- Language

Search / Calendar

Standard Chinese (simplified Chinese: 现代标准汉语; traditional Chinese: 現代標準漢語; pinyin: Xiàndài biāozhǔn hànyǔ; lit. 'modern standard Han speech')—in linguistics Standard Northern Mandarin[7][8][9] or Standard Beijing Mandarin,[10][11] in common speech simply Mandarin,[12] better qualified as Standard Mandarin, Modern Standard Mandarin or Standard Mandarin Chinese—is a modern standardized form of Mandarin Chinese that was first developed during the Republican Era (1912‒1949). It is designated as the official language of mainland China and a major language in the United Nations, Singapore, and Taiwan. It is largely based on the Beijing dialect. Standard Chinese is a pluricentric language with local standards in mainland China, Taiwan and Singapore that mainly differ in their lexicon.[13] Hong Kong written Chinese, used for formal written communication in Hong Kong and Macau, is a form of Standard Chinese that is read aloud with the Cantonese reading of characters.

Standard Chinese
Native toMainland China, Taiwan, Singapore
Native speakers
Has begun acquiring native speakers (as of 1988);[1][2]
L1 & L2 speakers: 80% of China[3]
Language family
Early form
Middle Mandarin
Writing system
Traditional Chinese
Simplified Chinese
Mainland Chinese Braille
Taiwanese Braille
Two-Cell Chinese Braille
Signed forms
Signed Chinese[4]
Official status
Official language in
  •  People's Republic of China (as Putonghua)
  •  Taiwan (de facto; as Guoyu)
  •  Singapore (as Huayu)
  •  United Nations
  • Shanghai Cooperation Organisation
  •  ASEAN[5]
Regulated byNational Language Regulating Committee [zh] (China)[6]
National Languages Committee (Taiwan)
Promote Mandarin Council (Singapore)
Chinese Language Standardisation Council (Malaysia)
Language codes
ISO 639-3
ISO 639-6
  • goyu (Guoyu)
  • huyu (Huayu)
  • cosc (Putonghua)
Countries where Standard Chinese is spoken
  Statutory or de facto national working language
  Statutory or de facto national working language
  More than 1,000,000 L1 and L2 speakers
  More than 500,000 speakers
  More than 100,000 speakers
This article contains IPA phonetic symbols. Without proper rendering support, you may see question marks, boxes, or other symbols instead of Unicode characters. For an introductory guide on IPA symbols, see Help:IPA.
Common name in mainland China
Traditional Chinese普通話
Simplified Chinese普通话
Literal meaningCommon speech
Common name in Taiwan
Traditional Chinese國語
Simplified Chinese国语
Literal meaningNational language
Common name in Singapore and Southeast Asia
Traditional Chinese華語
Simplified Chinese华语
Literal meaningChinese language

Like other Sinitic languages, Standard Chinese is a tonal language with topic-prominent organization and subject–verb–object (SVO) word order. Compared with southern Chinese varieties, the language has fewer vowels, final consonants and tones, but more initial consonants. It is an analytic language, albeit with many compound words.


In English

Among linguists, Standard Chinese is known as Standard Northern Mandarin[7][8][9] or Standard Beijing Mandarin.[10][11] Colloquially, it is imprecisely referred simply as Mandarin,[12] even though that name may refer also to the Mandarin dialect group as a whole or its historic standard such as Imperial Mandarin.[14][15][16][12] The name Modern Standard Mandarin is used to distinguish it from its historic standard.[17][18]

The term "Mandarin" is a translation of Guānhuà (官話; 官话, literally "bureaucrats' speech"),[17] which referred to Imperial Mandarin.[19]

In Chinese

Guoyu and Putonghua

The term Guóyǔ (國語; 国语)[17] or the "national language", had previously been used by the Manchu-ruled Qing dynasty of China to refer to the Manchurian language. As early as 1655, in the Memoir of Qing Dynasty, Volume: Emperor Nurhaci (清太祖實錄), it writes: "(In 1631) as Manchu ministers do not comprehend the Han language, each ministry shall create a new position to be filled up by Han official who can comprehend the national language."[20] In 1909, the Qing education ministry officially proclaimed Imperial Mandarin to be the new "national language".[21]

The term Pǔtōnghuà (普通話; 普通话)[17] or the "common tongue", is dated back to 1906 in writings by Zhu Wenxiong to differentiate Modern Standard Mandarin from classical Chinese and other varieties of Chinese.

Conceptually, the national language contrasts with the common tongue by emphasizing the aspect of legal authority.

Usage concern in a multi-ethnic nation

"The Countrywide Spoken and Written Language" (國家通用語言文字) has been increasingly used by the PRC government since the 2010s, mostly targeting students of ethnic minorities. The term has a strong connotation of being a "legal requirement" as it derives its name from the title of a law passed in 2000. The 2000 law defines Pǔtōnghuà as the one and only "Countrywide Spoken and Written Language".

Usage of the term Pǔtōnghuà (common tongue) deliberately avoided calling the language "the national language," in order to mitigate the impression of forcing ethnic minorities to adopt the language of the dominant ethnic group. Such concerns were first raised by Qu Qiubai in 1931, an early Chinese communist revolutionary leader. His concern echoed within the Communist Party, which adopted the name Putonghua in 1955.[22][23] Since 1949, usage of the word Guóyǔ was phased out in the PRC, only surviving in established compound nouns, e.g. Guóyǔ liúxíng yīnyuè (国语流行音乐, colloquially Mandarin pop), Guóyǔ piān or Guóyǔ diànyǐng (国语片/国语电影, colloquially Mandarin cinema).

