Dialects to be phased out of prime time TV

By Song Wei (
Updated: 2011-01-14 12:54
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TV programs with local dialects will be gradually phased out of prime time, Huang Sheng, vice governor of East China's Shandong province, said Thursday at a provincial meeting to promote Putonghua, or Mandarin - the main spoken language in China - Shandong Commercial Times reported.

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Ten years ago, China enacted the Law on Standard Spoken and Written Chinese Language.

Huang said media plays a leading role in promoting Putonghua; TV programs with local dialects need to be moved out of prime time. "It may take time to finally achieve that goal," said Huang.

But some linguistic experts are worried the rapid development of Putonghua will lead to the disappearance of some dialects. Some have suggested setting up dialect TV channels and holding dialect speech competitions among primary and middle school students.

"We should promote a multi-lingual environment for a more harmonious society," said Li Lunxin, a researcher. "Promoting Putonghua does not mean we have to forbid using dialects. The two can co-exist and co-develop."

Various dialects in China, mainly from the south, have been on the decline as people become more educated and are communicating more in Mandarin, which is based on northern China's dialects.

China has more than 80 dialects and languages among its 56 ethnic groups, according to the Ministry of Education website.