Languages of China

TheManchusManchu languageManchu alphabet

Many modern forms of spoken Chinese languages have their own distinct writing system using Chinese characters that contain colloquial variants. These typically are used as sound characters to help determine the pronunciation of the sentence within that language:

Tertiary institutions with instruction in the languages and literatures of the regional minorities (e.g., Xinjiang University) have faculties entitled

TheTanguts(Sino-Tibetan people) Tangut languageTangut script

Wutun, Wtn, (Mongolian-Tibetan mixed language)

TheUyghursUyghur languageUyghur Arabic alphabet

Content is available underCC BY-SA 3.0unless otherwise noted.

The Chinese language: its history and current usage

Mikael Parkvall, Världens 100 största språk 2007 (The Worlds 100 Largest Languages in 2007), in Nationalencyklopedin. Asterisks mark the 2010 estimates for the top dozen languages.

Chinese banknotes contain several scripts in addition to Chinese script. These are:

Standard MandarinCantonesePortugueseMacau),EnglishHong Kong)

Ten nationalities who never had a written system have, under thePRCs encouragement, developedphonetic alphabets. According toa government white paperpublished in early 2005, by the end of 2003, 22 ethnic minorities in China used 28 written languages.

Halliday, M. A. K., & Webster, J. (2005).

TheXibeXibe languageManchu alphabet

Other writing system for Chinese languages in China include:

. Canberra: Contemporary China Centre, Research School of Pacific Studies, Australian National University.

(illustrated, reprint ed.). N.J.: Princeton University Press.

TheKhitans(Mongolic people) Khitan languageKhitan scripts

The spoken languages of nationalities that are a part of thePeoples Republic of Chinabelong to at least nine families:

The Chinese language policy inmainland Chinais heavily influenced by the Soviet nationalities policy and officially encourages the development of standard spoken and written languages for each of thenationalities of China. However, in this schema,Han Chineseare considered a single nationality and the official policy of thePeoples Republic of China(PRC) treats the differentvarieties of Chinesedifferently from the different national languages, even though their differences are as significant as those between the variousRomance languagesof Europe. While official policies in mainland China encourage the development and use of different orthographies for the national languages and their use in educational and academic settings, realistically speaking it would seem that, as elsewhere in the world, the outlook for minority languages perceived as inferior is grim.[9]TheTibetan Government-in-Exileargue that social pressures and political efforts result in a policy of sinicization and feels that Beijing should promote theTibetan languagemore. Because many languages exist in China, they also have problems regarding diglossia. Recently, in terms of Fishmans typology of the relationships between bilingualism anddiglossiaand histaxonomyof diglossia (Fishman 1978, 1980) in China: more and more minority communities have been evolving from diglossia withoutbilingualismto bilingualism without diglossia. This could be an implication of mainland Chinas power expanding.[10]

The first page of the astronomy section of the

TheJurchens(Manchu ancestors) Jurchen languageJurchen script

Languages of China from Lewis, M. Paul (ed.), 2009. Ethnologue: Languages of the World, Sixteenth edition. Dallas, Tex.: SIL International. The number of individual languages listed for China is 299.

Below are lists of ethnic groups in China by linguistic classification. Ethnicities not on the official PRC list of 56 ethnic groups are italicized. Respective Pinyin transliterations and Chinese characters (both simplified and traditional) are also given.

are the languages that are spoken inChina. Thepredominant languagein China, which is divided intoseven major language groups(classified as dialects by the Chinese government for political reasons), is known as) and its study is considered a distinct academic discipline in China., or Han language, spans eight primaryvarieties, that differ from each othermorphologicallyandphoneticallyto such a degree that they will often bemutually unintelligible, similarly to English and German or Danish. The languages most studied and supported by the state includeChineseMongolianTibetanUyghurandZhuang. China has 299living languageslisted atEthnologue.According to the 2010 edition of the, 955 million out of Chinas then-population of 1.34 billion spoke some variety ofMandarin Chineseas their first language, accounting for 71% of the countrys population.

