Ef­forts re­quired so that di­alects do not go ex­tinct

China Daily (Hong Kong) - - COMMENT - A 10,000-WORD ES­SAY,

co-writ­ten by four se­nior mid­dle school stu­dents in Chongqing, has been widely praised for its call to pro­tect the lo­cal Chongqing di­alect and slang. West China Me­trop­o­lis Daily com­mented on Fri­day:

Lo­cal di­alects and slang are fad­ing away, and many are be­gin­ning to lament their passing.

That ex­plains why Bei­jing and Shang­hai are in­tro­duc­ing di­alect ed­u­ca­tion in schools, where stu­dents are of­ten en­cour­aged to learn and speak Man­darin. Di­alects are not just a dis­tinc­tive lo­cal way of speak­ing; they are con­nected to the lo­cal cul­ture, such as the lo­cal forms of Chi­nese opera. These per­for­mances do not work if de­liv­ered in other di­alects or Man­darin.

That said, it is dif­fi­cult to pro­tect lo­cal di­alects, not least in the me­trop­o­lises where res­i­dents come from dif­fer­ent ar­eas.

How­ever, there is no rea­son to let the time-hon­ored lo­cal cul­tures dis­ap­pear, and lo­cal gov­ern­ments may be able to help pre­serve the lo­cal di­alects by pro­tect­ing the lo­cal cul­ture. And they can keep the names of com­mu­ni­ties and streets in their lo­cal di­alects, and fund projects aimed at pre­serv­ing lo­cal cul­tural her­itage.

It is also im­por­tant to re­duce the dis­crim­i­na­tion against di­alects. The pro­mo­tion of Man­darin should not come at the cost of lo­cal di­alects and lin­guis­tic art forms, which should be treated with re­spect.

More and more peo­ple are re­al­iz­ing the im­por­tance of pre­serv­ing lo­cal di­alects and cul­ture and started mak­ing ef­forts to keep them from ex­tinc­tion. Their aware­ness and con­tri­bu­tion mat­ter a great deal to the cul­tural bonds between the past and the fu­ture.

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