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lexico
Jul 25, 2005, 00:34
I found this article browsing through Japan Today. It talks about the language situation in China; Mandarin is the officially taught and spoken standard enforced by the central government. But what about in the far off provinces from Beijing ? From the Pacific coasts ? Not in the schools ?

How many langauges does an average Chinese citizen speak at the market place ? What does the widespread bilingualism in China mean for the future of Mandarin ?

Other questions raised regarding this topic:

1. Exactly how many Chinese langauges are there ? Are they to be considered all "dialects" of one great Chinese language ?

2. Or are they simply independent languages of a common origin like French, German, Russian, and Greek ? How far back does the split go back in time ?

3. What are some good sources to ready up on the Chinese languages (whether dialectal or independent) ?

4. Why aren't Mandarin and Cantonese mentioned as the two major "dialects" of Chinese; and from which to explain all the other "dialects" ?

5. What about the minority languages of China ? How are they treated by the governments and schools ?

6. Re: the teaching of, and cultural activities in,the minority languages; are they encouraged or discouraged ?

Uniting China to Speak Mandarin, the One Official Language: Easier Said Than Done (http://www.howardwfrench.com/archives/2005/07/10/uniting_china_to_speak_mandarin_the_one_official_l anguage_easier_said_than_done/)
by HOWARD W. FRENCH, July 10, 2005, The New York Times
Copyright The New York Times

kevinsano
Aug 10, 2005, 10:56
1. Exactly how many Chinese langauges are there ? Are they to be considered all "dialects" of one great Chinese language ?

I for one cannot and will not consider them dialects. I hear Hakka alot and when put next to cantonese and mandarin, they sound nothing alike. The Hakka chinese I know can't understand a single word of the "new" wave of Beijing Chinese. They say it like the man from your article: "they talk too fast"

I think China is too big to ensure a single language community, and unlike the US their history goes too far back in time to "force" another language on the numerous subcultures and communities.

Nucifera
Dec 22, 2005, 18:47
This is my personal points of views:

1. Exactly how many Chinese langauges are there ? Are they to be considered all "dialects" of one great Chinese language ?

2. Or are they simply independent languages of a common origin like French, German, Russian, and Greek ? How far back does the split go back in time ?

3. What are some good sources to ready up on the Chinese languages (whether dialectal or independent) ?

4. Why aren't Mandarin and Cantonese mentioned as the two major "dialects" of Chinese; and from which to explain all the other "dialects" ?

My answer:
Chinese languages and chinese dialects are totally different. Languages of China region (including HK, Macao and Taiwan) are various because China has 56 races, e.g. Han, Mongols, Tibetan, Korean etc etc... Han speaking Han Chinese 汉语, Mongols use Mongolian, Tibetan using Tibetan, people in Xinjiang talking in Turks or Arabic. In this case, Chinese languages including Mandarin, Mongolian, Tibetan, Arabic..... Yes, eventhough some of those languages maybe is other country's national languages.

In Han Chinese Language, there are various of dialects, such as Mandarin (Official or Beijing), Shanghainese (Shanghai), Hakka (Southern China), Taiwanese/Min (Fujian and Taiwan), Cantonese (Guangdong and HK), Hainanese (Hainan).... There are all considered dialects of Han Chinese. Those dialects have identical language system which mean there all using same Chinese Character but pronouns that specific character in similar or different way.... Like Cantonese and Mandarin, one is called "Yi" in Mandarin but in Cantonese is "Yak" Nowsaday, lots of chinese dialects is losing their significance, except official Mandarin, only Cantonese (HK) and Min (Taiwan) still playing important in certain regions. However, Chinese language is normally refered to Mandarin Chinese.

Nucifera
Dec 22, 2005, 18:52
5. What about the minority languages of China ? How are they treated by the governments and schools ?

6. Re: the teaching of, and cultural activities in,the minority languages; are they encouraged or discouraged ?

Minority languages in definitely compulsory to be teached in minority region, like Mongolians will be teached in Inner Mongolia Autonomous Area. Learning native language is a basic human right, every race has the right to preserve their cultures and traditions, no matter in China or else....