ministry of Interior, but remains at a relatively high level:

14 percent in 2008 and 18.8 percent in 2009 (Ministry of Interior, 2010). Taiwan,

however, is not at all unique when it comes to inter-national marriage. This bur-

geoning phenomenon in such East Asian countries as Korea, Japan, and Taiwan1

(Asakura, 2002; Kim, 2006; Lee, 2003; Nakamatsu, 2003; Ochiai, Ishikawa, &

Liaw, 2006; Piper & Roces, 2003), one that is more accurately denominated

inter-national hypergamy, is brought on by the unequal developments of capital-

ism within an age of globalization.2 It occurs when a nation’s disadvantaged men

seek to ‘‘import’’ marriage partners from their region’s less ‘‘developed’’ coun-

tries (H. R. Wang, 2001; Xia, 2002).