The Info List - Chinese Language

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Legend:   Countries identified Chinese as a primary, administrative, or native language   Countries with more than 5,000,000 Chinese speakers   Countries with more than 1,000,000 Chinese speakers   Countries with more than 500,000 Chinese speakers   Countries with more than 100,000 Chinese speakers   Major Chinese-speaking settlements

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Chinese languages (Spoken)

Traditional Chinese 漢語

Simplified Chinese 汉语

Literal meaning Han language


Standard Mandarin

Hanyu Pinyin Hànyǔ

Wade–Giles Han4-yu3

Tongyong Pinyin Hàn-yǔ

Yale Romanization Hàn-yǔ

IPA [xân.ỳ]


Romanization hoe3 nyiu2


Romanization Hon Ngi

Yue: Cantonese

Yale Romanization hon yúh

IPA [hɔ̄ːn.jy̬ː]

Jyutping Hon3 jyu5

Canton Romanization hon3 yü5

Southern Min

POJ Hàn-gí, Hàn-gú

Eastern Min

Fuzhou BUC Háng-ngṳ̄

Chinese language
Chinese language

Chinese 中文

Literal meaning Middle/Central/Chinese text


Standard Mandarin

Hanyu Pinyin Zhōngwén

Wade–Giles Chung1-wên2

Tongyong Pinyin jhong-wún

Yale Romanization jūng-wén

IPA [ʈʂʊ́ŋ.wə̌n]


Romanization tson1 ven1


Romanization Chung-Vun

Yue: Cantonese

Yale Romanization Jūng mán

Jyutping Zung1 man4*2

Canton Romanization Zung1 men4*2

Southern Min

POJ Tiong-bûn

Eastern Min

Fuzhou BUC Dṳng-ùng

Chinese (simplified Chinese: 汉语; traditional Chinese: 漢語; pinyin: Hànyǔ; literally: "Han language"; or Chinese: 中文; pinyin: Zhōngwén; literally: "Chinese writing") is a group of related, but in many cases mutually unintelligible, language varieties, forming a branch of the Sino-Tibetan language family. Chinese is spoken by the Han majority and many minority ethnic groups in China. About 1.2 billion people (around 16% of the world's population) speak some form of Chinese as their first language. The varieties of Chinese are usually described by native speakers as dialects of a single Chinese language, but linguists note that they are as diverse as a language family.[a] The internal diversity of Chinese has been likened to that of the Romance languages, but may be even more varied. There are between 7 and 13 main regional groups of Chinese (depending on classification scheme), of which the most spoken by far is Mandarin (about 960 million, e.g. Southwestern Mandarin), followed by Wu (80 million, e.g. Shanghainese), Min (70 million, e.g. Southern Min), Yue (60 million, e.g. Cantonese), etc. Most of these groups are mutually unintelligible, and even dialect groups within Min Chinese may not be mutually intelligible. Some, however, like Xiang and certain Southwest Mandarin
Southwest Mandarin
dialects, may share common terms and a certain degree of intelligibility. All varieties of Chinese are tonal and analytic. Standard Chinese
Standard Chinese
(Pǔtōnghuà/Guóyǔ/Huáyǔ) is a standardized form of spoken Chinese based on the Beijing dialect of Mandarin. It is the official language of China
and Taiwan, as well as one of the four official languages of Singapore. It is one of the six official languages of the United Nations. 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. The earliest Chinese written records are Shang dynasty-era oracle inscriptions, which can be traced back to 1250 BCE. The phonetic categories of Archaic Chinese
Archaic Chinese
can be reconstructed from the rhymes of ancient poetry. During the Northern and Southern dynasties
Northern and Southern dynasties
period, Middle Chinese
Middle Chinese
went through several sound changes and split into several varieties following prolonged geographic and political separation. Qieyun, a rime dictionary, recorded a compromise between the pronunciations of different regions. The royal courts of the Ming and early Qing dynasties operated using a koiné language (Guanhua) based on Nanjing dialect of Lower Yangtze Mandarin. Standard Chinese was adopted in the 1930s, and is now the official language of both the People's Republic of China
and Taiwan.


