Talk:Wu Chinese

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The bit where it says Wu is SOV or has a high occurance of SOV. Well i am Wu blood and speaker, and i can tell you right now, its not high occurance. Regulary the syntax of words get changed round heaps, but not in the manner from SVO to SOV. its not such a drastic change. However i could be wrong, there might be weird cases. So it would be good to state some examples. --Fifty lightning (talk) 12:49, 31 March 2008 (UTC)

Ok i thought of one. It is actually quite common. Most sentences can be structured like mandarin (SVO) and the same sentence can be structured as one of SOV. This is one example. mandarin: Nimen xi so - you(plural) wash hands Wu alternate 1: Nar seu da a - you(plural) hands wash Wu alternate 2: Nar da seu a - you(plural) wash hands

But can someone check the exact way to write the sounds for me, because i dont know pingyin and Wu version of pinyin very well. Thats y i havent changed the actual page. --Fifty lightning (talk) 08:27, 1 April 2008 (UTC)

mandarin would be nǐmen xǐshǒu (你们洗手). there is no pinyin for wu, though in shanghai dialect of wu ni would be nong (written 侬). for Wu either substitute characters are used based on sound or, more often, it's not written. edit: though it strikes me as a bit odd that you'd ever say that particular phrase. --Yung Wei (talk) 03:18, 12 January 2009 (UTC)

found a refernce for SOV and OSV which i've since added to the grammar section. as for pinyin, you can find examples of rime tables and phonetics under Shanghainese, Suzhou dialect and Changzhou dialect. --Yung Wei (talk) 11:18, 23 January 2009 (UTC)

100 million+?[edit]

I have since removed the claim that there are over 100 million Wu Chinese speakers. Cantonese has about twice or three times that amount, and is thus the second most spoken dialect after Mandarin. Dasani 00:02, 16 January 2009 (UTC)

Cantonese has about twice or three times the amount of speakers than Wu? Stop inventing lies! It has actually less speakers. It just seems much because Cantonese gets all the attention abroad and ignorant foreigners think there are only two major dialects of Chinese. -- (talk) 04:25, 18 August 2016 (UTC)
Wu is not a single language, and it is divided into many different mutually unintelligible dialects like the Min Chinese dialects. Sonic99 (talk) 02:46, 8 August 2009 (UTC)
Regardless, any claims like this should be sourced. Colipon+(Talk) 06:45, 8 August 2009 (UTC)
Um, Cantonese has variants too... The variations aren't as great but to say that all Wu dialects are mutually unintelligible is pretty retarded. I can understand pretty much anyone from Zhejiang and parts of Jiangxi just fine and I grew up with the Suzhou dialect. Someone source how many Cantonese speakers and Wu speakers in China and I'm fairly certain that Wu beats out Cantonese, but if you take in overseas Chinese then we have a whole different minefield I'm not getting into. (talk) 06:40, 9 August 2009 (UTC)
Ethnologue classifies Wu as 77 million which is more than Yue (Cantonese) so I'm changing it back. If anyone has a better source then source it, but the current source indicates that Wu has more speakers than Yue, even if it's not 100 million. Can't you guys read the sources? Karajanis (talk) 06:50, 9 August 2009 (UTC)
Yes. Ethnologue is generally quite reliable. Also, in response to IP 173.60..., I have travelled Zhejiang extensively, and my experiences tell me that some parts of Zhejiang are so linguistically diverse that people from one valley speak a different dialect from people to the next, which may or may not be mutually intelligible. I know Wenzhou dialect is largely not mutually intelligible with other Wu dialects. Taizhou dialect is harder for Shanghai speakers to understand than Hangzhou dialect. Wuxi dialect takes at least a few weeks to fully pick up from a Shanghainese speaker etc. etc. Colipon+(Talk) 08:18, 9 August 2009 (UTC)
Karajanis, Wu Chinese is like the Min Chinese which is broken down into many different mutally unintelligible dialects. Don't you know that? Northern Wu speakers and Southern Wu speakers can't understand each other. But the Cantonese dialects are not like the Wu Chinese and Min Chinese. The Guangxi Cantonese is very similar to the Guangdong Standard Cantonese with the only difference in accents. I don't know about the Hainanese Cantonese, but it could be partially intelligible with Guangdong Cantonese. Sonic99 (talk) 03:01, 12 August 2009 (UTC)
I speak the Suzhou dialect natively and the only kind of Wu I can't understand at all is the Wenzhou variety, but that's besides the point since virtually every source I've read considers it a part of the Wu dialect family anyway. You can make an argument that the Wenzhou dialect doesn't count as Wu, but then you might have to make up a whole new category for that and take 5 million speakers off the Wu count. You're still left with 72 million to 52 million. Oh yeah, and the lack of acceptance of Hainanese immigrants to Singapore amongst the Cantonese or Fujianese secret societies in the mid to late 1800s probably indicate that their dialects aren't exactly completely mutually intelligible as well. Karajanis (talk) 13:36, 16 November 2009 (UTC)
Taihu Northern Wu dialects are mostly intelligible. Partially mutually intelligible doesn't means mutually intelligible, therefore Taizhou dialect is not intelligible with Shanghainese. Hainanese speak a Min Nan dialect which cannot be understood by other Min Nan speakers and Cantonese speakers. Surprisingly, some local Hainanese can speak Cantonese. With a large Cantonese population in and outside of China, Cantonese or Yue speakers still outnumber the Wu speakers. Sonic99 (talk) 02:54, 2 December 2009 (UTC)
Wait, first of all, mere spoken intelligibility doesn't make up the entire criteria for determining whether a dialect belongs to a language (or we'd have way more isolates than just Basque, Ainu, and the Finno-Uralic), you also have to factor in grammar, idioms, a host of things. Second, how intelligible would you count it as "intelligible"? There are Shanghainese words I don't understand, as its foreign influence is much larger than the other Wu dialects. I've read a report about the difference between Guangzhou and Hong Kong varieties of Yue and a case could be made that the vocabulary consists enough loan words to separate the two, not to mention the intelligibility of Guangxi/Hainan varieties. If you want to go by intelligibility, what benchmark would you use? Also, is there a source for the number of overseas Yue speakers? Personally I'd let the Ethnologue numbers until better sources can be found. Karajanis (talk) 12:04, 27 January 2010 (UTC)


