Standard Chinese, also known as Modern Standard Mandarin, Standard Mandarin, Modern Standard Mandarin Chinese (MSMC), or simply Mandarin, is a standard variety of Chinese that is the sole official language of China, the de facto official language of Taiwan and also one of the four official languages of Singapore. Its pronunciation is based on the Beijing dialect, its vocabulary on the Mandarin dialects, and its grammar is based on written vernacular Chinese.
Like other varieties of Chinese, Standard Chinese is a tonal language with topic-prominent organization and subject–verb–object word order. It has more initial consonants but fewer vowels, final consonants and tones than southern varieties. Standard Chinese is an analytic language, though with many compound words.
There are two standardised forms of the language, namely Putonghua in Mainland China and Guoyu in Taiwan. Aside from a number of differences in pronunciation and vocabulary, Putonghua is written using simplified Chinese characters (plus Hanyu Pinyin romanization for teaching), and Guoyu is written using traditional Chinese characters (plus Zhuyin for teaching). Many characters are identical between the two systems.
|Modern Standard Mandarin|
|普通话 / 普通話 Pǔtōnghuà|
国语 / 國語 Guóyǔ
华语 / 華語 Huáyǔ
|Native to||China, Taiwan, Singapore|
|(has begun acquiring native speakers cited 1988, 2014)|
L2 speakers: 7% of China (2014)
Mainland Chinese Braille
Two-Cell Chinese Braille
Official language in
|Regulated by||National Language Regulating Committee (China)|
National Languages Committee (Taiwan)
Promote Mandarin Council (Singapore)
Chinese Language Standardisation Council (Malaysia)
|Common name in mainland China|
|Literal meaning||Common speech|
|Common name in Taiwan|
|Literal meaning||National language|
|Common name in Singapore and Southeast Asia|
|Literal meaning||Chinese language|
In Chinese, the standard variety is known as:
Standard Chinese is also commonly referred to by generic names for "Chinese", notably 中文; Zhōngwén; 'Middle [i.e. Chinese] writing' and 中国话; 中國話; Zhōngguóhuà; 'Middle Kingdom [i.e. China] speech' (compare 英文; Yīngwén; 'English writing' for English, and 英国; Yīngguó; 'English country [i.e. England]'). In total, there have been known over 20 various names for the language.
The term Guoyu had previously been used by non-Han rulers of China to refer to their languages, but in 1909 the Qing education ministry officially applied it to Mandarin, a lingua franca based on northern Chinese varieties, proclaiming it as the new "national language".
The name Putonghua also has a long, albeit unofficial, history. It was used as early as 1906 in writings by Zhu Wenxiong to differentiate a modern, standard Chinese from classical Chinese and other varieties of Chinese.
For some linguists of the early 20th century, the Putonghua, or "common tongue/speech", was conceptually different from the Guoyu, or "national language". The former was a national prestige variety, while the latter was the legal standard.
Based on common understandings of the time, the two were, in fact, different. Guoyu was understood as formal vernacular Chinese, which is close to classical Chinese. By contrast, Putonghua was called "the common speech of the modern man", which is the spoken language adopted as a national lingua franca by conventional usage.
The use of the term Putonghua by left-leaning intellectuals such as Qu Qiubai and Lu Xun influenced the People's Republic of China government to adopt that term to describe Mandarin in 1956. Prior to this, the government used both terms interchangeably.
In Taiwan, Guoyu (national language) continues to be the official term for Standard Chinese. The term Guoyu however, is less used in the PRC, because declaring a Beijing dialect-based standard to be the national language would be deemed unfair to speakers of other varieties and to the ethnic minorities. The term Putonghua (common speech), on the contrary, implies nothing more than the notion of a lingua franca.
During the government of a pro-Taiwan independence coalition (2000–2008), Taiwan officials promoted a different reading of Guoyu as all of the "national languages", meaning Hokkien, Hakka and Formosan as well as Standard Chinese.
Huayu, or "language of the Chinese nation", originally simply meant "Chinese language", and was used in overseas communities to contrast Chinese with foreign languages. Over time, the desire to standardise the variety of Chinese spoken in these communities led to the adoption of the name "Huayu" to refer to Mandarin.
This name also avoids choosing a side between the alternative names of Putonghua and Guoyu, which came to have political significance after their usages diverged along political lines between the PRC and the ROC. It also incorporates the notion that Mandarin is usually not the national or common language of the areas in which overseas Chinese live.
This term, as well as Hànzú (汉族; 漢族; 'Han nation'), is a relatively modern concept; it came into being with the rise of Chinese nationalism in the 19th and 20th centuries. A related concept is Hànzì (汉字; 漢字; 'Han characters').
The term "Mandarin" is a translation of Guānhuà (官话; 官話, literally "official's speech"), which referred to the lingua franca of the late Chinese empire. The Chinese term is obsolete as a name for the standard language, but is used by linguists to refer to the major group of Mandarin dialects spoken natively across most of northern and southwestern China.
In English, "Mandarin" may refer to the standard language, the dialect group as a whole, or to historic forms such as the late Imperial lingua franca. The name "Modern Standard Mandarin" is sometimes used by linguists who wish to distinguish the current state of the shared language from other northern and historic dialects.
The Chinese have different languages in different provinces, to such an extent that they cannot understand each other.... [They] also have another language which is like a universal and common language; this is the official language of the mandarins and of the court; it is among them like Latin among ourselves.... Two of our fathers [Michele Ruggieri and Matteo Ricci] have been learning this mandarin language...
