Mandarin Chinese

MandarinChineseMandarin dialectsMandarin languageChinese languageChinese MandarinMandarin-speakingChinese (Mandarin)Mandarin dialectcmn
Mandarin is a group of related Sinitic languages spoken across most of northern and southwestern China.wikipedia
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Beijing dialect

Beijing MandarinBeijingBeijing Mandarin dialect
The group includes the Beijing dialect, the basis of Standard Chinese or Standard Mandarin.
The Beijing dialect, also known as Pekingese, is the prestige dialect of Mandarin spoken in the urban area of Beijing, China.

Standard Chinese

MandarinChineseMandarin Chinese
The group includes the Beijing dialect, the basis of Standard Chinese or Standard Mandarin.
Its pronunciation is based on the Beijing dialect, its vocabulary on the Mandarin dialects, and its grammar is based on written vernacular Chinese.

Tone (linguistics)

tonetonal languagetones
Most Mandarin varieties have four tones.
In the most widely spoken tonal language, Mandarin Chinese, tones are distinguished by their distinctive shape, known as contour, with each tone having a different internal pattern of rising and falling pitch.

Chinese as a foreign language

Chinese as a second languageTeaching Chinese as a Foreign Languageany understanding of Chinese
It is also one of the most frequently used varieties of Chinese among Chinese diaspora communities internationally and the most commonly taught Chinese variety.
Increased interest in China from those outside has led to a corresponding interest in the study of Standard Chinese (a type of Mandarin Chinese) as a foreign language, the official language of mainland China and Taiwan.

Middle Chinese

Early Middle ChineseLate Middle ChineseMC
The final stops of Middle Chinese have disappeared in most of these varieties, but some have merged them as a final glottal stop.
Branches of the Chinese family such as Mandarin (including Standard Chinese, based on the speech of Beijing), Yue (including Cantonese) and Wu (including Shanghainese) can be largely treated as divergent developments from it.

Northeastern Mandarin

NortheasternNortheast MandarinNortheastern dialect
Speakers of forms of Mandarin other than the standard typically refer to the variety they speak by a geographic name—for example Sichuan dialect, Hebei dialect or Northeastern dialect, all being regarded as distinct from the standard language.
Northeastern Mandarin ( or 东北官话/東北官話 Dōngběiguānhuà "Northeast Mandarin") is the subgroup of Mandarin varieties spoken in Northeast China with the exception of the Liaodong Peninsula.

Official language

official languagesofficialadministrative 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.
Standardization of the spoken language received less political attention, and Mandarin developed on an ad hoc basis from the dialects of the various imperial capitals until being officially standardized in the early twentieth century.

Varieties of Chinese

ChineseSiniticChinese varieties
Mandarin is a group of related Sinitic languages spoken across most of northern and southwestern China.
The family is typically divided into several subfamilies: Mandarin, Wu, Min, Xiang, Gan, Hakka and Yue, though some varieties remain unclassified.

Lingua franca

trade languagecommon languagelingua francas
Some form of Mandarin has served as a national lingua franca since the 14th century.
Arabic, French, Mandarin Chinese, Spanish, Portuguese, Hindustani, and Russian serve a similar purpose as industrial/educational lingua francas, across regional and national boundaries.

Xiang Chinese

XiangXiang dialectXiang dialects
Aside from Mandarin, the other six are Wu, Gan, and Xiang in central China, and Min, Hakka, and Yue on the southeast coast.
Xiang has also been heavily influenced by Mandarin, which adjoins three of the four sides of the Xiang speaking territory, and Gan in Jiangxi Province, from where a large population immigrated to Hunan during the Ming Dynasty.

North China

Northern ChinaNorthnorthern
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.
The region has been cultivating wheat, and most inhabitants here nowadays speak variants of Northern Chinese languages such as the standard (Mandarin), which includes Beijing dialect, which is largely the basis of Standard Chinese (Mandarin), the official language of the People's Republic of China (PRC), and its cousin variants.

Anhui

Anhui ProvinceAnhweiAnhui, China
The Language Atlas of China (1987) distinguishes three further groups: Jin (split from Mandarin), Huizhou in the Huizhou region of Anhui and Zhejiang, and Pinghua in Guangxi and Yunnan.
Languages spoken within the province include Mandarin, Jianghuai Mandarin, and the Gan and Wu varieties of Chinese.

