ShangHai Dialect(上海方言)

  I give a presentation in a new class or when I meet some new friends in the university. However, I never think I am a qualified Shanghainese because I can't speak Shanghai dialect well though I have lived here for more than ten years. Certainly you will be curious of how this happened.

  

  I am not a Shanghai native. I was born in Chengdu, Sichuan, where my parents went to decades ago because of the great revolution in the 1970s. I spent my first five years there.Then I moved to Hangzhou as my parents thought I should receive formal school education .

  

  The first day I spent in the primary school in Hangzhou didn't bring me any joy. On the contrary, I felt quite sad because many pupils laughed at my Sichuan dialect which was rarely heard there. I cried sadly at home that evening. How could a six-year-old child bear being laughed at by so many people? I only wished that I would never go to school again but of course my parents wouldn't approve. You can imagine how I felt when my parents held my hands and led me all the way to school. I felt lonely in the totally strange classroom with the totally strange people who, I thought ,were looking at me with ironic smiles on their faces. At that time the only thing I could do to avoid being laughed at was to learn Putonghua, which is used all over China and which could help save my dignity. Every child has got a talent for learning language, as it is known to all. So in approxi mately three months I could speak Putonghua as fluently as any other pupil in the class. Since then l never spoke a single word in Sichuan dialect. The experience taught me that speaking dialect

  

  hardly had any good on me.

  

  Before I could find out whether abandoning a dialect so quickly was beneficial for me or not, my parents moved to Shanghai to work here. Undoubtedly, they brought me here,which meant I should again study in a new place. I was eight years old then. My parents brought me to school the next day we moved to Shanghai. Before I approached the door of the teacher's office I heard people in the office were talking with a dialect that I could not understand. Though the teachers talked to me kindly in Putonghua when they saw me tiptoeing into the office I was worried what I could do if I couldn't understand Shanghai dialect. Hardly had I made up my mind to study Shanghai dialect when I stepped into a small shop to buy a bottle of orange juice to relieve my thirsty caused by the anxiety of golng to the new school. I talked to the shop assistanct that I wanted a bottle of orange juice in Putonghua, but she didn't even lift her eyelids. She coldly squeezed two words between her tightly closed lips. Unfortunately, I couldn't catch what she said. So I asked again. Then maybe my words annoyed her because she suddenly shouted at me in Shanghai dialect. The only word I could understand was "Xiangwuning" which means the people from rural places. The despise word hurt me so deeply that I thought there was no good in speaking Shanghai dialect. I didn't like the Shanghai natives who were so impolite towards people from other cities. In the following years, when my father, who is a Shanghai native and can speak fluent Shanghai dialect, wanted to teach me Shanghai dialect, I always shook my head.

  

  Now I can understand Shanghai dialect very well. But as there are more and more people from other cities in Shanghai, it brings a trend to speak Putonghua. When I speak Putonghua in stead of Shanghai dialect, The Shanghai natives look down upon me. Then I will just speak English. Seeing the confusing expression on his or her face, I will leave without any more words.

  

  I'll not worry about whether I am a real Shanghainese or not. I believe Putonghua dominates all the dialects and most people in Shanghai will speak it other than Shanghai dialect in the future. So there is no use for me to pick up Shanghai dialect.Next time I introduce myself, I will still tell others that I can't speak Shanghai dialect without any shame.


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