The Diversity of the Chinese Language

No. 5: Kanji Logograms Created in Japan

HomeFacts About ChineseThe Diversity of the Chinese Language

No. 3: The Difference between Written and Spoken Chinese

This reminds me that there was a time long ago in Europe when Latin was used for writing regardless of the language spoken in the country. Maybe the situation in China can be said to be somewhat similar to that.

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China is a vast country with the worlds largest population of 1.3 billion people. Furthermore, the Chinese people are not limited to those living in the mainland – there are also a great number of Chinese people living all over the world.

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No. 2: Two Styles of Chinese Characters

There are two types of written Chinese: simplified Chinese and traditional Chinese. This will require a bit of explaining, so I will tell you more at another time.

The language that they speak is of a great variety. In fact, there are so many dialects (Putonghua (standard Mandarin)*1, Shanghainese, Hokkien, Cantonese, Hakka, Chaozhou, etc.) that communication in Chinese can prove difficult even among the Chinese. If this is hard for you to imagine, think of Europe and of how different languages like Spanish, French and Italian are. However, since they are all spoken in one country… China, that is? Even linguists and politicians cant seem to agree whether these variants of Chinese are different languages all together or Chinese dialects, advocating their assertions depending on their position or interests.

No. 6: Words of Foreign Origin as Used in Chinese

It is possible to write these dialects using kanji. However, it is sufficient to simply use the kanji used in standard Mandarin (that Chinese people learn under the Chinese educational system). The train station names written in Chinese that we often see in urban Japanese cities are examples of this.

No. 7: Borrowed Words that Change in a Colloquial Context

No. 4: The Difference between Japanese and Chinese Characters

No. 8: Phonetic Representation of Chinese Characters

Putonghua or standard Mandarin is the official language of China. The Beijing dialect refers to the Chinese spoken in the Beijing district.

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No. 1: The Diversity of the Chinese Language

Chinese is written solely in kanji (Chinese characters). If there are so many Chinese dialects, does that mean that there are many different kinds of written Chinese?

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