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Encyclopedia > Chinese language
This article contains Chinese text.
Without proper rendering support, you may see question marks, boxes, or other symbols instead of Chinese characters.
Chinese
汉语/漢語 Hànyǔ, 中文 Zhōngwén
Spoken in: China, Taiwan, Singapore, Malaysia and other regions with Chinese communities 
Region: (majorities): East Asia
(minorities): Southeast Asia, and other regions with Chinese communities
Total speakers: approx 1.176 billion 
Ranking: Chinese, all: 1

Mandarin: 1
Wu: 12
Cantonese: 18
Min: 22
Hakka: 33
Gan: 42 Image File history File links Zhongwen. ... The UTF-8-encoded Japanese Wikipedia article for mojibake, as displayed in ISO-8859-1 encoding. ... Japanese name Kanji: Hiragana: Korean name Hangul: Hanja: Vietnamese name Quốc ngữ: Hán tá»±: A Chinese character or Han character (simplified Chinese: ; traditional Chinese: ; pinyin: ) is a logogram used in writing Chinese, Japanese, rarely Korean, and formerly Vietnamese. ... This is a list of languages, ordered by the number of native-language speakers, with some data for second-language use. ...

Language family: Sino-Tibetan
 Chinese
 
Writing system: Chinese characters 
Official status
Official language in:  People's Republic of China

Flag of the Republic of China Republic of China (Taiwan)
Flag of Singapore Singapore
Flag of the United Nations United Nations A language family is a group of languages related by descent from a common proto-language. ... The Sino-Tibetan languages form a putative language family composed of Chinese and the Tibeto-Burman languages, including some 250 languages of East Asia. ... Writing systems of the world today. ... Japanese name Kanji: Hiragana: Korean name Hangul: Hanja: Vietnamese name Quốc ngữ: Hán tá»±: A Chinese character or Han character (simplified Chinese: ; traditional Chinese: ; pinyin: ) is a logogram used in writing Chinese, Japanese, rarely Korean, and formerly Vietnamese. ... Image File history File links Flag_of_the_Peoples_Republic_of_China. ... Image File history File links Flag_of_Hong_Kong. ... Image File history File links Flag_of_Macau. ... Image File history File links Flag_of_the_Republic_of_China. ... For the Chinese civilization, see China. ... Image File history File links Flag_of_Singapore. ... Image File history File links Flag_of_the_United_Nations. ... UN redirects here. ...

Regulated by: In the PRC: National Language Regulating Committee[1]
In the ROC: Mandarin Promotion Council
In Singapore: Promote Mandarin Council/Speak Mandarin Campaign[2]
Language codes
ISO 639-1: zh
ISO 639-2: chi (B)  zho (T)
ISO 639-3: variously:
zho – Chinese (generic)
cdo – Min Dong
cjy – Jinyu
cmn – Mandarin
cpx – Pu Xian
czh – Huizhou
czo – Min Zhong
gan – Gan
hak – Hakka
hsn – Xiang
mnp – Min Bei
nan – Min Nan
wuu – Wu
yue – Cantonese

Chinese or the Sinitic language(s) (汉语/漢語, pinyin: Hànyǔ; 华语/華語, Huáyǔ; or 中文, Zhōngwén) can be considered a language or language family[3]. Originally the indigenous languages spoken by the Han Chinese 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 1 billion people, speak some form of Chinese as their native language. The identification of the varieties of Chinese as "languages" or "dialects" is controversial [4]. According to news reports in March 2007, 86 percent of people in the People's Republic of China speak a variant of spoken Chinese.[5] As a language family, the number of Chinese speakers is 1.136 billion. The same news report indicate 53 percent[6] of the population, or 700 million speakers, can effectively communicate in Putonghua (commonly called "Mandarin"), outnumbering any other language in the world. The Mandarin Promotion Council (國語推行委員會, pinyin: GuóyÇ” TuÄ«xíng WÄ›iyuánhuì) was established by the Ministry of Education of the Republic of China with the purpose of standardizing and popularizing the usage of Guoyu in China. ... The Speak Mandarin Campaign (SMC; Simplified Chinese: 讲华语运动; Pinyin: jiÇŽng huáyÇ” yùndòng) is an initiative to encourage Singapores ethnic Chinese population to speak Mandarin, one of the four official languages of Singapore. ... The Speak Mandarin Campaign (SMC; Simplified Chinese: 讲华语运动) is an initiative to encourage Singapores ethnic Chinese population to speak Mandarin, the official language of China, commonly referred to as Putonghua in Chinese. ... ISO 639-1 is the first part of the ISO 639 international-standard language-code family. ... ISO 639-2 is the second part of the ISO 639 standard, which lists codes for the representation of the names of languages. ... ISO 639-3 is an international standard for language codes. ... Min Dong Language (or Eastern Min Language, Chinese: 閩東語, SLC: Mỉng Tòyng ngỹ) is the language mainly spoken in the eastern part of Fujian Province (Chinese: 福建, SLC: Huk Kyŏng). ... Jin (simplified: 晋语; traditional: 晉語; pinyin: jìnyǔ), or Jin-yu, is a subdivision of spoken Chinese. ... This article is on all of the Northern and Southwestern Chinese dialects. ... Here is an error. ... The Hui (徽) dialects are unrelated to the Hui (回) ethnic group of China. ... Min Zhong (Simplified Chinese: 闽中; Traditional Chinese: 閩中; pinyin: Mǐnzhōng) is a subcategory of Min, which is a Chinese language. ... Gàn (赣语) is one of the major divisions of spoken Chinese, a member of the Sino-Tibetan family of languages, concentrated in and typical of Jiangxi Province. ... Hakka (Simplified Chinese: 客家话, Traditional Chinese: 客家話, Pronunciation in Hakka: Hak-ka-fa/-va, Pinyin: Kèjiāhuà) is a spoken variation of the Chinese language spoken predominantly in southern China by the Hakka ethnic group and descendants in diaspora throughout East and Southeast Asia and around the world. ... Xiang (湘語/湘语), also Hunan, Hunanese, or Hsiang, is a subdivision of spoken Chinese. ... Min Bei is a subcategory of Min, which is a Chinese language. ... Mǐn N n (Chinese: 閩南語), also spelt as Minnan or Min-nan; native name B ; literally means Southern Min or Southern Fujian and refers to the local language/dialect of southern Fujian province, China. ... Wu (Chinese: ; pinyin: ; Chinese: ; pinyin: ) is one of the major divisions of the Chinese language. ... This article is about all of the Cantonese (Yue) dialects. ... The Unicode Standard, Version 5. ... Pinyin, more formally called Hanyu Pinyin (Simplified Chinese: ; Traditional Chinese: ; Pinyin: ), is the most common variant of Standard Mandarin romanization system in use. ... A language family is a group of languages related by descent from a common proto-language. ... Language(s) Chinese languages Religion(s) Predominantly Mahayana Buddhism and Taoism. ... The Sino-Tibetan languages form a putative language family composed of Chinese and the Tibeto-Burman languages, including some 250 languages of East Asia. ... Chinese forms part of the Sino-Tibetan family of languages. ... Spoken Chinese Spoken Chinese comprises many regional variants. ... Map of eastern China and Taiwan, showing the historic distribution of Mandarin Chinese in light brown. ...


Spoken Chinese is distinguished by its high level of internal diversity, though all spoken varieties of Chinese are tonal and analytic. There are between six and twelve main regional groups of Chinese (depending on classification scheme), of which the most populous (by far) is Mandarin (c. 850 million), followed by Wu (c. 90 million), Min (c. 70 million) and Cantonese (c. 70 million). Most of these groups are mutually unintelligible, though some, like Xiang and the Southwest Mandarin dialects, may share common terms and some degree of intelligibility. Chinese is classified as a macrolanguage with 13 sub-languages in ISO 639-3, though the identification of the varieties of Chinese as multiple "languages" or as "dialects" of a single language is a contentious issue. Spoken Chinese Spoken Chinese comprises many regional variants. ... Some web browsers may not be able to view this correctly; you may see transcriptions in parentheses after the character, like this: () instead of on top of the character as intended. ... An analytic language is any language where syntax and meaning are shaped more by use of particles and word order than by inflection. ... This article is on all of the Northern and Southwestern Chinese dialects. ... Wu (Chinese: ; pinyin: ; Chinese: ; pinyin: ) is one of the major divisions of the Chinese language. ... Min (Chinese: ; pinyin: ; POJ: Bân hong-giân; BUC: Mìng huŏng-ngiòng) is a general term for a group of dialects of the Chinese language spoken in the southeastern Chinese province of Fujian as well as by migrants from this province in Guangdong (around Chaozhou-Swatou... This article is about all of the Cantonese (Yue) dialects. ... In linguistics, mutual intelligibility is a property exhibited by a set of languages when speakers of any one of them can readily understand all the others without intentional study or extraordinary effort. ... Xiang (湘語/湘语), also Hunan, Hunanese, or Hsiang, is a subdivision of spoken Chinese. ... ISO 639-3 defines some languages as macrolanguages. ... ISO 639-3 is an international standard for language codes. ... Chinese forms part of the Sino-Tibetan family of languages. ... For dialects of programming languages, see Programming language dialect. ...


The standardized form of spoken Chinese is Standard Mandarin (Putonghua/Guoyu), based on the Beijing dialect. Standard Mandarin is the official language of the People's Republic of China and the Republic of China (Taiwan), 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 Cantonese-speaking overseas communities, and remains one of the official languages of Hong Kong (together with English) and of Macau (together with Portuguese). Min Nan, 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 and is known as Hokkien). Map of eastern China and Taiwan, showing the historic distribution of Mandarin Chinese in light brown. ... Note: This page or section contains IPA phonetic symbols in Unicode. ... For the Chinese civilization, see China. ... UN redirects here. ... Standard Cantonese is a variant, and is generally considered the prestige dialect of Cantonese Chinese. ... The English language is a West Germanic language that originates in England. ... Mǐn N n (Chinese: 閩南語), also spelt as Minnan or Min-nan; native name B ; literally means Southern Min or Southern Fujian and refers to the local language/dialect of southern Fujian province, China. ...   (Chinese: ; pinyin: ; Wade-Giles: Fu-chien; Postal map spelling: Fukien, Foukien; local transliteration Hokkien from Min Nan Hok-kiàn) is one of the provinces on the southeast coast of the Peoples Republic of China. ... For other uses, see Formosan languages, Taiwanese Mandarin, and Languages of Taiwan. ... Location of Southeast Asia Southeast Asia is a subregion of Asia. ...

Contents

Spoken Chinese

Main article: spoken Chinese

The map below depicts the linguistic subdivisions ("languages" or "dialect groups") within China itself. The traditionally-recognized seven main groups, in order of population size are: Spoken Chinese Spoken Chinese comprises many regional variants. ...

  • Mandarin 北方话/北方話 or 官話/官话, (c. 850 million),
  • Wu 吳/吴 , which includes Shanghainese, (c. 90 million),
  • Cantonese (Yue) 粵/粤, (c. 80 million),
  • Min 閩/闽, which includes Taiwanese, (c. 50 million),
  • Xiang 湘, (c. 35 million),
  • Hakka 客家 or 客, (c. 35 million),
  • Gan 贛/赣, (c. 20 million)

Chinese linguists have recently distinguished: This article is on all of the Northern and Southwestern Chinese dialects. ... Wu (Chinese: ; pinyin: ; Chinese: ; pinyin: ) is one of the major divisions of the Chinese language. ... Shanghainese (上海言话 [] in Shanghainese), sometimes referred to as the Shanghai dialect, is a dialect of Wu Chinese spoken in the city of Shanghai. ... This article is about all of the Cantonese (Yue) dialects. ... Min (Chinese: ; pinyin: ; POJ: Bân hong-giân; BUC: Mìng huŏng-ngiòng) is a general term for a group of dialects of the Chinese language spoken in the southeastern Chinese province of Fujian as well as by migrants from this province in Guangdong (around Chaozhou-Swatou... For other uses, see Formosan languages, Taiwanese Mandarin, and Languages of Taiwan. ... Xiang (湘語/湘语), also Hunan, Hunanese, or Hsiang, is a subdivision of spoken Chinese. ... Hakka (Simplified Chinese: 客家话, Traditional Chinese: 客家話, Pronunciation in Hakka: Hak-ka-fa/-va, Pinyin: Kèjiāhuà) is a spoken variation of the Chinese language spoken predominantly in southern China by the Hakka ethnic group and descendants in diaspora throughout East and Southeast Asia and around the world. ... Gàn (赣语) is one of the major divisions of spoken Chinese, a member of the Sino-Tibetan family of languages, concentrated in and typical of Jiangxi Province. ...

