Chinese language

Chinese language

Overview
:''Unless otherwise specified, Chinese texts in this article are written in ([[Simplified Chinese]]/[[Traditional Chinese]]; [[Pinyin]]) format. In cases where Simplified and Traditional Chinese scripts are identical, the Chinese term is written once.'' {{Chinese|title=Chinese languages (Spoken)|t=漢語|s=汉语|p=Hànyǔ|h=Hon Ngi|j=Hon3 jyu5|poj=Hàn-gí, Hàn-gú|wuu=hoe3 nyiu2|t2=華語|s2=华语|h2= Fa Ngi|p2=Huáyǔ|poj2=Hôa-gí, Hôa-gú|wuu2=gho1 nyiu2|j2=Waa4 jyu5}} {{Chinese|title=Chinese language (Written)|c=中文|h=Chung-Vun|p=Zhōngwén|poj=Tiong-bûn|wuu=tson1 ven1|j=Zung1 man2|l=Chinese [[text (literary theory)|text]]}} {{ChineseText}} [[File:Map of sinitic languages-en.svg|thumb|250px|The varieties of spoken Chinese {{Reference necessary|date=April 2011}} in [[East China|Eastern China]] and [[Taiwan]]]] The '''Chinese language''' ({{lang|zh|汉语}}/{{lang|zh|漢語}} ''Hànyǔ''; {{lang|zh|华语}}/{{lang|zh|華語}} ''Huáyǔ''; {{lang|zh|中文}} ''Zhōngwén'') is a [[language]] or [[language family]] consisting of [[Variety (linguistics)|varieties]] which are [[Mutual intelligibility|mutually intelligible]] to varying degrees.
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:''Unless otherwise specified, Chinese texts in this article are written in ([[Simplified Chinese]]/[[Traditional Chinese]]; [[Pinyin]]) format. In cases where Simplified and Traditional Chinese scripts are identical, the Chinese term is written once.'' {{Chinese|title=Chinese languages (Spoken)|t=漢語|s=汉语|p=Hànyǔ|h=Hon Ngi|j=Hon3 jyu5|poj=Hàn-gí, Hàn-gú|wuu=hoe3 nyiu2|t2=華語|s2=华语|h2= Fa Ngi|p2=Huáyǔ|poj2=Hôa-gí, Hôa-gú|wuu2=gho1 nyiu2|j2=Waa4 jyu5}} {{Chinese|title=Chinese language (Written)|c=中文|h=Chung-Vun|p=Zhōngwén|poj=Tiong-bûn|wuu=tson1 ven1|j=Zung1 man2|l=Chinese [[text (literary theory)|text]]}} {{ChineseText}} [[File:Map of sinitic languages-en.svg|thumb|250px|The varieties of spoken Chinese {{Reference necessary|date=April 2011}} in [[East China|Eastern China]] and [[Taiwan]]]] The '''Chinese language''' ({{lang|zh|汉语}}/{{lang|zh|漢語}} ''Hànyǔ''; {{lang|zh|华语}}/{{lang|zh|華語}} ''Huáyǔ''; {{lang|zh|中文}} ''Zhōngwén'') is a [[language]] or [[language family]] consisting of [[Variety (linguistics)|varieties]] which are [[Mutual intelligibility|mutually intelligible]] to varying degrees. Originally the indigenous languages spoken by the [[Han Chinese]] in [[China]], it forms one of the branches of [[Sino-Tibetan languages|Sino-Tibetan family]] of languages. About one-fifth of the world’s population, or over one [[1,000,000,000 (number)|billion]] people, speaks some variety of Chinese as their [[native language]]. [[Varieties of Chinese|Internal divisions of Chinese]] are usually perceived by their native speakers as [[dialects]] of a single Chinese language, rather than separate languages, although this identification is considered inappropriate by some linguists and [[Sinologist]]s. Chinese is distinguished by its high level of internal diversity, although all [[varieties of Chinese]] are [[tone (linguistics)|tonal]] and [[Analytic language|analytic]]. There are between 7 and 13 main regional groups of Chinese (depending on classification scheme), of which the most spoken, by far, is [[Mandarin Chinese|Mandarin]] (about 850 million), followed by [[Wu Chinese|Wu]] (90 million), [[Yue Chinese|Cantonese (Yue)]] (70 million) and [[Min Chinese|Min]] (50 million). Most of these groups are mutually unintelligible, although some, like [[Xiang Chinese|Xiang]] and the Southwest Mandarin dialects, may share common terms and some degree of intelligibility. [[Standard Chinese]] ''(Putonghua / Guoyu / Huayu)'' is a standardized form of spoken Chinese based on the [[Beijing dialect]] of [[Mandarin Chinese]], referred to as {{lang|zh|官话}}/{{lang|zh|官話}} ''Guānhuà'' or {{lang|zh|北方话}}/{{lang|zh|北方話}} ''Běifānghuà'' in Chinese. Standard Chinese is the official language of the [[People's Republic of China]] (PRC) and the [[Republic of China]] (ROC, also known as [[Taiwan]]), as well as one of four official languages of [[Singapore]]. It is one of the six official languages of the [[United Nations]]. Of the other varieties of Chinese, [[Cantonese]] is influential in Guangdong Province and Cantonese-speaking overseas communities, and remains one of the official languages of [[Hong Kong]] (together with [[English language|English]]) and of [[Macau]] (together with [[Portuguese language|Portuguese]]). [[Min Nan]], part of the Min language group, is widely spoken in southern [[Fujian]], in neighbouring Taiwan (where it is known as [[Taiwanese Hokkien|Taiwanese]] or Hoklo) and in [[Southeast Asia]] (known as [[Hokkien]] in [[Philippines]], [[Singapore]] and [[Malaysia]]). There are also sizeable [[Hakka language|Hakka]] and [[Shanghainese]] [[diaspora]], for example in Taiwan, where most Hakka communities maintain [[diglossia]] by being conversant in Taiwanese and Standard Chinese. The term sinophone, coined in analogy to [[English-speaking world|anglophone]] and [[francophone]], refers to those who speak the Chinese language natively, or prefer it as a medium of communication. The term is derived from [[Sinae]], the Latin word for ancient China. ==Varieties of Chinese== {{Main|Varieties of Chinese}} A map below depicts the linguistic subdivisions ("languages" or "dialect groups") within China itself. The traditionally recognized seven main groups, in order of population size are{{Citation needed|date=April 2011}}: {| class="wikitable sortable" style="font-size:90%;" align=center !align="left" width="180"|Name !align="left" width="60"|Abbreviation !align="left" width="80"|[[Pinyin]] !align="left" width="200"|Local [[Romanization of Chinese|Romanization]] !align="left" width="60"|[[Simplified Chinese|Simp.]] !align="left" width="60"|[[Traditional Chinese|Trad.]] !align="left" width="100"|Total
Speakers |- |rowspan=2|[[Mandarin Chinese|Mandarin]]
Notes: includes [[Standard Chinese]] |rowspan=2|Guan; {{lang|zh|官}} |Guānhuà |[[Pinyin]]: Guānhuà |{{lang|zh|官话}} |{{lang|zh|官話}} |rowspan=2|c. 1.365 billion |- |Běifānghuà |[[Pinyin]]: Běifānghuà |{{lang|zh|北方话}} |{{lang|zh|北方話}} |- |[[Wu Chinese|Wu]]
Notes: includes [[Shanghainese dialect|Shanghainese]] |Wu; {{lang|zh|吴}}/{{lang|zh|吳}} |Wúyǔ |[[Long-short (romanization)|Long-short]]: Ng Nyiu ''or'' Ghu Nyiu |{{lang|zh|吴语}} |{{lang|zh|吳語}} |c. 90 million |- |[[Yue Chinese|Yue]]
Notes: includes [[Cantonese]] & [[Taishanese]] |Yue; {{lang|zh|粤}}/{{lang|zh|粵}} |Yuèyǔ |[[Yale Romanization#Cantonese|Yale]]: Yuht Yúh
[[Jyutping]]: Jyut6 Jyu5 |{{lang|zh|粤语}} |{{lang|zh|粵語}} |c. 70 million |- |[[Min Chinese|Min]]
Notes: includes [[Hokkien]], [[Taiwanese Hokkien|Taiwanese]] & [[Teochew dialect|Teochew]] | Min; {{lang|zh|闽}}/{{lang|zh|閩}} |Mǐnyǔ |[[Pe̍h-ōe-jī|POJ]]: Bân Gú;