I have some questions concerning Wu endonyms (autolinguonyms): --Koryakov Yuri (talk) 19:36, 27 November 2009 (UTC)

1. What really means (colloquial) and (literary) in infobox? Wu is not standartised language, so how could there be literary form? And if colloquial then in what dialect?

2. What pronunciation in IPA for those Ng nyiu (colloquial) and Ghu nyiu (literary)?

3. What local pronunciation of

  • 'Jiangnan speech' (江南話)
  • 'Jiangsu-Zhejiang speech', or 'Jiangzhe speech' (江浙話)
  • 'Wuyue speech' (吳越語) ?
Ok. I'll address your points.
1. Chinese dialects, including Mandarin have colloquial and literary pronunciations of a certain word. So one word can have two different pronunciations, usually on a register level. So written Wu and spoken Wu are quite different, and somewhat pronounced differently. Literary Wu is intended to sound more 'formal'. Actual written spoken Wu follows normal pronunciations of speech, but it's more harder to understand mouth-to-mouth, so it's better understood while read. Note that most speakers of Wu have little knowledge of any formal Wu, and such knowledge is known by linguists or common folk who know quite a bit about linguistics and have done some research. There isn't a standard variety of Wu, but today Shanghainese is generally the 'standard' for Wu Chinese. Many literary pronunciations are actually loanwords from other Chinese dialects. For example, in Hokkien/Taiwanese, 大人 is pronounced two different ways.
tōa-lâng 大人 - it means adult, but it is colloquial. Low-register.
tāi-jîn/tāi-lîn 大人 - it means high-ranking official. But the pronunciations of both these words are literary, and are of a higher register. (The reason why it is pronounced tāi-jîn or tāi-lîn is because of different accent)
It's the same in Wu Chinese (Shanghainese).
du nyin 大人 - adult (colloquial) low-register
da zen 大人 - high ranking official (literary) high-register
2. It is [ŋ ɲy] and [ɦu ɲy] respectively. But ɦu ɲy is used more often.
3. The local endonyms are usually 江南話 (kaon noe ghu [kɔŋ nø ɦu]) and 江浙話 (kaon tsah ghu [kɔŋ tsɐʔ ɦu]). 吳語 and less often, 吳越語 (ghu ghyiuih nyuu [ɦu ɦyɪʔ ɲy]), are terms coined by scholars.
Sorry for the late reply. Bloodmerchant (talk) 05:02, 15 March 2010 (UTC)

