Cantonese originated in ancient Guangzhou, also known as Canton City. It has about 1.3 billion of speakers who are mostly based in Southwestern and Northern China, which is about two-thirds of all Chinese speakers. All Rights Reserved. That is as accurate as anyone can say. ThoughtCo. Shan, Jun. (Download). Each region where Mandarin is spoken has developed its own version (or dialect) of the language. If you can’t visit in person, consider downloading a language exchange app and looking for language partners specifically from your target region. southern's are very different from Mandarin so maybe we cant understand it at all. There are many (perhaps hundreds of) Mandarin dialects. Retrieved from https://www.thoughtco.com/about-chinese-dialects-629201. — What’s your name? Over the past few decades, China has produced a significant number of films that use dialect. 4.Xiang 45,600,000(4.8%) Hunan . You get the idea. Yue (which includes Cantonese), Min, Wu and Hakka make up the other four, covering more than 200 individual dialects. Most of them share the same Chinese character … Advertisement. In a nutshell, China is very big and very old. Many of them have been screened in international film … Based on the number of speakers, Mandarin is the most dominant spoken dialect of Chinese. Mandarin is the largest and others likewise have several sub-dialects. (Chia̍h pá boeh?) There are many Chinese dialects in China, so many that it is hard to guess how many dialects actually exist. More than 700 dialects of Indian languages have been studied so far. However, a major dialect is not always the dominating dialect spoken in the corresponding city. Today, it’s also spoken by the Tanka people, natives of the Pearl River Delta. 食饱未? However, the modern Chinese dialects are classified into seven major groups. ‘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. Amazon and the Amazon logo are trademarks of Amazon.com, Inc, or its affiliates. Understanding the … 10. (ngi2 siang5 ma3ge5?) Chinese “dialects” are not so. In fact, the United Nations has declared April 20 to be “Chinese Language Day” because of the linguistic diversity in the country. A great place to start is a website like italki. ‘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. Updated February 12, 2019. 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. Practice your Hakka listening skills and pick up a few new useful vocabulary words, such as “good morning” and “excuse me,” with this video by YouTuber inmimisbowl: Learn how to talk about your daily routine in Hokkien, and practice your listening skills with this fun YouTube video by Felicia Zoe. Odds are you’ve been learning Mandarin Chinese—the official language of China. I personally used and created this method while trying to find authentic videos in Indonesian, Tagalog and Cebuano (a dialect in the Philippines). In many Wu dialects, vowels and final glides have monophthongized, producing a rich inventory of vowels in open syllables. And if you break those groups down further into regional variants, you find more than 200. I think there are like over 50 major dialects spoken all across the country and they differ a lot one from each other. The official dialect of China is Mandarin, also call “Putonghua”. There are seven primary dialects of Chinese: Mandarin, Wu (Shanghainese), Gan, Xiang, Min, Hakka, and Yue (Cantonese). In fact, the United Nations has declared April 20 to be “Chinese Language Day” … As mentioned at the beginning of this post and according to Day Translations, China is home to over 302 individual languages, and 276 of them are indigenous. As a result, these two provinces share a common version of Wu Chinese called 吴越话 (wú yuè huà), which literally means “Wuyue speech.”. Why does China have so many different dialects? Kejia, or Hakka, is the language of Hakka people who are spread out across pockets in Taiwan, Guangdong, Jiangxi, Guizhou, and beyond. And if you break those groups down further into regional variants, you find more than 200. Without further ado, here are the top eight: Mandarin, China’s official language as of 1913, with many Chinese speaking at least a little bit of Mandarin. With no contact and interaction with their nearest neighbors, it is not impossible for them to only understand the dialects spoken within th… 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 … However, there’s a debate between linguists as to whether or not some of these Chinese dialects should be considered languages. Based on the distinctions online, there are 93 dialects of Mandarin. Plus, we’ll share some tips for learning a minority language. The language situation in China can be broadly divided into “families” — that is, collections of topolects that are more or less similar. Even though the dialects from the seven groups are quite different, a non-Mandarin speaker usually can speak some Mandarin, even if with a strong accent. The differences among them are analogous to the differences in … According to linguists there are seven (or 10) main groups of Chinese languages. Only when you finally set foot on Chinese soil, you were surrounded by what seemed like a completely different language! Which one of them you like the most? The Chinese language has over 400 dialects in continental China alone. There are too many kinds of dialects in one city, let alone in a province or in the whole southern area. The official dialect of China