  • Jin 晉/晋 from Mandarin
  • Hui 徽 from Wu
  • Ping 平話/平话 partly from Cantonese

There are also many smaller groups that are not yet classified, such as: Danzhou dialect, spoken in Danzhou, on Hainan Island; Xianghua (乡话), not to be confused with Xiang (湘), spoken in western Hunan; and Shaozhou Tuhua, spoken in northern Guangdong. The Dungan language, spoken in Central Asia, is very closely related to Mandarin. However, it is not generally considered "Chinese" since it is written in Cyrillic and spoken by Dungan people outside China who are not considered ethnic Chinese. See List of Chinese dialects for a comprehensive listing of individual dialects within these large, broad groupings. Jin (simplified: 晋语; traditional: 晉語; pinyin: jìnyǔ), or Jin-yu, is a subdivision of spoken Chinese. ... The Hui (徽) dialects are unrelated to the Hui (回) ethnic group of China. ... Pinghua (平話/平话), also Guangxi Nanning, is a subdivision of spoken Chinese. ... Danzhouhua (hua = language) 儋州話 / 儋州话 is an unclassified Chinese dialect spoken in the area of Danzhou on the island Hainan. ... Template:Ébauche ville de Chine Template:Unicode chinese Template:Infobox Ville de Chine Danzhou (å„‹å·ž ; pinyin : Dānzhōu) is a city in the northwest of the Chinese island province of Hainan. ... This article does not cite its references or sources. ... Chai Xianghua , Chinese: 柴香華 Pinyin: Chái Xiānghuà) is a fictional Chinese character designed for the Soul Series of fighting games. ... Not to be confused with the unrelated provinces of Hainan, Henan, and Yunnan. ... Shaozhou Tuhua ( 韶州土話 / 韶州土话 ) is an unclassified Chinese language spoken in the border region of the provinces Guangdong, Hunan and Guangxi. ... Not to be confused with the former Kwantung Leased Territory in north-eastern China. ... The Dungan language (Dungan: Хуэйзў йүян Huejzw jyian, Russian: tr. ... Map of Central Asia showing three sets of possible boundaries for the region Central Asia located as a region of the world Central Asia is a vast landlocked region of Asia. ... The Cyrillic alphabet (or azbuka, from the old name of the first two letters) is an alphabet used for several East and South Slavic languages; (Belarusian, Bulgarian, Macedonian, Russian, Rusyn, Serbian, and Ukrainian) and many other languages of the former Soviet Union, Asia and Eastern Europe. ... Languages Dungan Religions Islam Related ethnic groups Hui Dungan (Simplified Chinese: ; Traditional Chinese: ; Pinyin: ; Russian: ) is a term used in territories of the former Soviet Union to refer to a Muslim people of Chinese origin. ... Geographic distribution of Sinitic language families within the Peoples Republic of China and the Republic of China The following is a list of Chinese dialects and languages. ...

The varieties of spoken Chinese in China and Taiwan
The varieties of spoken Chinese in China and Taiwan

In general, the above language-dialect groups do not have sharp boundaries, though Mandarin is the pre-dominant Sinitic language in the North and the Southwest, and the rest are mostly spoken in Central or Southeastern China. Frequently, as in the case of the Guangdong province, native speakers of major variants overlapped. As with many areas that were linguistically diverse for a long time, it is not always clear how the speeches of various parts of China should be classified. The Ethnologue lists a total of 14, but the number varies between seven and seventeen depending on the classification scheme followed. For instance, the Min variety is often divided into Northern Min (Minbei, Fuchow) and Southern Min (Minnan, Amoy-Swatow); linguists have not determined whether their mutual intelligibility is large enough to sort them as separate languages. Image File history File links Map_of_sinitic_languages-en. ... Image File history File links Map_of_sinitic_languages-en. ... Not to be confused with the former Kwantung Leased Territory in north-eastern China. ... Ethnologue: Languages of the World is a web and print publication of SIL International (formerly known as the Summer Institute of Linguistics), a Christian linguistic service organization which studies lesser-known languages primarily to provide the speakers with Bibles in their native language. ...


In general, mountainous South China displays more linguistic diversity than the flat North China. In parts of South China, a major city's dialect may only be marginally intelligible to close neighbours. For instance, Wuzhou is about 120 miles upstream from Guangzhou, but its dialect is more like Standard Cantonese spoken in Guangzhou, than is that of Taishan, 60 miles southwest of Guangzhou and separated by several rivers from it (Ramsey, 1987). Wuzhou is a prefecture-level city on the Eastern fringe of Guangxi Region of the Peoples Republic of China. ... CITIC Plaza Guangzhou (simplified Chinese: ; traditional Chinese: ; pinyin:  ; jyutping : Gwong²zau¹) is the capital and a sub-provincial city of Guangdong Province in the southern part of the Peoples Republic of China. ... Standard Cantonese is a variant, and is generally considered the prestige dialect of Cantonese Chinese. ... Taishan (台山; Mandarin: Táishān; Cantonese: Toisan; Taishanese: Hoisan, Other: Toishan, Toisaan) is a coastal county-level city in Guangdong Province, China. ... This article is about the year 1987. ...


Standard Mandarin and diglossia

Main article: Standard Mandarin

Putonghua / Guoyu, often called "Mandarin", is the official standard language used by the People's Republic of China, the Republic of China (on Taiwan), and Singapore (where it is called "Huayu"). It is based on the Beijing dialect, which is the dialect of Mandarin as spoken in Beijing. The governments intend for speakers of all Chinese speech varieties to use it as a common language of communication. Therefore it is used in government agencies, in the media, and as a language of instruction in schools. Map of eastern China and Taiwan, showing the historic distribution of Mandarin Chinese in light brown. ... Map of eastern China and Taiwan, showing the historic distribution of Mandarin Chinese in light brown. ... A standard language (also standard dialect or standardized dialect) is a particular variety of a language that has been given either legal or quasi-legal status. ... For the Chinese civilization, see China. ... Note: This page or section contains IPA phonetic symbols in Unicode. ... This article is on all of the Northern and Southwestern Chinese dialects. ... Peking redirects here. ...


In both China and Taiwan, diglossia has been a common feature: it is common for a Chinese to be able to speak two or even three varieties of the Sinitic languages (or “dialects”) together with Standard Mandarin. For example, in addition to putonghua a resident of Shanghai might speak Shanghainese and if they did not grow up there; his or her local dialect as well. A native of Guangzhou may speak Standard Cantonese and putonghua, a resident of Taiwan, both Taiwanese and putonghua/guoyu. A person living in Taiwan may commonly mix pronunciations, phrases, and words from Standard Mandarin and Taiwanese, and this mixture is considered socially appropriate under many circumstances. In Hong Kong, standard Mandarin is beginning to take its place beside English and Standard Cantonese, the official languages. Look up Diglossia in Wiktionary, the free dictionary. ... For other uses, see Shanghai (disambiguation). ... Shanghainese (上海言话 [] in Shanghainese), sometimes referred to as the Shanghai dialect, is a dialect of Wu Chinese spoken in the city of Shanghai. ... CITIC Plaza Guangzhou (simplified Chinese: ; traditional Chinese: ; pinyin:  ; jyutping : Gwong²zau¹) is the capital and a sub-provincial city of Guangdong Province in the southern part of the Peoples Republic of China. ... For other uses, see Formosan languages, Taiwanese Mandarin, and Languages of Taiwan. ... Map of eastern China and Taiwan, showing the historic distribution of Mandarin Chinese in light brown. ... For other uses, see Formosan languages, Taiwanese Mandarin, and Languages of Taiwan. ...


Language or language family?

Linguists often view Chinese as a language family, though owing to China's socio-political and cultural situation, and the fact that all spoken varieties use one common written system, it is customary to refer to these generally mutually unintelligible variants as “the Chinese language”. The diversity of Sinitic variants is comparable to the Romance languages. Chinese forms part of the Sino-Tibetan family of languages. ... A language family is a group of languages related by descent from a common proto-language. ... The Romance languages (sometimes referred to as Romanic languages) are a branch of the Indo-European language family that comprises all the languages that descend from Latin, the language of the Roman Empire. ...


From a purely descriptive point of view, "languages" and "dialects" are simply arbitrary groups of similar idiolects, and the distinction is irrelevant to linguists who are only concerned with describing regional speeches technically. However, the idea of a single language has major overtones in politics and cultural self-identity, and explains the amount of emotion over this issue. Most Chinese and Chinese linguists refer to Chinese as a single language and its subdivisions dialects, while others call Chinese a language family. In linguistics, prescription can refer both to the codification and the enforcement of rules governing how a language is to be used. ...


Chinese itself has a term for its unified writing system, zhongwen (中文), while the closest equivalent used to described its spoken variants would be Hanyu (汉语,“spoken language[s] of the Han Chinese) – this term could be translated to either “language” or “languages” since Chinese possesses no grammatical numbers. In the Chinese language, there is much less need for a uniform speech-and-writing continuum, as indicated by two separate character morphemes 语 yu and 文 wen. Ethnic Chinese often consider these spoken variations as one single language for reasons of nationality and as they inherit one common cultural and linguistic heritage in Classical Chinese. Han native speakers of Wu, Min, Hakka, and Cantonese, for instance, may consider their own linguistic varieties as separate spoken languages, but the Han Chinese race as one – albeit internally very diverse – ethnicity. To Chinese nationalists, the idea of Chinese as a language family may suggest that the Chinese identity is much more fragmentary and disunified than it actually is and as such is often looked upon as culturally and politically provocative. Additionally, in Taiwan, it is closely associated with Taiwanese independence, where some supporters of Taiwanese independence promote the local Taiwanese Minnan-based spoken language. Language(s) Chinese languages Religion(s) Predominantly Mahayana Buddhism and Taoism. ... For other uses of number, see number (disambiguation). ... In English usage, nationality is the legal relationship between a person and a country. ... Classical Chinese or Literary Chinese is a traditional style of written Chinese based on the grammar and vocabulary of very old forms of Chinese , making it very different from any modern spoken form of Chinese. ... Language(s) Chinese languages Religion(s) Predominantly Mahayana Buddhism and Taoism. ... Taiwan independence (台灣獨立, pinyin: Táiwān dúlì, Taiwanese Church Romanization: Tâi-oân To̍k-li̍p; abbreviated to 台獨, Táidú, Tâi-to̍k) is a political movement whose goal is — depending on ones interpretation of the state of affairs between the land directly administered by the Peoples Republic of China (from Beijing... Mǐn Nán (Chinese: 閩南語), also spelt as Minnan or Min-nan; native name Bân-lâm-gú; literally means Southern Min or Southern Fujian and refers to the local language/dialect of southern Fujian province, China. ...


Within the People’s Republic of China and Singapore, it is common for the government to refer to all divisions of the Sinitic language(s) beside standard Mandarin as fangyan (“regional tongues”, often translated as “dialects”). Modern-day Chinese speakers of all kinds communicate using one formal standard written language, although this modern written standard is modeled after Mandarin, generally the modern Beijing substandard. For dialects of programming languages, see Programming language dialect. ... Vernacular Chinese (pinyin: báihuà; Wade-Giles: paihua) is a style or register of the written Chinese language essentially modeled after the spoken language and associated with Standard Mandarin. ...


