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ala

Northern Wu (incl Shanghainese) phonology and romanization

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ala

The below romanization unites Shanghainese and Suzhou-hua, and is highly representative of other Northern Wu dialects as well. The initials and finals inventory below is by far the most extensive of any major Chinese dialect and has high correspondence with early Middle Chinese (just before Tang Dynasty) phonology.

initial.gif

longfinal.gif

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ala

例子 (examples):

是: zi

搿只: getså (getsah)

吃力煞脱了: chieliesathele

阿拉: ala

鸭子: atsi

矮子: aatsi

热水: gniesu

椅子: iitsi

注意: tsuii

所以: souii

所以讲: souiikån

葡萄: boudau

今朝夜头: cintsau yaadeu

拼音: phinin

啥人: saagnin

黑人: hegnin

言论自由: gnieelenziyeu

解决: ciaacue

附近: voujin

足球: tsojieu

南极: noejie

成绩: zentsie

警察: cintsha

瞎七得八: hatshietepa

八百: papå

经济学: cintsiiyå

化学: hooyå

前头: zieedeu

雪球: siejieu

西北风: siipofon

白血病: båxuebin (båshuebin)

觉着: kozå

熟悉: zosie

昨日: zognie

原子弹: gnioetsidae

厨房间: zuvånkae

物事: mezi

上海人:Zånheignin

资本主义:Tsipentsugnii

有得: yeute

会得: weite

晓得: xiaute (shiaute)

新闻: sinven

十一: zeie

一家头:iekaadeu

好生活: hausenwe

嘴唇膏:tsuzenkau

游泳: yeuion

英雄: inyon

应该: inkei

月亮: yuelian

吴人: Rougnin

吴语: Rougniu

浴间: yokae

木头: modeu

沙发: soofa

麦克麦克: måkhemåkhe

搿能家(嘎)好孛相法子个游戏值得收藏。

Genenkaa (Kaa) haubesianfatsi ge yeushii zete seuzån.

阿拉现在主要个问题就是哪能去解决搿只拼音个事体。勒勒搿前头,阿拉呒没别个花头个。

Ala yeezei tsuiauge vendii zieu zi naanen chii ciaacue getså phinin ge zithii. Leile ge zieedeu, ala umme biege hoodeu ge.

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Ncao

These romanizations look like Scandinavian or Eastern European languages.

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ala

Shanghainese has quite a few vowels identical to German and Swedish, but not found in English or Mandarin.

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Yuchi

A question for you, ala, (because I'd prefer not to make a big thread about it) and I hope this doesn't derail the thread:

How come 大人 is"du ning" and 大学 is "da oh"? I know you may not have the "why" answer, but could you list any others I should know about in case I make a fool out of myself? Common ones off the top of your head anyway.

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carlo

I also have a question, just in case anybody knows. What kind of Wu language is spoken in and around Changzhou (常州)? It's north of Suzhou of course, but still not Huaibei. Would this romanization scheme be appropriate? I have a close friend who's a native speaker of this dialect.

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ala
How come 大人 is"du ning" and 大学 is "da oh"? I know you may not have the "why" answer, but could you list any others I should know about in case I make a fool out of myself? Common ones off the top of your head anyway.

Wu dialects often have 2 or more readings for one character, similar to multiple Japanese kanji readings. The list is endless. But some common words are like 人 (gnin / nin vs. zen), 问 (men vs. ven), 生 (san vs. sen) and 学 (ro vs. yå); for example: 人民 = zenmin, 人间 = gninciee / ninciee; 问题 = vendii, 问问看 = menmenkhoe; 生日 = sangnie / sannie, 生物 = senve; 学堂 = rodån, 化学 = hooyå.

The "why" answer is that they have different pronunciations usually because they have developed different semantic meanings, for example the "yå" pronunciation for 学 only occurs in correspondence with the Latin -ology ("the study of") suffix; e.g. chemistry, psychology, biology, economics, etc. Whereas the "ro" reading is simply "to learn" or "learning". One reading is often older than the other. Likewise, 大人 is dougnin / dounin uses "dou" simply because it just means "big man" or "adult", whereas the 大 "daa" reading means "great". Mandarin doesn't distinguish "big" from "great", that is Mandarin's problem. But Shanghainese does distinguish the two. Hence 大小 ("big-small" = size) in Shanghainese uses "dou"; while 大熊猫 ("Great Panda")、大学 ("Great Learning" = university)、大英 (Great Britain) uses "daa".

BTW, 人 definitely does not phonetically end with an -ng in any of the Wu dialects, including Shanghainese. Wu dialects don't even phonemically distinguish -n from -ng (this is a key characteristic of Wu), so it's pointless to write -ng. A simple -n, like in Japanese, is enough. 人 doesn't even end in -ng in ancient Chinese.

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ala
I also have a question, just in case anybody knows. What kind of Wu language is spoken in and around Changzhou (常州)? It's north of Suzhou of course, but still not Huaibei. Would this romanization scheme be appropriate? I have a close friend who's a native speaker of this dialect.

Changzhou is definitely a Northern Wu dialect, the above romanization scheme is appropriate.

Bottom is the phonology for Changzhou, as you can see, it's pretty much the same as the Suzhou-Shanghai phonology above. Some of the vowel pronunciations are different, but they correspond with Suzhou-Shanghai in terms of the characters (as in "caught" is pronounced differently in the UK and US, but it's the same vowel correspondence). The above romanization scheme would have no problem dealing with these minor pronunciation variations. For example 南 (south) is pronounced [nø] (like German nö/noe) in Shanghainese and Old Suzhou, but is pronounced [nO] in Changzhou; they can both be romanized as "noe".

changzhou.jpg

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carlo

Thanks a lot Ala, this is very useful. I'll try it on my friend and see if I can pick up some 常州话.

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