1 Classification 2 History

2.1 Old and Middle Chinese 2.2 Classical and literary forms 2.3 Rise of northern dialects 2.4 Influence

3 Varieties

3.1 Grouping 3.2 Standard Chinese 3.3 Nomenclature

4 Phonology

4.1 Tones

5 Grammar 6 Vocabulary

6.1 Loanwords 6.2 Modern borrowings

7 Writing system

7.1 Chinese characters 7.2 Romanization 7.3 Other phonetic transcriptions

8 Education 9 See also 10 Notes 11 References

11.1 Citations 11.2 Sources

12 Further reading 13 External links

Classification[edit] Most 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.[4] 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. Difficulties have included the great diversity of the languages, the lack of inflection in many of them, and the effects of language contact. In addition, many of the smaller languages are spoken in mountainous areas that are difficult to reach, and are often also sensitive border zones.[5] Without a secure reconstruction of proto-Sino-Tibetan, the higher-level structure of the family remains unclear.[6] A top-level branching into Chinese and Tibeto-Burman languages
Tibeto-Burman languages
is often assumed, but has not been convincingly demonstrated.[7] History[edit] Main article: History of the Chinese language The first written records appeared over 3,000 years ago during the Shang dynasty. As the language evolved over this period, the various local varieties became mutually unintelligible. In reaction, central governments have repeatedly sought to promulgate a unified standard.[8] Old and Middle Chinese[edit] The earliest examples of Chinese are divinatory inscriptions on oracle bones from around 1250 BCE in the late Shang dynasty.[9] Old Chinese was the language of the Western Zhou
Western Zhou
period (1046–771 BCE), recorded in inscriptions on bronze artifacts, the Classic of Poetry
Classic of Poetry
and portions of the Book of Documents
Book of Documents
and I Ching.[10] Scholars have attempted to reconstruct the phonology of Old Chinese
Old Chinese
by comparing later varieties of Chinese with the rhyming practice of the Classic of Poetry and the phonetic elements found in the majority of Chinese characters.[11] Although many of the finer details remain unclear, most scholars agree that Old Chinese
Old Chinese
differs from Middle Chinese
Middle Chinese
in lacking retroflex and palatal obstruents but having initial consonant clusters of some sort, and in having voiceless nasals and liquids.[12] Most recent reconstructions also describe an atonal language with consonant clusters at the end of the syllable, developing into tone distinctions in Middle Chinese.[13] Several derivational affixes have also been identified, but the language lacks inflection, and indicated grammatical relationships using word order and grammatical particles.[14] Middle Chinese
Middle Chinese
was the language used during Northern and Southern dynasties and the Sui, Tang, and Song dynasties (6th through 10th centuries CE). 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.[15] These works define phonological categories, but with little hint of what sounds they represent.[16] 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.[17] The resulting system is very complex, with a large number of consonants and vowels, but they are probably not all distinguished in any single dialect. Most linguists now believe it represents a diasystem encompassing 6th-century northern and southern standards for reading the classics.[18] Classical and literary forms[edit] Main article: Classical Chinese The relationship between spoken and written Chinese is rather complex. Its spoken varieties have evolved at different rates, while written Chinese itself has changed much less. Classical Chinese
Classical Chinese
literature began in the Spring and Autumn period. Rise of northern dialects[edit] After the fall of the Northern Song
Northern Song
dynasty, and during the 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.[19] The Zhongyuan Yinyun
Zhongyuan Yinyun
(1324) was a dictionary that codified the rhyming conventions of new sanqu verse form in this language.[20] Together with the slightly later Menggu Ziyun, this dictionary describes a language with many of the features characteristic of modern Mandarin dialects.[21] Up to the early 20th century, most of the people in China
spoke only their local variety.[22] As a practical measure, officials of the Ming and Qing dynasties carried out the administration of the empire using a common language based on Mandarin varieties, known as Guānhuà (官话/官話, literally "language of officials").[23] For most of this period, this language was a koiné based on dialects spoken in the Nanjing
area, though not identical to any single dialect.[24] By the middle of the 19th century, the Beijing dialect had become dominant and was essential for any business with the imperial court.[25] In the 1930s a standard national language Guóyǔ (国语/國語 "national language") was adopted. After much dispute between proponents of northern and southern dialects and an abortive attempt at an artificial pronunciation, the National Language Unification Commission finally settled on the Beijing dialect in 1932. The People's Republic founded in 1949 retained this standard, calling it pǔtōnghuà (普通话/普通話 "common speech").[26] The national language is now used in education, the media, and formal situations in both Mainland China
and Taiwan.[27] In Hong Kong
Hong Kong
and Macau, because of their colonial and linguistic history, the language used in education, the media, formal speech, and everyday life remains the local Cantonese, although the standard language has become very influential and is being taught in schools.[28] Influence[edit] See also: Adoption of Chinese literary culture
Adoption of Chinese literary culture
and Sino-Xenic vocabularies

The Tripitaka Koreana, a Korean collection of the Chinese Buddhist canon

The Chinese language
Chinese language
has spread to neighbouring countries through a variety of means. 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 Four Commanderies were established in northern Korea in the first century BCE, but disintegrated in the following centuries.[29] Chinese Buddhism spread over East Asia
East Asia
between the 2nd and 5th centuries CE, and with it the study of scriptures and literature in Literary Chinese.[30] Later Korea, Japan, and Vietnam developed strong central governments modeled on Chinese institutions, with Literary Chinese
Literary Chinese
as the language of administration and scholarship, a position it would retain until the late 19th century in Korea and (to a lesser extent) Japan, and the early 20th century in Vietnam.[31] Scholars from different lands could communicate, albeit only in writing, using Literary Chinese.[32] Although they used Chinese solely for written communication, each country had its own tradition of reading texts aloud, the so-called Sino-Xenic pronunciations. Chinese words with these pronunciations were also extensively imported into the Korean, Japanese and Vietnamese languages, and today comprise over half of their vocabularies.[33] This massive influx led to changes in the phonological structure of the languages, contributing to the development of moraic structure in Japanese[34] and the disruption of vowel harmony in Korean.[35] 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
Ancient Greek
roots in European languages.[36] 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. These coinages, written in shared Chinese characters, have then been borrowed freely between languages. They have even been accepted into Chinese, a language usually resistant to loanwords, because their foreign origin was hidden by their written form. Often different compounds for the same concept were in circulation for some time before a winner emerged, and sometimes the final choice differed between countries.[37] The proportion of vocabulary of Chinese origin thus tends to be greater in technical, abstract, or formal language. 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.[38] Vietnam, Korea, and Japan each developed writing systems for their own languages, initially based on Chinese characters, but later replaced with the Hangul
alphabet for Korean and supplemented with kana syllabaries for Japanese, while Vietnamese continued to be written with the complex Chữ nôm
Chữ nôm
script. However, these were limited to popular literature until the late 19th century. Today Japanese is written with a composite script using both Chinese characters
Chinese characters
(Kanji) and kana. Korean is written exclusively with Hangul
in North Korea, and supplementary Chinese characters
Chinese characters
(Hanja) are increasingly rarely used in South Korea. Vietnamese is written with a Latin-based alphabet. Examples of loan words in English include "tea", from Hokkien
(Min Nan) tê (茶), "dim sum", from Cantonese
dim2 sam1 and "kumquat", from Cantonese
gam1gwat1 (金橘). Varieties[edit] Main article: Varieties of Chinese Jerry Norman estimated that there are hundreds of mutually unintelligible varieties of Chinese.[39] These varieties form a dialect continuum, in which differences in speech generally become more pronounced as distances increase, though the rate of change varies immensely.[40] Generally, mountainous South China
exhibits more linguistic diversity than the North China
Plain. In parts of South China, a major city's dialect may only be marginally intelligible to close neighbors. For instance, Wuzhou
is about 120 miles (190 km) upstream from Guangzhou, but the Yue variety spoken there is more like that of Guangzhou
than is that of Taishan, 60 miles (95 km) southwest of Guangzhou
and separated from it by several rivers.[41] In parts of Fujian
the speech of neighboring counties or even villages may be mutually unintelligible.[42] 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.[43] The vast majority of Chinese immigrants to North America spoke the Taishan
dialect, from a small coastal area southwest of Guangzhou.[44] Grouping[edit] Local varieties of Chinese are conventionally classified into seven dialect groups, largely on the basis of the different evolution of Middle Chinese
Middle Chinese
voiced initials:[45][46]

Mandarin, including Standard Chinese, Pekinese, Sichuanese, and also the Dungan language
Dungan language
spoken in Central Asia Wu, including Shanghainese, Suzhounese, and Wenzhounese Gan Xiang Min, including Fuzhounese, Hainanese, Hokkien, Taiwanese and Teochew Hakka Yue, including Cantonese
and Taishanese

The classification of Li Rong, which is used in the Language Atlas of China
(1987), distinguishes three further groups:[47][48]

Jin, previously included in Mandarin. Huizhou, previously included in Wu. Pinghua, previously included in Yue.

