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    • What language is Mandarin?

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      • Mandarin language, also called Northern Chinese, Chinese (Pinyin) Guanhua (“Officials’ Language”), or (Wade-Giles romanization) Kuan-hua, the most widely spoken form of Chinese. Mandarin Chinese is spoken in all of China north of the Yangtze River and in much of the rest of the country and is the native language of two-thirds of the population.
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  2. Mandarin Chinese - Wikipedia › wiki › Mandarin_Chinese

    By the early 20th century, a standard form based on the Beijing dialect, with elements from other Mandarin dialects, was adopted as the national language. Standard Mandarin Chinese is the official language of the People's Republic of China and Taiwan (Republic of China), as well as one of the four official languages of Singapore.

    • 920 million (2017), L2 speakers: 200 million (no date)
    • most of Northern and Southwestern China (see also Standard Chinese)
  3. Mandarin language | Britannica › topic › Mandarin-language

    Mandarin language, also called Northern Chinese, Chinese (Pinyin) Guanhua (“Officials’ Language”), or (Wade-Giles romanization) Kuan-hua, the most widely spoken form of Chinese.

  4. What Is Mandarin? The Social Project of Language ... › core › journals

    Jul 05, 2018 · By far the most frequently used of these four possibilities is the first: in common usage, “Mandarin” or “Mandarin Chinese” usually refers to China's standard spoken language. In fact, I would argue that this is the predominant meaning of the word, since the other three concepts seem to be subsidiary to the first.

    • Jeffrey Weng
    • 6
    • 2018
  5. How Did Mandarin Become China's Official Language? › introduction-to-mandarin
    • Dialects
    • Language Family and Groups
    • Local Names For Mandarin
    • How Mandarin Became China's Official Language
    • Written Chinese
    • Romanization

    Mandarin Chineseis sometimes referred to as a “dialect,” but the distinction between dialects and languages is not always clear. There are many different versions of Chinese spoken throughout China, and these are usually classified as dialects. There are other Chinese dialects, such as Cantonese, which is spoken in Hong Kong, that are very distinct from Mandarin. However, many of these dialects use Chinese characters for their written form, so that Mandarin speakersand Cantonese speakers (for example) can understand each other through writing, even though the spoken languages are mutually unintelligible.

    Mandarin is part of the Chinese family of languages, which in turn is part of the Sino-Tibetan language group. All Chinese languages are tonal, which means that the way words are pronounced varies their meanings. Mandarin has ​four tones. Other Chinese languages have up to ten distinct tones. The word “Mandarin” actually has two meanings when referring to language. It can be used to refer to a particular group of languages, or more commonly, as the Beijing dialect that is the standard language of mainland China. The Mandarin group of languages includes standard Mandarin(the official language of mainland China), as well as Jin (or Jin-yu), a language spoken in the central-north region of China and inner Mongolia.

    The name “Mandarin” was first used by the Portuguese to refer to the magistrates of the Imperial Chinese court and the language they spoke. Mandarin is the term used through much of the Western world, but the Chinese themselves refer to the language as 普通话 (pǔ tōng huà), 国语 (guó yǔ), or 華语 (huá yǔ). 普通话 (pǔ tōng huà) literally means “common language” and is the term used in mainland China. Taiwan uses 国语 (guó yǔ) which translates to "national language," and Singapore and Malaysia refer to it as 華语 (huá yǔ) which means Chinese language.

    Due to its immense geographic size, China has always been a land of many languages and dialects. Mandarin emerged as the language of the ruling class during the latter part of the Ming Dynasty(1368–1644). The capital of China switched from Nanjing to Beijing in the latter part of the Ming Dynasty and remained in Beijing during the Qing Dynasty (1644–1912). Since Mandarin is based on the Beijing dialect, it naturally became the official language of the court. Nonetheless, the large influx of officials from various parts of China meant that many dialects continued to be spoken at the Chinese court. It was not until 1909 that Mandarin became the national language of China, 国语 ( guó yǔ). When the Qing Dynasty fell in 1912, the Republic of China maintained Mandarin as the official language. It was renamed 普通话 (pǔ tōng huà) in 1955, but Taiwan continues to use the name 国语 (guó yǔ).

    As one of the Chinese languages, Mandarin uses Chinese characters for its writing system. Chinese charactershave a history dating back more than two thousand years. The early forms of Chinese characters were pictographs (graphic representations of real objects), but characters became more stylized and came to represent ideas as well as objects. Each Chinese character represents a syllable of the spoken language. Characters represent words, but not every character is used independently. The Chinese writing system is very complex and the most difficult part of learning Mandarin. There are thousands of characters, and they must be memorized and practiced to master the written language. In an attempt to improve literacy, the Chinese government began simplifying characters in the 1950s. These simplified characters are used in mainland China, Singapore, and Malaysia, while Taiwan and Hong Kong still use the traditional characters.

    Students of Mandarin outside of Chinese-speaking countries often use Romanization in place of Chinese characters when first learning the language. Romanization uses the Western (Roman) alphabet to represent the sounds of spoken Mandarin, so it is a bridge between learning the spoken language and beginning the study of Chinese characters. There are many systems of Romanization, but the most popular for teaching materials is Pinyin.

  6. What is Mandarin Chinese language? - Quora › What-is-Mandarin-Chinese-language

    Mandarin is a dialect of the Chinese language that is considered to be the ‘common standard’ 普通话 for all Chinese speakers. Speakers of good Mandarin may receive the compliment that their spoken language is very ‘standard’ 标准的, or ‘great’ 棒.

