Learn Shanghainese

As you know, Mandarin Community is located in central Shanghai. As you also probably know, even though Mandarin is the official language of China, most places have their own regional dialects. Shanghai is no exception. Shanghainese, or shàng hǎi huà is the dialect spoken here in Shanghai and it is so vastly different from Mandarin that a non-native Shanghai person is unlikely to be able to understand Shanghainese. In fact, Shanghainese even varies from district to district within Shanghai! As in, someone from Qingpu is unintelligible to a Shanghainese person who grew up in Jing An. This kind of variation in regional dialects is common throughout China, with people from one town to the next speaking different versions of Chinese. Luckily, most Chinese people also speak Mandarin at least passably well (not necessarily true for older people). What that means for us foreigners in China is that we are spared the pain of learning several dialects. However, being able to speak a few sentences of your local dialect will go far when befriending locals or ingratiating yourself with the local ayis (aunties, older women). Today, Chen Laoshi tries to teach myself (Laura) and Lu Laoshi some Shanghai dialect. It doesn’t go well for me while, Lu Laoshi fares slightly better. 😬😬😬

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