Wu is one of China’s major languages, spoken by approximately 90 million people in the area around Shanghai. This includes the provinces of Zhejiang, parts of Jiangsu, and areas in Anhui, Jiangxi and Fujian. In modern times, the version spoken in Shanghai has come to be the prestige dialect. Speakers of Chinese refer to Wu as a soft, flowing language. Modern Wu traces its origins to the Wu and Yue peoples of northern Zhejiang and southern Jiangsu, dating back 2,600 years to the “Spring and Autumn Period.” Wu comes from Middle Chinese, with influences from Mandarin. Written Wu is legible to readers of other Chinese languages, though the spoken word is not.