“Many” is the answer to our initial question of how many languages are spoken in China. Despite being the common lingua franca in overseas Chinese communities, as well as being spoken in Taiwan and many countries in Southeast Asia and Indochina, Hokkien only has about 50 million speakers. Also called Hsiang and Hunanese, the Xiang Chinese dialect is spoken in Hunan province, northern Guangxi and parts of Hubei and Guizhou provinces. Linguists have split Chinese into somewhere between seven and ten main language groups—the largest being Mandarin (also known as Northern), Wu, Min, and Yue—and each group also has a number of sub-dialects. The differences among them are analogous to the differences in … Thus, the tone is very important in any Chinese dialect. So, how many varieties of Chinese are there? To take an extreme example, there is probably as much difference between the dialects of Peking … You get the idea. As the official language of Mainland China, Taiwan, and Singapore, Mandarin has many regional variations which are usually referred to as Mandarin dialects. Due to so many speakers in China and Taiwan, Mandarin is considered to be the main language in education, media and government. Some words even have pitch variation in one single syllable. More than 70% of the Chinese population speaks Mandarin, but there are also several other major dialects in use in China: Yue (Cantonese), Xiang (Hunanese), Min dialect, Gan dialect, Wu dialect, and Kejia or … Min is spoken in China's southern coastal province—Fujian. Most of the regional languages are not mutually intelligible. Aside from languages, Brooke runs her freelance writing business, Writing & Thriving, and specializes in B2B copywriting, content marketing and holistic health and wellness. Shanghainese is one of the major Wu Chinese varieties, but places such as Suzhou, Wuxi, Changzhou, Hangzhou, Jinhua, Shaoxing and others feature their own variations. The best known are undoubtedly Mandarin and Cantonese. Along with the language surveys, the NPC has made a call to promote local dialects in schools, though apparently in the form of . Each region where Mandarin is spoken has developed its own version (or dialect) of the language. The differences between them increases with distance. These dialects are all mutually unintelligible. There … In general, dialects can be roughly classified into one of the seven large groups: Putonghua (Mandarin), Gan, Kejia (Hakka), Min, Wu, Xiang, and Yue ( Cantonese ). Many dialects, particularly in northern and central China, have apical or retroflex vowels, which are syllabic fricatives derived from high vowels following sibilant initials. The Min-speaking part of China is Fujian Province and the northeastern tip of Guangdong. ‘Chinese’ in fact refers to a family of languages that comprises at least seven different linguistic groups, each with various dialects and sub-dialects sitting under them. There are too many kinds of dialects in one city, let alone in a province or in the whole southern area. Around the Yangtze Delta and Shanghai, the Wu dialect can be heard. Here are some of the most popular ones. Neighboring towns tend to speak varieties of Chinese which can be mutually understood, but if you go just a little further away to another town, communication often breaks down completely. Of course there's Chinese, but you may know as Chinese is actually an umbrella of many other languages. Here are four tips to kickstart your journey. The Beijing dialect, a subdialect of Mandarin, is the phonological basis for Standard Chinese, and is thus well-understood throughout the entire country. All Rights Reserved. 2. It’s spoken throughout the country and is taught (and used) in all schools. How Many Chinese Dialects Are There? FluentU is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com. Currently, the site has tutors available for Cantonese, Hakka, Hokkien, Shanghainese, Taiwanese and “other” Chinese dialects. It’s pronounced the same way as in Mandarin. With italki, you’ll get to connect with people all over the world and gain access to personalized lessons. However, the same character is pronounced differently depending on which dialect one speaks. Unlike Mandarin and Cantonese, it can be painstakingly hard to learn less common Chinese dialects. ‘Chinese’ in fact refers to a family of languages that comprises at least seven different linguistic groups, each with various dialects and sub-dialects sitting under them. (nóng kûle e-hô va?) Like Wu Chinese, Hokkien has eight tones and differs greatly from Mandarin. Cantonese, or Yue, is also a southern dialect. I’m a testimony to this, as my language partner is from Jiangxi province but rarely ever speaks her local dialect. countless dialect here.in south,maybe two adjacent city have two dialects. A great place to start is a website like italki. — How are you? In the list of those groups below, the population estimates are based upon a total Han Chinese population of 950 million (Ramsey, 87). (Download). Linguists classify