  7. Chinese Language Branch - Origins & Classification - MustGo › worldlanguages › chinese-branch
    • Status
    • Dialects
    • Structure

    Standard Mandarin is the official standard of the People’s Republic of China, the Republic of China (Taiwan), and one of the official languages of Singapore. The governments of these countries intend for speakers of all Chinese speech varieties to use it as a lingua franca. It is used in government, in the media, and in education. 1. People’s Republic of China The situation in the People’s Republic of China is characterized by diglossia. For instance, it is common for people to speak Standard Mandarin, plus local dialect(s), plus sometimes a regional lingua franca, such as Cantonese.People frequently switch between Standard Mandarin and the local dialect(s), depending on the situation. 2. In the Republic of China (Taiwan), speakers commonly switch back and forth between Standard Mandarin and Taiwanese, and this mixture is considered socially appropriate under many circumstances. 3. In Hong Kong, it is acceptable to switch between Cantonese and English, and in some cases, also Standa...

    The identification of the varieties of Chinese as languages or dialects is a controversial issue. Some call Chinese a language and its subdivisions dialects, while others call Chinese a language branch and its subdivisions languages. The Chinese themselves refer to all forms of spoken Chinese as dialects. This perception is reinforced by a common cultural and political identity and by a common writing system with deep historical roots. Chinese is distinguished by a great deal of internal diversity. To date, some 1500 varieties of spoken Chinese have been identified. Many variants of spoken Chinese are different enough to be mutually incomprehensible. In fact, the intelligibility between any two of the Chinese dialects is less than that between any two Romance languages. Furthermore, the dialects themselves are far from uniform. There is a great deal of variation within the dialects themselves which also affects intelligibility. Chinese is usually classified into these major dialect...

    Sound system

    All Chinese dialects share two basic properties: 1. Tones Every syllable in Chinese has a pitch that is an integral part of the pronunciation of that syllable. Pitch distinguishes one syllable from another. The Romanization system adopted by the government of the People’s Republic of China, called Pīnyīn, represents tones by diacritical marks over vowels. Dialects differ from each other both in the number and the quality of tones. For instance, Mandarin has four tones, while Cantonese has six...


    All Chinese dialects are predominantly isolating, or analytic, meaning that for the most part, words have only one grammatical form. Grammatical functions are expressed through word order, particles, prepositions, and discourse, rather than by suffixes attached to nouns or verbs, such as in Indo-European languages. Because of the lack of inflections, Chinese grammar may appear quite simple compared to that of Indo-Europeanlanguages.


    Chinese dialects share a major portion of their vocabulary, although there are some regional differences. Foreign words and concepts are adopted by creating new compound words that translate the concept behind them. For example, the Mandarin word for computer is diànnao, ‘electric brain’, the word for telephoneis diànhuà, literally ‘electric speech’. Transliteration of borrowed words does not work very well in Chinese because Chinese characters are not well-suited to represent foreign sounds,...

  8. Simplified or Traditional Chinese, Mandarin or Cantonese ... › blog › simplified-traditional

    The table below solves the riddle: In mainland China and Singapore, Mandarin is the spoken language and people resort to Simplified Chinese when they write. In Hong Kong, Cantonese is the predominant dialect while people write in Traditional Chinese. The exception is Taiwan where people speak Mandarin and write in Traditional Chinese.

  9. Where Is Mandarin Spoken? - › where-is-mandarin-spoken-2278443
    • Mandarin Spoken Here
    • Significant Presence Outside of Asia
    • Other Chinese Languages Within China
    • Which Language Should You Learn?

    Mandarin is the official language of Mainland China and Taiwan. It is also one of the official languages of Singapore and the United Nations. Mandarin is also spoken in many Chinese communities throughout the world. There are an estimated 40 million Chinese living overseas, mostly in Asian countries (about 30 million). Mandarin Chinese is widely spoken but is not the official language in Indonesia and Malaysia.

    There is also a significant Chinese population living in the Americas (6 million), Europe (2 million), Oceania (1 million), and Africa (100,000). In the United States, Chinatowns in New York City and San Francisco contain the largest Chinese communities. Chinatowns in Los Angeles, San Jose, Chicago, and Honolulu also have a large population of Chinese people and thus Chinese speakers. In Canada, much of the population of Chinese people is in Chinatowns in Vancouver and Toronto. In Europe, the UK has many large Chinatowns in London, Manchester, and Liverpool. In fact, Liverpool's Chinatown is the oldest in Europe. In Africa, the Chinatown in Johannesburg has been a popular tourist attraction for decades. Other large overseas Chinese communities exist in Nigeria, Mauritius, and Madagascar. The presence of an overseas Chinese community does not necessarily mean that Mandarin Chinese is the common language spoken in these communities, however. Because Mandarin Chinese is the official la...

    Despite being the official language of China, Mandarin Chinese is not the only language spoken there. Most Chinese people learn Mandarin at school but may use a different language or dialect for everyday communication at home. Mandarin Chinese is most widely spoken in northern and southwestern China. But the most common language in Hong Kong and Macau is Cantonese. Similarly, Mandarin is not the only language of Taiwan. Most Taiwanese people can speak and understand Mandarin Chinese but may be more comfortable with other languages such as Taiwanese or Hakka.

    Learning the world’s most widely spoken language will open up exciting new opportunities for business, travel, and cultural enrichment. But if you plan to visit a specific region of China or Taiwan you may be better off knowing the local language. Mandarin will allow you to communicate with almost anyone in China or Taiwan. But if you plan to concentrate your activities in Guangdong Province or Hong Kongyou may find Cantonese to be more useful. Similarly, if you plan to do business in southern Taiwan, you might find that Taiwanese is better for establishing business and personal connections. If, however, your activities take you to various regions of China, Mandarin is the logical choice. It is truly the lingua franca of the Chinese world.

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