[[Bàng-uâ-cê|BUC]]: {{unicode|Mìng Ngṳ̄}} |{{lang|zh|闽语}} |{{lang|zh|閩語}} |c. 50 million |- |[[Xiang Chinese|Xiang]] |Xiang; {{lang|zh|湘}} |Xiāngyǔ |[[Xiang Chinese|Romanization]]: Shiāen'ỳ |{{lang|zh|湘语}} |{{lang|zh|湘語}} |c. 35 million |- |rowspan=2|[[Hakka Chinese|Hakka]] |rowspan=2|Kejia; {{lang|zh|客家}} |Kèjiāhuà |[[Guangdong Romanization#Hakka|Hakka Pinyin]]: Hak-kâ-fa ''or'' Hak-kâ-va |{{lang|zh|客家话}} |{{lang|zh|客家話}} |rowspan=2|c. 35 million |- |Kèhuà |[[Guangdong Romanization#Hakka|Hakka Pinyin]]: Hak-fa ''or'' Hak-va |{{lang|zh|客话}} |{{lang|zh|客話}} |- |[[Gan Chinese|Gan]] |Gan; {{lang|zh|贛}} |Gànyǔ |[[Gan Chinese|Romanization]]: Gon Ua |{{lang|zh|赣语}} |{{lang|zh|贛語}} |c. 31 million |} Disputed classifications by some Chinese linguists{{By whom|date=April 2011}}: {| class="wikitable sortable" style="font-size:90%;" align=center !align="left" width="180"|Name !align="left" width="60"|Abbreviation !align="left" width="80"|[[Pinyin]] !align="left" width="200"|Local [[Romanization of Chinese|Romanization]] !align="left" width="60"|[[Simplified Chinese|Simp.]] !align="left" width="60"|[[Traditional Chinese|Trad.]] !align="left" width="100"|Total
Speakers |- |[[Jin Chinese|Jin]]
Notes: from Mandarin |Jin; {{lang|zh|晋}}/{{lang|zh|晉}} |Jìnyǔ |None |{{lang|zh|晋语}} |{{lang|zh|晉語}} |45 million |- |rowspan=2|[[Huizhou Chinese|Huizhou]]
Notes: from Wu |rowspan=2|Hui; {{lang|zh|徽}} |Huīhuà |rowspan=2|None |{{lang|zh|徽话}} |{{lang|zh|徽話}} |rowspan=2|~3.2 million |- |Huīzhōuhuà |{{lang|zh|徽州话}} |{{lang|zh|徽州話}} |- |rowspan=2|[[Pinghua]]
Notes: from Yue |rowspan=2|Ping; {{lang|zh|平}} |Pínghuà |rowspan=2|None |{{lang|zh|平话}} |{{lang|zh|平話}} |rowspan=2|~5 million |- |Guǎngxī Pínghuà |{{lang|zh|广西平话}} |{{lang|zh|廣西平話}} |} There are groups that are not yet classified, such as: [[Danzhou dialect]] ({{lang|zh|儋州话}}/{{lang|zh|儋州話}}), spoken in [[Danzhou]], on [[Hainan]] Island; [[Xianghua]] ({{lang|zh|乡话}}/{{lang|zh|鄉話}}), not to be confused with Xiang ({{lang|zh|湘}}), spoken in western [[Hunan]]; and [[Shaozhou Tuhua]] ({{lang|zh|韶州土话}}/{{lang|zh|韶州土話}}), spoken in northern [[Guangdong]]. The [[Dungan language]], spoken in [[Central Asia]], is very closely related to Mandarin. However, it is politically not generally considered "Chinese" since it is written in [[Cyrillic]] and spoken by [[Dungan people]] outside [[China]] who are not considered ethnic [[Overseas Chinese|Chinese]]. In general, the above language-dialect groups do not have sharp boundaries, though Mandarin is the predominant Sinitic language in the North and the Southwest, and the rest are mostly spoken in Central or Southeastern China. Frequently, as in the case of the [[Guangdong]] province, native speakers of major variants overlap. As with many areas that were linguistically diverse for a long time, it is not always clear how the speeches of various parts of China should be classified. The [[Ethnologue]] lists a total of [http://www.ethnologue.com/show_family.asp?subid=90151 14], but the number varies between seven and 17 depending on the classification scheme followed. For instance, the Min variety is often divided into Northern Min (Minbei, Fuchow) and Southern Min (Minnan, Amoy-Swatow); linguists have not determined whether their mutual intelligibility is small enough to sort them as separate languages. Generally, mountainous South China displays more linguistic diversity than the flat North China. In parts of South China, a major city's dialect may only be marginally intelligible to close neighbours. For instance, [[Wuzhou]] is about 120 miles upstream from [[Guangzhou]], but its dialect is more like that of Guangzhou than is that of [[Taishan]], 60 miles southwest of Guangzhou and separated by several rivers from it (Ramsey, 1987). ===Standard Chinese and diglossia=== {{Main|Standard Chinese}} [[Standard Chinese|Putonghua / Guoyu]], often called "Mandarin", is the official [[standard language]] used by the [[People's Republic of China]], the [[Republic of China]] (Taiwan), and [[Singapore]] (where it is called "Huayu"). It is based on the [[Beijing dialect]], which is the dialect of [[Mandarin Chinese|Mandarin]] as spoken in [[Beijing]]. The government intends 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 language of instruction in schools. In [[mainland China]] and Taiwan, [[diglossia]] has been a common feature: it is common for a Chinese to be able to speak two or even three varieties of the Sinitic languages (or “dialects”) together with Standard Chinese. For example, in addition to ''putonghua'', a resident of [[Shanghai]] might speak [[Shanghainese dialect|Shanghainese]]; and, if he or she grew up elsewhere, then he or she may also be likely to be fluent in the particular dialect of that local area. A native of [[Guangzhou]] may speak both Cantonese and ''putonghua'', a resident of Taiwan, both [[Taiwanese Hokkien|Taiwanese]] and ''putonghua/guoyu''. A person living in [[Taiwan]] may commonly mix pronunciations, phrases, and words from Mandarin and [[Taiwanese Hokkien|Taiwanese]], and this mixture is considered normal under most circumstances. In [[Hong Kong]], Mandarin is beginning to take its place beside [[English language|English]] and [[Hong Kong Cantonese|Cantonese]], the other official languages.{{Citation needed|date=August 2010}} ===Linguistics=== {{Unreferenced section|date=August 2011}} Linguists often view Chinese as a [[language family]], though owing to China's socio-political and cultural situation, and the fact that all spoken varieties use one common written system, it is customary to refer to these generally mutually unintelligible variants as "the Chinese language". The diversity of Sinitic variants is comparable to the [[Romance languages]]. In [[linguistics]] there is no single definition of the [[Dialect#language/dialect|distinction between languages and dialects]], and for many linguists the distinction is unimportant. However, the idea of a single language has major overtones in politics and cultural self-identity, and explains the amount of emotion over this issue. Most Chinese and Chinese linguists refer to Chinese as a single language and its subdivisions dialects, while others call Chinese a language family.