Language and nationality

The term sinophone, coined in analogy to anglophone and francophone, refers to those who speak the Chinese language natively, or prefer it as a medium of communication. It may be applied to some Overseas Chinese in other countries, and when applied to China itself is largely synonymous with the Han nationality, but also applies to the Hui nationality, who alone among the officially recognized nationalities of China are distinguished only by religion and not by language, and are sometimes referred to as "sinophone Muslims". In fact people of the Manchu nationality also speak Chinese natively, with the Manchu language now a dead language of historical interest, and some other minorities like the Tujia and She people have also predominantly shifted to regional varieties of Chinese, while people of any nationality who have been educated in the Chinese educational system are also able to use Chinese as a medium of communication. Look up Anglophone in Wiktionary, the free dictionary. ... This article or section does not adequately cite its references or sources. ... Languages various Religions Predominantly Taoism, Mahayana Buddhism, traditional Chinese religions, and atheism. ... // Han in China Chinese (æ¼¢), an abbreviation or adjectival modifier for things Chinese. ... Look up Hui in Wiktionary, the free dictionary. ... Ethnolinguistic map of China The Peoples Republic of China (PRC) is a multi-ethnic unitary state and, as such, officially recognizes 56 nationalities or mínzú (民族), within China: the Han being the majority (>92%), and the remaining 55 nationalities being the national minorities. ... There is also a collection of Hadith called Sahih Muslim A Muslim (Arabic: مسلم, Persian: Mosalman or Mosalmon Urdu: مسلمان, Turkish: Müslüman, Albanian: Mysliman, Bosnian: Musliman) is an adherent of the religion of Islam. ... The Manchu people (Manchu: Manju; Simplified Chinese: ; Traditional Chinese: ; Pinyin: , Mongolian: Манж) are a Tungusic people who originated in Manchuria (todays Northeastern China). ... The Manchu language is a Tungusic language spoken by Manchus in Manchuria; it is the language of the Manchu, though now most Manchus speak Mandarin Chinese and there are fewer than 70 native speakers of Manchu out of a total of nearly 10 million ethnic Manchus. ... The Tujia (土家族) are an ethnic group numbering about 8 million, living in the Wuling Mountains of Chinas Hunan and Hubei provinces. ... The She (畲) people are an ethnic group. ...


Written Chinese

See also: Classical Chinese and Vernacular Chinese

The relationship among the Chinese spoken and written languages is a complex one. Its spoken variations evolved at different rates, while written Chinese itself has changed much less. Classical Chinese literature began in the Spring and Autumn period, although written records have been discovered as far back as the 14th to 11th centuries BC Shang dynasty oracle bones using the oracle bone scripts. Various styles of Chinese calligraphy. ... Classical Chinese or Literary Chinese is a traditional style of written Chinese based on the grammar and vocabulary of very old forms of Chinese , making it very different from any modern spoken form of Chinese. ... Vernacular Chinese (pinyin: báihuà; Wade-Giles: paihua) is a style or register of the written Chinese language essentially modeled after the spoken language and associated with Standard Mandarin. ... Classical Chinese or Literary Chinese is a traditional style of written Chinese based on the grammar and vocabulary of very old forms of Chinese , making it very different from any modern spoken form of Chinese. ... For other uses, see Literature (disambiguation). ... The Spring and Autumn Period (Chinese: ; Pinyin: ) was a period in Chinese history, which roughly corresponds to the first half of the Eastern Zhou dynasty (from the second half of the 8th century BC to the first half of the 5th century). ... Remnants of advanced, stratified societies dating back to the Shang period have been found in the Yellow River Valley. ... Replica of an oracle bone -- turtle shell Oracle bones (Chinese: 甲骨; pinyin: jiǎgǔpiàn) are pieces of bone or turtle shell used in royal divination from the mid Shang to early Zhou dynasties in ancient China, and often bearing written inscriptions in what is called oracle bone script. ... Oracle bone script (Chinese: 甲骨文; Hanyu Pinyin: ; literally shell bone writing) refers to incised (or, rarely, brush-written) ancient Chinese characters found on oracle bones, which are animal bones or turtle shells used in divination in ancient China. ...


By the late Han dynasty however, standard written Chinese had already diverged from the contemporaneous vernacular. By the end of the 19th century, only the educated class could write this formalized classical Chinese, known as wenyan, which was the language of Confucius and the early classics and very far from what was spoken more than two millennia later. During the Ming and Qing dynasty a stream of novels written in the vernacular medium began to gain prominence, and by the 20th century it was clear to many language reformists that the literary written standard should be discarded. The May Fourth Movement of 1919, headed by Hu Shih, advocated for a vernacular idiom; it slowly gained momentum and since the late 1920s, written standard has switched to the baihua vernacular (白話/白话 báihuà). Today this standard, which is closely modeled after how Mandarin is spoken now, is used throughout China, overseas and in virtually all modern literature. Han Dynasty in 87 BC Capital Changan (206 BC–9 AD) Luoyang (25 AD–220 AD) Language(s) Chinese Religion Buddhism, Taoism, Confucianism, Chinese folk religion Government Monarchy History  - Establishment 206 BC  - Battle of Gaixia; Han rule of China begins 202 BC  - Interruption of Han rule 9 - 24  - Abdication... Confucius (Chinese: ; pinyin: ; Wade-Giles: Kung-fu-tzu), lit. ... Flag (1890-1912) Anthem Gong Jinou (1911) Qing China at its greatest extent. ... For other uses, see Novel (disambiguation). ... Look up Vernacular in Wiktionary, the free dictionary. ... Students in Beijing rallied during the May Fourth Movement. ... Year 1919 (MCMXIX) was a common year starting on Wednesday (link will display the full calendar). ... Hu Shih (Simplified: 胡适, Traditional: 胡適, Pinyin: Hú Shì), (December 17, 1891-February 24, 1962) was a Chinese philosopher and essayist. ... Vernacular Chinese (pinyin: báihuà; Wade-Giles: paihua) is a style or register of the written Chinese language essentially modeled after the spoken language and associated with Standard Mandarin. ...


The Chinese orthography centers around Chinese characters, hanzi, which are logograms written within imaginary rectangular blocks, traditionally arranged in vertical columns, read from top to bottom down a column, and right to left across columns. Chinese characters are morphemes independent of phonetic change. Thus the number "one", yi in Mandarin, yat in Cantonese and chi̍t in Hokkien (form of Min), all share an identical character ("一"). Vocabularies from different major Chinese variants have diverged, and colloquial non-standard written Chinese often makes use of unique "dialectal characters", such as 冇 and 係 for Cantonese and Hakka, which are considered archaic or unused in standard written Chinese. The orthography of a language specifies the correct way of using a specific writing system to write the language. ... Egyptian hieroglyphs, which have their origins as logograms. ... In morpheme-based morphology, a morpheme is the smallest lingual unit that carries a semantic interpretation. ... This article is on all of the Northern and Southwestern Chinese dialects. ... This article is about all of the Cantonese (Yue) dialects. ... Min Nan, Minnan, or Min-nan (Simplified Chinese: ; Traditional Chinese: ; pinyin: ; POJ: Bân-lâm-gú; Southern Min or Southern Fujian language) is the Chinese language/dialect spoken in southern Fujian province, China and neighboring areas, and by descendants of emigrants from these areas in diaspora. ... This article is about all of the Cantonese (Yue) dialects. ... For other uses, see Hakka (disambiguation). ...


Written colloquial Cantonese has become quite popular in online chat rooms and instant messaging amongst Hong-Kongers and Cantonese-speakers elsewhere. Use of it is considered highly informal, and does not extend to any formal occasion. A chat room or chatroom is a term used primarily by mass media to describe any form of synchronous conferencing, occasionally even asynchronous conferencing. ... // Instant messaging (IM) is a form of real-time communication between two or more people based on typed text. ...


Also, in Hunan, some women write their local language in Nü Shu, a syllabary derived from Chinese characters. The Dungan language, considered by some a dialect of Mandarin, is also nowadays written in Cyrillic, and was formerly written in the Arabic alphabet, although the Dungan people live outside China. Not to be confused with the unrelated provinces of Hainan, Henan, and Yunnan. ... Nü Shu written in Nü Shu (right to left). ... A syllabary is a set of written symbols that represent (or approximate) syllables, which make up words. ... Japanese name Kanji: Hiragana: Korean name Hangul: Hanja: Vietnamese name Quốc ngữ: Hán tá»±: A Chinese character or Han character (simplified Chinese: ; traditional Chinese: ; pinyin: ) is a logogram used in writing Chinese, Japanese, rarely Korean, and formerly Vietnamese. ... The Dungan language (Dungan: Хуэйзў йүян Huejzw jyian, Russian: tr. ... The Cyrillic alphabet (or azbuka, from the old name of the first two letters) is an alphabet used for several East and South Slavic languages; (Belarusian, Bulgarian, Macedonian, Russian, Rusyn, Serbian, and Ukrainian) and many other languages of the former Soviet Union, Asia and Eastern Europe. ... The Arabic alphabet is the script used for writing languages such as Arabic, Persian, Urdu, and others. ... Dungan (Traditional Chinese: ; pinyin: ; Russian: ) is a term used in territories of the former Soviet Union to refer to a Muslim people of Chinese origin. ...


Chinese characters

Main article: Chinese character

The Chinese written language employs Chinese characters (漢字/汉字 pinyin: hànzì), which are logograms: each symbol represents a semanteme or morpheme (a meaningful unit of language), as well as one syllable; the written language can thus be termed a morphemo-syllabic script. Japanese name Kanji: Hiragana: Korean name Hangul: Hanja: Vietnamese name Quốc ngữ: Hán tá»±: A Chinese character or Han character (simplified Chinese: ; traditional Chinese: ; pinyin: ) is a logogram used in writing Chinese, Japanese, rarely Korean, and formerly Vietnamese. ... Japanese name Kanji: Hiragana: Korean name Hangul: Hanja: Vietnamese name Quốc ngữ: Hán tá»±: A Chinese character or Han character (simplified Chinese: ; traditional Chinese: ; pinyin: ) is a logogram used in writing Chinese, Japanese, rarely Korean, and formerly Vietnamese. ... Pinyin, more formally called Hanyu Pinyin (Simplified Chinese: ; Traditional Chinese: ; Pinyin: ), is the most common variant of Standard Mandarin romanization system in use. ... Egyptian hieroglyphs, which have their origins as logograms. ... In morpheme-based morphology, a morpheme is the smallest lingual unit that carries a semantic interpretation. ... For the computer operating system, see Syllable (operating system). ...


Chinese characters evolved over time from earliest forms of hieroglyphs. The idea that all Chinese characters are either pictographs or ideographs is an erroneous one: most characters contain phonetic parts, and are composites of phonetic components and semantic Radicals. Only the simplest characters, such as ren 人 (human), ri 日 (sun), shan 山 (mountain), shui 水 (water), may be wholly pictorial in origin. In 100 AD, the famed scholar Xǚ Shèn in the Hàn Dynasty classified characters into 6 categories, namely pictographs, simple ideographs, compound ideographs, phonetic loans, phonetic compounds and derivative characters. Of these, only 4% as pictographs, and 80-90% as phonetic complexes consisting of a semantic element that indicates meaning, and a phonetic element that arguably once indicated the pronunciation. There are about 214 radicals recognized in the Kangxi Dictionary, which indicate what the character is about semantically. Hieroglyphics redirects here. ... Pictogram for public toilets A pictogram or pictograph is a symbol which represents an object or a concept by illustration. ... A Chinese character. ... The left part of mā, a Chinese character meaning mother, is a radical that means woman A radical (from Latin radix, meaning root) is a basic identifiable component of every Chinese character. ... Pliny the Younger advances to consulship. ... XÇ” Shèn XÇ” Shèn (許慎) was the author of Shuōwén JiÄ›zì, which was the first Chinese character dictionary. ... Han Dynasty in 87 BC Capital Changan (206 BC–9 AD) Luoyang (25 AD–220 AD) Language(s) Chinese Religion Buddhism, Taoism, Confucianism, Chinese folk religion Government Monarchy History  - Establishment 206 BC  - Battle of Gaixia; Han rule of China begins 202 BC  - Interruption of Han rule 9 - 24  - Abdication... The Kangxi Dictionary The Kangxi Dictionary (Chinese: 康熙字典; Pinyin: KāngxÄ« ZìdiÇŽn; Wade-Giles: Kang-hsi tzu-tien) was the standard Chinese character dictionary during the 18th and 19th centuries. ...


