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Encyclopedia > Mandarin (linguistics)
This article contains Chinese text.
Without proper rendering support, you may see question marks, boxes, or other symbols instead of Chinese characters.
This article is on all of the Northern and Southwestern Chinese dialects. For the standardized official spoken Chinese language (Putonghua/Guoyu), see Standard Mandarin.
Mandarin
官話 Guānhuà
Spoken in: China (the People's Republic of China
Region: Most of northern and southwestern China
Total speakers: 867.2 million 
Ranking: 1 (native speakers)
Language family: Sino-Tibetan
 Chinese
  Mandarin 
Official status
Official language of: In standardized form: PRC, ROC, Singapore, United Nations
Regulated by: In standardized form: In the PRC: various agencies
in the ROC: Mandarin Promotion Council
in Singapore: Promote Mandarin Council/Speak Mandarin Campaign [1]
Language codes
ISO 639-1: zh
ISO 639-2: chi (B)  zho (T)
ISO 639-3: cmn

Mandarin (Traditional Chinese: 官話; Simplified Chinese: 官话; Pinyin: Guānhuà; literally "speech of officials"), or Beifanghua (Simplified Chinese: 北方话; Traditional Chinese: 北方話; Pinyin: Běifānghuà; literally "Northern Dialect(s)"), is a category of related Chinese dialects spoken across most of northern and south-western China. When taken as a separate language, as is often done in academic literature, the Mandarin dialects have more speakers than any other language. Image File history File links Zhongwen. ... Japanese name Kanji: Kana: Korean name Hangul: Hanja: Vietnamese name Quoc Ngu: Hantu: A Chinese character (Simplified Chinese: ; Traditional Chinese: ; Pinyin: ) is a logogram used in writing Chinese, Japanese, sometimes Korean, and formerly Vietnamese. ... Standard Mandarin, or Standard spoken Chinese, is the official modern Chinese spoken language used by the Peoples Republic of China, the Republic of China (Taiwan), and Singapore. ... This is a list of languages placed in order by the number of native-language speakers, with some data for second-language use. ... Current distribution of Human Language Families A language family is a group of related languages said to have descended 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. ... Standard Mandarin, or Standard spoken Chinese, is the official modern Chinese spoken language used by the Peoples Republic of China, the Republic of China (Taiwan), and Singapore. ... “PRC” redirects here. ... Anthem National Anthem of the Republic of China Capital (and largest city) Taipei1 Official languages Standard Mandarin (GuóyÇ”) Government Semi-presidential system  -  President Chen Shui-bian  -  Vice President Annette Lu  -  Premier Chang Chun-hsiung Establishment Xinhai Revolution   -  Independence declared October 10, 1911   -  Republic established January 1, 1912   -  Relocated to... The foundation of the U.N. The United Nations (UN) is an international organization whose stated aims are to facilitate co-operation in international law, international security, economic development, social progress and human rights issues. ... Standard Mandarin, or Standard spoken Chinese, is the official modern Chinese spoken language used by the Peoples Republic of China, the Republic of China (Taiwan), and Singapore. ... 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. ... Articles with similar titles include the NATO phonetic alphabet, which has also informally been called the “International Phonetic Alphabet”. For information on how to read IPA transcriptions of English words, see IPA chart for English. ... Unicode is an industry standard allowing computers to consistently represent and manipulate text expressed in any of the worlds writing systems. ... Traditional Chinese characters refers to one of two standard sets of printed Chinese characters. ... This article does not cite any references or sources. ... Hanyu Pinyin (Simplified Chinese: ; Traditional Chinese: ; pinyin: ), commonly called Pinyin, is the most common variant of Standard Mandarin romanization system in use. ... This article does not cite any references or sources. ... Traditional Chinese characters refers to one of two standard sets of printed Chinese characters. ... Hanyu Pinyin (Simplified Chinese: ; Traditional Chinese: ; pinyin: ), commonly called Pinyin, is the most common variant of Standard Mandarin romanization system in use. ... Spoken Chinese The Chinese spoken language(s) comprise(s) many regional variants. ...


