Language Spoken in China in Percentage

Languages spoken in china

Language Spoken in China in Percentage

Language Spoken in China in Percentage

(Last Updated On: November 27, 2023)

Have you ever been to China, particularly Fujian province? And do you have any knowledge about the Chinese Varieties people speak there? When it comes to the world’s most spoken languages, you’ll always find Chinese, English, Spanish, and Arabic. But do you know that even the popular language in Fujian province has several different forms?

China is home to 56 ethnic minority groups, and all of them played a critical role in the development of the various languages spoken in China, including Mao Zedong’s influence on the language landscape. There are many forms of Chinese, including English transliterations, which linguists believe encompass 297 lingoes in China today, each with its own geographical region. All the different forms of Chinese, such as the common speech—referred to as “putonghua” in Mandarin—and standard language found in mainland China, Taiwan, Hong Kong, and Tibet, have their unique entries for character definitions. Among all, the most dominant one is Mandarin, but there are many similar Chinese languages, communally identified as Hanyu, used by a large population.

China’s language is the world’s oldest written language and has a history going back more than 6,000 years. Oxford University Press has documented this vast linguistic history. China covers a large area of land with dozens of national minorities, contributing to the richness of the Chinese language variant. Although it is not possible to give details of every language here, DutchTrans will give you an idea about the most spoken Chinese languages and their percentages. So, let’s start exploring these diverse entries for character definitions in the vast realm of Chinese linguistic diversity!

How many languages do people speak in China?

China boasts a fascinating array of national languages, with a staggering 302 individual living languages across various provinces. Among these, Mandarin stands as the predominant language, but there exist numerous separate languages and dialects spoken across regions like Jiangxi, Fujian, and Guangdong provinces. Traditional characters are still prevalent in many areas, adding to the linguistic richness. Cantonese speakers, especially in Guangdong and parts of Southeast Asia, contribute to the tapestry of Chinese varieties..

That said, however, China remains a land of impressive linguistic diversity. Check out this post to know About endangered language Inapang?

languages spoken in china in percentage
top languages spoken in china

China’s linguistic diversity is noteworthy, reflecting the nation’s cultural tapestry. Despite this diversity, certain languages face decline, becoming endangered due to dwindling speaker numbers. Even so, China persists as the world’s second-largest economy, a status it holds at least two times in size compared to other global economies. The linguistic variations within the country are vast, ranging from subtle regional accents akin to the differences between UK and US English to distinct languages. Overall, approximately 1.3 billion people are native speakers of Chinese, encompassing both Mandarin and other distinctive variants.

Official Language in China

In ancient times, the evolution of language in China saw the emergence of various linguistic variants within the Sino-Tibetan family. Among these, Wu Chinese, Southern Min, and other variants arose, each with their own distinctive features and writing systems within the Chinese language. Chinese writing, primarily characterized by its use of complex characters, later saw the development of simplified characters for ease of use and comprehension.

Across the expanse of ancient China, the single language of the Han ethnic group gained popularity and became the basis for Mandarin Chinese, the official language. Despite this, within the Sino-Tibetan family, numerous language isolates formed, showcasing distinct differences in phonology, tones, and vocabulary. These linguistic variants were so distinct that they often fell outside mutual intelligibility, resembling the differences between unrelated languages like German and English.

The influence of Mandarin, rooted in the Beijing dialect, expanded over centuries, becoming an influential force within China. However, despite its prominence, a significant portion of the population identifies their mother tongue simply as ‘Chinese,’ indicating a diverse linguistic landscape where specific variants and isolates coexist, contributing to the rich tapestry of Chinese linguistic history.

Standard Chinese

Standard Chinese (Putonghua) is a type of Mandarin Chinese and it is the official language of mainland China. The native speakers of this country should understand this common language. China’s language laws do not apply to Macau or Hong Kong which have other official languages like Portuguese, English, or Cantonese. Standard Chinese is a dialect of Mandarin that emerged as the lingua franca among the speakers of various Mandarin and other varieties of Chinese (Hokkien, Cantonese, and beyond).

Standard Mandarin is one of the major languages people speak in the United Nations, mainland China, Singapore, and Taiwan. An Indo-European language family is a large group that includes European languages like English, French, Urdu, and Persian. English speakers often find challenges in learning Chinese scripts due to the vast differences in character systems and tonality. Standard Mandarin, rooted in Middle Chinese, maintains a level of mutual intelligibility among various Chinese immigrants across East Asia.