Range of Chinese dialect groups according to the Language Atlas of China[47]

Numbers of first-language speakers in China
and Taiwan
in 2004:[1]

  Mandarin: 798.6 million (66.2%)   Jin: 63 million (5.2%)   Wu: 73.8 million (6.1%)   Huizhou: 3.3 million (0.3%)   Gan: 48 million (4.0%)   Xiang: 36.4 million (3.0%)   Min: 75 million (6.2%)   Hakka: 42.2 million (3.5%)   Yue: 58.8 million (4.9%)   Pinghua: 7.8 million (0.6%)

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).[49] Standard Chinese[edit] Main articles: Standard Chinese
Standard Chinese
and List of countries where Chinese is an official language Standard Chinese, often called Mandarin, is the official standard language of China
and Taiwan, and one of the four official languages of Singapore
(where it is called "Huayu" 华语 or simply Chinese). Standard Chinese
Standard Chinese
is based on the Beijing
dialect, the dialect of Mandarin as spoken in Beijing. The governments of both China
and Taiwan
intend for speakers of all Chinese speech varieties to use it as a common language of communication. Therefore, it is used in government agencies, in the media, and as a language of instruction in schools. In mainland China
and Taiwan, diglossia has been a common feature. 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. A native of Guangzhou
may speak both Cantonese
and Standard Chinese. In addition to Mandarin, most Taiwanese also speak Minnan, Hakka, or an Austronesian language.[50] A Taiwanese may commonly mix pronunciations, phrases, and words from Mandarin and other Taiwanese languages, and this mixture is considered normal in daily or informal speech.[51] Nomenclature[edit] 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").[52] Conventional English-language usage in Chinese linguistics is to use dialect for the speech of a particular place (regardless of status) and dialect group for a regional grouping such as Mandarin or Wu.[39] Because varieties from different groups are not mutually intelligible, some scholars prefer to describe Wu and others as separate languages.[53][better source needed] Jerry Norman called this practice misleading, pointing out that Wu, which itself contains many mutually unintelligible varieties, could not be properly called a single language under the same criterion, and that the same is true for each of the other groups.[39] 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,[54] although others do not regard it as decisive,[55][56][57][58][59] particularly when cultural factors interfere as they do with Chinese.[60] As Campbell (2008) explains, linguists often ignore mutual intelligibility when varieties share intelligibility with a central variety (i.e. prestige variety, such as Standard Mandarin), as the issue requires some careful handling when mutual intelligibility is inconsistent with language identity.[61] 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. On the other hand, he also objects to considering them as separate languages, as it incorrectly implies a set of disruptive "religious, economic, political, and other differences" between speakers that exist, for example, between French Catholics and English Protestants in Canada, but not between speakers of Cantonese
and Mandarin in China, owing to China's near-uninterrupted history of centralized government.[62] Because of the difficulties involved in determining the difference between language and dialect, other terms have been proposed: ISO 639-3 follows Ethnologue
in assigning individual language codes to the 13 main subdivisions, while Chinese as a whole is classified as a 'macrolanguage'.[63] Other options include vernacular,[64] lect [65] regionalect,[52] topolect,[66] and variety.[67] Most Chinese people consider the spoken varieties as one single language because speakers share a common culture and history, as well as a shared national identity and a common written form.[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 it actually is and as such is often looked upon as culturally and politically provocative. Additionally, in Taiwan
it is closely associated with Taiwanese independence,[citation needed] some of whose supporters promote the local Taiwanese Hokkien
variety. Phonology[edit] See also: Standard Chinese
Standard Chinese
phonology, Historical Chinese phonology, and Varieties of Chinese
Varieties of Chinese
§ Phonology

Spoken Mandarin Chinese

The phonological structure of each syllable consists of a nucleus that has a vowel (which can be a monophthong, diphthong, or even a triphthong in certain varieties), preceded by an onset (a single consonant, or consonant+glide; zero onset is also possible), and followed (optionally) by a coda consonant; a syllable also carries a tone. There are some instances where a vowel is not used as a nucleus. An example of this is in Cantonese, where the nasal sonorant consonants /m/ and /ŋ/ can stand alone as their own syllable. In Mandarin much more than in other spoken varieties, most syllables tend to be open syllables, meaning they have no coda (assuming that a final glide is not analyzed as a coda), but syllables that do have codas are restricted to nasals /m/, /n/, /ŋ/, the retroflex approximant /ɻ /, and voiceless stops /p/, /t/, /k/, or /ʔ/. Some varieties allow most of these codas, whereas others, such as Standard Chinese, are limited to only /n/, /ŋ/ and /ɻ /. 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. The Mandarin dialects
Mandarin dialects
in particular have experienced a dramatic decrease in sounds and so have far more multisyllabic words than most other spoken varieties. The total number of syllables in some varieties is therefore only about a thousand, including tonal variation, which is only about an eighth as many as English.[b] Tones[edit] All varieties of spoken Chinese use tones to distinguish words.[69] A few dialects of north China
may have as few as three tones, while some dialects in south China
have up to 6 or 12 tones, depending on how one counts. One exception from this is Shanghainese
which has reduced the set of tones to a two-toned pitch accent system much like modern Japanese. A very common example used to illustrate the use of tones in Chinese is the application of the four tones of Standard Chinese
Standard Chinese
(along with the neutral tone) to the syllable ma. The tones are exemplified by the following five Chinese words:

The four main tones of Standard Mandarin, pronounced with the syllable ma.

