吳實錄

Annals of Wu

漢藏緬語々言研究ㄟ博客
a sinotibetoburman linguistics blog
2013-01-03

A Brief Introduction To Northern Wu Tones lessons - tone

The following is from the tone sandhi section of a writeup on Wu I've been working on for Phonemica. It's a draft of a single section. The full version will appear on Phonemica in the near future. I've decided to post it here in its current form in case it proves useful to have a clearer explanation than some of the other sources on the topic.

Wu dialects typically have 7 or 8 tones which follow the traditional system of four tones (ping, shang, qu, ru) with two registers (yin and yang). Tone sandhi — the way in which tones interact with eachother — is remarkable in a number of dialects, most notably that spoken in urban Shanghai.

In Mandarin, tone sandhi is limited to a few specific combinations, such as when two dipping tones becoming a rising followed by a dipping tones, e.g. 老虎 lǎohǔ becomes láohǔ. However in dialects of Wu, specifically in the northern Taihu dialects which we’ll look at here, the tones follow a set pitch contour that runs throughout a whole multi-syllabic word or phrase. This contour can be determined in one of two ways.

First, for multisyllabic words, the contour is determined by the first syllable and follows a pattern based on the number of syllables in the word. The following is an example from the Changzhou Taihu dialect. Two four-syllable words are given below, the second having different syllable-level tones than the first. The numbers correspond to the tones of the characters in isolation, 1 being low and 5 being high, thus 24 indicates a rising tone while 55 is a high level tone.

大清老早 → 大24 清55 老45 早45
動手動腳 → 動24 手45 動24 腳55

Since it is the first or left-most syllable that determines the pattern, we say that word-based sandhi is left-prominent. In these cases, That is, the tones of the other syllables in the word are ignored in favour of those assigned by the phrase contour called upon by the first. Since both of these examples begin with a syllable having a mid-rising (24) tone contour, and since both are 4 syllables in length, the resulting contour for both phrases should be the same after sandhi changes, which are as follows:

大24 清55 老45 早45 → 大21 清21 老44 早21
動24 手45 動24 腳55 → 動21 手21 動44 腳21

Despite these two examples having different underlying tones, the left-prominent sandhi system assigns both words the same surface contours since they share a tone on the first syllable. In the dialect of Changzhou, a four-syllable word beginning in a yang-qu tone (the above 24 tone) will always result in a overall contour like that above, with the stress falling on the third syllable. For this reason, it is often said that Northern Wu isn’t a tonal language in the typical sense, but rather should be considered a pitch accent system like some dialects of Japanese and Korean. Of course, different Wu dialects have different ways of handling the tones. In most Northern Wu dialects, however, we should expect a system like that outlined above.

As mentioned above, for multi-syllabic words, the sandhi system is referred to as left-prominent. That is, only the left-most syllable matters for the overall contour. However for bi-syllabic phrases which themselves do not make up single words, the sandhi rules are different. In these multi-word phrases, the system is right-prominent. That is, the right syllable retains its original tone, while the left syllable is neutralised within its register (yin or yang, as mentioned above). Looking at and example from urban Shanghainese, we have the phrase 讀書 /dɤ sɿ/. These two characters have two different readings: to read a book and to study. Since to read a book is a phrase, it would have a different tone contour than the same syllables meaning to study, the latter being a single word in Shanghainese. The phrase would have application tone sandhi as follows based on word-based left-prominent sandhi and phrase-based right-prominent sandhi:

to read a book (right-prominent phrase)
讀12書53 → 讀22書53 / 12 53 → 22 53
to study (left-prominent word)
讀12書53 → 讀11書23 / 12 53 → 11 23

In the first example, to read a book, The tone on 讀 is 24 in isolation, however it is an entering tone and so it gets neutralised to 22. 書 retains its original tone of 53 because it’s the prominent word in the phrase. In the second example, to study functions as a single word, so that the tonal curve of the whole word is determined by 讀. Like the four-syllable example above, two-syllable words also have set contours, and the contour for such sentences beginning with an entering-tone syllable is 11.23. Thus, in the example of to study, the tone on both syllables is modified from the isolated tone, however it’s happening in a pattern determined by the first syllable.

In addition to the set word-level contours, there are set values for tone neutralisation in phrase-level sandhi. Specifically, yin tones neutralise to 44 while yang tones neutralise to 33. The exception is for the ru class of tones, in which case the tone is neutralised to 22 regardless of register..

