Mastering Chinese Dialects: How Many Are There and Which Should You Learn? Guan (including Beijing … Let's take 我 for example, the word for "I" or "me." There … 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. 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 Some dialects, such as Cantonese, have fared better due to its historic prominence and its geographic distribution. Gan Chinese traces its origins back to the Qin Dynasty (221 BC) when troops were sent to Fujian and Guangdong territories. In many Wu dialects, vowels and final glides have monophthongized, producing a rich inventory of vowels in open syllables. Well, it’s not that tough though. Booking an online language tutor is beneficial for two reasons. Due to so many speakers in China and Taiwan, Mandarin is considered to be the main language in education, media and government. However, it didn’t become the official language until 1909. 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. Mandarin Dialects. 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. There, you can browse hundreds of online tutors at different prices. (2020, August 27). In this fun video by YouTuber twirlingpages, you can relax and enjoy a cool shopping haul in the Wu Shanghainese dialect. I personally used and created this method while trying to find authentic videos in Indonesian, Tagalog and Cebuano (a dialect in the Philippines). |Hard to count. Well, there are indeed a number of widely spoken dialects, but there are hundreds of recognized minority dialects. Also known as Putonghua, Mandarin is the official language of China. Mandarin Dialects. © 2021 Enux Education Limited. However, it differs greatly from Mandarin, Cantonese, Wu Chinese and Southern Hokkien (Min). 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.”. Today, 60 million people speak it. The Beijing dialect, a subdialect of Mandarin, is the phonological basis for Standard Chinese, and is thus well-understood throughout the entire country. (nóng hō va?) There is generally less variation between dialects in Northern China, and most of them are mutually-intelligible, aside from accent differences and regional slang. China has eight major dialect groups: Putonghua (Mandarin), Yue (Cantonese), Wu (Shanghainese), Minbei (Fuzhou), Minnan (Taiwanese), Xiang, Gan and Hakka and many sub-dialects. Learn more about languages of China Based on geographica… Mandarin is also the official language of Taiwan. The language can also be divided into 14 varieties, which include the Shanghainese, Huzhou, Wuxi, Ningbo, Suzhou, Changzhou, Jiaxing, Hangzhou, Shaoxing, Xuanzhou, Chuqu, Taizhou, Wuzhou, and Oujiang diale… 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. In Mandarin, it is pronounced "wo." Mandarin is known for using tones to differentiate words and consists of four major tones and five if you count the neutral tone. Aside from languages, Brooke runs her freelance writing business, Writing & Thriving, and specializes in B2B copywriting, content marketing and holistic health and wellness. One of the reasons for this is the fact that many regions were geographically isolated. You get the idea. Note the word recognized? Finally, Mandarin is easy compared to many other Chinese dialects. While Mandarin is spoken in distinctive dialects throughout China, standard Mandarin is mostly influenced by the Northern Beijing dialect. 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. Most of them share the same Chinese character … However, the modern Chinese dialects are classified into seven major groups. 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 … There … Used primarily in Shanghai, southern Jiangsu province and Zhejiang province, Wu Chinese is spoken by 85 million people. This dialect originated in the ancient Wu (吴) and Yue (越) kingdoms of China, which is modern-day Jiangsu province and northern Zhejiang province. Putonghua, which means "common language" is the country's predominant language and is widely used by more … Eight different dialects, any of which might technically be their own language, depending on how you define it. FluentU takes real-world videos—like music videos, movie trailers, news and inspiring talks—and turns them into personalized language learning lessons. Each region where Mandarin is spoken has developed its own version (or dialect) of the language. It is spoken in Guangdong, Guangxi, Hong Kong, and Macau. We also participate in other affiliate advertising programs for products and services we believe in. Beijing being the center of government in China accounts f… Hokkien Chinese, also called Minnan, originated in the Minnan region of Fujian province, located in Southeastern China. 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. "What Are the Different Chinese Dialects?" The Min-speaking part of China is Fujian Province and the northeastern tip of Guangdong. For example, while Mandarin only has four tones, Hokkien has eight. So dialects in the south are usually named after the town, county or even village. This is because, during the Ming Dynasty, a large group of people migrated to Hunan province. Huizhou (0.3%) Pinghua, others (0.6%) Main article: Sinitic languages. 