Chinese has long had considerable dialectal variation, hence prestige dialects have always existed, and linguae francae have always been needed. Confucius, for example, used yǎyán (雅言; 'elegant speech') rather than colloquial regional dialects; text during the Han dynasty also referred to tōngyǔ (通语; 'common language'). Rime books, which were written since the Northern and Southern dynasties, may also have reflected one or more systems of standard pronunciation during those times. However, all of these standard dialects were probably unknown outside the educated elite; even among the elite, pronunciations may have been very different, as the unifying factor of all Chinese dialects, Classical Chinese, was a written standard, not a spoken one.
The Ming dynasty (1368–1644) and the Qing dynasty (1644–1912) began to use the term guānhuà (官话/官話), or "official speech", to refer to the speech used at the courts. The term "Mandarin" is borrowed directly from Portuguese. The Portuguese word mandarim, derived from the Sanskrit word mantrin "counselor or minister", was first used to refer to the Chinese bureaucratic officials. The Portuguese then translated guānhuà as "the language of the mandarins" or "the mandarin language".
In the 17th century, the Empire had set up Orthoepy Academies (正音书院/正音書院 Zhèngyīn Shūyuàn) in an attempt to make pronunciation conform to the standard. But these attempts had little success, since as late as the 19th century the emperor had difficulty understanding some of his own ministers in court, who did not always try to follow any standard pronunciation.
Before the 19th century, the standard was based on the Nanjing dialect, but later the Beijing dialect became increasingly influential, despite the mix of officials and commoners speaking various dialects in the capital, Beijing. By some accounts, as late as the early 20th century, the position of Nanjing Mandarin was considered to be higher than that of Beijing by some and the postal romanization standards set in 1906 included spellings with elements of Nanjing pronunciation. Nevertheless, by 1909, the dying Qing dynasty had established the Beijing dialect as guóyǔ (国语/國語), or the "national language".
As the island of Taiwan had fallen under Japanese rule per the 1895 Treaty of Shimonoseki, the term kokugo (Japanese: 國語, "national language") referred to the Japanese language until the handover to the ROC in 1945.
After the Republic of China was established in 1912, there was more success in promoting a common national language. A Commission on the Unification of Pronunciation was convened with delegates from the entire country. A Dictionary of National Pronunciation (国音字典/國音字典) was published in 1919, defining a hybrid pronunciation that did not match any existing speech. Meanwhile, despite the lack of a workable standardized pronunciation, colloquial literature in written vernacular Chinese continued to develop apace.
Gradually, the members of the National Language Commission came to settle upon the Beijing dialect, which became the major source of standard national pronunciation due to its prestigious status. In 1932, the commission published the Vocabulary of National Pronunciation for Everyday Use (国音常用字汇/國音常用字彙), with little fanfare or official announcement. This dictionary was similar to the previous published one except that it normalized the pronunciations for all characters into the pronunciation of the Beijing dialect. Elements from other dialects continue to exist in the standard language, but as exceptions rather than the rule.
After the Chinese Civil War, the People's Republic of China continued the effort, and in 1955, officially renamed guóyǔ as pǔtōnghuà (普通话/普通話), or "common speech". By contrast, the name guóyǔ continued to be used by the Republic of China which, after its 1949 loss in the Chinese Civil War, was left with a territory consisting only of Taiwan and some smaller islands; in its retreat to Taiwan. Since then, the standards used in the PRC and Taiwan have diverged somewhat, especially in newer vocabulary terms, and a little in pronunciation.
In 1956, the standard language of the People's Republic of China was officially defined as: "Pǔtōnghuà is the standard form of Modern Chinese with the Beijing phonological system as its norm of pronunciation, and Northern dialects as its base dialect, and looking to exemplary modern works in báihuà 'vernacular literary language' for its grammatical norms." By the official definition, Standard Chinese uses:
In the early 1950s, this standard language was understood by 41% of the population of the country, including 54% of speakers of Mandarin dialects, but only 11% of people in the rest of the country. By 1984, the proportion understanding the standard language nationally had risen to 90% and the proportion understanding the standard language among the speakers of Mandarin dialects had risen to 91%. A survey conducted by the China's Education Ministry in 2007 indicated that 53.06% of the population were able to effectively communicate orally in Standard Chinese.
From an official point of view, Standard Chinese serves the purpose of a lingua franca—a way for speakers of the several mutually unintelligible varieties of Chinese, as well as the ethnic minorities in China, to communicate with each other. The very name Pǔtōnghuà, or "common speech," reinforces this idea. In practice, however, due to Standard Chinese being a "public" lingua franca, other Chinese varieties and even non-Sinitic languages have shown signs of losing ground to the standard.
While the Chinese government has been actively promoting Pǔtōnghuà on TV, radio and public services like buses to ease communication barriers in the country, developing Pǔtōnghuà as the official common language of the country has been challenging due to the presence of various ethnic groups which fear for the loss of their cultural identity and native dialect. In the summer of 2010, reports of increasing the use of the Pǔtōnghuà in local TV broadcasting in Guangdong lead to thousands of Cantonese-speaking citizens in demonstration on the street.
In both mainland China and Taiwan, the use of Mandarin as the medium of instruction in the educational system and in the media has contributed to the spread of Mandarin. As a result, Mandarin is now spoken by most people in mainland China and Taiwan, though often with some regional or personal variation from the standard in terms of pronunciation or lexicon. However, the Ministry of Education in 2014 estimated that only about 70% of the population of China spoke Standard Mandarin to some degree, and only one tenth of those could speak it "fluently and articulately". There is also a 20% difference in penetration between eastern and western parts of China and a 50% difference between urban and rural areas. In addition, there are still 400 million Chinese who are only able to listen and understand Mandarin and not able to speak it. Therefore, in China's 13th Five Year Plan, the general goal is to raise the penetration rate to over 80% by 2020.
