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Feb 12, 2019 · There are many Chinese dialects in China, so many that it is hard to guess how many dialects actually exist. In general, dialects can be roughly classified into one of the seven large groups: Putonghua (Mandarin), Gan, Kejia (Hakka), Min, Wu, Xiang, and Yue ( Cantonese ).
- Jun Shan
Aug 18, 2020 · Mandarin Chinese is known as 普通话 (Pǔtōnghuà), the “common speech,” and it has only been the official language of China since the 1930s, when the country established it as the standard dialect and began pushing to make this a reality nationwide.
- Mandarin Chinese. Where it’s spoken: China; Taiwan. Number of speakers: ∼1.1 billion. Mandarin, also known as Putonghua, is the official language of China.
- Cantonese Chinese. Where it’s spoken: China’s Guangdong province; Guangzhou; Hong Kong; Macau. Number of speakers: ∼73 million. Though not quite second in terms of speakers, Cantonese is the second most widely spread dialect spoken in China.
- Wu Chinese (Shanghainese) Where it’s spoken: China’s Jiangsu and Zhejiang provinces; Shanghai. Number of speakers: ∼80 million. Used primarily in Shanghai, the Wu Chinese dialect is mostly known as Shanghainese.
- Hakka Chinese. Where it’s spoken: China; Taiwan; Hong Kong; Macau. Number of speakers: ∼80 million. The Hakka Chinese dialect is spoken throughout Taiwan, Hong Kong, Macau and Southern China.
- Mandarin. If you’ve heard of one Chinese language, there’s a pretty good chance it’s this one. The most widely spoken form of Chinese is without a doubt Mandarin.
- Standard Chinese. Since the late 19th century the official language of China has been Standard Chinese, otherwise known as “common speech.” Standard Chinese is just one of Mandarin’s many dialects, but probably the most important given it’s also the official language of Taiwan, one of four in Singapore, and one of the six in the UN.
- Cantonese (Yue) Cantonese, or Yue, is another well-known variant of Chinese with over 60 million speakers in China. Sadly, Cantonese is one of a few dying languages in China — collateral damage as Mandarin takes precedence over the country.
- Gan. Meanwhile, Gan dominates in many parts of western China. Over 41 million people speak some form of Gan, a distinctly different language from Mandarin and other Chinese varieties.