|Article Title: Chinese And Her Directs
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China has eight dialects eight dialects (recently a "Ping" language is found which mainly distributed in GuangXi area). Someone divide Chinese dialects into nine or ten. Actually, however we divide them, they are just the dialects of the Han nationality. If we consider the languages of national minorities, Chinese dialects can divided into more.
Mandarin Chinese is about all of the Northern and Southwestern Chinese dialects. For the official spoken standardized Chinese language (Putonghua/Guoyu), see Standard Mandarin. Mandarin is a category of related Chinese dialects spoken across most of northern and south-western China. When taken as a separate language, as is often done in academic literature, the Mandarin language has more native speakers than any other language. The "standard" in Standard Mandarin refers to the standard Beijing dialect of the Mandarin language.
Mandarin is also a general term describing any grade of nobility in the Chinese Imperial Court. In English, Mandarin can refer to either of two distinct concepts: 1. In everyday use Mandarin refers to Standard Chinese or Standard Mandarin (Putonghua / Guoyu / Huayu), which is based on the particular Mandarin dialect spoken in Beijing. Standard Mandarin functions as the official spoken language of the People's Republic of China, the official language of the Republic of China (Taiwan), and one of the four official languages of Singapore. ‘Chinese’ — in practice Standard Mandarin — is one of the six official languages of the United Nations. 2. In its broader sense, Mandarin is a diverse group of Mandarin dialects spoken in northern and southwestern China (Guanhua / Beifanghua / Beifang fangyan). This group of dialects is the focus of this article.
The latter grouping is defined and used mainly by linguists, and is not commonly used outside of academic circles as a self-description. Instead, when asked to describe the spoken form they are using, Chinese speaking a form of non-Standard Mandarin will describe the variant that they are speaking, for example Southwestern Mandarin or Northeastern Mandarin, and consider it distinct from ‘Standard Mandarin’ (putonghua); they may not recognize that it is in fact classified by linguists as a form of ‘Mandarin’ in a broader sense. Nor is there a common ‘Mandarin’ identity based on language; rather, there are strong regional identities centred on individual dialects, because of the wide geographical distribution and cultural diversity of its speakers.
Like all other varieties of Chinese, there is significant dispute as to whether Mandarin is a language or a dialect. See Identification of the varieties of Chinese for more on this issue.
Huizhou, or Huizhou-hua also known as Hui-yu is a subdivision of spoken Chinese. Its exact status is greatly disputed among linguists. Some prefer to classify it under Wu, others prefer to classify it under Gan, still others set it apart as an independent primary branch of Chinese.
Hui is spoken over a small area compared to other Chinese varieties: in and around the historical region of Huizhou (for which it is named), in about ten or so mountainous counties in southern Anhui, plus a few more in neighbouring Zhejiang and Jiangxi. Despite its small size, Hui displays a very high degree of internal variation. Nearly every county has its own distinct dialect unintelligible to a speaker a few counties away. It is for this reason that bilingualism and multilingualism are common among speakers of Hui.
Like all other varieties of Chinese, there is plenty of dispute as to whether Hui is a language or a dialect. See Identification of the varieties of Chinese for the issues surrounding this dispute
Wu is one of the major divisions of the Chinese language. It is spoken in most of Zhejiang province, the municipality of Shanghai, southern Jiangsu province, as well as smaller parts of Anhui, Jiangxi, and Fujian provinces. Major Wu dialects include those of Shanghai, Suzhou, Wenzhou, Shaoxing, Jinhua, Yongkang, and Quzhou. The traditional prestige dialect of Wu is the Suzhou dialect, though due to its large population, the Shanghai dialect is today sometimes considered the prestige dialect.
As of 1991, there are at least 77 million speakers of Wu Chinese, making it the second most populous Chinese language after Mandarin, which has 800 million speakers, and the 10th most populous language in the world.
Among speakers of other Chinese languages, Wu is often subjectively judged to be soft, light, and flowing. There is even a special term used to describe these qualities of Wu speech.. The actual source of this impression is harder to place. It is likely a combination of many factors. Among speakers of Wu, for example, Shanghainese is considered softer and mellower than the variant spoken in Ningbo, although some Wu speakers still insist that old standard Suzhou dialect is more pleasant and beautiful than the dialects of Shanghai and Ningbo.
Like other varieties of Chinese, there is debate as to whether Wu is a language or a dialect. By the standard of mutual intelligibility, Wu is a separate language; however, socially it is considered to be a regional form of the Chinese language. See Identification of the varieties of Chinese for the issues surrounding this dispute. In terms of written communication, there is a great but not complete degree of mutual intelligibility between Wu and Mandarin within the People's Republic of China as both are written in the current Vernacular Chinese, which uses Simplified Chinese characters as well as grammar and vocabulary centred on Standard Mandarin with a few allowances for "regional variation".
