A homemade recording posted online of Chengdu Metro station announcements has become a topic of hot discussion on local Internet forums.
The recording makes the announcement in Mandarin, English, and Sichuan dialect. Click here to listen to it.
Excerpts roughly translated from the Chengdu Commercial Daily:
"Passengers, welcome aboard the Chengdu Metro Line 1. This line is heading toward Century City New Exhibition Center. The total travel time for this line is 35 minutes. We hope you have a pleasant journey!"
Although it's not the real thing, netizens are praising the recording for including Sichuan dialect. After all, the metros in Shenzhen, Guangzhou, and Hong Kong all make the stop announcements in three languages: Mandarin, English, and Cantonese.
Online, there's a group of netizens fiercely advocating the inclusion of Sichuan dialect on the Metro announcements. They have even gone so far as to outline five arguments in favor of including the dialect:
1. The stop announcements are a primary window to a region's character and culture. Using the regional dialect would signify to travelers that this is Sichuan and leave them with a deeper impression of the place.
2. It would allow non-Sichuanese a faster entry point into local Chengdu culture; and it would follow the model established by Hong Kong, Shanghai, and even Guangdong's cities, which all have yielded good results.
3. For returning Chengdu locals, hearing Sichuan dialect can impart a hospitable, homely, and warm feeling.
4. It can prevent inconveniences brought about by language misunderstandings.
5. It would show concern toward many groups of people.
Others argue that including Sichuan dialect might be confusing and take up too much air time. And besides, say some, it just doesn't sound that good, with its "has!" and "xiacelos" and other vocabulary and intonation that marks it as a language of the common classes.
As it turns out, none of their opinions will have an effect on reality once the subway opens on October 1: The recordings for Metro Line 1 were completed "long ago," in the place of the subway's manufacture ... Qingdao. The recordings were done by a woman speaking standard Mandarin.
The system that will broadcast the announcements utilizes smart technology to automatically adjust the volume based on the noise level inside each carriage. The same system will also override any sounds emitting from the LCD screens in each car as the subway approaches stations.
But what about listening to popular demand? A Chengdu Metro Company representative said that if there is indeed enough positive feedback to this homemade recording, perhaps they will consider using the "people's version" on Line 2. But as to whether or not Sichuan dialect will ever be included on the recordings, that's a question that requires further discussion.
What do you think? Which language(s) should the Chengdu subway announcements be made in? Leave your thoughts below.