In English, Mandarin can refer to two distinct concepts:

In everyday use, ‘Mandarin’ refers usually to just Standard Mandarin (Putonghua/Guoyu). In its broader sense, Mandarin is a diverse group of related dialects, some less mutually intelligible than others. It is a grouping defined and used mainly by linguists, and is not commonly used outside of academic circles as a self-description. Instead, when asked to describe the spoken form they are using, Chinese speaking a form of non-Standard Mandarin will describe the variant that they are speaking, for example Sichuan dialect or Northeast China dialect, and consider it distinct from ‘Standard Mandarin’ (putonghua); they may not recognize that it is in fact classified by linguists as a form of ‘Mandarin’ in a broader sense. Nor is there a common ‘Mandarin’ identity based on language; rather, there are strong regional identities centred on individual dialects, because of the wide geographical distribution and cultural diversity of its speakers. Standard Mandarin, or Standard spoken Chinese, is the official modern Chinese spoken language used by the Peoples Republic of China, the Republic of China (Taiwan), and Singapore. ... Note: This page or section contains IPA phonetic symbols in Unicode. ... Beijing (Chinese: 北京; pinyin: BÄ›ijÄ«ng; IPA: ;  ), a metropolis in northern China, is the capital of the Peoples Republic of China (PRC). ... Anthem National Anthem of the Republic of China Capital (and largest city) Taipei1 Official languages Standard Mandarin (GuóyÇ”) Government Semi-presidential system  -  President Chen Shui-bian  -  Vice President Annette Lu  -  Premier Chang Chun-hsiung Establishment Xinhai Revolution   -  Independence declared October 10, 1911   -  Republic established January 1, 1912   -  Relocated to... The foundation of the U.N. The United Nations (UN) is an international organization whose stated aims are to facilitate co-operation in international law, international security, economic development, social progress and human rights issues. ... Standard Mandarin, or Standard spoken Chinese, is the official modern Chinese spoken language used by the Peoples Republic of China, the Republic of China (Taiwan), and Singapore. ... This article or section is not written in the formal tone expected of an encyclopedia article. ... This article does not cite its references or sources. ...


Like all other varieties of Chinese, there is significant dispute as to whether Mandarin is a language or a dialect. See Identification of the varieties of Chinese for more on this issue. A controversy is a contentious dispute, a disagreement over which parties are actively arguing. ... A dialect (from the Greek word διάλεκτος, dialektos) is a variety of a language characteristic of a particular group of the languages speakers. ... Chinese forms part of the Sino-Tibetan family of languages. ...

Contents

History

The present divisions of the Chinese language developed out of the different ways in which dialects of Old Chinese and Middle Chinese evolved. The Seal script characters for harvest (later year) and person. ... 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). ...


Most Chinese living in northern and south-western China are native speakers of a dialect of Mandarin. The prevalence of this linguistic homogeneity in northern China is largely the result of geography: much of northern China is covered by plains and is flat. In contrast to this, the mountains and rivers of southern China have promoted linguistic diversity.


Chronologically, there is no clear line to mark where Middle Chinese ends and Mandarin begins; however, the Zhōngyuán Yīnyùn (中原音韵), a rhyme book from the Yuan Dynasty, is widely regarded as a milestone in the history of Mandarin. In this rhyme book we see many characteristic features of Mandarin, such as the reduction and disappearance of final stop consonants and the reorganization of the Middle Chinese tones. 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). ... Zhōngyuán YÄ«nyùn (Simplified Chinese: 中原音韵; Traditional Chinese: 中原音韻) is a rhyme book from the Yuan Dynasty compiled by Zhōu DéqÄ«ng (周德清) in 1324. ... A rime dictionary or a rime book is a type of Chinese dictionary that was used in ancient times. ... The four successor Khanates of the Mongol Empire Capital Dadu Language(s) Mongolian Chinese Government Monarchy Emperor  - 1260-1294 Kublai Khan  - 1333-1370 Ukhaatu Khan History  - establishing the Yuan Dynasty 1271  - Fall of Dadu September 14, 1368 Population  - 1330 est. ... A stop, plosive, or occlusive is a consonant sound produced by stopping the airflow in the vocal tract. ... This article or section does not cite any references or sources. ...