10. ‘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. Based on the distinctions online, there are 93 dialects of Mandarin. countless dialect south,maybe two adjacent city have two dialects. What language is spoken in China? Cantonese, or Yue, is also a southern dialect. Spoken Chinese comprises many regional variants, called dialects. You’ll also notice how some of the dialects sound almost identical. Unlike Mandarin and Cantonese, it can be painstakingly hard to learn less common Chinese dialects. The language spoken in Beijing is often referred to as Mandarin or Putonghua. How Many Chinese Dialects Are There? In Wu, it is pronounced "ngu." Globalization, the death of distance—whatever you want to call it, it’s people leaving the place their forefathers called home and venturing to new parts of the world. In Cantonese, "ngo." An Example of the difference between Mandarin and the Dialects. There could be more unrecognized dialects tuck in the hidden corners of the mainland Chinese … Even in some regions, Mandarin is spoken more commonly than the local dialect. All these variations of Chinese have a representative dialect, for example in Standard Mandarin it is the Beijing dialect. However, some regions are known for preferring their local dialect and are stereotyped as speaking “bad” Mandarin. To take an extreme example, there is probably as much difference between the dialects of Peking … I think there are like over 50 major dialects spoken all across the country and they differ a lot one from each other. (nóng kûle e-hô va?) 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. Plus, we’ll share some tips for learning a minority language. Wu Chinese is a dialect of Chinese that is predominantly spoken in the eastern region of China. Within this broad classification, there are between seven and fourteen dialect groups, depending on the classification. While every Chinese person is taught Mandarin, however, not everyone speaks it at home in their local city. What is a Mandarin Dialect? 你姓么个? An Explanation of the Various Chinese Languages, The History of Putonghua and Its Use Today, Differentiating Between Shanghainese and Mandarin, Who Are the Hakka? FluentU brings English to life with real-world videos. Even today, there are some 60 million speakers, and Cantonese continues to enjoy official status in the Special Administrative Regions of Hong Kong and Macau. 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. You can also easily add vocabulary words to customized lists and flashcard sets and then test your knowledge with fun quizzes! Out of every Chinese dialect, Gan is most similar to Hakka in terms of pronunciation and phonetics. Understanding the … This video shows 5 of them. This isn’t particularly surprising considering how much more isolated people were back then which often allowed for … The differences between them increases with distance. countless dialect south,maybe two adjacent city have two dialects. There is generally less variation between dialects in Northern China, and most of them are mutually-intelligible, aside from accent differences and regional slang. Of course there's Chinese, but you may know as Chinese is actually an umbrella of many other languages. 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. (Nǐ chīfànle ma) — Have you eaten yet? can take anywhere. More particularly, even when Old Chinese was spoken, different variations or dialects of the same language were developing in different parts of the country. … The Gan dialect can be heard in western parts of China. Over the past few decades, China has produced a significant number of films that use dialect. Most of the regional languages are not mutually intelligible. Major Chinese Dialects spoken: The differences in dialect are due to the different pronunciation and vocabulary. Interestingly, within each groups some dialects are mutually intelligible while there are others that are not. Of all seven dialects, Xiang Chinese is perhaps the most difficult to find resources for online. To take an extreme example, there is probably as much difference between the dialects of Peking … 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. There are hundreds of dialects of Chinese in China today. Shan, Jun. In Chinese, different words stress different pitches. There are many (perhaps hundreds of) Mandarin dialects. Amazon and the Amazon logo are trademarks of, Inc, or its affiliates. Linguists believe that there are 297 living languages in China today. In fact, Wu is also referred to as Shanghainese. 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. Indeed, there’s a lot more to Chinese than just Mandarin: there are many important dialects with millions of speakers each. Spoken Chinese is separated into five main dialectical groups, of which Mandarin is only one. Kejia, or Hakka, is the language of Hakka people who are spread out across pockets in Taiwan, Guangdong, Jiangxi, Guizhou, and beyond. Jin Chinese Spoken in parts of Shaanxi, Hebei, Henan, and inner Mongolia. Based on the number of speakers, Mandarin is the most dominant spoken dialect of Chinese. We hate SPAM and promise to keep your email address safe, Sign up for our weekly blog newsletter for a chance to win a free FluentU Plus subscription (value $240), Get regular language learning tips, resources and updates, starting with the "Complete Guide to Foreign Language Immersion" e-book. Currently, the site has tutors available for Cantonese, Hakka, Hokkien, Shanghainese, Taiwanese and “other” Chinese dialects. As the official language of Mainland China, Taiwan, and Singapore, Mandarin has many regional variations which are usually referred to as Mandarin dialects. In this post, we’ll give you a rundown of the top seven Chinese dialects, where they’re spoken and how they came about. Despite the large differences among Chinese dialects, there is one thing in common—they all share the same writing system based on Chinese characters. In Min, "gua." There are seven primary dialects of Chinese: Mandarin, Wu (Shanghainese), Gan, Xiang, Min, Hakka, and Yue (Cantonese). 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. Each language group contains a large number of dialects. Wu Chinese is known to be quite different from Mandarin, although they share similar grammatical patterns and use the same writing system. Within mainland China, Cantonese is one of the few dialects with its own television channels, and Cantonese pop music is still popular across China. (ngi2 siang5 ma3ge5?) This is probably the most studied area of Chinese dialect differentiation. For instance, Mandarin has four tones and Cantonese has six tones. Sign up for a free trial to access the extensive video library. If you’ve never learned a tonal language before, perhaps start with Mandarin first! What language is spoken in China? The Main Chinese Dialects. 