“Jing (Mirror) Lake for three-hundred miles, lotus bulbs burst with lotus flowers. In the fifth month, Xi Shi picked them, and spectators crammed Ruoye Brook. She’d returned on her boat less than a month when she was brought to the Yue King’s home.” (Li Bai’s ‘Wu Songs of Lady Ziye’)
“The curvy moon on the Nine Provinces shines, some families delight and others opine. Some husbands and wives share a bed, and maybe some are separated and lay heads down elsewhere?” (Wu song collected and edited by Feng Menglong)
The delicate tones of Wu language lie in the ‘inseparable thickness’ of local accents and local longing.
The core of Wu language is the Taihu (Lake Tai) subgroup of Wu, which is also the most influential branch. The subgroup is centered on the Tai Lake and spread across the vast geography of south Jiangsu, north Zhejiang and Shanghai.
The Taihu subgroup can be further subdivided into Piling (Changzhou), Suzhou-Shanghai-Jiaxing, Zhaoxi (Huzhou), Hangzhou, Linshao (Lin’an, Fuyang, Xiaoshan, Tonglu, Jian’de (east of Xiabao and Qiantan), Shengzhou, Xinchang, Shangyu, Yuyao (outside of Hemudu Township and others in the east), Cixi (excluding Guanhaiwei Township and others in the east) and Yiwu (Dachen Township) and Yongjiang (Ningbo, Yuyao (including Hemudu Township and others in the east), Cixi (including Guanhaiwei Township and others in the east), Qin County, Fenghua, Ningbo (Xidian Town and others in the north), Xiangshan (excluding Hepu and Shipu and other towns/ townships in the south), Zhenhai, Zhoushan, Daishan, and Shengsi. There exist five additional subgroups in Wu.