Example of Standard Mandarin
Standard Mandarin

Characters Pinyin Pitch contour Meaning

妈/媽 mā high level "mother"

麻 má high rising "hemp"

马/馬 mǎ low falling-rising "horse"

骂/罵 mà high falling "scold"

吗/嗎 ma neutral question particle

Standard Cantonese, in contrast, has six tones in open syllables and three tones in syllables ending with stops:[70]

Example of Standard Cantonese
Standard Cantonese

Characters Jyutping Pitch contour Meaning

诗/詩 si1 high level, high falling "poem"

史 si2 high rising "history"

弒 si3 mid level "to assassinate"

时/時 si4 low falling "time"

市 si5 low rising "market"

是 si6 low level "yes"

色 sik1 high level (stopped) "color"

锡/錫 sik3 mid level (stopped) "tin"

食 sik6 low level (stopped) "to eat"

Grammar[edit] Main article: Chinese grammar See also: Chinese classifiers Chinese is often described as a "monosyllabic" language. However, this is only partially correct. It is largely accurate when describing Classical Chinese
Classical Chinese
and Middle Chinese; in Classical Chinese, for example, perhaps 90% of words correspond to a single syllable and a single character. In the modern varieties, it is usually the case that a morpheme (unit of meaning) is a single syllable; In contrast, English has plenty of multi-syllable morphemes, both bound and free, such as "seven", "elephant", "para-" and "-able". Some of the conservative southern varieties of modern Chinese still have largely monosyllabic words, especially among the more basic vocabulary. In modern Mandarin, however, most nouns, adjectives and verbs are largely disyllabic. A significant cause of this is phonological attrition. Sound change over time has steadily reduced the number of possible syllables. In modern Mandarin, there are now only about 1,200 possible syllables, including tonal distinctions, compared with about 5,000 in Vietnamese (still largely monosyllabic) and over 8,000 in English.[b] This phonological collapse has led to a corresponding increase in the number of homophones. As an example, the small Langenscheidt Pocket Chinese Dictionary[71] lists six words that are commonly pronounced as shí (tone 2): 十 "ten"; 实/實 "real, actual"; 识/識 "know (a person), recognize"; 石 "stone"; 时/時 "time"; 食 "food, eat". These were all pronounced differently in Early Middle Chinese; in William H. Baxter's transcription they were dzyip, zyit, syik, dzyek, dzyi and zyik respectively. They are still pronounced differently in today's Cantonese; in Jyutping
they are sap9, sat9, sik7, sek9, si4, sik9. 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
Lion-Eating Poet in the Stone Den
exploits this, consisting of 92 characters all pronounced shi. As such, most of these words have been replaced (in speech, if not in writing) with a longer, less-ambiguous compound. Only the first one, 十 "ten", normally appears as such when spoken; the rest are normally replaced with, respectively, shíjì 实际/實際 (lit. "actual-connection"); rènshi 认识/認識 (lit. "recognize-know"); shítou 石头/石頭 (lit. "stone-head"); shíjiān 时间/時間 (lit. "time-interval"); shíwù 食物 (lit. "food-thing"). In each case, the homophone was disambiguated by adding another morpheme, typically either a synonym or a generic word of some sort (for example, "head", "thing"), the purpose of which is simply to indicate which of the possible meanings of the other, homophonic syllable should be selected. However, when one of the above words forms part of a compound, the disambiguating syllable is generally dropped and the resulting word is still disyllabic. For example, shí 石 alone, not shítou 石头/石頭, appears in compounds meaning "stone-", for example, shígāo 石膏 "plaster" (lit. "stone cream"), shíhuī 石灰 "lime" (lit. "stone dust"), shíkū 石窟 "grotto" (lit. "stone cave"), shíyīng 石英 "quartz" (lit. "stone flower"), shíyóu 石油 "petroleum" (lit. "stone oil"). Most modern varieties of Chinese have the tendency to form new words through disyllabic, trisyllabic and tetra-character compounds. In some cases, monosyllabic words have become disyllabic without compounding, as in kūlong 窟窿 from kǒng 孔; this is especially common in Jin. Chinese morphology is strictly bound to a set number of syllables with a fairly rigid construction. Although many of these single-syllable morphemes (zì, 字) can stand alone as individual words, they more often than not form multi-syllabic compounds, known as cí (词/詞), which more closely resembles the traditional Western notion of a word. A Chinese cí ("word") can consist of more than one character-morpheme, usually two, but there can be three or more. For example:

yún 云/雲 – "cloud" hànbǎobāo, hànbǎo 汉堡包/漢堡包, 汉堡/漢堡 – "hamburger" wǒ 我 – "I, me" rén 人 – "people, human, mankind" dìqiú 地球 – "The Earth" shǎndiàn 闪电/閃電 – "lightning" mèng 梦/夢 – "dream"

