Shanghainese Study Materials

I was recently asked to help someone find some study materials (books, tapes, CDs, etc.) for Shanghainese. Clearly, Shanghai is a good place to look, but I soon discovered that finding good materials was not as simple as going to a big bookstore in Shanghai. To assemble a rather complete collection of materials I had to visit seven bookstores in Shanghai. What is strange is that almost every bookstore had one or two books on Shanghainese, but almost every store’s books were different! For that reason I can’t be sure that there aren’t still some good ones out there, but I think I got most of them.

This will probably only be helpful to students of Shanghainese in Shanghai, but the following is a list of materials I found. I have not used these materials, nor am I fluent in Shanghainese (although I do understand quite a bit), but I think I understand a thing or two about what makes a good language textbook, so I have made a few key observations about each book. Note that the three books which I deemed the best got their own reviews elsewhere on Sinosplice. (Chinese Textbook Reviews now has a small section on Shanghainese.)

xueshuoshanghaihua-old

Xue Shuo Shanghai-hua

  • Chinese and English
  • comes with 3 cassette tapes
  • uses IPA for pronunciation, included tone marks
  • offers the most thorough, linguistic treatment of pronunciation I have seen
  • 21 rmb for the book, 11.5 rmb for the tapes
  • bought at 上海外文书店 (Xujiahui)
  • Read the full review
 
cover

Shanghai Dialect for Foreigners

  • English (some Chinese)
  • comes with a CD
  • uses IPA for pronunciation
  • decent pronunciation guide, but light on grammar
  • 40 rmb for the book with CD
  • bought at 上海外文图书公司 (Fuzhou Rd.)
  • Read the full review
 
cover

A Chinese two-channel contrastive textbook of Mandarin and Shanghai dialect

  • Chinese, English, Japanese
  • comes with a CD
  • uses IPA for pronunciation
  • pretty solid all around
  • 75 rmb for the book with MP3 CD
  • bought at Garden Bookstore
  • Read the full review
 
2VCD

Learn Shanghai Language (2 VCD Set)

  • Chinese only
  • comes with a very thin booklet
  • pronunciation instruction is video-based
  • 38 rmb for the boxed VCD set
  • bought at 上海外文图书公司 (Fuzhou Rd.)
 
xuehuishanghaihua

Xuehui Shanghai-hua

  • Chinese only
  • comes with a tape
  • uses a system similar to pinyin for pronunciation
  • 8.8 rmb for the book, 7.2 rmb for the tape
  • bought at 明君书店 (Zhongshan Park Metro Station)
 
tingtingjiangjiang

Ting Ting Jiang Jiang Shanghai-hua

  • Chinese only
  • comes with a CD (radio quality recording)
  • uses a system similar to pinyin for pronunciation
  • 20 rmb for the book with CD
  • bought at 上海书城 (Fuzhou Rd.)
 
jixuejihui

Shanghai-hua: Ji Xue Ji Hui

  • Chinese only
  • comes with 2 cassette tapes
  • Chinese characters only (no written pronunciation guide to speak of)
  • 26 rmb for the book with 2 tapes
  • bought at 上海书城 (Fuzhou Rd.)
 
yijuhua

Linshi Jixu Yi Ju Hua: Shanghai-hua

  • Chinese only
  • comes with 2 cassette tapes
  • uses a system similar to pinyin for pronunciation
  • 7 rmb for the book, 14 rmb for the 2 tapes
  • bought at 新华书店 (Zhongshan Park store)
 
3yuetong

Learning Shanghai Dialect

  • Chinese, English
  • comes with a tape
  • uses IPA for pronunciation
  • 11.5 rmb for the book with tape
  • bought at 上海外文书店 (Xujiahui)
 
900ju

Shanghai-hua: 900 ju

  • Chinese only
  • comes with a CD
  • uses its own funky romanization (includes tone marks!)
  • 20 rmb for the book with CD
  • bought at 明君书店 (Zhongshan Park Metro Station)
 
nonghao

Shanghai-hua: Nong Hao

  • Chinese only
  • this is a phrasebook
  • uses IPA for pronunciation
  • 9.8 rmb
  • bought on the campus of East China Normal University (上海江莳图书有限公司)
 

I only strongly recommend the top three, but you might find some of the others useful. Again, if you’re not already in Shanghai, you may have a very hard time getting your hands on any of these books. Even if you’re already in Shanghai, they won’t necessarily be easy to find! If you are really in need, you could try contacting me. We might be able to work something out.


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