This again is common in Northern Wu dialects, though each dialect will follow a set of sandhi rules unique to that dialect. For that reason we won’t go into more detail here.
  1. 錢乃榮,上海話語法,上海人民出版社,上海,1997
  2. 賀建國,'常州方言多字組連讀變調',鎮江師範專科學校中文系,鎮江,1998
  3. 錢乃榮,上海語言發展史,上海人民出版社,上海,2003
  4. 朱曉農 Zhu Xiaonong,A Grammar of Shanghai Wu,Lincom Europa,München,2006
  5. 錢乃榮等,上海話大詞典,上海辭書出版社,上海,2007
  6. 周晓东等,常州方言詞典,江苏教育出版社,南京,2011
2011-09-03

Changzhou Hua Lessons On Tudou lessons

I came across a few lessons on Changzhou dialect. They're nice and slow and it's a nice way to hear clearly some of the different pronunciations from someone who clearly knows what they're doing.

lesson one
lesson three
lesson three

Looks like there are only three lessons. Part one goes over the basics like "hello" and "are you from Changzhou". Part two is for numbers, and part three goes into more complex sentences, such as in the image above.

Good stuff. I'd love to see more.
    2010-06-18

    星期沪 - Not Far lessons - 星期沪

    This week's Shanghai Friday phrase is once again from Tatoeba.

    搿搭到哀面是老近个。
    gəˀ tɑˀ tɔ ɛ mi zɿ lɔ ʥin gəˀ
    从这儿到那儿是很近的。

    In English it would be
    It's not far from here to there.

    Note the use of 老 here sometimes written 佬. This is found in a number of Wu dialects in place of 很. And of course 个, long used in Wu where in Mandarin one would find 的.
      2010-06-04

      星期沪 - Bathroom Euphamisms lessons - 星期沪

      Everybody poops. When I first came to China they taught me how to say "厕所在哪儿" even though everyone says something more like "洗手间在哪儿". So wouldn't it be useful to have a more subtle way to announce to the world what you're about to do?

      This week for Shanghainese Friday it's just two words, and ones you already know, but maybe not in this context.

      唱歌 - ʦʰɑ̃ ku - to sing a song
      跳舞 - tʰiɔ vu - to dance

      Yep. Singing and dancing. Singing is number one and dancing is number 2. Give it a shot with the inlaws. Let me know how it goes.
        2010-05-21

        星期沪 - Address lessons - 星期沪

        This week for Shanghai Fridays we're looking at how to say an address. Again, here's one from Tatoeba.

        我垃拉上海虹桥路850弄22号1602室。
        ŋu lɑˀ lɑ zɑ̃ hɛ ɦoŋ ʥiɔ lu 850 loŋ 22 ɦɔ 1602 səˀ

        If you head over to the sentence page at Tatoeba you can hear a recording of this by a native speaker.

        Comparing this with the Mandarin, there's little difference. Here's the Mandarin equivalent:

        我在上海虹桥路850弄22号1602室。
        wǒ zài Shànghǎi hóngqiáolù bābǎi wǔshí nòng èrshíèr hào yīqiān liùbǎi èr shì.

        The only real difference here is "lɑˀ lɑ" replacing 在. In a number of Northern Wu dialects you'll find "lai" or "la" where Mandarin would have 在, and in others, like some Shanghainese dialects, you get multiple syllables. Otherwise go give it a few listens and see what you can do to replicate it. Keep in mind the recording is just a tad faster than you might like.
          2010-04-30

          星期沪 - Understanding lessons - 星期沪

          Shanghai Fridays¹, a once weekly post featuring words and phrases from Shanghainese, is back. This time around we're going for sentences instead of simple phrases, and to go one step further, each week we'll look into the phrase itself including a breakdown of the words and some basic grammar. This may be much more useful than disconnected phrases or words, and a single sentence should provide more than four phrases in previous instalments would have.

          For our first week back, we offer the following:

          听是听得懂一眼眼,讲讲勿来个²。
          tʰin zɿ tʰin təˀ toŋ iɪˀ ŋɛ ŋɛ, kɑ̃ kɑ̃ vəˀ lɛ gəˀ.

          It means "I understand a little, but I can't speak it," referring to a spoken language. So, for example, if you were out and about in Shanghai and wanted to practice your Wu, this would be a good phrase to pull out when things got a little more involved than "侬好."³

          Let's look at it closer. Some of this is what you'd expect from Mandarin.