All varieties of modern Chinese are analytic languages, in that they depend on syntax (word order and sentence structure) rather than morphology—i.e., changes in form of a word—to indicate the word's function in a sentence.[72] In other words, Chinese has very few grammatical inflections—it possesses no tenses, no voices, no numbers (singular, plural; though there are plural markers, for example for personal pronouns), and only a few articles (i.e., equivalents to "the, a, an" in English).[c] They make heavy use of grammatical particles to indicate aspect and mood. In Mandarin Chinese, this involves the use of particles like le 了 (perfective), hái 还/還 ("still"), yǐjīng 已经/已經 ("already"), and so on. Chinese has a subject–verb–object word order, and like many other languages in East Asia, makes frequent use of the topic–comment construction to form sentences. Chinese also has an extensive system of classifiers and measure words, another trait shared with neighboring languages like Japanese and Korean. Other notable grammatical features common to all the spoken varieties of Chinese include the use of serial verb construction, pronoun dropping and the related subject dropping. Although the grammars of the spoken varieties share many traits, they do possess differences. Vocabulary[edit] The entire Chinese character corpus since antiquity comprises well over 20,000 characters, of which only roughly 10,000 are now commonly in use. However Chinese characters
Chinese characters
should not be confused with Chinese words. Because most Chinese words are made up of two or more characters, there are many more Chinese words than characters. A better term for a Chinese character would be morpheme, as characters represent the smallest grammatical units, individual meanings, and/or syllables in the Chinese language. Estimates of the total number of Chinese words and phrases vary greatly. The Hanyu Da Zidian, a compendium of Chinese characters, includes 54,678 head entries for characters, including bone oracle versions. The Zhonghua Zihai (1994) contains 85,568 head entries for character definitions, and is the largest reference work based purely on character and its literary variants. The CC-CEDICT project (2010) contains 97,404 contemporary entries including idioms, technology terms and names of political figures, businesses and products. The 2009 version of the Webster's Digital Chinese Dictionary
(WDCD),[73] based on CC-CEDICT, contains over 84,000 entries. The most comprehensive pure linguistic Chinese-language dictionary, the 12-volumed Hanyu Da Cidian, records more than 23,000 head Chinese characters and gives over 370,000 definitions. The 1999 revised Cihai, a multi-volume encyclopedic dictionary reference work, gives 122,836 vocabulary entry definitions under 19,485 Chinese characters, including proper names, phrases and common zoological, geographical, sociological, scientific and technical terms. The 7th (2016) edition of Xiandai Hanyu Cidian, an authoritative one-volume dictionary on modern standard Chinese language
Chinese language
as used in mainland China, has 13,000 head characters and defines 70,000 words. Loanwords[edit] Like any other language, Chinese has absorbed a sizable number of loanwords from other cultures. Most Chinese words are formed out of native Chinese morphemes, including words describing imported objects and ideas. However, direct phonetic borrowing of foreign words has gone on since ancient times. Some early Indo-European loanwords in Chinese have been proposed, notably 蜜 mì "honey", 狮/獅 shī "lion," and perhaps also 马/馬 mǎ "horse", 猪/豬 zhū "pig", 犬 quǎn "dog", and 鹅/鵝 é "goose".[d] Ancient words borrowed from along the Silk Road
Silk Road
since Old Chinese include 葡萄 pútáo "grape", 石榴 shíliu/shíliú "pomegranate" and 狮子/獅子 shīzi "lion". Some words were borrowed from Buddhist scriptures, including 佛 Fó "Buddha" and 菩萨/菩薩 Púsà "bodhisattva." Other words came from nomadic peoples to the north, such as 胡同 hútòng "hutong". Words borrowed from the peoples along the Silk Road, such as 葡萄 "grape," generally have Persian etymologies. Buddhist terminology is generally derived from Sanskrit
or Pāli, the liturgical languages of North India. Words borrowed from the nomadic tribes of the Gobi, Mongolian or northeast regions generally have Altaic
etymologies, such as 琵琶 pípá, the Chinese lute, or 酪 lào/luò "cheese" or "yoghurt", but from exactly which source is not always clear.[74] Modern borrowings[edit] See also: Translation of neologisms into Chinese and Transcription into Chinese characters 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. Today, it is much more common to use existing Chinese morphemes to coin new words in order to represent imported concepts, such as technical expressions and international scientific vocabulary. Any Latin
or Greek etymologies are dropped and converted into the corresponding Chinese characters (for example, anti- typically becomes "反", literally opposite), making them more comprehensible for Chinese but introducing more difficulties in understanding foreign texts. For example, the word telephone was loaned phonetically as 德律风/德律風 (Shanghainese: télífon [təlɪfoŋ], Mandarin: délǜfēng) during the 1920s and widely used in Shanghai, but later 电话/電話 diànhuà (lit. "electric speech"), built out of native Chinese morphemes, became prevalent (電話 is in fact from the Japanese 電話 denwa; see below for more Japanese loans). Other examples include 电视/電視 diànshì (lit. "electric vision") for television, 电脑/電腦 diànnǎo (lit. "electric brain") for computer; 手机/手機 shǒujī (lit. "hand machine") for mobile phone, 蓝牙/藍牙 lányá (lit. "blue tooth") for Bluetooth, and 网志/網誌 wǎngzhì (lit. "internet logbook") for blog in Hong Kong and Macau
Cantonese. Occasionally half-transliteration, half-translation compromises are accepted, such as 汉堡包/漢堡包 hànbǎobāo (漢堡 hànbǎo "Hamburg" + 包 bāo "bun") for "hamburger". Sometimes translations are designed so that they sound like the original while incorporating Chinese morphemes (phono-semantic matching), such as 拖拉机/拖拉機 tuōlājī "tractor" (lit. "dragging-pulling machine"), or 马利奥/馬利奧 Mǎlì'ào for the video game character Mario. This is often done for commercial purposes, for example 奔腾/奔騰 bēnténg (lit. "dashing-leaping") for Pentium and 赛百味/賽百味 Sàibǎiwèi (lit. "better-than hundred tastes") for Subway restaurants. Foreign words, mainly proper nouns, continue to enter the Chinese language by transcription according to their pronunciations. This is done by employing Chinese characters
Chinese characters
with similar pronunciations. For example, "Israel" becomes 以色列 Yǐsèliè, "Paris" becomes 巴黎 Bālí. A rather small number of direct transliterations have survived as common words, including 沙发/沙發 shāfā "sofa", 马达/馬達 mǎdá "motor", 幽默 yōumò "humor", 逻辑/邏輯 luóji/luójí "logic", 时髦/時髦 shímáo "smart, fashionable", and 歇斯底里 xiēsīdǐlǐ "hysterics". 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. For example, 沙发/沙發 "sofa" and 马达/馬達 "motor" in Shanghainese
sound more like their English counterparts. Cantonese
differs from Mandarin with some transliterations, such as 梳化 so1 faa3*2 "sofa" and 摩打 mo1 daa2 "motor". Western foreign words representing Western concepts have influenced Chinese since the 20th century through transcription. From French came 芭蕾 bāléi "ballet" and 香槟 xiāngbīn, "champagne"; from Italian, 咖啡 kāfēi "caffè". English influence is particularly pronounced. From early 20th century Shanghainese, many English words are borrowed, such as 高尔夫/高爾夫 gāoěrfū "golf" and the above-mentioned 沙发/沙發 shāfā "sofa". Later, the United States soft influences gave rise to 迪斯科 dísikē/dísīkē "disco", 可乐/可樂 kělè "cola", and 迷你 mínǐ "mini [skirt]". 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". With the rising popularity of the Internet, there is a current vogue in China
for coining English transliterations, for example, 粉丝/粉絲 fěnsī "fans", 黑客 hēikè "hacker" (lit. "black guest"), and 博客 bókè "blog". In Taiwan, some of these transliterations are different, such as 駭客 hàikè for "hacker" and 部落格 bùluògé for "blog" (lit. "interconnected tribes"). 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. "lettered words") spelled with letters from the English alphabet. This has appeared in magazines, newspapers, on web sites, and on TV: 三G手机/三G手機 "3rd generation cell phones" (三 sān "three" + G "generation" + 手机/手機 shǒujī "mobile phones"), IT界 "IT circles" (IT "information technology" + 界 jiè "industry"), HSK (Hànyǔ Shuǐpíng Kǎoshì, 汉语水平考试/漢語水平考試), GB (Guóbiāo, 国标/國標), CIF价/CIF價 (CIF "Cost, Insurance, Freight" + 价/價 jià "price"), e家庭 "e-home" (e "electronic" + 家庭 jiātíng "home"), W时代/W時代 "wireless era" (W "wireless" + 时代/時代 shídài "era"), TV族 "TV watchers" (TV "television" + 族 zú "social group; clan"), 后РС时代/後PC時代 "post-PC era" (后/後 hòu "after/post-" + PC "personal computer" + 时代/時代), and so on. Since the 20th century, another source of words has been Japanese using existing kanji ( Chinese characters
Chinese characters
used in Japanese). Japanese re-molded European concepts and inventions into wasei-kango (和製漢語, lit. "Japanese-made Chinese"), and many of these words have been re-loaned into modern Chinese. Other terms were coined by the Japanese by giving new senses to existing Chinese terms or by referring to expressions used in classical Chinese literature. 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 re-imported into Chinese. As a result, these terms are virtually indistinguishable from native Chinese words: indeed, there is some dispute over some of these terms as to whether the Japanese or Chinese coined them first. As a result of this loaning, Chinese, Korean, Japanese, and Vietnamese share a corpus of linguistic terms describing modern terminology, paralleling the similar corpus of terms built from Greco- Latin
and shared among European languages. Writing system[edit] Main articles: Written Chinese, Mainland Chinese Braille, and Taiwanese Braille The Chinese orthography centers on Chinese characters, which are written within imaginary square blocks, traditionally arranged in vertical columns, read from top to bottom down a column, and right to left across columns. Chinese characters
Chinese characters
denote morphemes independent of phonetic change. Thus the character 一 ("one") is uttered yī in Standard Chinese, yat1 in Cantonese
and it in Hokkien
(form of Min). Vocabularies from different major Chinese variants have diverged, and colloquial nonstandard written Chinese often makes use of unique "dialectal characters", such as 冇 and 係 for Cantonese
and Hakka, which are considered archaic or unused in standard written Chinese. Written colloquial Cantonese
has become quite popular in online chat rooms and instant messaging amongst Hong-Kongers and Cantonese-speakers elsewhere. It is considered highly informal, and does not extend to many formal occasions. The Chinese had no uniform phonetic transcription system until the mid-20th century, although enunciation patterns were recorded in early rime books and dictionaries. 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. After the 15th century, the efforts of Jesuits and Western court missionaries resulted in some rudimentary Latin
transcription systems, based on the Nanjing
Mandarin dialect. In Hunan, women in certain areas write their local language in Nü Shu, a syllabary derived from Chinese characters. The Dungan language, considered by many a dialect of Mandarin, is nowadays written in Cyrillic, and was previously written in the Arabic script. The Dungan people are primarily Muslim and live mainly in Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, and Russia; some of the related Hui people
Hui people
also speak the language and live mainly in China. Chinese characters[edit] Main article: Chinese characters

