What is the Language of China?
The official language of China is Chinese Mandarin.
How many dialects in the Chinese Language?
China is a vast country with a huge number of different languages and dialects, as a result of its huge and diverse population. There isn’t an official number for the amounts of dialects spoken in China, but its certainly 100 or more.
Official classification and categorisation of these dialects is an extremely complex topic and varies widely based on opinion and linguistic criteria. The Chinese language dialects typically fall into 10 major language families:
|Mandarin Chinese||The official language of China|
|Cantonese||Southern China and Hong Kong|
|Hokkien||Fujian and Taiwan|
|Tibetan||Tibet Autonomous Region|
|Tibeto-Burman||Yunnan, Sichuan, Other parts|
|Korean / Manchu / Others||Various Parts|
Chinese Ethnic Groups
There are 56 officially recognised ethnic groups in China.
|Name||Simplified Chinese||Pinyin||% of Population|
|Uygur||维吾尔族||Wéi wú’ěr zú||0.84%|
|Tujia||土家族||Tǔ jiā zú||0.68%|
|Mongol||蒙古族||Měng gǔ zú||0.45%|
|Kazak||哈萨克族||Hā sà kè zú||0.41%|
|Bouyei||布依族||Bù yī zú||0.25%|
|Hani||哈尼族||Hā ní zú||0.12%|
|Chosŏn||朝鲜族||Cháo xiǎn zú||0.12%|
|Lisu||傈僳族||Lì sù zú||0.05%|
|Dongxiang||东乡族||Dōng xiāng zú||0.06%|
|Gelao||仡佬族||Gē lǎo zú||0.05%|
|Lahu||拉祜族||Lā hù zú||0.04%|
|Naxi||纳西族||Nà xī zú||0.02%|
|Mulao||仫佬族||Mù lǎo zú||0.02%|
|Kirgiz||柯尔克孜族||Kē’ěr kè zī zú||0.01%|
|Xibe||锡伯族||Xī bó zú||0.01%|
|Salar||撒拉族||Sā lā zú||0.01%|
|Jingpo||景颇族||Jǐng pō zú||0.01%|
|Daur||达斡尔族||Dá wò’ěr zú||0.01%|
|Blang||布朗族||Bù lǎng zú||0.01%|
|Maonan||毛南族||Máo nán zú||0.01%|
|Tajik||塔吉克族||Tǎ jí kè zú||0.00%|
|Pumi||普米族||Pǔ mǐ zú||0.00%|
|Achang||阿昌族||Ā chāng zú||0.00%|
|Ewenki||鄂温克族||È wēn kè zú||0.00%|
|Jino||基诺族||Jī nuò zú||0.00%|
|Russ||俄罗斯族||É luó sī zú||0.00%|
|Yugur||裕固族||Yù gù zú||0.00%|
|Uzbek||乌孜别克族||Wū zī bié kè zú||0.00%|
|Monba||门巴族||Mén bā zú||0.00%|
|Oroqen||鄂伦春族||È lún chūn zú||0.00%|
|Derung||独龙族||Dú lóng zú||0.00%|
|Hezhen||赫哲族||Hè zhé zú||0.00%|
|Lhoba||珞巴族||Luò bā zú||0.00%|
|Gaoshan||高山族||Gāo shān zú||0.00%|
|Uncategorised||未识别民族||Wèi Shìbié Mín zú||0.06%|
|Foreigners||外国人加入中国籍||Wài guó rén Jiā rù Zhōng guó jí||0.00%|
The History of the Language of China
Today the language of China, Mandarin, boasts the top spot for the most natively spoken language in the world, resulting from the vast population in modern day China. It is large enough and important enough to be one of six official United Nations languages.
The Language of China, Chinese Mandarin, has an ancient history. It is currently the old written language in the world, with a 6000 year history. The modern day characters can be traced back to their ancient origins, usually showing a pictographic style character with a close connection to the meaning.
During the Han Dynasty (200 BC) classical Chinese became the literary and administrative language of China, being used as the base for formal documents, poetry and texts. It continued to be the official language for centuries to come, including the famous works of Confucious.
Through the years, it developed and evolved over time, spreading and emerging as various dialects of Chinese Mandarin all over China. It is thought that the northern dialect became pivotal in the development of modern day Chinese Mandarin.
Yuan, Ming and Qing Dynasties
During the Yuan Dynasty (circa 1300 AD), the Man Chu empire spread the use of the northern dialect of Chinese Mandarin. This was further re-inforced by the succeeding Ming Dynasty (circa 1500 AD).
The Qing Dynasty (circa 1600-1900 AD) expanded into territories already speaking a Chinese Mandarin dialect. In order to unify China, the northern Dialect of Chinese Mandarin was marked as the official language of China.
Modern Day Chinese Mandarin – The Language of China
In the early 20th century, especially after the fall of the Qing dynasty the Republic of China made efforts to establish “Guo Yu”, the national language of China.
The peoples republic of China officially adopted a new standard in 1955, known as “Pu Tong Hua” or “The Common Speech”. This still carries large element of the original northern dialect of the classical Chinese dialect. This is the language of China in the modern day.
As the globalisation came in, the important of China on the world stage grew in importance. The Pinyin system was then introduced to facilitate literacy and the studying of Chinese Mandarin as a foreign language.
Pinyin is a form of Chinese Mandarin by where the characters can be represented by Roman lettering.
Although an ancient language, the language of Chinese (Chinese Mandarin) is still very relevant on the global scene. With the rapidly growing economy of China and the growing interesting in all things Chinese, the language will continue to be relevant and useful for those brave enough to study it as a foreign language.
If you are interested in learning to read and use Chinese characters, check out this article: Study Chinese Characters: 6 Easy Points to Start Today or https://discover.hubpages.com/education/learning-chinese-characters
If you are more interested in grasping the Chinese language as a whole, and learning to speak Chinese Mandarin, check out this article: How To Speak Chinese – 8 Critical Starting Points