Chinese language

ChineseChinese:Regional dialectMandarinChinese-languageMandarin ChineseChinese SimplifiedlanguageTraditional ChineseChinese linguistics
Unless otherwise specified, Chinese in this article is written in simplified Chinese/traditional Chinese; Pinyin order.wikipedia
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Han Chinese

HanChineseHan people
Chinese languages are spoken by the ethnic Chinese majority and many minority ethnic groups in China.
Similarly, the Chinese language also came to be named the "Han language" ever since.

Varieties of Chinese

ChineseSiniticChinese varieties
Chinese (or especially though not exclusively for written Chinese: ) is a group of languages that forms the Sinitic branch of the Sino-Tibetan languages. Linguists have identified these sounds by comparing the categories with pronunciations in modern varieties of Chinese, borrowed Chinese words in Japanese, Vietnamese, and Korean, and transcription evidence.
Chinese varieties differ most in their phonology, and to a lesser extent in vocabulary and syntax.

Official languages of the United Nations

six official languagesofficial language of the United Nationsco-official language of the United Nations
It is one of the six official languages of the United Nations.
Later, Arabic, Chinese, and Russian were added as working languages in the Economic and Social Council.

Qieyun

Qieyun, a rime dictionary, recorded a compromise between the pronunciations of different regions. It can be divided into an early period, reflected by the Qieyun rime book (601 CE), and a late period in the 10th century, reflected by rhyme tables such as the Yunjing constructed by ancient Chinese philologists as a guide to the Qieyun system.
The Qieyun is a Chinese rhyme dictionary, published in 601 during the Sui dynasty.

Old Chinese

OCancient ChineseArchaic Chinese
The phonetic categories of Archaic Chinese can be reconstructed from the rhymes of ancient poetry.
Old Chinese, also called Archaic Chinese in older works, is the oldest attested stage of Chinese, and the ancestor of all modern varieties of Chinese.

Gan Chinese

GanGan DialectGan dialects
Examples are New Xiang and Southwest Mandarin, Xuanzhou Wu and Lower Yangtze Mandarin, Jin and Central Plains Mandarin, and certain divergent dialects of Hakka with Gan (though these are unintelligible with mainstream Hakka).
Like all other varieties of Chinese, there is a large amount of mutual unintelligibility between Gan Chinese and other varieties.

Yunjing

It can be divided into an early period, reflected by the Qieyun rime book (601 CE), and a late period in the 10th century, reflected by rhyme tables such as the Yunjing constructed by ancient Chinese philologists as a guide to the Qieyun system.
The Yunjing is one of the two oldest existing examples of a Chinese rhyme table – a series of charts which arrange Chinese characters in large tables according to their tone and syllable structures to indicate their proper pronunciations.

Himalayas

HimalayaHimalayanHimalayan Mountains
Linguists classify all varieties of Chinese as part of the Sino-Tibetan language family, together with Burmese, Tibetan and many other languages spoken in the Himalayas and the Southeast Asian Massif.
The mountains are known as the Himālaya in Nepali and Hindi (both written ), the Himalaya or 'The Land of Snow' in Tibetan, the Himāliyah Mountain Range (undefined) in Urdu and the Ximalaya Mountain Range (undefined) in Chinese.

Menggu Ziyun

Together with the slightly later Menggu Ziyun, this dictionary describes a language with many of the features characteristic of modern Mandarin dialects.
Menggu Ziyun (, "Rimes in Mongol Script") is a 14th-century rime dictionary of Chinese as written in the 'Phags-pa script that was used during the Yuan dynasty (1271–1368).

Sino-Tibetan languages

Sino-TibetanSino-Tibetan languageSino-Tibetan language family
Chinese (or especially though not exclusively for written Chinese: ) is a group of languages that forms the Sinitic branch of the Sino-Tibetan languages. Linguists classify all varieties of Chinese as part of the Sino-Tibetan language family, together with Burmese, Tibetan and many other languages spoken in the Himalayas and the Southeast Asian Massif.
It was cited together with the lack of reconstructable shared morphology, and evidence that much shared lexical material has been borrowed from Chinese into Tibeto-Burman, by Christopher Beckwith, one of the few scholars still arguing that Chinese is not related to Tibeto-Burman.

Indo-European languages

Indo-EuropeanIndo-European languageIndo-European language family
Although the relationship was first proposed in the early 19th century and is now broadly accepted, reconstruction of Sino-Tibetan is much less developed than that of families such as Indo-European or Austroasiatic.
Meanwhile, Mikhail Lomonosov compared different language groups, including Slavic, Baltic ("Kurlandic"), Iranian ("Medic"), Finnish, Chinese, "Hottentot" (Khoekhoe), and others, noting that related languages (including Latin, Greek, German and Russian) must have separated in antiquity from common ancestors.