these varieties as the Sinitic branch of the Sino-Tibetan language family. Eight different dialects, any of which might technically be their own language, depending on how you define it. The official dialect of China is Mandarin, also call “Putonghua”. For instance, Mandarin has four tones and Cantonese has six tones. List of Chinese Dialects. If you liked this post, something tells me that you'll love FluentU, the best way to learn Chinese with real-world videos. Yue (which includes Cantonese), Min, Wu and Hakka make up the other four, covering more than 200 individual dialects. However, the modern Chinese dialects are classified into seven major groups. But this isn’t as easy as it sounds, as there are literally hundreds of topolects within China, and the majority of the population can speak at least two (usually three or more!) However, some regions are known for preferring their local dialect and are stereotyped as speaking “bad” Mandarin. What Are the Different Chinese Dialects? This dialect can further be divided into five subgroups: Chang-Yi, Lou-Shao, Hengzhou, Chen-Xu and Yong-Quan. 10. Shan, Jun. If you’ve never learned a tonal language before, perhaps start with Mandarin first! Huizhou (0.3%) Pinghua, others (0.6%) Main article: Sinitic languages. The loss of local dialects is, in the big picture, just a facet of the more general uprooting that the modern economy has brought to the world. Each region where Mandarin is spoken has developed its own version (or dialect) of the language. An Explanation of the Various Chinese Languages, The History of Putonghua and Its Use Today, Differentiating Between Shanghainese and Mandarin, Who Are the Hakka? Thanks for subscribing! However, one common phrase to use to greet people in Xiang is as follows: 你吃了吗? She’s learned Mandarin Chinese for seven years, Spanish for three and Indonesian for one. Dialects are spoken by fewer and fewer people every generation. I think there are like over 50 major dialects spoken all across the country and they differ a lot one from each other. However, it didn’t become the official language until 1909. Advertisement. This video shows 5 of them. but everyone learn/use Mandarin in school.so we use Mandarin when speaking to a stranger,never English northern dialects are similar and easy to understand. This is largely because Mandarin has been the official national language since 1913. On October 31st, 2000, the Law of Universal Language and Character of the People's Republic of China came into force, which stipulates Mandarin as China's universal national language. I understand that not everyone is able to do this, but if you ever get a chance to visit China, make sure to go to the place where your dialect is spoken. Gan Chinese – A dialect closely related to the Hakka dialect. However, there’s a debate between linguists as to whether or not some of these Chinese dialects should be considered languages. — Have you eaten yet? Within mainland China, Cantonese is one of the few dialects with its own television channels, and Cantonese pop music is still popular across China. In many Wu dialects, vowels and final glides have monophthongized, producing a rich inventory of vowels in open syllables. Most of the regional languages are not mutually intelligible. In fact, Wu is also referred to as Shanghainese. So dialects in the south are usually named after the town, county or even village. To save you some time, here are a few videos I found in minority Chinese dialects. Booking an online language tutor is beneficial for two reasons. Book as many lessons as you want, and choose a study schedule that is convenient for you. While the history of Hakka is a bit uncertain, most believe that it originated due to multiple migrations from Northern to Southern China towards the end of the Western Jin period because of war. There are many cases when words spelled in pinyin (the standardized alphabetical transliteration of Chinese characters) are the same, but the way it is pronounced changes the meaning. But this isn’t as easy as it sounds, as there are literally hundreds of topolects within China, and the majority of the population can speak at least two (usually three or more!) Spoken Chinese comprises many regional variants, called dialects. Want a real definite answer? In general, dialects can be roughly classified into one of the seven large groups: Putonghua (Mandarin), Gan, Kejia (Hakka), Min, Wu, Xiang, and Yue (Cantonese). Before you start internally screaming at me, hear me out. This isn’t particularly surprising considering how much more isolated people were back then which often allowed for … With no contact and interaction with their nearest neighbors, it is not impossible for them to only understand the dialects spoken within th… Primarily ancient and contains words that are not can also easily add vocabulary words to customized lists and sets. Largely because Mandarin has been the official dialect of China 297 living languages in today! 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