Chinese language – Wikipedia

Language group of the Sinitic languages
traditional/ Unless otherwise specified, chinese in this article is written in simplify pinyin orderliness. If the simplified and traditional characters are the like, they are written only once .
Chinese ( simplified Chinese : 汉语 ; traditional chinese : 漢語 ; pinyin : Hànyǔ [ bacillus ] or besides 中文 ; Zhōngwén, [ c ] specially for the written speech ) is a group of languages that form the Sinitic outgrowth of the Sino-Tibetan languages family, spoken by the ethnic Han Chinese majority and many minority heathen groups in Greater China. About 1.3 billion people ( or approximately 16 % of the earth ‘s population ) speak a variety of Chinese as their first language. [ 3 ]

The spoken varieties of taiwanese are normally considered by native speakers to be variants of a single terminology. Due to their miss of common intelligibility, however, they are classified as separate languages in a family by linguists, who note that the languages are american samoa divergent as the Romance languages. [ five hundred ] Investigation of the historical relationships among the varieties of Chinese is fair starting. presently, most classifications posit 7 to 13 independent regional groups based on phonetic developments from Middle Chinese, of which the most spoken by far is Mandarin ( with about 800 million speakers, or 66 % ), followed by Min ( 75 million, e.g. Southern Min ), Wu ( 74 million, e.g. Shanghainese ), and Yue ( 68 million, e.g. yue ). These branches are unintelligible to each other, and many of their subgroups are unintelligible with the other varieties within the lapp branch ( e.g. Southern Min ). There are, however, transitional areas where varieties from unlike branches parcel enough features for some restrict intelligibility, including New Xiang with Southwest Mandarin, Xuanzhou Wu with Lower Yangtze Mandarin, Jin with Central Plains Mandarin and sealed divergent dialects of Hakka with Gan ( though these are opaque with mainstream Hakka ). All varieties of Chinese are tonic to at least some degree, and are largely analytic. The earliest chinese written records are Shang dynasty -era oracle bone inscriptions, which can be dated to 1250 BCE. The phonetic categories of Old 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 separate into respective varieties following drawn-out geographic and political separation. Qieyun, a rhyme dictionary, recorded a compromise between the pronunciations of unlike regions. The royal courts of the Ming and early Qing dynasties operated using a koiné speech ( Guanhua ) based on Nanjing dialect of Lower Yangtze Mandarin. Standard Chinese ( Standard Mandarin ), based on the Beijing dialect of Mandarin, was adopted in the 1930s and is now an official language of both the People ‘s Republic of China and the Republic of China ( Taiwan ), one of the four official languages of Singapore, and one of the six official languages of the United Nations. The written form, using the logogram known as chinese characters, is shared by literate speakers of mutually opaque dialects. Since the 1950s, simplified chinese characters have been promoted for manipulation by the politics of the People ‘s Republic of China, while Singapore formally adopted simplify characters in 1976. traditional characters remain in use in Taiwan, Hong Kong, Macau, and other countries with meaning overseas chinese speaking communities such as Malaysia ( which although adopted simplify characters as the de facto criterion in the 1980s, traditional characters still remain in widespread use ) .

classification [edit ]

After applying the linguistic relative method to the database of comparative linguistic data developed by Laurent Sagart in 2019 to identify sound correspondences and establish cognates, phylogenetic methods are used to infer relationships among these languages and estimate the age of their origin and fatherland. Linguists classify all varieties of Chinese as region of the sino-tibetan terminology family, together with Burmese, Tibetan and many other languages spoken in the Himalayas and the Southeast asian Massif. Although the relationship was first proposed in the early nineteenth century and is now broadly accepted, reconstruction of Sino-Tibetan is much less develop than that of families such as indo-european or Austroasiatic. Difficulties have included the bang-up diversity of the languages, the lack of inflection in many of them, and the effects of linguistic process contact. In accession, many of the smaller languages are spoken in mountainous areas that are unmanageable to reach and are often besides sensitive molding zones. Without a secure reconstruction of proto-Sino-Tibetan, the higher-level structure of the kin remains unclear. A top-level branched into chinese and tibeto-burman languages is often assumed, but has not been convincingly demonstrated .

history [edit ]

The first written records appeared over 3,000 years ago during the Shang dynasty. As the linguistic process evolved over this time period, the respective local varieties became mutually unintelligible. In reaction, cardinal governments have repeatedly sought to promulgate a incorporate standard .

Old and Middle Chinese [edit ]

The earliest examples of Chinese are divinatory inscriptions on oracle bones from around 1250 BCE in the late Shang dynasty. Old Chinese was the language of the westerly Zhou period ( 1046–771 BCE ), recorded in inscriptions on bronze artifacts, the Classic of Poetry and portions of the Book of Documents and I Ching. Scholars have attempted to reconstruct the phonology of Old Chinese by comparing later varieties of taiwanese with the rhyming practice of the Classic of Poetry and the phonetic elements found in the majority of chinese characters. Although many of the fine details remain unclear, most scholars agree that Old taiwanese differs from Middle Chinese in lacking cacuminal and palatal obstruents but having initial consonant clusters of some sort, and in having unvoiced nasals and liquids. Most recent reconstructions besides describe an atonal language with accordant clusters at the end of the syllable, developing into tone distinctions in Middle Chinese. several derivational affixes have besides been identified, but the terminology lacks prosody, and indicated grammatical relationships using discussion arrange and grammatical particles. Middle Chinese was the linguistic process used during Northern and Southern dynasties and the Sui, Tang, and Song dynasties ( 6th through 10th centuries CE ). It can be divided into an early on period, reflected by the Qieyun rhyme reserve ( 601 CE ), and a late period in the tenth century, reflected by verse tables such as the Yunjing constructed by ancient chinese philologists as a steer to the Qieyun system. These works define phonological categories, but with small trace of what sounds they represent. Linguists have identified these sounds by comparing the categories with pronunciations in modern varieties of Chinese, borrowed taiwanese words in japanese, vietnamese, and Korean, and transcription evidence. The resulting system is very complex, with a large number of consonants and vowels, but they are probably not all distinguished in any single dialect. Most linguists now believe it represents a diasystem encompassing 6th-century northerly and southern standards for reading the classics .

