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China salvages local dialects as Mandarin prevails
( Dalian News )
2012-09-12

Nine Dalian residents were selected from hundreds of candidates to get their genuine Dalian accents recorded.

The Dalian Municipal Language Committee said recording the Dalian accent is for the Chinese Language Resources Vocal Database.

Chen Dejing, dean of administrative office of the committee, said selected speakers were born with pure local dialect-speaking families between 1941 and 1950 or between 1971 and 1980.

Dalian is a port city in Northeast Liaoning province. The accent has developed under the influence of traditional accents in Northeast China and east Shandong province.

The National Language Committee launched the vocal database-building project in 2008, and has already recorded Mandarin spoken with a Suzhou accent. Recordings of Beijing and Shanghai accents will also be under way.

With vast territory and 56 ethnic groups, China has more than 80 ethnic languages. Chinese people can speak in a variety of dialects. As standard Mandarin becomes more popularly used for education and social communication, many local dialects have become endangered.

Cao Zhiheng, an expert with the national vocal database project, said the language salvaging work must speed up, since many dialects could become extinct in 10 to 20 years.