In Taiwan, Guóyǔ (the national language) has been the colloquial term for Standard Northern Mandarin. In 2017 and 2018, the Taiwanese government introduced two laws to explicitly recognize indigenous Formosan languages[24][25] and Hakka[26][25] to be the "Languages of the nation" (國家語言) along with Standard Northern Mandarin. Since then, there have been efforts to reclaim the term "national language" (Guóyǔ) to encompass all "languages of the nation" rather than exclusively referring to Standard Northern Mandarin.

Hanyu and Zhongwen

Among Chinese people, Hànyǔ (漢語; 汉语) or the "Sinitic languages" refer to all language varieties of the Han people. Zhōngwén (中文)[27] or the "Chinese written language", refers to all written languages of Chinese (Sinitic). However, gradually these two terms have been reappropriated to exclusively refer to one particular Sinitic language, the Standard Northern Mandarin, a.k.a. Standard Chinese. This imprecise usage would lead to situations in areas such as Taiwan, Malaysia, and Singapore as follows:

On the other hand, among foreigners, the term Hànyǔ is most commonly used in textbooks and standardized testing of Standard Chinese for foreigners, e.g. Hanyu Shuiping Kaoshi.


Huáyǔ (華語; 华语), or "language among the Chinese nation", up until the mid 1960s, refers to all language varieties among the Chinese nation.[28] For example, Cantonese films, Hokkien films (廈語片) and Mandarin films produced in Hong Kong that got imported into Malaysia were collectively known as Huáyǔ cinema up until the mid-1960s.[28] However, gradually it has been reappropriated to exclusively refer to one particular language among the Chinese nation, Standard Northern Mandarin, a.k.a. Standard Chinese. This term is mostly used in Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia, and the Philippines.[29]


The Chinese have different languages in different provinces, to such an extent that they cannot understand each other.... [They] also have another language which is like a universal and common language; this is the official language of the mandarins and of the court; it is among them like Latin among ourselves.... Two of our fathers [Michele Ruggieri and Matteo Ricci] have been learning this mandarin language...

Alessandro Valignano, Historia del Principio y Progresso de la Compañia de Jesus en las Indias Orientales (1542–1564)[30]

Chinese has long had considerable dialectal variation, hence prestige dialects have always existed, and linguae francae have always been needed. Confucius, for example, used yǎyán (雅言; 'elegant speech') rather than colloquial regional dialects; text during the Han dynasty also referred to tōngyǔ (; 'common language'). Rime books, which were written since the Northern and Southern dynasties, may also have reflected one or more systems of standard pronunciation during those times. However, all of these standard dialects were probably unknown outside the educated elite; even among the elite, pronunciations may have been very different, as the unifying factor of all Chinese dialects, Classical Chinese, was a written standard, not a spoken one.

Late empire

Zhongguo Guanhua (中國官話; 中国官话), or Medii Regni Communis Loquela (Middle Kingdom's Common Speech), used on the frontispiece of an early Chinese grammar published by Étienne Fourmont (with Arcadio Huang) in 1742[31]
Zhongguo Guanhua (中國官話; 中国官话), or Medii Regni Communis Loquela ("Middle Kingdom's Common Speech"), used on the frontispiece of an early Chinese grammar published by Étienne Fourmont (with Arcadio Huang) in 1742[31]

The Ming dynasty (1368–1644) and the Qing dynasty (1644–1912) began to use the term guānhuà (官話; 官话), or "official speech", to refer to the speech used at the courts. The term "Mandarin" is borrowed directly from Portuguese. The Portuguese word mandarim, derived from the Sanskrit word mantrin "counselor or minister", was first used to refer to the Chinese bureaucratic officials. The Portuguese then translated guānhuà as "the language of the mandarins" or "the mandarin language".[18]

In the 17th century, the Empire had set up Orthoepy Academies (正音書院; Zhèngyīn Shūyuàn) in an attempt to make pronunciation conform to the standard. But these attempts had little success, since as late as the 19th century the emperor had difficulty understanding some of his own ministers in court, who did not always try to follow any standard pronunciation.

Before the 19th century, the standard was based on the Nanjing dialect, but later the Beijing dialect became increasingly influential, despite the mix of officials and commoners speaking various dialects in the capital, Beijing.[32] By some accounts, as late as the early 20th century, the position of Nanjing Mandarin was considered to be higher than that of Beijing by some and the postal romanization standards set in 1906 included spellings with elements of Nanjing pronunciation.[33] Nevertheless, by 1909, the dying Qing dynasty had established the Beijing dialect as guóyǔ (國語; 国语), or the "national language".

As the island of Taiwan had fallen under Japanese rule per the 1895 Treaty of Shimonoseki, the term kokugo (Japanese: 國語, "national language") referred to the Japanese language until the handover to the Republic of China in 1945.

Modern China

Distribution of Mandarin subgroups in mainland China, as of 1987
Distribution of Mandarin subgroups in mainland China, as of 1987

After the Republic of China was established in 1912, there was more success in promoting a common national language. A Commission on the Unification of Pronunciation was convened with delegates from the entire country.[34] A Dictionary of National Pronunciation (國音字典; 国音字典) was published in 1919, defining a hybrid pronunciation that did not match any existing speech.[35][36] Meanwhile, despite the lack of a workable standardized pronunciation, colloquial literature in written vernacular Chinese continued to develop apace.[37]

Gradually, the members of the National Language Commission came to settle upon the Beijing dialect, which became the major source of standard national pronunciation due to its prestigious status. In 1932, the commission published the Vocabulary of National Pronunciation for Everyday Use (國音常用字彙; 国音常用字汇), with little fanfare or official announcement. This dictionary was similar to the previous published one except that it normalized the pronunciations for all characters into the pronunciation of the Beijing dialect. Elements from other dialects continue to exist in the standard language, but as exceptions rather than the rule.[38]

