Question from Mike looks like this
Hi there Shanghi blogger …
My name is Mike and I am very seriously considering moving to China for a year or two. I had decided to move to Beijing but am now considering Shanghi because it is the business hub of China and a more modern city.
I have been taking classes from a tutor in Mandarin but I understand the people of Shanghi speak a different language – a derivative of cantonese I think.
My question to you is what language should I learn if I move to Shanghi ? If I learn Mandarin will I be able to speak to people in Shanghi ? My barber is a Chinese woman from Shanghi ans she says she speaks Mandarin but in a way that makes it difficult to communicate with people in Beijing because the accents ( tones ) are so different.
I would really appreciate any input you can give me on the languages in China and specifically in Shanghi.
Well. I would definitely suggest you to learn Mandarin, not the local Shanghai dialect – or Shanghainese. It is true that Shanghainese are different from the Mandarin. But almost all the people you can reach can speak Mandarin but not all speak Shanghainese.
Taking me as an example, I don’t speak Shanghainese and can hardly understand Shanghainese, but that does not infect my life. It is a nice place to live.
Unlike Cantonese, Shanghainese is only used in Shanghai, not even in nearby cities like Hangzhou and Suzhou. So it will be almost useless if you go out of Shanghai…
Hope it helps.
P.S. This entry is created on Oct 9, 2003, not the date listed above.