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Introduction of Chinese language


Spoken by over one billion people Chinese is indeed the greatest language in the world. But rather than one language China has many “ languages” or “dialects” that are based on the same written language, hence differing primarily in pronunciation and speech. With seven major language groups the Chinese languages are strongly associated with individual dialects and different geographical locations. What is spoken in the North may not be easily understood in the South.

This article aims to broaden the understanding of the Chinese language and give the unfamiliar person an insight in the Chinese culture as well as its linguistic framing. Learning Chinese is a fantastic experience and after reading this articles you will perhaps feel more comfortable in enrolling in language training.

And so we shall go through these seven language groups that forms the beautiful language we call Chinese.

Seven major language groups

As we mentioned above what many refer to as Chinese actually contains of several languages based on the same written language but individually unique by its different dialects and verbal pronunciation.

There are furthermore seven major Chinese language groups in which there exist individual dialectal differences. The seven Chinese language groups are:

• Mandarin
• Cantonese
• Hakka
• Xiang
• Min
• Gan
• Wu

This article will shed light upon the two most frequently spoken Chinese language groups that are also known across the world; The Mandarin dialects and Cantonese dialects.

The Mandarin dialects

Consisting of many diversifying dialect Mandarin is perhaps the most well-known Chinese language group. This is mainly because Mandarin dialects are spoken by a 70 % majority of the Chinese people situated in northern and western regions. One of the mandarin dialects primarily spoken in China’s capital Beijing is also referred to as the national language.

The mandarin dialects can be divided into eight different groups:
• Beijing – mandarin
• Northeast- mandarin
• Ji lu
• Jioa lioa
• Zhongyuan
• Lan yin
• Southwest – mandarin
• Junghuai

When all dialects above are considered to be of the Mandarin dialects, the differences are often large enough that people speaking different Mandarin do not necessarily feel linguistically connected.

Spoken by over a billion people, the Mandarin dialects are hence the largest of the Chinese languages. Mandarin is also a popular language to learn by visitors since it is referred to as the national language and used in many official channels. Learning the Beijing – Mandarin dialect is furthermore becoming a popular reason for European neighbors to study abroad in China.

The Cantonese dialects

Official language in Hong Kong and widely used in Gungdong, Southern Gungxi, Macau, Hainan, Zhuang region and other abroad settlements the name Cantonese is argued to be derived from Canton, the English word for the Guangdong province. Cantonese is identified by four major dialects:

• Yuehai, referred to as official Cantonese and includes Zhongshan and Donguan dialects and dialects spoken in Hong Kong, Macau and Guangzhou.
• Siyi, including Taishan dialect and associated with abroad settlements like the American Chinatowns during the 70s.
• The Gaoyang dialect can be found in Yangjiang.
• Guinan, limited to the Guangxai region.

Briefly summarizing two out of the seven major Chinese language groups brings us to only one conclusion. Chinese as we know it is a spectacular and complex language to comprehend. It might even seem quite self-explanatory that the largest country in the world has such linguistic diversity. These language groups are in many ways completely different from each other and many do not acknowledge their common origin.

But it seems only natural with diversity as a common factor in a language spoken by over one billion people.

This article is provided by educationguide.cn. The site offer useful information and tips for Chinese people who wants to study abroad.


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