Shanghai Language and Culture Learning Resources

Shanghai icon with text - 75 x 75This page features Mandarin vocabulary terms and cultural information relevant to places and attractions in Shanghai that are featured on our tours. For additional information on learning Chinese, especially while traveling in China, visit our Chinese Language Resources Page. See photos of Shanghai attractions and get information such as tours that feature Shanghai, Shanghai travel tips, and Shanghai-related links on our Shanghai Photo Gallery and Information Page.

Note: The materials on this page are © China International Travel CA, Inc. (all rights reserved) and are intended for private, personal, and noncommercial use only.

CIT tour participants: For a list of the specific attractions featured on your tour, please refer to the itinerary.

Quizlet icon - 75 x 75 Study these words on our Shanghai-Related Words Quizlet page! Quizlet offers a variety of useful study features and is compatible with a wide range of apps on popular mobile platforms. See the Quizlet links in each section below for more specific lists.
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Click on the pinyin pronunciation key for each word below to hear its pronunciation.

上海 (Shànghǎi): Shanghai, the largest city in China, population 23,019,148 (2010)

Old Town

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Shanghai - Old Street - skyscrapers - D. Fuka - 210 x 140
Old Town, Shanghai
(photo by D. Fuka)

老城市 (Lǎo Chéngshì) or 老街 (Lǎo Jiē): Old Town or Old Street

  • 城隍庙商圈 (Chénghuáng Miào Shāngquān)
    Temple of the Town Gods (or City God Temple) Shopping Center, a lively complex of shops and restaurants most famous for snacks and local-style steamed dumplings (小笼包, xiǎolóngbāo)
  • 湖心亭茶馆 (Húxīn Tíng Cháguǎn)
    Huxinting Teahouse, famous tea house near Yu Garden; 湖心亭 literally means “pavilion in the heart (middle) of the lake”
  • 豫园 (Yù Yuán)
    Yu Garden or Yuyuan Gardens, a classical Chinese garden in the Old Town area built during the Ming Dynasty (明朝, Míng Cháo, 1368-1644 CE)
Shopping-Related Words

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逛街 (guàngjiē): to window-shop; to take a leisurely stroll, usually in a shopping district

步行街 (bùxíngjiē): pedestrian street; shopping street closed to vehicular traffic

讲价 (jiǎngjià): to haggle; to bargain

拍卖 (pāimài): sale (also, auction)

打折 (dǎzhé): to offer a discount; to be on sale

折扣 (zhékòu): discount [noun]

一分钱,一分货 (yī fēn qián, yī fēn huò): you get what you pay for (literally, “one cent of money, one cent of merchandise”)

买一送一 (mǎi yī sòng yī): buy one, get one free

The Bund and Its Environs

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南京路 (Nánjīng Lù): Nanjing Road, a famous pedestrian street shopping area extending west from the Bund

外滩 (Wàitān): The Bund, a riverfront pedestrian area featuring colonial architecture from the early decades of the 20th century

浦東 (Pǔdōng): Pudong, the new section of the city across from the Bund

  • 黄浦江 (Huángpǔ Jiāng)
    Huangpu River, river separating the newly developed area of Pudong (“east of the Huangpu”) from the old downtown area of Puxi (浦西, Pǔxī, “west of the Huangpu”)
Shanghai - Bund panorama - Aapo Haapanen - 258 x 120
The Bund and Pudong, Shanghai
(photo by Aapo Haapanen)
Building and Construction-Related Words

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建筑 (jiànzhù): building, edifice

摩天大楼 (mótiān dàlóu): skyscraper (literally, “big building that rubs the sky”)

大厦 (dàshà): mansion or large building; often used in naming a high-rise building

发展 (fāzhǎn): to develop, as in “China’s economy has developed very quickly”

经济 (jīngjì): economy

繁华 (fánhuá): flourishing, bustling

Shanghai Museum-Related Words

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上海博物馆 (Shànghǎi Bówùguǎn): the Shanghai Museum, world-class museum located in the People’s Square in downtown Shanghai with a collection of approximately one million pieces, including nearly 130,000 pieces classified as national treasures

