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
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.