After the Chinese Communist Revolution, the People's Republic of China continued the effort, and in 1955, officially renamed guóyǔ as pǔtōnghuà (simplified Chinese: 普通话; traditional Chinese: 普通話), or "common speech". By contrast, the name guóyǔ continued to be used by the Republic of China which, after its 1949 loss in the Chinese Civil War, was left with a territory consisting only of Taiwan and some smaller islands in its retreat to Taiwan. Since then, the standards used in the PRC and Taiwan have diverged somewhat, especially in newer vocabulary terms, and a little in pronunciation.[39]

In 1956, the standard language of the People's Republic of China was officially defined as: "Pǔtōnghuà is the standard form of Modern Chinese with the Beijing phonological system as its norm of pronunciation, and Northern dialects as its base dialect, and looking to exemplary modern works in báihuà 'vernacular literary language' for its grammatical norms."[40][41] By the official definition, Standard Chinese uses:

At first, proficiency in the new standard was limited, even among speakers of Mandarin dialects, but this improved over the following decades.[43]

Percentage of population of China proficient in Standard Chinese[44]
Early 1950s 1984
Comprehension Comprehension Speaking
Mandarin dialect areas 549154
non-Mandarin areas 117740
whole country 419050

A survey conducted by the China's Education Ministry in 2007 indicated that 53.06% of the population were able to effectively communicate orally in Standard Chinese.[45] This rose to over 80% by 2020,[3] with the Chinese government announcing a goal to have 85% of the country speak Standard Chinese by 2025 and virtually the entire country by 2035.[46]

Current role

Distribution of Chinese dialect groups, including Mandarin (light brown), as of 1987
Distribution of Chinese dialect groups, including Mandarin (light brown), as of 1987

From an official point of view, Standard Chinese serves the purpose of a lingua franca—a way for speakers of the several mutually unintelligible varieties of Chinese, as well as the ethnic minorities in China, to communicate with each other. The very name Pǔtōnghuà, or "common speech," reinforces this idea. In practice, however, due to Standard Chinese being a "public" lingua franca, other Chinese varieties and even non-Sinitic languages have shown signs of losing ground to the standard.

While the Chinese government has been actively promoting Pǔtōnghuà on TV, radio and public services like buses to ease communication barriers in the country, developing Pǔtōnghuà as the official common language of the country has been challenging due to the presence of various ethnic groups which fear for the loss of their cultural identity and native dialect. In the summer of 2010, reports of increasing the use of the Pǔtōnghuà in local TV broadcasting in Guangdong led to thousands of Cantonese-speaking citizens in demonstration on the street.[47]

In both mainland China and Taiwan, the use of Mandarin as the medium of instruction in the educational system and in the media has contributed to the spread of Mandarin. As a result, Mandarin is now spoken by most people in mainland China and Taiwan, though often with some regional or personal variation from the standard in terms of pronunciation or lexicon. In 2020 it was estimated that about 80% of the population of China could speak Standard Mandarin.[3] The Chinese government's general goal is to raise the penetration rate to 85% by 2025, and to virtually 100% by 2035.[46]

Mainland China and Taiwan use Standard Mandarin in most official contexts. The PRC in particular is keen to promote its use as a national lingua franca and has enacted a law (the National Common Language and Writing Law) which states that the government must "promote" Standard Mandarin. There is no explicit official intent to have Standard Chinese replace the regional varieties, but local governments have enacted regulations (such as the Guangdong National Language Regulations) which "implement" the national law by way of coercive measures to control the public use of regional spoken varieties and traditional characters in writing. In practice, some elderly or rural Chinese-language speakers do not speak Standard Chinese fluently, if at all, though most are able to understand it. But urban residents and the younger generations, who received their education with Standard Mandarin as the primary medium of education, are almost all fluent in a version of Standard Chinese, some to the extent of being unable to speak their local dialect.

In the predominantly Han areas in mainland China, while the use of Standard Chinese is encouraged as the common working language, the PRC has been somewhat sensitive to the status of minority languages and, outside the education context, has generally not discouraged their social use. Standard Chinese is commonly used for practical reasons, as, in many parts of southern China, the linguistic diversity is so large that neighboring city dwellers may have difficulties communicating with each other without a lingua franca.

In Taiwan, the relationship between Standard Mandarin and other varieties, particularly Taiwanese Hokkien, has been more politically heated. During the martial law period under the Kuomintang (KMT) between 1949 and 1987, the KMT government revived the Mandarin Promotion Council and discouraged or, in some cases, forbade the use of Hokkien and other non-standard varieties. This produced a political backlash in the 1990s. Under the administration of Chen Shui-Bian, other Taiwanese varieties were taught in schools. The former president, Chen Shui-Bian, often spoke in Hokkien during speeches, while after the late 1990s, former President Lee Teng-hui, also speaks Hokkien openly. In an amendment to Article 14 of the Enforcement Rules of the Passport Act (護照條例施行細則) passed on 9 August 2019, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (Taiwan) announced that Taiwanese can use the romanized spellings of their names in Hoklo, Hakka and Aboriginal languages for their passports. Previously, only Mandarin Chinese names could be romanized.[48]

In Hong Kong and Macau, which are now special administrative regions of the People's Republic of China, Cantonese is the primary language spoken by the majority of the population and used by government and in their respective legislatures. After Hong Kong's handover from the United Kingdom and Macau's handover from Portugal, their governments use Putonghua to communicate with the Central People's Government of the PRC. There have been widespread efforts to promote usage of Putonghua in Hong Kong since the handover,[49] with specific efforts to train police[50] and teachers.[51]

In Singapore, the government has heavily promoted a "Speak Mandarin Campaign" since the late 1970s, with the use of other Chinese varieties in broadcast media being prohibited and their use in any context officially discouraged until recently.[52] This has led to some resentment amongst the older generations, as Singapore's migrant Chinese community is made up almost entirely of people of south Chinese descent. Lee Kuan Yew, the initiator of the campaign, admitted that to most Chinese Singaporeans, Mandarin was a "stepmother tongue" rather than a true mother language. Nevertheless, he saw the need for a unified language among the Chinese community not biased in favor of any existing group.[53]