Both mainland China and Taiwan use Standard Chinese in the official context and the governments are keen to promote its use as a national lingua franca. The PRC in particular has enacted a law (the National Common Language and Writing Law) which states that the government must "promote" Standard Mandarin. There is no explicit official intent to have Standard Chinese replace the regional varieties, but local governments have enacted regulations (such as the Guangdong National Language Regulations) which "implement" the national law by way of coercive measures to control the public use of regional spoken varieties and traditional characters in writing. In practice, some elderly or rural Chinese-language speakers do not speak Standard Chinese fluently, if at all, though most are able to understand it. But urban residents and the younger generations, who received their education with Standard Mandarin as the primary medium of education, are almost all fluent in a version of Standard Chinese, some to the extent of being unable to speak their local dialect.
In the predominantly Han areas in mainland China, while the use of Standard Chinese is encouraged as the common working language, the PRC has been somewhat sensitive to the status of minority languages and, outside the education context, has generally not discouraged their social use. Standard Chinese is commonly used for practical reasons, as, in many parts of southern China, the linguistic diversity is so large that neighboring city dwellers may have difficulties communicating with each other without a lingua franca.
In Taiwan, the relationship between Standard Chinese and other varieties, particularly Taiwanese Hokkien, has been more politically heated. During the martial law period under the Kuomintang (KMT) between 1949 and 1987, the KMT government revived the Mandarin Promotion Council and discouraged or, in some cases, forbade the use of Hokkien and other non-standard varieties. This produced a political backlash in the 1990s. Under the administration of Chen Shui-Bian, other Taiwanese varieties were taught in schools. The former President, Chen Shui-Bian, often spoke in Hokkien during speeches, while after the late 1990s, former President Lee Teng-hui, also speaks Hokkien openly.
In Hong Kong and Macau, which are now special administrative regions of the People's Republic of China, Cantonese is the primary language spoken by the majority of the population and used by government and in their respective legislatures. After Hong Kong's handover from the United Kingdom and Macau's handover from Portugal, their governments use Putonghua to communicate with the Central People's Government of the PRC. There have been widespread efforts to promote usage of Putonghua in Hong Kong since the handover, with specific efforts to train police and teachers.
In Singapore, the government has heavily promoted a "Speak Mandarin Campaign" since the late 1970s, with the use of other Chinese varieties in broadcast media being prohibited and their use in any context officially discouraged until recently. This has led to some resentment amongst the older generations, as Singapore's migrant Chinese community is made up almost entirely of people of south Chinese descent. Lee Kuan Yew, the initiator of the campaign, admitted that to most Chinese Singaporeans, Mandarin was a "stepmother tongue" rather than a true mother language. Nevertheless, he saw the need for a unified language among the Chinese community not biased in favor of any existing group.
Mandarin is now spreading overseas beyond East Asia and Southeast Asia as well. In New York City, the use of Cantonese that dominated the Manhattan Chinatown for decades is being rapidly swept aside by Mandarin, the lingua franca of most of the latest Chinese immigrants.
In both the PRC and Taiwan, Standard Chinese is taught by immersion starting in elementary school. After the second grade, the entire educational system is in Standard Chinese, except for local language classes that have been taught for a few hours each week in Taiwan starting in the mid-1990s.
In December 2004, the first survey of language use in the People's Republic of China revealed that only 53% of its population, about 700 million people, could communicate in Standard Chinese. This 53% is defined as a passing grade above 3-B (a score above 60%) of the Evaluation Exam.
With the fast development of the country and the massive internal migration in China, the standard Putonghua Proficiency Test has quickly become popular. Many university graduates in mainland China take this exam before looking for a job. Employers often require varying proficiency in Standard Chinese from applicants depending on the nature of the positions. Applicants of some positions, e.g. telephone operators, may be required to obtain a certificate. People raised in Beijing are sometimes considered inherently 1-A (A score of at least 97%) and exempted from this requirement. As for the rest, the score of 1-A is rare. According to the official definition of proficiency levels, people who get 1-B (A score of at least 92%) are considered qualified to work as television correspondents or in broadcasting stations. 2-A (A score of at least 87%) can work as Chinese Literature Course teachers in public schools. Other levels include: 2-B (A score of at least 80%), 3-A (A score of at least 70%) and 3-B (A score of at least 60%). In China, a proficiency of level 3-B usually cannot be achieved unless special training is received. Even though many Chinese do not speak with standard pronunciation, spoken Standard Chinese is widely understood to some degree.
