The story appears on

Page A5

March 30, 2012

GET this page in PDF

Free for subscribers

View shopping cart

Related News

Home » Metro » Entertainment and Culture

Shanghaihua recorded in studio for posterity

FOUR Shanghai dialect "spokesmen" yesterday stepped into a downtown studio after a one-year recruitment to make audio records of the city's fast-fading mother tongue.

They were asked to read words, phrases and sentences aloud after chatting freely in Shanghai dialect for about an hour.

"We told them to discuss Shanghai snacks and the life and games played in traditional longtang (lanes)," said Qian Nairong, a Shanghaihua expert on the panel to select the pure speakers.

Last year the city set up 12 recruitment sites based on differences in the local tongue to search for native speakers to record their pure and idiomatic speech, to be used for research, preservation and promotion activities.

Some popular Shanghaihua such as "lei sei," which means capable, "ga sei wu," which means chat, and "zu nin ga," which means thrift, will be recorded in the campaign.

About 500 candidates applied for the recording and the Shanghai Language Work Committee has identified 84 speakers who met the strict criteria. Speakers must be born in the 1940s or 1970s, so comparisons over time can be made. They must have been born in Shanghai and not have lived outside their birthplace for over four years.

"I love Shanghai dialect and I don't want it to die out," said Wei Bin, a speaker who was born in Huangpu District and now works in Jing'an District.

Wei, 38, speaks Shanghaihua frequently in his life because he works in a state-owned enterprise that employs lot of Shanghainese.

But lots of young people don't speak Shanghaihua or speak broken. Even local Huju Opera has trouble finding pure speakers.

Moreover, Shanghainese parents worry their children can't speak the mother tongue. "My daughter seldom talks in Shanghaihua," said a speaker, Qian Yijiao, whose daughter is 8.

The recruiters had trouble finding eligible candidates, as fewer and fewer young people speak the language. In fact, two of the city's suburban recruitment sites, Chuansha and Qingpu, haven't yet found eligible speakers.

The committee is calling for young people to apply for the campaign, hoping to find purer speakers than those they've tentatively selected so far. The commission plans to finish the recording by the end of this year.

Yuan Wen, deputy director of the committee, said, "We encourage Shanghainese families to talk with their children in Shanghai dialect."


Copyright © 1999- Shanghai Daily. All rights reserved.Preferably viewed with Internet Explorer 8 or newer browsers.

沪公网安备 31010602000204号

Email this to your friend