          听是   "listening is"

          听得懂  "I understand what I hear", same as Mandarin.

          一眼眼  Here's our first real difference. "iɪˀ ŋɛ ŋɛ" is acting as 一点点 would in
               Mandarin or 一啲啲 in Cantonese. You might also hear 一星星 or
               一咪咪, as well as just 一点点 where 点 is more like "ti".

          讲    Simply "speaking" or "to speak"

          讲勿来个 勿来 (or 弗来 or 否来) means "not coming," meaning it's not coming out
               of your mouth. 个 here is 的. In Mandarin we might be able to exchange
               this with 讲不来的, "unable to say" or more formally "That which is
               unable to be said".

          There's certainly a more eloquent explanation of the above, though for now this should do.

          Tones. The sentence with proper tones for each individual word would be

          tʰin⁵³ zɿ²³ tʰin⁵³ təˀ⁵⁵ toŋ³⁴ iɪˀ⁵⁵ ŋɛ²³ ŋɛ²³,kɑ̃³⁴ kɑ̃³⁴ vəˀ¹² lɛ²³ gəˀ¹².

          However after sandhi rules, it would probably be something more like this:

          tʰinH zɿM tʰinM təˀM toŋM iɪˀM ŋɛM ŋɛL,kɑ̃M kɑ̃H vəˀMM gəˀL

          Here H corresponds to ⁵⁵, M to ³³ and ʟ to ²¹. Or, for a more visual representation, we could say⁴

          tʰin zɿ tʰin təˀ toŋ iɪˀ ŋɛ ŋɛ,kɑ̃ kɑ̃ vəˀ lɛ gəˀ.

          Click here for all previous editions.

          Check back next week for another instalment of 星期沪 with a whole new sentence.

          - - -
          ¹ 星期沪 [ɕin ʥi ɦu] or actually it would probably be [li pɑ ɦu], were anyone to actually finish the phrase with "沪".
          ² The sentence comes from Tatoeba.org using the Shanghainese phonetic corpus. Tatoeba has a continuously growing collection of sentences translated into Wu.
          ³ Nong hɔ, "hello".
          ⁴ If this sort of representation seems useful, let me know and I'll do it again next week.
            2009-12-07

            Minor Topolect – Qǐdōng / Hǎimén & Tōngdōng lessons - dialects

            Introduction
            This month's minor topolect post is the heartiest of such posts to date. Haimen (locally pronounced [haɪ məŋ]) and Qidong (locally [ʨʰi toŋ]) are two cities under the jurisdiction of Nantong. They have a combined population of about 2.6 million people all living north and northeast of Shanghai in southern Jiangsu province. From Qidong it's 22km to the ocean, moving inches farther away each year. It's actually over 70km from downtown Nantong despite its political affiliation, making it actually closer to Shanghai (65+km) than Nantong as the crow flies. Of course, dialects have neither wings nor gills.

            Qidong dialect is almost entirely identical to Haimen dialect and as such they are often jointly called Qihai dialect, 启海话. There is some subtle difference in accent but aside from that none of the people with whom I've spoken from either city can provide any concrete examples of any difference. And for what it's worth Qidong natives have little trouble with Shanghainese speech, so the recordings below may be of some value in the area of listening practice for those learning Shanghainese.

            Despite being the majority dialect in the area, Qihai is not the only Wu dialect that falls within the borders of Qidong. The other and only slightly related dialect is appropriately called Lüsi dialect being that it's spoken in the town of Lüsi 吕四港镇.

            The following is from Baidu's Baike page (which also includes initials in finals, but no IPA) on Tongdong hua:
            通东话是江苏南通及周边部分地区使用的一种方言,俗称“江北话”,属吴语太湖片常州小片的一支。
            tr: Tongdong dialect is a dialect from Jiangsu Nantong and surrounding areas, commonly called "Jiangbei2 dialect" and belongs to the Changzhou group of Taihu Wu dialects.


            And from the Wikipedia article on Qidong:
            People living in Lüsi town speak a different dialect -- known as Lüsi dialect (lǘsìhuà 吕四话) or Tongdong dialect (tōngdōnghuà 通东话) -- from most other residents, who generally speak Qidong Dialect (qǐdōnghuà 启东话). The two dialects are considerably different and thus they are not mutually intelligible. Because most economic, educational and governmental activities are held in the city capital Huilong, where Qidong Dialect is prevalent, many residents of Qisi have learned to understand and even speak the majority dialect.