> Goetian: the most common name. Is there any source for it ? I never heard this term ever since.

note that (shanghainese pronounciation) the endonyms 苏南话[su nø ɦo] or 苏南闲话 [su nø ɦɛ ɦo](sometimes spelled 苏南言语 [su nø ɦiɪ ɲo]) are rather fairly used by people from Southern Jiangsu (south of the Yangtse) to refer to their speech. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 17:16, 21 April 2011 (UTC)

I've edited out this bit about endonyms in the introduction, and believe the change is more accurate overall. This part about the usage of endonyms is utterly preposterous and clearly an imposition from a literary elites thinking. The average Wu speaker has little awareness of the dialect family that their language belongs to and any endonym in Wu is going to be whatever their 话 is, and even Wu dialects differ in whether they affix 话 or 闲话. There's 杭州话, 苏州话, and whatever else. No Chinese person will ever ask another if they speak 江南话 and if they did, and did understand the meaning of it, an affirmative answer would be ridiculous because there's such an internal diversity that they would doubtfully be able to comprehend one another. This whole article seems to entail some kind of uniformity throughout the family which is utterly non-existent. basic vocabulary and grammar is utterly different. Although grammatical and lexical typologies can be established, they are not distributed in neat isoglosses but scattered across a myriad of locations one could never anticipate. Dialect families are established primarily on the basis of phonological affinities and the historical ties which resulted in them, such talk about lexical or grammatical norms is somewhat irresponsible. -d.s.ronis, 16 May 2011 —Preceding unsigned comment added by D.s.ronis (talkcontribs) 01:45, 16 May 2011 (UTC)

Sentence about mutual intelligibility of written Wu[edit]

There is a great but not complete degree of mutual intelligibility between written Wu and Mandarin within the People's Republic of China as both are written in the current Vernacular Chinese, which uses Simplified Chinese characters as well as grammar and vocabulary centred on Standard Mandarin with a few allowances for "regional variation".

^That sentence doesn't really make sense. Written Wu is as different from Vernacular Chinese as Wu is from Mandarin. If Written Wu were written in Vernacular Chinese, then it wouldn't quite be Written Wu, would it now?

I think it ought to be removed.Micro01 (talk) 15:38, 10 April 2010 (UTC)

Indeed it doesn't make sense. The author of the line probably isn't a Chinese speaker at all. (talk) 12:32, 23 September 2011 (UTC)


Here is the confusion. In all Chinese books available in PRC and online blog and interview with Chinese linguists, almost everything/everyone says Wu Chinese was the first established Chinese Dialect/Language. One book 《汉语方言学基础教程》 puts the latest limit to be Three Kingdoms due to Eastern Wu, which is hundreds of years before Middle Chinese.

However, all books and people also agree that Wu Chinese has been heavily influenced by Mandarin/Northern Chinese of different period. And this is the only reason why Wu Chinese shows features more like Middle Chinese.

So if the article here states that Wu Chinese is derived from Middle Chinese, there better be strong evidences or references. Otherwise, I am gonna change it to what I read and hear.--Tricia Takanawa (talk) 00:16, 3 August 2010 (UTC)

Standard Wu[edit]

Throughout this article, the term "Standard Wu" appears. I would like to know where this came from and who decided that Shanghainese is the standard? Based on what authority? The Hangzhou dialect is clearly the most intellegible to all Wu speakers because of its high levels of Mandarinization and many people also consider Hangzhounese the 普通话 of the Wu lectosphere should there be one. People from Hangzhou can speak their dialect and be mostly understand by most Wu speakers. Shanghainese is one of the most atypically Wu varieties of Wu. It has no tone system, its vocabulary is a hodge podge of different dialects and pidgin English. You could very well consider it a creole different Chinese dialects and not the kind of natural language which is the object of inquiry in linguistics. Dialectologists never look to Shanghainese for insight into the traditional or ancestral forms of Wu, it is anathema in the field. Why else would it have been excluded from Beijing University's seminal dialectology surveys?