Cantonese, also known as Yue, is a primary branch of spoken Chinese. The name "Cantonese" is also commonly used in a narrower sense for the Standard Cantonese, which is the prestige dialect of Cantonese in the broader sense.
The issue of whether Cantonese in the broader sense should be regarded as a language in its own right or as a dialect of a Chinese language is controversial. Like the other primary branches of Chinese, Cantonese is considered to be a dialect of a single Chinese language for ethnic and cultural reasons, but it is also considered a language in its own right because it is mutually unintelligible with other varieties of Chinese. See Identification of the varieties of Chinese.
The exact number of Cantonese speakers is unknown due to a lack of statistics and census data. The areas with the highest concentration of speakers are Guangdong, some parts of Guangxi in southern mainland China, Hong Kong, and Macau, with Cantonese-speaking minorities in Southeast Asia, Canada, and the United States.
Min is a general term for a group of dialects of the Chinese spoken language found in the southeastern Chinese province of Fujian as well as by migrants from this province in Guangdong (around Chaozhou-Swatou, or Chaoshan area, and the Leizhou peninsula), Hainan, three counties in southern Zhejiang, and Zhoushan archipelago off Ningbo, and Taiwan. There are many Min speakers also among overseas Chinese in Southeast Asia. The most widely spoken variety of Min is Hokkien, which includes Taiwanese and Amoy, amongst other dialects. The Min dialects preserve many of the archaic pronunciations of Old Chinese and Middle Chinese.
Xiāng also known as Hunan, Hunanese or Hsiang is a Chinese language spoken mainly in the Hunan province, but also in a few other provinces such as Sichuan and Guangxi. It is a group of languages of immense interest to Chinese dialectologists and historical phonologists because some of its languages still exhibit the three-way distinction of Middle Chinese obstruents, preserving the voiced stops, fricatives and affricates as in the modern Wu languages. However, it is surrounded by Mandarin in the north, west and south, thus exhibits heavy Mandarin influences. New Xiang, which has lost the voiced obstruents, (as opposed to Old Xiang, which has preserved them) is to a certain extent intelligible to speakers of Southwestern Mandarin.
One of the most well-known native speakers of the Xiang language was Mao Zedong, a native of Xiangtan, who was not fluent in Mandarin.
Hakka is one of the main subdivisions of the Chinese language spoken predominantly in southern China by the Hakka ethnic group and descendants in diaspora throughout East and Southeast Asia and around the world.
Due to its usage in scattered isolated regions where communication is limited to the local area, the Hakka language has developed numerous variants or dialects, spoken in Guangdong, Fujian, Jiangxi, Guangxi, Sichuan, Hunan, Guizhou provinces, including Hainan island and Taiwan. Hakka is not mutually intelligible with Mandarin, Cantonese, Minnan and most of the significant spoken variants of the Chinese language.
There is a pronunciation difference between Taiwanese Hakka dialect and Guangdong Hakka dialect. Amongst the dialects of Hakka, the Moi-yen/Moi-yan dialect of northeast Guangdong has typically been viewed as a prime example of the Hakka language, forming a sort of standard dialect.
The Guangdong Provincial Education Department created an official romanisation of Meixian Hakka dialect in 1960, one of four languages receiving this status in Guangdong.
See Identification of the varieties of Chinese for more on the dispute whether Hakka and other Chinese linguistic groups should be properly considered languages or dialects.
Gàn, alternatively Jiangxihua is one of the major divisions of spoken Chinese, a member of the Sino-Tibetan family of languages. Gan speakers are concentrated in and typical of Jiangxi Province, as well as the northwest of Fujian; and some parts of Anhui and Hubei in mainland China.
Different dialects of Gan exist, and the representative dialect is the Nanchang dialect. The name "Gàn" comes from the shortened name of Jiangxi Province (through which the Gan River flows).
There are also many smaller groups that are not yet classified, such as: Danzhou dialect, spoken in Danzhou, on Hainan Island; Xianghua, not to be confused with Xiang, spoken in western Hunan; and Shaozhou Tuhua, spoken in northern Guangdong. The Dungan language, spoken in Central Asia, is very closely related to Mandarin. However, it is not generally considered "Chinese" since it is written in Cyrillic and spoken by Dungan people outside China who are not considered ethnic Chinese. See List of Chinese dialects for a comprehensive listing of individual dialects within these large, broad groupings.
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 overlapped. 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 14, but the number varies between seven and seventeen 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.
In general, 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 Standard Cantonese spoken in Guangzhou, than is that of Taishan, 60 miles southwest of Guangzhou and separated by several rivers from it.