Modern characters are styled after the standard script (楷书/楷書 kǎishū) (see styles, below). Various other written styles are also used in East Asian calligraphy, including seal script (篆书/篆書 zhuànshū), cursive script (草书/草書 cǎoshū) and clerical script (隶书/隸書 lìshū). Calligraphy artists can write in traditional and simplified characters, but tend to use traditional characters for traditional art. Calligraphy in the Kaishu style The Regular Script, or in Chinese Kaishu (楷書 Pinyin: kǎishū) and Japanese Kaisho, also commonly known as Standard Regular (正楷), is the newest of the Chinese calligraphy style (peaked at the 7th century), hence most common in modern writings and publications (after the non-calligraphy... Japanese name Kanji: Hiragana: Korean name Hangul: Hanja: Vietnamese name Quốc ngữ: Hán tá»±: The art of calligraphy is widely practiced and revered in the East Asian civilizations that use Chinese characters. ...

Various styles of Chinese calligraphy.

There are currently two systems for Chinese characters. The traditional system, still used in Hong Kong, Taiwan, Macau and Chinese speaking communities (except Singapore and Malaysia) outside mainland China, takes its form from standardized character forms dating back to the late Han dynasty. The Simplified Chinese character system, developed by the People's Republic of China in 1954 to promote mass literacy, simplifies most complex traditional glyphs to fewer strokes, many to common caoshu shorthand variants. It is undecided in the discussion on which one is simpler between the Traditional Chinese character and Simplified Chinese character. Image File history File links Shodo. ... Image File history File links Shodo. ... Traditional Chinese characters refers to one of two standard sets of printed Chinese characters. ... ... Han Dynasty in 87 BC Capital Changan (206 BC–9 AD) Luoyang (25 AD–220 AD) Language(s) Chinese Religion Buddhism, Taoism, Confucianism, Chinese folk religion Government Monarchy History  - Establishment 206 BC  - Battle of Gaixia; Han rule of China begins 202 BC  - Interruption of Han rule 9 - 24  - Abdication... Simplified Chinese character (Simplified Chinese: or ; traditional Chinese: or ; pinyin: or ) is one of two standard sets of Chinese characters of the contemporary Chinese written language. ... Year 1954 (MCMLIV) was a common year starting on Friday (link will display full 1954 Gregorian calendar). ... Children reading. ... variant glyphs representing the character a (allographs of a) in the Zapfino typeface. ... Shorthand is an abbreviated, symbolic writing method that improves speed of writing or brevity as compared to a normal method of writing a language. ...


Singapore, which has a large Chinese community, is the first – and at present the only – foreign nation to officially adopt simplified characters, although it has also become the de facto standard for younger ethnic Chinese in Malaysia. The Internet provides the platform to practice reading the alternative system, be it traditional or simplified.


A well-educated Chinese today recognizes approximately 6,000-7,000 characters; some 3,000 of them are required to read a Mainland newspaper. The PRC government defines literacy amongst workers as a knowledge of 2,000 characters, though this literacy could be pretty functional. A large unabridged dictionary like the Kangxi Dictionary contains over 40,000 characters, including obscure, variant and archaic characters; only a quarter are now commonly used. For other uses, see Dictionary (disambiguation). ... The Kangxi Dictionary The Kangxi Dictionary (Chinese: 康熙字典; Pinyin: Kāngxī Zìdiǎn; Wade-Giles: Kang-hsi tzu-tien) was the standard Chinese character dictionary during the 18th and 19th centuries. ...


History and evolution

Most linguists classify all varieties of modern spoken Chinese as part of the Sino-Tibetan language family and believe that there was an original language, termed Proto-Sino-Tibetan, from which the Sinitic and Tibeto-Burman languages descended. The relation between Chinese and other Sino-Tibetan languages is an area of active research, as is the attempt to reconstruct Proto-Sino-Tibetan. The main difficulty in this effort is that, while there is enough documentation to allow one to reconstruct the ancient Chinese sounds, there is no written documentation that records the division between proto-Sino-Tibetan and ancient Chinese. In addition, many of the older languages that would allow us to reconstruct Proto-Sino-Tibetan are very poorly understood. A language family is a group of languages related by descent from a common proto-language. ...


Categorization of the development of Chinese is a subject of scholarly debate. One of the first systems was devised by the Swedish linguist Bernhard Karlgren in the early 1900s; most present systems rely heavily on Karlgren's insights and methods. Bernhard Karlgren (1889 - 1978) was a Swedish sinologist and eminent philologist, and the founder of Swedish sinology as a scholarly discipline. ... This article is about the decade starting in 1900 and ending in 1909. ...


Old Chinese (T:上古漢語; S:上古汉语; P:Shànggǔ Hànyǔ), sometimes known as "Archaic Chinese", was the language common during the early and middle Zhōu Dynasty (1122 BC - 256 BC), texts of which include inscriptions on bronze artifacts, the poetry of the Shījīng, the history of the Shūjīng, and portions of the Yìjīng (I Ching). The phonetic elements found in the majority of Chinese characters provide hints to their Old Chinese pronunciations. The pronunciation of the borrowed Chinese characters in Japanese, Vietnamese and Korean also provide valuable insights. Old Chinese was not wholly uninflected. It possessed a rich sound system in which aspiration or rough breathing differentiated the consonants, but probably was still without tones. Work on reconstructing Old Chinese started with Qīng dynasty philologists. Some early Indo-European loanwords in Chinese have been proposed, notably "honey", shī "lion," and perhaps also "horse", quǎn "dog", and "goose".[7] The Seal script characters for harvest (later year) and person. ... Traditional Chinese characters refers to one of two standard sets of printed Chinese characters. ... Simplified Chinese character (Simplified Chinese: or ; traditional Chinese: or ; pinyin: or ) is one of two standard sets of Chinese characters of the contemporary Chinese written language. ... Pinyin, more formally called Hanyu Pinyin (Simplified Chinese: ; Traditional Chinese: ; Pinyin: ), is the most common variant of Standard Mandarin romanization system in use. ... Alternative meaning: Zhou Dynasty (690 CE - 705 CE) The Zhou Dynasty (周朝; Wade-Giles: Chou Dynasty) (late 10th century BC to late 9th century BC - 256 BC) followed the Shang (Yin) Dynasty and preceded the Qin Dynasty in China. ... (Redirected from 1122 BC) Centuries: 13th century BC - 12th century BC - 11th century BC Decades: 1170s BC 1160s BC 1150s BC 1140s BC 1130s BC - 1120s BC - 1110s BC 1100s BC 1090s BC 1080s BC 1070s BC Events and Trends 1126 BC - Thymoetes, legendary King of Athens dies childless after... Centuries: 4th century BC - 3rd century BC - 2nd century BC Decades: 300s BC 290s BC 280s BC 270s BC 260s BC - 250s BC - 240s BC 230s BC 220s BC 210s BC 200s BC Years: 261 BC 260 BC 259 BC 258 BC 257 BC - 256 BC - 255 BC 254 BC... Shī Jīng (詩經), translated variously as the Classic of Poetry, the Book of Songs or the Book of Odes, is the first major collection of Chinese poems. ... The Classic of History, Shu Jing, Shang Shu (書經 traditional / 书经 simplified ShÅ« JÄ«ng, literally Book Classic, more commonly, Book of History, Classic of History) It is also frequently known as the 尚書 Shang4 Shu1, Esteemed Book. ... Alternative meaning: I Ching (monk) The I Ching (Simplified Chinese: 易经; Traditional Chinese: 易經, Hanyu Pinyin: Yì Jīng; Cantonese IPA: jɪk6gɪŋ1; Cantonese Jyutping: jik6ging1; alternative romanizations include I Jing, Yi Ching, Yi King) is the oldest of the Chinese classic texts. ... Look up aspiration, aspirate in Wiktionary, the free dictionary. ... Flag (1890-1912) Anthem Gong Jinou (1911) Qing China at its greatest extent. ... Philology is the study of ancient texts and languages. ... Proto-Indo-European Indo-European studies Indo-European is originally a linguistic term, referring to the Indo-European language family. ...


Middle Chinese (T:中古漢語; S:中古汉语; P:Zhōnggǔ Hànyǔ) was the language used during the Suí, Táng, and Sòng dynasties (6th through 10th centuries AD). It can be divided into an early period, reflected by the 切韻 "Qièyùn" rhyme table (601 AD), and a late period in the 10th century, reflected by the 廣韻 "Guǎngyùn" rhyme table. Linguists are more confident of having reconstructed how Middle Chinese sounded. The evidence for the pronunciation of Middle Chinese comes from several sources: modern dialect variations, rhyming dictionaries, foreign transliterations, "rhyming tables" constructed by ancient Chinese philologists to summarize the phonetic system, and Chinese phonetic translations of foreign words. However, all reconstructions are tentative; some scholars have argued that trying to reconstruct, say, modern Cantonese from modern Cantopop rhymes would give a fairly inaccurate picture of the present-day spoken language. Middle Chinese (Traditional Chinese: 中古漢語; Pinyin: zhōnggÇ” HànyÇ”), or Ancient Chinese as used by linguist Bernhard Karlgren, refers to the Chinese language spoken during Northern and Southern Dynasties and the Sui, Tang, and Song dynasties (6th century - 10th century). ... Traditional Chinese characters refers to one of two standard sets of printed Chinese characters. ... Simplified Chinese character (Simplified Chinese: or ; traditional Chinese: or ; pinyin: or ) is one of two standard sets of Chinese characters of the contemporary Chinese written language. ... Pinyin, more formally called Hanyu Pinyin (Simplified Chinese: ; Traditional Chinese: ; Pinyin: ), is the most common variant of Standard Mandarin romanization system in use. ... The Sui Dynasty of China amongst the Asian, African, and European spheres of the world, 600 AD. The Sui Dynasty (Chinese: ; pinyin: ; 581-618 AD[1]) followed the Southern and Northern Dynasties and preceded the Tang Dynasty in China. ... For the band, see Tang Dynasty (band). ... For other uses, see Liu Song Dynasty. ... The 6th century is the period from 501 - 600 in accordance with the Julian calendar in the Christian Era. ... As a means of recording the passage of time, the 10th century was that century which lasted from 901 to 1000. ... Qieyun (Chinese 切韻) is a Chinese character rime dictionary, published in 601 AD during the Sui Dynasty. ... A rime dictionary or a rime book is a type of Chinese dictionary that was used in ancient times. ... For other uses, see 601 (disambiguation). ... Guangyun (Chinese: 廣韻) is a rime dictionary. ... A rime dictionary or a rime book is a type of Chinese dictionary that was used in ancient times. ... Cantopop (Chinese: 粵語流行曲) is a colloquial portmanteau for Cantonese popular music. It is also referred to as HK-pop, short for Hong Kong popular music. It is categorized as a subgenre of Chinese popular music within C-pop. ...


The development of the spoken Chinese languages from early historical times to the present has been complex. Most Chinese people, in Sìchuān and in a broad arc from the northeast (Manchuria) to the southwest (Yunnan), use various Mandarin dialects as their home language. The prevalence of Mandarin throughout northern China is largely due to north China's plains. By contrast, the mountains and rivers of middle and southern China promoted linguistic diversity. This article is about the Chinese province. ... This article does not cite any references or sources. ... For the tea from this region, see Yunnan tea. ... First language (native language, mother tongue) is the language a person learns first. ...


