By Cal Widdall
Shanghai Airlines have announced plans to include passenger announcements in Shanghainese, as well as Putonghua and English, on a number of flights. The scheme is set to begin after Chinese New Year, with the local dialect making an appearance on flights arriving from Beijing, Shenzhen, Guangzhou, Hong Kong, Macau and Taiwan in order to “give visitors a sense of the city’s personality.”
According to Zhang Hong, managing director of Shanghai Airlines’ cabin service department, 160 air hosts will be trained in the pronunciation of Shanghainese so that a brief introduction to the city can also be given in it’s local dialect. He explained to Global Times:
“We discovered from our past service experience that many visitors from Hong Kong and Taiwan are originally from the city. They are not good at understanding and speaking Putonghua but they are fluent in the Shanghai dialect,”
Though it’s unclear why introductions to the city will be given to the people who need them least (or exactly how those passengers who’ve relocated to Taiwan are getting by in Shanghainese), provisions have been made for non-local passengers as well. Air hosts will walk the aisles, explaining content and answering questions as the introduction is given.
With controversial plans to include Shanghainese announcements on the metro apparently halted (with the exception of one maverick train driver), it appears that the local dialect is still pushing for its place in modern Shanghai.