探访新加坡:政府曾“禁止”国民讲方言

2021年1月15日
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1979 年,新加坡时任总统李光耀发起了“讲华语运动”,旨在通过“多讲华语,少说方言”来团结新加坡华人社群,建立国民认同感。截至 2015 年,华裔家庭中的方言使用率由 1980 年的 76.2%下降至了 16.1%。这场运动虽然成功地推广了华语,但也造成了对粤语、闽南语、客家话等方言的打压。直到 2016 年,方言电视剧才再次在新加坡播出。在如今这个倡导文化多样性的时代,方言能否会在新加坡重新得到重视? 让我们来一探究竟。

Singapore has almost wiped out its mother tongues

新加坡几乎禁绝了国民的母语

探访新加坡:政府曾“禁止”国民讲方言

Sandy, a young Chinese Singaporean, is fluent in English and Mandarin, the official “mother tongue” of Chinese Singaporeans. Her grandmother spoke little of either.

桑迪是一位年轻的华裔新加坡人,会说英语和普通话——这是官方指定的华裔“母语”。可是,她的祖母两门语言几乎都不会说。

Their language barrier was the product of decades of linguistic engineering. English has been the language of instruction in nearly all schools since 1987, to reinforce Singapore’s global competitive edge. But, depending on ethnicity, pupils study a second language—typically Mandarin, Malay or Tamil. In the case of Mandarin, its acquisition has been reinforced by the government’s annual “Speak Mandarin Campaign”, started in 1979.

她们两人的语言障碍来源于一项横跨数十年的语言工程。从 1987 年开始,为了巩固新加坡在全球的竞争优势,英语就已经是绝大部分学校的教学语言。不过,学生们还会根据所属民族学习第二外语,一般是普通话、马来语或者泰米尔语。至于普通话,政府自 1979 年开展的“讲华语运动”一直在深化这门语言的普及程度。

So dialects — Hokkien, Cantonese and Hakka — were disparaged. In the early 1980s television and radio programming in these languages all but disappeared, cutting many people adrift. By the campaign’s own yardsticks, the success is striking. The use of Chinese vernaculars at home has collapsed, from 76% of Chinese households in 1980 to 16% in 2015. Over the same period, the use of Mandarin rose, from 13% of Chinese households to 46%.

因此,像福建话、粤语和客家话这样的方言受到了打压。从 20 世纪 80 年代开始,用这些语言播报的广播电视节目几乎销声匿迹,让很多人无所适从。按照政府自己的标准,这个项目可谓收效显著。方言在华裔家庭中的使用率从 1980 年的 76%骤然降至 2015 年的 16%,而同一时期,普通话的使用率从 13%升至 46%。

In 2015, the 50th anniversary of the nation’s founding was accompanied by an outpouring of sentimentality over Singapore’s roots. These days officials are a bit readier to tolerate Singapore’s linguistic variety.

2015 年新加坡举行建国 50 周年纪念活动时,人们普遍流露出对于新加坡文化根基的怀念之情。近年来,政府官员似乎更乐于接受新加坡语言文化的多样性。

Meanwhile, younger Singaporeans are embracing former mother tongues. Ski Yeo and Eugene Lee were motivated to found LearnDialect.sg upon seeing an elderly Cantonese-speaker in a nursing home struggle to communicate that she was cold.*** Health workers have signed up to their courses, while others want to say the right things at family gatherings over the lunar new year.

与此同时,年轻一代新加坡人正在重拾曾经的母语。LearnDialect.sg(“学习方言”)网站的创办人斯吉·杨和尤金·李,曾经在养老院目睹一位讲粤语的老人身体发冷却难以开口表达,因而深受触动建立了该网站。报名参加他们的方言课程的人当中,既有医疗工作者,也有想在春节家庭团聚时懂得说话的普通人。

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