Understanding and exploring China through Chinese
Some Key Features of Chinese
Chinese is the most widely spoken language in the
world by the number of speakers (approximately 2
billions) including about 1 billion native speakers.
Two most popular forms of Chinese language are:
Mandarin and Cantonese (Mandarin is the standard
form widely spoken in mainland China, whereas
Cantonese is mainly spoken in Taiwan)
Chinese belongs to Sino-Tibetan language family.
Chinese is a tonal language.
Chinese language doesn’t have alphabet.
The written form of the language is called characters,
which is basically kind of ideogram, looks like picture.
There are almost 50,000 Characters in Chinese
language. But learning 3000 to 4000 characters one
can accomplish daily communication, news paper
reading or academic pursuit.
Speaking Chinese is like singing a song, the tonal ups
and downs add musical effect to the language.
(Chinese is the most difficult language to learn,
therefore, I often motivate my students suggesting
that, studying Chinese is a good brain exercise )
Chinese Phonetics (Pinyin)
Pinyin, formally Hanyu Pinyin, is the official
phonetic system for transcribing
the Mandarin pronunciations of Chinese
characters into the Latin alphabet. It is often used to
teach Standard Chinese and spell Chinese names in
foreign publications and may be used as an input
method to enter Chinese characters into computers.
Chinese syllable consists of three components: an
initial, a final and a tone.