Annals of Wu

a sinotibetoburman linguistics blog

Shanghainese Medical Dictionary App guanxi - apps

"esotericlinguist" left a comment on the old WordPress version of this blog. It reads as follows:

Here's a new Shanghainese app for Android. It uses a modified version of Wu Association pinyin, so it's not as confusing as the one Dr. Qian came up with.

The app is developed by Robert Theis and is dated January 2014. There are actually two apps. One is a military medical phrasebook and ones is a more basic phrasebook, though also militarily connected. This is the developer's description:

Military-related medical phrases for foreign language learners of Shanghainese (沪语/上海言话), the largest variety of Wu Chinese (吴语), with audio, Romanization, and Chinese script. Use this app to select an English phrase and view its translation and how to pronounce it in Shanghainese. Texts are given in Simplified Chinese script.

This app uses modified Wu Association Romanization. High tones are induced by voiceless initial consonants p(h), mh, f, t(h), nh, lh, tz, ts, s, c(h), sh, k(h), h, and ∅, and low tones are induced by voiced initial consonants b, m, v, d, n, l, z, j, zh, g, ng, hh. For more detailed explanation of the Romanization system, please visit https://www.google.com/url?q=http://esotericlinguist.wordpress.com/2014/01/17/shanghainese-romanization/

This app was originally developed as an entry to the 2010 CIO/G6 "Apps for the Army" competition, and it is based on the modules publicly available online from the U.S. Defense Language Institute. Content edited and arranged by Percy Wong; app development by Robert Theis.

Looks pretty decent, although the same developer has put out dozens of identical apps for different languages, all on the same basic cookie cutter template. There are no tones given, but the presence of a Play button makes me think there is perhaps audio. I'd be interested to know where it comes from if that's the case. I haven't personally given it a try but if I can dig up my older Android phone I'll definitely give it a shot.

    More On The Disappearing Shanghaihua guanxi - links

    CNNGo has an article up on the disappearance of Shanghainese.

    I may have mentioned a while back that just because there are a kabillion Wu speakers it doesn't mean the language won't be gone in a few generations. Looks like it's happening sooner than predicted.

      GUWS On Framework Radio guanxi

      Framework Radio covers Growing Up with Shanghai this week. You can listen on the site or download as an mp3.

      Here's the direct link.

        Global Times On Terence Lloren guanxi

        The Global Times (环球时报) has a nice write up on Terence Lloren, the man behind Growing Up With Shanghai. It provides the story behind the recorder.

        A snippet:
        In one recording, Lloren captures the hum of the city and the snippets of conversations from people walking by. Jackhammers ring in the distance. The sounds of bicycle gears pierce the layers of sound. Buses come screaming to a halt in a wave of horns. There is something strangely intimate about focusing on these sounds up close, as if one can really feel the pulse of Shanghai. Lloren's has used these recordings to create soundwalks of Shanghai that focus on authenticity, offering listeners a way to experience Shanghai that they wouldn't get by simply taking a tour.

        Take a look.


          ChinesePod - Shanghainese Haggling guanxi - links

          ChinesePod has their first Shanghainese dialogue up. I'm listening now. Not bad.

          If you're a registered user, go check it out. If you're not, go sign up for your free week trial.

          Good stuff, guys.

            Interview: Simon Allan Of Tatoeba guanxi - interviews

            The following post is an interview with Allan Simon, part of the team behind Tatoeba. He was nice enough to answer some questions about the site and it's integration of Shanghainese. If you haven't taken a look at Tatoeba yet, I highly recommend you check it out. As mentioned below, there are over 60 sentences in Shanghainese and that number can only grow. There's also integration for audio, which includes Shanghainese. The following is from the Tatoeba blog:

            The audio we have so far in Shanghainese. Yes, we do have such an exotic language. Now, you may be wondering why on Earth did we pick Shanghainese? Well, for a few reasons.
            Allan (aka. sysko), one of the most active developer in the team, is very interested in Chinese, and more particularly in Shanghainese. He was provided 900 Shanghainese sentences from shanghaining.com.
            Congcong (aka. fucongcong), one of the most important contributor in Tatoeba, speaks Shanghainese.
            They were both able to meet regularly Nicolas (aka. zmoo), president of Shtooka, in order to record these sentences in Paris.

            So, hooray. Here's the interview:

            AoW I was wondering if I could ask you what the basis for including Shanghainese on the site was. Since you've come to Annals of Wu before, I was wondering if you had experience in Shanghai or with the language.

            AS For Shanghainese, in fact the reason is my girlfriend comes from Shanghai and I'm a bit language-addicted, so I've started learn about it, and soon discovered the internet is really lacking ressource about shanghainese, (I live in Paris), struggle to get books about the language, and moreover I was a bit disappointed when my Gf chat on msn with other people from Shanghai and the text was just a an approximiativ phonetic transcription with mandarin sounds, and it upset me a bit.