If there is such a thing as "Standard Wu" then there should be a regulatory organization or committee of some sort of Wu experts which issue publications clearly defining what this standard is, what standardized characters are used for Wu vocabulary, they should have meetings, vote on the standard, publish it and should produce representative works in the standardized language to get it started, yet despite my continuous searches for works on Wu in Chinese bookstores and online book shops and the fifty odd books I have about Wu, I have never encountered such a thing, since it would likely incite an adverse reaction from the central government (since even a search for "standard Wu" in Chinese appears to be blocked by the firewall) or may not even be permitted to be published in the first place. Although this "Wu Association" plays with the notion of a standard Wu, it has been only making standard Romanizations (standard meaning consistently dealing with phonetic distinctions) for individual dialects (not a broad standardized language, and Romanization is no arduous task) and putting them online. The associations is by no means an association. It's not much more than a wiki. There are no members, no meetings, no office. It's just a website. Their website clearly states the association is just a website. The work these guys do is mostly ineffectual without widespread implementation in schools (where dialects are in principal banned) and publications of the standard (which would likely again be banned). Anyone can put some stuff on a website and say it's a standard, but that's utterly meaningless without implementation, and implementation would be ineffectual because of the large populations of people who don't speak the dialects that reside in Wu areas, which then makes them second class citizens and linguistically isolated.

You can't have a standard nobody knows about... This idea of a unified Wu is preposterous. The whole concept of Wu is brand new and founded in the common phonetic features the dialects share and some mutual history. It was a couple guys drawing a line on a map after some surveys and that's it. It has little to do with commonalities in grammar or vocabulary or native Wu speakers sense of a unified Wu cultural sphere. We're not talking about French dialects here, there is no Wu country and no official Wu Chinese ethnicity. Simply choosing Shanghainese as the standard would destroy the natural diversity of the dialects when even Mandarin has combined some dialectal features as well. Unless someone has some justification for this vocabulary, I plan on purging it from the article.D.s.ronis (talk) 13:19, 5 June 2011 (UTC)

in Wu...[edit]

Most of the claims such as "the pronoun system in Wu" gives the reader the impression that Wu is mostly internally homogeneous. There are some twenty plus pronoun system typologies found in Wu varieties, how can you deceive people into thinking they are all the same?

I plan on editing out this vocabulary with more appropriate vocab of "in some Wu varieties..." or "in representative Wu varieties..." as you cannot talk about Wu as a unified entity. That's like saying "Russians are alcoholics" and while a disproportionate number are, it's incorrect to place all Russians in this category. D.s.ronis (talk) 13:19, 5 June 2011 (UTC)


This article overall has a multitude of quality issues and lots of inappropriate and deceptive content which I hope to improve or remove.

I feel the need to remove "Common words and phrases in Wu" and the examples (which are mostly not representative) in vocabulary or place them in the Shanghainese article or an article about Shanghainese examples (which are horribly idiosyncratic and atypical for Wu) but don't want to act so imperiously. Does anyone have a justification for their presence? The article needs to focus on Wu universals and feature typologies and not get caught up in the idiographic minutiae of individual dialects (that's what the dialects' pages are for). D.s.ronis (talk) 13:19, 5 June 2011 (UTC)

[ŋ˨˦ ɲʲy˧˩]?[edit]

Is the IPA correct here? A separate tone on [ŋ], immediately followed by [ɲ]?

---This [ŋ˨˦] is a syllabic nasal. It's perfectly possible for a nasal to take a tone, it can even be found in English not to mention Mandarin. The [ɲʲy] was revised from my earlier Chinese usage of the IPA and the person who converted it to more standard IPA character unnecessarily added a palatalization diacritic to the palatal nasal I used. I would love for someone to explain how a palatalized palatal nasal is logically or phonetically feasible. Either way, the alveo-palatal nasal of Suzhounese should in no way be transcribed [ɲʲ]. The IPA here should be [ŋ˨˦ ɲy˧˩]. I would have missed this mistake if you had not pointed it out, so thank you.-Devin (d.s.ronis) (talk) 13:26, 4 January 2012 (UTC)