Uncropped version

Until the mid-20th century, most Chinese people living in southern China spoke only their local language. Beijing Mandarin became dominant during the officially Manchu-speaking Qing period, and from the 17th century onward, the empire established orthoepy academies (Simplified Chinese: 正音书院; Traditional Chinese: 正音書院; Pinyin: Zhèngyīn Shūyuàn) in an attempt to make local pronunciations conform to the Beijing standard. These attempts, however, had little success. Chart by Patrick Edwin Moran File links The following pages link to this file: Mandarin (linguistics) Categories: GFDL images ... Chart by Patrick Edwin Moran File links The following pages link to this file: Mandarin (linguistics) Categories: GFDL images ... The Manchu people (Manchu: Manju; Simplified Chinese: ; Traditional Chinese: ; Pinyin: , Mongolian: Манж) are a Tungusic people who originated in Manchuria (todays Northeastern China). ... Flag (1890-1912) Anthem Gong Jinou (1911) Territory of Qing China in 1892 Capital Shengjing (1636-1644) Beijing (1644-1912) Language(s) Chinese Manchu Mongolian Government Monarchy Emperor  - 1636-1643 Huang Taiji  - 1908-1912 Xuantong Emperor Prime Minister  - 1911 Yikuang  - 1911-1912 Yuan Shikai History  - Establishment of the Late... Orthoepeia means the correct use of words, from the Greek orth- + -epos, correct + word, speech. ... This article does not cite any references or sources. ... Traditional Chinese characters refers to one of two standard sets of printed Chinese characters. ... Hanyu Pinyin (Simplified Chinese: ; Traditional Chinese: ; pinyin: ), commonly called Pinyin, is the most common variant of Standard Mandarin romanization system in use. ...


This situation changed with the widespread introduction of Standard Mandarin as the national language, to be used in education, the media, and formal situations in both the PRC and the ROC (but not in Hong Kong). As a result, Standard Mandarin can now be spoken intelligibly as a second language by most younger people in Mainland China and Taiwan, with various regional accents. In Hong Kong and Macau, because of their colonial and linguistic history, the language of education, the media, formal speech and everyday life remains the local Cantonese, although Standard Mandarin is becoming increasingly influential. ... Cantonese is a major dialect group or language of the Chinese language, a member of the Sino-Tibetan family of languages. ...


Today, Mandarin is spoken throughout the Chinese Diaspora. It is mostly spoken by Overseas Chinese populations in Malaysia, Singapore, Australia, United States, Canada, United Kingdom and parts of Europe, South America, Africa and Middle East where significant Overseas Chinese populations exist. The huge usage of Mandarin in Malaysia and Singapore is helped by the existence of Chinese vernacular education systems and huge Chinese population proportions. These days, young non-ethnic Chinese are beginning to pick up Mandarin as an effort to take advantage of rising economic power in China.


Name and classification

The English term comes from the Portuguese mandarin (from Malay menteri [2], both of which are from Sanskrit mantrin-, meaning minister); it is a translation of the Chinese term Guānhuà (Traditional Chinese: 官話; Simplified Chinese: 官话), which literally means the language of the mandarins (imperial magistrates). The term Guānhuà is often considered archaic by Chinese speakers of today, though it is used sometimes by linguists as a collective term to refer to all varieties and dialects of Mandarin, not just standard Mandarin. Another term commonly used to refer to all varieties of Mandarin is Běifānghuà (Simplified Chinese: 北方话; Traditional Chinese: 北方話), or the dialect(s) of the North, although speakers of south-western Mandarin would not usually consider themselves as speakers of 'northern dialects'. The English language is a West Germanic language that originates in England. ... The Malay language (Malay: Bahasa Melayu; Jawi script: بهاس ملايو), is an Austronesian language spoken by the Malay people who reside in the Malay Peninsula, southern Thailand, the Philippines, Singapore, central eastern Sumatra, the Riau islands, parts of the coast of Borneo and even in the Netherlands[1]. It is an official... The Sanskrit language ( , 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. ... A minister or a secretary is a politician who heads a government ministry or department (e. ... Traditional Chinese characters refers to one of two standard sets of printed Chinese characters. ... This article does not cite any references or sources. ... Standard Mandarin, or Standard spoken Chinese, is the official modern Chinese spoken language used by the Peoples Republic of China, the Republic of China (Taiwan), and Singapore. ... This article does not cite any references or sources. ... Traditional Chinese characters refers to one of two standard sets of printed Chinese characters. ...