Mandarin is now spreading overseas beyond East Asia and Southeast Asia as well. In New York City, the use of Cantonese that dominated the Manhattan Chinatown for decades is being rapidly swept aside by Mandarin, the lingua franca of most of the latest Chinese immigrants.[54]

Standard Chinese and the educational system

A poster outside a high school in Yangzhou urges people to Speak Putonghua to welcome guests from all around, use the language of the civilized (Putonghua) to give your sincere feelings.
A poster outside a high school in Yangzhou urges people to "Speak Putonghua to welcome guests from all around, use the language of the civilized (Putonghua) to give your sincere feelings".

In both the PRC and Taiwan, Standard Chinese is taught by immersion starting in elementary school. After the second grade, the entire educational system is in Standard Chinese, except for local language classes that have been taught for a few hours each week in Taiwan starting in the mid-1990s.

In December 2004, the first survey of language use in the People's Republic of China revealed that only 53% of its population, about 700 million people, could communicate in Standard Chinese.[55] This 53% is defined as a passing grade above 3-B (a score above 60%) of the Evaluation Exam. This number increased to over 80% by 2020.[3]

With the fast development of the country and the massive internal migration in China, the standard Putonghua Proficiency Test has quickly become popular. Many university graduates in mainland China take this exam before looking for a job. Employers often require varying proficiency in Standard Chinese from applicants depending on the nature of the positions. Applicants of some positions, e.g. telephone operators, may be required to obtain a certificate. People raised in Beijing are sometimes considered inherently 1-A (A score of at least 97%) and exempted from this requirement.[citation needed] As for the rest, the score of 1-A is rare. According to the official definition of proficiency levels, people who get 1-B (A score of at least 92%) are considered qualified to work as television correspondents or in broadcasting stations.[citation needed] 2-A (A score of at least 87%) can work as Chinese Literature Course teachers in public schools.[citation needed] Other levels include: 2-B (A score of at least 80%), 3-A (A score of at least 70%) and 3-B (A score of at least 60%). In China, a proficiency of level 3-B usually cannot be achieved unless special training is received.[clarification needed] Even though many Chinese do not speak with standard pronunciation, spoken Standard Chinese is widely understood to some degree.

The China National Language And Character Working Committee was founded in 1985. One of its important responsibilities is to promote Standard Chinese proficiency for Chinese native speakers.


The phonology of Standard Chinese is based on Northern Mandarin in mainland China, Taiwan, Singapore, and Malaysia, while in Hong Kong and Macau, it is based on Cantonese. Here, the Mandarin-based phonology shall be described.

The usual unit of analysis is the syllable, consisting of an optional initial consonant, an optional medial glide, a main vowel and an optional coda, and further distinguished by a tone.[56]

Initial consonants, with pinyin spellings[57]
Labial Alveolar Dental
Retroflex Palatal Velar
Nasals m mn n
Stops unaspirated p bt dt͡s zʈ͡ʂ zht͡ɕ jk g
aspirated p tt͡sʰ cʈ͡ʂʰ cht͡ɕʰ q k
Fricatives f fs sʂ shɕ xx h
Approximants w wl lɻ~ʐ rj y

The palatal initials [tɕ], [tɕʰ] and [ɕ] pose a classic problem of phonemic analysis. Since they occur only before high front vowels, they are in complementary distribution with three other series, the dental sibilants, retroflexes and velars, which never occur in this position.[58]

Syllable finals, with pinyin spellings[59]
ɹ̩ iɤ ea aei eiai aiou ouau aoən enan anəŋ eng angɚ er
i iie ieia iaiou iuiau iaoin inien ian ingiaŋ iang
u uuo uoua uauei uiuai uaiuən unuan uan onguaŋ uang
y üye üeyn unyen uaniuŋ iong

The [ɹ̩] final, which occurs only after dental sibilant and retroflex initials, is a syllabic approximant, prolonging the initial.[60][61]

Relative pitch contours of the four full tones
Relative pitch contours of the four full tones

The rhotacized vowel [ɚ] forms a complete syllable.[62] A reduced form of this syllable occurs as a sub-syllabic suffix, spelled -r in pinyin and often with a diminutive connotation. The suffix modifies the coda of the base syllable in a rhotacizing process called erhua.[63]

Each full syllable is pronounced with a phonemically distinctive pitch contour. There are four tonal categories, marked in pinyin with iconic diacritic symbols, as in the words (; ; "mother"), (; "hemp"), (; ; "horse") and (; ; "curse").[64] The tonal categories also have secondary characteristics. For example, the third tone is long and murmured, whereas the fourth tone is relatively short.[65][66] Statistically, vowels and tones are of similar importance in the language.[lower-alpha 1][68]

There are also weak syllables, including grammatical particles such as the interrogative ma (; ) and certain syllables in polysyllabic words. These syllables are short, with their pitch determined by the preceding syllable.[69] Such syllables are commonly described as being in the neutral tone.

Regional accents

It is common for Standard Chinese to be spoken with the speaker's regional accent, depending on factors such as age, level of education, and the need and frequency to speak in official or formal situations. This appears to be changing, though, in large urban areas, as social changes, migrations, and urbanization take place.

Due to evolution and standardization, Mandarin, although based on the Beijing dialect, is no longer synonymous with it. Part of this was due to the standardization to reflect a greater vocabulary scheme and a more archaic and "proper-sounding" pronunciation and vocabulary.

