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ala

Shameless slogans promoting Mandarin

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ala

Chinese kindergarten banner requirements... funded with state coffers.

我是中国娃,爱说普通话

(I am a China baby, I love speaking Putonghua).

putonghua.jpg

Is the reverse true too, that if I don't speak Putonghua at home, I'm no longer Chinese?

Or what if I don't like speaking Putonghua, does that make me less Chinese?

More slogans promoting Mandarin (Putonghua):

8.推广普通话宣传口号

  (1)国家推广全国通用的普通话

  (2)积极普及民族共同语,增强中华民族凝聚力

  (3)爱国旗,唱国歌,说普通话 (Love the flag, sing the anthem, speak Putonghua)

  (4)四海同音,万众一心 (Four seas/corners under one speech, millions with one heart)

  (5)普通话:神州音,华夏情 (Putonghua: The Divine Land's speech, Huaxia's soul).

  (6)普及普通话,四海是一家

  (7)面向现代化,推广普通话 (Toward modernization, promote Putonghua)

  (8)积极普及普通话,齐心协力奔小康

  (9)树立语言规范意识,提高民族文化素质 (Establish language standards, makes our nation more civilized)

  (10)推广普通话,公务员要带头

  (11)新闻媒体要成为推广普通话的榜样 (The news media should be a role model for our Mandarin promotion)

  (12)普通话是我们的校园语言

  (13)我是中国娃,爱说普通话 (I am a China baby, I love speaking Putonghua)

  (14)普通话:情感的纽带,沟通的桥梁

  (15)说普通话,迎四方宾客;用文明语,送一片真情

  (16)沟通--从普通话开始 (Connections start with Putonghua)

  (17)说好普通话,方便你我他

  (18)说普通话,从我做起

  (19)说好普通话,朋友遍天下 (Speak good Putonghua, you'll have many friends)

  (20)普通话,使你我靠得更近

  (21)普通话--时代的需求,时尚的追求

  (22)普通话--让生活更精彩,让社会更温馨 (Putonghua: Makes life more exciting, society warmer)

  (23)普通话同青春携手,文明语和时尚并肩

  (24)文明语深入男女老少心,普通话融汇东西南北情

  (25)心相印,语相通,共奔小康乐融融

  (26)实现顺畅交流,构建和谐社会

Why do we need these silly slogans to tell us what we love and what we speak?

Is this actually even persuasive? Or is it an Orweillian attempt in social conditioning?

Worse, these slogans are usually only around major urban areas (like Shanghai), where Putonghua proficiency is ALREADY VERY HIGH; the only perceivable goal thus is to absolutely wipe out dialects in urban areas with each young generation.

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ala

This one is definitely the best:

“普通话:神州音,华夏情” (Putonghua: The Divine Land's speech, Huaxia's soul/heart).

神州 (Divine Land) is a sentimental historic and cultural term for China.

The slogan pretty much denies the existence of Chinese dialects as legitimate descendents of ancient Chinese.

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wushijiao
The slogan pretty much denies the existence of Chinese dialects as legitimate descendents of ancient Chinese.

Less importantly, it arrogantly denies the fact that Putonghua is a language being learned by millions of non-Chinese.

In any case, I saw a big table of people with huge banners promoting Putonghua yesterday in Shanghai. Blaring, loudspeakers were elucidating passers-by with the rationale and benefits of learning Putonghua, using Putonghua. To which, I thought: is this at all necessary? If someone doesn’t understand Putonghua, they certainly won’t understand the arguments for learning Putonghua given in Putonghua. If I got out a loudspeaker and started yelling at people the rationale for learning English, it would simply make sense that only people already fluent in English would be able to understand what I would be saying. If they really wanted to convince people, it would seem obvious to convince people using Shanghaihua. But, I doubt communication and persuasion were the real goals anyway.

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Ferno

I am pro individual rights, etc... but I really think that single-language unification is good.

Think about three very big, very well-known Chinese cities: Beijing, Shanghai, Hong Kong. Yet all these cities' native inhabitants speak completely different languages. Most non-Chinese would not know this and would be quite surprised. And the Chinese themselves seem to minimize this.