Until the mid-20th century, most southern Chinese only spoke their native local variety of Chinese. As Nanjing was the capital during the early Ming dynasty, Nanjing Mandarin became dominant at least until the later years of the officially Manchu-speaking Qing Empire. Since the 17th century, the Empire had set up orthoepy academies (T:正音書院; S:正音书院; P:Zhèngyīn Shūyuàn) to make pronunciation conform to the Qing capital Beijing's standard, but had little success. During the Qing's last 50 years in the late 19th century, the Beijing Mandarin finally replaced Nanjing Mandarin in the imperial court. For the general population, though, a single standard of Mandarin did not exist. The non-Mandarin speakers in southern China also continued to use their various languages for every aspect of life. The new Beijing Mandarin court standard was used solely by officials and civil servants and was thus fairly limited. (19th century - 20th century - 21st century - more centuries) Decades: 1900s 1910s 1920s 1930s 1940s 1950s 1960s 1970s 1980s 1990s As a means of recording the passage of time, the 20th century was that century which lasted from 1901–2000 in the sense of the Gregorian calendar (1900–1999 in the... Not to be confused with capitol. ... For other uses, see Ming. ... The Manchu people (Manchu: Manju; Simplified Chinese: ; Traditional Chinese: ; Pinyin: , Mongolian: Манж) are a Tungusic people who originated in Manchuria (todays Northeastern China). ... The Qing Dynasty (Manchu: daicing gurun; Chinese: 清朝; pinyin: qīng cháo; Wade-Giles: ching chao), sometimes known as the Manchu Dynasty, was founded by the Manchu clan Aisin Gioro, in what is today northeast China expanded into China proper and the surrounding territories of Inner Asia, establishing the... (16th century - 17th century - 18th century - more centuries) As a means of recording the passage of time, the 17th century was that century which lasted from 1601-1700. ... Orthoepeia means the correct use of words, from the Greek orth- + -epos, correct + word, speech. ... Traditional Chinese characters refers to one of two standard sets of printed Chinese characters. ... Simplified Chinese character (Simplified Chinese: or ; traditional Chinese: or ; pinyin: or ) is one of two standard sets of Chinese characters of the contemporary Chinese written language. ... Pinyin, more formally called Hanyu Pinyin (Simplified Chinese: ; Traditional Chinese: ; Pinyin: ), is the most common variant of Standard Mandarin romanization system in use. ...


This situation did not change until the mid-20th century with the creation (in both the PRC and the ROC, but not in Hong Kong) of a compulsory educational system committed to teaching Standard Mandarin. As a result, Mandarin is now spoken by virtually all young and middle-aged citizens of mainland China and on Taiwan. Standard Cantonese, not Mandarin, was used in Hong Kong during its the time of its British colonial period (owing to its large Cantonese native and migrant populace) and remains today its official language of education, formal speech, and daily life, but Mandarin is becoming increasingly influential after the 1997 handover. Map of eastern China and Taiwan, showing the historic distribution of Mandarin Chinese in light brown. ... ... Standard Cantonese is a variant, and is generally considered the prestige dialect of Cantonese Chinese. ... The transfer of the sovereignty of Hong Kong from the United Kingdom to China, often referred to as The Handover, occurred on July 1, 1997. ...


Chinese was once the Lingua franca for East Asia countries for centuries, before the rise of European influences in 19th century. Lingua franca, literally Frankish language in Italian, was originally a mixed language consisting largely of Italian plus a vocabulary drawn from Turkish, Persian, French, Greek and Arabic and used for communication throughout the Middle East. ...


Influences on other languages

Throughout history Chinese culture and politics has had a great influence on unrelated languages such as Korean, Vietnamese, and Japanese. Korean and Japanese both have writing systems employing Chinese characters (Hanzi), which are called Hanja and Kanji, respectively. Chinese culture has roots going back over five thousand years. ... Japanese name Kanji: Hiragana: Korean name Hangul: Hanja: Vietnamese name Quốc ngữ: Hán tá»±: A Chinese character or Han character (simplified Chinese: ; traditional Chinese: ; pinyin: ) is a logogram used in writing Chinese, Japanese, rarely Korean, and formerly Vietnamese. ... Korean writing systems Hangul Hanja Hyangchal Gugyeol Idu Mixed script Korean romanization Revised Romanization of Korean McCune-Reischauer Yale Romanization Hanja is the Korean name for Chinese characters. ... Japanese writing Kanji Kana Hiragana Katakana Hentaigana Manyōgana Uses Furigana Okurigana Rōmaji   ) are the Chinese characters that are used in the modern Japanese logographic writing system along with hiragana (平仮名), katakana (片仮名), and the Arabic numerals. ...


The Vietnamese term for Chinese writing is Hán tự. It was the only available method for writing Vietnamese until the 14th century, used almost exclusively by Chinese-educated Vietnamese élites. From the 14th to the late 19th century, Vietnamese was written with Chữ nôm, a modified Chinese script incorporating sounds and syllables for native Vietnamese speakers. Chữ nôm was completely replaced by a modified Latin script created by the Jesuit missionary priest Alexander de Rhodes, which incorporates a system of diacritical marks to indicate tones, as well as modified consonants. The Vietnamese language exhibits multiple elements similar to Cantonese in regard to the specific intonations and sharp consonant endings. There is also a slight influence from Mandarin, including the sharper vowels and "kh" (IPA:x) sound missing from other Asiatic languages. Hán tá»± (漢字, lit. ... This 14th-century statue from south India depicts the gods Shiva (on the left) and Uma (on the right). ... Chữ nôm (𡦂喃 lit. ...


In South Korea, the Hangul alphabet is generally used, but Hanja is used as a sort of boldface. In North Korea, Hanja has been discontinued. Since the modernization of Japan in the late 19th century, there has been debate about abandoning the use of Chinese characters, but the practical benefits of a radically new script have so far not been considered sufficient. Jamo redirects here. ... Korean writing systems Hangul Hanja Hyangchal Gugyeol Idu Mixed script Korean romanization Revised Romanization of Korean McCune-Reischauer Yale Romanization Hanja is the Korean name for Chinese characters. ... Korean writing systems Hangul Hanja Hyangchal Gugyeol Idu Mixed script Korean romanization Revised Romanization of Korean McCune-Reischauer Yale Romanization Hanja is the Korean name for Chinese characters. ...


In Guangxi the Zhuang also had used derived Chinese characters or Zhuang logograms to write songs, even though Zhuang is not a Chinese dialect. Since the 1950s, the Zhuang language has been written in a modified Latin alphabet.[8] Guangxi (Zhuang: Gvangjsih; old orthography: ; Simplified Chinese: 广西; Traditional Chinese: 廣西; Pinyin: Guǎngxī; Wade-Giles: Kuang-hsi; Postal System Pinyin: Kwangsi), full name Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region (Zhuang: Gvangjsih Bouxcuengh Swcigih; old orthography: ; Simplified Chinese: 广西壮族自治区; Traditional Chinese: 廣西壯族自治區; Pinyin: Guǎngxī Zhuàngzú Zìzhìqū) is a Zhuang autonomous region of... The Zhuang (Simplified Chinese: 壮族; Traditional Chinese: 壯族; Hanyu Pinyin: ; own name: Bouчcueŋь/Bouxcuengh) are an ethnic group of people who mostly live in the Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region in southern China. ... Zhuang logograms or sawndip is a logogram created as a derivative characters of Han characters and used by Zhuang in Guangxi, China. ... This article does not cite any references or sources. ...


Languages within the influence of Chinese culture also have a very large number of loanwords from Chinese. Fifty percent or more of Korean vocabulary is of Chinese origin and the influence on Japanese and Vietnamese has been considerable. Ten percent of Philippine language vocabularies are of Chinese origin. Chinese also shares a great many grammatical features with these and neighboring languages, notably the lack of gender and the use of classifiers. A loanword (or loan word) is a word directly taken into one language from another with little or no translation. ... In linguistics, grammatical gender is a morphological category associated with the expression of gender through inflection or agreement. ... A classifier, in linguistics, is a word or morpheme used in some languages in certain contexts to indicate the word class of a noun. ...


Phonology

For more specific information on phonology of Chinese see the respective main articles of each spoken variety.

The phonological structure of each syllable consists of a nucleus consisting of a vowel (which can be a monophthong, diphthong, or even a triphthong in certain varieties) with an optional onset or coda consonant as well as a tone. There are some instances where a vowel is not used as a nucleus. An example of this is in Cantonese, where the nasal sonorant consonants /m/ and /ŋ/ can stand alone as their own syllable. Spoken Chinese The Chinese spoken language(s) comprise(s) many regional variants. ... Phonology (Greek phonÄ“ = voice/sound and logos = word/speech), is a subfield of linguistics which studies the sound system of a specific language (or languages). ... In phonetics and phonology, the nucleus is the central part of the syllable, mostly commonly a vowel. ... Note: This page contains IPA phonetic symbols in Unicode. ... A monophthong (in Greek μονόφθογγος = single note) is a pure vowel sound, one whose articulation at both beginning and end is relatively fixed, and which does not glide up or down towards a new position of articulation; compare diphthong. ... In phonetics, a diphthong (also gliding vowel) (Greek δίφθογγος, diphthongos, literally with two sounds, or with two tones) is a monosyllabic vowel combination involving a quick but smooth movement from one vowel to another, often interpreted by listeners as a single vowel sound or phoneme. ... In phonetics, a triphthong (Greek τρίφθογγος, triphthongos, literally with three sounds, or with three tones) is a monosyllabic vowel combination usually involving a quick but smooth movement from one vowel to another that passes over a third one. ... In phonetics and phonology, a syllable onset is the part of a syllable that precedes the syllable nucleus. ... Note: This page contains phonetic information presented in the International Phonetic Alphabet (IPA) using Unicode. ... In articulatory phonetics, a consonant is a sound in spoken language that is characterized by a closure or stricture of the vocal tract sufficient to cause audible turbulence. ... Some web browsers may not be able to view this correctly; you may see transcriptions in parentheses after the character, like this: () instead of on top of the character as intended. ... This article is about all of the Cantonese (Yue) dialects. ... A nasal consonant is produced when the velum—that fleshy part of the palate near the back—is lowered, allowing air to escape freely through the nose. ... In phonetics and phonology, a sonorant is a speech sound that is produced without turbulent airflow in the vocal tract. ...


Across all the spoken varieties, most syllables tend to be open syllables, meaning they have no coda, but syllables that do have codas are restricted to /m/, /n/, /ŋ/, /p/, /t/, /k/, or /ʔ/. Some varieties allow most of these codas, whereas others, such as Mandarin, are limited to only two, namely /n/ and /ŋ/. Consonant clusters do not generally occur in either the onset or coda. The onset may be an affricate or a consonant followed by a semivowel, but these are not generally considered consonant clusters. This article is on all of the Northern and Southwestern Chinese dialects. ... In linguistics, a consonant cluster is a group of consonants which have no intervening vowel. ... Affricate consonants begin as stops (most often an alveolar, such as or ) but release as a fricative (such as or or, in a couple of languages, into a fricative trill) rather than directly into the following vowel. ... Semivowels (also glides, more rarely: semiconsonants) are non-syllabic vowels that form diphthongs with syllabic vowels. ...


The number of sounds in the different spoken dialects varies, but in general there has been a tendency to a reduction in sounds from Middle Chinese. The Mandarin dialects in particular have experienced a dramatic decrease in sounds and so have far more multisyllabic words than most other spoken varieties. The total number of syllables in some varieties is therefore only about a thousand, including tonal variation, which is only about an eighth as many as English[9]. Middle Chinese (Traditional Chinese: 中古漢語; Pinyin: zhōnggǔ Hànyǔ), or Ancient Chinese as used by linguist Bernhard Karlgren, refers to the Chinese language spoken during Northern and Southern Dynasties and the Sui, Tang, and Song dynasties (6th century - 10th century). ...


All varieties of spoken Chinese use tones. A few dialects of north China may have as few as three tones, while some dialects in south China have up to 6 or 10 tones, depending on how one counts. One exception from this is Shanghainese which has reduced the set of tones to a two-toned pitch accent system much like modern Japanese. Some web browsers may not be able to view this correctly; you may see transcriptions in parentheses after the character, like this: () instead of on top of the character as intended. ... Shanghainese (上海言话 [] in Shanghainese), sometimes referred to as the Shanghai dialect, is a dialect of Wu Chinese spoken in the city of Shanghai. ... Pitch accent is a kind of accent system employed in many languages around the world. ...


A very common example used to illustrate the use of tones in Chinese are the four main tones of Standard Mandarin applied to the syllable "ma." The tones correspond to these five characters: Map of eastern China and Taiwan, showing the historic distribution of Mandarin Chinese in light brown. ...

  • 媽/妈() "mother" — high level
  • () "hemp" or "torpid" — high rising
  • 馬/马() "horse" — low falling-rising
  • 罵/骂() "scold" — high falling
  • 嗎/吗(ma) "question particle" — neutral

Listen to the tones This article or section uses Ruby annotation. ... Zh-pinyin tones with ma. ...