Distinctive features of the Beijing dialect are more extensive use of erhua in vocabulary items that are left unadorned in descriptions of the standard such as the Xiandai Hanyu Cidian, as well as more neutral tones.[70] An example of standard versus Beijing dialect would be the standard mén (door) and Beijing ménr.

Most Standard Chinese as spoken on Taiwan differs mostly in the tones of some words as well as some vocabulary. Minimal use of the neutral tone and erhua, and technical vocabulary constitute the greatest divergences between the two forms.

The stereotypical "southern Chinese" accent does not distinguish between retroflex and alveolar consonants, pronouncing pinyin zh [tʂ], ch [tʂʰ], and sh [ʂ] in the same way as z [ts], c [tsʰ], and s [s] respectively.[71] Southern-accented Standard Chinese may also interchange l and n, final n and ng, and vowels i and ü [y]. Attitudes towards southern accents, particularly the Cantonese accent, range from disdain to admiration.[72]

Romanization and script

While there is a standard dialect among different varieties of Chinese, there is no "standard script". In mainland China, Singapore and Malaysia, standard Chinese is rendered in simplified Chinese characters; while in Taiwan it is rendered in traditional. As for the romanization of standard Chinese, Hanyu Pinyin is the most dominant system globally, while Taiwan stick to the older Bopomofo system.


Chinese is a strongly analytic language, having almost no inflectional morphemes, and relying on word order and particles to express relationships between the parts of a sentence.[73] Nouns are not marked for case and rarely marked for number.[74] Verbs are not marked for agreement or grammatical tense, but aspect is marked using post-verbal particles.[75]

The basic word order is subject–verb–object (SVO), as in English.[76] Nouns are generally preceded by any modifiers (adjectives, possessives and relative clauses), and verbs also generally follow any modifiers (adverbs, auxiliary verbs and prepositional phrases).[77]




















他 为/為 他的 朋友 做了 这个/這個 工作。

Tā wèi tā-de péngyǒu zuò-le zhè-ge gōngzuò.

He for he-GEN friend do-PERF this-CL job

'He did this job for his friends.'[78]

The predicate can be an intransitive verb, a transitive verb followed by a direct object, a copula (linking verb) shì () followed by a noun phrase, etc.[79] In predicative use, Chinese adjectives function as stative verbs, forming complete predicates in their own right without a copula.[80] For example,






我 不 累。

Wǒ bú lèi.

I not tired

'I am not tired.'

Another example is the common greeting nǐ hăo (你好), literally "you good".

Chinese additionally differs from English in that it forms another kind of sentence by stating a topic and following it by a comment.[81] To do this in English, speakers generally flag the topic of a sentence by prefacing it with "as for". For example:

























妈妈/媽媽 给/給 我们/我們 的 钱/錢, 我 已经/已經 买了/買了 糖果。

Māma gěi wǒmen de qián, wǒ yǐjīng mǎi-le tángguǒ(r)

Mom give us REL money I already buy-PERF candy

'As for the money that Mom gave us, I have already bought candy with it.'

The time when something happens can be given by an explicit term such as "yesterday," by relative terms such as "formerly," etc.[82]

As in many east Asian languages, classifiers or measure words are required when using numerals, demonstratives and similar quantifiers.[83] There are many different classifiers in the language, and each noun generally has a particular classifier associated with it.[84]


















一顶 帽子, 三本 书/書, 那支 笔/筆

yī-dǐng màozi, sān-běn shū, nèi-zhī bǐ

one-top hat three-volume book that-branch pen

'a hat, three books, that pen'

The general classifier ge (/) is gradually replacing specific classifiers.[85]

In word formation, the language allows for compounds and for reduplication.


Many honorifics that were in use in imperial China have not been used in daily conversation in modern-day Mandarin, such as jiàn (; ; "my humble") and guì (; ; "your honorable").

Although Chinese speakers make a clear distinction between Standard Chinese and the Beijing dialect, there are aspects of Beijing dialect that have made it into the official standard. Standard Chinese has a T–V distinction between the polite and informal "you" that comes from the Beijing dialect, although its use is quite diminished in daily speech. It also distinguishes between "zánmen" (we including the listener) and "wǒmen" (we not including the listener). In practice, neither distinction is commonly used by most Chinese, at least outside the Beijing area.

The following samples are some phrases from the Beijing dialect which are not yet accepted into Standard Chinese:[citation needed]

The following samples are some phrases from Beijing dialect which have become accepted as Standard Chinese:[citation needed]

Writing system

Standard Chinese is written with characters corresponding to syllables of the language, most of which represent a morpheme. In most cases, these characters come from those used in Classical Chinese to write cognate morphemes of late Old Chinese, though their pronunciation, and often meaning, has shifted dramatically over two millennia.[86] However, there are several words, many of them heavily used, which have no classical counterpart or whose etymology is obscure. Two strategies have been used to write such words:[87]

The government of the PRC (as well as some other governments and institutions) has promulgated a set of simplified forms. Under this system, the forms of the words zhèlǐ ("here") and nàlǐ ("there") changed from 這裏/這裡 and 那裏/那裡 to 这里 and 那里, among many other changes.

Chinese characters were traditionally read from top to bottom, right to left, but in modern usage it is more common to read from left to right.


