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Beijing schoolchildren to be taught about the city’s fading dialect

Global Times, June 2, 2016 Adjust font size:

The Beijing municipal government announced that it plans to open courses in schools to help preserve the capital's local dialect.

China's Ministry of Education (MOE) on Tuesday released its first investigative report on the capital's dialect. The Beijing Language Status Report shows that many words and phrases that were once commonly used by the city's natives have been lost. To protect the declining Beijing pattern of speech, children will be taught about it in schools and other cultural activities will be held, He Hongzhi, director of the Beijing Language Committee, announced Tuesday

"Many youngsters cannot speak the Beijing tongue despite growing up here," He explained to the Beijing Youth Daily Tuesday. "It is related to the urbanization and globalization process, which has led to more newcomers in the city."

A Chinese teacher from the Second High School Attached to Beijing Normal University expressed his worry over the loss of the Beijing dialect to the Beijing Daily on Wednesday, adding that when he used Beijing slang zhen ju qi (straight and honest) to describe a character in The Teahouse, a play set in old Beijing in the early 1900s by Lao She, his students all looked at him blankly.

The Beijing language committee established an audio database to record the city's dialect in July, 2014 after four years of work, according to official website of the MOE.

It is the second provincial dialect database in China after the one set up by Jiangsu Province.

China's first digital language and culture museum will be made available online by the end of this year, which will display language resources in pictures, voices and 3D films, reported Beijing Daily.