This paper deals with the classification of the dialects of the Shanghai area. I propose that tonal split can be used as a major criterion to classify these dialects. Based on this criterion I classify the dialects in the Shanghai area into five subgroups: the Chongming, Jiading, Songjiang, Liantang and Urban groups. This classification not only reflects the different types of dialectal developments, but is also in keeping with the distinct historical-cultural backgrounds associated with each dialect area. There are three parts to this paper: 1. the criteria of the classification, and the classification of the dialects; 2. the historical background of the classification; 3. some common phonological features of the dialects of the Shanghai area.
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