Shanghaihua, or Shanghainese, the language (or, well dialect, officially) spoken by the city’s inhabitants will now enter a new era. From having been a completely spoken language, Shanghai urbanites will now be able to write and type what they are saying.
A new software for typing in Shanghainese will be available at four websites including ShanghaiNing.com for free download from the beginning of August:
“We have completed the connection between 15,000 Shanghai dialect words and pinyin,” Qian Nairong, a Shanghai University professor and the chief inventor of the computer program, said. “The software enables users to type about 10,000 Shanghai words that are identical to Mandarin in writing but different in sound.”
The fact that Shanghainese now can be written may help to preserve this dialect in a time when local languages are disappearing by the hour. Maybe technology will help to save other Chinese dialects too?