Sino-Japanese vocabulary

Sino-JapanesekangoSino-Japanese words
For example, in Japan, Sino-Japanese words account for about 35% of the words in entertainment magazines, over half the words in newspapers, and 60% of the words in science magazines.
Sino-Japanese vocabulary or kango refers to that portion of the Japanese vocabulary that originated in Chinese or has been created from elements borrowed from Chinese.

Japanese language

JapaneseJapanese-languageJp
Chinese words with these pronunciations were also extensively imported into the Korean, Japanese and Vietnamese languages, and today comprise over half of their vocabularies.
During the Heian period (794–1185), Chinese had considerable influence on the vocabulary and phonology of Old Japanese.

Vietnamese language

VietnameseVietnamese nameVietnamese-language
Chinese words with these pronunciations were also extensively imported into the Korean, Japanese and Vietnamese languages, and today comprise over half of their vocabularies.
Its vocabulary has borrowings from Chinese, and it formerly used a modified set of Chinese characters called Chữ Nôm, which were given vernacular pronunciation.

Sino-Xenic pronunciations

Sino-XenicSinoxenicpronunciations of Chinese characters
Linguists have identified these sounds by comparing the categories with pronunciations in modern varieties of Chinese, borrowed Chinese words in Japanese, Vietnamese, and Korean, and transcription evidence.
Sino-Xenic or Sinoxenic pronunciations are regular systems for reading Chinese characters in Japan, Korea and Vietnam, originating in medieval times and the source of large-scale borrowings of Chinese words into the Japanese, Korean and Vietnamese languages, none of which are genetically related to Chinese.

Hanja

HanchahanmunChinese characters
Korean is written exclusively with Hangul in North Korea, and supplementary Chinese characters (Hanja) are increasingly rarely used in South Korea.
More specifically, it refers to the Chinese characters borrowed from Chinese and incorporated into the Korean language with Korean pronunciation.

Logogram

logographiclogographlogograms
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.

Waxiang Chinese

WaxiangWaxiang dialectWaxiang language
Some varieties remain unclassified, including Danzhou dialect (spoken in Danzhou, on Hainan Island), Waxianghua (spoken in western Hunan) and Shaozhou Tuhua (spoken in northern Guangdong).
Waxiang (ɕioŋ˥tsa˧) is a divergent variety of Chinese, spoken by the Waxiang people, an unrecognized ethnic minority group in the northwestern part of Hunan province, China.

Burmese language

BurmeseMyanmarMyanmar language
Linguists classify all varieties of Chinese as part of the Sino-Tibetan language family, together with Burmese, Tibetan and many other languages spoken in the Himalayas and the Southeast Asian Massif.
To a lesser extent, Burmese has also imported words from Sanskrit (religion), Hindi (food, administration, and shipping), and Chinese (games and food).

Shanghai

Shanghai, ChinaSHAShanghai Municipality
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.
Shanghai is officially abbreviated (/Vu 2 ) in Chinese, a contraction of (/Vu Doh, lit "Harpoon Ditch"), a 4th- or 5th-century Jin name for the mouth of Suzhou Creek when it was the main conduit into the ocean.

John DeFrancis

DeFrancis, JohnDeFrancis
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.
John DeFrancis (August 31, 1911 – January 2, 2009) was an American linguist, sinologist, author of Chinese language textbooks, lexicographer of Chinese dictionaries, and Professor Emeritus of Chinese Studies at the University of Hawaii at Mānoa.

Tone (linguistics)

tonetonal languagetones
All varieties of Chinese are tonal to at least some degree and largely analytic.
4. The table below shows the Chinese language tonogenesis.

Taishanese

Taishan dialectTaishanToisan
The vast majority of Chinese immigrants to North America spoke the Taishan dialect, from a small coastal area southwest of Guangzhou.
In the late 19th century and early 20th century, a significant amount of Chinese emigration to North America originated from Siyi, the area this variety is natively spoken in ; making Toishanese a dominant variety of the Chinese language spoken in Chinatowns in Canada and the United States.

Middle Chinese

Early Middle ChineseLate Middle ChineseMC
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.
Middle Chinese (formerly known as Ancient Chinese) or the Qieyun system (QYS) is the historical variety of Chinese recorded in the Qieyun, a rime dictionary first published in 601 and followed by several revised and expanded editions.

Diglossia

diglossic diglossicdiglossic linguistic area
In mainland China and Taiwan, diglossia has been a common feature.
The high variety may be an older stage of the same language (as in medieval Europe, where Latin remained in formal use even as colloquial speech diverged), an unrelated language, or a distinct yet closely related present day dialect, for example Modern Standard Arabic alongside other varieties of Arabic; Standard German alongside Low German; or Chinese, with Mandarin as the official, literary standard and local varieties of Chinese used in everyday communication.