Learn Shangnainese 学上海话

Hi, this blog is set up to share online resources to learn Shanghainese.

Short Lessons will be available here soon with mp3 and uploaded files.

What is Shanghainese?

Shanghainese (上海閒話 [z̥ɑ̃̀héɦɛ̀ɦʊ̀]/上海言话 in Shanghainese) is the dialect spoken in Shanghai. We also call it Wu Dialect.


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.

Shanghainese is rich in consonants and pure vowels [i y ɪ e ø ɛ ə ɐ a ɑ ɔ ɤ o ʊ u] (of which 8 are phonemic). Like other northern Wu dialects, the Shanghai dialect has voiced initials [b d ɡ ɦ z v dʑ ʑ]. Neither Mandarin nor Cantonese has voiced stops or affricates. The Shanghainese tonal system is significantly different from other Chinese languages. Shanghainese is a language with two live tonal contrasts (high and low), while Mandarin and Cantonese are contour tonal languages.

It is said that there are about 14 million Shanghainese speakers.

Leave a Reply

  • Basic Cantonese
  • 15 Free Mandarin Chinese Lessons Online