Shanghainese?! Help me!

Discuss the Chinese language.
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Joined: Fri Dec 22, 2006 4:47 pm

Shanghainese?! Help me!

Post by HoVis » Fri Dec 22, 2006 8:51 pm

And I thought things were complicated enough! In 2008, I and eleven other students from my High School are going on a month-long expedition to China. I am the supposed "language expert" (i.e. I can say hello, how are you, thankyou and please in Mandarin!), and since we are landing in Hong Kong and spending a week there I have been trying to learn a little Cantonese as well as improving (drastically!) my Mandarin. Now, we were originally supposed to be leaving from Beijing, but due to the Olympics this has had to be changed to Shanghai... and now I learn there is another language to be learnt! So my question is;

a) How different is Mandaring from Shanghainese?
b) Is communication still possible through characters (as it is between Cantonese and Mandarin)?

and c) Do many Shanghai people know Mandarin well enough to communicate with a foreigner via. it?

Looking forward to any help!


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Post by layinfalls » Mon Dec 25, 2006 10:07 am

Hello Hovis! As far as I know, Mandarin is now commonly accepted in both Shanghai and Hongkong. Especially in Shanghai. And most young people (now many old people have joined the group) in the two cities can speak English quite fluently. Literally speaking, Mandarin, Shanghainese and Cantoese are the same language, I mean the characters are written in the same way( only people use simplfied characters in mainland China but most people understand both versions), they are just pronounced quite differently.
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Mark Yong
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Post by Mark Yong » Wed Jan 03, 2007 2:16 am

Hi, HoVis,

A few points:

1. Mandarin is now widely spoken in urban Shanghai. As a matter of fact, Shanghainese are very conscious about not using their dialect when talking to non-Shanghainese, as they consider it rude. So you will have no problems using the language, and will not need to learn the Shanghainese dialect in order to survive in Shanghai.

2. Written Chinese all over China - and even Hong Kong - is based on the grammar of Standard Mandarin. But since, as I said, Mandarin is widely spoken in Shanghai, it is therefore much more likely that you will need written Chinese as a communication medium in Hong Kong, rather than in Shanghai. In Hong Kong, written Chinese is taught to students using Standard Mandarin but using Cantonese pronunciation.

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Post by HoVis » Wed Jan 17, 2007 8:20 pm

Thanks for your comments and advice. They are all very useful!

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Post by chairmouse » Thu Dec 13, 2007 9:38 pm

They all use the same grammar, the reason for why we have such a lot of accents is:
Chinese was broadcasted 1000 year ago in Asian area. when ancient Chinese went to a foreign country to teach Chinese language, he could not return his country because the bad transportation, and some escaped slaves did not want to return.They marriaged with foreigner who could not pronounce correctly, and their Children went far and far on the pronunciations and tones. and there was no tape or voice recorder at that time.

99.9999% Chinese people use their father's first name, so we when two people have the same first name. they will say :"we are from one family 800 hundred ago" , some where they say 500.