Is the Shanghai language endangered

PASCH global

Shanghai is in the east of China, on the Pacific coast. Shanghai has always been a very international city with many international relationships with other countries. In the past thirty years, Shanghai has changed completely because of these economic relationships. According to a study by the Shanghai government's economic department, by 2012 there were more than 700 foreign companies in the city.

Of course, it is important that Shanghai attracts more and more foreign investment because a large percentage of Shanghai's gross domestic product depends on international economic relations. The internationalization of Shanghai is necessary so that the city can develop further.

Of course, economic globalization also has a positive effect on our everyday life. It brings more diversity to life in the city and enables a greater choice, for example in the choice of our clothes, food or architecture in Shanghai. Thirty years ago, my parents say, people had little choice when it came to food or clothing choices. There were only a few Chinese clothing brands back then, and most of them were boring and of poor quality. At that time, one could not have imagined one day being able to choose from so many different dishes from all over the world in Shanghai. For example, only very wealthy families could afford Western food. Today you can just go to the Cityshop and buy a delicious salad for just ten yuan without even going to a restaurant. Importing goods from other countries sweetens our everyday life and makes it more interesting.

In addition to everyday life, the internationalization of Shanghai also has a positive effect on the education of many young Chinese. New creative ideas are exchanged every day at school. A special feature in Shanghai is that there are several international schools such as the World Foreign Language Middle School, where students mostly speak English with one another and take part in many interesting activities together. I'm in the eleventh grade of this school now, but from sixth through ninth grade I attended a local Chinese school. I experienced the difference between traditional Chinese schooling and international schooling myself. I believe that an international school offers a lot more opportunities than a traditional school. There you learn to question things and to understand other cultures better instead of traditionally just learning because of the exams. Incidentally, there are more and more exchange programs in schools or universities in Shanghai, in which pupils or students can travel to another country for a short time and study there. Just like international schools, they also help pupils and students develop a global perspective.

Unfortunately, while Shanghai's internationalization has so many advantages, there are also some disadvantages. Shanghai's environment is polluted by the rapid development of the city. I think pollution is a problem in all developing countries that we have to deal with together. Because there are so many cars on the streets of Shanghai, the air in the city is no longer fresh and clean. The rain is sour because of the dirty air. Everyone here knows that the issue of pollution is very important as it threatens the health of Shanghai residents. In my opinion, negative impacts on the environment are inevitable if Shanghai is to continue growing as an economy in the future. It is not possible to stop the pollution completely - unfortunately we cannot, but nevertheless we should definitely find a way out of our dilemma. I suggest that from now on we avoid bad habits in everyday life that harm the environment. For example, we could start using public transport more often or using the air conditioning systems less.

Another disadvantage of internationalization is the loss of traditional culture. Because Shanghai is such an international city at the moment, fewer and fewer children and young people speak the Shanghai dialect, the so-called Shanghai dialect. It would be a real shame if the unique Shanghai language were to die out. In addition, we hardly see traditional buildings, such as the Shikumen (stone gates), in our cityscape, because there are now almost only modern high-rise buildings. The young people in the city no longer particularly like the traditional food. Most young people no longer like dumplings (Xiaolongbao) or Youtiao (fried dough sticks). My cousin and I also prefer to eat sandwiches and drink milk and coffee instead of soy milk or tea. Even if the disappearance of traditional food cannot be stopped, many traditional foods are part of our culture and I am afraid that their original taste will be destroyed by Western food.

As I said earlier, globalization is an inevitable trend. There are of course pros and cons on both sides. The internationalization of Shanghai is important for the economy and makes our everyday life more interesting. However, the trend is also damaging the environment and the traditions in the city. Finally, I think that we should try to take advantage of the advantages of internationalization and to compensate for the disadvantages as well as possible. Then Shanghai will become an international city with a future.

The above article was created as part of the project "X-Stadt writes for Y-Stadt". The project "X-Stadt writes Y-Stadt" is carried out by the Goethe-Institut and made possible by SAP.

Shanghai writes for Mannheim - over a cross-continental distance of 8,888 kilometers. The fact that the number eight in China promises more luck than any other number is probably just a curiosity of Chinese culture, about which one or the other inhabitant of the city of Mannheim may not have been quite clear. Even if the rapid change in the Middle Kingdom can be read almost daily in the German newspapers, everyday life in China often lags behind the unrealistic concepts of “economic growth” and “gross domestic product”.

Five students from the World Foreign Language School in Shanghai have made it their business to give the people of Mannheim an insight into everyday life in China in this metropolis of millions. As part of a two-day writing workshop, a collage was created of the everyday impressions of young German students in Shanghai who, because of their love for Germany, often wander on the tracks of German traces in the east Chinese city. But not only life in this rapidly changing metropolis is described: All the essays by the schoolgirls have in common that they also tell in the same way about their dreams and visions of the future, some of which do not differ too much from the wishes of teenagers in this way distant city of Mannheim.

A contribution by:
Liang Shiyu
My name is Jenny Liang. I'm in the World Foreign Language Middle School and I'm in the eleventh grade. I was born in Shanghai and have lived here since I was born. In my free time I like to do yoga. But I also like to read books. I've been learning German for three years. I really enjoy learning German because the grammar of the language is very logical. In addition, German is very easy if you already have a good command of English. Nevertheless, German looks very difficult at the beginning. To be honest, German is not the most popular language here in Shanghai. Some people speak English though. But since my school offers German lessons, it is possible to learn German with us. I can often just speak to my German teacher or Christina - a volunteer from Germany - if I have a question. If you want to find Germans in Shanghai, you can take part in a German get-together in Shanghai. They meet on Hengshang Street every week.

World Foreign Language Middle School, Shanghai