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. ThoughtCo. China has eight major dialect groups: Putonghua (Mandarin), Yue (Cantonese), Wu (Shanghainese), Minbei (Fuzhou), Minnan (Taiwanese), Xiang, Gan and Hakka and many sub-dialects. However, there’s a debate between linguists as to whether or not some of these Chinese dialects should be considered languages. What are the global forces pushing them to the sidelines, and can any of them be saved? — 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). 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. 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. Only when you finally set foot on Chinese soil, you were surrounded by what seemed like a completely different language! Let’s dive into the seven most frequently spoken Chinese dialects, where you can find them, the history behind each one and more. In Singapore Mandarin also has a status of official language (1 out of 4). For common languages like Mandarin, Spanish and German, it’s easy to find videos on YouTube or guides on Google to perfect your pronunciation. 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 … Tone, in terms of language, is the pitch in which syllables in words are uttered. Thus, the tone is very important in any Chinese dialect. As a result, Cantonese is a bit easier to find learning resources for than other Chinese dialects. Learning the basics of Mandarin first will help you to learn another dialect that sounds similar and even shares a few vocabulary and grammar points. The differences between them increases with distance. The language situation in China can be broadly divided into “families” – that is, collections of topolects that are more or less similar. However, one common phrase to use to greet people in Xiang is as follows: 你吃了吗? Download: This blog post is available as a convenient and portable PDF that you There are seven primary dialects of Chinese: Mandarin, Wu (Shanghainese), Gan, Xiang, Min, Hakka, and Yue (Cantonese). The differences among them are analogous to the differences in … Click here to get a copy. When speakers of a language live across a wide area, regional variation naturally occurs over time. As of today, 80 million people speak the Hakka dialect. Dialectologist Jerry Norman estimated that there are hundreds of mutually unintelligible varieties of Chinese. Mandarin 679,250,000 (71.5%) all of North and Southwest The North varieties of Chinese are usually known as the Mandarin dialects. Many of them have been screened in international film … To get an idea of what a few of the most common dialects sound like, take a look at this video by Monkey Abroad that features 25 different dialects. So, how many varieties of Chinese are there? You’ve spent months (maybe even years) dreaming of going to China. Xiang is a southern dialect concentrated in Hunan province. 侬好伐? Please check your email for further instructions. (Download). Along with the language surveys, the NPC has made a call to promote local dialects in schools, though apparently in the form of . In that process they acquire the lingua franca that enables them to … There are many (perhaps hundreds of) Mandarin dialects. 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. It’s pronounced the same way as in Mandarin. Thanks for subscribing! 食饱未? But in countries like America, Canada, Cuba, only one language is officially spoken there. However, this couldn’t be further from the truth. 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. — What’s your name? Here are some of the most popular ones. What is a Mandarin Dialect? This dialect is sometimes classified as a dialect … 4.Xiang 45,600,000(4.8%) Hunan . 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 ). You now know a few tips for learning minority dialects, how many Chinese dialects exist and what 25 of them sound like. There are too many kinds of dialects in one city, let alone in a province or in the whole southern area. Mandarin Chinese – Official Dialect of the Republic of China and makes up the largest Dialect of spoken Chinese in northern to southwestern China. Most of them share the same Chinese character … |Hard to count. However, a major dialect is not always the dominating dialect spoken in the corresponding city. southern's are very different from Mandarin so maybe we cant understand it at all. 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. 7 Video Resources for Learning Chinese the Way Natives Use It, An Easier Way to Learn Chinese: Comprehensible Input, 4 Free Online Chinese Lessons and Other Resources That’ll Make Learning a Breeze, Yes, You Can Get Chinese Video with Pinyin Subtitles: 4 Options. As a result, nearly every Chinese person can speak or at least understand Mandarin. Odds are you’ve been learning Mandarin Chinese—the official language of China. In terms of the spoken languages, much of … Some of these regional tongues are only spoken in remote … It should come as no surprise, then, that there are several important regional distinctions in the Chinese language. Some words even have pitch variation in one single syllable. How Many Chinese Dialects Are There? Because it’s spoken so widely, Hakka can be further divided into even more dialects. The greater the distance between the speakers of a language, the harder it will be for them to understand each other. 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 "What Are the Different Chinese Dialects?" Things are quite different and complicated when it comes to dialects in southern regions in China. 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