Every night before dinner, my mother or grandmother would begin a conversation with me with the question "nong che gu la va?" Which rough translate as “have you eaten?" What you would observe if you were a fly on the wall, was the beginning of a ritual to pass to another generation the dialect known as Shanghainese. All conversation within the house was spoken in Shanghainese. For comparison, in Mandarin the question would be asked "ni fan chi guo le ma?"
More than just the description of a dialect of Wu Chinese spoken in the city of Shanghai and the surrounding region which is rich in pure vowels that separates itself from Mandarin and Cantonese by it stops or affricates, Shanghainese is a culture, an atmosphere, a way of thinking. This sense of pride for local culture partly stems from the collectivist frame of mind that is generational in its roots. These characteristics are rooted in our language and our history. We were taught in the elementary school that we should be proud of the group we are in. It is the group, not just particular individual, and never you alone, that makes each of us strong. I am Shanghainese and proud.
Shanghainese are extraordinarily internationalized. Whenever a comparison is made between the culture of Shanghai and that of other major metropolitan centers in the People’s Republic of China, our international flair serves as the principal distinguishing factor. We are consumerist which is the fancy word for we like to shop. Being stylish, we have a fashion-oriented mentality that incorporates a full range of vices and virtues that are associated with any highly developed commercial sensibility. We have a great sense of professionalism, a know facility at economic calculation, and deep convictions in integrity. This atmosphere for centuries has attractive foreign trade, visitation and adaptation that will always define Shanghai as one of the world’s first global hubs. Shanghainese welcomes, and is proud of immigrants who help build the city to today’s glory.
With the economic engines of prosperity producing wealth for Shanghai, more and more migrants from other parts of People’s Republic of China for school and work which also creates "New Shanghainese" who are accustomed to speaking Mandarin. Due to the national prominence of Mandarin, learning Shanghainese was no longer necessary for migrants, because those educated after the 1950s could generally communicate in Mandarin.
The People’s Republic of China has a common language policy "Putonghua” which focuses…