LTL Banner Image


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.

Proper Shanghainese Teachers

Shanghainese Locals – Teachers are genuine native speakers
Only The Best – We hire the best, it’s as simple as that
Friendly, Fun & Engaging – Lessons are never, ever dull

A Brand You Can Trust

History of Success – We’ve helped thousands of students
Since 2007 – Over a decade of experience
Online or Offline – In person, or Online, you decide

How do Shanghainese & Mandarin differ?


The Shanghai language is still written using Chinese characters, though sometimes this is a bit confusing for Mandarin speakers. The reason is that sometimes it is written in an informal manner that uses many homophones that only exist in Shanghainese.


Mandarin has four different tones that are used, while Shanghainese has five. Shanghainese also implements voiced initials in many words, where in Mandarin this does not happen.

What is it like Studying Shangnainese?

Another difference is the fact that tones affect only words in Mandarin, whereas in the Shanghai language entire phrases are affected as well.

An Introduction to Shanghainese with LTL

LTL uses《学说上海话》for Shanghainese classes. We have a clear lesson structure, with 30 lessons based on different topics (discussing the weather, money, buying things, introductions, etc) and is beyond just a Shanghainese phrasebook as most other resources are.

This book also has a structured Romanization system, so as to help both Chinese and foreigners to learn it more easily, without resorting to similar sounding words.

Shanghainese Courses – Prices

Private 1-on-1 Class

Class HoursPrice (CNY per hour)
> 200147
120 – 200150
90 – 119165
60 – 89178
30 – 59190

2-on-1 Classes

Class HoursClass Hours
120 – 20090
90 – 11999
60 – 89107
30 – 59114

All prices are in Chinese Yuan and per person. If you need information regarding Fapiaos please visit our Fapiao Information page.

At LTL there are no surcharges for weekend, morning or evening classes. We also do not charge any teacher transport fees for Chinese classes taught anywhere on subway line 4.

All students are welcome to attend our weekly social events free of charge and will also have access to our free LTL Online Chinese study kit.

Students follow a regular study plan depending on work and personal schedules. However, up to 30% of your lessons can be cancelled if we are notified six working hours before your class is due to begin. It is also possible to fix the duration of a class to anything between 1.5 hours (short lesson) and 6 hours (super intensive lesson). If you need even more flexibility, check out the LTL Super Flexible Chinese Program.

Online Shanghainese Courses

You can now learn Shanghainese from anywhere in the world because we also run our Shanghainese courses Online.

You can purchase your course package online within minutes below, our courses start from 25 hours (any less is not long enough to make genuine progress) and go all the way up to 200 hours.


Select your program below, you can pay in six different currencies.

Upon selecting, you will be taken to the payment platform Stripe, to complete your purchase, before being re-directed back to our website.

Online Shanghainese Courses


Is Shanghainese similar to Mandarin?

Not really no.

To Mandarin-speaking Beijingers, for example, Shanghainese can sound as foreign as Russian.

Can I read more online Shanghainese courses?

Check our dedicated page for Online Shanghainese classes here.

Is Shanghainese similar to Cantonese?

Like with the difference between Shanghainese and Mandarin, Shanghainese and Cantonese have little in common.

Why don’t you provide smaller packages?

To make genuine progress with Shanghainese, or any language for that matter, you need a proper schedule, and this takes time for us to make, and time for you to complete.

Booking up just 10 hours of classes will turn out to be a waste of time for both parties in many cases.

Other LTL Programs

  • Multi City


    Learn Chinese not only in Shanghai, but also other Chinese cities, even Taipei and Singapore. The Multi City Program offers Mandarin courses throughout Asia!

    Learn More

Ask us a question!
  • LTL Avatar Mojca Godec
    Mojca Godec , Student Advisor

    Welcome to LTL Mandarin School!

    How can I help you?