{{Citation needed|date=August 2011}} Chinese itself has a term for its unified writing system, ''Zhongwen'' ({{lang|zh|中文}}), while the closest equivalent used to describe its spoken variants would be ''Hanyu'' ({{lang|zh|汉语}}/{{lang|zh|漢語}}, "spoken language[s] of the [[Han Chinese]]")—this term could be translated to either "language" or "languages" since Chinese possesses no [[grammatical number]]s. For centuries in China, owing to the widespread use of a written standard in [[Classical Chinese]], there is much less necessity to maintain a uniform speech-and-writing continuum, as indicated by the employment of two separate character morphemes {{lang|zh|语}}/{{lang|zh|語}} ''yu'' and {{lang|zh|文}} ''wen''. The character morphemes used in [[written Chinese]] are [[logograph]]s that convey semantics graphically rather than [[phonology|phonologically]], although some logographs are compounds conveying both semantic meaning (the "[[Radical (Chinese character)|radical]]") and phonological information. Ethnic Chinese often consider these spoken variations as one single language for reasons of [[nationality]] and as they inherit one common cultural and linguistic heritage in [[Classical Chinese]]. Han native speakers of Wu, Min, Hakka, and Cantonese, for instance, may consider their own linguistic varieties as separate spoken languages, but the [[Han Chinese]] as one—albeit internally very diverse—ethnicity. To Chinese nationalists, the idea of Chinese as a language family may suggest that the Chinese identity is much more fragmented and disunified than it actually is and as such is often looked upon as culturally and politically provocative. Additionally, in [[Taiwan]], it is closely associated with [[Taiwanese independence]], where some supporters of Taiwanese independence promote the local Taiwanese [[Minnan]]-based spoken language. Within the People's Republic of China and Singapore, it is common for the government to refer to all divisions of the Sinitic language(s) beside Standard Chinese as ''fangyan'' (“regional tongues”, often translated as "[[dialect]]s"). Modern-day Chinese speakers of all kinds communicate using [[Vernacular Chinese|one formal standard written language]], although this modern written standard is modeled after Mandarin, generally the modern Beijing dialect. ==Writing== {{Main|Written Chinese}} The relationship between the Chinese spoken and written language is rather complex. Its spoken varieties evolved at different rates, while written Chinese itself has changed much less. [[Classical Chinese]] [[literature]] began in the [[Spring and Autumn period]], although written records have been discovered as far back as the 14th to 11th centuries BCE [[Shang dynasty]] [[oracle bone]]s using the [[oracle bone script]]s. The Chinese [[orthography]] centers on Chinese characters, ''hanzi'', which are written within imaginary rectangular blocks, traditionally arranged in vertical columns, read from top to bottom down a column, and right to left across columns. Chinese characters are [[morpheme]]s independent of phonetic change. Thus the number "one", ''yi'' in [[Mandarin Chinese|Mandarin]], ''jat'' in [[Yue Chinese|Cantonese]] and ''chi̍t'' in [[Hokkien dialect|Hokkien]] (form of Min), all share an identical character ("一"). Vocabularies from different major Chinese variants have diverged, and colloquial non-standard written Chinese often makes use of unique "dialectal characters", such as 冇 and 係 for [[Yue Chinese|Cantonese]] and [[Hakka Chinese|Hakka]], which are considered archaic or unused in standard written Chinese. Written colloquial Cantonese has become quite popular in online [[chat room]]s and [[instant messaging]] amongst Hong-Kongers and Cantonese-speakers elsewhere. Use of it is considered highly informal, and does not extend to many formal occasions. In [[Hunan]], women in certain areas write their local language in [[Nü Shu]], a [[syllabary]] derived from [[Chinese character]]s. The [[Dungan language]], considered by many a dialect of Mandarin, is nowadays written in [[Cyrillic]], and was previously written in the [[Arabic alphabet]]. The [[Dungan people]] live outside [[China]]. ===Chinese characters=== {{Main|Chinese character}} Chinese characters evolved over time from earlier forms of [[hieroglyph]]s. The idea that all Chinese characters are either [[pictograph]]s or [[ideograph]]s is an erroneous one: most characters contain phonetic parts, and are composites of phonetic components and semantic [[Radical (Chinese character)|radicals]]. Only the simplest characters, such as ''ren'' 人 (human), ''ri'' 日 (sun), ''shan'' 山 (mountain; hill), ''shui'' 水 (water), may be wholly pictorial in origin. In 100 CE, the famed scholar [[Xu Shen|''Xǔ Shèn'']] in the [[Han Dynasty|Hàn Dynasty]] classified characters into six categories, namely pictographs, simple ideographs, compound ideographs, phonetic loans, phonetic compounds and derivative characters. Of these, only 4% were categorized as pictographs, and 80–90% as phonetic complexes consisting of a ''semantic'' element that indicates meaning, and a ''phonetic'' element that indicates the pronunciation. There are about 214 [[Radical (Chinese character)|radicals]] recognized in the [[Kangxi Dictionary]]. Modern characters are styled after the [[kaishu|regular script]] (楷书/楷書 ''kǎishū'') (see styles, below). Various other written styles are also used in [[East Asian calligraphy]], including [[seal script]] (篆书/篆書 zhuànshū), [[cursive script (East Asia)|cursive script]] (草书/草書 cǎoshū) and [[clerical script]] (隶书/隸書 lìshū). Calligraphy artists can write in traditional and simplified characters, but tend to use traditional characters for traditional art. [[File:XingshuLantingxv.jpg|thumb|250px|left|"[[Lantingji Xu|Preface to the Poems Composed at the Orchid Pavilion]]" by [[Wang Xizhi]], written in [[Semi-cursive script|semi-cursive style]]]] There are currently two systems for Chinese characters. The [[Traditional Chinese character|traditional system]], still 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]] system, developed by the People's Republic of China in 1954 to promote mass [[literacy]], simplifies most complex traditional [[glyph]]s to fewer strokes, many to common ''[[caoshu]]'' [[shorthand]] variants. [[Singapore]], which has a large Chinese community, is the first—and at present the only—foreign nation to officially adopt simplified characters, although it has also become the ''de facto'' standard for younger ethnic Chinese in [[Malaysia]]. The [[Internet]] provides the platform to practice reading the alternative system, be it traditional or simplified. A well-educated Chinese reader today recognizes approximately 5,000–7,000 characters; approximately 3,000 characters are required to read a [[Newspapers of the People's Republic of China|Mainland newspaper]]. The PRC government defines literacy amongst workers as a knowledge of 2,000 characters, though this would be only functional literacy. A large unabridged [[dictionary]], like the [[Kangxi Dictionary]], contains over 40,000 characters, including obscure, variant, rare, and archaic characters; fewer than a quarter of these characters are now commonly used. ==History== {{History of China}} {{Main|History of the Chinese language}} Most linguists classify all varieties of modern spoken Chinese as part of the Sino-Tibetan [[language family]] and believe that there was an original language, termed [[Proto-Sino-Tibetan]], from which the Sinitic and Tibeto-Burman languages descended. The relation between Chinese and other Sino-Tibetan languages is an area of active research, as is the attempt to reconstruct Proto-Sino-Tibetan. The main difficulty in this effort is that, while there is enough documentation to allow one to reconstruct the ancient Chinese sounds, there is no written documentation that records the division between Proto-Sino-Tibetan and ancient Chinese. In addition, many of the older languages that would allow us to reconstruct Proto-Sino-Tibetan are very poorly understood and many of the techniques