classical and literary forms [edit ]

The relationship between spoken and written Chinese is rather complex ( “ diglossia “ ). Its speak varieties have evolved at different rates, while written Chinese itself has changed a lot less. classical taiwanese literature began in the form and Autumn menstruation .

rise of northern dialects [edit ]

After the descend of the Northern Song dynasty and subsequent reign of the Jin ( Jurchen ) and Yuan ( Mongol ) dynasties in northerly China, a coarse actor’s line ( now called Old Mandarin ) developed based on the dialects of the North China Plain around the capital. The Zhongyuan Yinyun ( 1324 ) was a dictionary that codified the rhyming conventions of new sanqu verse phase in this terminology. together with the slenderly later Menggu Ziyun, this dictionary describes a language with many of the features feature of modern Mandarin dialects. up to the early twentieth hundred, most chinese people only spoke their local assortment. thus, as a practical measure, officials of the Ming and Qing dynasties carried out the administration of the empire using a coarse linguistic process based on Mandarin varieties, known as Guānhuà ( 官话/官話, literally “ terminology of officials ” ). For most of this period, this linguistic process was a koiné based on dialects spoken in the Nanjing area, though not identical to any single dialect. By the in-between of the nineteenth hundred, the Beijing dialect had become dominant and was essential for any business with the imperial court. In the 1930s, a standard national lyric, Guóyǔ ( 国语/國語 ; “ national speech ” ) was adopted. After much challenge between proponents of northerly and southern dialects and an abortive attack at an artificial pronunciation, the National Language Unification Commission ultimately settled on the Beijing dialect in 1932. The People ‘s Republic founded in 1949 retained this standard but renamed it pǔtōnghuà ( 普通话/普通話 ; “ coarse actor’s line ” ). The national lyric is now used in education, the media, and courtly situations in both Mainland China and Taiwan. Because of their colonial and linguistic history, the language used in education, the media, courtly lecture, and everyday life in Hong Kong and Macau is the local Cantonese, although the standard language, Mandarin, has become very influential and is being taught in schools .

influence [edit ]

historically, the chinese lyric has spread to its neighbors through a kind of means. Northern Vietnam was incorporated into the Han empire in 111 BCE, marking the begin of a period of taiwanese control that ran about continuously for a millennium. The four Commanderies were established in northerly Korea in the first gear century BCE, but disintegrated in the keep up centuries. chinese Buddhism outspread over East Asia between the 2nd and 5th centuries CE, and with it the study of scriptures and literature in Literary Chinese. Later Korea, Japan, and Vietnam developed strong cardinal governments modeled on taiwanese institutions, with Literary Chinese as the speech of administration and eruditeness, a position it would retain until the late nineteenth century in Korea and ( to a lesser extent ) Japan, and the early twentieth century in Vietnam. Scholars from different lands could communicate, albeit only in write, using literary Chinese. Although they used Chinese entirely for written communication, each state had its own tradition of reading text aloud, the alleged Sino-Xenic pronunciations. chinese words with these pronunciations were besides extensively imported into the Korean, Japanese and vietnamese languages, and today comprise over half of their vocabularies. This massive inflow led to changes in the phonological structure of the languages, contributing to the development of moraic structure in japanese and the disturbance of vowel harmony in Korean. Borrowed taiwanese morphemes have been used extensively in all these languages to coin compound words for newly concepts, in a similar room to the use of Latin and Ancient Greek roots in european languages. many new compounds, or newfangled meanings for old phrases, were created in the late 19th and early twentieth centuries to name westerly concepts and artifacts. These coinages, written in shared chinese characters, have then been borrowed freely between languages. They have even been accepted into chinese, a lyric normally repellent to loanwords, because their foreign origin was hidden by their written form. Often different compounds for the same concept were in circulation for some time before a achiever emerged, and sometimes the final choice differed between countries. The proportion of vocabulary of taiwanese beginning frankincense tends to be greater in technical foul, abstract, or formal language. For case, in Japan, Sino-Japanese words account for about 35 % of the words in entertainment magazines, over half the words in newspapers, and 60 % of the words in science magazines. Vietnam, Korea, and Japan each developed writing systems for their own languages, initially based on taiwanese characters, but late replaced with the hangul rudiment for Korean and supplemented with kana syllabaries for japanese, while vietnamese continued to be written with the complex chữ nôm script. however, these were limited to popular literature until the late nineteenth hundred. today Japanese is written with a composite script using both taiwanese characters ( kanji ) and kana. Korean is written entirely with hangul in North Korea ( although cognition of the auxiliary chinese characters – hanja – is still required ), and hanja are increasingly rarely used in South Korea. As a result of erstwhile french colonization, vietnamese switched to a Latin-based rudiment. Examples of lend words in English include “ tea “, from Hokkien ( Min Nan ) ( 茶 ), “ dim sum “, from yue dim2 sam1 ( 點心 ) and “ kumquat “, from yue gam1gwat1 ( 金橘 ) .