The China National Language And Character Working Committee was founded in 1985. One of its important responsibilities is to promote Standard Chinese proficiency for Chinese native speakers.
|Stops||unaspirated||p ⟨b⟩||t ⟨d⟩||t͡s ⟨z⟩||ʈ͡ʂ ⟨zh⟩||t͡ɕ ⟨j⟩||k ⟨g⟩|
|aspirated||pʰ ⟨p⟩||tʰ ⟨t⟩||t͡sʰ ⟨c⟩||ʈ͡ʂʰ ⟨ch⟩||t͡ɕʰ ⟨q⟩||kʰ ⟨k⟩|
|Nasals||m ⟨m⟩||n ⟨n⟩|
|Fricatives||f ⟨f⟩||s ⟨s⟩||ʂ ⟨sh⟩||ɕ ⟨x⟩||x ⟨h⟩|
|Approximants||w ⟨w⟩||l ⟨l⟩||ɻ~ʐ ⟨r⟩||j ⟨y⟩|
The palatal initials [tɕ], [tɕʰ] and [ɕ] pose a classic problem of phonemic analysis. Since they occur only before high front vowels, they are in complementary distribution with three other series, the dental sibilants, retroflexes and velars, which never occur in this position.
|ɹ̩ ⟨i⟩||ɤ ⟨e⟩||a ⟨a⟩||ei ⟨ei⟩||ai ⟨ai⟩||ou ⟨ou⟩||au ⟨ao⟩||ən ⟨en⟩||an ⟨an⟩||əŋ ⟨eng⟩||aŋ ⟨ang⟩||ɚ ⟨er⟩|
|i ⟨i⟩||ie ⟨ie⟩||ia ⟨ia⟩||iou ⟨iu⟩||iau ⟨iao⟩||in ⟨in⟩||ien ⟨ian⟩||iŋ ⟨ing⟩||iaŋ ⟨iang⟩|
|u ⟨u⟩||uə ⟨uo⟩||ua ⟨ua⟩||uei ⟨ui⟩||uai ⟨uai⟩||uən ⟨un⟩||uan ⟨uan⟩||uŋ ⟨ong⟩||uaŋ ⟨uang⟩|
|y ⟨ü⟩||ye ⟨üe⟩||yn ⟨un⟩||yen ⟨uan⟩||iuŋ ⟨iong⟩|
The rhotacized vowel [ɚ] forms a complete syllable. A reduced form of this syllable occurs as a sub-syllabic suffix, spelled -r in pinyin and often with a diminutive connotation. The suffix modifies the coda of the base syllable in a rhotacizing process called erhua.
Each full syllable is pronounced with a phonemically distinctive pitch contour. There are four tonal categories, marked in pinyin with iconic diacritic symbols, as in the words mā (妈/媽 "mother"), má (麻 "hemp"), mǎ (马/馬 "horse") and mà (骂/罵 "curse"). The tonal categories also have secondary characteristics. For example, the third tone is long and murmured, whereas the fourth tone is relatively short. Statistically, vowels and tones are of similar importance in the language.[a]
There are also weak syllables, including grammatical particles such as the interrogative ma (吗/嗎) and certain syllables in polysyllabic words. These syllables are short, with their pitch determined by the preceding syllable.
It is common for Standard Chinese to be spoken with the speaker's regional accent, depending on factors such as age, level of education, and the need and frequency to speak in official or formal situations. This appears to be changing, though, in large urban areas, as social changes, migrations, and urbanization take place.
Due to evolution and standardization, Mandarin, although based on the Beijing dialect, is no longer synonymous with it. Part of this was due to the standardization to reflect a greater vocabulary scheme and a more archaic and "proper-sounding" pronunciation and vocabulary.
Distinctive features of the Beijing dialect are more extensive use of erhua in vocabulary items that are left unadorned in descriptions of the standard such as the Xiandai Hanyu Cidian, as well as more neutral tones. An example of standard versus Beijing dialect would be the standard mén (door) and Beijing ménr.
Most Standard Chinese as spoken on Taiwan differs mostly in the tones of some words as well as some vocabulary. Minimal use of the neutral tone and erhua, and technical vocabulary constitute the greatest divergences between the two forms.
The stereotypical "southern Chinese" accent does not distinguish between retroflex and alveolar consonants, pronouncing pinyin zh [tʂ], ch [tʂʰ], and sh [ʂ] in the same way as z [ts], c [tsʰ], and s [s] respectively. Southern-accented Standard Chinese may also interchange l and n, final n and ng, and vowels i and ü [y]. Attitudes towards southern accents, particularly the Cantonese accent, range from disdain to admiration.
Chinese is a strongly analytic language, having almost no inflectional morphemes, and relying on word order and particles to express relationships between the parts of a sentence. Nouns are not marked for case and rarely marked for number. Verbs are not marked for agreement or grammatical tense, but aspect is marked using post-verbal particles.
The basic word order is subject–verb–object (SVO), as in English. Nouns are generally preceded by any modifiers (adjectives, possessives and relative clauses), and verbs also generally follow any modifiers (adverbs, auxiliary verbs and prepositional phrases).
他 为/為 他的 朋友 作了 这个/這個 工作。
Tā wèi tā-de péngyǒu zuò-le zhè-ge gōngzuò.
He for he-GEN friend do-PERF this-CL job
'He did this job for his friends.'
The predicate can be an intransitive verb, a transitive verb followed by a direct object, a copula (linking verb) shì (是) followed by a noun phrase, etc. In predicative use, Chinese adjectives function as stative verbs, forming complete predicates in their own right without a copula. For example,
我 不 累。
Wǒ bú lèi.
I not tired
'I am not tired.'
Another example is the common greeting nǐ hăo (你好), literally "you good".
Chinese additionally differs from English in that it forms another kind of sentence by stating a topic and following it by a comment. To do this in English, speakers generally flag the topic of a sentence by prefacing it with "as for". For example:
妈妈 给 我们 的 钱, 我 已经 买了 糖果。
Māma gěi wǒmen de qián, wǒ yǐjīng mǎi-le tángguǒ(r)
Mom give us REL money I already buy-PERF candy
'As for the money that Mom gave us, I have already bought candy with it.'