developed for analysis of the descent of the ([[fusional language|fusional]]) Indo-European languages from [[Proto-Indo-European language|PIE]] do not apply to Chinese, an [[isolating language]] because of "[[morphology (linguistics)|morphological]] paucity" especially after Old Chinese. Categorization of the development of Chinese is a subject of scholarly debate. One of the first systems was devised by the [[Sweden|Swedish]] linguist [[Bernhard Karlgren]] in the early 1900s; most present systems rely heavily on Karlgren's insights and methods. [[Old Chinese]], sometimes known as "Archaic Chinese", was the language common during the early and middle [[Zhou Dynasty]] (1122 BCE–256 BCE), texts of which include inscriptions on bronze artifacts, the poetry of the ''[[Shijing|Shījīng]],'' the history of the ''[[Shujing|Shūjīng]],'' and portions of the ''[[Yijing|Yìjīng]]'' (''I Ching''). The phonetic elements found in the majority of Chinese characters provide hints to their Old Chinese pronunciations. The pronunciation of the borrowed Chinese characters in Japanese, Vietnamese and Korean also provide valuable insights. Old Chinese was not wholly uninflected. It possessed a rich sound system in which [[Aspiration (phonetics)|aspiration]] or rough breathing differentiated the consonants, but probably was still without tones. Work on reconstructing Old Chinese started with [[Qing dynasty|Qīng dynasty]] [[philologist]]s. Some early [[Indo-European]] loan-words in Chinese have been proposed, notably [[:wikt:蜜|蜜]] ''mì'' "honey", [[:wikt:獅|獅]] ''shī'' "lion," and perhaps also [[:wikt:馬|馬]] ''mǎ'' "horse", [[:wikt:犬|犬]] ''quǎn'' "dog", and [[:wikt:鵝|鵝]] ''é'' "goose". The source says the reconstructions of old Chinese are tentative, and not definitive so no conclusions should be drawn. The reconstruction of Old Chinese can not be perfect so this hypothesis may be called into question. The source also notes that southern dialects of Chinese have more monosyllabic words than the Mandarin Chinese dialects. [[Middle Chinese]] was the language used during [[Southern and Northern Dynasties]] and the [[Sui dynasty|Suí]], [[Tang dynasty|Táng]], and [[Song dynasty|Sòng]] dynasties (6th through 10th centuries CE). It can be divided into an early period, reflected by the "[[Qieyun|Qiēyùn]]" [[rime book]] (601 CE), and a late period in the 10th century, reflected by the "[[Guangyun|Guǎngyùn]]" [[rime book]]. Linguists are more confident of having reconstructed how Middle Chinese sounded. The evidence for the pronunciation of Middle Chinese comes from several sources: modern dialect variations, rhyming dictionaries, foreign transliterations, "rhyming tables" constructed by ancient Chinese philologists to summarize the phonetic system, and Chinese phonetic translations of foreign words. However, all reconstructions are tentative; some scholars have argued that trying to reconstruct, say, modern Cantonese from modern [[Cantopop]] rhymes would give a fairly inaccurate picture of the present-day spoken language. The development of the spoken Chinese languages from early historical times to the present has been complex. Most Chinese people, in [[Sichuan|Sìchuān]] and in a broad arc from the north-east ([[Manchuria]]) to the south-west ([[Yunnan]]), use various Mandarin dialects as their [[home language]]. The prevalence of Mandarin throughout northern China is largely due to north China's plains. By contrast, the mountains and rivers of middle and southern China promoted linguistic diversity. Until the mid-20th century, most southern Chinese only spoke their native local variety of Chinese. As Nanjing was the [[Capital (political)|capital]] during the early [[Ming Dynasty]], Nanjing Mandarin became dominant at least until the later years of the [[Qing Dynasty]]. Since the 17th century, the Qing Dynasty had set up [[orthoepy]] academies (正音书院/正音書院; Zhèngyīn Shūyuàn) to make pronunciation conform to the standard of the capital Beijing. For the general population, however, this had limited effect. The non-Mandarin speakers in southern China also continued to use their various languages for every aspect of life. The Beijing Mandarin court standard was used solely by officials and civil servants and was thus fairly limited. This situation did not change until the mid-20th century with the creation (in both the PRC and the ROC, but not in Hong Kong) of a compulsory educational system committed to teaching Mandarin. As a result, Mandarin is now spoken by virtually all young and middle-aged citizens of [[mainland China]] and on [[Taiwan]]. [[Standard Cantonese|Cantonese]], not Mandarin, was used in [[Hong Kong]] during the time of its British colonial period (owing to its large Cantonese native and migrant populace) and remains today its official language of education, formal speech, and daily life, but Mandarin is becoming increasingly influential after the [[Transfer of the sovereignty of Hong Kong|1997 handover]]. Classical Chinese was once the [[lingua franca]] in neighbouring East Asian countries such as [[Japan]], [[Korea]] and [[Vietnam]] for centuries, before the rise of European influences in the 19th century. In Korea and Vietnam official documents were written in Chinese until the colonial period. ==Influences== Throughout history [[Chinese culture]] and politics has had a great influence on unrelated languages such as [[Korean language|Korean]], [[Japanese language|Japanese]], and [[Vietnamese language|Vietnamese]]. . Korean and Japanese both have writing systems employing [[Chinese character]]s (''hanzi''), which are called [[Hanja]] and [[Kanji]], respectively. The Vietnamese term for Chinese writing is [[Hán tự]]. It was the only available method for writing Vietnamese until the 14th century, used almost exclusively by Chinese-educated Vietnamese élites. From the 14th to the late 19th century, Vietnamese was written with [[Chữ nôm]], a modified Chinese script incorporating sounds and syllables for native Vietnamese speakers. Chữ nôm was completely replaced by a modified Latin script created by the [[Jesuit]] missionary priest [[Alexander de Rhodes]], which incorporates a system of [[diacritical mark]]s to indicate tones, as well as modified consonants. Approximately 60% of the modern Vietnamese lexicon is recognized as [[Sino-Vietnamese vocabulary|Hán-Việt (Sino-Vietnamese)]], the majority of which was borrowed from Middle Chinese. In [[South Korea]], the [[Hangul]] alphabet is generally used, but [[Hanja]] is used as a sort of boldface. In [[North Korea]], [[Hanja]] has been discontinued. Since the modernization of Japan in the late 19th century, there has been debate about abandoning the use of Chinese characters, but the practical benefits of a radically new script have so far not been considered sufficient. Derived Chinese characters or [[Sawndip]] are used to write [[Zhuang languages|Zhuang]] songs, even though Zhuang is not a Chinese dialect. Since the 1950s, the Zhuang language has been written in a modified Latin