Most languages which are said to have [ɲ] have a palatal offglide, more like [ɲj] (or even [nʲ]). I have no idea about Shanghainese, but evidently s.o. judged that to be the case. Perhaps excessive detail even if correct, however. — kwami (talk) 13:44, 4 January 2012 (UTC)
I haven't heard the actual pronunciation, I was simply copying a transcription from the character survey but it seems that converting it to standard IPA is less transparent than you would think. The issues is that although a lot of Wu dialects have legitimate, fairly palatal alveolo-palatal nasals, most are only lightly palatalized alveolar nasals preceding high front vowels or their respective glides and a great many dialects are unnecessarily transcribed with the Chinese version of [ɲ] when a simple [nʲ] would be most accurate, and others are so indistinct as to not even merit transcription. They are mostly in complementary distribution with glides or former glides, so [ɲ] seems rather frivolous to me. Also, there may very well be an offglide hidden in the transcription and [ɲjy] may be most accurate for Suzhounese, but you can't know just from the transcription. I'm less familiar with Suzhounese and am unsure as to how it should be most accurately transcribed, so I normally stick with the Chinese IPA symbol which to me can encompass anything from a slightly palatalized alveolar nasal to a palatal nasal.
Also, please don't use the S-word when talking about Wu. Thanks. -Devin (d.s.ronis) (talk) 21:26, 6 January 2012 (UTC)

"Prestige dialect"[edit]

I am going to remove this talk of the prestige dialect of Wu which I consider deceptive and inaccurate. The cited source is not sufficient to enforce such a claim, and Encyclopedia Britannica is not specialized enough to deal with this topic adequately. The information available in the free preview is clearly very simplistic and reflects a lack of familiarity with the topic on the part of the author (who is summarizing others' works). Wu did not "spread from Suzhou" as is claimed in the article. This is not a reliable source, but that it not the issue with such a claim.

Talk of a prestige dialect is very clearly being projected by western eyes. The Chinese do not have the same sociolinguistic prejudices as westerners. The collectivist mentality of the Chinese is that all are equal, and no particular person or group of people are somehow prestigious or better than any one else. Chinese culture is one which celebrates the common man as well as local culture and talking in a less prestigious or refined way is not necessarily considered bad. It strengthens bonds of kinship, and very few Wu Chinese speakers consider their dialect somehow inferior to Shanghainese. With the exception of neighboring Wu varieties, no dialects are modelling themselves after Shanghainese as one would expect of a prestige dialect.

Shanghainese is the most commonly studied Wu dialect and is popular among young people (who are nonetheless fairly conditioned by media into adopting western prejudices), but representatively Chinese people do not possess such feelings of Shanghainese being prestigious as far as my years of experience in China would indicate. That being said, unless someone has some justification for this claim (such as a Chinese source), I intend on removing it. -Devin (d.s.ronis) (talk) 05:42, 15 January 2012 (UTC)