Standard Mandarin

Main article: Standard Mandarin

From an official point of view, there are two versions of Standard Mandarin, since the Beijing government refers to that on the Mainland as Putonghua, whereas the Taiwanese government refers to their official language as Kuo-yü (Guoyu in pinyin). Standard Mandarin, or Standard spoken Chinese, is the official modern Chinese spoken language used by the Peoples Republic of China, the Republic of China (Taiwan), and Singapore. ... Standard Mandarin, or Standard spoken Chinese, is the official modern Chinese spoken language used by the Peoples Republic of China, the Republic of China (Taiwan), and Singapore. ... “PRC” redirects here. ... Anthem National Anthem of the Republic of China Capital (and largest city) Taipei1 Official languages Standard Mandarin (GuóyÇ”) Government Semi-presidential system  -  President Chen Shui-bian  -  Vice President Annette Lu  -  Premier Chang Chun-hsiung Establishment Xinhai Revolution   -  Independence declared October 10, 1911   -  Republic established January 1, 1912   -  Relocated to... Hanyu Pinyin (Simplified Chinese: ; Traditional Chinese: ; pinyin: ), commonly called Pinyin, is the most common variant of Standard Mandarin romanization system in use. ...


Technically, both Putonghua and Guoyu base their phonology on the Beijing accent, though Putonghua also takes some elements from other sources. Comparison of dictionaries produced in the two areas will show that there are few substantial differences. However, both versions of ‘school’ Standard Mandarin are often quite different from the Mandarin dialects that are spoken in accordance with regional habits, and neither is wholly identical to the Beijing dialect. Putonghua and Guoyu also differ from the Beijing dialect in vocabulary, grammar, and usage. 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). ... Note: This page or section contains IPA phonetic symbols in Unicode. ... Note: This page or section contains IPA phonetic symbols in Unicode. ...


It is important to note that the terms ‘Putonghua (The Common Language)’ and ‘Guoyu’ refer to speech, and hence the difference in the use of simplified characters and traditional characters is not usually considered to be a difference between these two concepts. This article or section does not adequately cite its references or sources. ... Traditional Chinese (Traditional Chinese: 正體字/繁體字, Simplified Chinese: 正体字/繁体字) refers to one of two standard sets of printed Chinese characters. ...


Dialects

Geographical distribution of Mandarin and other Chinese languages.
Main article: Mandarin dialects

There are regional variations in Mandarin. This is manifested in two ways: Download high resolution version (400x770, 48 KB)the Sinitic Languages File history Legend: (cur) = this is the current file, (del) = delete this old version, (rev) = revert to this old version. ... Download high resolution version (400x770, 48 KB)the Sinitic Languages File history Legend: (cur) = this is the current file, (del) = delete this old version, (rev) = revert to this old version. ... Chinese (written) language (pinyin: zhōngw n) written in Chinese characters The Chinese language (汉语/漢語, 华语/華語, or 中文; Pinyin: H nyǔ, Hu yǔ, or Zhōngw n) is a member of the Sino-Tibetan family of languages. ... Mandarin, when used in the broad sense to refer to most of the Chinese dialects spoken over northern and southwestern China, covers many variations. ...

  1. The varieties of Mandarin cover a huge area containing nearly a billion people. As a result, there are pronounced regional variations in pronunciation, vocabulary and grammar. These regional differences are rather more pronounced than the differences in the varieties of English found in England, Scotland, Ireland, Australia, Canada, and the United States.
  2. Standard Mandarin has been promoted very actively by the PRC, the ROC, and Singapore as a second language. As a result, those who are not native speakers of Standard Mandarin frequently flavour it with a strong infusion of the sounds of their native tongues.