            Both of the two dialects belong to the Northern Wu dialect. However, because of cultural differences among two places, there still exist non-intelligible usage mostly in vocabulary.


            The question in Qidong/Haimen becomes where Qihai hua gives way to Tongdong hua. What may be referred to by locals as Qidong hua is actually not only Qihai hua but also Tongdong hua. Lüsi is about 30km north of what in English would be called Qidong City1, and with the rather significant differences it should be considered a different topolect and usually is. I've spoken to a few people from the area and it appears that Tongdong is limited almost solely to 吕四港镇 as far as counties within the jurisdiction of Qidong City.

            Naming
            While not the biggest issue, the name of the dialects is not without complication. In Qidong and in Haimen it will often be referred to as 启东话 and 海门话 respectively. Meanwhile outside their respective cities, 启海话 wins out at the preferred term.

            Tongdong hua may be called just that or sometimes also Tongzhou hua 通州话, Tongzhou being another city within Nantong where it is spoken. My friends from Qidong all refer to 通东话 as 吕四话 and are largely unfamiliar with the 通东 name in any local context.

            Audio
            I apologise in advance. You're about to hear me speak some lazy-assed Mandarin and make poor attempts at repeating what the native speaker says. I had intended to completely edit myself out and thus kept quiet but in the end have left much of it just to it's less… abrupt. Also she was giving me weird looks when I was responding with just head-nods so I started answering more audibly.

            The first recording starts with numbers one to ten. Keep in mind here the number 2 is 二 not 两 as I've used in other posts for the more common form of "two". Both of course are still used in the appropriate places.



            [audio:qd_numpp.mp3]
            她:iɛʔ ɲi sæ̃ sẓ n lɔ ʨʰɛ ba ʨiø sæʔ
              1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10
            我:你好怎么说?
              How do you say "hello"?
            她:nə̆ ɦɑo
            我:再见
              And "goodbye"?
            她:ʦaɪ ʨiɛ
            我:不是再会吗?
              It's not "zài hùi"?
            她:ʦaɪ veɪ
              再会
            我:ʦaɪ veɪ
            她:ʦaɪ veɪ,再见。
              [ʦaɪ veɪ] for goodbye works too.
            我:谢谢你
              "Thank you"?
            她:ɕaʊ jaʊ næʔ
            我:我,你,他
              I, you, he/she/it?
            她:ŋ, n, ɦi
            我:我们,你们,他们
              Us, you, them?
            她:ŋ di, n di, ɦi da

            [audio:qd_meiyou.mp3]
            我:没有?
              How do you say "[I] don't have"?
            她:n dʌʔ, n dʌʔ
            我:多少
              And "how much[/many]"?
            她:du uɔ, du uɔ.
            她:然后一种书面说法是 do saʊ
              There's also a literary pronunciation, [do saʊ]
            她:认识,ɲiɲ, ɲiɲ
              To know (somebody), [ɲiɲ], [ɲiɲ]
            我:ɲiɲ
            她:啊。然后… 吃饭是 ʨʰ veɛ
              Right. Also… "to eat" is [ʨʰ veɛ]
            我:吃饭了没有怎么说?
            她:fɛn ʨʰ veɛ va
            我:fɛn ʨʰ veɛ va
            她: 啊。fɛn 是,就是没有
              Yeah [fɛn] is, it's 没有.



