Shanghai Metro

There’s apparently a plan to train the staff of the Shanghai Metro in basic phrases in five major Sinitic languages in order to provide information about fares and directions to non-Mandarin-speaking domestic tourists and visitors, according to a blog post on the Shanghaiist.

In response to this plan, the director of the Shanghai Language Works Commission said:

“We have contacted the Metro management today, stating that the program could violate the country’s language policy to promote the use of Putonghua.”

“There are at least 1,000 regional dialects in China, not including more branch dialects in different regions. The right way to solve communication barrier is to speak Putonghua.”

“What about passengers who speak other dialects? Using only the five dialects would not solve the problem.”

Inspite of this, Shanghai Metro plans to continue with the training scheme and are thinking of extending the service to Shanghai South Railway Station Metro stop. The languages in question are Cantonese, Wenzhou-hua (Zhejiang), Wuhan-hua (Hubei), Changsha-hua (Hunan) and Fujian-hua (a.k.a. Hokkien). Presumably these are the most common languages spoken by visitors to Shanghai, though the post doesn’t discuss the reasons for choosing these particular ones.

This entry was posted in Chinese, Language.

2 Responses to Shanghai Metro

  1. Jonathan K says:

    What about Shanghaiese itself? I’m sure there are plenty of Shanghaiese monoglots in Shanghai…

  2. renato figueiredo says:

    In reallity, Chine didn’t solve a problem very ancient, at least since Mao took power in 60’s, the illiteracy of people, and worst, as there are so many diclects and languages being spoken in the country, you can’t force everybody talking the same languague, even why China’s geography is ful of mountains, small valleys, great desert, and a enormous population. The popular government can be there for mor 100 years, investing, almost all money in education, and won’t solve this problem. The most beautiful thing in China is it diverse culture. The same thing happens in Hindia, Russia.There is’nt a sumple solution for this kind of problem.

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