English through Shanghainese

My coworkers Jason and Daini at EnglishPod have released a series of English lessons. But they’re taught not in English, not even in Mandarin, but in Shanghainese! They call it 上海话教英语.

If you’re interested in Shanghainese, this is better material than a radio show, because you’ll understand the English, which means you’ll be able to better follow the discussion of it in Shanghainese than you would a random topic.

Also, you might recognize the voice of one of the dialogue actors in this one:

Get the rest of them at 上海话教英语.


John Pasden

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


  1. Awesome. When I hear Shanghainese in a relatively “controlled” environment like this I always thing “wow, that’s not too bad, I can sort of follow it,” and then I hear it in real life and I’m totally blown away.

    I guess Mandarin was the same way back when…

  2. That female voice sounds like someone I met recently….

  3. I was pretty impressed you could understand the stuff that door guard was saying in Shanghainese. This is as “out there” as learning Mandarin was 15 years ago.

  4. Nice post John. When I was trying to teach a Shanghainese friend some basic phrases, it was actually much faster for him to learn certain words.

    Though I’m not a linguist, I sincerely believe one key factor the presence of some sounds (diphongs?) in Shanghainese that don’t exist in Mandarin.

    One for example, is va (不). The “v” sound isn’t present in Mandarin.

    Anybody have any others?

  5. On the way to teaching all of China to speak with a thick American accent. Fantastic. Take that as sarcasm.

  6. Dude, 上海话 is messed up! That’s the first time I’ve ever heard it spoken at length. I’d better stop listening, or I’ll try to learn something else I don’t have time for…

  7. Cool video. This one is decent for learning Shanghainese as well (学说上海话): http://v.youku.com/v_show/id_XMzMyODExOTI4.html.

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