,Springer, 2013. pp 161-177. Print. Online. DOI10.1007/978-94-007-6476-7_8. Published online on 23 May 2013.

TheKyrgyzKyrgyz language KyrgyzArabic alphabet

TheTaiKadai family: several languages spoken by theZhuang, theBouyei, theDai, theDong, and theHlai (Li people). 9 official ethnicities.

Last edited on 4 June 2018, at 16:26

, by Albert Fytche, a publication from 1878 now in thepublic domainin the United States.

TheMongolic familyMongolsDongxiang, and related groups. 6 official ethnicities.

Southern Zhuang, Nnb Zhungy, ,

Literary Arabicis studied byHuistudents.[12]


The following languages traditionally had written forms that do not involveChinese characters(hanzi):

Pamiri, (mislabelled as Tajik, Tjk, )

English beginning to be spoken here.

The Economist, issue April 12, 2006, reported that up to one fifth of the population is learning English.Gordon Brown, the former British Prime Minister, estimated that the total English-speaking population in China will outnumber the native speakers in the rest of the world in two decades.[11]

Bible recordings in various minority languages of China

Wang, Wenpu and Lin Wei (Chengdu Technological University).Chinese English in as lingua franca in global business setting: A case study of on going emails of a foreign company in China. ICITCE 2015. SHS Web of Conferences 25, 01013 (2016). DOI: 10.1051/shsconf/.

InNortheast China, there are many bilingual schools (Mandarin-Japanese; Mandarin-Korean; Mandarin-Russian), in these schools, students learn other languages other than English.

Language & linguistics in the Peoples Republic of China

Minglang Zhou, Multilingualism in China the politics of Writing reforms for minority languages 1949-2002 (2003)

Stphane A. Dudoignon; Hisao Komatsu; Yasushi Kosugi (2006).

TheIndo-European family: 2 official ethnicities (theRussiansandTajiks(actuallyPamiri people). There is also a heavily Persian-influencedÄynu languagespoken by theÄynu peoplein southwestern Xinjiang who are officially considered Uyghurs.

Some formerly have used Chinese characters

(Literatures of the Languages of China Department).

English(spoken in Hong Kong and in Weihai)

Demographics of the Peoples Republic of China

TheTungusic familyManchus(formerly),Hezhe, etc. 5 official ethnicities.

The Xinjiang Conflict: Uyghur Identity, Language Policy, and Political Discourse

(Languages of China Department) and

TheAustronesian family: 1 official ethnicity (theGaoshan, who speak many languages of theFormosanbranch), 1 unofficial (theUtsuls, who speak theTsat languagebut are consideredHui.)

Cheng, C. C., & Lehmann, W. P. (1975).

TheKoreansKorean languageChosŏngŭl alphabet

TheDaiTai L languageorTai Na languageTai L alphabetorTai Na alphabet

Northern Zhuang, Bib Zhungy, ,

Archived copy. Archived fromthe originalon 2010-02-19

TheTibetansTibetan languageTibetan alphabet

AchangAi-ChamAkhaAmisAtayalAyiÄynuBabuzaBaiBaimaBasayBlangBonanBununBuyangBuyeiDaurDeangDaerungDongDongxiangEChinese Pidgin EnglishErsuEvenkiFuy GïrgïsGelaoGromaHaniHlaiIli TurkiIu MienJingphoJinoJurchenKanakanabuKangjiaKavalanKim MunKhitanKoreanLahuLisuLopMacaneseManchuMiaoMaonanMongolianMonguorMonpaMulamNanaiNaxiPaiwanPazehPuyumaOng-BeOroqenQabiaoQoqmončaqNorthern QiangSouthern QiangPrinmiRukaiRussianSaaroaSaisiyatSalarSarikoliSeediqSheSirayaSuiTai DamTai LTai NaTaoTangutThaoAmdo TibetanCentral TibetanStandard Tibetan),Khams TibetanTsatTsouTujiaUyghurWaxianghuaWutunXibeYiEastern YugurWestern YugurZhabaZhuang

Tai Dam language, Diny, ; Didny,

TheKazakhsKazakh language KazakhArabic alphabet

During the MongolYuan dynasty, the official writing system was:

. Political Studies 15. Washington: East-West Center. pp. 3132..

