Court gives lessons in Shanghainese

By Wang Yizhou Source:Global Times Published: 2012-9-9 23:10:04

The local court system started training more than 100 of its judges, clerks and bailiffs in the Shanghai dialect Friday to improve communication with native residents, local media reported Sunday.

The measure marks the first time that the court system will train its officers in the local dialect, according to a report in the Oriental Morning Post.

More than 100 officers from all levels of the court will participate in the training, which will run four sessions, according to a press release from the Shanghai Higher People's Court.

"This is necessary because none of the judges, clerks and bailiffs we have recruited in recent years are locals," said Pan Yishen, a senior judge at the Shanghai No.2 Intermediate People's Court.

The courts hired dozens of graduates from around the country last year. Although they met the court's requirement of holding a master's degree, they have trouble understanding Shanghainese, which is the preferred language of many locals, especially seniors, Pan said.

"This will be helpful in the district courts, which handle a lot of property disputes involving local seniors," said Li Xiaohua, a lawyer who specializes in civil lawsuits.

Still, Li thought it was more professional for staff members to stick to Putonghua in the intermediate and higher courts.

The language training will include studying local urban slang, broadcast news reports about politics and law, and practicing reading and writing legal terms in Shanghainese, according to the press release.

In total, it amounts to 10 hours of class time.

"To understand or even master a language requires much more time, but this initiative can give non-local staff members a new view of Shanghai culture, which will eventually minimize miscommunication between them and local residents," said Qian Nairong, a professor of Chinese language at Shanghai University who specializes in the Shanghai dialect.

The Global Times could not reach a representative of the Shanghai Higher People's Court Sunday.

Posted in: Society, Metro Shanghai

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