The time when something happens can be given by an explicit term such as "yesterday," by relative terms such as "formerly," etc.
As in many east Asian languages, classifiers or measure words are required when using numerals, demonstratives and similar quantifiers. There are many different classifiers in the language, and each noun generally has a particular classifier associated with it.
一顶 帽子, 三本 书/書, 那支 笔/筆
yī-dǐng màozi, sān-běn shū, nèi-zhī bǐ
one-top hat three-volume book that-branch pen
'a hat, three books, that pen'
The general classifier ge (个/個) is gradually replacing specific classifiers.
Although Chinese speakers make a clear distinction between Standard Chinese and the Beijing dialect, there are aspects of Beijing dialect that have made it into the official standard. Standard Chinese has a T–V distinction between the polite and informal "you" that comes from the Beijing dialect, although its use is quite diminished in daily speech. It also distinguishes between "zánmen" (we including the listener) and "wǒmen" (we not including the listener). In practice, neither distinction is commonly used by most Chinese, at least outside the Beijing area.
The following samples are some phrases from the Beijing dialect which are not yet accepted into Standard Chinese:
The following samples are some phrases from Beijing dialect which have become accepted as Standard Chinese:
Standard Chinese is written with characters corresponding to syllables of the language, most of which represent a morpheme. In most cases, these characters come from those used in Classical Chinese to write cognate morphemes of late Old Chinese, though their pronunciation, and often meaning, has shifted dramatically over two millennia. However, there are several words, many of them heavily used, which have no classical counterpart or whose etymology is obscure. Two strategies have been used to write such words:
The government of the PRC (as well as some other governments and institutions) has promulgated a set of simplified forms. Under this system, the forms of the words zhèlǐ ("here") and nàlǐ ("there") changed from 這裏/這裡 and 那裏/那裡 to 这里 and 那里.
Chinese characters were traditionally read from top to bottom, right to left, but in modern usage it is more common to read from left to right.
|English||Traditional characters||Simplified characters||Pinyin|
|What is your name?||你叫什麼名字？||你叫什么名字？||Nǐ jiào shénme míngzi?|
|My name is...||我叫...||Wǒ jiào ...|
|How are you?||你好嗎？/ 你怎麼樣？||你好吗？/ 你怎么样？||Nǐ hǎo ma? / Nǐ zěnmeyàng?|
|I am fine, how about you?||我很好，你呢？||Wǒ hěn hǎo, nǐ ne?|
|I don't want it / I don't want to||我不要。||Wǒ bú yào.|
|Welcome! / You're welcome! (Literally: No need to thank me!) / Don't mention it! (Literally: Don't be so polite!)||歡迎！/ 不用謝！/ 不客氣！||欢迎！/ 不用谢！/ 不客气！||Huānyíng! / Búyòng xiè! / Bú kèqì!|
|Yes. / Correct.||是。 / 對。/ 嗯。||是。 / 对。/ 嗯。||Shì. / Duì. / M.|
|No. / Incorrect.||不是。/ 不對。/ 不。||不是。/ 不对。/ 不。||Búshì. / Bú duì. / Bù.|
|How much money?||多少錢？||多少钱？||Duōshǎo qián?|
|Can you speak a little slower?||您能說得再慢些嗎？||您能说得再慢些吗？||Nín néng shuō de zài mànxiē ma?|
|Good morning! / Good morning!||早上好！ / 早安！||Zǎoshang hǎo! / Zǎo'ān!|
|How do you get to the airport?||去機場怎麼走？||去机场怎么走？||Qù jīchǎng zěnme zǒu?|
|I want to fly to London on the eighteenth||我想18號坐飛機到倫敦。||我想18号坐飞机到伦敦。||Wǒ xiǎng shíbā hào zuò fēijī dào Lúndūn.|
|How much will it cost to get to Munich?||到慕尼黑要多少錢？||到慕尼黑要多少钱？||Dào Mùníhēi yào duōshǎo qián?|
|I don't speak Chinese very well.||我的漢語說得不太好。||我的汉语说得不太好。||Wǒ de Hànyǔ shuō de bú tài hǎo.|
|Do you speak English?||你會說英語嗎？||你会说英语吗？||Nǐ huì shuō Yīngyǔ ma?|
|I have no money.||我沒有錢。||我没有钱。||Wǒ méiyǒu qián.|
For purposes of this Law, the standard spoken and written Chinese language means Putonghua (a common speech with pronunciation based on the Beijing dialect) and the standardized Chinese characters.Original text in Chinese: "普通话就是现代汉民族共同语，是全国各民族通用的语言。普通话以北京语音为标准音，以北方话为基础方言，以典范的现代白话文著作语法规范"
The Beijing dialect (simplified Chinese: 北京话; traditional Chinese: 北京話; pinyin: Běijīnghuà), also known as Pekingese, is the prestige dialect of Mandarin spoken in the urban area of Beijing, China. It is the phonological basis of Standard Chinese, which is the official language in the People's Republic of China and Republic of China and one of the official languages in Singapore.