It just divides the country and adds an additional discriminating aspect to social relations to the list of "ethnicity" "economic class" "geographical location" and other differences that Chinese and every other country has too.

ie a Mandarin-only speaking person trying to get a job in Cantonese-speaking Guangzhou... a Mandarin and Cantonese speaker from the south visiting his girlfriend's Shanghaihua-speaking parents and relatives...

I don't live in China so it doesn't affect me (Hong Kong is a big name though, pitty it speaks the smaller dialect) but if I did I would support language unification.

At the same time, support of Mandarin is different than suppression of Dialects - which sounds a lot nastier.

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Outofin

wushijiao, like ala said,"Putonghua proficiency is ALREADY VERY HIGH (in Shanghai)". So the promotion should be understood by most people. I would just imagine that the promotion is not simply asking people to learn putonghua but rather how and when to use it. (Though I don't really know what the promotion you saw was.)

Of course everyone could choose a language/dialect to speak. One thing that makes me a little uncomfortable is that, when I travel and talk to some service person, they would answer me with putonghua, but turn to co-workers speaking in dialect that I don't understand. It's not a big thing at all, but still a little uncomfortable, especially if coming with some laughs and strange looks. That's just an example when we should use putonghua.

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wushijiao
I would just imagine that the promotion is not simply asking people to learn putonghua but rather how and when to use it.

That's probably true. To be honest, I didn't spend more than 15 seconds looking at the Putonghua promotion.

I agree with Ferno (and many others) that a standarization of the spoken language is a desirable thing. Personally, I see nothing wrong with making Putonghua the official language in schools and offices. This ensures that people from Gansu, or wherever, are able to take advantage of the massive federal spending that has partially caused the economic boom in the costal non-Putonghua speaking cities. People from the interior can work in Shanghai, Zhejiang, Fujian, and Guangdong without being viewed as outsiders. However, it seems that most of ala’s posted slogans refer not to speaking Putonghua at a given time and place, but rather learning and using Putonghua in absolute terms.

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ala
This ensures that people from Gansu, or wherever, are able to take advantage of the massive federal spending that has partially caused the economic boom in the costal non-Putonghua speaking cities. People from the interior can work in Shanghai, Zhejiang, Fujian, and Guangdong without being viewed as outsiders.

Everyone in Shanghai besides retired seniors well above 65+ can speak Mandarin very very well. These promote Mandarin programs would be better spent promoting Mandarin IN Gansu and Sichuan than in Shanghai; unfortunately that is not the case. The bulk of Mandarin promotion occurrs in the richest Chinese cities. The consequence is that a highly educated population with the capacity to master Mandarin, English and the local dialect ends up forcefully abandoning the local dialect due to misguided central policy. It's a waste of resources and utterly unnecessary.

People from the interior can work in Shanghai, Zhejiang, Fujian, and Guangdong without being viewed as outsiders.

They will still be viewed as outsiders. This is because their Standard Mandarin is so sub-par compared to the local Shanghainese's Mandarin. This is the irony of Putonghua promotion.

Also China does not have a federal government, there is no "federal spending that has partially caused the economic boom in the coastal non-Putonghua speaking cities." As there is no federal government, the bulk of local revenue goes straight to the central government (i.e., there is no local spending if you have revenue). For provinces like Gansu, they have paid nothing to the central government in 50 years; because they collect no revenue. From accountants' interviews and published data, it's obvious the central government did not spend much money for the coastal provinces. I'm not saying that people in inner provinces are lazy or corrupt; there are many other reasons such as resources, history, geographic location, etc. But the reality is that money from state coffers are much much more likely to be taken FROM southeastern coastal provinces than going into them.

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nnt
我是中国娃,爱说普通话

(I am a China baby, I love speaking Putonghua).

Is the reverse true too, that if I don't speak Putonghua at home, I'm no longer Chinese?

Or what if I don't like speaking Putonghua, does that make me less Chinese?

