The Chinese language is the oldest written language in the world with at least six thousand years of history. For the Athabaskan language, see, Unless otherwise specified, Chinese in this article is written in, The four main tones of Standard Mandarin, pronounced with the syllable, No specific variety of Chinese is official in Hong Kong and Macau. [9] Language is one of the features used for ethnic identification. minority languages perceived as inferior is grim. Chinese Will Open Up a World of Opportunity for You. For example, jīngjì (经济/經濟; 経済 keizai in Japanese), 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. This makes learning English a serious challenge for Chinese native speakers. Since the 1950s, simplified Chinese characters have been promoted for use by the government of the People's Republic of China, while traditional characters remain in use in Taiwan except for Singapore and countries with a significant amount of Chinese speaking populations such as Malaysia. [68] To Chinese nationalists, the idea of Chinese as a language family may suggest that the Chinese identity is much more fragmented and disunified than their belief and as such is often looked upon as culturally and politically provocative. "electric vision") for television, 电脑/電腦 diànnǎo (lit. Let's take a look at 10 facts you should know about this complicated and very different language. Chinese is considered by most translators to be the hardest language to translate and it even presents huge challenges for native speakers. [42] Generally, mountainous South China exhibits more linguistic diversity than the North China Plain. English has been the dominant global language for a century, but is it the language of the future? Thus, as a practical measure, officials of the Ming and Qing dynasties carried out the administration of the empire using a common language based on Mandarin varieties, known as Guānhuà (官话/官話, literally "language of officials"). "lettered words") spelled with letters from the English alphabet. This is often done for commercial purposes, for example 奔腾/奔騰 bēnténg (lit. [32] Scholars from different lands could communicate, albeit only in writing, using Literary Chinese. The spoken languages of nationalities that are a part of the People's Republic of China belong to at least nine families: Below are lists of ethnic groups in China by linguistic classification. Linguists classify all varieties of Chinese as part of the Sino-Tibetan language family, together with Burmese, Tibetan and many other languages spoken in the Himalayas and the Southeast Asian Massif. English has been the most widely-taught foreign language in China, as it is a required subject for students attending university. Various other written styles are also used in Chinese calligraphy, including seal script, cursive script and clerical script. prestige variety, such as Standard Mandarin), as the issue requires some careful handling when mutual intelligibility is inconsistent with language identity. 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 Chinese language is the official language in six countries and it’s one of the six official languages of the United Nations. Chinese is the language mainly spoken by the people living in China, and this has several varieties or dialects that are spoken within the mainland of China itself. Chinese always were taught a written Chinese different than their spoken language/topolect/dialect. 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. [33] English is also one of the official languages in Hong Kong. [41] These varieties form a dialect continuum, in which differences in speech generally become more pronounced as distances increase, though the rate of change varies immensely. As such, most of these words have been replaced (in speech, if not in writing) with a longer, less-ambiguous compound. The spoken varieties of Chinese are usually considered by native speakers to be variants of a single language. The language option (before ) : I change to English: But after loading still in Chinese, It dont change the language at all . [6] Without a secure reconstruction of proto-Sino-Tibetan, the higher-level structure of the family remains unclear. In Mandarin much more than in other spoken varieties, most syllables tend to be open syllables, meaning they have no coda (assuming that a final glide is not analyzed as a coda), but syllables that do have codas are restricted to nasals /m/, /n/, /ŋ/, the retroflex approximant /ɻ /, and voiceless stops /p/, /t/, /k/, or /ʔ/. 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.[e]. The CC-CEDICT project (2010) contains 97,404 contemporary entries including idioms, technology terms and names of political figures, businesses and products. “The inconsistencies and irregularities of English’s writing system show that linguistic properties alone do not determine whether a language … Mandarin Chinese is the mother tongue of over 873 million people, making it the most widely spoken first language in the world. In parts of South China, a major city's dialect may only be marginally intelligible to close neighbors. When zh is used on its own, it is usually used to mean the predominant language in the encompassed range, although this is not explicitly specified in BCP 47. Today, it is much more common to use existing Chinese morphemes to coin new words to represent imported concepts, such as technical expressions and international scientific vocabulary. It forms part of a language family called the Sino-Tibetan family of languages. Zhuyin (colloquially bopomofo), a semi-syllabary is still widely used in Taiwan's elementary schools to aid standard pronunciation. Show me, and I may remember. Belonging to two different language families, English and Chinese have many significant differences. In the Philippines people think that learning Chinese will allow them to get better in the future. The tones are exemplified by the following five Chinese words: Standard Cantonese, in contrast, has six tones in open syllables and three tones in syllables ending with stops:[70]. Chinese is a tonal language, the same word spoken in different tones will mean different things! Halliday, M. A. K., & Webster, J. This is done by employing Chinese characters with similar pronunciations. It requires extensive experience to achieve accuracy of a translation. Wade–Giles was found in academic use in the United States, particularly before the 1980s, and until 2009 was widely used in Taiwan. Most linguists now believe it represents a diasystem encompassing 6th-century northern and southern standards for reading the classics.