Although the Beijing dialect and Standard Chinese are similar, various differences generally make clear to Chinese speakers whether an individual is a native of Beijing speaking the local Beijing variant or is an individual speaking Standard Chinese.Chinese
Chinese can refer to:
Something of, from, or related to China
Chinese people, people of Chinese nationality, citizenship, or one of several Chinese ethnicities
Zhonghua minzu, the supra-ethnic Chinese nationality
Han Chinese, the dominant ethnic group in China, Singapore, and Taiwan
Ethnic minorities in China, non-Han Chinese people in China
Citizens of the People's Republic of China
Overseas Chinese, people of Chinese ancestry outside China Mainland, such as Taiwan
Chinese language, a language spoken predominantly in China in different mutually intelligible and unintelligible varieties and forms, sharing the same written standard but with disparate regional written vernaculars
Standard Chinese, the standard form of Chinese in China, Taiwan and Singapore
Varieties of Chinese, the topolects grouped under Chinese
Written Chinese, the writing system used for Chinese
Chinese cuisine, styles of food originating from China
American Chinese cuisineChinese language
Chinese (simplified Chinese: 汉语; traditional Chinese: 漢語; pinyin: Hànyǔ; literally: 'Han language'; or especially though not exclusively for written Chinese: 中文; Zhōngwén; 'Chinese writing') is a group of related, but in many cases not mutually intelligible, language varieties, forming the Sinitic branch of the Sino-Tibetan language family. Chinese is spoken by the ethnic Chinese majority and many minority ethnic groups in China. About 1.2 billion people (around 16% of the world's population) speak some form of Chinese as their first language.
The varieties of Chinese are usually described by native speakers as dialects of a single Chinese language, but linguists note that they are as diverse as a language family. The internal diversity of Chinese has been likened to that of the Romance languages, but may be even more varied. There are between 7 and 13 main regional groups of Chinese (depending on classification scheme), of which the most spoken by far is Mandarin (about 960 million, e.g. Southwestern Mandarin), followed by Wu (80 million, e.g. Shanghainese), Min (70 million, e.g. Southern Min), Yue (60 million, e.g. Cantonese), etc. Most of these groups are mutually unintelligible, and even dialect groups within Min Chinese may not be mutually intelligible. Some, however, like Xiang and certain Southwest Mandarin dialects, may share common terms and a certain degree of intelligibility. All varieties of Chinese are tonal and analytic.
Standard Chinese (Pǔtōnghuà/Guóyǔ/Huáyǔ) is a standardized form of spoken Chinese based on the Beijing dialect of Mandarin. It is the official language of China and Taiwan, as well as one of the four official languages of Singapore. It is one of the six official languages of the United Nations. The written form of the standard language (中文; Zhōngwén), based on the logograms known as Chinese characters (汉字/漢字; Hànzì), is shared by literate speakers of otherwise unintelligible dialects.
The earliest Chinese written records are Shang dynasty-era oracle inscriptions, which can be traced back to 1250 BCE. The phonetic categories of Archaic Chinese can be reconstructed from the rhymes of ancient poetry. During the Northern and Southern dynasties period, Middle Chinese went through several sound changes and split into several varieties following prolonged geographic and political separation. Qieyun, a rime dictionary, recorded a compromise between the pronunciations of different regions. The royal courts of the Ming and early Qing dynasties operated using a koiné language (Guanhua) based on Nanjing dialect of Lower Yangtze Mandarin. Standard Chinese was adopted in the 1930s, and is now the official language of both the People's Republic of China and the Republic of China on Taiwan.History of Modern Standard Chinese
Mandarin, officially Modern Standard Chinese, is the official language used by the People's Republic of China, the Republic of China (Taiwan) and Singapore.Mandarin Chinese
Mandarin ( (listen); simplified Chinese: 官话; traditional Chinese: 官話; pinyin: Guānhuà; literally: 'speech of officials') is a group of related varieties of Chinese spoken across most of northern and southwestern China. The group includes the Beijing dialect, the basis of Standard Mandarin or Standard Chinese. Because Mandarin originated in North China and most Mandarin dialects are found in the north, the group is sometimes referred to as the Northern dialects (北方话; běifānghuà). Many local Mandarin varieties are not mutually intelligible. Nevertheless, Mandarin is often placed first in lists of languages by number of native speakers (with nearly a billion).
Mandarin is by far the largest of the seven or ten Chinese dialect groups, spoken by 70 percent of all Chinese speakers over a large geographical area, stretching from Yunnan in the southwest to Xinjiang in the northwest and Heilongjiang in the northeast. This is generally attributed to the greater ease of travel and communication in the North China Plain compared to the more mountainous south, combined with the relatively recent spread of Mandarin to frontier areas.
Most Mandarin varieties have four tones. The final stops of Middle Chinese have disappeared in most of these varieties, but some have merged them as a final glottal stop. Many Mandarin varieties, including the Beijing dialect, retain retroflex initial consonants, which have been lost in southern dialect groups.