Dialects of Mandarin can be subdivided into eight categories: Beijing Mandarin, Northeastern Mandarin, Ji Lu Mandarin, Jiao Liao Mandarin, Zhongyuan Mandarin, Lan Yin Mandarin, South-western Mandarin, and Jianghuai Mandarin. Jin is sometimes considered the ninth category of Mandarin. (Others separate it from Mandarin altogether.) Look up pronunciation in Wiktionary, the free dictionary. ... A vocabulary is a set of words known to a person or other entity, or that are part of a specific language. ... For the topic in theoretical computer science, see Formal grammar Grammar is the study of rules governing the use of language. ... The English language is a West Germanic language that originates in England. ... Motto (French) God and my right Anthem No official anthem - the United Kingdom anthem God Save the Queen is commonly used England() – on the European continent() – in the United Kingdom() Capital (and largest city) London (de facto) Official languages English (de facto)1 Unified  -  by Athelstan 927 AD  Area  -  Total... Motto (Latin) No one provokes me with impunity Cha togar mfhearg gun dioladh (Scottish Gaelic) Wha daur meddle wi me?(Scots)1 Anthem (Multiple unofficial anthems) Scotlands location in Europe Capital Edinburgh Largest city Glasgow Official languages English (de facto)1; Gaelic[1]2 and Scots3 (recognised minority... Standard Mandarin, or Standard spoken Chinese, is the official modern Chinese spoken language used by the Peoples Republic of China, the Republic of China (Taiwan), and Singapore. ... “PRC” redirects here. ... Anthem National Anthem of the Republic of China Capital (and largest city) Taipei1 Official languages Standard Mandarin (GuóyÇ”) Government Semi-presidential system  -  President Chen Shui-bian  -  Vice President Annette Lu  -  Premier Chang Chun-hsiung Establishment Xinhai Revolution   -  Independence declared October 10, 1911   -  Republic established January 1, 1912   -  Relocated to... Note: This page or section contains IPA phonetic symbols in Unicode. ... Northeastern Mandarin or Northeast Chinese Dialect is a variety of Mandarin Chinese, known collectively as Dongbeihua (Traditional Chinese: 東北話; Simplified Chinese: 东北话; pinyin: DōngbÄ›ihuà; literally Northeast Speech/Language). Northeastern dialect is very similar to the Beijing dialect, upon which Standard Mandarin Chinese (Putonghua) is based. ... Ji Lu Mandarin (Simplified Chinese: 冀鲁官话; Traditional Chinese: 冀魯官話; pinyin: jìlÇ”guānhuà) is a Mandarin dialect spoken in the Chinese provinces of Hebei and Shandong. ... Jiao-Liao Mandarin (胶辽官话)is the version of Mandarin Chinese spoken on the Shandong (aka Jiaodong) and Liaodong Peninsulas in northeast China. ... Zhongyuan Mandarin (Simplified Chinese: ; Traditional Chinese: ; Hanyu Pinyin: ) ( Official Language of the Central Plain), spoken in the central part of Shaanxi, Henan, and southern part of Shandong, is a dialect of Chinese. ... Jin (simplified: 晋语; traditional: 晉語; pinyin: jìnyǔ), or Jin-yu, is a subdivision of spoken Chinese. ...


Phonology

See standard Mandarin for a description of Standard Mandarin phonology and dialects of Mandarin for an overview of the phonologies of Mandarin dialects.

Mandarin, like most Chinese dialects/languages, is syllable timed, as opposed to many Western languages, including English, which are stress timed. Standard Mandarin, or Standard spoken Chinese, is the official modern Chinese spoken language used by the Peoples Republic of China, the Republic of China (Taiwan), and Singapore. ... Phonology (Greek phonē = voice/sound and logos = word/speech), is a subfield of linguistics which studies the sound system of a specific language (or languages). ... Mandarin, when used in the broad sense to refer to most of the Chinese dialects spoken over northern and southwestern China, covers many variations. ... In every language, speech emission is based on a sequence of elementary sound units; some of them play a specific part: through their isochronic recurrence, they produce the rhythm of the sentences. ... In linguistics, the timing in a language comprises the rhythmic qualities of speech, in particular how syllables are distributed across time. ...


Syllables consist maximally of an initial consonant, a glide, a vowel, a final, and tone. Not every syllable that is possible according to this rule actually exists in Mandarin, as there are rules prohibiting certain phonemes from appearing with others, and in practice there are only a few hundred distinct syllables. A syllable (Ancient Greek: ) is a unit of organization for a sequence of speech sounds. ...


