Latest News:  
Beijing   Sunny    24 / 12 ℃  City Forecast

English>>China Society

Vanishing languages saved for posterity

(China Daily)

09:35, September 28, 2012

Government seeks to preserve dialects before they disappear

Education authorities are compiling a database on the dialects of different regions and ethnic groups across the country to preserve those languages before they disappear, a senior government official said.

Given China's rapid economic and social development, standard Mandarin, or Putonghua, has become increasingly popular across the country. It is even replacing some local dialects, particularly in urban and developed areas, said Zhang Haoming, director of the language information management department under the Ministry of Education.

By 2011, 70 percent of people in China could speak and read standard Mandarin, compared with 51 percent in 2000, according to the government.

Zhang said the popularity of Putonghua is inevitable because it has become an important tool for daily communication and economic exchanges between people of different regions. "For individuals, they may feel their self-development restricted if they don't speak Putonghua," he said.

Zhang said that at the same time, some dialects that had existed in certain regions for a long time and carry historic and cultural significance are disappearing.

"That's why we launched the national project to record the dialects and, ultimately, to complete a database on China's dialects," Zhang said in an interview with China Daily.

Important parts of the database are language resources and a comprehensive vocal collection, which was initiated in 2008. So far, pilot projects have been carried out in Jiangsu and Liaoning provinces, Shanghai and Beijing municipalities, and the Guangxi Zhuang autonomous region, according to the ministry.

A recent example of the project that has attracted a lot of media attention was in Dalian, in Liaoning province, where the government this month chose nine residents as representatives of the Dalian dialect. After training, they will record the pronunciation of 1,000 commonly used characters, 1,200 words and some sentences in the Dalian dialect.


【1】 【2】



News we recommend

Recommended News

PLA Air Force conducts search and rescue exercise Chemical leakage turns villages red in Shandong Air force conducts island penetration and assault training
Memorial activities held to commemorate 'Sep. 18 Incident' China, U.S. conduct joint anti-piracy exercise in Gulf of Aden Pinyin jumps aboard nation's trains
Guangzhou MAC organizes composite training Firms close on anniversary PLA navy conducts live-fire missile defense drill

Email|Print|Comments(Editor:燕勐、张洪宇)

Leave your comment0 comments

  1. Name

  

Selections for you


  1. Editor's choice: Chinese Air Force test pilots

  2. North Korea's 'iPad' revealed

  3. New Deal to Boost Consumption

  4. Beigong Forest Park: Easy Escape

  5. Zhang Ziyi covers OK Jingcai magazine

  6. Spectacular scenery of dusk around world

Most Popular

Opinions

  1. Human resources need more investment
  2. Japan should know facts rather than rhetoric prevail
  3. Be vigilant against resurgence of militarism in Japan
  4. Easy times gone for foreign firms in China
  5. Noda gov't in hot water as LDP eyes comeback
  6. White paper makes watertight case for Diaoyu claim
  7. Intl firms should learn from Chinese counterparts
  8. Aircraft carrier brings timely morale boost
  9. Palestine faces difficulties amid Arab upheaval
  10. Theft of Diaoyu Islands risks China-Japan trade ties

What's happening in China

Chinese icebreaker Xuelong concludes Arctic expedition

  1. Volunteer efforts to be recorded, rewarded
  2. Reading room available in every Chinese village
  3. China on orange alert for gales from typhoon
  4. China on fire alert ahead of holiday
  5. Officials post their financial information online

China Features

  1. Culture invasion? Starbucks kisses Buddha
  2. Public should enjoy more 'tourism benefits'
  3. Ancient villages face losing their souls
  4. Economic circles key to Sino-Japan relations
  5. How to pan for gold in cultural investment fever

PD Online Data

  1. Ministry of Water Resources
  2. Ministry of Railways
  3. People's Bank of China
  4. Ministry of Health
  5. Ministry of Culture