About Hall of Taiwan Folk Literature

Folk Literature abounds in information on language, phonetics, public manners, customs, culture, and accumulation of ancestral wisdom. It is a pity that the tradition of folk literature is gradually being lost as the older generation fades and fewer and fewer members of the younger generation are able to speak the language of their grandparents. But public manners, customs, culture and ancestral wisdom are embedded in these stories and ballads, meaning that the loss of folk literature represents the potential loss of valuable cultural.

In an age of rapidly developing of information science technology, the Internet has become the most powerful communication media. The goal of this project is to digitalize the folk stories, ballads and proverbs collected by Professor Wan-Chuan Hu, by constructing a Web site for the Hall of Taiwan Folk Literature. It serves the function of conserving, promoting, studying and teaching Taiwanese folklore, with the expectation that, through the Web site, Taiwanese people would come to better know the fruit of their ancestral wisdom and the whole world would better understand the folk manners, customs, culture, and language of Taiwan.

In order to enable users to understand the contents and working guidelines of
the Web site of the Hall of Taiwan Folk Literature, first of all, the users should see the diligence and attention our team has spent on the project in “About the Hall of Taiwan Folk Literature.” Presently the Web site only contains the folk ballads and stories of Ilan, Taoyuan, Miaoli, Taichung, Nantou, Changhua, Yunlin, Tainan and Kaohsiung Counties collected by Professor Wan-Chuan Hu, Professor Jhao-Jin Luo, Professor Yi-Yuan Chen, Professor Yuan Kang, Professor Fu-Jhen Shih, Professor Song-Yuan Lin and their team through strenuous endeavor and effort. Users can also browse and search the “Appreciation of Literary Works Section.” There is a Click & Show Function in the system to explicate difficult vocabulary of Ho-Lo Taiwanese dialect and Hakka dialect to minimize users’ reading obstacles.

In consideration of the users who do not know the Ho-Lo or Hakka dialects, we specially set up a database of Lexical Semantics to explicate the vocabulary and language materials unique to these dialects, whereas a voice file recorded during fieldwork is also available for users to listen to, while learning the language simultaneously. If users want to go further to learn the Ho-Lo and Hakka dialects, they can visit the Web site’s “Pedagogy Section,” in which much more teaching and learning resources are available for users to construct sentences with the dialect’s vocabulary, or to read more sample sentences to deeper understand the connotations of the vocabulary.

Those collecting folk ballads need to visit villages in the countryside to acquire authentic folk literature. Those places, although abounding in resources rich in folk literature, are easily neglected or entirely unknown because of their remoteness. In order to make the users understand exactly where these folk ballads were collected, and to encourage them to visit these places in person some day, we utilize GIS technology (Geographic Information System) to establish a Literary Geographic Information System. In this advanced Literary Geographic Information System, geography is no longer a dull Taiwan map; instead, a more lively and refined electronic map enables users to spot where these folk ballads are circulating and to have a closer look at the outlook of an authentic Taiwan.   

Folk literature is a treasury of folk manners and customs recording the most spectacular characteristics of our ancestors: their diligence, hard work, optimistic and progressive attitudes, thrift, humbleness, gentility and good nature. In an age of rapid social changes and confused values system, we firmly believe that, via a far-reaching information network, conserving and promoting that heritage would enable our descendants to conveniently and efficiently get acquainted with the culture passed down by our ancestors, and to acculturate and exert a subtle influence on their attitudes and ways of thinking.