Much of what you say is clearly not true. Beijing dialect is the prestige dialect of Mandarin, and Cantonese the prestige dialect of Yue. That doesn't mean that other dialects are inferior, but that one dialect is seen as somehow either correct, fashionable, or advantageous. The Chinese are just as subject to such perceptions as anyone. If all dialects were equal, then it would be just as acceptable to instruct children, or to address the nation, in Hakka as in Mandarin. In the case of Wu, Suzhou used to be the prestige dialect, but with the rise of Shanghai that largely shifted to Shanghainese (though Suzhou retains quite a degree of prestige). You support this yourself with "With the exception of neighboring Wu varieties, no dialects are modelling themselves after Shanghainese as one would expect of a prestige dialect." First, 'modeling after' is not a requirement of a prestige dialect, and second, it would be Wu dialects, as Shanghainese is not a prestige dialect for Chinese as a whole.
I changed the ref to s.t. more RS. There are others, but this was handy. — kwami (talk) 06:15, 15 January 2012 (UTC)
You have not managed to address the point I was making, perverted much of what I was saying, and offered no support for your claims which were practically tautological. Simply putting in a random title you may or may not have read without even so much as a page to support the claim is dubious at best. This notion is clearly preconcived and did not arise from your contact with these works. Saying that what I say is not true because the Beijing dialect is the prestige dialect of Mandarin and Cantonese the prestige dialect of Yue is simply incoherent, it's not adding information or addressing the issue, since I'm claiming these statements are essentially invalid and your responsibility is to demonstrate that they are valid not simply reiterate them.
Those statements about Mandarin and "Cantonese" are also not entirely true. Beijing dialect is not the "prestige dialect" of Mandarin. It was used as the basis for the standard language but the Beijing dialect is still far removed from the standard language. People from Heilongjiang for example may look down upon local Beijingers for having such bad Chinese. The "prestige dialect" of all Chinese and Mandarin Chinese would be standard Mandarin not the Beijing dialect. Also, please clarify what you mean when you say Cantonese.
I don't think it would be controversial to claim that all dialects are basically equal in the eyes of the Chinese, not to say that there aren't well-known ones or ones with special uses but this is not the same as prestige. Prestige arises from multiple varieties/languages within a speech community, and the Wu lectosphere is not a speech community. It is hundreds of speech communities most of which have a local dialect and Mandarin with no Shanghainese, although in Shanghai Shanghainese is undoubtedly the prestige dialect in every western sense of the term. Similar trends hold true for other speech communities, where the local dialect is clearly given preference over Mandarin which is an officious imposition on people's lives and perceived more as an intrusion than as something elevated or perceived as "somehow either correct, fashionable, or advantageous." In local speech communities Mandarin is far from this.
Prestige is also associated with a class, and Chinese society has not been as stratified into classes of the type found in western society which brought about such vocabulary. Marks of distinction are typically discouraged in Chinese society so the development of speech affectations and prestige is something that has mostly not occurred until the previous decade or two of rapid social westernization and still remains atypical for the majority of the Chinese. Shanghainese may be the largest and most economically dominant dialect, but it is not prestigious of the sort we typically think of when such vocabulary is used. Why shouldn't Shaoxing Wu be considered the prestige dialect? There's Shaoxing opera which is song all over China, and vocabulary of the Shaoxing dialect that made it into Lu Xun's works has spread into the standard national language. If there is a claim for some supposed prestige dialect after Suzhou, Shaoxing Wu could very well be supported with more objective documentation than Shanghainese.
A single national language is clearly necessary for communication across the country. A practical necessity is no value judgement. I don't know a Chinese person who doesn't complain that their kid/s don't speak their dialect well enough and should learn to speak it better, if they didn't believe their dialect was as important why would they talk this way?
I never said that modelling after the dialect was a requirement but it generally comes along with the status which is why for example southern French is incredibly more Parisian today than it was 200 years ago. If there were some form of modelling beyond the direct geographic transmission which has been going on for ages and is simply sped up because of modern transportation then you would have a more objective claim to support this argument, but the lack thereof is greater support in favor of the lack of prestige which is the only reason why I mentioned it. Wu dialects are in general becoming more like Mandarin, and not so much becoming more like Shanghainese, and this is all due to contact and the necessity to express things absent in local varieties of Chinese. It has nothing to do with perceptions of prestige.
"The Chinese are just as subject to such perceptions as anyone." is the heart of the matter. This is an assumption, something taken for granted by western authors, and simply restating the assumption does not prove it. Unless you can prove this claim systematically, there is no objective reason to continue using such vocabulary.
There is simply no way that a dialect most Wu speakers find unintelligible and have never heard should be considered a prestige dialect. This is simply an audacious claim. I am simply arguing for the absence of this claim. If you believe this claim is true, and that it should be included, than the burden of proof is on your shoulders, and a random title on hand does not suffice.
-Devin (d.s.ronis) (talk) 16:54, 16 January 2012 (UTC)
When I got to the part of your rant where you said if I disagree with you I must be arguing in bad faith, I stopped reading. — kwami (talk) 08:14, 24 January 2012 (UTC)
If you had kept reading, you would've seen that I said nothing of the sort. I was addressing you in the vocabulary you used in your post to make clear what point of your text I was addressing. I don't think that labelling the response a "rant" is constructive or contributing to the dialog. Being long is not the sole prerequisite for a rant. Getting to the heart of things is a long and messy process, and lengthiness should be expected in any thoughtful, academic inquiry. Please remember this is not about you. I know nothing about you. I'm not an ad hominem kinda guy, and I would in no way benefit from ranting at someone I've never met. I was addressing the quality and content of your argument. Please, if there is nothing meaningful you wish to contribute to the discourse, then I see no purpose in posting. Let's try and keep this place a medium for intelligent discussion and constructive cooperation. Thank you. -Devin (d.s.ronis) (talk) 13:03, 24 January 2012 (UTC)
In Li Rulong/李如龙's textbook "汉语方言学", he clearly states on page one "方言之间没有优势之分" (among the [Chinese] dialects, there is no division which occupies a position of advantage) which is a source I am willingly ready to cite in support of the removal of this claim.-Devin (d.s.ronis) (talk) 03:04, 24 January 2012 (UTC)
Common, that's just silly. Putonghua does not occupy a position of advantage? — kwami (talk) 08:14, 24 January 2012 (UTC)
"That's just silly" is no resolution. I do not believe you can claim that Standard Mandarin occupies a position of advantage in people's belief systems beyond its practicality in obtaining gainful employment, communication, and the like. In Shanghai and Guangzhou/dong, not being able to speak Shanghainese or Cantonese puts you at a disadvantage (see Leslie Chang's "Factory Girls" for the Cantonese claim). If any version carries prestige, it is clearly not the stuffy language of government officials. Albeit Mandarin carries an air of literary grace when used in dialect operas, literary gracefulness and social prestige are two very different things. People just don't talk in Chinese opera lyrics. The mindset of the Chinese is simply not the same, and there is nothing so hard to understand about that. Does anyone have a rational argument in favor of inclusion or believe the arguments above are flawed in some way? -Devin (d.s.ronis) (talk) 13:03, 24 January 2012 (UTC)
I am largely in agreement with user D.s.ronis on this matter. Having lived in the Shanghai-Jiangsu-Zhejiang triangle I can shed some light on the situation. Back when Mandarin was not yet the national language the local lingua franca was essentially Suzhou dialect, and in the early part of the 20th century evolved to become Shanghainese. Of course, this is heavily dependent on who is speaking, the age of the speaker, the location, and the social setting. A Wuxi'er talking to someone from Zhenjiang would not switch to Suzhou dialect to talk to each other - most often they would just try to get by without any sort of code-switching. A person from Wenzhou talking to someone from Hangzhou would definitely not switch to Shanghainese, nor do either party perceive Shanghainese to be a 'higher' dialect. Nowadays especially, very few people perceive Shanghainese or Suzhouhua to be any more prestigious than Hangzhou or Wuxi dialect. To call Shanghainese/Suzhou a 'prestige dialect' in the normal sense of the word is not necessarily inappropriate if we are talking about early 20the century (and times before that), but the nuances of the situation should be described in the article.

