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Home History and Culture The Chinese Language & Mandarin & Dialects
The Chinese Language & Mandarin & Dialects
Learn Chinese - History and Culture

    Please Speak Mandarin
Chinese is a language family consisting of languages mutually unintelligible to varying degrees. Originally it is the indigenous languages spoken by the Han Chinese (hàn rén 汉人) in China, it forms one of the two branches of Sino-Tibetan family of languages. About one-fifth of the world’s population, or over one billion people, speak some form of Chinese as their native language. Besides Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, Macao SAR, Taiwan Province and the mainland of China, there are people in Singapore, Malaysia and some other countries speak Chinese as their mother tone.

Chinese DictionaryThe standard language of Chinese is Putonghua (pǔ tōng huà 普通话), or Mandarin. It has the Beijing pronunciation as its standard pronunciation, the northern dialect as its basic dialect, and the typical modern vernacular Chinese as its grammatical standard. Mandarin offers convenience for communication between people in different areas or of different ethnic groups in China.

Due to the vast territory and a large population of China, there forms various kinds of dialects (fāng yán 方言). Dialects, generally called local languages, are branches of the Chinese language and are only used in certain area. At present there are seven dialects: the northern dialect (běi fāng fāng yán 北方方言), the Wu dialect (wú fāng yán 吴方言), the Xiang dialect (xiāng fāng yán 湘方言), the Gan dialect (gàn fāng yán 赣方言), the Hakka (kè jiā fāng yán 客家方言), the Min dialect (mǐn fāng yán 闽方言) and the Yue or Guangdong dialect (yuè yǔ 粤语).






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