Logically speaking, the reverse is :

I don't love speaking Putonghua --> I'm not a Chinese baby

So I don't think this slogan concerns adults (Chinese or not Chinese adults...) :mrgreen:

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Outofin

ala, I smell something bad in your arguments. Why do you use some words like "legitimate" and "forceful"? That's not ture. No one forces you to abandon your dialect.

They will still be viewed as outsiders. This is because their Standard Mandarin is so sub-par compared to the local Shanghainese's Mandarin. This is the irony of Putonghua promotion.

Promotion of putonghua won't help these workers because of people's prejudice. And the prejudice is because we talk differently. Is that your point? This doesn't help to undermine putonghua.

...But the reality is that money from state coffers are much much more likely to be taken FROM southeastern coastal provinces than going into them.

From the reality, what point are you trying to support?

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wushijiao
But the reality is that money from state coffers are much much more likely to be taken FROM southeastern coastal provinces than going into them.

I agree with you in part. Zhejiang, as the Economist has pointed out, is successful partly because of the lack of the central government's oversight. This is in contrast to Dongbei, which saw lots of central government investments in SOE Soviet-style heavy industries in the Mao era, which can't compete very well in the age of globalization, of course

From the Economist:

Zhejiang's success comes down to one simple fact: 91% of its 240,000 enterprises, with annual revenues of 700 billion yuan in 2002, are privately owned. They also have access (albeit limited) to funds from local private moneylenders and clarity of ownership, rare in China. The government, both at local and national level, deserves credit for its benign neglect of them.

Zhejiang's home-grown capitalism is exceptional in China, and will probably remain so. It was a fortunate accident of history that the communists decided not to base large state projects in an area close to the island of Taiwan, a potential war zone, says Jonathan Zhang, an investment consultant for the Huangzhou city government. That created a vacuum for Zhejiang's risk-taking traders to thrive in. But everywhere in China, private business is springing up in the cracks between state-owned enterprises as well as in new fields such as service industries.

http://www.economist.com/displaystory.cfm?story_id=2495152

However, in the 80's and 90's, if I'm not mistaken, the central government did spend huge sums of money on the infrastructure in the SEZ's and in places like Beijing, Shanghai, Shenzhen...etc. This was especially true of the Jiang/Zhu era. I think it's safe enough to generalize that most of the central governments money spent on infrastrusture went to cities in the 90's. That's meaningful when only 40% of the population lives in urban areas.

The bulk of Mandarin promotion occurrs in the richest Chinese cities. The consequence is that a highly educated population with the capacity to master Mandarin, English and the local dialect ends up forcefully abandoning the local dialect due to misguided central policy. It's a waste of resources and utterly unnecessary.

Well, maybe I didn't make myself clear, but I also felt the "Promote Putonghua" activity was not very well thought out. :D

They will still be viewed as outsiders. This is because their Standard Mandarin is so sub-par compared to the local Shanghainese's Mandarin. This is the irony of Putonghua promotion.

I'm not sure "sub-par" is quite accurate. Whether someone from Gansu, Shanxi, or Jilin speaks "standard" Putonghua has more to do with one's educational background and social status than one's original geographical location, I'd reckon. Also, since getting an education isn't provided for free by the government, you can't really blame people for speaking "unstandard".

In any case, personally, I strongly support dialects. In fact, I had planned to write a post today about movies and TV in dialects. Probably, will tomorrow.

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ala
ala, I smell something bad in your arguments. Why do you use some words like "legitimate" and "forceful"? That's not ture. No one forces you to abandon your dialect.

Dialects are clearly not legitimate. Is there a single class that focus on Chinese dialects in China's grade schools? You want to tell me how dialects are legitimate? Are major dialect literature like 《海上花列传》 (Flowers of Shanghai) taught in its dialect form in Shanghai or Suzhou?

I use "forceful", because the slogans used in Mandarin promotion leave no room for dialects. To the central planners, mastering Mandarin and dialects are zero-sum; you can't have both. But apparently they think introducing English is not zero-sum.

I've said before, I fully support Mandarin's role in unifying China and allowing more efficient communication between its citizens. But if we call all flock toward English, Japanese language classes, I don't see what is so difficult about learning a few basics about your mother tongue.

