From Namespedia - Names Meaning and Origins
The chinese languages originally come from the indigenous languages spoken by the Han Chinese in China.There are eight main varieties of speech in China as dialects. But in fact they are as different from each other (mainly in pronunciation and vocabulary) as French or Spanish is from Italian.There is some controversy as whether or not there are true dialects, because a criteria often used by linguists is not applicable to these Chinese variations. According to the criteria of mutual intelligibility: if two speech varieties are mutually intelligible, they are different dialects of the same language, but if they are mutually unintelligible, they are different languages. The classification of the Sino-Tibetan family(one of the 2 major language families of chinese languages) is highly controversial. The Sinitic part of the name refers to the various Chinese languages (often referred to as dialects); the Tibetan part refers to several languages found mainly in Tibet, Burma, and nearby territories. The Sinitic languages are spoken by over 1 billion people. The vast majority of these are in China (over 980 million) and Taiwan (19 million), but also in South-east Asia, especially in Hong Kong, Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand, and Singapore. There are nearly 300 languages in the Tibeto- Burman family, and these have been classified in several different ways. In the present day there are frequent reference made to the names of several different (main) varieties of the Chinese language: Wén-yán (literary speech). The cultivated literary language, recorded from around 1,500BC. Bái-huà ('colloquial language'). A simplified, vernacular style of writing, introduced by the literary reformer Hu Shih in 1917. Pûtônghuà ('common language'). The variety chosen as a standard for the whole of China,it is generally referred to simply as 'Mandarin'.)It is now the most widely used form of spoken Chinese. Pin yin ('phonetic spelling'). After several previous attempts to write Chinese using the letters of the roman alphabet, this 58-symbol writing system was finally adopted in 1958. Wade-Giles.The oldest systems of romanization for Chinese in current use , introduced by Sir Thomas Wade in 1859, and developed by his successor in Chinese Studies at Cambridge University, Herbert Giles. But Pin yin has now become the dominant system.
Articles in category "Chinese"
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