alphabet. Languages within the influence of Chinese culture also have a very large number of [[loanword]]s from Chinese. Fifty percent or more of [[Sino-Korean vocabulary|Korean vocabulary is of Chinese origin]], likewise for a significant percentage of [[Sino-Japanese vocabulary|Japanese]] and [[Sino-Vietnamese vocabulary|Vietnamese]] vocabulary. Loan words from Chinese also exist in European languages [[List of English words of Chinese origin|such as English]]. Examples of such words are "[[tea]]" from the Minnan pronunciation of 茶 ([[POJ]]: tê), "[[ketchup]]" from the Cantonese pronunciation of 茄汁 (Jyutping: ke2 zap1) and "[[kumquat]]" from the Cantonese pronunciation of (Jyutping: gam1 gwat1). ==Phonology== {{IPA notice}} {{Main|Chinese spoken language}} The [[phonology|phonological]] structure of each syllable consists of a [[syllable nucleus|nucleus]] consisting of a [[vowel]] (which can be a [[monophthong]], [[diphthong]], or even a [[triphthong]] in certain varieties) with an optional [[syllable onset|onset]] or [[syllable coda|coda]] [[consonant]] as well as a [[tone (linguistics)|tone]]. There are some instances where a vowel is not used as a nucleus. An example of this is in [[Yue Chinese|Cantonese]], where the [[nasal consonant|nasal]] [[sonorant]] consonants {{IPA|/m/}} and {{IPA|/ŋ/}} can stand alone as their own syllable. Across all the spoken varieties, most syllables tend to be open syllables, meaning they have no coda, but syllables that do have codas are restricted to {{IPA|/m/}}, {{IPA|/n/}}, {{IPA|/ŋ/}}, {{IPA|/p/}}, {{IPA|/t/}}, {{IPA|/k/}}, or {{IPA|/ʔ/}}. Some varieties allow most of these codas, whereas others, such as [[Mandarin Chinese|Mandarin]], are limited to only two, namely {{IPA|/n/}} and {{IPA|/ŋ/}}. [[Consonant cluster]]s do not generally occur in either the onset or coda. The onset may be an [[affricate consonant|affricate]] or a consonant followed by a [[semivowel]], but these are not generally considered consonant clusters. The number of sounds in the different spoken dialects varies, but in general there has been a tendency 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 other spoken varieties. The total number of syllables in some varieties is therefore only about a thousand, including tonal variation, which is only about an eighth as many as English. All varieties of spoken Chinese use [[tone (linguistics)|tones]]. A few dialects of north China may have as few as three tones, while some dialects in south China have up to 6 or 10 tones, depending on how one counts. One exception from this is [[Shanghainese dialect|Shanghainese]] which has reduced the set of tones to a two-toned [[pitch accent]] system much like modern Japanese. A very common example used to illustrate the use of tones in Chinese are four tones of [[Standard Chinese]] applied to the syllable "ma." The tones correspond to these five [[Chinese character|characters]]: {{Ruby notice}} "mother"—'''high level''' "linen" or "numb"—'''high rising''' "horse"—'''low falling-rising''' "scold"—'''high falling''' "question particle"—'''neutral''' {{Listen|filename=zh-pinyin_tones_with_ma.ogg|title=Listen to the tones|description=This is a recording of the four main tones. Fifth, or neutral, tone is not included.}} ==Phonetic transcriptions== The Chinese had no uniform phonetic transcription system until the mid-20th century, although enunciation patterns were recorded in early [[rime book]]s and dictionaries. Early [[India]]n translators, working in [[Sanskrit]] and [[Pali]], were the first to attempt to describe the sounds and enunciation patterns of Chinese in a foreign language. After the 15th century, the efforts of Jesuits and Western court missionaries resulted in some rudimentary Latin transcription systems, based on the [[Nanjing Mandarin]] dialect. ===Romanization=== [[File:Gwoyu.svg|thumb|right|100px|"National language" (國語; ''Guóyǔ'') written in Traditional and Simplified Chinese characters, followed by various romanizations.]] {{See also|Chinese language romanisation in Singapore|Romanization of Mandarin Chinese}} [[Romanization]] is the process of transcribing a language in the [[Latin alphabet]]. There are many systems of romanization for the Chinese languages due to the lack of a native phonetic transcription until modern times. Chinese is first known to have been written in Latin characters by Western [[Christianity in China|Christian missionaries]] in the 16th century. Today the most common romanization standard for Standard Chinese is ''[[Hanyu Pinyin]]'', often known simply as pinyin, introduced in 1956 by the [[People's Republic of China]], and later adopted by [[Singapore]] and [[Taiwan]]. Pinyin is almost universally employed now for teaching standard spoken Chinese in schools and universities across [[Americas|America]], [[Australia]] and [[Europe]]. Chinese parents also use Pinyin to teach their children the sounds and tones of new words. In school books that teach Chinese, the Pinyin romanization is often shown below a picture of the thing the word represents, with the Chinese character alongside. 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 an [[Anglicization]], it may be particularly helpful for beginner Chinese speakers of an English-speaking background. Wade-Giles was found in academic use in the [[United States]], particularly before the 1980s, and until recently{{when|date=February 2011}} was widely used in Taiwan. When used within European texts, the [[Tone (linguistics)|tone]] transcriptions in both pinyin and Wade-Giles are often left out for simplicity; Wade-Giles' extensive use of apostrophes is also usually omitted. Thus, most Western readers will be much more familiar with ''Beijing'' than they will be with ''Běijīng'' (pinyin), and with ''Taipei'' than ''T'ai²-pei³'' (Wade-Giles). Here are a few examples of ''Hanyu Pinyin'' and Wade-Giles, for comparison: {|class="wikitable" |+Mandarin Romanization Comparison |- ! style="background:#efefef;" nowrap|Characters !! style="background:#efefef;" nowrap|Wade-Giles !! style="background:#efefef;" nowrap|Hanyu Pinyin !! style="background:#efefef;"|Notes |- |中国/中國||Chung¹-kuo²||Zhōngguó||"China" |- |北京||Pei³-ching¹||Běijīng||Capital of the People's Republic of China |- |台北||T'ai²-pei³||Táiběi||Capital of the Republic of China (Taiwan) |- |毛泽东/毛澤東||Mao² Tse²-tung¹||Máo Zédōng||Former Communist Chinese leader |- |nowrap|蒋介石/蔣介石||nowrap|Chiang³ Chieh⁴-shih²||nowrap|Jiǎng Jièshí||Former Nationalist Chinese leader (better known to English speakers as [[Chiang Kai-shek]], with Cantonese pronunciation) |- |孔子||K'ung³ Tsu³||Kǒng Zǐ||"Confucius" |} Other systems of romanization for Chinese include [[Gwoyeu Romatzyh]], the French [[EFEO Chinese transcription|EFEO]], the [[Yale Romanization|Yale]] (invented during WWII for U.S. troops), as well as separate systems for [[Yue Chinese|Cantonese]], [[Minnan]], [[Hakka Chinese|Hakka]], and other Chinese languages or dialects. ===Other phonetic transcriptions=== Chinese languages