            [audio:qd2.mp3]
            她:ŋ kɿ ʦɿ ɕiɑʊ dʓiɛ 只你这个小鬼。ŋ kɿ ʦɿ ɕiɑʊ dʓiɛ
              [ŋ kɿ ʦɿ ɕiɑʊ dʓiɛ] is "you're a little demon". [ŋ kɿ ʦɿ ɕiɑʊ dʓiɛ].
              ʦo ʦən do biæ di. 这是,这是那,嘿,叫×骂小孩子一般要这样子点他的头,ʦo ʦən do biæ di!
              [ʦo ʦən do biæ di], this is, like, when you curse a small child you poke their head at the same time. [ʦo ʦən do biæ di]!
              上网叫 sã mã. sã mã.
              To be online is [sã mã] (or [saŋ maŋ]). [sã mã].
              然后睡觉就 kuən gɑʊ。茶壶,bɑ ʋu. 锅子, guʔ, guʔ.
              "To sleep" is [kuən gɑʊ]. Teakettle is [bɑ βu]. Pot is [guʔ], [guʔ].
              我来想想…
              Let me think a second…
            我:所以他们说你吃饭了没有,你说…?
              So, when someone asks "Have you eaten," what do you say?
            她:fɛn ʨʰ veɛ va
            我:然后你回答用什么?
              And then you answer with what?
            她:嚄…如果是吃得的话就说
              Uh… If you've eaten then you say "yeah".
            我:只是
              Just "yeah"?
            她:啊 ʨʰɪ gə dæʔ.
              Yeah, [ʨʰɪ gə dæʔ]
              然后没有吃得话就说 fə ɲiɲ gə lʌʔ, fə ɲiɲ ʨʰɪ gə lʎʔ.
              Then if you haven't eaten, say [ə ɲiɲ gə lʌʔ] or [fə ɲiɲ ʨʰɪ gə lʎʔ].
              fə ɲiɲ,这是没有的意思。
              [fə ɲiɲ], this is "to not have", is what it means.
              然后我们那边说哪里,叫 lɑ ɺi, lɑ ɺi
              Then where I'm from to say "where?" is [lɑ ɺi], [lɑ ɺi]3.
            我:所以你说蓝京(南京)吗?
              So do you say "Lanjing" (instead of Nanjing)?
            她:我说南京。我普通话还是可以。
              I say "Nanjing". My Mandarin is pretty good [asshole].
            我:我的(口吃)我的意思是,在启东,启东话,你们说蓝京吗?
              Er ah no I mean do you say "Lanjing" in Qihai dialect?
            她:ɲɛ̃ ʨiŋ,我们不是蓝京是 ɲɛ̃ ʨiŋ。ɲɛ̃。
            --[ɲɛ̃ ʨiŋ]. We don't say "Lanjing". It's [ɲɛ̃ ʨiŋ].
            --东南西北叫 doŋ ɲɛ̃ ɕi bɔʔ. nə jɛ ɲɛ̃,我们那边是,不是 na -an nan 是 nə jɛ ɲɛ̃. doŋ ɲɛ̃ ɕi bɔʔ.
            --East South West North, [doŋ ɲɛ̃ ɕi bɔʔ]. [nə] and [jɛ], [ɲɛ̃]. We say it, we don't say "na an, nan," it's [nə] [jɛ], [ɲɛ̃]. [doŋ ɲɛ̃ ɕi bɔʔ]



            [audio:qd4.mp3]
            她:然后像吕四话 (通东话) 跟常州话有点近的。常州话说做什么,干妈,“就嗲”。对吧。然后吕四话是…就嗲 [dziu dia]。然后…这是“做什么”。“就嗲”,干妈。然后还有什么…
              And Lüsi hua is really close to Changzhou hua. In Changzhou to say "What are you doing?" it's 就嗲, right? Lüsi hua is 就嗲. Uh… that's "What are you doing?". 就嗲, "What are you doing?". Let's see, what else...
            我:启东呢?
              How do you say that in Qidong?
            她:启东话?[ha tia]。
              In Qidong dialect? [ha tia].
            我:[ha tia] 是做什么?
              [ha tia] is "what are you doing?"?
            她:[ha tiː]4 这是那个, [ha ti]。[zua la] 这是干妈啦也是那个干妈的意思。
              Yeah that's [ha tia]. So is [zua la]. It's the same meaning.
            我:[zua la]
            她:[zua la]。然后不要这是 [ɔ jo]。吕四港镇。这(近海市)是我家 (pointing on map)。[ɔ jo],不要。
              [zua la]. "[I] don't want" is [ɔ jo]. In Lüsi county. This (Jinhai city) is where I'm from. [ɔ jo]. Bu yao.
            我:[ɔ jo] 是不要?
              [ɔ jo] is "bu yao"?
            她:对。然后…
              Right. What else…
            我:这是你的 (近海市),这是你爸的(吕四)。
              This is your city, this is your father's?
            她:对。
              Right.
            我:你妈呢?
              What about your mother?
            她:我妈妈就是这边(近海乡)的人。我爸爸是移民到这边的。
              My mother is also from Jinhai. My father moved there.
            我:所以启东话怎么说(近海乡)?
              So how do you say Jinhai in Qihai hua?
            她:近海乡
            我:…一样的。
              …That's the same.
            她:跟上海差不多的是吧。
              It's really close to Shanghainese, yeah?
            我:嗯。
              Yeah.

            [audio:qidong6.mp3]


            Any rhythmic clicking in the background is my dog walking across the floor. She may also at some point say "defecate" and "urinate" that I've missed in the transcription but I'm not sure if that's still in there. The dog is reason. You can figure out for yourself how that came up.