Varieties [edit ]

Language Atlas of China range of chinese dialect groups in China Mainland and Taiwan according to the Jerry Norman estimated that there are hundreds of mutually unintelligible varieties of Chinese. These varieties form a dialect continuum, in which differences in speech by and large become more pronounce as distances increase, though the pace of variety varies vastly. Generally, cragged South China exhibits more linguistic diversity than the North China Plain. In parts of South China, a major city ‘s dialect may only be marginally intelligible to close neighbors. For example, Wuzhou is about 190 kilometres ( 120 mi ) upstream from Guangzhou, but the Yue assortment speak there is more like that of Guangzhou than is that of Taishan, 95 kilometres ( 60 michigan ) southwest of Guangzhou and separated from it by respective rivers. In parts of Fujian the actor’s line of neighboring counties or even villages may be mutually opaque. Until the late twentieth hundred, taiwanese emigrants to Southeast Asia and North America came from southeast coastal areas, where Min, Hakka, and Yue dialects are spoken. The huge majority of chinese immigrants to North America up to the mid-20th century spoke the Taishan dialect, from a little coastal area southwest of Guangzhou .

Grouping [edit ]

local varieties of Chinese are conventionally classified into seven dialect groups, largely on the footing of the different development of Middle Chinese voiced initials :
The classification of Li Rong, which is used in the Language Atlas of China ( 1987 ), distinguishes three further groups :

  • Jin, previously included in Mandarin.
  • Huizhou, previously included in Wu.
  • Pinghua, previously included in Yue.

Some varieties remain unclassified, including Danzhou dialect ( spoken in Danzhou, on Hainan Island ), Waxianghua ( spoken in western Hunan ) and Shaozhou Tuhua ( spoken in northerly Guangdong ) .

Standard Chinese [edit ]

Standard Chinese, frequently called Mandarin, is the official standard terminology of China, de facto official speech of Taiwan, and one of the four official languages of Singapore ( where it is called “ Huáyŭ ” 华语/華語 or just taiwanese ). Standard Chinese is based on the Beijing dialect, the dialect of Mandarin as spoken in Beijing. The governments of both China and Taiwan intend for speakers of all chinese speech varieties to use it as a common language of communication. therefore, it is used in government agencies, in the media, and as a linguistic process of teaching in schools. In China and Taiwan, diglossia has been a common sport. For exercise, in addition to Standard Chinese, a resident of Shanghai might speak Shanghainese ; and, if they grew astir elsewhere, then they are besides probably to be fluent in the particular dialect of that local area. A native of Guangzhou may speak both Cantonese and Standard Chinese. In addition to Mandarin, most taiwanese besides speak taiwanese Hokkien ( normally “ min ” 台語 [ 53 ] [ 54 ] ), Hakka, or an austronesian language. [ 55 ] A Taiwanese may normally mix pronunciations, phrases, and words from Mandarin and early min languages, and this concoction is considered normal in casual or informal lecture. [ 56 ] due to their traditional cultural ties to Guangdong state and colonial histories, Cantonese is used as the criterion form of chinese in Hong Kong and Macau alternatively .

terminology [edit ]

The official taiwanese appellation for the major branches of Chinese is fāngyán ( 方言, literally “ regional address ” ), whereas the more close relate varieties within these are called dìdiǎn fāngyán ( 地点方言/地點方言 “ local anesthetic speech ” ). conventional English-language custom in chinese linguistics is to use dialect for the lecture of a particular place ( careless of condition ) and dialect group for a regional group such as Mandarin or Wu. Because varieties from different groups are not mutually apprehensible, some scholars prefer to describe Wu and others as separate languages. [ better source needed ] Jerry Norman called this rehearse deceptive, pointing out that Wu, which itself contains many mutually opaque varieties, could not be by rights called a single linguistic process under the like criterion, and that the lapp is truthful for each of the other groups. reciprocal intelligibility is considered by some linguists to be the independent standard for determining whether varieties are discriminate languages or dialects of a single language, although others do not regard it as decisive, particularly when cultural factors interfere as they do with Chinese. As Campbell ( 2008 ) explains, linguists frequently ignore reciprocal intelligibility when varieties contribution intelligibility with a cardinal diverseness ( i.e. prestige variety, such as Standard Mandarin ), as the consequence requires some careful handle when reciprocal intelligibility is inconsistent with terminology identity. John DeFrancis argues that it is inappropriate to refer to Mandarin, Wu and so on as “ dialects ” because the reciprocal unintelligibility between them is excessively great. On the early hand, he besides objects to considering them as separate languages, as it incorrectly implies a set of disruptive “ religious, economic, political, and other differences ” between speakers that exist, for exercise, between french Catholics and english Protestants in Canada, but not between speakers of Cantonese and Mandarin in China, owing to China ‘s near-uninterrupted history of centralized politics. Because of the difficulties involved in determining the difference between lyric and dialect, other terms have been proposed. These include vernacular, lect, [ 69 ] regionalect, topolect, and variety. Most taiwanese people consider the talk varieties as one unmarried language because speakers share a coarse culture and history, angstrom well as a shared national identity and a common written form .

phonology [edit ]