[19]. The language’s reputation as one of the most difficult to master comes mainly from its writing system and the tones. In summer 2020, the Inner Mongolian government announced an education policy change to phase out Mongolian as the language of instructions for humanities in elementary and middle schools, adopting the national instruction material instead. "stone-head"); shíjiān 时间/時間 (lit. "hand machine") for mobile phone, 蓝牙/藍牙 lányá (lit. Most Chinese users in the modern era are capable of, although not necessarily comfortable with, reading (but not writing) the alternative system, through experience and guesswork.[80]. Chinese Language Meta your communities . [7] According to the 2019 edition of Ethnologue, 904,000,000 people in China spoke some variety of Mandarin as their first language in 2017.[8]. With the rising popularity of the Internet, there is a current vogue in China for coining English transliterations, for example, 粉丝/粉絲 fěnsī "fans", 黑客 hēikè "hacker" (lit. [4] These branches are unintelligible to each other, and many of their subgroups are unintelligible with the other varieties within the same branch (e.g. SBS is launching a new Chinese-language digital service for Mandarin and Cantonese-speaking Australians. The entire Chinese character corpus since antiquity comprises well over 20,000 characters, of which only roughly 10,000 are now commonly in use. [16] The Ministry of Education describes the move as a natural extension of the Law of the People's Republic of China on the Standard Spoken and Written Chinese Language (Chinese: 通用语言文字法) of 2000.[17]. A distinguishing feature of pretty much all East Asian languages is that they are topic prominent. Buddhist terminology is generally derived from Sanskrit or Pāli, the liturgical languages of North India. They differ as much from each other The best known are undoubtedly Mandarin and Cantonese. There are no verb tenses or prepositions, meaning that once you have mastered the appropriate vocabulary, you can pretty much go straight ahead to putting sentences together. Among Chinese speakers, Mandarin Chinese is often called Guóyǔ (国语), which means “national language”, or Pǔtōnghuà (普通话), which means “common speech”. The Chinese written language uses single distinctive symbols, or characters, to represent each word of the vocabulary. Indeed, at this point in time, Mandarin Chinese is hands-down the best language to learn in order to get a head start in life. [13], In 2010, Tibetan students protested against changes in the Language Policy on the schools that promoted the use of Mandarin Chinese instead of Tibetan. [21] Chinese: A Difficult Language to Translate. School-children typically learn around 2,000 characters whereas scholars may memorize up to 10,000. Another result of the English influence on Chinese is the appearance in Modern Chinese texts of so-called 字母词/字母詞 zìmǔcí (lit. In the late 1960s, English replaced the position of Russian to become the most studied foreign language in China. These coinages, written in shared Chinese characters, have then been borrowed freely between languages. [12] Although many of the finer details remain unclear, most scholars agree that Old Chinese differs from Middle Chinese in lacking retroflex and palatal obstruents but having initial consonant clusters of some sort, and in having voiceless nasals and liquids. [29], Historically, the Chinese language has spread to its neighbors through a variety of means. 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. [24], There have been a growing number of students studying Arabic, due to reasons of cultural interest and belief in better job opportunities. [16] These works define phonological categories, but with little hint of what sounds they represent. In 2009, about 60,000 American college students were studying Chinese. Other words came from nomadic peoples to the north, such as 胡同 hútòng "hutong". Because many languages exist in China, they also have problems regarding diglossia. Often different compounds for the same concept were in circulation for some time before a winner emerged, and sometimes the final choice differed between countries. The official language of China is the Mandarin, which is the very name of 'Hanyu' or 'Putonghua', belonging to Sino-Tibetan. Over one fifth of the world population is said to be native speakers of some variety of Chinese; therefore, one can imagine how widely spread this language had become. [9], The earliest examples of Chinese are divinatory inscriptions on oracle bones from around 1250 BCE in the late Shang dynasty. However, these were limited to popular literature until the late 19th century. The Chinese orthography centers on Chinese characters, which are written within imaginary square blocks, traditionally arranged in vertical columns, read from top to bottom down a column, and right to left across columns, despite alternative arrangement with rows of characters from left to right within a row and from top to bottom across rows (like English and other Western writing systems) having become more popular since the 20th century. That … [9], The Chinese language policy in mainland China is heavily influenced by the Soviet nationalities policy and officially encourages the development of standard spoken and written languages for each of the nationalities of China. 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