This is a recording of the four main tones. Fifth, or neutral, tone is not included.
Problems listening to the file? See media help.

Phonetic transcriptions

The Chinese have no uniform phonetic transcription system until the 20th century, although enunciation patterns were recorded in early rime books and dictionaries. Early Sanskrit and Pali Indian translators were the first to attempt describing the sounds and enunciation patterns of the language in a foreign language. After 15th century AD Jesuits and Western court missionaries’ efforts result in some rudimentary Latin transcription systems, based on the Nanjing Mandarin dialect. A rime dictionary or a rime book is a type of Chinese dictionary that was used in ancient times. ... Sanskrit ( , for short ) is a classical language of India, a liturgical language of Hinduism, Buddhism, Sikhism, and Jainism, and one of the 23 official languages of India. ... For other uses, see Pali (disambiguation). ...


Romanization

Romanization is the process of transcribing a language in the Latin alphabet. There are many systems of romanization for the Chinese languages due to the Chinese's own lack of phonetic transcription until modern times. Chinese is first known to have been written in Latin characters by Western Christian missionaries in the 16th century. The romanization of Chinese language is the use of Latin alphabet to write the Chinese language. ... Languages can be romanized in a variety of ways, as shown here with Mandarin Chinese In linguistics, romanization (or Latinization, also spelled romanisation or Latinisation) is the representation of a word or language with the Roman (Latin) alphabet, or a system for doing so, where the original word or language... Abcdefghijklmnopqrstuvwxyz redirects here. ... The Lords Prayer in Chinese language. ... (15th century - 16th century - 17th century - more centuries) As a means of recording the passage of time, the 16th century was that century which lasted from 1501 to 1600. ...


Today the most common romanization standard for Standard Mandarin is Hanyu Pinyin (漢語拼音/汉语拼音), often known simply as pinyin, introduced in 1956 by the People's Republic of China, later adopted by Singapore (see Chinese language romanization in Singapore). Pinyin is almost universally employed now for teaching standard spoken Chinese in schools and universities across North America, Australia and Europe. Pinyin (拼音, Pīnyīn) literally means join (together) sounds (a less literal translation being phoneticize, spell or transcription) in Chinese and usually refers to Hànyǔ Pīnyīn (汉语拼音, literal meaning: Han language pinyin), which is a system of romanization (phonetic notation and transliteration to roman script) for Standard Mandarin used in the... The romanisation of the Chinese language in Singapore is not dictated by a single policy, nor is its policy implementation consistent, as the local Chinese community is composed of a myriad of dialect groups. ... North American redirects here. ... For other uses, see Europe (disambiguation). ...


The second-most common romanization system, the Wade-Giles, was invented by Thomas Wade in 1859, later modified by Herbert Giles in 1892. As it approximates the phonology of Mandarin Chinese into English consonants and vowels (hence an Anglicization), it may be particularly helpful for beginner speakers of native English background. Wade-Giles is found in academic use in the United States, particularly before the 1980s, and until recently was widely used in Taiwan (Taipei city now officially uses Hanyu Pinyin and the rest of the island officially uses Tōngyòng Pinyin 通用拼音/通用拼音). Wade-Giles, sometimes abbreviated Wade, is a Romanization (phonetic notation and transliteration) system for the Chinese language based on Mandarin. ... Anglicisation is a process of making something English. ... This article is about the city. ...


When used within European texts, the tone transcriptions in both pinyin and Wade-Giles are often left out for simplicity; Wade-Giles' extensive use of apostrophes is also usually omitted. Thus, most Western readers will be much more familiar with ‘Beijing’ than they will be with ‘Běijīng’ (pinyin), and with ‘Taipei’ than ‘T'ai²-pei³’ (Wade-Giles). Some web browsers may not be able to view this correctly; you may see transcriptions in parentheses after the character, like this: () instead of on top of the character as intended. ...


Here are a few examples of Hanyu Pinyin and Wade-Giles, for comparison:

Mandarin Romanization Comparison
Characters Wade-Giles Hanyu Pinyin Notes
中国/中國 Chung1-kuo² Zhōngguó "China"
北京 Pei³-ching1 Běijīng Capital of the People's Republic of China
台北 T'ai²-pei³ Táiběi Capital of the Republic of China (Taiwan)
毛泽东/毛澤東 Mao² Tse²-tung1 Máo Zédōng Former Communist Chinese leader
蒋介石/蔣介石 Chiang³ Chieh4-shih² Jiǎng Jièshí Former Nationalist Chinese leader
孔子 K'ung³ Tsu³ Kǒng Zǐ "Confucius"

Other systems of romanization for Chinese include the École française d'Extrême-Orient, the Yale (invented during WWII for US troops), as well as separate systems for Cantonese, Minnan, Hakka, and other Chinese languages or dialects. The École française dExtrême-Orient (EFEO) is a French institute dedicated to the study of Asian societies. ... YALE (Yet Another Learning Environment) is an environment for machine learning experiments and data mining. ... This article is about all of the Cantonese (Yue) dialects. ... Mǐn Nán (Chinese: 閩南語), also spelt as Minnan or Min-nan; native name Bân-lâm-gú; literally means Southern Min or Southern Fujian and refers to the local language/dialect of southern Fujian province, China. ... For other uses, see Hakka (disambiguation). ...


Other phonetic transcriptions

Chinese languages have been phonetically transcribed into many other writing systems over the centuries. The phagspa script, for example, has been very helpful in reconstructing the pronunciations of pre-modern forms of Chinese. The word “Mongol” written in Mongolian script. ...


Zhuyin (注音, also known as bopomofo), a katakana-inspired syllabary is still widely used in Taiwan's elementary schools to aid standard pronunciation. Although bopomofo characters are reminiscent of katakana script, there is no source to substantiate the claim that Katakana was the basis for the zhuyin system. A comparison table of zhuyin to pinyin exists in the zhuyin article. Syllables based on pinyin and zhuyin can also be compared by looking at the following articles: Zhuyin fuhao (Traditional Chinese: ; Simplified Chinese: ; Hanyu Pinyin: ; Tongyong Pinyin: ; Wade-Giles: Chu-yin fu-hao), or Symbols for Annotating Sounds, often abbreviated as Zhuyin, or known as Bopomofo (ㄅㄆㄇㄈ) after the first four letters of this Chinese phonemic alphabet (bo po mo fo), is the national phonetic system of the... Katakana ) is a Japanese syllabary, one component of the Japanese writing system along with hiragana, kanji, and in some cases the Latin alphabet. ... A syllabary is a set of written symbols that represent (or approximate) syllables, which make up words. ... Primary or elementary education is the first years of formal, structured education that occurs during childhood. ... Zhuyin fuhao (Traditional Chinese: ; Simplified Chinese: ; Hanyu Pinyin: ; Tongyong Pinyin: ; Wade-Giles: Chu-yin fu-hao), or Symbols for Annotating Sounds, often abbreviated as Zhuyin, or known as Bopomofo (ㄅㄆㄇㄈ) after the first four letters of this Chinese phonemic alphabet (bo po mo fo), is the national phonetic system of the...

There are also at least two systems of cyrillization for Chinese. The most widespread is the Palladius system. This pinyin table is a complete listing of all Hanyu Pinyin syllables used in Standard Mandarin. ... This zhuyin table is a complete listing of all Zhuyin/Bopomofo syllables used in Standard Mandarin. ... A Cyrillization is a system for representing a language with the Cyrillic alphabet, where the source language use a writing system other than the Cyrillic alphabet (compare this to Romanization). ... Cyrillization of Chinese from Pinyin It is known as the Palladiy system and is the official Cyrillization of Chinese language in Russia. ...


Grammar and Morphology

Main article: Chinese grammar

Like Vietnamese, modern Chinese has often been erroneously classed as a "monosyllabic" language. While most of her morphemes are single syllable, Modern Chinese today is much less a monosyllabic language in that her nouns, adjectives and verbs are largely di-syllabic. The tendency to create disyllabic words in the modern Chinese languages, particularly in Mandarin, has been particularly pronounced when compared to Classical Chinese. Classical Chinese is a highly isolating language, with each idea (morpheme) generally corresponding to a single syllable and a single character; Modern Chinese though, have the tendency to form new words through disyllabic, trisyllabic and tetra-character agglutination. In fact, some linguists argue that classifying modern Chinese as an isolating language is misleading, for this reason alone. 中文語法/中文语法 Zhōngwén yǔfǎ (Chinese grammar) Some web browsers may not be able to view this correctly; you may see transcriptions in parentheses after the character, like this: () instead of on top of the character as intended. ... In morpheme-based morphology, a morpheme is the smallest lingual unit that carries a semantic interpretation. ... For the computer operating system, see Syllable (operating system). ... In linguistics, a noun or noun substantive is a lexical category which is defined in terms of how its members combine with other grammatical kinds of expressions. ... In grammar, an adjective is a word whose main syntactic role is to modify a noun or pronoun (called the adjectives subject), giving more information about what the noun or pronoun refers to. ... It has been suggested that Verbal agreement be merged into this article or section. ... Classical Chinese or Literary Chinese is a traditional style of written Chinese based on the grammar and vocabulary of very old forms of Chinese , making it very different from any modern spoken form of Chinese. ... An isolating language is any language where the vast majority of morphemes are free morphemes and are considered to be full-fledged words, rather than particles that are agglutinated. ... For the music festival, see Agglutination Metal Festival. ...


Chinese morphology is strictly bound to a set number of syllables with a fairly rigid construction which are the morphemes, the smallest blocks of the language. While many of these single-syllable morphemes ( , 字 in Chinese) can stand alone as individual words, they more often than not form multi-syllabic compounds, known as (词/詞), which more closely resembles the traditional Western notion of a word. A Chinese (“word”) can consist of more than one character-morpheme, usually two, but there can be three or more. For other uses, see Morphology. ... For the computer operating system, see Syllable (operating system). ... In morpheme-based morphology, a morpheme is the smallest lingual unit that carries a semantic interpretation. ... A word is a unit of language that carries meaning and consists of one or more morphemes. ... Look up Compound in Wiktionary, the free dictionary. ...


For example:

  • Yun 云 -“cloud”
  • Jiguang 激光 –“laser”
  • Hanbaobao 汉堡包 –“hamburger”

All varieties of modern Chinese are analytic languages, in that they depend on syntax (word order and sentence structure) rather than morphology, changes in form of a word, to indicate changes in meaning. In other words, Chinese has next to no grammatical inflections – it possesses no tenses, no voices, no numbers (singular, plural; though there are plural markers), only a few articles (ie. equivalents to "the, a, an" in English), and no gender. An analytic language is any language where syntax and meaning are shaped more by use of particles and word order than by inflection. ... For other uses, see Syntax (disambiguation). ... For other uses, see Morphology. ... Not to be confused with intonation. ... Grammatical tense is a way languages express the time at which an event described by a sentence occurs. ... In grammar, the voice of a verb describes the relationship between the action (or state) that the verb expresses and the participants identified by its arguments (subject, object, etc. ... For other uses, see Number (disambiguation). ... The redirects here. ... Gender in common usage refers to the sexual distinction between male and female. ...


They make heavy use of grammatical particles to indicate aspect and mood. In Mandarin Chinese, this involves the use of particles like le 了, hai 还, yijing 已经, etc. In linguistics, the term particle is often employed as a useful catch-all lacking a strict definition. ... In linguistics, the grammatical aspect of a verb defines the temporal flow (or lack thereof) in the described event or state. ... In linguistics, many grammars have the concept of grammatical mood (or mode), which describes the relationship of a verb with reality and intent. ...


Chinese features Subject Verb Object word order, and like many other languages in East Asia, makes frequent use of the topic-comment construction to form sentences. Chinese also has an extensive system of measure words, another trait shared with neighbouring languages like Japanese and Korean. See Chinese measure words for an extensive coverage of this subject. In linguistic typology, subject-verb-object (SVO) is the sequence subject verb object in neutral expressions: Sam ate oranges. ... In linguistic typology, word order, or more precisely constituent order refers to the permitted combinations of words or larger constituents. ... This article is about the geographical region. ... In linguistics, the topic (or theme) is the thing being predicated (talked about), and the comment (or rheme) is the thing being said about the topic. ... Measure words, in linguistics, are words (or morphemes) that are used in combination with a numeral to indicate the count of nouns. ... In the Chinese language, measure words or classifiers (量词 liàng cí) are used along with numerals to define the quantity of a given object or objects, or with this/that to identify specific objects. ...