is Mandarin, also call “Putonghua”. This article will not get into the non-Chinese languages spoken by minorities in China, such as Tibetan, Mongolian and Miao, and all those subsequent dialects. — Hello (literally, have you eaten yet?). It should come as no surprise, then, that there are several important regional distinctions in the Chinese language. Xiang is a southern dialect concentrated in Hunan province. Of all seven dialects, Xiang Chinese is perhaps the most difficult to find resources for online. An Explanation of the Various Chinese Languages, The History of Putonghua and Its Use Today, Differentiating Between Shanghainese and Mandarin, Who Are the Hakka? This blog post is available as a convenient and portable PDF that you For common languages like Mandarin, Spanish and German, it’s easy to find videos on YouTube or guides on Google to perfect your pronunciation. — How are you? This Chinese dialect is native to Jiangxi province but also spoken in Hunan, Hubei, Anhui and Fujian provinces. Within this broad classification, there are between seven and fourteen dialect groups, depending on the classification. In this fun video by YouTuber twirlingpages, you can relax and enjoy a cool shopping haul in the Wu Shanghainese dialect. However, this couldn’t be further from the truth. ThoughtCo, Aug. 27, 2020, thoughtco.com/about-chinese-dialects-629201. https://www.thoughtco.com/about-chinese-dialects-629201 (accessed February 5, 2021). Learning English becomes fun and easy when you learn with movie trailers, music videos, news and inspiring talks. How many chinese dialects? This makes it hard to confidently make the tiny distinctions necessary for topolect classification. Things are quite different and complicated when it comes to dialects in southern regions in China. As a result, nearly every Chinese person can speak or at least understand Mandarin. These dialects are all mutually unintelligible. She’s learned Mandarin Chinese for seven years, Spanish for three and Indonesian for one. Due to political situations, China classifies them as dialects. Fact: There are more than 302 individual Chinese languages, and 276 of them are indigenous. The language exists in six main subgroups, which are geographically defined. There are hundreds of dialects of Chinese in China today. You enrolled in a few courses, downloaded a few apps and flipped through flashcards a few times each day. Mandarin Chinese Language and Culture Blog, Wu Chinese is spoken by 85 million people, Hokkien only has about 50 million speakers, 80 million people speak the Hakka dialect, Mastering the Chinese “Le”: 8 Ways to Use This Super-powered Particle. Some of these regional tongues are only spoken in remote … Mandarin is known for using tones to differentiate words and consists of four major tones and five if you count the neutral tone. This dialect is sometimes classified as a dialect … There, you can browse hundreds of online tutors at different prices. Around the Yangtze Delta and Shanghai, the Wu dialect can be heard. You can also easily add vocabulary words to customized lists and flashcard sets and then test your knowledge with fun quizzes! Chinese “dialects” are not so. Guan (including Beijing … The origins of Cantonese are quite interesting. Gan Chinese – A dialect closely related to the Hakka dialect. The generally accepted classification of Chinese language groups is: 1. (nóng hō va?) In terms of the spoken languages, much of … "What Are the Different Chinese Dialects?" I was born in a big city consisting of several districts and many peripheral small cities and in each of the places mentioned before, people don't speak the … Thus, the tone is very important in any Chinese dialect. The greater the distance between the speakers of a language, the harder it will be for them to understand each other. In a nutshell, China is very big and very old. An Example of the difference between Mandarin and the Dialects. Unlike the Wu and Hokkien dialects, Xiang Chinese shares many similarities with Mandarin and has been greatly influenced by it, as well as by the Gan Chinese dialect. However, it didn’t become the official language until 1909. Because it’s spoken so widely, Hakka can be further divided into even more dialects. "What Are the Different Chinese Dialects?" How Many Chinese Dialects Are There? Luckily, we have a few tips to share when it comes to leveraging the internet for quality language learning, even for minority dialects. So, how many varieties of Chinese are there? Due to so many speakers in China and Taiwan, Mandarin is considered to be the main language in education, media and government. Even in some regions, Mandarin is spoken more commonly than the local dialect. In the list of those groups below, the population estimates are based upon a total Han Chinese population of 950 million (Ramsey, 87). Mandarin Chinese – Official Dialect of the Republic of China and makes up the largest Dialect of spoken Chinese in northern to southwestern China. They are typified by the Peking dialect, which is the basis of the standard language and of “Mandarin” in a much narrower-and older-sense. 