China is the largest Asian country and it has the largest population on earth. Since china has a very complicated and rich history, this complexity is reflected in the linguistic diversity in this country. And due to this incredibly diversity, the United Nations have announced the 20th of April to be the official day for the Chinese language. There around 302 living languages in China varying between the languages of the majority and the languages of the minority.
The seven major languages in China:
It’s important to mention that Chinese people don’t call their different linguistic systems “languages” but, for cultural reasons, they call them “dialects”. Even though the said dialects have astounding differences, they’re still called dialects. There are seven major groups for the Chinese language and they are:
- 1- The standard Chinese: which is called Mandarin, the lingua franca for around 71% of the Chinese population. This is the official language for China and Taiwan and also one of the UN six official languages.
- 2- Wu: which is spoken in the coastal area of china, like around Shanghai. The astonishing thing about this language is that it uses eight different tones to differentiate the meanings of words.
- 3- Yue: This language is so different from the other Chinese languages or dialects and is known by the name Cantonese. The speakers of this language are mainly cantered in Guangdong, Macau and Hong Kong.
- 4- Xiang: This language is highly influenced by Mandarin, meaning that the speakers of this language can understand Mandarin. This language is Xiang language is divided into the new and the old. The new Xiang is spoken by people that live in Hunan’s capital, Changsha. While the old one is the language of Shuangfeng and many areas in Hunan.
- 5- Min: This language is mostly spoken in Fujian province. It has five different variants which are: Min Nah, Min Dong, Men Bei, Pu-Xian, and Min Zhong.
- 6- Gan: Also known as Kan, it’s spoken in a variety of provinces, including Jiangxi and Fujian.
- 7- Hakka: This is one of the indigenous languages of China and it is close to Gan. Hakka is spoken mainly in isolated regions and is comprised of 13 different dialects. Some of the regions that speak Hakka are: Jiangxi, Guizhou, Guangdong, Hong Kong, Taiwan.
The main reason why there are many different languages in China is that in the past, China wasn’t a united country but rather isolated regions that had their unique languages and dialects. You can even find European languages being an official language in a Chinese territory, like Portuguese, the official language in Macau besides Cantonese.
Which dialect should I learn?
1. Mandarin Chinese is spoken in 13 languages: it doesn’t mean that it’s an official language for 13 countries, but it’s spoken widely in 13 countries which include: China, Taiwan, Singapore, Hong Kong, Malaysia, Macau, and Tibet.
2. Mandarin is spoken in USA: Yes, you’ve read it correctly! New York’s China town was dominated by Cantonese for year but now, this time has gone and people their use Mandarin.
3. Mandarin is becoming even more popular: As the world becomes increasingly globalized, Mandarin has become a top language. Starting as early as Kindergarten, schools all around the world are teaching students Mandarin.
How do you start learning Mandarin?
Before you start learning Mandarin you have to work on your intonation in your
native language. Mandarin is heavenly depending on your tone.
- Start with basic vocabulary and phrases.
- Focus on your pronunciation
- Speak it daily and immerse yourself in the language.
- Join us to make the best of your learning experience!
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people who speak this magnificent language.