Phonological features that are generally shared by the Mandarin dialects include:

Palatalization means pronouncing a sound nearer to the hard palate, making it more like a palatal consonant; this is towards the front of the mouth for a velar or uvular consonant, but towards the back of the mouth for a front (e. ... Velars are consonants articulated with the back part of the tongue (the dorsum) against the soft palate (the back part of the roof of the mouth, known also as the velum). ... Alveolars are consonants articulated with the tip of the tongue against the alveolar ridge, the internal side of the upper gums (known as the alveoles of the upper teeth). ... A sibilant is a type of fricative, made by speeding up air through a narrow channel and directing it over the sharp edge of the teeth. ... Palatal consonants are consonants articulated with the middle or back part of the tongue raised against the hard palate (the middle part of the roof of the mouth). ... Semivowels (also glides, more rarely: semiconsonants) are non-syllabic vowels that form diphthongs with syllabic vowels. ... A stop or plosive or occlusive is a consonant sound produced by stopping the airflow in the vocal tract. ... Jin (simplified: 晋语; traditional: 晉語; pinyin: jìnyǔ), or Jin-yu, is a subdivision of spoken Chinese. ... This article does not cite any references or sources. ... Entering tone (Simplified Chinese: 入声; Traditional Chinese: 入聲; pinyin: rùshÄ“ng) is one of four tones in the phonology in Middle Chinese. ... Retroflex consonants are articulated with the tip of the tongue curled up and back so the bottom of the tip touches the roof of the mouth. ... Also known as Huguang (湖广), it is the varient of Mandarin Chinese widely spoken south of the Yangtze River, and east of the Tibetan Plateau. ... Northeastern Mandarin or Northeast Chinese Dialect is a variety of Mandarin Chinese, known collectively as Dongbeihua (Traditional Chinese: 東北話; Simplified Chinese: 东北话; pinyin: DōngbÄ›ihuà; literally Northeast Speech/Language). Northeastern dialect is very similar to the Beijing dialect, upon which Standard Mandarin Chinese (Putonghua) is based. ...

Vocabulary

There are more polysyllabic words in Mandarin than in all other varieties of Chinese except Shanghainese. This is partly because Mandarin has undergone many more sound changes than have southern varieties of Chinese, and has needed to deal with many more homophones — usually by forming new words via compounding, or by adding affixes such as lao- (老), -zi (子), -(e)r (儿), and -tou (头). There are also a small number of words that have been polysyllabic since Old Chinese, such as húdié (蝴蝶, butterfly). 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. ... Look up Homophone in Wiktionary, the free dictionary. ... Look up affix in Wiktionary, the free dictionary. ...


The singular pronouns in Mandarin are wǒ (我) ‘I’, nǐ (你) ‘you’, nín (您) ‘you (formal)’, and tā (他/她/它) ‘he/she/it’, with -men (们) added for the plural. Further, there is a distinction between the plural first-person pronoun zánmen (咱们/咱們), which is inclusive of the listener, and wǒmen (我们/我們), which may be exclusive of the listener. Dialects of Mandarin agree with each other quite consistently on these pronouns, but not with other varieties of Chinese (e.g., Shanghainese has 侬 non ‘you’ and 伊 yi ‘he/she’). In linguistics and grammar, a pronoun is a pro-form that substitutes for a noun phrase. ... 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. ...


Other morphemes that Mandarin dialects tend to share are aspect and mood particles, such as -le (了), -zhe (着), and -guo (过/過). Other Chinese varieties tend to use different words in some of these contexts (e.g., Cantonese 咗 and 緊). Because of contact with Central Asian cultures, Mandarin has some loanwords from Altaic languages not present in other varieties of Chinese, such as hútong (胡同) ‘alley.’ Southern Chinese varieties have borrowed more from Tai[1], Austro-Asiatic[2], and Austronesian[citation needed] languages. 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. ... Altaic is a putative language family which would include 60 languages spoken by about 250 million people, mostly in and around central Asia. ... A typical street in a Bejing hutong Hutongs (Simplified Chinese: ; Traditional Chinese: ; pinyin: ) are narrow streets or alleys, most commonly associated with Beijing, China. ... 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 Tai languages are a subgroup of the Tai Kadai language family. ... Austro-Asiatic languages The Austro-Asiatic languages are a large language family of Southeast Asia, and also scattered throughout India and Bangladesh. ... The Austronesian languages are a language family widely dispersed throughout the islands of Southeast Asia and the Pacific, with a few members spoken on continental Asia. ...