have been phonetically transcribed into many other writing systems over the centuries. The [['Phags-pa script]], for example, has been very helpful in reconstructing the pronunciations of pre-modern forms of Chinese. [[Zhuyin]] (also called ''bopomofo''), a [[semi-syllabary]] is still widely used in Taiwan's [[elementary school]]s to aid standard pronunciation. Although bopomofo characters are reminiscent of katakana script, there is no source to substantiate the claim that Katakana was the basis for the zhuyin system. A comparison table of zhuyin to pinyin exists in the [[Bopomofo#Comparison|zhuyin article]]. Syllables based on pinyin and zhuyin can also be compared by looking at the following articles: * [[Pinyin table]] * [[Zhuyin table]] There are also at least two systems of [[cyrillization]] for Chinese. The most widespread is the [[Cyrillization of Chinese from Pinyin|Palladius system]]. ==Grammar and morphology== {{Main|Chinese grammar}} {{See also|Chinese classifiers}} Chinese is often described as a "monosyllabic" language. However, this is only partially correct. It is largely accurate when describing [[Classical Chinese]] and [[Middle Chinese]]; in Classical Chinese, for example, perhaps 90% of words correspond to a single syllable and a single character. In the modern varieties, it is still usually the case that a [[morpheme]] (unit of meaning) is a single syllable; contrast English, with plenty of multi-syllable morphemes, both bound and free, such as "seven", "elephant", "para-" and "-able". Some of the conservative southern varieties of modern Chinese still have largely monosyllabic words, especially among the more basic vocabulary. In modern Mandarin, however, most [[noun]]s, [[adjective]]s and [[verb]]s are largely disyllabic. A significant cause of this is phonological attrition. [[Sound change]] over time has steadily reduced the number of possible syllables. In modern Mandarin, there are now only about 1,200 possible syllables, including tonal distinctions, compared with about 5,000 in [[Vietnamese language|Vietnamese]] (still largely monosyllabic) and over 8,000 in English. This phonological collapse has led to a corresponding increase in the number of [[homophone]]s. As an example, the small Langenscheidt Pocket Chinese Dictionary lists 7 words pronounced ''shī'', 6 pronounced ''shí'', 4 pronounced ''shǐ'', and 11 pronounced ''shì'' (each word pronounced {{IPA|/ʂɨ/}}, in tones 1 through 4, respectively). Each such word has a different meaning and is written with a different character, and thus in writing, all can be used without problem. In speaking, however, tremendous ambiguity would result if all of these words could be used, and in fact, the vast majority have been replaced with some other word. As an example, consider the six tone-2 words: 十 "ten"; 实 "real, actual"; 识 "know (a person), recognize"; 石 "stone"; 时 "time"; 食 "food". Only the first one, 十 "ten", normally appears as such when spoken; the rest are normally replaced with, respectively, 实际 ''shíjì'' (lit. "actual-connection"); 认识 ''rènshi'' (lit. "recognize-know"); 石头 ''shítou'' (lit. "stone-head"); 时间 ''shíjiān'' (lit. "time-interval"); 食物 ''shíwù'' (lit. "food-thing"). In each case, the homophone was disambiguated by adding another word, typically either a synonym or a generic word of some sort (for example, "head", "thing"), whose purpose is simply to indicate which of the possible meanings of the other, homophonic syllable should be selected. Note also that 十 实 识 石 时 食 were pronounced {{IPA|/dʑip/, /ʑit/, /ɕik/, /dʑjek/, /dʑī/, /ʑik/}} respectively in [[Early Middle Chinese]], according to [[William Baxter]]'s transcription – each one different from all the others. Furthermore, when one of the above words forms part of a compound, the disambiguating syllable is dropped and the resulting word is still disyllabic. For example, 石 ''shí'' alone, not 石头 ''shítou'', appears in compounds meaning "stone-", for example, 石膏 ''shígāo'' "plaster" (lit. "stone cream"), 石灰 ''shíhuī'' "lime" (lit. "stone dust"), 石窟 ''shíkū'' "grotto" (lit. "stone cave"), 石英 ''shíyīng'' "quartz" (lit. "stone flower"), 石油 ''shíyóu'' "petroleum" (lit. "stone oil"). Most modern varieties of Chinese have the tendency to form new words through disyllabic, trisyllabic and tetra-character [[compound word|compounds]]. In some cases, monosyllabic words have become disyllabic without compounding, as in 窟窿 ''kulong'' from 孔 ''kong''; this is especially common in [[Jin Chinese|Jin]]. Chinese [[morphology (linguistics)|morphology]] is strictly bound to a set number of [[syllable]]s with a fairly rigid construction which are the [[morpheme]]s, the smallest blocks of the language. While many of these single-syllable morphemes (字, ''zì'') can stand alone as individual [[word (linguistics)|words]], they more often than not form multi-syllabic [[Compound (linguistics)|compounds]], known as ''cí'' (词/詞), which more closely resembles the traditional Western notion of a word. A Chinese ''cí'' (“word”) can consist of more than one character-morpheme, usually two, but there can be three or more. For example: * ''Yun'' 雲—“cloud” (traditional) * ''Yun'' 云—“cloud” (simplified) * ''Han-bao-bao/Hanbao'' 漢堡包/漢堡—“hamburger” (traditional) * ''Han-bao-bao/Hanbao'' 汉堡包/汉堡—"hamburger" (simplified) * ''Wo'' 我—“I, me” * ''Ren'' 人—“people” * ''Di-qiu'' 地球—“earth (globosity)” * ''Shan-dian'' 閃電—“lightning” (traditional) * ''Shan-dian'' 闪电—"lightning" (simplifed) * ''Meng'' 夢—“dream” (traditional) * ''Meng'' 梦—"dream" (simplified) All varieties of modern Chinese are [[analytic language]]s, in that they depend on [[syntax]] (word order and sentence structure) rather than [[Morphology (linguistics)|morphology]]—i.e., changes in form of a word—to indicate the word's function in a sentence. In other words, Chinese has very few [[grammatical inflection]]s—it possesses no [[Grammatical tense|tenses]], no [[grammatical voice|voices]], no [[number]]s (singular, plural; though there are plural markers, for example for personal pronouns), and only a few [[Article (grammar)|articles]] (i.e., equivalents to "the, a, an" in English). There is, however, a [[Grammatical gender|gender]] difference in the written language (他 as "he" and 她 as "she"), but it should be noted that this is a relatively new introduction to the Chinese language in the twentieth century, and both characters are pronounced in exactly the same way. They make heavy use of [[grammatical particle]]s to indicate [[grammatical aspect|aspect]] and [[grammatical mood|mood]]. In Mandarin Chinese, this involves the use of particles like le 了 (perfective), hai 还/還 (''still''), yijing 已经/已經 (''already''), and so on. Chinese features a [[subject–verb–object]] [[word order]], and like many other languages in [[East Asia]], makes frequent use of the [[topic–comment]] construction to form sentences. Chinese also has an extensive system of [[classifier (linguistics)|classifiers]] and [[measure word]]s, another trait shared with neighbouring languages