Title: A Grammar of Shanghai Wu
Series Title: LINCOM Studies in Asian Linguistics 66
Publisher: Lincom GmbH
Author: Xiaonong Zhu
Hardback: ISBN: 3895869007 Pages: 190 Price: Europe EURO 105.00
Note: This is the 2nd printing of a previously announced book.
The Wu dialect of Chinese is used by 80 million people in eastern China. Shanghai is the lingua franca of Wu, and is the least conservative among Wu dialects.
This book is a descriptive grammar of Shanghai Wu, concise but comprehensive. It covers various topics in Shanghai grammar: the phonological system, morphology, and syntax. In addition, two special topics in Shanghai grammar, tone sandhi and compounding, are included. Tone sandhi in Shanghai is a morpho-phonological process to produce prosodic words, while compounding is a syntactic means to make lexical words.
Like other Chinese dialects, Shanghai is an isolating language. There is no grammatical agreement or case markers, nor tense, gender or numeral differences, or anything like those called inflection in European languages. That does not mean there are no morphological processes at all: reduplication, tone sandhi, and affixation are common in Shanghai. Of course, compounding is the most productive in making new words.
Morphologically and syntactically Shanghai has something different from Mandarin. For example, adjective reduplication in Shanghai is AAB, while it is ABB in Mandarin.
The word order in Shanghai is 'V + direct O + indirect O', different from Mandarin's 'V + indirect O + direct O'.