Writing system

The writing system for almost all the varieties of Chinese is based on a set of written symbols that has been passed down with little change for more than two thousand years. Each of these varieties of Chinese has developed some new words during this time, words for which there are no matching characters in the original set. While it is of course possible to invent new characters (as was done to represent many elements in the periodic table), a more common course of development has been to borrow old characters that have fallen into disuse on the basis of their pronunciations.


In the original set of characters and definitions (containing more than 40,000 items) there were the demonstrative pronouns ‘this’ (此, ) and ‘that’ (彼, ). But these terms were rare in spoken Mandarin, where ‘zhè’ and ‘nà’ (or regional variants of them) were used instead. There are no components in the original set that have those meanings associated with those pronunciations, so a word pronounced ‘zhè’ (這) was borrowed to write ‘this,’ and a word pronounced ‘nà’ (那) was borrowed to write ‘that.’ Originally, 這 meant ‘to go forward to meet someone’, and 那 was the name of a country (and later became a rare surname). // Demonstratives are deictic words (they depend on an external frame of reference) that indicate which entities a speaker refers to, and distinguishes those entities from others. ...


As with other varieties of Chinese, the government of the People's Republic of China (as well as some other governments and institutions) has put a set of simplified forms into operation. Under this system, the forms of the words ‘here’ (zhèlǐ) and ‘there’ (nàlǐ) changed from 這裡 and 那裡 to 这里 and 那里. (See Simplified Chinese for more.) This article or section does not adequately cite its references or sources. ...


Mandarin literature

Originally, written Chinese was learned and composed as a special language. It may originally have rather closely represented the way people spoke, but with time the spoken and written languages diverged rather strongly. The written language, called ‘classical Chinese’ or ‘literary Chinese,’ is much more concise than spoken Chinese, the main reason being that a single written character is often just what one wants to communicate yet its single syllable would not communicate an unambiguous meaning if spoken because of the huge number of homonyms. For instance, 翼 (yì, wing) is unambiguous in written Chinese but would be lost among its more than 75 homonyms in spoken Chinese. Look up homonym in Wiktionary, the free dictionary. ...


For writing formal histories, for writing government documents, and even for writing poetry and fiction, the written language was adequate and economical of both printing resources and the human effort of writing things down. But to record materials that were meant to be reproduced in oral presentations, materials such as plays and grist for the professional story-teller's mill, the classical written language was not appropriate. Even written records of the words of a famous teacher like Zhu Xi (1130-1200) tend strongly to reflect his spoken language. From at least the Yuan dynasty, plays that recounted the subversive tales of China's Robin Hoods to the Ming dynasty novels, such as Shui Hu Zhuan (Outlaws of the marsh), on down to the Qing dynasty novel Hong Lou Meng (usually translated as ‘Dream of the Red Chamber’) and beyond, there developed a vernacular Chinese literature (bái hùa wén xúe). In many cases this written language reflected the Mandarin spoken language, and, since pronunciation differences were not conveyed in this written form, this tradition had a unifying force across all the Mandarin speaking regions and beyond. Dream of the Red Chamber (Traditional Chinese: 紅樓夢; Simplified Chinese: 红楼梦; pinyin: Hónglóu mèng), also known as A Dream of Red Mansions, The Story of the Stone, or Chronicles of the Stone (Traditional Chinese: 石頭記; Simplified Chinese: 石头记; pinyin: Shítóu jì) is one of the masterpieces of Chinese fiction. ...


A pivotal character during the first half of the twentieth century, Hu Shi, wrote an influential and perceptive study of this literary tradition, entitled Bái huà wén xué shǐ (A history of vernacular literature). Hu Shih (Simplified: 胡适, Traditional: 胡適, Pinyin: Hú Shì), (December 17, 1891-February 24, 1962) was a Chinese philosopher and essayist. ...