The capital has been within the Mandarin area for most of the last millennium, making these dialects very influential. Some form of Mandarin has served as a national lingua franca since the 14th century. In the early 20th century, a standard form based on the Beijing dialect, with elements from other Mandarin dialects, was adopted as the national language. Standard Chinese is the official language of the People's Republic of China and Taiwan and one of the four official languages of Singapore. It is used as one of the working languages of the United Nations. It is also one of the most frequently used varieties of Chinese among Chinese diaspora communities internationally.Mogwai (Chinese culture)
The word mogwai is the transliteration of the Cantonese word 魔鬼 (Jyutping: mo1 gwai2; Standard Chinese: 魔鬼; pinyin: móguǐ) meaning "monster", "evil spirit", "devil" or "demon".Old National Pronunciation
The Old National Pronunciation (simplified Chinese: 老国音; traditional Chinese: 老國音; pinyin: lǎo guóyīn) was the system established for the phonology of standard Chinese as decided by the Commission on the Unification of Pronunciation from 1913 onwards, and published in the 1919 edition of the Guóyīn Zìdiǎn (國音字典, "Dictionary of National Pronunciation"). Although it was mainly based on the phonology of the Beijing dialect, it was also influenced by historical forms of northern Mandarin as well as other varieties of Mandarin and even some varieties of Wu Chinese. The artificial nature of the system proved impractical, and in 1926 a decision was made to normalize the pronunciations to the natural pronunciations found in Beijing, which resulted in a revised Guóyīn Chángyòng Zìhuì (國音常用字匯, "Vocabulary of National Pronunciation for Everyday Use") published in 1932.Philippine Mandarin
Philippine Mandarin (simplified Chinese: 菲律宾华语; traditional Chinese: 菲律賓華語; pinyin: Fēilǜbīn Huáyǔ) is a variety of Standard Mandarin Chinese widely spoken by Chinese Filipinos. It is based on the phonology of the Beijing dialect and the grammar of Vernacular Chinese, and is identical to the standard of Mandarin used in the Republic of China, Taiwan that is called "Guoyu" (國語). In terms of phonology, vocabulary and grammar, Standard Philippine Mandarin is similar to "Guoyu" (Standard Chinese in the Republic of China (Taiwan)) because almost all use dictionaries and books from Taiwan. Many Chinese Filipino schools use bopomofo (zhuyin fuhao) to teach the language. Philippine Mandarin uses the Traditional Chinese characters in writing and it is seen in the newspapers. Philippine Mandarin can be classified into two distinct Mandarin dialects: Standard Mandarin and Colloquial Mandarin. These two dialects are easily distinguishable to a person proficient in Mandarin. Standard Mandarin is like the standard language of Taiwan, while Colloquial Mandarin tends to combine Mandarin (simplified Chinese: 华语; traditional Chinese: 華語) and Min Nan Yu (閩南語) or Southern Hokkien features.Putonghua Proficiency Test
The Putonghua Proficiency Test or Putonghua Shuiping Ceshi (PSC) is an official test of spoken fluency in Standard Chinese intended for native speakers of Chinese languages. The test was developed in October 1994 by the Ministry of Education of the People's Republic of China, the Institute of Applied Linguistics at Beijing Language and Culture University and the State Administration of Press, Publication, Radio, Film and Television. Specified standards of achievement in the test are required for many jobs in broadcasting, education and government.The test consists of five sections:
Reading 100 monosyllabic words to test pronunciation. (10%)
Reading 100 polysyllabic words to test pronunciation. (20%)
Reading out the correct form from several choices, to test vocabulary and syntax. (10%)
Reading a 400-character passage to test fluency. (30%)
Speaking for three minutes on a topic chosen from two supplied by the examiners. (30%)Candidates who pass the test are given a Certificate of Putonghua Proficiency Level at levels 1, 2 or 3, each of which is subdivided into grades A and B:
Level 1-A (97% correct) is required for presenters in national and provincial radio and television.
Level 1-B (92% correct) is required for Chinese-language teachers in northern China.
Level 2-A (87% correct) is required for Chinese-language teachers in southern China.
Level 2-B (80% correct) is required for Chinese teachers teaching other languages in China.
Level 3-A (70% correct)
Level 3-B (60% correct) is required for civil service jobs.By 2010, the test had been taken more than 35 million times. As it requires strict adherence to the phonology of Standard Chinese, including such features as retroflex initials, erhua and weak syllables, the test gives an advantage to native speakers of the Beijing dialect and closely related varieties over speakers of varieties lacking these features.Radio in China
There are over 3,000 radio stations in China. The Central People's Broadcasting Station, the nation's official radio station, has eight channels, and broadcasts for a total of over 200 hours per day via satellite.
Every province, autonomous region and municipality has local broadcasting stations. China Radio International (CRI), the only national overseas broadcasting station, is beamed to all parts of the world in 38 foreign languages, standard Chinese and four Chinese dialects, and broadcasts for a total of over 300 hours every day. It offers various special programs of news, current affairs, comment, entertainment, politics, economy, culture, technology and so on. Currently, CRI ranks third in overseas broadcasting time and languages in the world.Sichuanese Standard Chinese
Sichuanese Standard Mandarin (simplified Chinese: 四川普通话; traditional Chinese: 四川普通話; Sichuanese Pinyin: Si4cuan1 Pu3tong1hua4; pinyin: Sìchuān Pǔtōnghuà), or Szechwanese Standard Mandarin, also known as Pepper Salt Standard Mandarin (simplified Chinese: 椒盐普通话; traditional Chinese: 椒鹽普通話), is a variant of Standard Mandarin derived from the official Standard Mandarin spoken in Sichuanese-speaking areas (mainly Sichuan and Chongqing) in China, and is often called "川普" (Chuan1pu3 or Chuānpǔ) for short.
Unlike Sichuanese (or Sichuanese Mandarin), which is a native language spoken in the Sichuan region and differs greatly from Standard Mandarin, Sichuanese Standard Mandarin (or Chuanpu) arose after the Popularize Mandarin Policy was implemented by the Chinese government in 1956 and is in fact Standard Mandarin with a Sichuanese accent and some elements of Sichuanese vocabulary and grammar. In this view, Chuanpu is, to a certain degree, similar to Taiwanese Mandarin and Singaporean Mandarin, which are influenced by Hokkien and other varieties.Standard Chinese phonology
This article summarizes the phonology (the sound system, or in more general terms, the pronunciation) of Standard Chinese (Standard Mandarin).