"Preface to the Poems Composed at the Orchid Pavilion" by Wang Xizhi, written in semi-cursive style

Each Chinese character represents a monosyllabic Chinese word or morpheme. In 100 CE, the famed Han dynasty
Han dynasty
scholar Xu Shen
Xu Shen
classified characters into six categories, namely pictographs, simple ideographs, compound ideographs, phonetic loans, phonetic compounds and derivative characters. Of these, only 4% were categorized as pictographs, including many of the simplest characters, such as rén 人 (human), rì 日 (sun), shān 山 (mountain; hill), shuǐ 水 (water). Between 80% and 90% were classified as phonetic compounds such as chōng 沖 (pour), combining a phonetic component zhōng 中 (middle) with a semantic radical 氵 (water). Almost all characters created since have been made using this format. The 18th-century Kangxi Dictionary recognized 214 radicals. Modern characters are styled after the regular script. Various other written styles are also used in Chinese calligraphy, including seal script, cursive script and clerical script. Calligraphy artists can write in traditional and simplified characters, but they tend to use traditional characters for traditional art. There are currently two systems for Chinese characters. The traditional system, still 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. The Simplified Chinese
Simplified Chinese
character system, introduced by the People's Republic of China
in 1954 to promote mass literacy, simplifies most complex traditional glyphs to fewer strokes, many to common cursive shorthand variants. Singapore, which has a large Chinese community, was the second nation to officially adopt simplified characters, although it has also become the de facto standard for younger ethnic Chinese in Malaysia. The Internet
provides the platform to practice reading these alternative systems, be it traditional or simplified. A well-educated Chinese reader today recognizes approximately 4,000 to 6,000 characters; approximately 3,000 characters are required to read a Mainland newspaper. The PRC government defines literacy amongst workers as a knowledge of 2,000 characters, though this would be only functional literacy. School-children typically learn around 2,000 characters whereas scholars may memorize up to 10,000.[75] A large unabridged dictionary, like the Kangxi Dictionary, contains over 40,000 characters, including obscure, variant, rare, and archaic characters; fewer than a quarter of these characters are now commonly used. Romanization[edit]

"National language" (國語/国语; Guóyǔ) written in Traditional and Simplified Chinese
Simplified Chinese
characters, followed by various romanizations.

See also: Chinese language
Chinese language
romanization in Singapore
and Romanization of Chinese Romanization
is the process of transcribing a language into the Latin script. There are many systems of romanization for the Chinese varieties, due to the lack of a native phonetic transcription until modern times. Chinese is first known to have been written in Latin characters by Western Christian missionaries in the 16th century. Today the most common romanization standard for Standard Chinese
Standard Chinese
is Hanyu Pinyin, often known simply as pinyin, introduced in 1956 by the People's Republic of China, and later adopted by Singapore
and Taiwan. Pinyin
is almost universally employed now for teaching standard spoken Chinese in schools and universities across America, Australia
and Europe. Chinese parents also use Pinyin
to teach their children the sounds and tones of new words. 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. The second-most common romanization system, the Wade–Giles, was invented by Thomas Wade in 1859 and modified by Herbert Giles in 1892. As this system approximates the phonology of Mandarin Chinese
Mandarin Chinese
into English consonants and vowels, i.e. it is an Anglicization, it may be particularly helpful for beginner Chinese speakers of an English-speaking background. Wade–Giles was found in academic use in the United States, particularly before the 1980s, and until recently[when?] was widely used in Taiwan. When used within European texts, the tone transcriptions in both pinyin and Wade–Giles are often left out for simplicity; Wade–Giles' extensive use of apostrophes is also usually omitted. Thus, most Western readers will be much more familiar with Beijing than they will be with Běijīng (pinyin), and with Taipei
than T'ai²-pei³ (Wade–Giles). This simplification presents syllables as homophones which really are none, and therefore exaggerates the number of homophones almost by a factor of four. Here are a few examples of Hanyu Pinyin
and Wade–Giles, for comparison:

