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April 19, 2011

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Wanted: Shanghaihua speakers from suburbs

RAPID urbanization and young people's different attitudes are seemingly hampering the city's efforts to spot pure Shanghai dialect speakers.

The 10 suburban recruitment sites received a cold response with only two to three qualified applicants at each site, since the public recruitment drive kicked off at the end of last month.

In comparison, hundreds of people have rushed to the downtown sites to have their accents recorded, with many of them meeting the strict criteria, officials said yesterday.

"This doesn't mean that the city lacks pure Shanghai dialect speakers," said Zhang Ripei, of the Shanghai Language Committee Office. "Downtown and suburban residents have a different attitude about their dialects."

Some suburban residents try hard not to leak their patois and learn the downtown accent when working or conducting business in downtown.

"They are not willing to talk in their suburban accents on a daily basis. Nor do they want to show it on a public occasion," Zhang said.

Also, the frequent relocation of suburban residents due to urbanization makes it difficult to spot pure speakers.

The committee has strict criteria for suitable applicants. Only those who are born in Shanghai and have lived in his or her birthplace for a long time are eligible.


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