Welcome to the ChinesePod Weekly, your chance to find out what’s going on at ChinesePod this week!
The Chinese government probably had a good idea in mind when they decided to enforce the national standardization of Mandarin. After all, it was a way to break language barriers between the many linguistically and culturally isolated areas within China, and the use of Pǔtōnghuà as a lingua franca has helped China vastly in its economical and social development. There often comes a cost with change, however, and in this case, China’s many dialects are bearing the front of the effects of this so called “Mandarinization” – namely, dialects are disappearing left, right and center.
But why should we care? Well, for one, dialects are an integral part of each region’s habits, culture, and unique characteristics. With some 56 different ethnic groups, and an estimated 130 local languages (not to mention sub-dialects and accents), many of China’s non-standardized forms of communication are even older than Mandarin itself, and are therefore important in indicating key factors of Chinese history. If China were to lose these precious dialects, so too would it be losing an important part of its culturally rich past.
Thankfully, as people are starting to realize this widespread language vanishing act, efforts are being put forth to help protect endangered dialects. A project called Phonemica has recently started recording and archiving audio clips from a variety of areas in China in order to help preserve language for future generations. Their team is largely comprised of several volunteers working throughout China, interviewing, recording, and transcribing various dialects and accents. If you are interested in assisting their efforts, check out their website here.
ChinesePod too is contributing a small part towards this dialect preservation and awareness. We have published one dialect-based series on Shanghainese, which you can check out here. In addition, if you are keen to learn other dialects as well, feel free to post your interests and comments on our blog/comment boards.
Buy a ChinesePod Subscription, Get 50% off OpenLanguage
Now is a great time to get studying for all you language nerds out there. Right now, if you purchase an Annual ChinesePod Subscription, you can get 50% off a second subscription on OpenLanguage. To take advantage of this offer, simply purchase a ChinesePod Annual Subscription directly from our store, and then email firstname.lastname@example.org to get your discount for 50% off a second language subscription.
Note: This offer is expires on May 31st, 2013 and the 50% discount can only be applied to Annual OpenLanguage Spanish, Italian, French, and English subscriptions.
ChinesePod Meetups Everywhere!
ChinesePod Meetups are a great way to meet fellow language learners, swap stories, share ideas, form study groups, and have a great time. Find a meetup near you, or start a new one. These events are for you, by you, so meet wherever you like. You choose the topic, the time and the venue.