ME­DIA BREATHES NEW LIFE INTO DY­ING DI­ALECTS

China Daily (Hong Kong) - - SUNDAY PROFILE -

One way of breath­ing new life into a dy­ing di­alect and sus­tain­ing it as a liv­ing lan­guage is to in­crease its pres­tige and ac­ces­si­bil­ity, lan­guage ex­perts say. This is where such me­dia as TV and ra­dio come in.

“Peo­ple iden­tify pres­tige with mul­ti­me­dia pre­sen­ta­tions,” says Wil­liam Wang, di­rec­tor of the Joint Re­search Center for Lan­guage and Hu­man Com­plex­ity at the Chi­nese Univer­sity of Hong Kong.

Be­low are some new Chi­nese me­dia prod­ucts that cel­e­brate their creators’ di­alects: Novel: (Shang­hai di­alect)

First re­leased on an online fo­rum, the novel ex­plores how the lives of Shang­hai’s dif­fer­ent so­cial classes have changed since the 1960s. Crit­ics say the au­thor Jin Yucheng has deftly cap­tured on pa­per his na­tive tongue’s tone, tempo and emo­tions. The China Academy of Fic­tion named

(Blos­soms) the coun­try’s top fic­tion work of 2012. Film: (Wuhan di­alect)

The film, set in Hubei’s pro­vin­cial cap­i­tal Wuhan, fol­lows the life of lo­cal res­i­dent Li Baoli. Af­ter mov­ing into an apart­ment with bad feng shui, Li loses her hus­band and her son’s trust, and takes a dock porter job to make ends meet. But Li is de­ter­mined to defy su­per­sti­tion and re­fuses to move out of her “un­lucky apart­ment”. The film, di­rected by Wang Jing and based on Wuhanese writer Fang Fang’s epony­mous novel, has won some of China’s big­gest film awards in the past year. Mu­sic al­bum: (Haifeng di­alect)

Wu­tiaoren, an ur­ban folk mu­sic duo from Guang­dong prov­ince’s south­east­ern county of Haifeng, has gained pop­u­lar­ity for per­for­mances in their lo­cal di­alect. They sing about ur­ban mi­gra­tion, alien­ation in mod­ern so­ci­ety, and the joys and pains of young peo­ple in small south­ern towns. Wu­tiaoren’s lat­est al­bum,

(2012), bagged the two­some the “best band” prize at the Chi­nese Mu­sic Me­dia Awards in Septem­ber.

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