It is recognized through a comprehensive language survey that Standard Mandarin serves as a benchmark for communication, facilitating a unified understanding among speakers of different Mandarin variations. An essential aspect of promoting communication and national unity, Standard Mandarin embodies the standardized form of the language, establishing a cohesive platform for discourse. It has more initial consonants but fewer vowels, final consonants, and tones than southern varieties. Standard Mandarin is an analytic language, though with many compound words.

Languages spoken in china in percentage

Because of the Chinese variants and complex dialects, it has been assumed that all forms of Chinese languages are very difficult to learn. English consonants are notably different from Chinese phonetics, which adds an extra layer of challenge for learners. Overall, there are 1.3 billion Chinese speakers of this lingo, encompassing a diverse range of dialects and accents. Arabic script and cursive script differ significantly from the Chinese characters used in writing, making the transition between these writing systems a formidable task. Following are the percentages of the languages people speak in China: Mandarin, known as Putonghua, is spoken by around 70% of the population, followed by Wu dialects (8.5%), Cantonese (4.9%), and Min dialects (4.1%). The vast array of unintelligible varieties within Chinese languages poses a significant challenge for learners aiming for fluency. Regular script, commonly used in printed materials, contrasts with the more stylistic and intricate nature of cursive script, creating varied forms that demand proficiency. Understanding technical terms within the linguistic domain is pivotal for grasping the nuances of Chinese languages.

  • Mandarin Chinese dialects are spoken by 71.5 percent of the Chinese population
  • Next, about 8.5 percent population speaks Wu
  • Yue also called Cantonese; 5 percent
  • The Xiang language is spoken by around 4.8 percent of people in Southern China’s Hunan province

Rest of the lingoes, Min is 4.1 percent, Hakka is 3.7 percent and Gan is 2.4 percent

china languages
chine official language

Chinese Variants

In addition to Mandarin, the most widely spoken language, some languages are considered variants of Chinese, such as Cantonese. These variants, often referred to as dialects, are mutually intelligible. Officially recognized as ten different varieties of Chinese, some resources may list only eight due to the fact that less than 1% of the population speaks the other two. These linguistic variants are written using archaic characters derived from the Chinese script and do not possess distinct written forms. Cambridge University Press has extensively studied and documented the nuances of these linguistic variations, shedding light on their complexities and historical significance.

Immigrant languages that immigrate from the ten Chinese dialect groups belonging to the major language families along with the native speakers are:

  1. Mandarin – 920 million people worldwide
  2. Yue – 84 million worldwide
  3. Wu – 77 million
  4. Min – 60 million
  5. Jin – 45 million
  6. Xiang – 36 million
  7. Hakka – 34 million
  8. Gan – 31 million
  9. Hui – 3.2 million
  10. Ping – 2 million

Minority Languages

People belonging to China’s ethnic minority groups speak minority languages. All of these lingoes belong to different families. The case of the Bai language and many of the languages of Tibet belong to a different branch of the Sino-Tibetan language family. Many of these languages have their own written form that is not based upon Chinese characters.

Kazakh, Korean, Mongolian, Tibetan, Uyghur, Zhuang, and Yi are among the sixteen indigenous minority languages in which CCTV has broadcast since May 22, 1950. The national radio has broadcast in more than 20 minority languages, compared with local radio broadcasting encompassing 30-plus languages. English is also one of the most critical foreign languages in China with about 10 million speakers all over the country.

Since English is an international language, people from all around the world speak it. But overall, most Chinese people speak these languages as a second language than as a native language.

Learning Chinese Languages

With Asian origin, the everyday language spoken in different parts of Europe diverged from its original written form, becoming a collection of regional dialects. In public schools, teachers teach Standard Mandarin on regular basis. The standard writing system sometimes makes it difficult for Chinese citizens to learn it well. Information about the entirety of the Chinese language family remains relevant. The language behavior varies from time to time. If you have the aim to learn Chinese languages, you should make sure to get an understanding of the difference between traditional and simplified Chinese.

To easily learn Chinese languages, we hope that Dutch Translations have provided you with the best guide. There are even institutes where proper education of Chinese languages in the mainland is taught. You can search for them online. We hope that this guide is helpful for you!

BBC News, everyday life, distinct writing, Chinese language skills, Chinese character corpus, Chinese branches, Chinese morphemes, Digital Chinese Dictionary, South China.

how many languages are spoken in china
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