Standard Chinese is based on the Beijing dialect of Mandarin. Actual production varies widely among speakers, as they inadvertently introduce elements of their native dialects (although television and radio announcers are chosen for their pronunciation accuracy and standard accent). Elements of the sound system include not only the segments – the vowels and consonants – of the language but also the tones that are applied to each syllable. Standard Chinese has four main tones, in addition to a neutral tone used on weak syllables.
This article represents phonetic values using the International Phonetic Alphabet (IPA), noting correspondences chiefly with the pinyin system for transcription of Chinese text. For correspondences with other systems, see the relevant articles, such as Wade–Giles, bopomofo (zhuyin), Gwoyeu Romatzyh, etc., and Romanization of Chinese.Table of General Standard Chinese Characters
The Table of General Standard Chinese Characters (simplified Chinese: 通用规范汉字表; traditional Chinese: 通用規範漢字表; pinyin: Tōngyòng Guīfàn Hànzì Biǎo) is the current standard list of 8,105 Chinese characters published by the government of the People's Republic of China and promulgated in 2014. Of the characters included, 6,500 are designated as common, a reduction from the 7,000 in the earlier List of Commonly Used Characters in Modern Chinese. The list also offers an official table of correspondences between Simplified Chinese characters and Traditional Chinese characters (designating both 'standard' and selected 'variant' forms), effectively serving as Mainland China's standardization scheme for Traditional Characters.Tsat language
Tsat, also known as Utsat, Utset, Hainan Cham, or Huíhuī (simplified Chinese: 回辉语; traditional Chinese: 回輝語; pinyin: Huíhuīyǔ), is a language spoken by 4,500 Utsul people in Yanglan (Chinese: 羊栏) and Huixin (Chinese: 回新) villages near Sanya, Hainan, China. Tsat is a member of the Malayo-Polynesian group within the Austronesian language family, and is one of the Chamic languages originating on the coast of present-day Vietnam.
Unusually for an Austronesian language, Tsat has developed into a solidly tonal language, probably as a result of areal linguistic effects and contact with the diverse tonal languages spoken on Hainan including varieties of Chinese such as Hainanese and Standard Chinese, Tai–Kadai languages such as the Hlai languages, and Hmong–Mien languages such as Kim Mun.Varieties of Chinese
Chinese, also known as Sinitic, is a branch of the Sino-Tibetan language family consisting of hundreds of local language varieties, many of which are not mutually intelligible. The differences are similar to those within the Romance languages, with variation particularly strong in the more mountainous southeast. A widely quoted classification divides these varieties into seven groups: Mandarin, Wu, Min, Xiang, Gan, Hakka and Yue, though a more recent classification splits some of these to obtain ten groups, and some varieties remain unclassified.
Chinese varieties differ most in their phonology, and to a lesser extent in vocabulary and syntax. Southern varieties tend to have fewer initial consonants than northern and central varieties, but more often preserve the Middle Chinese final consonants. All have phonemic tones, with northern varieties tending to have fewer distinctions than southern ones. Many have tone sandhi, with the most complex patterns in the coastal area from Zhejiang to eastern Guangdong.
Standard Chinese takes its phonology from the Beijing dialect, with vocabulary from the Mandarin group and grammar based on literature in the modern written vernacular. It is the sole official language of China and the de facto official language of Taiwan, one of the four official languages of Singapore, and one of the six official languages of the United Nations.Written Cantonese
Written Cantonese is the written form of Cantonese, the most complete written form of Chinese after that for Mandarin Chinese and Classical Chinese. Written Chinese was originally developed for Classical Chinese, and was the main literary language of China until the 19th century. Written vernacular Chinese first appeared in the 17th century and a written form of Mandarin became standard throughout China in the early 20th century. While the Mandarin form can in principle be read and spoken word for word in other Chinese varieties, its intelligibility to non-Mandarin speakers is poor to incomprehensible because of differences in idioms, grammar and usage. Modern Cantonese speakers have therefore developed their own written script, sometimes creating new characters for words that either do not exist or have been lost in standard Chinese.
With the advent of the computer and standardization of character sets specifically for Cantonese, many printed materials in predominantly Cantonese-speaking areas of the world are written to cater to their population with these written Cantonese characters.Xiangxiang dialect
Xiangxiang dialect (Chinese: 湘乡话; pinyin: Xiāngxiāng huà) is a dialect of Xiang Chinese, spoken in Xiangxiang, Hunan province, China. It is part of a group of dialects called the Central Xiang dialects.Yale romanization of Mandarin
The Yale romanization of Mandarin is a system for transcribing the sounds of Standard Chinese, based on Mandarin Chinese varieties spoken in and around Beijing. It was devised in 1943 by the Yale sinologist George Kennedy for a course teaching Chinese to American soldiers, and popularized by continued development of that course at Yale.
The system approximated Chinese sounds using English spelling conventions in order to accelerate acquisition of pronunciation by English speakers.The Yale romanization was widely used in Western textbooks until the late 1970s; in fact, during the height of the Cold War, preferring the Communist pinyin system over Yale romanization was something of a political statement. The situation was reversed once the relations between the People's Republic of China and the West had improved. Communist China (PRC) became a member of the United Nations in 1971 by replacing Nationalist China (ROC). By 1979, much of the world adopted pinyin as the standard romanization for Chinese geographical names. In 1982, pinyin became an ISO standard; interest in Yale Mandarin declined rapidly thereafter.
|Mixed & Others|
1 Extinct languages. 2 Nearly extinct languages.