like [[Japanese language|Japanese]] and [[Korean language|Korean]]. Other notable grammatical features common to all the spoken varieties of Chinese include the use of [[serial verb construction]], [[pro-drop language|pronoun dropping]] and the related [[null subject language|subject dropping]]. Although the grammars of the spoken varieties share many traits, they do possess differences. ===Tones and homophones=== Official modern Mandarin has only 400 spoken monosyllables but over 10,000 written characters, so there are many [[homophone]]s only distinguishable by the four tones. Even this is often not enough unless the context and exact phrase or cí is identified. The mono-syllable ''jī'', first tone in Mandarin, corresponds to the following characters: 鸡/雞 ''chicken'', 机/機 ''machine'', 基 ''basic'', 击/擊 ''(to) hit'', 饥/饑 ''hunger'', and 积/積 ''product''. In speech, the glyphing of a monosyllable to its meaning must be determined by context or by relation to other morphemes (for example, "some" as in the opposite of "none"). Native speakers may state which words or phrases their names are found in, for convenience of writing: 名字叫嘉英,嘉陵江的嘉,英國的英 Míngzi jiào Jiāyīng, Jiālíng Jiāng de jiā, Yīngguó de yīng "My name is Jiāyīng, the ''Jia'' for ''[[Jialing River]]'' and the ''ying'' for ''the short form in Chinese of [[United Kingdom|UK]]''." Southern Chinese varieties like Cantonese and Hakka preserved more of the [[syllable rime|rimes]] of Middle Chinese and have more tones. The previous examples of ''jī'', have more distinct pronunciations in Cantonese (romanized using [[jyutping]]): ''gai1'', ''gei1'', ''gei1'', ''gik1'', ''gei1'', and ''zik1'' respectively. For this reason, southern varieties tend to need to employ fewer multi-syllabic words. ==Vocabulary== The entire Chinese character corpus since antiquity comprises well over 20,000 characters, of which only roughly 10,000 are now commonly in use. However Chinese characters should not be confused with Chinese words; since most Chinese words are made up of two or more different characters, there are many times more Chinese words than there are characters. Estimates of the total number of Chinese words and phrases vary greatly. The ''[[Hanyu Da Zidian]]'', a compendium 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 work based purely on character and its literary variants. The [[CC-CEDICT]] project (2010) contains 97,404 contemporary entries including idioms, technology terms and names of political figures, businesses and products. The 2009 version of the Webster's Digital Chinese Dictionary (WDCD), based on [[CC-CEDICT]], contains over 84,000 entries. The most comprehensive pure linguistic Chinese-language dictionary, the 12-volumed ''[[Hanyu Da Cidian]]'', records more than 23,000 head Chinese characters and gives over 370,000 definitions. The 1999 revised ''[[Cihai]]'', a multi-volume encyclopedic dictionary reference work, gives 122,836 vocabulary entry definitions under 19,485 Chinese characters, including proper names, phrases and common zoological, geographical, sociological, scientific and technical terms. The latest 2007 5th edition of ''[[Xiandai Hanyu Cidian]]'' 现代汉语词典/現代漢語詞典, an authoritative one-volume dictionary on modern standard Chinese language as used in [[mainland China]], has 65,000 entries and defines 11,000 head characters. ==Loanwords== {{See also|Translation of neologisms into Chinese|Transcription into Chinese characters}} Like any other language, Chinese has absorbed a sizable number of loanwords from other cultures. Most Chinese words are formed out of native Chinese morphemes, including words describing imported objects and ideas. However, direct phonetic borrowing of foreign words has gone on since ancient times. Words borrowed from along the [[Silk Road]] since [[Old Chinese]] include 葡萄 "[[grape]]", 石榴 "[[pomegranate]]" and 狮子/獅子 "[[lion]]". Some words were borrowed from Buddhist scriptures, including 佛 "Buddha" and 菩萨/菩薩 "bodhisattva." Other words came from nomadic peoples to the north, such as 胡同 "[[hutong]]". Words borrowed from the peoples along the Silk Road, such as 葡萄 "grape" (pútáo in Mandarin) generally have [[Persia]]n etymologies. Buddhist terminology is generally derived from [[Sanskrit]] or [[Pāli]], the [[liturgical language]]s of [[North India]]. Words borrowed from the nomadic tribes of the [[Gobi]], Mongolian or northeast regions generally have [[Altaic]] etymologies, such as 琵琶 "pípa", the Chinese lute, or 酪 "cheese" or "yoghurt", but from exactly which source is not always clear. ===Modern borrowings and loanwords=== Modern neologisms are translated into Chinese primarily in three ways: free translation ([[calque]], by meaning), phonetic translation (by sound) and [[phono-semantic matching|a combination of the above two]] (partially transcriptive with a careful selection of meaning-encoding characters). Today, it is much more common to use existing Chinese morphemes to coin new words in order to represent imported concepts, such as technical expressions and [[international scientific vocabulary]], owing to the structural differences from Indo-European languages. Any [[Latin]] or [[Greek language|Greek]] etymologies are dropped and converted into the corresponding meaning-carrying Chinese characters (for example, ''anti-'' typically becomes "反", literally ''opposite''), making them more comprehensible for Chinese but introducing more difficulties in understanding foreign texts. For example, the word ''telephone'' was loaned phonetically as 德律风/德律風 ([[Shanghainese dialect|Shanghainese]]: ''télífon'' {{IPA|[təlɪfoŋ]}}, Mandarin: ''délǜfēng'') during the 1920s and widely used in Shanghai, but later 电话/電話 (''diànhuà'' "electric speech"), built out of native Chinese morphemes, became prevalent. Other examples include 电视/電視 (''diànshì'' "electric vision") for television, 电脑/電腦 (''diànnǎo'' "electric brain") for computer; 手机/手機 (''shǒujī'' "hand machine") for mobile phone, and 蓝牙/藍牙 (''lányá'' "blue tooth") for [[Bluetooth]]. 