Other notable grammatical features common to all the spoken varieties of Chinese include the use of serial verb construction, pronoun dropping and the related subject dropping. The serial verb construction is a syntactic phenomenon common in many African and Asian languages. ... A pro-drop language (from pronoun-dropping) is a language where pronouns can be deleted when they are in some sense pragmatically inferable (the precise conditions vary from language to language, and can be quite intricate). ... In linguistic typology, a null subject language is a language whose grammar permits an independent clause to lack an explicit subject. ...


Although the grammars of the spoken varieties share many traits, they do possess differences. See Chinese grammar for the grammar of Standard Mandarin (the standardized Chinese spoken language), and the articles on other varieties of Chinese for their respective grammars. 中文語法/中文语法 Zhōngwén yǔfǎ (Chinese grammar) Some web browsers may not be able to view this correctly; you may see transcriptions in parentheses after the character, like this: () instead of on top of the character as intended. ... Map of eastern China and Taiwan, showing the historic distribution of Mandarin Chinese in light brown. ...


Tones and Homophones

Official modern Mandarin has only 400 spoken monosyllables but over 10,000 written characters, so there are many homophones only distinguishable by the four tones. Even this is often not enough unless the context and exact phrase or cí is identified. This article is about the term in linguistics. ...


The mono-syllable , first tone in standard Mandarin, corresponds to the following characters: 雞/鸡 chicken, 機/机 machine, 基 basic, 擊/击 (to) hit, 饑/饥 hunger, and 積/积 sum. In speech, the glyphing of a monosyllable to its meaning must be determined by context or by relation to other morphemes (e.g. "some" as in the opposite of "none"). Native speakers may state which words or phrases their names are found in, for convenience of writing: 名字叫嘉英,嘉陵江的嘉,英國的英 Míngzi jiào Jiāyīng, Jiālíng Jiāng de jiā, Yīngguó de yīng "My name is Jiāyīng, the Jia for Jialing Jiang and the ying for Yingguo." Map of eastern China and Taiwan, showing the historic distribution of Mandarin Chinese in light brown. ...


Southern Chinese varieties like Cantonese and Hakka preserved more of the rimes of Middle Chinese and have more tones. The previous examples of , for instance, for "stimulated", "chicken", and "machine", have distinct pronunciations in Cantonese (romanized using jyutping): gik1, gai1, and gei1, respectively. For this reason, southern varieties tend to employ fewer multi-syllabic words. In the study of phonology in linguistics, the rime or rhyme of a syllable consists of a nucleus and an optional coda. ... Jyutping (sometimes spelled Jyutpin) is a romanization system for Standard Cantonese developed by the Linguistic Society of Hong Kong (LSHK) in 1993. ...


Vocabulary

The entire Chinese character corpus since antiquity comprises well over 20,000 characters, of which only roughly 10,000 are now commonly in use. However Chinese characters should not be confused with Chinese words, there are many times more Chinese words than there are characters as most Chinese words are made up of two or more different characters.


Estimates of the total number of Chinese words and phrases vary greatly. The Hanyu Da Zidian, an all-inclusive compendium of Chinese characters, includes 54,678 head entries for characters, including bone oracle versions. The Zhonghua Zihai 中华字海 (1994) contains 85,568 head entries for character definitions, and is the largest reference work based purely on character and its literary variants. The Hanyu Da Zidian (Chinese: ; pinyin: HànyÇ” dà zìdiÇŽn; literally Comprehensive Chinese Character Dictionary) is one of the best available reference works on Chinese characters. ... Replica of an oracle bone -- turtle shell Replica of an oracle bone -- ox scapula Oracle bones (甲骨片 pinyin: jiÇŽgÇ”piàn) are pieces of bone or turtle shell used in royal divination in the mid Shang to early Zhou dynasties in ancient China, and often bearing written inscriptions in what...


The most comprehensive pure linguistic Chinese-language dictionary, the 12-volumed Hanyu Da Cidian 汉语大词典, records more than 23,000 head Chinese characters, and gives over 370,000 definitions. The 1999 revised Cihai, a multi-volume encyclopedic dictionary reference work, gives 122,836 vocabulary entry definitions under 19,485 Chinese characters, including proper names, phrases and common zoological, geographical, sociological, scientific and technical terms. The Hanyu Da Cidian (Chinese: ; pinyin: ; literally Comprehensive Chinese Word Dictionary) is the most inclusive available Chinese dictionary. ...


The latest 2007 5th edition of Xiandai Hanyu Cidian 现代汉语词典, an authoritative one-volume dictionary on modern standard Chinese language as used in mainland China, has 65,000 entries and defines 11,000 head characters. ...


New words

Like any other language, Chinese has absorbed a sizeable amount of loanwords from other cultures. Most Chinese words are formed out of native Chinese morphemes, including words describing imported objects and ideas. However, direct phonetic borrowing of foreign words has gone on since ancient times. Words borrowed from along the Silk Road since Old Chinese include 葡萄 "grape," 石榴 "pomegranate" and 狮子/獅子 "lion." Some words were borrowed from Buddhist scriptures, including 佛 "Buddha" and 菩萨/菩薩 "bodhisattva." Other words came from nomadic peoples to the north, such as 胡同 "hutong." Words borrowed from the peoples along the Silk Road, such as 葡萄 "grape" (pútáo in Mandarin) generally have Persian etymologies. Buddhist terminology is generally derived from Sanskrit or Pāli, the liturgical languages of North India. Words borrowed from the nomadic tribes of the Gobi, Mongolian or northeast regions generally have Altaic etymologies, such as 琵笆 or 酪 "cheese" or "yoghurt", but from exactly which Altaic source is not always entirely clear. For other uses, see Silk Road (disambiguation). ... The Seal script characters for harvest (later year) and person. ... This article is about the fruits of the genus Vitis. ... Binomial name L. The Pomegranate (Punica granatum) is a fruit-bearing deciduous shrub or small tree growing to 5–8 m tall. ... For other uses, see Lion (disambiguation). ... A typical street in a Bejing hutong Hutongs (Simplified Chinese: ; Traditional Chinese: ; pinyin: ) are narrow streets or alleys, most commonly associated with Beijing, China. ... For other uses of this term see: Persia (disambiguation) The Persian Empire is the name used to refer to a number of historic dynasties that have ruled the country of Persia (Iran). ... Sanskrit ( , for short ) is a classical language of India, a liturgical language of Hinduism, Buddhism, Sikhism, and Jainism, and one of the 23 official languages of India. ... Pāli is a Middle Indo-Aryan dialect or prakrit. ... A sacred language is a language, frequently a dead language, that is cultivated for religious reasons by people who speak another language in their daily life. ... Dark green region marks the approximate extent of northern India while the regions marked as light green lies within the sphere of north Indian influence. ... The Gobi is a large desert region in northern China and southern Mongolia. ... Altaic is a putative language family which would include 60 languages spoken by about 250 million people, mostly in and around central Asia. ...


Modern borrowings and loanwords

Foreign words continue to enter the Chinese language by transcription according to their pronunciations. This is done by employing Chinese characters with similar pronunciations. For example, "Israel" becomes 以色列 (pinyin: yǐsèliè), Paris 巴黎. A rather small number of direct transliterations have survived as common words, including 沙發 shāfā "sofa," 马达/馬達 mǎdá "motor," 幽默 yōumò "humour," 逻辑/邏輯 luójí "logic," 时髦/時髦 shímáo "smart, fashionable" and 歇斯底里 xiēsīdǐlǐ "hysterics." The bulk of these words were originally coined in the Shanghainese dialect during the early 20th century and were later loaned into Mandarin, hence their pronunciations in Mandarin may be quite off from the English. For example, 沙发/沙發 and 马达/馬達 in Shanghainese actually sound more like the English "sofa" and "motor." Shanghainese (上海言话 [] in Shanghainese), sometimes referred to as the Shanghai dialect, is a dialect of Wu Chinese spoken in the city of Shanghai. ...


Today, it is much more common to use existing Chinese morphemes to coin new words in order to represent imported concepts, such as technical expressions. Any Latin or Greek etymologies are dropped, making them more comprehensible for Chinese but introducing more difficulties in understanding foreign texts. For example, the word telephone was loaned phonetically as 德律风/德律風 ( Shanghainese: télífon [təlɪfoŋ], Standard Mandarin: délǜfēng) during the 1920s and widely used in Shanghai, but later the Japanese 电话/電話 (diànhuà "electric speech"), built out of native Chinese morphemes, became prevalent. Other examples include 电视/電視 (diànshì "electric vision") for television, 电脑/電腦 (diànnǎo "electric brain") for computer; 手机/手機 (shǒujī "hand machine") for cellphone, and 蓝牙/藍牙 (lányá "blue tooth") for Bluetooth. Occasionally half-transliteration, half-translation compromises are accepted, such as 汉堡包/漢堡包 (hànbǎo bāo, "Hamburg bun") for hamburger. Sometimes translations are designed so that they sound like the original while incorporating Chinese morphemes, such as 拖拉机/拖拉機 (tuōlājī, "tractor," literally "dragging-pulling machine"), or 马力/馬力 (mǎlìōu, "horse strength") for the video game character Mario. This is often done for commercial purposes, for example 奔腾/奔騰 (bēnténg "running leaping") for Pentium and 赛百味/賽百味 (Sàibǎiwèi "better-than hundred tastes") for Subway restaurants. For other uses, see Latins and Latin (disambiguation). ... Shanghainese (上海言话 [] in Shanghainese), sometimes referred to as the Shanghai dialect, is a dialect of Wu Chinese spoken in the city of Shanghai. ... Map of eastern China and Taiwan, showing the historic distribution of Mandarin Chinese in light brown. ... The 1920s is sometimes referred to as the Jazz Age or the Roaring Twenties, usually when speaking about the United States. ... Bluetooth logo This article is about the electronic protocol named after Harald Bluetooth Gormson. ... Mario ) is a video game character created by Japanese game designer Shigeru Miyamoto and the official mascot of Nintendo. ... This article does not cite any references or sources. ... SUBWAY® is the name of a franchise fast food restaurant that mainly sells sandwiches and salads. ...


Since the 20th century, another source has been Japan. Using existing kanji, which are Chinese characters used in the Japanese language, the Japanese re-moulded European concepts and inventions into wasei-kango (和製漢語, literally Japanese-made Chinese), and re-loaned many of these into modern Chinese. Examples include diànhuà (電話, denwa, "telephone"), shèhuì (社会, shakai, "society"), kēxué (科學, kagaku, "science") and chōuxiàng (抽象, chūshō, "abstract"). Other terms were coined by the Japanese by giving new senses to existing Chinese terms or by referring to expressions used in classical Chinese literature. For example, jīngjì (經濟, keizai), which in the original Chinese meant "the workings of the state", was narrowed to "economy" in Japanese; this narrowed definition was then reimported into Chinese. As a result, these terms are virtually indistinguishable from native Chinese words: indeed, there is some dispute over some of these terms as to whether the Japanese or Chinese coined them first. As a result of this toing-and-froing process, Chinese, Korean, Japanese and Vietnamese share a corpus linguistics of terms describing modern terminology, in parallel to a similar corpus of terms built from Greco-Latin terms shared among European languages. Taiwanese and Taiwanese Mandarin continue to be influenced by Japanese eg. 便当 “lunchbox or boxed lunch” and 料理 “prepared cuisine”, have passed into common currency. Japanese writing Kanji Kana Hiragana Katakana Hentaigana Manyōgana Uses Furigana Okurigana Rōmaji   ) are the Chinese characters that are used in the modern Japanese logographic writing system along with hiragana (平仮名), katakana (片仮名), and the Arabic numerals. ... Not to be confused with the Javanese language. ... This article does not cite any references or sources. ... For other uses, see Formosan languages, Taiwanese Mandarin, and Languages of Taiwan. ... Taiwanese Mandarin (Traditional Chinese: ; Hanyu Pinyin: ; Wade-Giles: Tai2-wan1 Kuo2-yü3; also 台灣華語, Táiwān HuáyÇ”) is the dialect of Mandarin Chinese spoken on Taiwan. ...


