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Difference Between Shanghainese and Mandarin
Study on the Difference Between Shanghainese and Mandarin
Oct, 2016



Shanghainese, also known as the Shanghai dialect, is a dialect of Wu Chinese spoken in the central districts of Shanghai and in the surrounding region.

Both Shanghainese and Mandarin belong to the big family of Chinese. Mandarin, the official language of China, develops primarily from Beijing dialect together with some other dialects in north China. Shanghainese is a branch of Wu dialect and also the most influential one, which is popular in Shanghai, Jiangsu, Zhejiang.



The differences between Shanghainese and Mandarin are mainly on two aspects, pronunciation and vocabulary. For example, the pronoun “I” and “you” are pronounced “wo” and “ni” in Mandarin but pronounced “wu” and “nong”in Shanghainese, “People's Square” in Mandarin is “renmin guangchang” but in Shanghainese it is read as “zenmin guangzang”. The pronunciation marks of Shanghainese are not regular Chinese Pinyin. In Shanghainese, people use “a li da” to mean where while in Mandarin people say “nali”. “He speaks good Chinese” is translated as “ta zhongwen shuo de henhao” in Mandarin and as “yi zongwen ganglai loho e” in Shanghainese.

Nowadays, most of Shanghai people can speak Mandarin Chinese. There is little obstacle for people from other places to communicate with Shanghai people.

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