Mandarin Romanization

Characters Wade–Giles Hanyu Pinyin Meaning/Notes

中国/中國 Chung¹-kuo² Zhōngguó China

台湾/臺灣 T'ai²-wan¹ Táiwān Taiwan, officially known as the Republic of China

北京 Pei³-ching¹ Běijīng Beijing, the Capital of the People's Republic of China

台北/臺北 T'ai²-pei³ Táiběi Taipei, the Capital of the Republic of China

毛泽东/毛澤東 Mao² Tse²-tung¹ Máo Zédōng Former Communist Chinese leader

蒋介石/蔣介石 Chiang³ Chieh⁴-shih² Jiǎng Jièshí Former Nationalist Chinese leader (better known to English speakers as Chiang Kai-shek, with Cantonese

孔子 K'ung³ Tsu³ Kǒngzǐ Confucius

Other systems of romanization for Chinese include Gwoyeu Romatzyh, the French EFEO, the Yale (invented during WWII for U.S. troops), as well as separate systems for Cantonese, Min Nan, Hakka, and other Chinese varieties. Other phonetic transcriptions[edit] Chinese varieties have been phonetically transcribed into many other writing systems over the centuries. The 'Phags-pa script, for example, has been very helpful in reconstructing the pronunciations of premodern forms of Chinese. Zhuyin
(colloquially bopomofo), a semi-syllabary is still widely used in Taiwan's elementary schools to aid standard pronunciation. Although zhuyin characters are reminiscent of katakana script, there is no source to substantiate the claim that Katakana
was the basis for the zhuyin system. A comparison table of zhuyin to pinyin exists in the zhuyin article. Syllables based on pinyin and zhuyin can also be compared by looking at the following articles:

table Zhuyin

There are also at least two systems of cyrillization for Chinese. The most widespread is the Palladius system. Education[edit]

Yang Lingfu, former curator of the National Museum of China, giving Chinese language
Chinese language
instruction at the Civil Affairs Staging Area
Civil Affairs Staging Area
in 1945.

See also: Chinese as a foreign language With the growing importance and influence of China's economy globally, Mandarin instruction is gaining popularity in schools in the United States, and has become an increasingly popular subject of study amongst the young in the Western world, as in the UK.[76] In 1991 there were 2,000 foreign learners taking China's official Chinese Proficiency Test (also known as HSK, comparable to the English Cambridge Certificate), while in 2005, the number of candidates had risen sharply to 117,660.[77] By 2010, 750,000 people had taken the Chinese Proficiency Test. According to the Modern Language Association, there were 550 elementary, junior high and senior high schools providing Chinese programs in the United States
United States
in 2015, which represented a 100% increase in two years. At the same time, enrollment in Chinese language classes at college level had an increase of 51% from 2002 to 2015. On the other hand, the American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages also had figures suggesting that 30,000 - 50,000 students were studying Chinese in 2015.[78] In 2016, more than half a million Chinese students pursued post-secondary education overseas, whereas 400,000 international students came to China
for higher education. Tsinghua University hosted 35,000 students from 116 countries in the same year.[79] With the increase in demand for Chinese as a second language, there are 330 institutions teaching Chinese language
Chinese language
globally according to the Chinese Ministry of Education. The establishment of Confucius Institutes, which are the public institutions affiliated with the Ministry of Education of China, aims at promoting Chinese language
Chinese language
and culture as well as supporting Chinese teaching overseas. There were more than 480 Confucius
Institutes worldwide as of 2014.[78] See also[edit]

Chinese exclamative particles Chinese honorifics Chinese numerals Chinese punctuation Classical Chinese
Classical Chinese
grammar Four-character idiom Han unification Languages of China North American Conference on Chinese Linguistics


^ Various examples include:

David Crystal, The Cambridge Encyclopedia of Language (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1987), p. 312. "The mutual unintelligibility of the varieties is the main ground for referring to them as separate languages." Charles N. Li, Sandra A. Thompson. Mandarin Chinese: A Functional Reference Grammar (1989), p. 2. "The Chinese language
Chinese language
family is genetically classified as an independent branch of the Sino-Tibetan language family." Norman (1988), p. 1. "[...] the modern Chinese dialects are really more like a family of languages [...]" DeFrancis (1984), p. 56. "To call Chinese a single language composed of dialects with varying degrees of difference is to mislead by minimizing disparities that according to Chao are as great as those between English and Dutch. To call Chinese a family of languages is to suggest extralinguistic differences that in fact do not exist and to overlook the unique linguistic situation that exists in China."

Linguists in China
often use a formulation introduced by Fu Maoji in the Encyclopedia of China: “汉语在语言系属分类中相当于一个语族的地位。” ("In language classification, Chinese has a status equivalent to a language family.")[3] ^ a b DeFrancis (1984) p.42 counts Chinese as having 1,277 tonal syllables, and about 398 to 418 if tones are disregarded; he cites Jespersen, Otto (1928) Monosyllabism in English; London, p.15 for a count of over 8000 syllables for English. ^ A distinction is made between 他 as "he" and 她 as "she" in writing, but this is a 20th-century introduction, and both characters are pronounced in exactly the same way. ^ Encyclopædia Britannica
Encyclopædia Britannica
s.v. "Chinese languages": "Old Chinese vocabulary already contained many words not generally occurring in the other Sino-Tibetan languages. The words for 'honey' and 'lion', and probably also 'horse', 'dog', and 'goose', are connected with Indo-European and were acquired through trade and early contacts. (The nearest known Indo-European languages
Indo-European languages
were Tocharian and Sogdian, a middle Iranian language.) A number of words have Austroasiatic cognates and point to early contacts with the ancestral language of Muong–Vietnamese and Mon–Khmer."; Jan Ulenbrook, Einige Übereinstimmungen zwischen dem Chinesischen und dem Indogermanischen (1967) proposes 57 items; see also Tsung-tung Chang, 1988 Indo-European Vocabulary in Old Chinese.

