Learn some Mandarin and explore the culture in Shanghai
Whenever travelling to a new country, it is always a good idea to do some research into its culture and customs. For most countries in North America and Europe, this is not really a problem as most people speak English. In Asia however, it's quite a different story. Especially in China, where most people do not speak any English, knowing even a little basic Mandarin can not only help you better find your way around, it will also impress the local people and leave them with a great impression of you, as most tourists don't have the time or patience to try and learn the language.
So let us start with some basic phrases you can use when shopping in the local markets and shops:
1 - "How much is this?" 这里多少钱 zhe li duo shao qian
2 - "Can I get a discount?" 便宜可以吗 Piányi kěyǐ ma
3 - "This is very beautiful" 这是美丽的 Zhè shì měilì de
4 - "Is this original?" 是真的吗? Shì zhēn de ma?
Equally useful in Shanghai are these phrases used when dining in a restaurant:
5 - "Give me an English menu" 给我一个英文菜单 Gěi wǒ yīgè yīngwén càidān
6 - "Give me the cheque" 买单 Mǎidān
7 - "Where is the toilet?" 洗手间在哪里 Xǐshǒujiān zài nǎlǐ
8 - "Cheers!" 干杯 Gānbēi
9 - "That was delicious" 味道不错 Wèidào bùcuò
And these are just some general purpose phrases,good to know in any situation:
10 - "I want a massage" 我想按摩 Wǒ xiǎng ànmó
11 - "Where is a bank?" 银行在哪里 Shì yínháng zài nǎlǐ
12 - "What is your name?" 你叫什么名字 Nǐ jiào shénme míngzì?
If you are unsure about the pronunciation, just click the chinese characters, which will take you to google translate, where you can listen to an audio clip of every phrase.
And you don't have to stop learning once you have completed this list. Learning Mandarin is a challenging yet rewarding activity, and there are tonnes of rescources available online to help you further explore the language. And the look of surprise and joy you will get when talking with the locals in their own tounge is worth every minute of time you put into studying. You will also be able to more fully understand and appreciate the city and culture, when you start undrstanding more of the language.
So now when you are in Shanghai you will be able to ask for a massage, order food, and ask for discounts during your shopping, amoungst other things. Good luck with your Madarin, and enjoy your time in Shanghai.