To Develop An Understanding of The Rural Lifestyle in Taiwan Through Taiwanese Nursery Rhymes
Research by Hubert
As an old saying goes that “culture is a kind of life,” every cultural groups has its own lifestyle and people in it will acquire different life experiences according to their lifestyles. A number of aspects can be observed in how we eat, dress, engage in artistic activities, or complying with laws and customs. It would not be overstated that our thinking, behavioural patterns, and values are all derived from our cultural traditions. Culture can be said to be a way of living when one identifies with her/his cultural practices. The “Taiwanese culture,” generally speaking, is referred to the cultural heritage that consists of both social experience and historic experience, which the Taiwanese people have absorbed and passed on to future generations at the same time.
From “Story of Taiwanese Nursery Rhymes” written by Mr. Yuan Kang, we may see that Taiwanese nursery rhymes have been casually picked up when children play while singing lovely songs. These chatty, local, naturally idiomatic lyrics are sung by children in a care-free way when they observe the outer surroundings or dwell in reveries or an imaginary world. Surely there are some rhymes taught by adults to their children so as to give advice or cajole them into behaving well. Unsurprisingly, these rhymes comprise a vast array of topics: astronomy, geography, history, and miscellaneous aspects of everyday life, folk customs, and language. We can teach the next generation about Taiwanese history, geography, folk customs, and language by reading to them these Taiwanese nursery rhymes. In this way, they will have a better understanding of the beauty of Taiwanese culture and learn about the annotation, rhythmic patterns, the musicality of language itself, including its cadence, intonation, and a change of tones. The rhythmic patterns of language can be found in speaking as well as singing. In short, the most known characteristic of Taiwanese nursery rhymes are “a rhythmic language, and a rhythm that is full of colloquial expressions.”
Taiwanese nursery rhymes are not only a representation of Taiwanese culture, but reflect an emphasis on mother-tongue education in that period of time as well. Mr. Yuan Kang pointed out, “today’s mother-tongue education is limited to classrooms, when most students do not speak their native dialect at home. Just like learning to speak English, you can hardly see any improvements if you do not speak that language in your daily conversations.” It is advisable that one uses Taiwanese to read poems, to sing, and to converse in their daily lives. This way, you can slowly pick up this dialect and speak it with fluency. Furthermore, colloquial expressions are formed in our daily lives; therefore, we cannot accurately acquire a language without knowing its cultural background. The allusions are full of stories of a culture; hence, languages are not only a tool for communication, but a cultural heritage that can be noted for a multitude of things: language characteristics, and a lot of facts about history, geography, and daily lives. To express historical stories and civilization from early periods with poems and rhymes can have an outstanding effect.