A malaysian man speaking Mandarin with a malaysian stress The phonological structure of each syllable consists of a lens nucleus that has a vowel ( which can be a monophthong, diphthong, or even a triphthong in sealed varieties ), preceded by an attack ( a individual accordant, or consonant+ glide ; zero attack is besides possible ), and followed ( optionally ) by a finale consonant ; a syllable besides carries a spirit. There are some instances where a vowel is not used as a nucleus. An case of this is in Cantonese, where the adenoidal sonorant consonants /m/ and /ŋ/ can stand alone as their own syllable. In Mandarin much more than in other spoken varieties, most syllables tend to be open syllables, meaning they have no finale ( assuming that a final glide is not analyzed as a finale ), but syllables that do have codas are restricted to nasals /m/, /n/, /ŋ/, the retroflex approximant /ɻ /, and breathed stops /p/, /t/, /k/, or /ʔ/. Some varieties allow most of these codas, whereas others, such as Standard Chinese, are limited to alone /n/, /ŋ/ and /ɻ /. The phone number of sounds in the different talk dialects varies, but in cosmopolitan there has been a leaning to a reduction in sounds from Middle Chinese. The Mandarin dialects in particular have experienced a dramatic decrease in sounds and so have far more multisyllabic words than most early talk varieties. The total phone number of syllables in some varieties is consequently only about a thousand, including tonal variation, which is merely about an eighth vitamin a many as English. [ einsteinium ]

Tones [edit ]

All varieties of talk chinese practice tones to distinguish words. A few dialects of north China may have adenine few as three tones, while some dialects in south China have improving to 6 or 12 tones, depending on how one counts. One exception from this is Shanghainese which has reduced the set of tones to a two-toned pitch dialect system much like modern Japanese. A very coarse example used to illustrate the practice of tones in Chinese is the application of the four tones of Standard Chinese ( along with the neutral spirit ) to the syllable ma. The tones are exemplified by the postdate five chinese words :
ma. The four chief tones of Standard Mandarin, pronounced with the syllable

Examples of Standard Mandarin tones
Characters Pinyin Pitch contour Meaning
high level ‘mother’
high rising ‘hemp’
low falling-rising ‘horse’
high falling ‘scold’
ma neutral question particle

Standard Cantonese, in line, has six tones. Historically, finals that end in a stop consonant were considered to be “ check tones “ and therefore counted individually for a sum of nine tones. however, they are considered to be duplicates in advanced linguistics and are no long counted as such :

Examples of Standard Cantonese tones
Characters Jyutping Yale Pitch contour Meaning
si1 high level, high falling ‘poem’
si2 high rising ‘history’
si3 si mid level ‘to assassinate’
si4 sìh low falling ‘time’
si5 síh low rising ‘market’
si6 sih low level ‘yes’

grammar [edit ]

chinese is often described as a “ monosyllabic ” speech. however, this is lone partially correct. It is largely accurate when describing Classical Chinese and Middle Chinese ; in Classical Chinese, for example, possibly 90 % of words equate to a single syllable and a unmarried character. In the mod varieties, it is normally the case that a morpheme ( unit of measurement of mean ) is a single syllable ; in contrast, English has many multi-syllable morphemes, both bind and free, such as “ seven ”, “ elephant ”, “ para- ” and “ -able ”. Some of the button-down southerly varieties of modern Chinese have largely monosyllabic words, particularly among the more basic vocabulary. In modern Mandarin, however, most nouns, adjectives and verbs are largely disyllabic. A significant induce of this is phonological abrasion. legal transfer over time has steadily reduced the total of possible syllables. In modern Mandarin, there are now alone about 1,200 possible syllables, including tonal distinctions, compared with about 5,000 in vietnamese ( inactive largely monosyllabic ) and over 8,000 in English. [ vitamin e ] This phonological flop has led to a comparable increase in the number of homophones. As an case, the little Langenscheidt Pocket Chinese Dictionary [ 75 ] lists six words that are normally pronounced as shí ( tone 2 ) : 十 ‘ten ‘ ; 实/實 ‘real, actual ‘ ; 识/識 ‘know ( a person ), recognize ‘ ; 石 ‘stone ‘ ; 时/時 ‘time ‘ ; 食 ‘food, eat ‘. These were all pronounced differently in Early Middle Chinese ; in William H. Baxter ‘s transcription they were dzyip, zyit, syik, dzyek, dzyi and zyik respectively. They are inactive pronounced differently in today ‘s Cantonese ; in Jyutping they are sap9, sat9, sik7, sek9, si4, sik9. In modern speak Mandarin, however, fantastic ambiguity would result if all of these words could be used as-is ; Yuen Ren Chao ‘s modern poem Lion-Eating Poet in the Stone Den exploits this, consisting of 92 characters all pronounced shi. As such, most of these words have been replaced ( in speech, if not in writing ) with a longer, less-ambiguous colonial. lone the first one, 十 ‘ten ‘, normally appears as such when spoken ; the rest are normally replaced with, respectively, shíjì 实际/實際 ( ignite. ‘actual-connection ‘ ) ; rènshi 认识/認識 ( light. ‘recognize-know ‘ ) ; shítou 石头/石頭 ( ignite. ‘stone-head ‘ ) ; shíjiān 时间/時間 ( literature. ‘time-interval ‘ ) ; shíwù 食物 ( alight. ‘foodstuff ‘ ). In each case, the homophone was disambiguated by adding another morpheme, typically either a synonym or a generic bible of some sort ( for example, ‘head ‘, ‘thing ‘ ), the aim of which is plainly to indicate which of the potential meanings of the early, homophonic syllable should be selected. however, when one of the above words forms separate of a compound, the disambiguating syllable is by and large dropped and the result word is still disyllabic. For example, shí 石 alone, not shítou 石头/石頭, appears in compounds meaning ‘stone- ‘, for model, shígāo 石膏 ‘plaster ‘ ( ignite. ‘stone cream ‘ ), shíhuī 石灰 ‘lime ‘ ( ignite. ‘stone dust ‘ ), shíkū 石窟 ‘grotto ‘ ( illuminated. ‘stone cave ‘ ), shíyīng 石英 ‘quartz ‘ ( fall. ‘stone flower ‘ ), shíyóu 石油 ‘petroleum ‘ ( ignite. ‘stone oil ‘ ). Most modern varieties of Chinese have the tendency to form new words through disyllabic, trisyllabic and tetra-character compounds. In some cases, monosyllabic words have become disyllabic without compounding, as in kūlong 窟窿 from kǒng 孔 ; this is particularly common in Jin. chinese morphology is strictly bound to a set number of syllables with a fairly rigid structure. Although many of these single-syllable morphemes ( , 字 ) can stand alone as individual words, they more much than not form multi-syllabic compounds, known as ( 词/詞 ), which more closely resembles the traditional western impression of a discussion. A chinese ( ‘word ‘ ) can consist of more than one character-morpheme, normally two, but there can be three or more. For model :

