How many languages are spoken in China?! China is more like the UK rather than the US when it comes to this question. As the home of 56 ethnic groups many of which have their own languages, it is not surprised to know that several dialects are spoken in the country.
Due to the high ethnic diversity, various dialects of Chinese language have been developed in different regions of China. Some of them share various common grounds with each other while others are different to a great extent from each other. It would be definitely useful to know the most popular dialects in China for people who learn Mandarin Chinese. We are going to introduce some of the most-spoken ones to you.
Standard Chinese is the official language in mainland China, as well as in Taiwan, and is also known as Standard Mandarin or Modern Standard Mandarin. It is spoken by almost 13% of the population of the world the language is a standardized dialect of Mandarin language but features aspects of other dialects in its usage, including written vernacular Chinese in the language’s grammar, Mandarin dialects in its vocabulary, and the Beijing dialect in the pronunciation of its words. There is a complex tone system whereby tonality differentiates otherwise similar words.
Cantonese, or Standard Cantonese, is a variety of Chinese spoken within Guangzhou (historically known as Canton) and its vicinity in southeastern China. It is the dominant and official language of Hong Kong and Macau. Cantonese is also widely spoken amongst overseas Chinese in Southeast Asia (most notably in Vietnam and Malaysia, as well as in Singapore and Cambodia to a lesser extent) and throughout the Western world. Although Cantonese shares some vocabulary with Mandarin, the two varieties are mutually unintelligible because of differences in pronunciation, grammar, and lexicon.
Hakka is one of the variants of the languages spoken in China. It is spoken by Hakka people throughout southern China, Taiwan, and Hong Kong and throughout the diaspora areas of East Asia, Southeast Asia, and in overseas Chinese around the world. Taiwan, where Hakka is the native language of a significant minority of the island’s residents, is a center for the study and preservation of the language. Pronunciation differences exist between the Taiwanese Hakka dialects and Mainland China’s Hakka dialects; even in Taiwan, two major local varieties of Hakka exist.
Sichuanese is the branch of Southwestern Mandarin. It is mainly spoken in Sichuan and Chongqing There is a great amount of diversity among the Sichuanese dialects, some of which are mutually unintelligible with each other. Sichuanese is more similar to Standard Chinese than southeastern Chinese varieties but is still quite divergent in phonology, vocabulary, and even grammar.
Hokier is a Southern Min Chinese dialect group originating from the Fujian Province in Southeastern China and Taiwan. It is spoken widely in Fujian Province in Southeastern China and Taiwan and by the Chinese diaspora in Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia, the Philippines and other parts of Southeast Asia, and by other overseas Chinese all over the world. It is the mainstream form of Southern Min.
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