I found this sentence on Tatoeba:

I will be back by nine.

What does ‘垃海’ mean in this sentence? My guess is ‘by [nine]’, but the phrase doesn’t show up on Wiktionary.

2 Answers 2


Here is the entry for 辣海 in《上海方言词典》on p. 311:

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The extracted text:

〖辣海〗la?˩˧꜖ he˥꜖꜔ =〖辣辣〗la?˩˧꜖ la˩˧꜖꜔(或la˩˧꜖꜔)❶表示人或事物的位 置:小王辣~𠲎? ❷後接表示活動的 動詞,表示動作、事件正在進行之中: 大家儕~休息,儂吵 | 伊~想心事 ❸前接動詞、形容詞或動詞短語,表示 狀態的持續與北京話不同的是,“辣 海"和“辣辣"可前接動結式短語,後面 可加相當於“了"的語氣詞或“仔":花 蠻紅~ | 我物事多~崍 | 坐~,能立 ~嗅 | 肉切好~睞,儂來燒好勒 ❹介 詞,表示時間、地點、範圍等,多置於謂 語動詞之前,但現在也有置於謂語動 詞之後的:~上海工作1坐一臺子高頭 卩“辣海"目前使用很普遍“海"有人 説成[ke]“辣海"説成[le ke]

There is also this paper 上海话"辣海"的语源及虚化特征的比较研究, in which the abstract says:

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The extracted text:


Wikipedia also has this entry on their section for Shanghainese tones:

to exist, here, present [lɐʔ.hɛ] 徕許, 勒許

  • But what about 垃海? Doesn’t 辣海 mean something else? Commented Jun 10, 2020 at 21:00
  • 1
    @CookieDough It looks like their are multiple spellings for this word. The original spelling should be 来许 from what I can gather.
    – Mou某
    Commented Jun 10, 2020 at 21:02
  • 来(come) 许 (about) + time = "by + time" make sense
    – Tang Ho
    Commented Jun 10, 2020 at 21:23
  • @Tang Ho Would I use 垃海 or 来许? Tatoeba doesn’t bring up anything when I try the latter - does this mean it isn’t used anymore? Commented Jun 10, 2020 at 21:45
  • I am not 上海人, so I wouldn't know which is the more common way to write this term
    – Tang Ho
    Commented Jun 10, 2020 at 21:47


The mandarin equivalent is 我会在九点钟回来. So, 垃海 means 在 here. 垃海 is not pronounced as its Pinyin "la1 hai3". It's more like "le gai2" or "le gei2".

Not sure the correct writing of the word anyway. Maybe "了该" is closer?

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