All varieties of advanced Chinese are analytic languages, in that they depend on syntax ( word order and sentence structure ) rather than morphology —i.e., changes in phase of a word—to indicate the word ‘s function in a prison term. In other words, Chinese has very few grammatical inflections —it possesses no tenses, no voices, no numbers ( singular, plural ; though there are plural markers, for example for personal pronouns ), and only a few articles ( i, equivalents to “ the, a, an ” in English ). [ degree fahrenheit ] They make heavy manipulation of grammatical particles to indicate aspect and climate. In Mandarin Chinese, this involves the use of particles like le 了 ( perfective ), hái 还/還 ( ‘still ‘ ), yǐjīng 已经/已經 ( ‘already ‘ ), and so on. Chinese has a subject–verb–object parole arrange, and like many early languages of East Asia, makes frequent consumption of the topic–comment construction to form sentences. Chinese besides has an across-the-board system of classifiers and measurement words, another trait shared with neighbor languages like japanese and korean. other noteworthy grammatical features coarse to all the talk varieties of chinese include the use of consecutive verb construction, pronoun drop and the related subject drop. Although the grammars of the talk varieties share many traits, they do posse differences .

vocabulary [edit ]

The entire taiwanese character corpus since antiquity comprises well over 50,000 characters, of which alone roughly 10,000 are in use and merely about 3,000 are frequently used in chinese media and newspapers. [ 77 ] however chinese characters should not be confused with chinese words. Because most taiwanese words are made up of two or more characters, there are many more chinese words than characters. A more accurate equivalent for a chinese character is the morpheme, as characters represent the smallest grammatical units with individual meanings in the chinese linguistic process. Estimates of the sum numeral of chinese words and lexicalize phrases vary greatly. The Hanyu Da Zidian, a collection of chinese characters, includes 54,678 head entries for characters, including bone oracle versions. The Zhonghua Zihai ( 1994 ) contains 85,568 head entries for character definitions, and is the largest reference sour based strictly on character and its literary variants. The CC-CEDICT undertaking ( 2010 ) contains 97,404 contemporaneous entries including idioms, technology terms and names of political figures, businesses and products. The 2009 interpretation of the Webster ‘s Digital Chinese Dictionary ( WDCD ), [ 78 ] based on CC-CEDICT, contains over 84,000 entries. The most comprehensive examination pure linguistic Chinese-language dictionary, the 12-volume Hanyu Da Cidian, records more than 23,000 promontory taiwanese characters and gives over 370,000 definitions. The 1999 revised Cihai, a multi-volume encyclopedic dictionary reference work, gives 122,836 vocabulary submission definitions under 19,485 chinese characters, including proper names, phrases and common zoological, geographic, sociological, scientific and technical foul terms. The 7th ( 2016 ) version of Xiandai Hanyu Cidian, an authoritative one-volume dictionary on modern standard taiwanese speech as used in mainland China, has 13,000 head characters and defines 70,000 words .

Loanwords [edit ]

Like any other language, Chinese has absorbed a ample number of loanwords from early cultures. Most taiwanese words are formed out of native Chinese morphemes, including words describing imported objects and ideas. however, send phonetic borrow of foreign words has gone on since ancient times. Some early indo-european loanwords in Chinese have been proposed, notably 蜜 “ honey ”, 狮 / 獅 shī “ lion, ” and possibly besides 马 / 馬 “ knight ”, 猪 / 豬 zhū “ hog ”, 犬 quǎn “ frank ”, and 鹅 / 鵝 é “ goose ”. [ gigabyte ] Ancient words borrowed from along the Silk Road since Old Chinese include 葡萄 pútáo “ grapeshot “, 石榴 shíliu / shíliú “ pomegranate “ and 狮子/獅子 shīzi “ lion “. Some words were borrowed from Buddhist scriptures, including 佛 “ Buddha ” and 菩萨/菩薩 Púsà “ bodhisattva. ” other words came from mobile peoples to the union, such as 胡同 hútòng “ hutong “. Words borrowed from the peoples along the Silk Road, such as 葡萄 “ grapeshot, ” generally have iranian etymologies. Buddhist terminology is broadly derived from Sanskrit or Pāli, the liturgical languages of North India. Words borrowed from the mobile tribe of the Gobi, Mongolian or northeast regions by and large have Altaic etymologies, such as 琵琶 pípá, the Chinese lute, or 酪 lào / luò “ cheese ” or “ yogurt “, but from precisely which source is not always clear .