  • 人民广场 (Rénmín Guǎngchǎng)
    the People’s Square, public space in downtown Shanghai near several important cultural centers
  • 古物 (gǔwù)
    ancient object; antique; antiquities
  • 文物 (wénwù)
    cultural relic; historical relic; artifact (measure word: 件, jiàn, or 个, )
  • 珍贵文物 (zhēnguì wénwù)
    masterpiece; museum piece officially recognized as a masterpiece according to a grading system including first-class (一级, yījí), second-class (二级, èrjí), and third-class (三级, sānjí) rankings
A spiked bronze food vessel in the Shanghai Museum
Bronze food vessel
(photo by
Dennis Jarvis)
  • 出土 (chūtǔ)
    to be unearthed or excavated; to come up out of the ground
  • 收藏 (shōucáng)
    to collect; collection (e.g., museum collection)
  • 艺术品 (yìshùpǐn)
    artwork; art piece; work of art (measure word: 件, jiàn)
  • 展览 (zhǎnlǎn)
    display, exhibit; to put on display, to exhibit, to show

中国古代青铜馆 (Zhōngguó Gǔdài Qīngtóngguǎn): Ancient Chinese Bronze Gallery, ground-floor gallery in the Shanghai Museum featuring displays of bronze relics

  • 古代 (gǔdài)
    the period in Chinese history from remote antiquity to the mid-19th century; also, ancient times in general

中国古代雕塑馆 (Zhōngguó Gǔdài Diāosùguǎn): Ancient Chinese Sculpture Gallery, ground-floor gallery in the Shanghai Museum featuring displays of Chinese sculptures

Wooden Head of Kasyapa in the Shanghai Museum
Head of Kasyapa
(photo by Khalid Albaih)

中国古代陶瓷馆 (Zhōngguó Gǔdài Táocíguǎn): Ancient Chinese Ceramics Gallery, second-floor gallery in the Shanghai Museum featuring displays of Chinese pottery and porcelain

  • 陶瓷 (táocí)
    pottery and porcelain; ceramics

中国历代绘画馆 (Zhōngguó Lìdài Huìhuàguǎn): Chinese Painting Gallery, third-floor gallery in the Shanghai Museum featuring displays of Chinese paintings

  • 历代 (lìdài)
    successive dynasties; past dynasties (refers to the various dynastic periods of imperial China)

中国历代书法馆 (Zhōngguó Lìdài Shūfǎguǎn): Chinese Calligraphy Gallery, third-floor gallery in the Shanghai Museum featuring displays of Chinese calligraphy

  • 书法 (shūfǎ)
    calligraphy; penmanship

中国历代印章馆 (Zhōngguó Lìdài Yìnzhāngguǎn): Chinese Seal Gallery, third-floor gallery in the Shanghai Museum featuring displays of Chinese seals

中国古代玉器馆 (Zhōngguó Gǔdài Yùqìguǎn): Ancient Chinese Jade Gallery, fourth-floor gallery in the Shanghai Museum featuring displays of Chinese jade artifacts

  • 玉器 (yùqì)
    jade artifact
Spear with Cloud and Thunder Pattern in the Shanghai Museum
Bronze spear
(photo by Dennis Jarvis)

中国历代货币馆 (Zhōngguó Lìdài Huòbìguǎn): Chinese Currency Gallery, fourth-floor gallery in the Shanghai Museum featuring displays of Chinese coins and other forms of currency

中国明清家具馆 (Zhōngguó Míng-Qīng Jiājùguǎn): Chinese Ming and Qing Furniture Gallery, fourth-floor gallery in the Shanghai Museum displaying antique furniture from the Ming and Qing dynasties

中国少数民族工艺馆 (Zhōngguó Shǎoshù Mínzú Gōngyìguǎn): Chinese Minority Nationalities’ Art Gallery, fourth-floor gallery in the Shanghai Museum featuring displays of clothing, artworks, and handicrafts from many of China’s ethnic minorities

  • 工艺 (gōngyì)
    arts and crafts; handicrafts; technology
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