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Chinese Language

2008年4月23日 14:42:14 sz12 City Guide

China is a nation boasting diversified nationalities, languages, and characters. It has 56 ethnic groups, over 80 languages, and about 30 kinds of character. Chinese is the most widely used language in China and the world at large. It is designated as one of the six official languages by the United Nations. Chinese is the shared language of Han Nationality. Besides Han ethnic group which accounts 91.59% of China’s integral population, some ethnic minorities also speak Chinese or take Chinese as their second mother tongue.

Modern Chinese can be divided into standard Chinese (mandarin) and dialect. Mandarin takes Peking Dialect as its standard pronunciation, dialect of people in North China as its basis, and classic modern colloquial works as its linguistic regulations. On October 31st, 2000, Law of Universal Language and Character of People's Republic of China came into force and it stipulates mandarin as a universal national language. Han Dialect comprises of seven branches, namely, North China Dialect, Wu Dialect, Hunan Dialect, Jiangxi Dialect, Hakka Dialect, Guangdong Dialect, and Fujian Dialect. Each branch has its own sub-branches and jargons. For instance, the most popular North China Dialect can be further classified into North Mandarin, Northwest Mandarin, Southwest Mandarin, and Xiajiang Mandarin.

The 55 ethnic minorities account 8.41% of Chinese population. Among them, 53 have their own languages. But Hui and Manchu people have accepted mandarin as their first mother tongue for daily use. Some ethnic minorities take mandarin or the languages of other nationalities as their second mother tongue. Even different branches inside certain ethnic group are still using languages of their own.

Mandarin is not only the standard and shared language of Han Nationality, but the common language of the whole Chinese nation.

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