Shanghaiist is still recovering from a bout of PSVGSS (Post Super Voice Girl Stress Syndrome). Thankfully, the government is here to help us by removing words and phrases such as “PK” from the media. This, along with other well-known phrases such as “MM” (美眉, meaning “pretty girl”) are the target of a new law taking effect on March 1 that aims to clamp down on the rampant use of internet and media inspired neologisms. The article (in Chinese) that we read this in also states that only standard Chinese should be used in schools and official documents and that no signs for stores and businesses be purely in foreign (non-Chinese) languages. On the surface, this seems like a rather prissy but otherwise innocuous law, but if you keep digging, as Shanghaiist always does, you will discover that “[t]he invention of new words [is] regarded as a symptom of certain psychotic disorders, such as schizophrenia.”
Some of you won’t have to worry about learning “Shanghai wu” anymore because the city is declaring new language standards:
Shanghai’s radio and TV announcers will have to mind their language starting next month.
Teachers and public officials will have to be on guard as well.
From then on, standard Mandarin is mandated when the public is being addressed in the Chinese tongue.
Shanghai dialect will be reserved for private conversations, or for special study programs, according to the Shanghai Language Works Commission.
The new rules, announced yesterday, represent the city’s first language standards. Radio and TV personalities, as well as government officials and teachers, are required to use Mandarin in their daily work.
We recommend that you still learn how to curse in Shanghainese — it’s a good social skill to have.