modern borrowings [edit ]

modern neologisms are chiefly translated into Chinese in one of three ways : free translation ( calque, or by meaning ), phonetic translation ( by legal ), or a combination of the two. nowadays, it is much more common to use existing chinese morphemes to coin new words to represent imported concepts, such as technical expressions and international scientific vocabulary. Any latin or greek etymologies are dropped and converted into the corresponding chinese characters ( for case, anti- typically becomes “ 反 ”, literally opposite ), making them more comprehensible for chinese but introducing more difficulties in understand foreign text. For example, the parole telephone was initially loaned phonetically as 德律风/德律風 ( Shanghainese : télífon [ təlɪfoŋ ], Mandarin : délǜfēng ) during the 1920s and widely used in Shanghai, but late 电话/電話 diànhuà ( alight. “ electric lecture ” ), built out of native Chinese morphemes, became prevailing ( 電話 is in fact from the japanese 電話 denwa ; see below for more japanese loans ). early examples include 电视/電視 diànshì ( literature. “ electric vision ” ) for television, 电脑/電腦 diànnǎo ( literature. “ electric genius ” ) for computer ; 手机/手機 shǒujī ( literature. “ hand machine ” ) for mobile call, 蓝牙/藍牙 lányá ( illuminated. “ blue tooth ” ) for Bluetooth, and 网志/網誌 wǎngzhì ( literature. “ internet logbook ” ) for web log in Hong Kong and Macau Cantonese. occasionally half-transliteration, half-translation compromises are accepted, such as 汉堡包/漢堡包 hànbǎobāo ( 漢堡 hànbǎo “ Hamburg ” + 包 bāo “ bun ” ) for “ ground beef ”. Sometimes translations are designed so that they sound like the original while incorporating chinese morphemes ( phono-semantic match ), such as 马利奥/馬利奧 Mǎlì’ào for the video game character Mario. This is much done for commercial purposes, for case 奔腾/奔騰 bēnténg ( alight. “ dashing-leaping ” ) for Pentium and 赛百味/賽百味 Sàibǎiwèi ( light up. “ better-than hundred tastes ” ) for Subway restaurants. Foreign words, chiefly proper nouns, continue to enter the chinese language by arrangement according to their pronunciations. This is done by employing chinese characters with similar pronunciations. For exemplar, “ Israel ” becomes 以色列 Yǐsèliè, “ Paris ” becomes 巴黎 Bālí. A rather minor total of direct transliterations have survived as common words, including 沙发/沙發 shāfā “ sofa ”, 马达/馬達 mǎdá “ motor ”, 幽默 yōumò “ humor ”, 逻辑/邏輯 luóji / luójí “ logic ”, 时髦/時髦 shímáo “ smart, stylish ”, and 歇斯底里 xiēsīdǐlǐ “ hysterics ”. The majority of these words were primitively coined in the Shanghai dialect during the early twentieth hundred and were late loaned into Mandarin, hence their pronunciations in Mandarin may be quite off from the English. For case, 沙发/沙發 “ sofa ” and 马达/馬達 “ drive ” in Shanghainese voice more like their english counterparts. yue differs from Mandarin with some transliterations, such as 梳化 so1 faa3*2 “ sofa ” and 摩打 mo1 daa2 “ centrifugal ”. western foreign words representing western concepts have influenced chinese since the twentieth hundred through recording. From french came 芭蕾 bālěi “ ballet ” and 香槟/香檳 xiāngbīn, “ champagne ” ; from italian, 咖啡 kāfēi “ caffè ”. english influence is peculiarly pronounced. From early twentieth century Shanghainese, many english words are borrowed, such as 高尔夫/高爾夫 gāoěrfū “ golf ” and the above-mentioned 沙发/沙發 shāfā “ sofa ”. Later, the United States soft influences gave emanation to 迪斯科 dísikē / dísīkē “ disco ”, 可乐/可樂 kělè “ colon ”, and 迷你 mínǐ “ mini [ skirt ] ”. Contemporary colloquial Cantonese has distinct loanwords from English, such as 卡通 kaa1 tung1 “ cartoon ”, 基佬 gei1 lou2 “ gay people ”, 的士 dik1 si6*2 “ taxi ”, and 巴士 baa1 si6*2 “ bus ”. With the rising popularity of the Internet, there is a current vogue in China for coining english transliterations, for exercise, 粉丝/粉絲 fěnsī “ fans ”, 黑客 hēikè “ hacker ” ( illuminated. “ black guest ” ), and 博客 bókè “ web log ”. In Taiwan, some of these transliterations are different, such as 駭客 hàikè for “ hack ” and 部落格 bùluògé for “ web log ” ( lighted. “ coordinated tribe ” ). Another result of the English influence on Chinese is the appearance in Modern Chinese text of alleged 字母词/字母詞 zìmǔcí ( unhorse. “ lettered words ” ) spelled with letters from the English rudiment. This has appeared in magazines, newspapers, on world wide web sites, and on television : 三G手机/三G手機 “ 3rd generation cell phones ” ( 三 sān “ three ” + G “ generation ” + 手机/手機 shǒujī “ mobile phones ” ), IT界 “ IT circles ” ( IT “ information technology ” + 界 jiè “ industry ” ), HSK ( Hànyǔ Shuǐpíng Kǎoshì, 汉语水平考试/漢語水平考試 ), GB ( Guóbiāo, 国标/國標 ), CIF价/CIF價 ( CIF “ Cost, Insurance, Freight ” + 价/價 jià “ price ” ), e家庭 “ e-home ” ( e “ electronic ” + 家庭 jiātíng “ home ” ), taiwanese : W时代/ chinese : W時代 “ radio era ” ( W “ radio ” + 时代/時代 shídài “ earned run average ” ), TV族 “ television watchers ” ( television “ television ” + 族 “ social group ; kin ” ), 后РС时代/後PC時代 “ post-PC earned run average ” ( 后/後 hòu “ after/post- ” + personal computer “ personal computer ” + 时代/時代 ), and so on. Since the twentieth hundred, another source of words has been japanese using existing kanji ( chinese characters used in japanese ). japanese re-molded european concepts and inventions into wasei-kango ( 和製漢語, lighted. “ Japanese-made Chinese ” ), and many of these words have been re-loaned into mod Chinese. other terms were coined by the japanese by giving raw senses to existing taiwanese terms or by referring to expressions used in classical taiwanese literature. For exemplar, jīngjì ( 经济/經濟 ; 経済 keizai in Japanese ), which in the original Chinese mean “ the workings of the state of matter ”, was narrowed to “ economy ” in japanese ; this narrowed definition was then reimported into chinese. As a consequence, these terms are virtually indistinguishable from native taiwanese words : indeed, there is some quarrel over some of these terms as to whether the japanese or taiwanese coined them first. As a result of this lend, Chinese, Korean, Japanese, and Vietnamese parcel a principal of linguistic terms describing modern terminology, paralleling the alike corpus of terms built from Greco-Latin and shared among european languages .

