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Residents oppose rumored move to Mandarin

[ 2014-08-26 10:19] 来源:中国日报网     字号 [] [] []  
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Free-wheeling and business-oriented, the southern city of Guangzhou is a long way from Beijing physically, culturally and linguistically.

It's also here where hackles have been raised by reports that authorities are demanding local television drop Cantonese in favor of Mandarin.

Throughout China, Mandarin, with its roots in Beijing's northern dialect, is the medium of government, education and national official media.

But according to a Ministry of Education statement last year, 30 percent of Chinese - 400 million people - cannot speak Mandarin.

Cantonese is the mother tongue of about half the population of Guangzhou, China’s third-largest city and the provincial capital of Guangdong. For many elderly residents, Cantonese is their only tongue.

Nonetheless, reports in neighboring Hong Kong said the province's official broad-caster, Guangdong TV, was planning to quietly switch most of its programming from Cantonese to Mandarin on Sept 1.

On the Chinese mainland, the two dialects generally use the same characters for the same words. They are mutually intelligible in written form, but unintelligible verbally.

Cantonese is spoken by more than 60 million people in China, on a par with Italian in terms of native-speaker numbers.

But some in Guangzhou worry that as young people and their parents focus on Mandarin for academic and career reasons, Cantonese may fall by the wayside.

A spokesperson for Guangdong TV said they were unaware of any coming change.

(中国日报网英语点津 Helen 编辑)

Residents oppose rumored move to Mandarin

About the broadcaster:

Residents oppose rumored move to Mandarin

Anne Ruisi is an editor at China Daily online with more than 30 years of experience as a newspaper editor and reporter. She has worked at newspapers in the U.S., including The Birmingham News in Alabama and City Newspaper of Rochester, N.Y.