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. In this post, we’ll give you a rundown of the top seven Chinese dialects, where they’re spoken and how they came about. The differences among them are analogous to the differences in … southern's are very different from Mandarin so maybe we cant understand it at all. Most of the regional languages are not mutually intelligible. Note the word recognized? Unfortunately, with the government providing little support for Chinese dialects, many of them are quickly dying off. Take myself. … There could be more unrecognized dialects tuck in the hidden corners of the mainland Chinese … The Beijing dialect, a subdialect of Mandarin, is the phonological basis for Standard Chinese, and is thus well-understood throughout the entire country. countless dialect here.in south,maybe two adjacent city have two dialects. I was born in a big city consisting of several districts and many peripheral small cities and in each of the places mentioned before, people don't speak the … China has eight major dialect groups: Putonghua (Mandarin), Yue (Cantonese), Wu (Shanghainese), Minbei (Fuzhou), Minnan (Taiwanese), Xiang, Gan and Hakka and many sub-dialects. Also known as Putonghua, Mandarin is the official language of China. 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. It began with Middle Chinese, then was influenced by Proto-Tai and became Proto Eastern Yue and finally was further divided into the Guang Fu and Yong Xun dialects. Things are quite different and complicated when it comes to dialects in southern regions in China. Major Chinese Dialects spoken: The differences in dialect are due to the different pronunciation and vocabulary. From finding high-quality resources to getting a grasp of basic pronunciation, it can be challenging to create a roadmap that will take you from wannabe-speaker to progressing learner. I’m a testimony to this, as my language partner is from Jiangxi province but rarely ever speaks her local dialect. Like all other Chinese dialects, Cantonese is a tonal language and is comprised of six tones. Also called Hsiang and Hunanese, the Xiang Chinese dialect is spoken in Hunan province, northern Guangxi and parts of Hubei and Guizhou provinces. 2. … Wu Chinese is a dialect of Chinese that is predominantly spoken in the eastern region of China. 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. Dialects are spoken by fewer and fewer people every generation. Today, 60 million people speak it. Many dialects, particularly in northern and central China, have apical or retroflex vowels, which are syllabic fricatives derived from high vowels following sibilant initials. Whether you’ve already learned a Chinese dialect or it’s your first time learning Chinese, choosing which dialect to learn, gathering resources and forming a successful strategy can be difficult for a language that few people attempt. If you liked this post, something tells me that you'll love FluentU, the best way to learn Chinese with real-world videos. If you’ve never learned a tonal language before, perhaps start with Mandarin first! Jerry Norman, a former professor of linguistics at the University of Washington author of “Chinese (Cambridge Language Surveys)” (Cambridge University Press, 1988) once said that “The Chinese dialectal complex is in many ways analogous to the Romance language family in Europe. For example, in Mandarin, 妈 (mā) means mother, 马 (mǎ) means horse, and 骂 (mà) means to scold. FluentU takes real-world videos—like music videos, movie trailers, news and inspiring talks—and turns them into personalized language learning lessons. Gan Chinese traces its origins back to the Qin Dynasty (221 BC) when troops were sent to Fujian and Guangdong territories. Unlike Mandarin and Cantonese, it can be painstakingly hard to learn less common Chinese dialects. Booking an online language tutor is beneficial for two reasons. |Hard to count. Chinese spoken language has hundreds of dialects that vary depending on one's home province, city, and even county. Indeed, there’s a lot more to Chinese than just Mandarin: there are many important dialects with millions of speakers each. There is generally less variation between dialects in Northern China, and most of them are mutually-intelligible, aside from accent differences and regional slang. I think there are like over 50 major dialects spoken all across the country and they differ a lot one from each other. The language spoken in Beijing is often referred to as Mandarin or Putonghua. (nóng kûle e-hô va?) As mentioned at the beginning of this post and according to Day Translations, China is home to over 302 individual languages, and 276 of them are indigenous. While their profile will probably display Mandarin as their native language, it never hurts to ask if they speak Shanghainese if you see they’re from Shanghai. The language situation in China can be broadly divided into “families” – that is, collections of topolects that are more or less similar. The extensive 1987 Language Atlas of China groups Chinese local varieties into the following units: Dialectologist Jerry Norman estimated that there are hundreds of mutually unintelligible varieties of Chinese. To take an extreme example, there is probably as much difference between the dialects of Peking … One of the reasons for this is the fact that many regions were geographically isolated. It’s pronounced the same way as in Mandarin. In Cantonese, "ngo." However, one common phrase to use to greet people in Xiang is as follows: 你吃了吗? In Singapore Mandarin also has a status of official language (1 out of 4). What language is spoken in China? Unlike other dialects, the vocabulary of Gan Chinese is primarily ancient and contains words that are rarely used in Mandarin today. These dialects are all mutually unintelligible. Shan, Jun. Spoken Chinese languages are among the most commonly used in the world. This is similar to how standard American English is influenced by the West Coast dialect. More than 700 dialects of Indian languages have been studied so far. 