Wu phrasebook

or "Shanghai dialect" or "Shanghainese" is the main local language for much of East China the municipality of Shanghai, most of Zhejiang province, and the southern parts of Jiangsu province. There are also some speakers in neighbouring Chinese provinces. There are local variants of the language; the standard is that of Suzhou (an older city, capital of the Kingdom of Wu centuries back, and home to many scholars), not that of Shanghai.

This is a populous region and the number of Wu speakers is large; on Wikipedia's list of world languages by number of native speakers it ranks 13th with 70-odd million, slightly below German but ahead of French and Italian. On their list by total number of speakers, Wu is 18th. On both lists, it is ahead of Vietnamese, Korean, and any other Chinese dialect except Mandarin.

Few travellers are likely to need or want to learn Wu. Throughout China, Mandarin has been the only language of government and education, and the main language of media and entertainment, for over half a century. Nearly all Wu speakers have at least some Mandarin as well, and the educated ones are generally completely fluent. Also, the major cities where Wu is the main local language Shanghai, Suzhou, Ningbo and Hangzhou are all quite prosperous and full of immigrants or temporary migrant workers who come from areas where Wu is not spoken. As anywhere else in China, Mandarin is the lingua franca for communication between people from different areas.

That said, if you are spending a significant length of time in the region, then learning some Wu may be useful. It will almost certainly please and amuse the locals.

Phrase list

Some phrases in this phrasebook still need to be translated. If you know anything about this language, you can help by plunging forward and translating a phrase.


Basics

Hello. 
nong2 haw3 (侬好), similar to Mandarin 您好.
Hello. (informal) 
. ( )
How are you? 
? ( ?)
Fine, thank you. 
. ( )
What is your name? 
? ( ?)
My name is ______ . 
______ . ( _____ .)
Nice to meet you. 
. ( )
Please. 
. ( )
Thank you. 
. ( )
You're welcome. 
. ( )
Yes. 
. ( )
No. 
. ( )
Excuse me. (getting attention) 
. ( )
Excuse me. (begging pardon) 
. ( )
I'm sorry. 
. ( )
Goodbye 
. ( )
Goodbye (informal) 
. ( )
I can't speak name of language [well]. 
[ ]. ( [ ])
Do you speak English? 
? ( ?)
Is there someone here who speaks English? 
? ( ?)
Help! 
! ( !)
Look out! 
! ( !)
Good morning. 
. ( )
Good evening. 
. ( )
Good night. 
. ( )
Good night (to sleep) 
. ( )
I don't understand. 
. ( )
Where is the toilet? 
? ( ?)

Learning more

This article is issued from Wikivoyage - version of the Wednesday, March 04, 2015. The text is available under the Creative Commons Attribution/Share Alike but additional terms may apply for the media files.