深圳:粤语与普通话的碰撞与磨合 | Shenzhen: The Collision and Mergence of Cantonese and Mandarin

By Li Yuyunting, Cendana ’20

Chinese

我的故乡叫做深圳,是中国大陆唯一与香港特别行政区接壤的城市。因为地理的原因,她长期以来被視為连接大陆与香港经济文化的桥梁,形成了一道独特的风景。

由於地处广东省,深圳仍然保留着粤语,即俗称的广东话,与广州、香港类似。同时,在大多数场合下,深圳人會使用大陆的官方语言普通话。因为这一点,绝大多数深圳人往来内地与香港都不会遭遇语言不通的问题。在深圳,地铁广播有中、粤、英三种语言,而其他内地城市只播放普通话和英语。除此之外,深圳人讲普通话时会使用粤语的语气词,比如咩与啫。

而这一特色也导致了众多争议。深圳作为经济特区,每年吸引众多外来人才,且大部分来自非粤语地区。事实上,深圳全市非户籍人口782.90万人,户籍人口354.99万人,其中户籍人口也包括来自其他省份的新移民。因此播放与普通话相差较大的粤语引来了一部分外来工作者与新移民的不满。他们认为粤语的适用范围极窄,受益群众远远少于非粤语使用者,理应剔除,只保留普通话播音。类似于这样的“推普废粤”的声音似乎已成为一种趋势。在我所就读的高中校园里随处可见“请使用普通话”的标志。课上课下交流时,广东本地同学也不会使用粤语。这与对面的香港的情况截然相反。香港大部分學校至今依然保留着粤语教学,普通话为辅修学科,所以香港极大程度上得以保留粤语及其文化。

我真真正正体会到粤语带给我独特的快乐是在今年农历大年初一。这一天,周星驰的《西游记之伏妖篇》上映。电影虽然使用普通话,但同时也暗藏一些粤语的笑料,当我正开怀大笑时,旁边的新加坡同学一脸迷茫地看着我。我事后向她解释,她理解我的情不自禁了。

其实,语言的魅力就在于它给我们一种穿越时空的归属感。当粤语响起,我仿佛又回到了我的故乡——那个我吃着早茶、为梦想奔波的地方。当粤语被移除,我们不仅失去一种语言,也失去了这份归属感与身份的象征。我当然不敢奢求所有深圳人都熟练粤语,或者像香港人在绝大多数时间使用粤语。我只是希望这美丽的语言能在普通话的大环境下保存,不要随时间永远地消逝。与其彻底移除粤语,不如尝试欣赏它,了解它,就如同去领略新的风景一样 。在保证不影响日常交流的情况下,在生活里添加一些新鲜与不同又何错之有呢?尼克拉斯奥斯特勒(Nicholas Ostler)曾说过,一种语言的消失将同时带走其承载的知识。如果因为现在的不理解而导致广东文化流失, 值唔值得?

 

English

My hometown is called Shenzhen, the only city that connects the land of Hong Kong S.A.R and mainland China. Because of its geographical location, Shenzhen has served as the economic and cultural linkage between Hong Kong and mainland China for decades, and it has formed a unique view.

Because it locates in Canton (Guangdong Province), Shenzhen uses Yue Yu, known as Cantonese, like Guangzhou and Hong Kong. At the same time, Shenzhen uses Mandarin, the official language in mainland China. Because of this duality, Shenzhenians face no linguistic barriers when they travel to inland China or Hong Kong. At Shenzhen, metro broadcast plays Mandarin, Cantonese, and English, while those of other inland cities only play Mandarin and English. Additionally, Shenzhenians sometimes use Cantonese modal particles when speaking Mandarin such as 咩 (Mie, in questions) and 啫(Ze, in statements).

But this duality has caused controversies. As one of the Special Economic Zones of China, Shenzhen attracts many migrant workers from non-Cantonese speaking regions yearly. In fact, the non-hukou (unregistered permanent resident) population is 7.82 million while the hukou (registered permanent resident) population is 3.55 million, and it also includes newly registered immigrants. Hence, the usage of Cantonese, which is quite different from Mandarin, has caused discomfort among some of these migrant workers and immigrants. They believe the application of Cantonese is extremely limited, and its audience is much smaller than non-Cantonese speakers. Therefore, Cantonese should be removed, and only Mandarin shall be kept for the broadcast. This opinion of “Promote Mandarin and Abolish Cantonese” has seemingly become a recent trend. In my old high school, the sign that says, “Please speak Mandarin” can be seen around the campus. During and after classes, even local Cantonese students will not converse in Cantonese. This homogeneity contrasts with the situation in Hong Kong significantly. Because schools in Hong Kong still use Cantonese as their instruction language while Mandarin is only an elective course, Hong Kong has successfully preserved Cantonese and its culture.

One time my identity as Cantonese brought me exceptional joy was when Stephen Chow’s movie, Journey to the West II, launched in cinema during Chinese New Year. Although the movie uses Mandarin throughout, it subtly involves few Cantonese jokes. My Singaporean friend who sat next to me felt confused when I laughed so hard. After the movie, I explained the jokes to her, and she understood my amusement.

The charm of language is that it provides us a sense of belonging that travels across space and time. When I heard Cantonese all the way in Singapore, I felt like home again – the place where I eat dim sum and fight for my dreams. The removal of Cantonese is more than removing the language; it is a removal of the sense of belonging and the sense of identity. To be honest, I do not expect every Shenzhenian, including registered and unregistered permanent residents, to master Cantonese, or to be like the Hongkongnese who converses in Cantonese most of the time. I simply hope that this beautiful language can be preserved under the larger context of Mandarin prevalence, and not to fade with time. Instead of removing Cantonese completely, why not try to appreciate it, explore it, like what we do when introduced to a new scenery? Without impeding daily communication, how is it wrong to add some novelties and diversities into our lives? Nicolas Ostler once said, “… when languages are lost most of the knowledge that went with them gets lost”. If we remove the Cantonese culture simply because we fail to appreciate the language that carries it, will it be worth it?

 

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