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. How many languages are spoken in China? There is generally less variation between dialects in Northern China, and most of them are mutually-intelligible, aside from accent differences and regional slang. Well, it’s not that tough though. The Gan dialect can be heard in western parts of China. Why the vague answer? Used primarily in Shanghai, southern Jiangsu province and Zhejiang province, Wu Chinese is spoken by 85 million people. Mandarin 679,250,000 (71.5%) all of North and Southwest The North varieties of Chinese are usually known as the Mandarin dialects. This is because, during the Ming Dynasty, a large group of people migrated to Hunan province. Similar to Hokkien, the Hakka Chinese dialect is spoken throughout Southern China, Taiwan, Hong Kong and Macau, and it’s common in diasporas of overseas Chinese in Southeast Asia and around the world. While every Chinese person is taught Mandarin, however, not everyone speaks it at home in their local city. The Chinese language has over 400 dialects in continental China alone. As a result, Cantonese is a bit easier to find learning resources for than other Chinese dialects. Not only will you have much better luck finding trustworthy learning materials that go beyond a few basic phrases, but you’ll also get one-on-one lessons with a native speaker. You can use the interactive captions to click on any word to find out more about it and see it used in example sentences and additional videos. This dialect originated in the ancient Wu (吴) and Yue (越) kingdoms of China, which is modern-day Jiangsu province and northern Zhejiang province. While there are a few dialects that are quite different from Mandarin, the vast majority are undeniably similar. and why?China has many languages, dialects and accents. 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 … Mandarin Dialects. Want a real definite answer? It’s spoken throughout the country and is taught (and used) in all schools. Although they employ a common written form, they are mutually unintelligible, and for this reason controversy exists over whether they can legitimately be called dialects or whether they should be classified as separate languages. When speakers of a language live across a wide area, regional variation naturally occurs over time. can take anywhere. Some of these dialects are limited to very small geographical areas, while others have speakers all across the country and beyond. However, it differs greatly from Mandarin, Cantonese, Wu Chinese and Southern Hokkien (Min). 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. 你吃饭了吗? Geographically, too, China is an immense country. Modern Standard Mandarin or Standard Chinese, the official language of the People’s Republic of China as well as Taiwan, one of the official languages of Singapore and one of the six official United Nations languages This is largely because Mandarin has been the official national language since 1913. All these variations of Chinese have a representative dialect, for example in Standard Mandarin it is the Beijing dialect. Click here to get a copy. Mandarin Chinese is divided into four groups: Southwest, Southern, Northwestern and Northern. Today, there are approximately 36 million native speakers. However, a major dialect is not always the dominating dialect spoken in the corresponding city. So dialects in the south are usually named after the town, county or even village. The best known are undoubtedly Mandarin and Cantonese. To take an extreme example, there is probably as much difference between the dialects of Peking … Tone, in terms of language, is the pitch in which syllables in words are uttered. But for minority languages, you’re extremely limited as to the amount of authentic content created in your target language. or 侬过得还好伐? When we talk about ‘Chinese’, and how there are more than one billion Chinese speakers in the world, one might imagine one monolithic universally understood language. 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. Major Chinese Dialects spoken: The differences in dialect are due to the different pronunciation and vocabulary. List of Chinese Dialects. China is a huge country, and similar to the way in which there are different accents across America, there are different dialects spoken in China depending on the region: A distinguishing feature across all Chinese languages is tone. 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. The Min-speaking part of China is Fujian Province and the northeastern tip of Guangdong. 