Shanghai dialect is a dialect spoken in the city of Shanghai and the surrounding region.Shanghainese is a representative dialect of Northern Wu; it contains vocabulary and expressions from the entire Northern Wu area (southern Jiangsu, northern Zhejiang). With nearly 14 million speakers, Shanghainese is also the largest single coherent form of Wu Chinese. It once served as the regional lingua franca of the entire Yangtze River Delta region.
Shanghai dialect has very different pronunciation from Mandarin and Cantonese, including several sounds that are not found in any other Chinese dialect. Although the bulk of vocabulary is the same, there is also considerable variation in words and phrases.
As people have become more appreciative of its unique value – and perhaps more sensitive to conservation issues generally – Shanghai dialect has undergone something of a revival. Public lessons are now conducted in some kindergartens and language organizations, while several TV programs have regained popularity.
Some slight taste of the dialect might be gleaned from the following examples:
-- In Shanghainese, you don't ‘drink’ beverages or ‘smoke’ cigarettes, you ‘eat’ (chi) them both! -- An effeminate man can be described as having ‘a woman’s voice’ (niang niang qiang). -- The Mandarin expression ‘bu san bu si’ (‘neither three nor four’, meaning ‘dubious’) becomes ‘bu er bu san’ (‘neither two nor three’) in Shanghai dialect. -- In Mandarin, one ‘shou bu liao’ (‘can't stand’) something intolerable, but in Shanghai dialect, one ‘chi bu xiao’ (‘can't digest’) it. -- In Shanghainese, a thief is described as ‘zei gu tou’ (‘bad to the bone’). -- The Shanghainese expression ‘qing ni chi sheng huo’, literally meaning ‘giving you the treat of your life’, is actually a threat to beat you senseless. -- To be ‘lin bu qing’ in Shanghai dialect is to be clueless and stubborn. -- In Shanghai dialect, you never ‘wash’ your face, hair or anything else, instead you ‘beat’ (da) them.
|Hello||ni hao||nong haw|
|Goodbye||zai jian||tseh way|
|Thank you||xie xie||shya shya|
|Sorry||dui bu qi||tay ver ch'ee|
|you're welcome||bu ke qi||ver k'uk ch'ee|
|toilet||ce suo||ts'i soo|
|turn left||zuo zhuan||tsoo tsoe|
|turn right|| you zhuan ||yew tsoe|
|go straight||zhi zou||zuk tsew|
|hotel||jiu dian||jew tee|
|airport||fei ji chang||fee jee zang|
|train station||huo che zhan||hoo ts'oo zeh|
|metro||di tie||dee t'ik|
|taxi||chu zu che||ts'uk tsi ts'oo|
|How much?||duo shao qian?||jee dee?|
|too expensive||tai gui||t'uk jyu|
|cheap||pian yi||bee nee|
|too big||tai da||t'uk doo|
|too small||tai xiao||t'uk shyo|
|beer||pi jiu||bee jew|
|settle the bill||mai dan||mah teh|
|bar/pub||jiu ba||jew pa|
|restaurant||can guan||veh tee|
|police||jing cha||jin ts'uh|