            As you've heard above, Qidong locals will be the first to echo the idea that Qihai hua is nearly identical to Chongming5 hua, and thus damn close to Shanghainese. While the former is true, both Qihai hua and Chongming hua have some pretty major differences from urban Shanghainese and so at least in terms of public acceptance, a native of Qidong would be pressed to find effortless understanding of their speech in Shanghai's Jing'an.

            Tones
            Like Shaoxing dialect but unlike most other Northern Wu dialects, Qihai has the full 8 tones. They are as follows:

             阴平 54  阴上 435 阴去 445 阴入 55
             阳平 24  阳上 241 阳去 213 阳入 23

            Note the 阳上 tone is like an inverted Mandarin third tone, cresting instead of dipping. While not exactly anomalous, it's not so common either. You can hear it in the first recording when she says the number five.

            For Tongdong the tones are as follows:

             阴平 44  阴上 51  阴去 34  阴入 34
             阳平 13  阳上 31  阳去 21  阳入 23

            Given the difficulty a Mandarin learner may have with being understood with a poor grasp of the four tones, you can see how this difference alone could contribute to a lack of mutual intelligibility.

            Other goodies
            There's a quiz over at Baidu Tieba, though all in characters and probably would only really be doable if you were already from Qidong.

            Fobshanghai.com has a post up with a rather lengthy glossary list, again characters only.

            Of course there's always the official site for the Qidong government.

            Conclusion
            So there it is. Feel free to suggest any changes in the transcription. If there are any, I'll just ask her to say the word/s again clearly and repeatedly to figure out what it really should be.

            1. The terms used to translate Chinese 市 and 县 are "city" and "county" respectively. There's a Wikipedia article on it. The gist is that counties are often within cities, not the other way around.
            2. Literally, "North of the Yangtze", though Jiangbei 江北 is often used in a derogatory manner in the delta, the implication being that those from south of the River are more civilised.
            3. It could be a lateral tap as I've written or maybe an alveolar tap though I'm less convinced of that one. Next time I see her I'll find out which it should be, assuming I can figure out how to clearly say "lateral tap" in Mandarin.
            4. I'm not entirely sure, but I think this -a ending is restricted to girls and of about this age (early 20s). See the Wikipedia article on gendered speech in Japanese for more on this sort of thing.
            5. Actually, at least in terms of political divisions, in some cases Qihai hua is Chongming hua. 启隆乡 is on the island but administered by 启东市 while 海门市's 海永乡 is just to the Northwest on the island. Click here for a map. My guess is that a small island that was part of Jiangsu got eaten up by shifting sands sometime after 1950.
              2009-11-30

              Minor Topolect - Shàoxīng lessons - dialects

              This month for the Monthly Minor Topolect we're looking at Shaoxing dialect from Northern Zhenjiang. The city is on the site of the 越国 capital of the Spring and Autumn Period. The population is just over 4 million and it's geographically pretty close to Hangzhou.

              Tones
              Shaoxing dialect, unlike most of the Northern Wu dialects, has the full 8 tones, four in each register. They are as follows:

               阴平 41   阴上 335  阴去 33  阴入 4
               阳平 231  阳上 113  阳去 11  阳入 2 

              Unlike contours for a number of dialects, we can clearly see 阴 and 阳 as upper and lower registers.

              Personal pronouns
              Note the differences between "I" and "you" are absurdly small if you're not so great with /ŋ/ at the beginning of words.
              singularplural
              1st[ŋo][ŋa]
              2nd[noʔ][na]
              3rd[ɦi][ɦia]

              Example sentences
              And some examples:

               你是不是杭州人?← 绍兴话
               noʔ˨ ze˩˩˧ veʔ˨ ze˩˩˧ ɦɒŋ˨˧˩ tsɤ˦˩ ɲiŋ˨˧˩?
               你是不是杭州人?← 普通话

               今朝只有你一个人来埭啊。
               ʨiŋ˦˩ tsɒ˦˩ ʨiʔ˦ ʨiɤ˦˩ noʔ˨ ieʔ˦ gəʔ˨ ɲiŋ˨˧˩ le˨˧˩ da˩˩ a˩˩
               今天只有你一个人在啊。