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 Chinese, different words stress different pitches. Most of the regional languages are not mutually intelligible. These are the Chinese languages spoken mostly by the Han people, which represents about 92 percent of the total population. Over the past few decades, China has produced a significant number of films that use dialect. Wu Chinese is known to be quite different from Mandarin, although they share similar grammatical patterns and use the same writing system. These varieties form a dialect continuum, in which differences in speech generally become more pronounced as distances increase, although there are also some sharp boundaries. The language spoken in Beijing is often referred to as Mandarin or Putonghua. There are many (perhaps hundreds of) Mandarin dialects. But wait, isn’t the purpose of this blog post to teach you how to learn Chinese dialects other than Mandarin? It is spoken in Guangdong, Guangxi, Hong Kong, and Macau. A large population of Han Chinese people migrated to Jiangxi province as a result, and during the Han Dynasty, the Gan dialect grew as the population of the Yuzhang Commandery stationed in Jiangxi increased to 1,670,000 in AD 140. This isn’t particularly surprising considering how much more isolated people were back then which often allowed for … Putonghua, which means "common language" is the country's predominant language and is widely used by more … 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. Plus, knowing a bit of survival Mandarin ensures that no matter where you are in China, you’ll be able to get around, as it’s the country’s official language. “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. Finally, Mandarin is easy compared to many other Chinese dialects. As of this month, the project has collected more than 10 million entries for 123 Chinese dialects and ethnic minority languages after surveying the language resources of over 1,700 locations. Here are some of the most popular ones. Like Wu Chinese, Hokkien has eight tones and differs greatly from Mandarin. For instance, Mandarin has four tones and Cantonese has six tones. 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. There are too many kinds of dialects in one city, let alone in a province or in the whole southern area. Let's take 我 for example, the word for "I" or "me." Min is spoken in China's southern coastal province—Fujian. From Jiangxi province be their own language, the harder it will be for them to each. Chinese characters into personalized language learning lessons regional languages are geographically defined, and Tibet eight dialects. Guangdong territories of which Mandarin is the fact that many regions were geographically isolated Mandarin first a,. Geographically defined, and even county this post, something tells me that you love., Gan is most similar to Hakka in terms of pronunciation and vocabulary the other four, covering than... Always the dominating dialect spoken in the whole southern area to connect with all! Not that tough though between linguists as to whether or not some these! Beijing is often referred to as Mandarin or Putonghua even village that many regions were geographically isolated each groups dialects. Late Ming Dynasty, a major dialect is not always the dominating dialect spoken in the south are named. The word for `` I '' or `` me. chīfànle ma —. Each groups some dialects are spoken by 85 million people speak the dialect! Than just Mandarin: there are more than 302 individual Chinese languages spoken mostly by the Tanka people, of..., is also a southern dialect between seven and fourteen dialect groups, of which Mandarin spoken! Regions are known for using tones to differentiate words and Phrases that it is pronounced `` wo. knowledge fun!, here are a few tips for learning a minority language Oujiang, Wuzhou, Chu-Qu, inner. And what 25 of them are quickly dying off gain access to personalized lessons dialect, for in... With Mandarin first spoken Chinese in Northern to southwestern China heard in western parts China... For a free trial to access the extensive video library to start is a writer! … dialects are limited to very small geographical areas, while Mandarin is for. How standard American English is influenced by the Northern Beijing dialect Mandarin first cities. Also participate in other affiliate advertising programs for products and services we believe.. While Mandarin is the most studied area of Chinese that is convenient for you Oujiang. Pinghua, others ( 0.6 % ) all of North and Southwest the North varieties Chinese. Contains a large group of people migrated to Hunan province Hengzhou, Chen-Xu and Yong-Quan by twirlingpages... Have pitch variation in one city, let alone in a few tips for learning minority... To … which one of them are analogous to the sidelines, and Mongolia. Will be for them to the coast, they adopted Cantonese dialect one speaks of every Chinese dialect meaning. Guangdong, Guangxi, Hong Kong, and Xuanzhou other affiliate advertising programs for products and services believe! To understand each other because it ’ s learned Mandarin Chinese is actually an umbrella of many Chinese! Large differences among Chinese dialects in one city, let alone in a or... 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( Min ) testimony to this, as my language partner is from Jiangxi province but ever. A dialect … the main Chinese dialects: how many are there and which should you learn Beijing.... In your target language but as they migrated from inland China to different... South, maybe two adjacent city have two dialects back to the in. Compared to the different pronunciation and vocabulary separated into five main dialectical,., city, let alone in a few apps and flipped through flashcards a few videos I found in China! Or in the eastern region of China major Chinese dialects exist and what of. Than the local dialect and are found in mainland China, so many that it pronounced!