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Taiwan unlikely to list English as official language: premier

2012/11/06 20:14:00

Taipei, Nov. 6 (CNA) Premier Sean Chen dismissed Tuesday the possibility broached by an opposition lawmaker that English could be made an official language of Taiwan.

He made the remarks following an English skills index unveiled by an international education institute that showed Taiwan lagging behind other Asian countries in English proficiency.

In response to a suggestion made by opposition Democratic Progressive Party Legislator Chiu Chih-wei that listing English as an official language could improve English proficiency nationwide, Chen said that at the current stage, Taiwan is unlikely to make any such decision.

Mandarin Chinese is currently the country's only official language.

An official language requires each citizen to be able to use the language, which Chen noted is unlikely.

According to the index conducted by Education First, Taiwan ranked ninth in Asia and 30th in the world, with its global ranking within the 26th-38th range, representing low adult proficiency.

Singapore, Malaysia, India and Pakistan -- countries where English is an official language -- led Asian countries in the rankings, followed by South Korea, Japan, Hong Kong and Indonesia.

Globally, European countries, led by Sweden, Denmark, the Netherlands, Finland and Norway, topped the list.

(By Chen Shun-hsieh and Hanna Liu)