Chinese Language History

In this section you will learn more about Chinese language. For example, Chinese uses a logographic system in its writing which represents words or phrases. These characters can represent things, sounds or abstract concepts. Even though China has many spoken languages due to it is large country, most of them use the same writing system. The following are the four important periods of Chinese writing: Jia-gu wen (Oracle Bone – 1500 – 1000 A.C), Da Zhuan (Greater Seal – 1100 – 700 A.C), Xiao Zhuan (Lesser Seal), and Lis Shu (Clerkly Script).

Chinese Language

A large number of people around the world want to learn Chinese, because it is the most spoken language around the world. It is worth mentioning that one-fifth of the world’s population speaks some form of Chinese as their mother tongue. On the other hand, China has a high level of internal varieties of Chinese; for instance there are around 13 main regional groups such as Mandarin, Cantonese, Wu and Min.

Mandarin Chinese is the standard language of the People’s Republic of China, Hong Kong, and the Republic of China or Taiwan. It is also one of the official languages in United Nations and it is considered as the fourth official language of Singapore. Therefore, approximately 850 millions of people speak some form of Chinese. Cantonese is another important Chinese language; it is one of the official languages of Macau and of Hong Kong.

History of the Chinese Language

Chinese is the oldest language of the world due to a large number of researchers said that this language is thousands of years old. Moreover it is considered as the only language with a consistent written language for about 3 thousands consecutive years. Usually people have a wrong idea about Chinese, because they think about it as many languages. Chinese is a group of dialects more than a group of languages.

Currently, a lot of researchers think that all types of Chinese belong to the Sino Tibetan language family which had the Proto Sino Tibetan as an original language. Moreover researchers are still investigating the relation between Sino Tibetan languages and Chinese, because they want to reconstruct the Proto Sino Tibetan language. Unfortunately, they have found an inconvenient that doesn’t allow this purpose, they don’t have written documentation.

Although Chinese dialects are all phonetically different, they have the same writing system. There are approximately 70,000 phonetics sounds and characters, so if you want to read a newspaper, you must learn around 3,000 characters. You should know that 5,000 characters are taught in secondary schools.

Since approximately 95 percent of inhabitants of China speak some form of Chinese, including Taiwan and the People’s Republic of China, Chinese is the most spoken language in China and around the world. However the other 5 percent of the Chinese population speaks non-Chinese languages such as Mongolian, Miao, Tibetan, Lolo and Thai. On the other hand, a large number of emigrants in the Hawaiian Islands, in South and North American, and in Southeast Asia speak Chinese.

Although Nanjing Mandarin became the official language of China, most southern Chinese only spoke their local language until the mid-20th century. Moreover people in Southern China still spoke their native languages, after that Mandarin was declared as the standard language. That is why many elementary schools were constructed to teach Mandarin in ROC and PRC. On the other hand, Cantonese was the native language of Hong Kong, however, today Mandarin is becoming more influential. Nowadays, around 850 million of inhabitants in China speak Mandarin.