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Shanghainese making a comeback

“Even as Shanghai strives to be a more international city, locals insist that its unique dialect must be saved to preserve its cultural identity.

Pessimistic linguists and cultural experts have warned that Shanghainese, a dialect that few people from other parts of the country understand, is showing signs of dying out as Putonghua and English gain ground amid an influx of mainland and global talent.

Shanghai dialect, which differs from Putonghua in its tones and vocabulary, was once essential to learn for an outsider hoping to live in the city. Non-locals living in Shanghai tried to grasp the dialect because the natives would look down on them if they spoke Putonghua in shops, restaurants and offices.”

Read the full article.

For a deeper look into Shanghai’s history and culture, watch the films of Shanghainese filmmaker Shu Haolun. His acclaimed documentary Nostalgia recalls life in Shanghai’s communal neighborhoods in the 1980s; and his award winning No. 89 Shimen Road recalls how Westernization began to influence Shanghai’s youth leading to the events of June 4, 1989.


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