I also just find user Kwami's comments to be basically unsubstantiated assertions, nor do I find his accusations of User D.s.ronis to be fair. I urge that he shed this type of dismissive attitude and engage the discussion with sourcing to back up his statements. Colipon+(Talk) 14:17, 24 January 2012 (UTC)

William plant[edit]

The sockpuppet william plant added massive amounts of misinformation and orignal research about wu into this article. (not) strangely enough, a vietnamese user on a vietnamese forum copied and pasted william plant's uncited additions as proof that southern chinese are not han.Jaabaat (talk) 02:41, 26 September 2012 (UTC)

Hello Jaabaat, I don't know who this William Plant is, but I did notice that the article had deteriorated significantly in quality. Thank you for restoring it to an earlier version.
As to your link, the second citation in the forum was authored by myself and is based entirely on already published, easily accessible research. Furthermore, it is foolish for anyone to accept this as proof that Southern Chinese are any less Chinese. There were no Han people before the Han dynasty, and even this term did not gain usage until well into the era of colonialism. It's really not that different from saying someone is ethnically European. They are Han by virtue of being culturally Chinese, genetics has been mostly irrelevant to what being Chinese means. The Chinese form a genetically diverse civilization originating from a confluence of various ethnicities on the Asian landmass, and there's nothing non-Chinese about their type of Chinese nor is the presence of non-Chinese words. Being Chinese has always meant being a part of civilization at least as they knew it, and not so much being part of a race. Western concepts of nationalism are wholly irrelevant to China despite their fervent adoption by the Chinese.
The ironic thing about this is that what I did not write, because I can find no source, is that the very word for "wet" mentioned is likely Chinese and not Vietnamese, from the word tan2 潭, which fits the pronunciation perfectly and is the widely accepted view among mainland dialectologists (or at least the ones I've met at Fudan).
As to the the word 'nong' which you mentioned in one of your revisions, the meaning of the original etymon was "person", however this word has grammaticalized into pronouns and depending on the dialect can mean "you" (typically Taihu, as in Shanghainese), act as a plural marker (in/around Lishui and Jinhua), simply be the word for person or a combination of one or more of these features. You can find this information in an article by 游汝杰 called 吴语里的人称代词 in an amazing chart of dozens of towns pronouns (p. 136-140 in his 自选集). And please be careful not to use phrases like "the Wu word for...", as there is far too much internal diversity for such claims to ever hold up to scrutiny. Regards. -Devin (d.s.ronis) (talk) 02:27, 3 October 2012 (UTC)

Flap Consonant in Wu Chinese?[edit]

There is /ɺ/ (Alveolar lateral flap) in Wu Chinese? Shouldn't it be /l/ instead? Correct me if I'm wrong because I don't speak any Wu dialect.