Western foreign words have great influence on Chinese language since the 20th century, through transliterations. From French came 芭蕾 (bāléi, "ballet"), 香槟 (xiāngbīn, "champagne"), via Italian 咖啡 (kāfēi, "caffè"). The English influence is particularly pronounced. From early 20th century Shanghainese, many English words are borrowed .eg. the above-mentioned 沙發 (shāfā "sofa"), 幽默 (yōumò "humour"), and 高尔夫 (gāoěrfū, "golf"). Later US soft influences gave rise to 迪斯科 (dísīkè, "disco"), 可乐 (kělè, "cola") and 迷你 (mínǐ, "mini(skirt)"). Contemporary colloquial Cantonese has distinct loanwords from English like cartoon 卡通 (cartoon), 基佬 (gay people), 的士 (taxi), 巴士 (bus). With the rising popularity of the Internet, there is a current vogue in China for coining English transliterations, eg. 粉丝 (fěnsī, "fans"), 黑客 (hēikè, "hacker"), 博客 (bókè, "blog"). Transliteration is the practice of transcribing a word or text written in one writing system into another writing system. ... Shanghainese (上海言话 [] in Shanghainese), sometimes referred to as the Shanghai dialect, is a dialect of Wu Chinese spoken in the city of Shanghai. ... United States may refer to: Places: United States of America SS United States, the fastest ocean liner ever built. ... This article is about all of the Cantonese (Yue) dialects. ... This article is about computer hacking. ... To meet Wikipedias quality standards, this article or section may require cleanup. ...


Learning Chinese

See also: Chinese as a foreign language

Since China’s economic and political rise in recent years, standard Chinese has become an increasingly popular subject of study amongst the young in the Western world, as in the UK. [2]


In 1991 there were 2,000 foreign learners taking China's official Chinese Proficiency Test (comparable to English's Cambridge Certificate), while in 2005, the number of candidates has risen sharply to 117,660. Hànyǔ Shuǐpíng Kǎoshì (Chinese:汉语水平考试), abbreviated as HSK, is the worlds most well-known test of Chinese language proficiency for non-native speakers. ... ESOL logo The University of Cambridge ESOL examinations are examinations in English language ability for non-native speakers of English. ...


Chinese is a popular language, the approximate number of learners all around the world are predicted to be 100 million in 2010.

  • The first step in many Chinese classes is to teach students how to use pinyin (how to read and pronounce it).
  • Listening to a native speaker pronouncing Chinese will help. It will not take too much effort, since pronunciation is always regular. One character (almost always) has one sound.
  • Simplified Chinese characters need good memory to learn.
  • In compensation, Chinese grammar is considerably easier than that of many other languages.

See also

Technical note: Due to technical limitations, some web browsers may not display some special characters in this article. ... Class consciousness helped promote the development of an elaborate system of honorific language in Ancient and Imperial China. ... In the Chinese languages, measure words or classifiers (Traditional Chinese: ; Simplified Chinese: ; pinyin: ; Cantonese (Yale): leung4 chi4) are used along with numerals to define the quantity of a given object or objects, or with this/that to identify specific objects. ... Chinese number gestures refers to the Chinese method of using one hand to signify the natural numbers one through ten. ... Chinese numerals are characters for writing numbers in Chinese. ... 成语 chéngyǔ Four-character idioms, or chéngyǔ (成語/成语, literally to become (part of) the language) are widely used in 文言 Classical Chinese, a literary form used in the Chinese written language from antiquity to until 1919, and are still commonly used in Vernacular writing today. ... Han unification is the process used by the authors of Unicode and the Universal Character Set to map multiple character sets of the CJK languages into a single set of unified characters. ... The Haner language (traditional Chinese: ) was a Chinese language heavily influenced by non-Han Chinese languages, especially Mongolian. ... The Hanyu Shuiping Kaoshi (pinyin) (Chinese:汉语水平考试, Chinese [Proficiency] Level Test), or HSK, is the worlds most well-known test of Chinese language proficiency for non-native speakers. ... Map of Linguistic Groups (showing areas under effective control of the Peoples Republic of China (including Hong Kong and Macau) and Republic of China combined) Chinas many different ethnic groups speak many different languages, collectively called Zhōngguó Yǔwén (中国语文), literally speech and writing of China which... Nü Shu written in Nü Shu (right to left). ...

References

  • DeFrancis, John (1984). The Chinese Language: Fact and Fantasy. University of Hawaii Press. ISBN 0-8248-1068-6. 
  • Hannas, William C. (1997). Asia's Orthographic Dilemma. University of Hawaii Press. ISBN 0-8248-1892-X. 
  • Norman, Jerry (1988). Chinese. Cambridge University Press. ISBN 0-521-29653-6. 
  • Qiu, Xigui (2000). Chinese Writing. Society for the Study of Early China and Institute of East Asian Studies, University of California, Berkeley. ISBN 1-55729-071-7. 
  • Ramsey, S. Robert (1987). The Languages of China. Princeton University Press. ISBN 0-691-01468-X. 

John DeFrancis is a Chinese language professor emeritus and researcher at the University of Hawaii who wrote a number of Chinese instructional texts (his Readers series is particularly well regarded) in the 60s and 70s. ...

Footnotes

  1. ^ http://www.china-language.gov.cn/ (Chinese)
  2. ^ http://mandarin.org.sg/html/home.htm
  3. ^ *David Crystal, The Cambridge Encyclopedia of Language (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1987) , p. 312. “The mutual unintelligibility of the varieties is the main ground for referring to them as separate languages.”
    • Charles N. Li, Sandra A. Thompson. Mandarin Chinese: A Functional Reference Grammar (1989), p 2. “The Chinese language family is genetically classified as an independent branch of the Sino-Tibetan language family.”
    • Jerry Norman. Chinese (1988), p.1. “The modern Chinese dialects are really more like a family of language.
    • John DeFrancis. The Chinese Language: Fact and Fantasy (1984), p.56. "To call Chinese a single language composed of dialects with varying degrees of difference is to mislead by minimizing disparities that according to Chao are as great as those between English and Dutch. To call Chinese a family of languages is to suggest extralinguistic differences that in fact do not exist and to overlook the unique linguistic situation that exists in China."
  4. ^ Mair, Victor H. (1991). "What Is a Chinese "Dialect/Topolect"? Reflections on Some Key Sino-English Linguistic Terms". Sino-Platonic Papers. 
  5. ^ http://big5.xinhuanet.com/gate/big5/news.xinhuanet.com/edu/2004-12/27/content_2383853.htm
  6. ^ DeFrancis (1984) p.58 cites a significantly higher figure of 71.5%.
  7. ^ Encyclopedia Britannica s.v. "Chinese languages": "Old Chinese vocabulary already contained many words not generally occurring in the other Sino-Tibetan languages. The words for ‘honey' and ‘lion,' and probably also ‘horse,' ‘dog,' and ‘goose,' are connected with Indo-European and were acquired through trade and early contacts. (The nearest known Indo-European languages were Tocharian and Sogdian, a middle Iranian language.) A number of words have Austroasiatic cognates and point to early contacts with the ancestral language of Muong-Vietnamese and Mon-Khmer" [1]; Jan Ulenbrook, Einige Übereinstimmungen zwischen dem Chinesischen und dem Indogermanischen (1967) proposes 57 items; see also Tsung-tung Chang, 1988 Indo-European Vocabulary in Old Chinese;.
  8. ^ Zhou, Mingliang: Multilingualism in China: The Politics of Writing Reforms for Minority Languages, 1949-2002 (Walter de Gruyter 2003); ISBN 3-11-017896-6; p. 251–258.
  9. ^ DeFrancis (1984) p.42 counts Chinese as having 1,277 tonal syllables, and about 398 to 418 if tones are disregarded; he cites Jespersen, Otto (1928) Monosyllabism in English; London, p.15 for a count of over 8000 syllables for English.

Victor H. Mair is Professor of Chinese Language and Literature in the Department of East Asian Languages and Civilizations at the University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, United States. ... 1913 advertisement for the 11th edition, with the slogan When in doubt — look it up in the Encyclopædia Britannica The Encyclopædia Britannica (properly spelled with æ, the ae-ligature) was first published in 1768–1771 as The Britannica was an important early English-language general encyclopedia and is still...

External links

Wikipedia
Chinese language edition of Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Image File history File links Download high resolution version (1058x1058, 477 KB) aa Wikipedia logo, version 1058px square, no text Wikipedia logo by Nohat (concept by Paullusmagnus); compare Wikipedia File links The following pages link to this file: Arabic language Talk:Anarcho-capitalism Talk:Algorithm Talk:Anno Domini Talk:The... Wikipedia (IPA: , or ( ) is a multilingual, web-based, free content encyclopedia project, operated by the Wikimedia Foundation, a non-profit organization. ...

Dictionaries

  • Grand dictionnaire Ricci de la langue chinoise. 7 volumes. Instituts Ricci (Paris – Taipei). Desclée de Brouwer. 2001. ISBN 2-220-04667-2. Chinese to French (by far the largest dictionary of Chinese in a European language).
  • ABC Chinese-English Comprehensive Dictionary. Editor: John de Francis. (2003) University of Hawai’i Press. ISBN 0-8248-2766-X. Excellent Chinese to English dictionary arranged according to pinyin romanisation.
  • ABC Etymological Dictionary of Old Chinese. Axel Schuessler. 2007. University of Hawai’i Press, Honolulu. ISBN 978-08248-2975-9.
  • CHINGLISH online Chinese <-> English Dictionary
  • nciku free online Chinese dictionary with handwriting recognition, pinyin, sound clips, etc.
  • MDBG free online Chinese-English dictionary
  • Chinese Characters Dictionary: supports Japanese, Korean, Cantonese, Hakka etc.
  • Chinese - English Dictionary: from Webster's Online Dictionary - the Rosetta Edition
  • CEDICT Chinese-English Dictionary Project
  • Stardict free (GPL) multilanguage dictionary including simplified/traditional Chinese for Unix (Linux, FreeBSD, etc.) and win32
  • English-Chinese Translation Dictionary: Chinese-English-Chinese Online Dictionary (Taiwan-based; simplified characters not recognised)
  • CantoDict: Cantonese-English Dictionary Project
  • Chinese Pronunciation Dictionary Input Chinese words or sentences, get audio file of Mandarin pronunciation. Web-based tool.
  • Pinyin Annotator Add pinyin on top of any Chinese text. Mouse over any word to see English tranlation. Save output to OpenOffice Writer format. Prints nicely. Also adds pinyin to any Chinese web page.
  • Firefox users can install Add-ons for a pinyin annotator
  • Multimedia Dictionary of Chinese Characters Language Tool, Offline Chinese Dictionary.

Learning

  • Chinese Language Information Page A collection of Chinese language learning resources.
  • Learn Chinese - One At A Time
  • Oneaday.org One Chinese idiom a day (simplified and traditional characters) with pinyin transliteration and English translation.
  • Mandarin Tone Drill Testing your knowledge of Mandarin tones.
  • Pinyin Practice Pinyin practice for Mandarin learners in all levels
  • Marjorie Chan's ChinaLinks: A large collection of Web resources by a professor of linguistics at Ohio State University
  • Learning Chinese One Idiom at a Time: Chinese idioms in Simplified Chinese and Hanyu Pinyin
  • Sinoling.com: Chinese language resources
  • 4 words of Chinese every day
  • Why Chinese Is So Damn Hard
  • Chinese Character of the Day Learn to Read Chinese one word at a time.
  • Audio files with basic Chinese words
  • General Introduction of Chinese Language
  • Free Chinese Character Input Software Google Pinyin Input Software
  • Chinese Level Chinese Language Level System & Assessment
  • Chinese tutorials and literature Chinese Scholar- The Free Chinese Class

This is a list of countries spanning more than one continent. ... UN redirects here. ... Image File history File links Flag_of_the_United_Nations. ... Image File history File links Flag_of_the_United_Nations. ... Arabic redirects here. ... The English language is a West Germanic language that originates in England. ...


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