References[edit] Citations[edit]

^ a b Chinese Academy of Social Sciences (2012), p. 3. ^ china-language.gov.cn (in Chinese) ^ Mair (1991), pp. 10, 21. ^ Norman (1988), pp. 12–13. ^ Handel (2008), pp. 422, 434–436. ^ Handel (2008), p. 426. ^ Handel (2008), p. 431. ^ Norman (1988), pp. 183–185. ^ Schuessler (2007), p. 1. ^ Baxter (1992), pp. 2–3. ^ Norman (1988), pp. 42–45. ^ Baxter (1992), p. 177. ^ Baxter (1992), pp. 181–183. ^ Schuessler (2007), p. 12. ^ Baxter (1992), pp. 14–15. ^ Ramsey (1987), p. 125. ^ Norman (1988), pp. 34–42. ^ Norman (1988), p. 24. ^ Norman (1988), p. 48. ^ Norman (1988), pp. 48–49. ^ Norman (1988), pp. 49–51. ^ Norman (1988), pp. 133, 247. ^ Norman (1988), p. 136. ^ Coblin (2000), pp. 549–550. ^ Coblin (2000), pp. 540–541. ^ Ramsey (1987), pp. 3–15. ^ Norman (1988), p. 133. ^ Zhang & Yang (2004). ^ Sohn & Lee (2003), p. 23. ^ Miller (1967), pp. 29–30. ^ Kornicki (2011), pp. 75–77. ^ Kornicki (2011), p. 67. ^ Miyake (2004), pp. 98–99. ^ Shibatani (1990), pp. 120–121. ^ Sohn (2001), p. 89. ^ Shibatani (1990), p. 146. ^ Wilkinson (2000), p. 43. ^ Shibatani (1990), p. 143. ^ a b c Norman (2003), p. 72. ^ Norman (1988), pp. 189–190. ^ Ramsey (1987), p. 23. ^ Norman (1988), p. 188. ^ Norman (1988), p. 191. ^ Ramsey (1987), p. 98. ^ Norman (1988), p. 181. ^ Kurpaska (2010), pp. 53–55. ^ a b Wurm et al. (1987). ^ Kurpaska (2010), pp. 55–56. ^ Kurpaska (2010), pp. 72–73. ^ Klöter, Henning (2004). "Language Policy in the KMT and DPP eras". China
Perspectives. 56. ISSN 1996-4617. Retrieved 30 May 2015.  ^ Kuo, Yun-Hsuan (2005). New dialect formation : the case of Taiwanese Mandarin
Taiwanese Mandarin
(PhD). University of Essex. Retrieved 26 June 2015.  ^ a b DeFrancis (1984), p. 57. ^ Thomason (1988), pp. 27–28. ^ Mair (1991), p. 17. ^ DeFrancis (1984), p. 54. ^ Romaine (2000), pp. 13, 23. ^ Wardaugh & Fuller (2014), pp. 28–32. ^ Liang (2014), pp. 11–14. ^ Hymes (1971), p. 64. ^ Thomason (1988), p. 27. ^ Campbell (2008), p. 637. ^ DeFrancis (1984), pp. 55–57. ^ Lewis, Simons & Fennig (2015). ^ Haugen (1966), p. 927. ^ Bailey (1973:11), cited in Groves (2008:1) ^ Mair (1991), p. 7. ^ Hudson (1996), p. 22. ^ Baxter (1992), p. 7–8. ^ Norman (1988), p. 52. ^ Matthews & Yip (1994), pp. 20–22. ^ Terrell, Peter, ed. (2005). Langenscheidt Pocket Chinese Dictionary. Berlin and Munich: Langenscheidt KG. ISBN 1-58573-057-2.  ^ Norman (1988), p. 10. ^ Dr. Timothy Uy and Jim Hsia, Editors, Webster's Digital Chinese Dictionary
– Advanced Reference Edition, July 2009 ^ Kane (2006), p. 161. ^ Zimmermann, Basile (2010). "Redesigning Culture: Chinese Characters in Alphabet-Encoded Networks". Design and Culture. 2 (1).  ^ "How hard is it to learn Chinese?". BBC News. January 17, 2006. Retrieved April 28, 2010.  ^ (in Chinese) "汉语水平考试中心:2005年外国考生总人数近12万",Gov.cn Xinhua News Agency, January 16, 2006. ^ a b "Chinese as a second language growing in popularity". CGTN America. 2015-03-03. Retrieved 2017-07-29.  ^ " China
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of Old Chinese, Honolulu: University of Hawaii Press, ISBN 978-0-8248-2975-9.  Shibatani, Masayoshi (1990), The Languages of Japan, Cambridge University Press, ISBN 978-0-521-36918-3.  Sohn, Ho-Min (2001), The Korean Language, Cambridge University Press, ISBN 978-0-521-36943-5.  Sohn, Ho-Min; Lee, Peter H. (2003), "Language, forms, prosody, and themes", in Lee, Peter H., A History of Korean Literature, Cambridge University Press, pp. 15–51, ISBN 978-0-521-82858-1.  Thomason, Sarah Grey (1988), "Languages of the World", in Paulston, Christina Bratt, International Handbook of Bilingualism and Bilingual Education, Westport, CT: Greenwood, pp. 17–45, ISBN 978-0-3132-4484-1.  Van Herk, Gerard (2012), What is Sociolinguistics?, John Wiley & Sons, ISBN 978-1-4051-9319-1.  Wardaugh, Ronald; Fuller, Janet (2014), An Introduction to Sociolinguistics, John Wiley & Sons, ISBN 978-1-11873229-8.  Wilkinson, Endymion (2000), Chinese History: A Manual (2nd ed.), Harvard Univ Asia Center, ISBN 978-0-674-00249-4.  Wurm, Stephen Adolphe; Li, Rong; Baumann, Theo; Lee, Mei W. (1987), Language Atlas of China, Longman, ISBN 978-962-359-085-3.  Zhang, Bennan; Yang, Robin R. (2004), "Putonghua education and language policy in postcolonial Hong Kong", in Zhou, Minglang, Language policy in the People's Republic of China: Theory and practice since 1949, Kluwer Academic Publishers, pp. 143–161, ISBN 978-1-4020-8038-8. 

Further reading[edit]

Hannas, William C. (1997), Asia's Orthographic Dilemma, University of Hawaii Press, ISBN 978-0-8248-1892-0.  Qiu, Xigui (2000), Chinese Writing, trans. Gilbert Louis Mattos and Jerry Norman, Society for the Study of Early China
and Institute of East Asian Studies, University of California, Berkeley, ISBN 978-1-55729-071-7.  R. L. G. "Language borrowing Why so little Chinese in English?" The Economist. 6 June 2013.

External links[edit]

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