Promotion of putonghua won't help these workers because of people's prejudice. And the prejudice is because we talk differently. Is that your point? This doesn't help to undermine putonghua.

Am I undermining Putonghua? No.

I'm trying to point out that Putonghua promotion in its current state in Shanghai is EXCESSIVE. It's only reasonable goal is to try to persuade by repetition that only Putonghua is worth speaking; that if I am Chinese, it is my duty to speak Mandarin; otherwise I'm being unpatriotic; otherwise my Chinese-ness is being questioned. China doesn't have a national language; it is written in law. That is why Putonghua is not called Guoyu 国语. Putonghua's original goal was never to replace the Chinese dialects and minority languages, but serve as a supplement (much like English is to most of Northwestern Europe). Do you think that's true today though? Just because it's written in law somewhere, doesn't make the reality so if it's not enforced.

If you want to eliminate prejudice, try to improve these regions' socio-economic conditions first. That would be a more noble and worthwhile endeavor. Instead of eliminating cultural diversity from other regions. Whatever happened to the 华 in 中华?

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Outofin

Ala, as you explain more about your points. I think I largely agree with you. I thought you meant "illegal" by "not legitimate", which was my misunderstanding. And I support your request for major dialect literature pieces in school teaching.

But...no offending intended, I feel you're attacking a phantom enemy. Maybe I'm unalert that I can hardly feel the same way as you said "The consequence is that a highly educated population with the capacity to master Mandarin, English and the local dialect ends up forcefully abandoning the local dialect due to misguided central policy." "To the central planners, mastering Mandarin and dialects are zero-sum; you can't have both. " "Putonghua promotion in its current state in Shanghai is EXCESSIVE." (EXCESSIVE is a better word than SHAMELESS in the thread title.)

If you want to eliminate prejudice, try to improve these regions' socio-economic conditions first.

I agree except the order part. Prejudice not only comes from class but also sex, physical appearance, etc. Some differences could be reduced but some will never be. Prejudice will always be in our hearts. But a more reasonable person could treat the workers from poorer provinces nicely even now. Moral education is a better and quicker way to reduce prejudice.

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Ferno
But a more reasonable person could treat the workers from poorer provinces nicely even now.

Who should treat them nicely? and how?

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gato
I agree with you in part. Zhejiang, as the Economist has pointed out, is successful partly because of the lack of the central government's oversight. This is in contrast to Dongbei, which saw lots of central government investments in SOE Soviet-style heavy industries in the Mao era, which can't compete very well in the age of globalization, of course
I think the idea was (1) to let some regions go capitalist first and (2) to use the income generated to help develop the rest of the country. Both (1) and (2) required government intervention, so it's not surprising that (2) would follow from (1). Allowing everywhere to go capitalist at once might have produced better results, but the 1980s was a politically very different time. Redistribution of income from wealthier regions to poorer ones happens in the US. The residents of NYC pays much more in federal taxes than they get back in federal spending. It's a duty of citizenship to a degree.
The bulk of Mandarin promotion occurrs in the richest Chinese cities. The consequence is that a highly educated population with the capacity to master Mandarin, English and the local dialect ends up forcefully abandoning the local dialect due to misguided central policy. It's a waste of resources and utterly unnecessary.
Couldn't it be argued that people in Shanghai today could speak Mandarin so well precisely because of the more forceful Mandarin promotion policy? Compare Shanghai with Guangzhou for a moment. My understanding is that those in Guangzhou don't speak Mandarin as well, though they're about as affluent and educated as those in Shanghai, partly due to the influence of the Cantonese HK media.

I think the strong Mandarin promotion policy was needed in Shanghai in the 1980s and possibly the 90s -- my uncles and their peers who grew up speaking Shanghainese all the time couldn't speak Mandarin that well, though they were highly educated -- but the policy is probably obsolete today. To the extent they're spending any money on promoting Mandarin in Shanghai today, that money would certainly do more good being spent on schools in Gansu.

