Import From China Business

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A practical guide for starting a small business

Chinese Language Study

The Chinese dialects have evolved so much over many centuries such that the regional spoken language is as different as Spanish versus Portuguese. The Chinese dialect of Mandarin is most popular and is spoken by the majority of urban centered individuals in mainland China. It is often viewed as the language of the educated and sophisticated.  In the rural areas, you have dialects such as Cantonese which is spoken in predominately the Canton province in southern China.

The most interesting thing about the Chinese dialects is that you can have two people from China; one speaking Mandarin and the second one speaking Cantonese.  They could be yelling at each having an argument but neither one of them will understand what the other person is saying.


Chinese Language Study is a topic that is of most importance to the import from China entrepreneur.  Most countries in the world have their own local accent and dialects depending on the geography.  In the Unites States, there is the southern accent where locals say “Y’all”.  In Canada, the Newfoundlanders have an accent that is quite unique.  They often leave out the “h” when they pronounce “th”.  So 3 trees become “tree trees”. This is in part due to the different immigrants who have settled in these regions whose English has evolved over decades and even centuries.

We often view this as someone having a cute accent but we can still understand their English.  This is not necessary true with the Chinese when we examine closely at the regional language differences.   Let’s take a closer look in our Chinese Language Study.

Uniquely Different Spoken Chinese Languages

Common Written Chinese Language

While dialect can vary so much that different groups of Chinese speaking differently dialects won’t be able to understand each other, there is one common written language.  So using the analogy that two Chinese speaking different dialects can’t have a verbal argument, they can certainly communicate with each other by writing.  This concept is such a vast difference to those of us who speak English.

The English language is based on the 26 letters in the alphabet. Words are composed using a combination of the letters.  The Chinese language has no alphabet equivalent.  The written language is comprised of a collection of individual words which look like symbols or almost pictures. An educated Chinese will recognize and understand about 6,000 words. Once you know the word and its meaning, you can often understand how the word was created over the centuries.


Examples of Chinese Characters

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Chinese Languages - Simple & Yet Complex