            So in the meantime I started coding/contributing for the Tatoeba project, I've started thinking it would be a great things to also support not so common languages. I'm a bit idealist guy, and I hope by adding Shanghainese (or other) it will maybe interest people, and gather people already interested by it, and with a good basis of Shanghainese and people learning Shanghainese, creating tool over this, and preserved the language.

            AoW In your comment [on an earlier post], you said you only add [a language] when you have a request for 10 or more sentences in that language. I wonder, did you add the initial ten sentences [for Shanghainese]? How many Shanghainese phrases, roughly, would you say there are in the system? I assume you have a way of tracking that.

            AS Yep they have been added and you can keep track of the number of sentences for each languages on the home page , you see directly the top 5, and by clicking on "show all" you will stats for each languages (there's 61 sentences in shanghainese)

            AoW I also noticed on one of the entries for Shanghainese that there was some transcription occurring. 啥 was written with accompanying "sa" (though 为 was left untranscribed). How did you choose what would be transliterated, and where did you find the transliterations, or did someone type it in themseves [a la wiki]?

            AS It's supposed to be IPA, and it's autogenerated, I hope to be able to complete this tool in the meantime people/I contribute in Shanghainese.

            AoW And finally just for my own curiosity, if one were to try to add ten Albanian (or Cantonese or Min-Nan) sentences, how would one do that?

            AS If you're ready to add sentences in Albanian, we will add it. Or at least you can add it and add "[albanian]" at the end waiting [for us to] integrate the language. Most of the time it works this way.

            AoW I think that's all I have [to ask]. Thanks again for corresponding

            AS I thank you too.


              The Web In Wu guanxi - links

              A lifestyle site for Shanghai, ShanghaiNing.com offers a good sampling of written Shanghainese. It's a long-running site, up since at least 2002. The target audience is fairly focused and you'll find no shortage of pics from the club and clips of topolect rap. But even if that's not your cup of Jaegermeister, it's still worth a look if you're into how the general public writes Wu in Shanghai.

              The tagline for the site is 侬白相啥?, which in Mandarin would be 你玩耍什么?. I'm up for a more fluid English translation than "What are you playing?" or "How are you playing around?" if anyone has any suggestions. And in case you missed it in earlier posts, this "ning" is the Wu pronunciation of 人, [ɲiɲ].

              For another bit of the web embracing Wu, look to the name of one of the still-standing microblogging platforms operating in China, 做啥.

                Sinosplice: Zhou Libo's Hui Cidian guanxi - links

                John at Sinosplice has posted once more on Shanghainese. Be sure to head over and check it out if you haven't already. It's a great post on some common issues facing the Wu learner. He brings up a lot of the problems with replacement characters as well as transcription of Wu/Shanghainese.

                I'm out of town for a bit, thus the slowing of posts. Semi-regular posts will resume in a couple weeks.

                  Suzhou Dialect guanxi - links

                  While looking for something almost unrelated I came across a few pages relating to the Suzhou dialect that were of some interest. I've listed them below in order of nerdiness, greatest to least.

                  First and of least practical importance, The Lexicon of the Suzhou Dialect in the Ninteenth Century Novel "Sing-Song Girls of Shanghai (Part II) on persee.fr, which is exactly what it sounds like. An excerpt:

                  Second, a translation from Suzhou Pingtan, a regional form of story telling. In addition to the translation, IPA or something like it has been included. This comes from the personal site of a Ying Huang. He has also includes a very short dictionary. An excerpt from the Pingtan:

                  Male (singing):
                  英雄 / 不觉 / 费 / 疑 / 猜
                  iN joN / b« c« / fi / iZ / tsE
                  hero / not stop / figure out / question / guess
                  ‘he just could not stop thinking about what had happened’

                  Finally, the song 简单爱 being sung in Suzhou dialect with accompanying Mandarin characters.

                  If the video above doesn't load, click here to go to Youku.


                    A semi-academic linguistics blog about Sinotibetan, previously focused primarily on Wú, a Sinitic language spoken in the Yangtze Delta region. Topics now include historical linguistics, documentation, language rights, sociolinguistics and learning materials, as well as acting as the dev blog for Phonemica from time to time.

                    I'm a linguist based in Asia, working on documentation and historical development of Sinotibetan. In addition to academic research, I'm heavily involved in Phonemica, an organisation that promotes crowd-sourced preservation of local languages.

                    I'm currently in the field, so getting in touch isn't easy. However you can try to email me at the following address and I'll respond as soon as I'm able:

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