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ala
Couldn't it be argued that people in Shanghai today could speak Mandarin so well precisely because of the more forceful Mandarin promotion policy? Compare Shanghai with Guangzhou for a moment. My understanding is that those in Guangzhou don't speak Mandarin as well, though they're about as affluent and educated as those in Shanghai, partly due to the influence of the Cantonese HK media.

Well, Shanghai and Beijing have always been the country's most educated populations. I highly doubt that Guangzhou's slightly lower proficiency in Putonghua is because of Cantonese HK media.

my uncles and their peers who grew up speaking Shanghainese all the time couldn't speak Mandarin that well, though they were highly educated -- but the policy is probably obsolete today. To the extent they're spending any money on promoting Mandarin in Shanghai today, that money would certainly do more good being spent on schools in Gansu.

That's what I've been saying. Mandarin promotion in Shanghai *today* is a waste of money. Better use of those funds would be promoting Standard Mandarin (Putonghua) in Mandarin-speaking regions of China. In fact, Mandarin-speaking regions of China have some of the worst standards of Putonghua speakers. An average working-class Shanghainese's Putonghua is far far better than an average working-class Sichuan resident (say from Chengdu or Chongqing).

Again, I am not against Mandarin promotion. I am against the absolute promotion of Mandarin with a goal to eliminate other variations (especially non-Mandarin variations) of Chinese. I get the feeling that as long as I can speak some other form of Chinese that is not a Mandarin variant, central planners will think I need more Mandarin promotion, regardless of how well I can actually speak Standard Mandarin.

The problem is the widespread belief that northern Mandarin dialects (no matter how bucolic and rural) are still Mandarin, and therefore variants of Putonghua ("the Divine Land's speech; Huaxia's soul and heart"). This is why you constantly hear northern Mandarin dialects on national CCTV (even if some are unintelligible), but never southern non-Mandarin dialects such as Wu or Min.

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Ferno
In fact' date=' Mandarin-speaking regions of China have some of the worst standards of Putonghua speakers. An average working-class Shanghainese's Putonghua is far far better than an average working-class Sichuan resident (say from Chengdu or Chongqing).

[/quote']

maybe I'm missing something, but why is Shanghai considered non-mandarin but Sichuan is mandarin? Sichuan has its Sichuan-hua too...

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wushijiao
The problem is the widespread belief that northern Mandarin dialects (no matter how bucolic and rural) are still Mandarin, and therefore variants of Putonghua

I hate to disagree (although I admit that I don't really know what I'm talking about). Northern Mandarin dialects, such as Shanxihua, Henanhua, Heilongjianghua...etc, are Mandarin. They are not "standard", however. I think these are two seperate things. Mandarin has certain ways to pronounce words, certain tones that are correct, and certain grammar that is correct. Many of these local dialects don't follow the standardized rules, and are thus "incorrect" according to the definition of what is correct. Nonetheless, I think these dialects, for the most part, still qualify as Mandarin because they are comphrehensible (to Mandarin speakers) with minimal difficulties. Is this a misconception? :conf

But, it's that a bit like defining the correct dialect of Wu, as say, Shaoxinghua (this is just an example). Then all Shanghainese and Suzhouese would be said to have "unstandard" Wu. That would be true, according to that definition.

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Quest
My understanding is that those in Guangzhou don't speak Mandarin as well, though they're about as affluent and educated as those in Shanghai, partly due to the influence of the Cantonese HK media.

HK channels were unavailable until the 90s when cable service was becoming more widespread. In the 80s, there were only 4 channels in Guangzhou: 珠江台(most popular, all Cantonese), 岭南台(mandarin),中央台(only 1 channel back then, boring as hell), and later 广州台(another all Cantonese channel). Gradually, these local stations introduced more and more mandarin shows, and that was what almost killed them. Later on, people started investing in antennas that could receive HK channels, the local TV stations saw that as an opportunity and then monoplized the cable sector, instead of making money off their own shows, they started interjecting commercials into other stations' shows and lived on.

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Outofin
:shock: Surprising. Is Guang Dong the only province who has dialect TV channels? Anyone knows?

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