Glottal stop

ʔGlottalglottal stops
The final stops of Middle Chinese have disappeared in most of these varieties, but some have merged them as a final glottal stop.
There are intricate interactions between falling tone and the glottal stop in the histories of such languages as Danish (see stød), Chinese and Thai.

National language

main languagenationalmajority language
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.
The Beijing dialect of Mandarin and Guangzhou dialect of Cantonese were each proposed as the basis for a national language for China.

Guangxi

Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous RegionGuangxi ProvinceKwangsi
The Language Atlas of China (1987) distinguishes three further groups: Jin (split from Mandarin), Huizhou in the Huizhou region of Anhui and Zhejiang, and Pinghua in Guangxi and Yunnan.
Various regional languages and dialects such as Pinghua, Zhuang, Cantonese, Hakka and Min are spoken alongside Mandarin Chinese.

Gan Chinese

GanGan DialectGan dialects
Aside from Mandarin, the other six are Wu, Gan, and Xiang in central China, and Min, Hakka, and Yue on the southeast coast.
Within the variation of Chinese dialects, Gan has more similarities with Mandarin than with Yue or Min.

Jin Chinese

JinJin languagecjy
The Language Atlas of China (1987) distinguishes three further groups: Jin (split from Mandarin), Huizhou in the Huizhou region of Anhui and Zhejiang, and Pinghua in Guangxi and Yunnan.
The status of Jin is disputed among linguists; some prefer to classify it as a dialect of Mandarin, but others set it apart as a closely related, but separate sister-language to Mandarin.

Overseas Chinese

ChineseChinese diasporaChinese immigrants
It is also one of the most frequently used varieties of Chinese among Chinese diaspora communities internationally and the most commonly taught Chinese variety.
The general trend is that more established Chinese populations in the Western world and in many regions of Asia have Cantonese as either the dominant variety or as a common community vernacular, while Mandarin is much more prevalent among new arrivals, making it increasingly common in many Chinatowns.

Hakka Chinese

HakkaHakka languageHakka dialect
Aside from Mandarin, the other six are Wu, Gan, and Xiang in central China, and Min, Hakka, and Yue on the southeast coast.
Hakka is not mutually intelligible with Yue, Wu, Southern Min, Mandarin or other branches of Chinese, and itself contains a few mutually unintelligible varieties.

Classical Chinese

Literary ChineseChineseclassical
Until the early 20th century, formal writing and even much poetry and fiction was done in Literary Chinese, which was modeled on the classics of the Warring States period and the Han dynasty.
Among Chinese speakers, Literary Chinese has been largely replaced by written vernacular Chinese, a style of writing that is similar to modern spoken Mandarin Chinese, while speakers of non-Chinese languages have largely abandoned Literary Chinese in favor of local vernaculars.

Fujian

Fujian ProvinceFukienHokkien
In contrast, the mountains and rivers of southern China have spawned the other six major groups of Chinese varieties, with great internal diversity, particularly in Fujian.
Min and Hakka Chinese are unintelligible with Mandarin Chinese.

Mutual intelligibility

mutually intelligiblemutually unintelligibleintelligible
Many local Mandarin varieties are not mutually intelligible.

Language Atlas of China

The Language Atlas of China (1987) distinguishes three further groups: Jin (split from Mandarin), Huizhou in the Huizhou region of Anhui and Zhejiang, and Pinghua in Guangxi and Yunnan.

Written vernacular Chinese

vernacular Chinesebaihuavernacular
From at least the Yuan dynasty, plays that recounted the subversive tales of China's Robin Hoods to the Ming dynasty novels such as Water Margin, on down to the Qing dynasty novel Dream of the Red Chamber and beyond, there developed a literature in written vernacular Chinese (白话/白話 báihuà).
A written vernacular based on Mandarin Chinese was used in novels in the Ming and Qing dynasties, and later refined by intellectuals associated with the May Fourth Movement.

Cantonese

Cantonese languageCantonese ChineseStandard Cantonese
In Hong Kong and Macau, because of their colonial and linguistic history, the sole language of education, the media, formal speech and everyday life remains the local Cantonese.
Although Cantonese shares a lot of vocabulary with Mandarin, the two varieties are mutually unintelligible because of differences in pronunciation, grammar, and lexicon.