Chinese Language History

The language with the most native speakers in the world

With around 1.3 billion speakers, the Chinese language ranks first in the world’s league table of languages. The Chinese Mandarin language is also one of the six official languages of the United Nations. Most native Chinese speakers live in the most populated country of the world: the People’s Republic of China. In addition, many other Asian countries, including Taiwan, Singapore, Malaysia, and the Philippines, speak the Chinese language. It also has a great influence on other languages such as Korean and Japanese.

Native Chinese speakers are spreading the language worldwide through travel, international education, technology, and migration. Because of its popularity, it is becoming a popular secondary learned language for students of all ages. In fact, there are more than 100 million students learning the Chinese language around the world. Therefore, it is easy to see why the need to translate Mandarin Chinese is growing.

With around 6,000 years of history, the Chinese Mandarin language is one of the oldest languages in the world. It has grown in popularity recently into a global language, and that speaks volumes about the potential that the language has.

 

Origins & Roots of the Chinese Language

Linguists and Chinese scholars alike classify all variations and styles of spoken Chinese as part of the Sino-Tibetan family. These scholars believe that their origins go back to an original language called Proto-Sino-Tibetan. The only problem is the lack of supporting evidence and documentation. This would help prove this claim made by professionals who study the origins of the Chinese language.

Written Chinese emerged approximately 6,000 years ago. Character elements are combined with phonetic elements to compose many characters in the Chinese language. There are about 56,000 characters, of which only about 3,000 are in common use. With so many characters, it can be difficult to translate Mandarin Chinese.

Specifically, there are two major systems for Chinese characters, including the traditional system and the simplified character. Citizens of China, Taiwan, Hong Kong, and Macau speak the traditional system. Chinese-speaking communities outside mainland China also use the traditional system. Singapore uses simplified Chinese. That makes Singapore the only foreign nation to officially adopt the simplified Chinese characters.

Chinese has two main dialects; Mandarin and Cantonese. People in the Guangdong province in China primarily speak the Standard Cantonese variation of the Chinese language. In addition, Standard Cantonese is also one of the official languages of Hong Kong and Macau. The Standard Chinese Mandarin is the official language for most of mainland China, Taiwan, and Singapore.

Linguists often classify different phrases of the Chinese language into different historical periods. These periods include Archaic Chinese, Ancient Chinese, and Old Mandarin Chinese.

 

Modern Chinese

Different dialects of the Chinese Mandarin language are the native language of most Chinese. This includes those living in the region that extends from the southwest to the northeast of China. Geography has been a major factor in expanding Mandarin throughout such a large area. This version of Chinese is popular in the plains.

The popularity of the Chinese Mandarin language often comes as a surprise to many. Only a few people spoke of this variation until the mid-20th century. In the 17th century, Nanjing Mandarin started becoming more popular. Academies were set up in the Qing Empire to regulate and standardize pronunciations.

Towards the late 19th century, the Nanjing Chinese Mandarin language started losing its popularity because of certain reforms by the imperial court. A commotion ensued when the Nanjing Chinese Mandarin was replaced by the Beijing Chinese Mandarin because of the lack of standards. Fortunately, things became better, and the future for Beijing Mandarin started looking more positive. A new elementary school system focused on teaching this version of the Chinese language to students.

Despite this standardisation, Cantonese remains popular in certain regions of China. Cantonese only appeared in its written form in the 19th century. People in China also widely use Cantonese for correspondence and literature. Written Cantonese also has two standard versions, namely the colloquial and the formal versions.

 

Chinese Translation Services

At Renaissance Translations, we have a team of professional Mandarin linguists who can translate into Mandarin Chinese. Our experts can provide professional Chinese translation for a wide range of content types such as marketing, financial, engineering, tourism and more. Our skilled translators can help you get the job done in no time. Contact us to discuss your specific project needs.