Spoken language in Shanghai


Senior Member
English - New York
So, I'm thinking of moving to Shanghai, and have been told that Shanhainese is the local spoken langauge, which is mutually UNintelligible with Mandarin.

What is the situation like on the streets of Shanghai? Does everyone know Mandarin, but prefer Shanghainese? Or are there large numbers of people with no Mandarin knowledge.

I ask this from teh perspective a foreigner seeking to converse with locals. Any info is appreciated.

  • Hey Jacob, welcome to China. I come from northeast of China and I've been living in shanghai for 4 years but still don't get what they are saying in local langauge. Relax, people are nice to foreigners, they will talk to you in either Enlish(if they can speak) or Mandarin.
    yes, like "papsi2010" said, almost all of shanghai people know Mandarin and Shanghainese.and now as i know many of them are all know english.welcome to china.
    I've been living in Shanghai for more than ten years. I am a northerner and I speak Mandarin and English. Now I could understand local Shanghai people if they speak slowly, but I cannot speak the dialect. Whereas in the north part of China Mandarin enjoys a higher status, Here native Shanghaiers prefer their local tongue. Anyhow, almost all of them will shift to Mandarin to make it easier for me. Shanghai is an international city and lots of foreigners feel at home here. Welcome!
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    When people in their 20s in Shanghai are socializing, do they normally do it in Shanghainese or Mandarin?

    Thanks for the help,
    If all are local people, they prefer Shanghainess, but it is also possible that they speak Mandarin, esecially among students. If not all of them are local people, Mandarin is the first choice.