--N6EpBa7Q (talk) 04:51, 25 March 2013 (UTC)

I haven't been able to find any scholarly sources, but this link indicates the pronunciation [ɺ]. There doesn't seem to be any other phoneme that might be confused with /ɺ/, so as far as I can tell, you may call it /l/ or /ɺ/ as you please. (talk) 08:58, 3 May 2014 (UTC)

Inaccurate information in the Post-1949 section[edit]

The beginning part of the section is misleading and factually incorrect. Most Chinese dialects (Wu and non-Wu ones) were used in school well into the 1980's. When I went to primary school in Suzhou in the mid-1990s many teachers continued to use Wu in class. "the strong promotion of Mandarin" didn't start in most part of China until late 1980's. Even in the early 2000s when I was in senior high school there were still some elderly teachers who taught exclusively in Wu.

If someone could edit this section it would be great. I would do it but I'm really bad at English so I hope someone could do it. Thanks a lot! — Preceding unsigned comment added by Sekyinb (talkcontribs) 04:34, 24 September 2013 (UTC)

What is "vowel quality inventories." There is not explanation or link given in the article, other than Germanic languages as being similar. Speaker4thadead (talk) 07:41, 16 February 2014 (UTC)

To answer your question about vowel quality inventories: The English language has more "vowel sounds" than A, E, I, O, and U. For instance, "bought", "bat", "bet", "bit", "beat", "bite", "bait", "boat", "but", "bout", "boot"... these words are distinguished by the vowel sounds between the 'b' and 't' sounds. Many languages have less vowel sounds than English has; English actually has more vowel sounds than the "typical" language. Modern Standard Arabic, for instance, has three. Japanese has five. Wu Chinese, like English, tends to have a larger vowel quality inventory than the typical language. (talk) 09:15, 3 May 2014 (UTC)

Pedantic concern[edit]

The following line appears in the introduction to this article:

> the phonetic history of the Chinese language

This presupposes a unitary "Chinese language", and this is of course controversial. I'm not familiar with Wikipedia's official position on the status of the Chinese language(s), and I'm not Chinese myself, so I don't feel I'm in any position to say whether the article should say "the Chinese language" or "the Chinese languages". But as a linguistics student particularly familiar with the Chinese languages vis a vis my girlfriend, I'd tend to see "the Chinese language" as a less accurate term than "the Chinese languages". But again, this is my American perspective, and Wikipedia is an international site. And I don't think this substantially affects the overall quality of the article, but I think that fellow Wikipedians will understand my pet peeve. If anyone can inform me of Wikipedia's official stance on this topic, or tell me whether I should add a damn 's' where it ought to be, please let me know. (talk) 08:48, 3 May 2014 (UTC)


Seems an odd thing to call the actual languages of Wu and Yue. Is there any better term or a language code? — LlywelynII 16:13, 23 July 2014 (UTC)

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Don't do arbitrary edits[edit]

@Noonhans: You've made major edits with no reliable sources or any discussion and have been repeatedly reverted by @Justeditingtoday:. In order not to start an edit war, please share your point in this page, discuss with others and reach consensus before making your edit. Prcuvu (talk) 15:35, 23 January 2017 (UTC)


I have seen some books and media refer to it as Wunese instead of Shanghainese or Wu, should make mention of that, or is it Chinglish? — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 21:48, 3 March 2017 (UTC)

I've never seen that (and it sounds terrible). The only uses I can find on Google books are a century or more old. Kanguole 22:14, 3 March 2017 (UTC),107381,page=6 Sound is relative, most people may say all Chinese languages sound 'terrible' just from first half dozen searches yeah. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 03:25, 5 March 2017 (UTC)

You need to cite a reliable source to verify current usage. El_C 03:29, 5 March 2017 (UTC)