               你还好去来。
               noʔ˨ væʔ˨ hɒ˧˧˥ ʨʰi˧˧ le˧˧
               你还可以去。

              More
              Most of this information is coming from a book published by Zhejiang University Press (浙江大学出版社) which goes in to a huge amount of detail at about 294000 characters. I gotta say I like that books are calculated by number of characters, not pages, in the Chinese equivalent of the Library of Congress details in the first page or so. If you're big into 绍兴话 and want the book, it's called 《吴越文化视野中的绍兴方言研究》 and is listed at 36.
                2009-11-13

                星期沪 - Outsiders lessons - 星期沪

                Face it. If you're from another country (外国人) and you move from almost anywhere else in China to Shanghai, you're going to notice a change in how people treat you. Far fewer people saying 哈罗* like it's an urgent question and far more treating you like a human being. And conversely, if you're from another part of China (外地人) and you make the same move, sucks to your assmar.

                So here you go, your filthy filthy outsiders with your Canadian salaries or Erhuayin. Either way, this week out theme is you⁑.

                外地人 ŋɑ22 di55 ɲin21
                    nga di nyin
                外国人 ŋɑ22 koʔ55 ɲin21
                    nga kok nyin
                乡下人 ɕiã55 ɦo33 ɲin21
                    xia hou nyin

                外头人 ŋɑ2255 ɲin21
                    nga de nyin

                本地人 pən33 ti55 ɲin21
                    ben di nyin

                #xingqihu
                - - -
                * Hēllǒ!
                ⁑ and me too, obviously.
                ⁂ Re 地 as [ti] or [di], it's hard to know if this is an error in transcription consistency or if there's some sort of voicing sandhi going on. Either way I've left it as the difference between an un-aspirated /t/ and /d/ are minimal and not really worth crying over.
                  2009-11-06

                  星期沪 - Colours lessons - 星期沪

                  This week's topic is colour, for which I direct you to the previous post.

                   红 ɦoŋ - red
                   黄 uã - yellow
                   白 baʔ - white
                   黑 həʔ - black
                   绿 lɔʔ - green
                   青 ʨʰin - uh, qing?
                   蓝 lɛ - blue

                  #xingqihu
                    2009-10-30

                    星期沪 - Some Basics lessons - 星期沪

                    The following are three phrases that you'll hear on a regular basis. They go right up there with 侬好. Today we're skipping the IPA and going with simple Shanghainese pinyin.

                    Shang2yhu5fhak3ji1
                    2 ɦyø5 vəʔ3 ʨi1
                    长远勿见
                    好久不见
                    Long time no see.

                    Nong23 dao34 shang2he4 ji3ho4 shen2guang5lak1
                    侬到上海几化辰光了?
                    你来上海多少时间了?
                    How long have you been in Shanghai?

                    Fiao3 kak3qi4
                    覅客气
                    不客气
                    Not at all.

                    Mak4 gue5xi3ge1
                    没关系个
                    没关系
                      2009-10-23

                      星期沪 - The Weather lessons - 星期沪

                      This week we're covering some phrases and vocabulary for discussing the weather. It's useful common small talk that you could practice on your neighbours or colleagues on a regular basis without really driving them insane with your regular questioning.

                      今朝天气哪能?
                      ʨiɲ ʦɔ tʰi ʨʰi na nəŋ
                      What is today's weather like?

                      今朝几度?
                      ʨiŋ ʦɔ ʨi du
                      What's the temperature today?

                      今朝 - today [ʨiŋ ʦɔ], pinyin: jing co
                      天气 - weather [tʰi˥˥ ʨʰi˨˩]
                      冷  - cold [lã˨˩]
                      热  - hot [ɲiɪʔ˨˩]
                      闷  - stuffy [məŋ]
                      云  - coud [ɦyn˨˧]
                      雨  - rain [ɦy˨˧]
                      雷  - lightning [lɛ˨˧]
                      雾  - fog [ɦu˨˧]

                      So to say "Today is hot and stuffy", it's

                      今朝又闷又热。
                      ʨiŋ ʦɔ ɦiɤ məŋ ɦiɤ ɲiɪʔ

                      Until next week.

                      #xingqihu
                        2009-10-16

                        星期沪 - More Idioms lessons - 星期沪

                        Shanghainese Saturday is now Shanghai Friday. It was something I'd thought about before and has been suggested by a couple people, mostly for the sake of the rhyme with 星期五. Actually it works better for me that way as well since more often than not my Saturdays aren't spent at the computer.

                        The idioms seemed to go over well last week so we're doing it again. These are all more or less restricted to Wu with the exception of the first one which is equally common in Mandarin.