Standard Chinese(known in China asPutonghua), a form ofMandarin Chinese, is the official national spoken language for the mainland and serves as alingua francawithin the Mandarin-speaking regions (and, to a lesser extent, across the other regions ofmainland China). Several otherautonomous regionshave additional official languages. For example,Tibetanhas official status within theTibet Autonomous Region, andMongolianhas official status withinInner Mongolia. Language laws of China do not apply to eitherHong KongorMacau, which have different official languages (CantoneseEnglishandPortuguese) than the mainland.

Western Yuguris a Turkic language, whereas isEastern Yugura Mongolic language.


Portugueseis taught inMacauas one of the official languages there and as a center of learning of the language in the region, although use has declined drastically since its transfer fromPortugalto thePRC.

DuringQing dynasty, palaces, temples, and coins have sometimes been inscribed in five scripts:

This article incorporates text from

Literary Arabic education was promoted in Islamic schools by theKuomintangwhen it ruled mainland China.[13]

TheTurkic familyUyghursKazakhsSalars, etc. 7 official ethnicities.

Encyclopædia of religion and ethics, Volume 8

Tai Hongjin language, Hngh Diy, ,

TheNaxiNaxi languageDongba characters

Classification schemes for Southeast Asian languages

Language Alternation, Language Choice and Language Encounter in International Tertiary Education

Intellectuals in the modern Islamic world: transmission, transformation, communication

In the late 1960s, English replaced the position of Russian to become the most important foreign language in China.[citation needed]After the Reform and Opening-up policy in 1988, English is taught in the public schools starting in the third year of primary school,[1][2]languages other than English are now considered to be minor languages ( ;Traditional Chinese:xio yzhng) and are only really studied at the university level apart from some special schools which are called Foreign Language Schools in some well-developed cities. Japanese andKoreanare not considered as minor languages by most of the Chinese people. Russian,French, andGermanare widely taught in Universities and colleges nowadays.

It is also considered increasingly prestigious and useful to have some ability inEnglish, which is a required subject for persons attending university. During the 1950s and 1960s,Russianhad some social status among elites in mainland China as the international language ofsocialismJapaneseis the second most-studied foreign language in China.

TheMongolsMongolian languageMongolian alphabet

. Austin: University of Texas Press.

TheAustroasiatic family: 4 official ethnicities (theDeangBlangGin (Vietnamese), andWa)

Chinas Muslim Hui community: migration, settlement and sects

. The work contains four terms on each of its pages, arranged in the order of Manchu, Tibetan, Mongolian,Chagatai, and Chinese languages. For the Tibetan, it includes both transliteration and a transcription into the Manchu alphabet. For the Chagatai, it includes a line of transcription into the Manchu alphabet.

TheSino-Tibetan family: 19 official ethnicities (including the Han andTibetans)

, by James Hastings, John Alexander Selbie, Louis Herbert Gray, a publication from 1916 now in thepublic domainin the United States.

TheZhuang(Tai people) Zhuang languagesSawndip

Macanese, Tshngp, (Portuguese creole)

Ruan-ruan(Rouran), Rr, (extinct)

Tai Na language, Dhng Diy, ,

In Mainland China English is used as alingua francain several fields, including in business settings,[14]and in schools to teach Mandarin Chinese to people who are not Chinese citizens.[15]

This article incorporates text from

TheHmongMien family: 3 official ethnicities

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