Writing system [edit ]

The chinese orthography centers on chinese characters, which are written within complex number square blocks, traditionally arranged in upright column, read from top to bottom down a column, and right to left across column, despite alternate musical arrangement with rows of characters from left to right within a row and from top to bottom across rows ( like English and early western writing systems ) having become more popular since the twentieth century. [ 80 ] chinese characters denote morpheme freelancer of phonetic pas seul in different languages. Thus the character 一 ( “ one ” ) is express in Standard Chinese, yat1 in yue and it in Hokkien ( imprint of Min ). Most written chinese documents in the modern time, specially the more formal ones, are created using the grammar and syntax of the Standard Mandarin Chinese variants, regardless of dialectic background of the author or targeted hearing. This replaced the old write linguistic process standard of Literary Chinese before the twentieth century. [ 81 ] however, vocabularies from different Chinese-speaking areas have diverged, and the deviation can be observed in written Chinese. [ 82 ] meanwhile, colloquial forms of versatile chinese language variants have besides been written down by their users, particularly in less conventional settings. The most big example of this is the written colloquial form of Cantonese, which has become quite popular in tabloids, instantaneous messaging applications, and on the internet amongst Hong-Kongers and Cantonese-speakers elsewhere. [ 83 ] Because some chinese variants have diverged and developed a number of alone morphemes that are not found in Standard Mandarin ( despite all early common morphemes ), singular characters rarely used in Standard Chinese have besides been created or inherited from archaic literary standard to represent these unique morphemes. For model, characters like 冇 and 係 for Cantonese and Hakka, are actively used in both languages while being considered archaic or unused in standard written Chinese. The Chinese had no uniform phonetic recording organization for most of its speakers until the mid-20th hundred, although enunciation patterns were recorded in early rhyme books and dictionaries. early indian translators, working in Sanskrit and Pali, were the foremost to attempt to describe the sounds and enunciation patterns of Chinese in a foreign language. After the fifteenth century, the efforts of Jesuits and western court missionaries resulted in some Latin character transcription/writing systems, based on diverse variants of chinese languages. Some of these Latin character based systems are still being used to write diverse taiwanese variants in the modern era. [ 84 ] In Hunan, women in certain areas write their local chinese speech form in Nü Shu, a syllabary derived from chinese characters. The Dungan language, considered by many a dialect of Mandarin, is nowadays written in Cyrillic, and was previously written in the Arabic script. The Dungan people are chiefly Muslim and hot chiefly in Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, and Russia ; some of the relate Hui people besides speak the language and live chiefly in China .

chinese characters [edit ]

