In 2009, about 60,000 American college students were studying Chinese. Chinese character inscriptions have been found in turtle shells dating back to the Shang dynasty 1 (1766-1123 BC) proving the written language has existed for more than 3,000 years. Reflections on Some Key Sino-English Linguistic terms". [34] This massive influx led to changes in the phonological structure of the languages, contributing to the development of moraic structure in Japanese[35] and the disruption of vowel harmony in Korean. As the language evolved over this period, the various local varieties became mutually unintelligible. Chinese also has an extensive system of classifiers and measure words, another trait shared with neighboring languages like Japanese and Korean. Anybody can ask a … [9] Language is one of the features used for ethnic identification. Today, it is much more common to use existing Chinese morphemes to coin new words to represent imported concepts, such as technical expressions and international scientific vocabulary. Currently, there are such institutes in over 60 countries. In modern spoken Mandarin, however, tremendous ambiguity would result if all of these words could be used as-is; Yuen Ren Chao's modern poem Lion-Eating Poet in the Stone Den exploits this, consisting of 92 characters all pronounced shi. Minglang Zhou, Multilingualism in China the politics of Writing reforms for minority languages 1949-2002 (2003), Wang, Wenpu and Lin Wei (Chengdu Technological University). They differ as much from each other Contemporary colloquial Cantonese has distinct loanwords from English, such as 卡通 kaa1 tung1 "cartoon", 基佬 gei1 lou2 "gay people", 的士 dik1 si6*2 "taxi", and 巴士 baa1 si6*2 "bus". The Economist, issue April 12, 2006, reported that up to one fifth of the population was learning English. Chinese Will Open Up a World of Opportunity for You. About 1.2 billion people (or approximately 16% of the world's population) speak a variety of Chinese as their first language. For example, jīngjì (经济/經濟; 経済 keizai in Japanese), which in the original Chinese meant "the workings of the state", was narrowed to "economy" in Japanese; this narrowed definition was then reimported into Chinese. One exception from this is Shanghainese which has reduced the set of tones to a two-toned pitch accent system much like modern Japanese. [21] [33] English is also one of the official languages in Hong Kong. The Chinese language is the group of languages used by Chinese people in China and elsewhere. Language borrowing Why so little Chinese in English? China English is 'a language which is as good a communicative tool as Respective Pinyin transliterations and Chinese characters (both simplified and traditional) are also given. The royal courts of the Ming and early Qing dynasties operated using a koiné language (Guanhua) based on Nanjing dialect of Lower Yangtze Mandarin. [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. The U.S. Foreign Service Institute estimates it would take a native English speaker 2,200 hours to … There are several hundred languages in China. Because many languages exist in China, they also have problems regarding diglossia. This is often done for commercial purposes, for example 奔腾/奔騰 bēnténg (lit. Sino-Tibetan Languages. [36], Borrowed Chinese morphemes have been used extensively in all these languages to coin compound words for new concepts, in a similar way to the use of Latin and Ancient Greek roots in European languages. A comparison table of zhuyin to pinyin exists in the zhuyin article. In Hunan, women in certain areas write their local Chinese language variant in Nü Shu, a syllabary derived from Chinese characters. Indeed, at this point in time, Mandarin Chinese is hands-down the best language to learn in order to get a head start in life. A significant cause of this is phonological attrition. These are not mutually intelligible and many of the regional varieties are themselves a number of non-mutually-intelligible … Ancient words borrowed from along the Silk Road since Old Chinese include 葡萄 pútáo "grape", 石榴 shíliu/shíliú "pomegranate" and 狮子/獅子 shīzi "lion". [68] To Chinese nationalists, the idea of Chinese as a language family may suggest that the Chinese identity is much more fragmented and disunified than their belief and as such is often looked upon as culturally and politically provocative. Skyrocket your fluency now! Mikael Parkvall, "Världens 100 största språk 2007" (The World's 100 Largest Languages in 2007), in Nationalencyklopedin. It is the most widely-spoken language in the world. Because some Chinese variants have diverged and developed a number of unique morphemes that are not found in Standard Mandarin (despite all other common morphemes), unique characters rarely used in Standard Chinese have also been created or inherited from archaic literary standard to represent these unique morphemes. The only obstacle is the monstrosity of characters foreigners are confronted with. Chinese morphology is strictly bound to a set number of syllables with a fairly rigid construction. Chinese is the language mainly spoken by the people living in China, and this has several varieties or dialects that are spoken within the mainland of China itself. The Chinese (or 'Sinitic') languages are typically divided into seven major language groups, and their study is a distinct academic discipline. Gordon Brown, the former British Prime Minister, estimated that the total English-speaking population in China would outnumber the native speakers in the rest of the world in two decades. [citation needed] After the Reform and Opening-up policy in 1988, English was taught in public schools starting in the third year of primary school.[1][2]. The spoken varieties of Chinese are usually considered by native speakers to be variants of a single language. Cantonese). 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. "food-thing"). 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. [14] Several derivational affixes have also been identified, but the language lacks inflection, and indicated grammatical relationships using word order and grammatical particles. [9] Pronunciation is taught with the use of the romanized phonetic system known as pinyin. They make heavy use of grammatical particles to indicate aspect and mood. The Chinese language I speak, Standard Mandarin, is as old as Chinese civilisations and as young as the modern Chinese state. Mandarin Chinese is the mother tongue of over 873 million people, making it the most widely spoken first language in the world. The Chinese language is the oldest written language in the world with at least six thousand years of history. In some cases, monosyllabic words have become disyllabic without compounding, as in kūlong 窟窿 from kǒng 孔; this is especially common in Jin. The bulk of these words were originally coined in the Shanghai dialect during the early 20th century and were later loaned into Mandarin, hence their pronunciations in Mandarin may be quite off from the English. Currently, most classifications posit 7 to 13 main regional groups based on phonetic developments from Middle Chinese, of which the most spoken by far is Mandarin (with about 800 million speakers, or 66%), followed by Min (75 million, e.g. These coinages, written in shared Chinese characters, have then been borrowed freely between languages. Once you’re used to the tonal structure of Chinese, it becomes easier to speak very quickly. It is also never neutral. All varieties of spoken Chinese use tones to distinguish words. Southern Min). [8], The first written records appeared over 3,000 years ago during the Shang dynasty. Spoken Chinese languages are among the most commonly used in the world. The number of sounds in the different spoken dialects varies, but in general there has been a tendency to a reduction in sounds from Middle Chinese. But to study Chinese finally means to study a culture, a people. It was estimated in 2016 that 2.3% of Macau's locals spoke the language,[29][30] although with government backing since then, interest in it has increased.[31]. Cantonese language, variety of Chinese spoken by more than 55 million people in Guangdong and southern Guangxi provinces of China, including the important cities of Canton, Hong Kong, and Macau. This is done by employing Chinese characters with similar pronunciations. 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. For example, shí 石 alone, not shítou 石头/石頭, appears in compounds meaning "stone-", for example, shígāo 石膏 "plaster" (lit. 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