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Chinese Language

Chinese or the Sinitic language can be considered a language or language family. Originally the indigenous languages spoken by the Han Chinese in China, it forms one of the two branches of Sino-Tibetan family of languages. About one-fifth of the world¡¯s population, or over one billion people, speak some form of Chinese as their native language. The identification of the varieties of Chinese as "languages" or "dialects" is controversial.

Spoken Chinese is distinguished by its high level of internal diversity, though all spoken varieties of Chinese are tonal and analytic. There are between six and twelve main regional groups of Chinese (depending on classification scheme), of which the most spoken, by far, is Mandarin (about 850 million), followed by Wu (90 million), Min (70 million) and Cantonese (70 million). Most of these groups are mutually unintelligible, though some, like Xiang and the Southwest Mandarin dialects, may share common terms and some degree of intelligibility. Chinese is classified as a macrolanguage with 13 sub-languages in ISO 639-3, though the identification of the varieties of Chinese as multiple "languages" or as "dialects" of a single language is a contentious issue.

The standardized form of spoken Chinese is Standard Mandarin (Putonghua / Guoyu / Huayu), based on the Beijing dialect, which is part of a larger group of North-Eastern and South-Western dialects, often taken as a separate language, see Mandarin Chinese for more, this language can be referred to as ¹Ù»隆茫 Gu隆搂¡nhu隆搂隆猫 or 隆脌隆脌隆陇½»隆茫 B隆搂隆矛if隆搂¡nghu隆搂隆猫 in Chinese. Standard Mandarin is the official language of the People"s Republic of China and the Republic of China ("Taiwan"), as well as one of four official languages of Singapore. Standard Mandarin¡ªis one of the six official languages of the United Nations. Of the other varieties, Standard Cantonese is common and influential in Cantonese-speaking overseas communities, and remains one of the official languages of Hong Kong (together with English) and of Macau (together with Portuguese). Min Nan, part of the Min language group, is widely spoken in southern Fujian, in neighbouring Taiwan and in Southeast Asia.
According to news reports in March 2007, 86 percent of people in the People"s Republic of China speak a variant of spoken Chinese. As a language family, the number of Chinese speakers is 1.136 billion. The same news report indicate 53 percent of the population, or 700 million speakers, can effectively communicate in Putonghua.


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