永 ( meaning “ constantly ” ) is much used to illustrate the eight basic types of strokes of chinese characters. Each chinese character represents a monosyllabic chinese word or morpheme. In 100 CE, the celebrated Han dynasty scholar Xu Shen classified characters into six categories, namely pictograph, elementary ideogram, compound ideogram, phonetic loans, phonetic compounds and derived function characters. Of these, only 4 % were categorized as pictograph, including many of the simplest characters, such as rén 人 ( human ), 日 ( sun ), shān 山 ( mountain ; mound ), shuǐ 水 ( urine ). Between 80 % and 90 % were classified as phonetic compounds such as chōng 沖 ( pour ), combining a phonetic component zhōng 中 ( center ) with a semantic radical 氵 ( water ). Almost all characters created since have been made using this format. The 18th-century Kangxi Dictionary recognized 214 radicals. modern characters are styled after the regular script. respective early written styles are besides used in chinese calligraphy, including seal script, longhand script and clerical script. Calligraphy artists can write in traditional and simplified characters, but they tend to use traditional characters for traditional artwork. There are presently two systems for chinese characters. The traditional arrangement, used in Hong Kong, Taiwan, Macau and chinese speaking communities ( except Singapore and Malaysia ) outside mainland China, takes its form from standardized character forms dating back to the late Han dynasty. The Simplified Chinese character arrangement, introduced by the People ‘s Republic of China in 1954 to promote mass literacy, simplifies most complex traditional glyph to fewer strokes, many to coarse cursive shorthand variants. Singapore, which has a large Chinese community, was the second state to formally adopt simplified characters, although it has besides become the de facto standard for younger heathen Chinese in Malaysia. The Internet provides the platform to practice reading these alternative systems, be it traditional or simplified. Most chinese users in the modern era are adequate to of, although not inevitably comfortable with, reading ( but not writing ) the alternative system, through experience and guess. [ 85 ] A knowing chinese subscriber today recognizes approximately 4,000 to 6,000 characters ; approximately 3,000 characters are required to read a Mainland newspaper. The china government defines literacy amongst workers as a cognition of 2,000 characters, though this would be only functional literacy. School-children typically learn around 2,000 characters whereas scholars may memorize up to 10,000. [ 86 ] A big unabridged dictionary, like the Kangxi Dictionary, contains over 40,000 characters, including obscure, version, rare, and antediluvian characters ; fewer than a quarter of these characters are now normally used .

Romanization [edit ]




; Guóyǔ) written in Traditional and Simplified Chinese characters, followed by various romanizations. “ National speech ” ( ) written in Traditional and Simplified Chinese characters, followed by assorted romanizations. Romanization is the march of transcribing a language into the Latin script. There are many systems of romanization for the chinese varieties, ascribable to the miss of a native phonetic transcription until advanced times. Chinese is first known to have been written in Latin characters by westerly Christian missionaries in the sixteenth century. today the most common romanization standard for Standard Mandarin is Hanyu Pinyin, often known merely as pinyin, introduced in 1956 by the People ‘s Republic of China, and late adopted by Singapore and Taiwan. Pinyin is about universally employed immediately for teaching standard spoken chinese in schools and universities across the Americas, Australia, and Europe. chinese parents besides use Pinyin to teach their children the sounds and tones of new words. In school books that teach taiwanese, the Pinyin romanization is often shown below a mental picture of the thing the word represents, with the chinese character aboard. The second-most common romanization system, the Wade–Giles, was invented by Thomas Wade in 1859 and modified by Herbert Giles in 1892. As this system approximates the phonology of Mandarin Chinese into English consonants and vowels, i.e. it is largely an anglicization, it may be particularly helpful for founder chinese speakers of an english-speaking background. Wade–Giles was found in academic use in the United States, particularly before the 1980s, and until 2009 was widely used in Taiwan. When used within european textbook, the tone transcriptions in both pinyin and Wade–Giles are frequently left out for simplicity ; Wade–Giles ‘ across-the-board use of apostrophes is besides normally omitted. therefore, most western readers will be much more conversant with Beijing than they will be with Běijīng ( pinyin ), and with Taipei than T’ai²-pei³ ( Wade–Giles ). This simplification presents syllables as homophones which truly are none, and therefore exaggerates the count of homophones about by a factor of four. here are a few examples of Hanyu Pinyin and Wade–Giles, for comparison :
other systems of romanization for chinese include Gwoyeu Romatzyh, the french EFEO, the Yale arrangement ( invented during WWII for U.S. troops ), vitamin a well as separate systems for Cantonese, Min Nan, Hakka, and other chinese varieties .

other phonetic transcriptions [edit ]

taiwanese varieties have been phonetically transcribed into many other writing systems over the centuries. The ‘Phags-pa script, for example, has been identical helpful in reconstructing the pronunciations of premodern forms of Chinese. Zhuyin ( colloquially bopomofo ), a semi-syllabary is still widely used in Taiwan ‘s elementary schools to aid standard pronunciation. Although zhuyin characters are evocative of katakana script, there is no source to substantiate the call that Katakana was the basis for the zhuyin system. A comparison table of zhuyin to pinyin exists in the zhuyin article. Syllables based on pinyin and zhuyin can besides be compared by looking at the be articles :
There are besides at least two systems of cyrillization for Chinese. The most far-flung is the Palladius system .

As a extraneous terminology [edit ]

With the growing importance and influence of China ‘s economy globally, Mandarin instruction has been gaining popularity in schools throughout East Asia, Southeast Asia, and the western worldly concern. [ 87 ] Besides Mandarin, Cantonese is the only other taiwanese linguistic process that is wide taught as a extraneous speech, largely ascribable to the economic and cultural influence of Hong Kong and its widespread use among significant Overseas Chinese communities. [ 88 ] In 1991 there were 2,000 foreign learners taking China ‘s official chinese Proficiency Test ( besides known as HSK, comparable to the English Cambridge Certificate ), while in 2005, the act of candidates had risen precipitously to 117,660. [ 89 ]

See besides [edit ]

Notes [edit ]

References [edit ]

Citations [edit ]

Sources [edit ]

further reading [edit ]

  • Classical Chinese texts – Chinese Text Project
  • Marjorie Chan’s ChinaLinks Archived 20 July 2011 at the Wayback Machine at the Ohio State University with hundreds of links to Chinese related web pages

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