Chinese language

Chinese
汉语/漢語 Hànyǔ or 中文 Zhōngwén
Chineselanguage.svg
Hànyǔ (Chinese) written in traditional (top), simplified (middle) characters and alternative name (bottom)
Native toPeople's Republic of China, Republic of China (Taiwan), Singapore
EthnicityHan Chinese
Native speakers
1.2 billion (2004)[1]
Early forms
Standard forms
Dialects
Simplified Chinese
Traditional Chinese

Transcriptions:
Zhuyin
Pinyin (Latin)
Xiao'erjing (Arabic)
Dungan (Cyrillic)
Chinese Braille
'Phags-pa script (Historical)
Official status
Official language in
Regulated byNational Commission on Language and Script Work (Mainland China)[2]
National Languages Committee (Taiwan)
Civil Service Bureau (Hong Kong)
Promote Mandarin Council (Singapore)
Chinese Language Standardisation Council (Malaysia)
Language codes
ISO 639-1zh
ISO 639-2chi (B)
zho (T)
ISO 639-3zhoinclusive code
Individual codes:
cdo – Min Dong
cjy – Jinyu
cmn – Mandarin
cpx – Pu Xian
czh – Huizhou
czo – Min Zhong
gan – Gan
hak – Hakka
hsn – Xiang
mnp – Min Bei
nan – Min Nan
wuu – Wu
yue – Yue
och – Old Chinese
ltc – Late Middle Chinese
lzh – Classical Chinese
Glottologsini1245
Linguasphere79-AAA
New-Map-Sinophone World.PNG
Map of the Sinophone world

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 meaningHan language
Chinese language (Written)
Chinese中文
Literal meaningMiddle/Central/Chinese text

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 dialects, may share common terms and a certain degree of intelligibility. All varieties of Chinese are tonal and analytic.

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 can be reconstructed from the rhymes of ancient poetry. During the Northern and Southern dynasties period, 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.

Classification

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 is often assumed, but has not been convincingly demonstrated.[7]

Other Languages
Acèh: Bahsa Cina
Адыгэбзэ: Хъутеибзэ
Afrikaans: Chinees
አማርኛ: ቻይንኛ
العربية: لغة صينية
aragonés: Idioma chinés
asturianu: Idioma chinu
Avañe'ẽ: Chinañe'ẽ
azərbaycanca: Çin dili
বাংলা: চীনা ভাষা
Bân-lâm-gú: Hàn-gí
башҡортса: Ҡытай теле
беларуская: Кітайская мова
беларуская (тарашкевіца)‎: Кітайская мова
भोजपुरी: चीनी भाषा
Bikol Central: Tataramon na Intsik
български: Китайски език
Boarisch: Kinäsisch
བོད་ཡིག: རྒྱ་སྐད།
bosanski: Kineski jezik
brezhoneg: Yezhoù sinaek
буряад: Хитад хэлэн
Чӑвашла: Китай чĕлхи
Cebuano: Inintsik
čeština: Čínština
Cymraeg: Tsieineeg
davvisámegiella: Kiinnágiella
ދިވެހިބަސް: ސީނީ
dolnoserbski: Chinšćina
eesti: Hiina keel
español: Idioma chino
Esperanto: Ĉina lingvaro
estremeñu: Luenga china
euskara: Txinera
Fiji Hindi: Chinese bhasa
føroyskt: Kinesiskt mál
Frysk: Sineesk
Gaeilge: An tSínis
Gàidhlig: Sìonais
贛語: 漢語
ગુજરાતી: ચાઇનીઝ ભાષા
客家語/Hak-kâ-ngî: Hon-ngî
хальмг: Китдин келн
한국어: 중국어
Հայերեն: Չինարեն
हिन्दी: चीनी भाषा
hornjoserbsce: Chinšćina
hrvatski: Kineski jezik
Bahasa Indonesia: Bahasa Tionghoa
isiZulu: IsiShayina
íslenska: Kínverska
italiano: Lingua cinese
Basa Jawa: Basa Cina
ಕನ್ನಡ: ಚೀನಿ ಭಾಷೆ
ქართული: ჩინური ენა
қазақша: Қытай тілі
kernowek: Chinek
Kiswahili: Kichina
Kongo: Kisinwá
Кыргызча: Кытай тили
лезги: Китай чIал
lietuvių: Kinų kalba
Limburgs: Chinees
lingála: Lisinwa
la .lojban.: jugbau
lumbaart: Lengua cinesa
magyar: Kínai nyelv
मैथिली: चीनी भाषा
македонски: Кинески јазик
Malagasy: Fiteny sinoa
മലയാളം: ചൈനീസ് ഭാഷ
मराठी: चिनी भाषा
მარგალური: ჩინური ნინა
مصرى: لغه صينى
مازِرونی: چینی زوونون
Bahasa Melayu: Bahasa Cina
Baso Minangkabau: Bahaso Cino
Mìng-dĕ̤ng-ngṳ̄: Háng-ngṳ̄
Mirandés: Lhéngua chinesa
монгол: Хятад хэл
မြန်မာဘာသာ: တရုတ်ဘာသာစကား
Dorerin Naoero: Dorerit Tsiene
Nederlands: Chinese talen
नेपाल भाषा: चिनिया भाषा
日本語: 中国語
нохчийн: Цийн мотт
norsk: Kinesisk
norsk nynorsk: Kinesisk
Novial: Chinum
occitan: Chinés
oʻzbekcha/ўзбекча: Xitoy tili
ਪੰਜਾਬੀ: ਚੀਨੀ ਭਾਸ਼ਾ
پنجابی: چینی
ភាសាខ្មែរ: ភាសាចិន
Picard: Kinos
Plattdüütsch: Chineesche Spraak
português: Língua chinesa
Qaraqalpaqsha: Qıtay tili
qırımtatarca: Çin tili
reo tahiti: Reo Tinitō
română: Limba chineză
Runa Simi: Chun simi
русиньскый: Кітайскый язык
саха тыла: Кытай тыла
Gagana Samoa: Fa'asaina
संस्कृतम्: चीनी भाषा
Sesotho: Se-china
sicilianu: Lingua cinisa
Simple English: Chinese language
slovenčina: Čínština
slovenščina: Kitajščina
словѣньскъ / ⰔⰎⰑⰂⰡⰐⰠⰔⰍⰟ: Срѣдиньскъ ѩꙁꙑкъ
ślůnski: Chińskŏ gŏdka
српски / srpski: Кинески језик
srpskohrvatski / српскохрватски: Kineski jezik
svenska: Kinesiska
Tagalog: Wikang Tsino
தமிழ்: சீன மொழி
татарча/tatarça: Кытай теле
తెలుగు: చైనీస్ భాష
тоҷикӣ: Забони чинӣ
Türkçe: Çince
Türkmençe: Hytaý dili
Twi: Chinese
українська: Китайська мова
ئۇيغۇرچە / Uyghurche: خەنزۇ تىلى
Vahcuengh: Vahgun
Tiếng Việt: Tiếng Trung Quốc
Volapük: Tsyinänapük
Võro: Hiina kiil
文言: 漢語
吴语: 漢語
ייִדיש: כינעזיש
粵語: 唐文
žemaitėška: Kėnu kalba
中文: 汉语
Lingua Franca Nova: Xines