English Traditional characters Simplified characters Pinyin
Hello! 你好 Nǐ hǎo!
What is your name? 你叫什麼名字? 你叫什么名字? jiào shénme míngzi?
My name is... 我叫... Wǒ jiào ...
How are you? 你好嗎?/ 你怎麼樣? 你好吗?/ 你怎么样? Nǐ hǎo ma? / Nǐ zěnmeyàng?
I am fine, how about you? 我很好,你呢? Wǒ hěn hǎo, nǐ ne?
I don't want it / I don't want to 我不要。 Wǒ bú yào.
Thank you! 謝謝 谢谢 Xièxie
Welcome! / You're welcome! (Literally: No need to thank me!) / Don't mention it! (Literally: Don't be so polite!) 歡迎!/ 不用謝!/ 不客氣! 欢迎!/ 不用谢!/ 不客气! Huānyíng! / Búyòng xiè! / Bú kèqì!
Yes. / Correct. 。 / 。/ 嗯。 。 / 。/ 嗯。 Shì. / Duì. / M.
No. / Incorrect. 不是。/ 不對。/ 不。 不是。/ 不对。/ 不。 Búshì. / Bú duì. / Bù.
When? 什麼時候? 什么时候? Shénme shíhou?
How much money? 多少錢? 多少钱? Duōshǎo qián?
Can you speak a little slower? 您能說得再慢些嗎? 您能说得再慢些吗? Nín néng shuō de zài mànxiē ma?
Good morning! / Good morning! 早上好! / 早安! Zǎoshang hǎo! / Zǎo'ān!
Goodbye! 再見 再见 Zàijiàn!
How do you get to the airport? 去機場怎麼走? 去机场怎么走? Qù jīchǎng zěnme zǒu?
I want to fly to London on the eighteenth 我想18號坐飛機到倫敦。 我想18号坐飞机到伦敦。 Wǒ xiǎng shíbā hào zuò fēijī dào Lúndūn.
How much will it cost to get to Munich? 到慕尼黑要多少錢? 到慕尼黑要多少钱? Dào Mùníhēi yào duōshǎo qián?
I don't speak Chinese very well. 我的漢語說得不太好。 我的汉语说得不太好。 Wǒ de Hànyǔ shuō de bú tài hǎo.
Do you speak English? 你會說英語嗎? 你会说英语吗? Nǐ huì shuō Yīngyǔ ma?
I have no money. 我沒有錢。 我没有钱。 Wǒ méiyǒu qián.

Article 1 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in Standard Chinese, written with traditional Chinese characters:[89]


Article 1 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in Standard Chinese, written with simplified Chinese characters:[90]


The pinyin transcription of the text into Latin alphabet:

Rén rén shēng ér zìyóu, zài zūnyán hé quánlì shàng yīlǜ píngděng. Tāmen fùyǒu lǐxìng hé liángxīn, bìng yīng yǐ xiōngdì guānxì de jīngshén xiāng duìdài.

Article 1 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in English:[91]

All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights. They are endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood.

See also


  1. "A word pronounced in a wrong tone or inaccurate tone sounds as puzzling as if one said 'bud' in English, meaning 'not good' or 'the thing one sleeps in.'"[67]