網誌 (''wǎng zhì'' "internet logbook") for blog in Cantonese for people in [[Hong Kong]] and [[Macau]]. Occasionally half-transliteration, half-translation compromises are accepted, such as 汉堡包/漢堡包 (''hànbǎo bāo'', "''Hamburg'' bun") for "hamburger". Sometimes translations are designed so that they sound like the original while incorporating Chinese morphemes, such as 拖拉机/拖拉機 (''tuōlājī'', "tractor," literally "dragging-pulling machine"), or 马利奥/馬利奧 for the video game character ''[[Mario]]''. This is often done for commercial purposes, for example 奔腾/奔騰 (''bēnténg'' "running leaping") for [[Pentium (brand)|Pentium]] and 赛百味/賽百味 (''Sàibǎiwèi'' "better-than hundred tastes") for [[Subway (restaurant)|Subway restaurants]]. Foreign words, mainly [[proper nouns]] (names of people, places), continue to enter the Chinese language by transcription according to their pronunciations. This is done by employing Chinese characters with similar pronunciations. For example, "Israel" becomes 以色列 (pinyin: ''yǐsèliè''), "Paris" becomes 巴黎 (pinyin: ''bālí''). A rather small number 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 ''luójí'' "logic", 时髦/時髦 ''shímáo'' "smart, fashionable" and 歇斯底里 ''xiēsīdǐlǐ'' "hysterics". The bulk of these words were originally coined in the [[Shanghainese dialect]] during the early 20th century and were later loaned into Mandarin, hence their pronunciations in Mandarin may be quite off from the English. For example, 沙发/沙發 and 马达/馬達 in Shanghainese actually sound more like the English "sofa" and "motor". Mid-19th century, Britain became the number one capitalist power, in order to expand overseas colonies, launched the Opium War against China, to force China to open ports, from a practical point of view the results of the Chinese people began to learn English. Some of the words, from English Language, gradually infiltrated into the Chinese to the nation's language, especially after the Revolution to modern times, Li Dazhao after leading the New Culture Movement, advocated writing in the vernacular, for the foreign language into the Chinese language, provide the basis for integration into the Chinese language. Such as the words we familiar with, 啤酒(beer)、 巧克力(chocolate) 、扑克(poker)、爵士(jazz)、安琪儿(angel) 、吉普车(jeep)、引擎(engine)、罗曼蒂克(romantic)、沙龙(salon)、 逻辑(logic)、模特(model). There are many modern Chinese words we know, in ancient Chinese Dictionary is finding out. In real life we often use these words, but few people know these words from other languages (mainly English) are absorbed in Chinese. Such as爹爹(daddy)、 妈妈(mummy)、康乃馨(carnation)、卡片(card)、霓虹(neon)、席梦思(Simmons)、 香波(shampoo) 、 尼龙(nylon)、 趔趄(lurch)、倒霉(damn)、脱口秀(talk show)、 酷(cool)、费(fee)、俱乐部(club)、系统(system)、呼啦圈(hula loop)、蹦极(bungee) 、马赛克(mosaic). Western foreign words representing Western concepts have had influence on Chinese language since the 20th century, through transcription. From [[French language|French]] came 芭蕾 (''bāléi'' "ballet"), 香槟 (''xiāngbīn'', "champagne"), via [[Italian language|Italian]] 咖啡 (''kāfēi'' "caffè"). The English influence is particularly pronounced. From early 20th century [[Shanghainese dialect|Shanghainese]], many English words are borrowed, such as the above-mentioned 沙发/沙發 (''shāfā'' "sofa") and 高尔夫/高爾夫 (''gāoěrfū'' "golf"). Later [[United States]] [[soft power|soft influences]] gave rise to 迪斯科 (''dísīkè'' "disco"), 可乐/可樂 (''kělè'' "cola") and 迷你 (''mínǐ'' "mini(skirt)"). Contemporary colloquial [[Yue Chinese|Cantonese]] has distinct loanwords from English like cartoon 卡通 (cartoon), 基佬 (gay people), 的士 (taxi), 巴士 (bus). With the rising popularity of the Internet, there is a current vogue in China for coining English transliterations, for example, 粉丝/粉絲 (''fěnsī'' "fans"), 黑客 (''hēikè'' "[[Hacker (computer security)|hacker]]", literally "black guest"), 部落格 (''bùluōgé'' "blog", literally "interconnected tribes") in [[Taiwanese Mandarin]]. Another result of the English influence on Chinese is the appearance in Modern Chinese texts of so-called 字母词 ''zìmǔcí'' ("lettered words") spelled with letters from foreign alphabets. This has appeared in magazines, newspapers, on web sites and on TV: 三G手机 "3rd generation cell phones" (三 ''sān'' "three" + G "generation" + 手机 ''shǒujī'' "mobile phones"), IT界 "IT industry", HSK (''hànyǔ shuǐpíng kǎoshì'', 汉语水平考试), GB (''guóbiāo'', 国标), CIF价 (Cost, Insurance, Freight + 价 ''jià'' "price"); e家庭 "electronic home" (家庭 ''jiātīng'' "home"); W时代 "wireless generation" (时代 ''shídài'' "generation"); 的士call, TV族, 后РС时代 "post-PC era" (后 ''hòu'' "after/post-" + PC "personal computer" + 时代 ''shídài'' "epoch"), and so on. Since the 20th century, another source has been [[Japan]]. Using existing [[kanji]], which are Chinese characters used in the [[Japanese language]], the Japanese re-molded European concepts and inventions into ''[[wasei-kango]]'' (和製漢語, literally ''Japanese-made Chinese''), and re-loaned many of these into modern Chinese. Other terms were coined by the Japanese by giving new senses to existing Chinese terms or by referring to expressions used in classical Chinese literature. For example, ''jīngjì'' (经济/經濟, keizai), which in the original Chinese meant "the workings of the state", was narrowed to "economy" in Japanese; this narrowed definition was then re-imported into Chinese. As a result, these terms are virtually indistinguishable from native Chinese words: indeed, there is some dispute over some of these terms as to whether the Japanese or Chinese coined them first. As a result of this to-ing and fro-ing process, Chinese, Korean, Japanese and Vietnamese share a corpus of linguistic terms describing modern terminology, in parallel to a similar corpus of terms built from Greco-Latin terms shared among European languages. ==Education== {{See also|Chinese as a foreign language}} With the growing importance and influence of China's economy globally, [[Mandarin Chinese|Mandarin]] instruction is gaining popularity in schools in the [[USA]], and has become an increasingly popular subject of study amongst the young in the Western world, as in the UK. In 1991 there were 2,000 foreign learners taking China's official [[Chinese Proficiency Test]] (comparable to the English [[University of Cambridge ESOL examination|Cambridge Certificate]]), while in 2005, the number of candidates had risen sharply to 117,660. ==See also== {{Portal box|China|Language}} * [[Chinese character]] * [[Chinese classifier]] * [[Chinese dialects]] * [[Chinese exclamative particles]] * [[Chinese honorifics]] * [[Chinese number gestures]] * [[Chinese numerals]] * [[Chinese punctuation]] * [[Classical Chinese grammar]] * [[Chengyu|Four-character idiom]] * [[Han unification]] * [[Haner language]] * [[HSK test]] * [[Languages of China]] * [[North American Conference on Chinese Linguistics]] * [[Nü shu]] * [[Regional differences in the Chinese language]] ==Further reading==(Original from Harvard University) * ''ABC Chinese-English Comprehensive Dictionary''. Editor: John de Francis. (2003) [[University of Hawai’i Press]]. ISBN 0-8248-2766-X. * ''ABC Etymological Dictionary of Old Chinese''. Axel Schuessler. 2007. University of Hawai’i Press, Honolulu. ISBN 978-0-8248-2975-9. * [http://sinoplanet.com/wiki/Phrasebook Chinese Phrase Book], sinoplanet, 2009 * Chinese for everyone: for all ages and learning styles. Marie- Laure de Shazer (2007), International edition. ==External links== {{InterWiki|code=zh}} * [http://ctext.org/ Classical Chinese texts] – [[Chinese Text Project]] * [http://books.google.com/books?id=18ByRWP_1UQC&pg=PA292&lpg=PA292&dq=%22you+kongr%22&source=bl&ots=ISgOxCzbHk&sig=3Q1lLiGX6EbuqhI32WB6OpAIQ48&hl=en&ei=KwCLSb2EDY-ctweB58SlBw&sa=X&oi=book_result&resnum=1&ct=result ''Keys to the Chinese Language: Book II'']—[[Google Books]] * [http://www.fsi-language-courses.org/Content.php?page=Chinese USA Foreign Service Institute Chinese basic course] {{Chinese language}} {{Chinese loan vocabularies}} {{Asia topic|Languages of}} {{Official UN languages}} {{DEFAULTSORT:Chinese Language}}