References

  1. ^ Ramsey, S. Robert (1987). The Languages of China. Princeton University Press, pp. 36-8. ISBN 0-691-01468-X. 
  2. ^ Norman, Jerry (1976). "The Austroasiatics in ancient South China: some lexical evidence". Monumenta Serica 32: pp. 274-301. 
  • Chao, Yuen Ren (1968). A Grammar of Spoken Chinese. University of California Press. ISBN 0-520-00219-9. 
  • Norman, Jerry (1988). Chinese. Cambridge University Press. ISBN 0-521-29653-6. 
  • Ramsey, S. Robert (1987). The Languages of China. Princeton University Press. ISBN 0-691-01468-X. 
  • Novotná, Z., ‘Contributions to the Study of Loan-Words and Hybrid Words in Modern Chinese’, Archiv Orientalni, (Prague), No.35 (1967), pp.613-648. (In English: examples of loan words and calques in Chinese)
  • Novotná, Z., ‘Contributions to the Study of Loan-Words and Hybrid Words in Modern Chinese’, Archiv Orientalni, (Prague), No.36 (1968), pp.295-325.(In English: examples of loan words and calques in Chinese)
  • Novotná, Z., ‘Contributions to the Study of Loan-Words and Hybrid Words in Modern Chinese’, Archiv Orientalni, (Prague), No.37 (1969), pp.48-75.(In English: examples of loan words and calques in Chinese)

See also

Wikibooks
Wikibooks has a book on the topic of
Chinese (Mandarin)


中文語法/中文语法 Zhōngwén yǔfǎ (Chinese grammar) This article or section uses Ruby annotation. ... Logo of the Confucius Institute. ... Image File history File links Wikibooks-logo-en. ... Wikibooks logo Wikibooks, previously called Wikimedia Free Textbook Project and Wikimedia-Textbooks, is a wiki for the creation of books. ...

[edit] Chinese: spoken varieties  
Generally accepted first-level categories:

Gan | Guanhua (Mandarin) | Kejia (Hakka) | Min | Wu | Xiang | Yue (Cantonese)
Spoken Chinese Spoken Chinese comprises many regional variants. ... 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. ... 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... Wu (Chinese: ; pinyin: ; Chinese: ; pinyin: ) is one of the major divisions of the Chinese language. ... Xiang (湘語/湘语), also Hunan, Hunanese, or Hsiang, is a subdivision of spoken Chinese. ... Cantonese is a major dialect group or language of the Chinese language, a member of the Sino-Tibetan family of languages. ...

Often accepted first-level categories:

Jin | Hui | Ping 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. ...

Unclassified:

Danzhouhua | Shaozhou Tuhua Danzhouhua (hua = language) 儋州話 / 儋州话 is an unclassified Chinese dialect spoken in the area of Danzhou on the island Hainan. ... 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. ...

Subcategories of Mandarin: Northeastern | Beijing | Ji-Lu | Jiao-Liao | Zhongyuan | Lan-Yin | Southwestern | Jianghuai | Dungan
Subcategories of Min: Min Bei | Min Dong | Min Nan | Min Zhong | Puxian | Qiong Wen | Shaojiang
Comprehensive list of Chinese dialects
Historical phonology: Old Chinese | Middle Chinese | Proto-Min | Proto-Mandarin | Haner
Chinese: written varieties
Official written varieties: Classical Chinese | Vernacular Chinese
Other varieties: Written Vernacular Cantonese

  Results from FactBites:
 
Article about "Mandarin (linguistics)" in the English Wikipedia on 24-Jul-2004 (3667 words)
In the broad sense, Mandarin is used, primarily by linguists and by the rest of this article, to refer to a much larger entity: the variations of Chinese speech spoken as the home language in most of northern and southwestern China.
The presence of Mandarin in southwest China is largely due to a plague in the 12th century in Sichuan.
Curiously the use of Mandarin in the 20th century has supplanted the use of pidgin English which was used as a common language in some parts of southern China in the 18th and 19th century.
Mandarin (linguistics) - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (1616 words)
Standard Mandarin functions as the official spoken language of the People's Republic of China, the official spoken language of the Republic of China (Taiwan), and one of the official spoken languages of Singapore.
The presence of Mandarin in southwest China is largely due to a plague in the 12th century in Sichuan.
However, both versions of "school" Standard Mandarin are often quite different from the Mandarin dialects that are spoken in accordance with regional habits, and neither is identical to even Beijing dialect.
  More results at FactBites »

 
 

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