                        阴阳怪气 / 陰陽怪氣
                        in55 ɦiã33 kuɑ33 ʨʰi21
                        to be cryptic, enigmatic

                        吃格子饭 / 吃格子飯
                        ʨʰiɪʔ4433 tsɿ5521
                        to be imprisoned

                        红颜绿色 / 紅顏綠色
                        ɦoŋ22 ŋɛ55 loʔ33 səʔ21
                        multi-coloured, the same as Mandarin 五颜六色 / 五顏六色.

                        酒醉糊涂 / 酒醉糊塗
                        ʨiɤ33 tsø55 ɦu33 du21
                        drink to the point of belligerence


                        The last one has an example to go with it, also Shanghainese. Roll over the underlined characters for explanations on individual characters or pairs that differ from Mandarin usage.

                         常庄酒醉糊涂人。
                         ɦizã tsãʨiɤ tsø ɦu dumoɲɪɲ

                        As usual you can also get these through Twitter by following @ AnnalsofWu. Until next week.

                        #xingqihu
                          2009-10-10

                          星期沪 - Idioms lessons - 星期沪

                          The following are phrases/idioms you'll find in both Mandarin and Wu. The superscript numbers indicate tone curves, while the superscript h marks aspiration, the puff of air that distinguishes between Mandarin 读/讀 and 图/圖.

                          吃老米
                          ʨʰiɪʔ2222 mi5521
                          ̩to be unemployed

                          去世界杯
                          ʨʰi44 sɿ553321
                          go to the restroom

                          日久
                          tʰi5533 ɲiɪʔ33 ʨiɤ21
                          a very long time


                          The restroom one is obviously not coming to us from Middle Chinese. First one to work out the explanation gets a gold red star.

                          You can also receive these through Twitter every Saturday by following @AnnalsofWu.

                          #shsaturday
                            2009-10-04

                            星期沪 - Small Talk lessons - 星期沪

                            The internet is down at my apartment again and so Shanghainese Saturday is late once more. This week's theme is small talk.

                             nong jiao sa ge ming si?
                             侬叫啥搿名字?
                             "What is your name?"
                             MSM: 你叫什么名字?

                             nong si sa di fang nin?
                             侬是啥地方人?
                             "Where are you from?"
                             MSM: 你是什么地方人?

                             nong zi le a li?
                             侬住勒阿里?
                             "Where do you live?"
                             MSM: 你住在那里?

                            With these few phrases, the grammar almost perfectly mirrors that of the Standard Mandarin. 啥, pronounced "sa", uniformly takes the place of 什么 in the Shanghai dialect of Wu*.

                            #shsaturday
                            - - -
                            * Though this is not the case in all Northern Wu dialects as has been discussed here before.
                              2009-09-22

                              星期沪 - Communication lessons - 星期沪

                              This week's Shanghainese Saturday Sunday Monday… day covers a few tools of communication. Speaking of which, the phone company hasn't managed to get me online at my new place yet, thus the delays.

                               电话
                               [di22ɦo44]
                               telephone

                               手机
                               [sɤ33ʨi44]
                               mobile phone

                               电脑
                               [di22nɔ44]
                               computer

                              And an earlier entry that never made it past Twitter, a phrase for when communication breaks down:

                               侬讲啥?
                               noŋ gaŋ sa?
                               What did you say?

                              As usual you can receive these phrases as well as updates of the site via Twitter by following @AnnalsofWu.

                              #shanghaisat
                                2009-09-12

                                星期沪-Teas lessons - 星期沪

                                Well, It's Saturday. And this week's theme is tea.

                                绿茶 - loʔ11 zo23, green tea

                                红茶 - ɦoŋ22 zo44, black tea

                                茶叶 - zo22 ɦiɪʔ, tea leaf

                                奶茶 - nɑ22 zo44, milk tea or bubble tea

                                Note:
                                The letter ɦ is darker and, well, raspier, than the standard English h sound. O is like it's name in English. ʔ marks a stopping of the air like you're holding your breath for just an instant. The standard lowercase i is like "ee" and the ɪ is like the vowel in the word "if" or "sit". Finally the ɑ is like when you have to say "aaah" at the doctor's office. It's further back in you mouth than the a in "bar".

                                As usual you can find these as well as tweets by following @AnnalsofWu on Twitter, assuming you can get over the GFW.

                                  About

                                  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:

                                  yhilan.ko@gmail.com
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