What Language Do They Speak In China?


26 Answers

Sam Easterbrook Profile
Sam Easterbrook answered
There are over 200 languages spoken in China, and many dialects besides, so to identify the ‘language’ spoken across that vast country would be technically impossible.

The official language of the People’s Republic of China is called Putonghua, which translates directly as ‘common speech’, but which is generally known in the Western World as Mandarin Chinese. However, Chinese government figures suggest that only around 53 per cent of the population actually speak Putonghua. This is of course not as depressing a figure as it might sound - 53 per cent of people in China still represents the vast majority of people anyone is likely to meet while there, and so an understanding of Putonghua is likely to see any visitor making themselves at least relatively well understood.

Certainly this is the largest single proportion of people to understand a single language in the country, and so represents the ‘best bet’ if visiting China. Perhaps the most curious feature of the Chinese languages though is what happens when you write them down. There are different dialects prevalent in, say Beijing and Guangzhou (where Cantonese is widely used), and so the pronunciation of words will be entirely different in the two places. But if you write the word down, it will be exactly the same in both places, because the Chinese dialects do not apply to the written form. So while the spoken word ‘dog’ is utterly different across the country, the written word ‘dog’ will be understood nationwide.

This added to the fact that as a spoken language there are relatively few words, and the fact that most words can have up to four different meanings depending on inflection and tone, is why most TV programmes in China have subtitles.
kaiyi low Profile
kaiyi low answered
Karl Sagan Profile
Karl Sagan answered

Obviously, Mandarin Chinese is the most common one but even though I have some basic knowledge of it, when I went to Guangzhou, I decided to hire a Guangzhou interpreter because in different parts of China the language differs significantly.

mahendra kumar Profile
mahendra kumar answered
Mandarin is the official language spoken in China; it is the standard dialect spoken in the capital city of Beijing. It is only one amongst numerous other dialects spoken throughout China which displays a large diversity in the spoken form of the language though there is some uniformity in the written form.

The Chinese language as such can be classified as part of the Sino-Tibetan family of languages though it cannot be regarded as a homogenous entity due to a considerable difference in the various dialects spoken like Cantonese and Hokkien. Often the speaker of one dialect cannot easily comprehend a speaker of another dialect. The Mandarin dialect is spoken by maximum number of people in the World, 915 million people, mostly concentrated in the North-Eastern and Central part of the country while further South one can find more diversity.

The language is written using Han characters from which it is primarily supposed to be derived; the characters themselves are complex with several abstract meanings and are hence semantic in nature with pictographic elements.
Anonymous Profile
Anonymous answered
Korean, cantonese, chinese, and Mandarin, I went to china and stayed for five months so I should know.
Evelyn Vaz Profile
Evelyn Vaz answered
The total number of languages listed for china is around 236. Well...a vast country like china ought to have these many, right? Out of these, 235 are still used even today, while one is a dead language. The most popular languages of China known to people outside China are Chinese, Mandarin, Cantonese and Hakka and out of these, standard Mandarin happens to be the national language. But to foreigners like us, all sound the same. Languages in China have undergone a constant change thanks to China's various rulers and dynasty's leaving a lasting mark on the language. Each era and dynasty can be identified from the way the language has changed and prospered. Hence, it won't be surprising to hear an Americanised version ad the growing Chinese economy has led many a Americans have signed up for learning mandarin...
Maxine Chan Profile
Maxine Chan answered
Well they speak Mandarin, Guajo wa, and cantonese mostly in China but it depends what region you are from, I guess. My family is not from China and they are from Taiwan but in Taiwan they learn just Mandarin as the primary language and they came here to learn cantonese.
Max Profile
Max answered
I think in some parts of china I'm pretty sure they speak Chinese
Anonymous Profile
Anonymous answered
In China, we speak mandarin. But there are also many other dialects in different places of China, even the characters are the same, the pronunciations are quite different that people of different dialect is likely to unable to understand what you say.
Anonymous Profile
Anonymous answered
Mandarin, Cantonese and some other small languages that exist in one small town or another.
chen lyfen Profile
chen lyfen answered
There are many dialects which are spoken in China but mandarin is the most spoken and is the international one .
Richard Lam Profile
Richard Lam answered
Mainly is Mandarin, in China can also be spoke in Cantonese, Fujo-nese, Tai Sheng, and more. Those were spoke in the past not today
Rain Profile
Rain answered
The main language is Chinese, but there are so many people visiting there at a time you will find languages from all over.
Anonymous Profile
Anonymous answered
Mandarin, is the official of China, Quick Books it is common for a Chinese to be able to speak two or even three varieties of the Sinitic languages (or “dialects”) together with Standard Mandarin.

Answer Question