Chinese Language

Chinese & Mandarin

The Chinese language originally the indigenous languages spoken by the Han Chinese in China, it forms one of the two branches of the Sino-Tibetan family of languages.

About 20% of the world’s population (1 billion people), speak some form of Chinese as their native language.

Spoken Chinese is distinguished by its high level of internal diversity, although all spoken varieties of Chinese are tonal and analytic.  There are between seven and thirteen main regional groups of Chinese (depending on classification scheme), of which the most spoken, by far, is Mandarin (about 850 million), followed by Wu (90 million), Min (70 million) and Cantonese (70 million).

Chinese is classified as a macro language with 13 sub-languages in ISO 639-3.

The standardized form of spoken Chinese is Standard Mandarin (Putonghua / Guoyu / Huayu), based on the Beijing dialect, which is part of a larger group of North-Eastern and South-Western dialects, often taken as a separate language

Standard Mandarin is the official language of the People's Republic of China (PRC) and the Republic of China (ROC), as well as one of four official languages of Singapore.

Chinese—de facto, Standard Mandarin—is one of the six official languages of the United Nations. Of the other varieties, Standard Cantonese is common and influential in Guangdong Province and Cantonese-speaking overseas communities, and remains one of the official languages of Hong Kong (together with English) and of Macau (together with Portuguese).

Hokkien, part of the Min language group, is widely spoken in southern Fujian, in neighbouring Taiwan (where it is known as Taiwanese or Hoklo) and in Southeast Asia (where it dominates in Singapore and Malaysia ).


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