Shanghainese, also known as the Shanghai dialect or Hu language, is actually a dialect of Wu Chinese spoken mainly in City of Shanghai and neighbouring areas.
Shanghainese is one of dozens, possibly hundreds, of local languages spoken in China. In a country whose government only actively supports one language – Mandarin — no one knows the exact figure.
Reasons to learn Shanghainese
- Better understanding of Mandarin and Classical Chinese
- Better understanding of the people of Shanghai and their character
- Interact with the locals in a more meaningful way, talking with them in the language of their family
To further complicate communication between Chinese people, many of these dialects are mutually unintelligible, each with distinctive vocabulary, grammar, and pronunciation.
To Mandarin-speaking Beijingers, for example, Shanghainese can sound as foreign as Russian.