  1. Norman (1988), pp. 251.
  2. Liang (2014), p. 45.
  3. "Over 80 percent of Chinese population speak Mandarin - People's Daily Online". Retrieved 22 December 2021.
  4. Tai, James; Tsay, Jane (2015). Sign Languages of the World: A Comparative Handbook. Walter de Gruyter GmbH & Co KG. p. 772. ISBN 9781614518174. Retrieved 26 February 2020.
  5. "Languages of ASEAN". Archived from the original on 7 August 2017. Retrieved 7 August 2017.
  6. Archived 18 December 2015 at the Wayback Machine (Chinese)
  7. Rohsenow, John S. (2004). "Fifty Years of Script and Written Language Reform in the P.R.C.". In Zhou, Minglang (ed.). Language Policy in the People's Republic of China. pp. 22, 24. ISBN 9781402080395. accurately represent and express the sounds of standard Northern Mandarin (Putonghua) [...]. Central to the promotion of Putonghua as a national language with a standard pronunciation as well as to assisting literacy in the non-phonetic writing system of Chinese characters was the development of a system of phonetic symbols with which to convey the pronunciation of spoken words and written characters in standard northern Mandarin.
  8. Ran, Yunyun; Weijer, Jeroen van de (2016). "On L2 English Intonation Patterns by Mandarin and Shanghainese Speakers: A Pilot Study". In Sloos, Marjoleine; Weijer, Jeroen van de (eds.). Proceedings of the second workshop "Chinese Accents and Accented Chinese" (2nd CAAC) 2016, at the Nordic Center, Fudan University, Shanghai, 26-27 October 2015 (PDF). p. 4. Archived from the original (PDF) on 11 December 2016. We recorded a number of English sentences spoken by speakers with Mandarin Chinese (standard northern Mandarin) as their first language and by Chinese speakers with Shanghainese as their first language, [...]
  9. Bradley, David (2008). "Chapter 5: East and Southeast Asia". In Moseley, Christopher (ed.). Encyclopedia of the World's Endangered Languages. Routledge. p. 500 (e-book). ISBN 9781135796402. As a result of the spread of standard northern Mandarin and major regional varieties of provincial capitals since 1950, many of the smaller tuyu [土語] are disappearing by being absorbed into larger regional fangyan [方言], which of course may be a sub-variety of Mandarin or something else.
  10. Siegel, Jeff (2003). "Chapter 8: Social Context". In Doughty, Catherine J.; Long, Michael H. (eds.). The Handbook of Second Language Acquisition. Blackwell Publishing, U.K. p. 201. ISBN 9781405151887. Escure [Geneviève Escure, 1997] goes on to analyse second dialect texts of Putonghua (standard Beijing Mandarin Chinese) produced by speakers of other varieties of Chinese, [in] Wuhan and Suzhou.
  11. Chen, Ying-Chuan (2013). Becoming Taiwanese: Negotiating Language, Culture and Identity (PDF) (Thesis). University of Ottawa. p. 300. Archived from the original (PDF) on 19 February 2020. [...] a consistent gender pattern found across all the age cohorts is that women were more concerned about their teachers' bad Mandarin pronunciation, and implied that it was an inferior form of Mandarin, which signified their aspiration to speak standard Beijing Mandarin, the good version of the language.
  12. Weng, Jeffrey (2018). "What is Mandarin? The social project of language standardization in early Republican China". The Journal of Asian Studies. 59 (1): 611–633. doi:10.1017/S0021911818000487. in common usage, 'Mandarin' or 'Mandarin Chinese' usually refers to China's standard spoken language. In fact, I would argue that this is the predominant meaning of the word
  13. Bradley (1992), p. 307.
  14. Sanders, Robert M. (1987). "The Four Languages of "Mandarin"" (PDF). Sino-Platonic Papers (4). Archived from the original (PDF) on 7 March 2012.
  15. Norman (1988), p. 136.
  16. "Mandarin". Oxford Dictionary. Archived from the original on 3 July 2020.
  17. Mair (2013), p. 737.
  18. Coblin (2000), p. 537.
  19. Mair (1991), pp. 11–12.
  20. 张杰 (2012). "论清代满族语言文字在东北的兴废与影响". In 张杰 (ed.). 清文化与满族精神 (in Chinese). 辽宁民族出版社. Archived from the original on 5 November 2020. [天聪五年, 1631年] 满大臣不解汉语,故每部设启心郎一员,以通晓国语之汉员为之,职正三品,每遇议事,座在其中参预之。
  21. Norman (1988), pp. 133–134.
  22. 曹德和 (2011). "恢复"国语名"称的建议为何不被接受_──《国家通用语言文字法》学习中的探讨和思考". 社会科学论坛 (in Chinese) (10).
  23. Yuan, Zhongrui. (2008) "国语、普通话、华语 Archived 26 April 2009 at the Wayback Machine (Guoyu, Putonghua, Huayu)". China Language National Language Committee, People's Republic of China
  24. Sponsored by Council of Indigenous Peoples (14 June 2017). 原住民族語言發展法 [Indigenous Languages Development Act]. Laws & Regulations Database of The Republic of China, the Ministry of Justice. Indigenous languages are national languages. To carry out historical justice, promote the preservation and development of indigenous languages, and secure indigenous language usage and heritage, this act is enacted according to... [原住民族語言為國家語言,為實現歷史正義,促進原住民族語言之保存與發展,保障原住民族語言之使用及傳承,依...]
  25. 王保鍵 (2018). "客家基本法之制定與發展:兼論 2018 年修法重點" (PDF). 文官制度季刊. 10 (3): 89, 92–96. Archived from the original (PDF) on 5 November 2020.
  26. Sponsored by Hakka Affairs Council (31 January 2018). 客家基本法 [Hakka Basic Act]. Laws & Regulations Database of The Republic of China, the Ministry of Justice. Hakka language is one of the national languages, equal to the languages of other ethnic groups. The people shall be given guarantee on their right to study in Hakka language and use it in enjoying public services and partaking of the dissemination of resources. [客語為國家語言之一,與各族群語言平等。人民以客語作為學習語言、接近使用公共服務及傳播資源等權利,應予保障。]
  27. Mair (1991), pp. 11.
  28. 許維賢 (2018). 華語電影在後馬來西亞:土腔風格、華夷風與作者論. 台灣: 聯經出版. pp. 36–41.
  29. Kane, Daniel (2006). The Chinese Language: Its History and Current Usage. Tuttle Publishing. pp. 22–23, 93. ISBN 978-0-8048-3853-5.
  30. Translation quoted in Coblin (2000), p. 539.
  31. Liberlibri SARL. "FOURMONT, Etienne. Linguae Sinarum Mandarinicae hieroglyphicae grammatica duplex, latinè, & cum characteribus Sinensium. Item Sinicorum Regiae Bibliothecae librorum catalogus" (in French). Archived from the original on 13 July 2011. Retrieved 8 November 2010.
  32. Coblin (2000), pp. 549–550.
  33. L. Richard's comprehensive geography of the Chinese empire and dependencies translated into English, revised and enlarged by M. Kennelly, S.J. Archived 26 August 2016 at the Wayback Machine Shanghai: T'usewei Press, 1908. p. iv. (Translation of Louis Richard, Géographie de l'empire de Chine, Shanghai, 1905.)
  34. Chen (1999), pp. 16–17.
  35. Norman (1988), p. 134.
  36. Chen (1999), p. 18.
  37. Ramsey (1987), p. 10.
  38. Ramsey (1987), p. 15.
  39. Bradley (1992), pp. 313–314.
  40. "Law of the People's Republic of China on the Standard Spoken and Written Chinese Language (Order of the President No.37)". 31 October 2000. Archived from the original on 24 July 2013. Retrieved 27 April 2010. For purposes of this Law, the standard spoken and written Chinese language means Putonghua (a common speech with pronunciation based on the Beijing dialect) and the standardized Chinese characters. Original text in Chinese: "普通话就是现代汉民族共同语,是全国各民族通用的语言。普通话以北京语音为标准音,以北方话为基础方言,以典范的现代白话文著作语法规范"
  41. Chen (1999), p. 24.
  42. Chen (1999), pp. 37–38.
  43. Chen (1999), pp. 27–28.
  44. Chen (1999), p. 28.
  45. "More than half of Chinese can speak Mandarin". Xinhua. 7 March 2007. Archived from the original on 4 December 2018. Retrieved 10 November 2017.
  46. "China says 85% of citizens will use Mandarin by 2025". ABC News. Retrieved 22 December 2021.
  47. Luo, Chris (23 September 2014). "One-third of Chinese do not speak Putonghua, says Education Ministry". South China Morning Post. Hong Kong. Archived from the original on 2 June 2015. Retrieved 18 September 2017.
  48. Jason Pan (16 August 2019). "NTU professors' language rule draws groups' ire". Taipei Times. Archived from the original on 17 August 2019. Retrieved 17 August 2019.
  49. Standing Committee on Language Education & Research (25 March 2006). "Putonghua promotion stepped up". Hong Kong Government. Archived from the original on 21 July 2011. Retrieved 12 February 2011.
  50. Hong Kong Police. "Online training to boost Chinese skills". Hong Kong Government. Archived from the original on 21 July 2011. Retrieved 12 February 2011.
  51. Hong Kong LegCo (19 April 1999). "Panel on Education working reports". Hong Kong Government. Archived from the original on 21 July 2011. Retrieved 12 February 2011.
  52. New Hokkien drama aimed at seniors to be launched on Sep 9 Archived 19 December 2016 at the Wayback Machine, Channel News Asia, 1 Sep 2016
  53. Lee Kuan Yew, From Third World to First: The Singapore Story: 1965–2000, HarperCollins, 2000. ISBN 978-0-06-019776-6.
  54. Semple, Kirk (21 October 2009). "In Chinatown, Sound of the Future Is Mandarin". The New York Times. Archived from the original on 14 July 2011. Retrieved 18 July 2011.
  55. "Greater numbers speak Mandarin". China Daily. 26 December 2004. Archived from the original on 27 December 2004. Retrieved 27 December 2004.
  56. Norman (1988), pp. 138–139.
  57. Norman (1988), p. 139.
  58. Norman (1988), pp. 140–141.
  59. Lee & Zee (2003), p. 110.
  60. Norman (1988), p. 142.
  61. Lee & Zee (2003), p. 111.
  62. Norman (1988), pp. 143–144.
  63. Norman (1988), pp. 144–145.
  64. Duanmu (2007), p. 225.
  65. Norman (1988), p. 147.
  66. Duanmu (2007), p. 236.
  67. Chao (1948), p. 24.
  68. Surendran, Dinoj; Levow, Gina-Anne (2004), "The functional load of tone in Mandarin is as high as that of vowels" (PDF), in Bel, Bernard; Marlien, Isabelle (eds.), Proceedings of the International Conference on Speech Prosody 2004, SProSIG, pp. 99–102, ISBN 978-2-9518233-1-0 [dead link]
  69. Norman (1988), p. 148.
  70. Chen (1999), pp. 39–40.
  71. Norman (1988), p. 140.
  72. Blum, Susan D. (2002). "Ethnic and Linguistic Diversity in Kunming". In Blum, Susan Debra; Jensen, Lionel M (eds.). China Off Center: Mapping the Margins of the Middle Kingdom. University of Hawaii Press. pp. 160–161. ISBN 978-0-8248-2577-5.
  73. Norman (1988), p. 159.
  74. Li & Thompson (1981), pp. 11–12.
  75. Li & Thompson (1981), pp. 12–13.
  76. Lin (1981), p. 19.
  77. Li & Thompson (1981), pp. 24–26.
  78. Lin (1981), p. 169.
  79. Li & Thompson (1981), p. 141.
  80. Li & Thompson (1981), pp. 141–143.
  81. Li & Thompson (1981), pp. 15–16.
  82. Li & Thompson (1981), pp. 320–320.
  83. Li & Thompson (1981), p. 104.
  84. Li & Thompson (1981), p. 105.
  85. Li & Thompson (1981), p. 112.
  86. Norman (1988), p. 74.
  87. Norman (1988), pp. 74–75.
  88. Norman (1988), p. 76.
  89. "Universal Declaration of Human Rights - Chinese, Mandarin (Traditional)".
  90. "Universal Declaration of Human Rights - Chinese, Mandarin (Simplified)".
  91. Nations, United. "Universal Declaration of Human Rights". United Nations.

