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Culture
 
 
 

Language

Most Shanghai residents are the descendants of immigrants from the two adjacent provinces of Jiangsu and Zhejiang who moved to Shanghai in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, regions whose population, in general, also speak Wu Chinese. In the past decades, many migrants from other areas of China not mentioned above have come to Shanghai for work. They often cannot speak the local language and therefore use Mandarin as a lingua franca.

The vernacular language is Shanghainese, a dialect of Wu Chinese, while the official language nationwide is Mandarin. The local language is mutually unintelligible with Mandarin, and is thus an inseparable part of the Shanghainese identity. The modern Shanghainese language is based on the Suzhou dialect of Wu, the prestige dialect of Wu spoken within the Chinese city of Shanghai prior to the modern expansion of the city, the Ningbo dialect of Wu, and the dialect of Shanghai's traditional areas now within the Hongkou, Baoshan and Pudong districts, which is simply called "the local tongue". It is influenced to a lesser extent by the languages of other nearby regions from which large numbers of people have migrated to Shanghai since the 20th century, and includes a significant number of terms borrowed from European languages. The prevalence of Mandarin fluency is generally higher for those born after 1949 than those born before, while the prevalence of English fluency is higher for people who received their secondary and tertiary education before 1949 than those who did so after 1949 and before the 1990s.

Architecture

Shanghai has a rich collection of buildings and structures of various architectural styles. The Bund, located by the bank of the Huangpu River, contains a rich collection of early 20th-century architecture, ranging in style from neoclassical HSBC Building to the Art Deco Sassoon House. A number of areas in the former foreign concessions are also well-preserved, the most notable ones being the French Concession. Shanghai has one of the worlds largest number of Art Deco buildings as a result of the construction boom during the 1920s and 1930s. One of the most famous architects working in Shanghai was László Hudec, a Hungarian-Slovak architect who lived in the city between 1918-1947. Some of his most notable Art Deco buildings include the Park Hotel and the Grand Theatre. Other prominent architects who contributed to the Art Deco style are Parker & Palmer, who designed the Peace Hotel, Metropole Hotel, and the Broadway Mansions, and Austrian architect GH Gonda who designed the Capital Theatre. The Bund's first revitalisation started in 1986 with a new promenade by the Dutch Architect Paulus Snoeren, the completion was in the mid-1990s.

In recent years, a large number of architecturally distinctive and even eccentric buildings have sprung up throughout Shanghai. Notable examples of contemporary architecture include the Shanghai Museum, Shanghai Grand Theatre in the People's Square precinct and Shanghai Oriental Art Centre. Despite rampant redevelopment, the old city still retains some buildings of a traditional style, such as the Yuyuan Garden, an elaborate traditional garden in the Jiangnan style.


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