22 Facts About Chinese dialects


Chinese dialects varieties differ most in their phonology, and to a lesser extent in vocabulary and syntax.

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Chinese dialects is one of the six official languages of the United Nations.

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Outside China and Taiwan, the only varieties of Chinese dialects commonly taught in university courses are Standard Mandarin and Cantonese.

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Chinese dialects has been likened to the Romance languages of Europe, the modern descendants of Latin.

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In China Literary Chinese dialects maintained its monopoly on formal writing until the start of the 20th century.

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The new national standard, Vernacular Chinese dialects, the written counterpart of spoken Standard Chinese dialects, is used as a literary form by literate speakers of all varieties.

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The first scientific classifications, based primarily on the evolution of Middle Chinese dialects voiced initials, were produced by Wang Li in 1936 and Li Fang-Kuei in 1937, with minor modifications by other linguists since.

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Some scholars have suggested that it represents a very early branching from Chinese dialects, while others argue that it is a more distantly related Sino-Tibetan language overlaid with two millennia of loans.

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Chinese dialects argued that the Southern Group is derived from a standard used in the Yangtze valley during the Han dynasty, which he called Old Southern Chinese, while the Central group was transitional between the Northern and Southern groups.

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The Min Chinese dialects showed high divergence, with Min Fuzhou grouped only weakly with the Southern Min Chinese dialects of Xiamen and Chaozhou on the two objective criteria and was actually slightly closer to Hakka and Yue on the subjective criteria.

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Conventional English-language usage in Chinese dialects linguistics is to use dialect for the speech of a particular place while regional groupings like Mandarin and Wu are called dialect groups.

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Sinologist David Moser stated that the Chinese authorities refer to them as "dialects" as a way to reinforce China as being a single nation.

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In Jin, Lower Yangtze Mandarin and Wu Chinese dialects, the stops have merged as a final glottal stop, while in most northern varieties they have disappeared.

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Many Chinese dialects have tone sandhi, in which the pitch contour of a syllable is affected by the tones of adjacent syllables in a compound word or phrase.

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Tonal categories of modern varieties can be related by considering their derivation from the four tones of Middle Chinese, though cognate tonal categories in different dialects are often realized as quite different pitch contours.

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Middle Chinese dialects had a three-way tonal contrast in syllables with vocalic or nasal endings.

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However, most Chinese dialects varieties have reduced the number of tonal distinctions.

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For example, in Mandarin, the tones resulting from the split of Middle Chinese dialects rising and departing tones merged, leaving four tones.

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Old Chinese dialects had two families of negatives starting with *p- and *m-, respectively.

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Standard Chinese dialects is usually considered more formal and is required when speaking to a person who does not understand the local dialect.

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Historically, many of the people who promoted Chinese dialects nationalism were from southern China and did not natively speak Mandarin, and even leaders from northern China rarely spoke with the standard accent.

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The initial goal of the campaign was for all young Chinese to stop speaking dialects in five years, and to establish Mandarin as the language of choice in public places within 10 years.

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