Works cited

Further reading

На других языках

[de] Hochchinesisch

Hochchinesisch oder (Modernes) Standardchinesisch (fachsprachlich: (現代)標準漢語 / (现代)标准汉语, (Xiàndài) Biāozhǔn Hànyǔ)[1][2] ist die Standardvarietät des Chinesischen, die Amtssprache der Volksrepublik China und der Republik China (Taiwan) sowie eine der vier Amtssprachen Singapurs.
- [en] Standard Chinese

[es] Mandarín estándar

El chino estándar, también conocido como mandarín estándar moderno, mandarín estándar, chino mandarín[2] o simplemente mandarín,[3] es la variedad estándar del chino mandarín, que a su vez es la principal de las lenguas siníticas que se conocen conjuntamente como idioma chino.

[fr] Mandarin standard

Le mandarin standard (chinois simplifié : 现代标准汉语 ; chinois traditionnel : 現代標準漢語 ; pinyin : xiàndài biāozhǔn hànyǔ ; litt. « langue des Hans standard moderne ») est la langue officielle en Chine (RPC), à Taïwan et à Singapour. À ce titre, il a fait l'objet de codification (prononciation, grammaire), et est la langue parlée généralement enseignée.

[it] Lingua cinese standard

Il cinese standard, talvolta detto anche mandarino standard (dall'inglese Standard Mandarin)[1], mandarino moderno standard e cinese moderno standard, è la varietà standard per la lingua cinese, ufficializzata per la prima volta nel 1932 in quella che era allora la Repubblica di Cina. È una delle sei lingue ufficiali dell'ONU ed è adottata come lingua ufficiale dalla Repubblica Popolare Cinese (in base alla Costituzione del 1949), da Taiwan e da Singapore. In quanto varietà standard, è dotata di un vocabolario, grammatica e pronuncia standardizzati.

Текст в блоке "Читать" взят с сайта "Википедия" и доступен по лицензии Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike; в отдельных случаях могут действовать дополнительные условия.

Другой контент может иметь иную лицензию. Перед использованием материалов сайта внимательно изучите правила лицензирования конкретных элементов наполнения сайта.

2019-2024 - проект по пересортировке и дополнению контента Википедии