Chinese Language Expert. However, the similar words are only reconstructions of Old and Middle Chinese. Qieyun, a rime dictionary, recorded a compromise between the pronunciations of different regions. They are still pronounced differently in today's Cantonese; in Jyutping they are sap9, sat9, sik7, sek9, si4, sik9. 3. Chinese has a subject–verb–object word order, and like many other languages of East Asia, makes frequent use of the topic–comment construction to form sentences. About the Chinese language The Chinese language is a member of the Sino-Tibetan family of languages. Use the audio clips for pronunciation and listening practice.. [37] Many new compounds, or new meanings for old phrases, were created in the late 19th and early 20th centuries to name Western concepts and artifacts. Cantonese differs from Mandarin with some transliterations, such as 梳化 so1 faa3*2 "sofa" and 摩打 mo1 daa2 "motor". [24] They have even been accepted into Chinese, a language usually resistant to loanwords, because their foreign origin was hidden by their written form. provides a broad range of free tools available to use on your computer. The Dungan language, considered by many a dialect of Mandarin, is nowadays written in Cyrillic, and was previously written in the Arabic script. Western foreign words representing Western concepts have influenced Chinese since the 20th century through transcription. 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. "actual-connection"); rènshi 认识/認識 (lit. Learning the language from the start and being thrust into an all Chinese environment is the best way. [62] John DeFrancis argues that it is inappropriate to refer to Mandarin, Wu and so on as "dialects" because the mutual unintelligibility between them is too great. Modern neologisms are primarily translated into Chinese in one of three ways: free translation (calque, or by meaning), phonetic translation (by sound), or a combination of the two. 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. [16] These works define phonological categories, but with little hint of what sounds they represent. First, China is an enormous country with two main languages: Mandarin Chinese and Cantonese Chinese. Traditional Chinese . 'Not do not die.') [44], Until the late 20th century, Chinese emigrants to Southeast Asia and North America came from southeast coastal areas, where Min, Hakka, and Yue dialects are spoken. For other languages spoken in China, see, "Han language" redirects here. Learn more in the Cambridge English-Chinese simplified Dictionary. [22], Up to the early 20th century, most Chinese people only spoke their local variety. Early Indian translators, working in Sanskrit and Pali, were the first to attempt to describe the sounds and enunciation patterns of Chinese in a foreign language. These include vernacular,[64] lect,[65] regionalect,[53] topolect,[66] and variety.[67]. There are many systems of romanization for the Chinese varieties, due to the lack of a native phonetic transcription until modern times. The traditional view was that Old Chinese was an isolating language, lacking both inflection and derivation, but it has become clear that words could be formed by derivational affixation, reduplication a… Changed "author" from "Laurent Sagart" - Simon Greenhill (2012-05-07 01:52:11) Northern Vietnam was incorporated into the Han empire in 111 BCE, marking the beginning of a period of Chinese control that ran almost continuously for a millennium. The American scholar, Monis Swadesh, drew up the current list of basic words in 1952, which contains 200 words. "lettered words") spelled with letters from the English alphabet. That captures the essence of the English expression "getting old fast" pretty well. [d] Investigation of the historical relationships among the varieties of Chinese is just starting. Chinese is first known to have been written in Latin characters by Western Christian missionaries in the 16th century. DEVIL. ), whose texts include inscriptions on bronze artifacts, the poetry of the “Shijing”, the history of the “Shujing”, and portions of the Yijing. The 18th-century Kangxi Dictionary recognized 214 radicals. With roughly 1.2 billion speakers, Chinese is the most spoken language in the world, ahead of even English (though English is still the most widely learned as a second language). After the fall of the Northern Song dynasty and subsequent reign of the Jin (Jurchen) and Yuan (Mongol) dynasties in northern China, a common speech (now called Old Mandarin) developed based on the dialects of the North China Plain around the capital. Since the 20th century, another source of words has been Japanese using existing kanji (Chinese characters used in Japanese). our editorial process. [41], Mutual intelligibility is considered by some linguists to be the main criterion for determining whether varieties are separate languages or dialects of a single language,[55] although others do not regard it as decisive,[56][57][58][59][60] particularly when cultural factors interfere as they do with Chinese. In school books that teach Chinese, the Pinyin romanization is often shown below a picture of the thing the word represents, with the Chinese character alongside. English influence is particularly pronounced. The traditional system, used in Hong Kong, Taiwan, Macau and Chinese speaking communities (except Singapore and Malaysia) outside mainland China, takes its form from standardized character forms dating back to the late Han dynasty. [32] Scholars from different lands could communicate, albeit only in writing, using Literary Chinese. Like any other language, Chinese has absorbed a sizable number of loanwords from other cultures. For example, in addition to Standard Chinese, a resident of Shanghai might speak Shanghainese; and, if he or she grew up elsewhere, then he or she is also likely to be fluent in the particular dialect of that local area. Mandarin Chinese is a fairly complex language to learn, especially for English speakers. The growth of spoken Chinese language has been a complex process. In Taiwan, some of these transliterations are different, such as 駭客 hàikè for "hacker" and 部落格 bùluògé for "blog" (lit. [33], Although they used Chinese solely for written communication, each country had its own tradition of reading texts aloud, the so-called Sino-Xenic pronunciations. [45] The most prominent example of this is the written colloquial form of Cantonese, which has become quite popular in tabloids, instant messaging applications, and on the internet amongst Hong-Kongers and Cantonese-speakers elsewhere.[78]. Standard Chinese is based on the Beijing dialect, the dialect of Mandarin as spoken in Beijing. Chinese is the most valuable second language, opening up the future to young learners. Mandarin Chinese or simply Mandarin (/ ˈ m æ n d ər ɪ n / (); simplified Chinese: 官话; traditional Chinese: 官話; pinyin: Guānhuà; literally: "speech of officials") is the language of government and education of the Chinese mainland and Taiwan, with the notable exceptions of Hong Kong and Macau where a local dialect of Chinese called Cantonese is more often used. [52], The official Chinese designation for the major branches of Chinese is fāngyán (方言, literally "regional speech"), whereas the more closely related varieties within these are called dìdiǎn fāngyán (地点方言/地點方言 "local speech"). Even if we consider Mandarin, Cantonese and other Chinese languages separately, Mandarin is still the second most spoken language in the world. All varieties of Chinese are tonal to at least some degree, and are largely analytic. HSK 1. The governments of both China and Taiwan intend for speakers of all Chinese speech varieties to use it as a common language of communication. Each Chinese character represents a syllable of the spoken language. The core meaning of 'getting old fast' is 'action or words become repetitive and starting to bore people' The equivalent in Chinese would be 千篇一律. Characters represent words and meanings, but not every character is used independently. In Hunan, women in certain areas write their local Chinese language variant in Nü Shu, a syllabary derived from Chinese characters.