Shanghailander!

01 Apr 2005

I learned recently from the Shanghai Wikipedia entry that some people actually use the term “Shanghailander” in all seriousness, meaning “a native of Shanghai” (Google search). Don’t they know about Highlander?? This deserves to be made fun of.

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John Pasden

John is a Shanghai-based linguist and entrepreneur, founder of AllSet Learning.

Comments

  1. What if it leads to people wearing long, black coats & carrying katanas?

  2. I did read a story the other day where a guy in Beijing stabbed another guy to death because he sold his ‘cyber-sword’ to someone else.

    Coincidence? I think not. 🙂

    I love the graphic by the way. You should think about making a movie of it. It couldn’t be worse than any Highlander movie past the first one.

  3. The term doesn’t seem like it’s used very much though. The google search only returned 182 results.

    /Daniel

  4. Shanghailander sounds remotely German (foreigner, for instance, is ‘der Ausl0Š1nder’), but generally you just add -er (for men) or -erin (for women) to the place you are (i.e., Kennedy’s ‘Ich bin ein Berliner’).

    Strange.

  5. schtickyrice Says: April 1, 2005 at 8:08 am

    We all know about Kennedy’s infamous gafe: Berliner is a type of donut, just as Frankfurters and Weiners are types of sausages, and Hamburgers, I digress …

  6. Oh dear god. No. Just say No!

  7. I bet it is purely coincidental that Shanghailander was posted, with a movie poster, on 12:00 AM of April fool’s day.

  8. Is that Wayne with the sword?

  9. my favorite part is the “there can be only 10,000,000+” in the background — HAHA!
    nice graphic. and wayne, you look good! 😉

  10. Actually, I think Kennedy’s gaffe was that he said, “Ich bin EIN Berliner.” It was the article that turned it into a donut. It’s been many years since I studied German and I could be wrong, but I think you can say, “Ich bin Berliner” and not be calling yourself a crueller…

    Your movie needs to be made.

  11. heather Says: April 1, 2005 at 5:25 pm

    shanghailander is on par with hangzhouvian, which, i kid you not, is being used here.

  12. Shanghailander is actually a coinage of Shanghai and highlander, which originally designates a long-term resident of European origin in Shanghai, in comparison with Shanghainese, which is from ‘Shanghai’ and ‘Chinese’. As Shanghai was a place of the British interest, I suppose the British just wanted to sound as if Shanghai were an English county. Somehow, this term was later also extended to cover the local Chinese.

  13. Now you’ve got me curious over English language suffixes that denote residency. I’ve rummaged my brain for a couple of other oft-used words, Beijinger, New Yorker, Parisian, Londoner, Berliner, etc. Most of them ending with an “er” though some not, I can’t really establish any pattern or consistancy. How is someone from Rome called? A Romer? Romian? The same goes for Moscow? Tokyo is another tricky one, though I think I’ve heard the word Tokyoite before. Chigacoan seems to fit, but I’m clueless for cities like Los Angeles or Miami. Now for the true test, I think someone needs to come up with a suffix for Xishuangbanna.

  14. Lisa, you’re right about the German and Kennedy’s gaffe. It’s the ‘ein’ that made it the gaffe, not the ‘er’. As for other suffixes we use in English, there isn’t any formula, it seems, though there are some similar patterns. I would think someone from Xishuangbanna would be a Xishuangbannan or Xishuangbannian, with the pronunciation of the a in ‘ba’ becoming long (if it isn’t already). Hahahaha… reading too much into this.

  15. Okay, I’m going to move to Xishuangbanna so I can be a Xishuangbannan…ian.

    We in Los Angeles are generally “Los Angelenos.” But in San Diego, we are “San Diegans.”

  16. This is turning into something funny. I recall when I was young and in college, my roommate, a Chinese fellow from the transition period in Chinese history (he was probably born in the middle 1920s) told me a Chinese joke, it went something like this: an American met a Chinese fellow; looking at the Asian, the American askes, “What kind of ‘-ese’ are you?” “What kind of ‘-ese’ am I?”, the Chinese guy responds. “Yea, are you a Vietnamese, or a Japanese, or a Chinese, just what kind of ‘-ese’ are you?” “Oh, I am a Chinese” says the Chinese fellow. “What kind of ‘-key’ are you?” asks the Chinese. “Key?” responds the American, not knowing what the Asian was asking. “Yes, what kind of ‘-key’ are you? Are you a Yankee or a monkey, what type of ‘-key’ are you?”

    Shanghai was truly an international city, not part of the English sphere of influence, although they were significant. The ruling body were the plutocrats in Shanghai, not government bureaucrats. There was no visa or passport requirements to enter the city, anyone could do so at will and leave at will. That is probably why the city was so robust untill the Japanese seized it, and even today it still carries some of that spirit.

  17. Haha~~,JFS,I just can’t help laughing at the joke U’ve told us.It’s so funny.
    Speaking of the “er” problem,I vote for the”lander” side.I don’t think there is any problem.For what it’s worth,it sounds more fluent and smoooothly than”er”.The more funny fact is that I have absolutely no idea what the reaction of people from shanghai would be if they are being called”shanghaier”?(doen’t this word mean people who do kidnap stuff?does it?)

  18. English should just import a Chinese suffix for this kind of context, by adding a ren at the end of any place. Chinaren, Shanghairen, Taiwanren, Korearen, Japanren, Americaren, Chicagoren, New Yorkren, Little Rockren (sounds so good), Clevelandren (not so good), Miamiren, Los Angelesren, San Diegoren, Mexico Cityren, Iserealren, Gordonren, Haitiren, Franceren, Londenren, Parisren, Romeren (this is a bust), Australiaren, Calcuttaren, Kiwiren I mean New Zelandren (oops, this does not work well either), or Moscowren. I think it will work beautifully, generally.

  19. Gordonren was a typo, Jordanren.

  20. schtickyrice Says: April 3, 2005 at 4:14 am

    comet,

    speaking of shanghai and kidnapping, isn’t that precisely what shanghaied, the verb, means?

  21. russell Says: April 5, 2005 at 9:44 am

    again, making my point that wayne is the most photogenic man in china. i almost wet myself when i saw that picture.

  22. We’ve found an apartment!

    After a huge week of hunting, searching, and wishing for some kind of result, Lin & I have finally found our Shanghai apartment….

  23. “Shanghailander” is used for foreigners in Shanghai that dates from the 1920’s and 30’s. It’s being revived by people who delve into Shanghai’s pre-Liberation history – they’re using it in talks and interviews, although not necessarily in their books. I agree it’s annoying but ultimately it makes me think of Disneyland and the ridiculous situations in which expats frequently find themselves (especially those expats who live in expat ghettos and never interact with China). Thus when it obviously refers to moneyed expats whose lives never connect with with the reality of China, I’m willing to use it…

  24. Cristina Says: April 3, 2009 at 10:26 pm

    Hey Jing,

    Someone from Los Angeles is referred to as an Angeleno.

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