CHINESE, MANDARIN: a language of China

The following is the entry for this language as it appeared in the 14th edition (2000).
It was superseded by the corresponding entry in the 15th edition (2005). See also the corresponding entry in the 16th edition (2009).

SIL code: CHN

ISO 639-1: zh

ISO 639-2(B): chi

ISO 639-2(T): zho

Population 867,200,000 in mainland China (1999), 70% of the population, including 8,602,978 Hui (1990 census). Other estimates for Hui are 20,000,000 or more. 1,042,482,187 all Han in China (1990 census). Population total all countries 874,000,000 first language speakers, 1,052,000,000 including second language speakers (1999 WA).
Region Covers all of mainland China north of the Changjiang River, a belt south of the Changjiang from Qiujiang (Jiangxi) to Zhenjiang (Jiangsu), Hubei except the southeastern corner, Sichuan, Yunnan, Guizhou, the northwestern part of Guangxi, and the northwestern corner of Hunan. Also spoken in Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia (Java and Bali), Laos, Malaysia (Peninsular), Mauritius, Mongolia, Philippines, Russia (Asia), Singapore, Taiwan, Thailand, United Kingdom, USA, Viet Nam.
Alternate names   MANDARIN, GUANHUA, BEIFANG FANGYAN, NORTHERN CHINESE, GUOYU, STANDARD CHINESE, PUTONGHUA
Dialects HUABEI GUANHUA (NORTHERN MANDARIN), XIBEI GUANHUA (NORTHWESTERN MANDARIN), XINAN GUANHUA (SOUTHWESTERN MANDARIN), JINGHUAI GUANHUA (JIANGXIA GUANHUA, LOWER YANGZE MANDARIN).
Classification Sino-Tibetan, Chinese.
Comments Wenli is a literary form. Written Chinese is based on the Beijing dialect, but has been heavily influenced by other varieties of Northern Mandarin. Putonghua is the official form taught in schools. Hezhouhoua is spoken in the Linxia Hui Autonomous Prefecture and Gannan Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture of southern Gansu Province, and in neighboring areas in Qinghai Province. The grammar is basically Altaic or Tibetan, while the vocabulary and phonology is basically Northwestern Mandarin, or a relexified variety of Tibetan. More investigation is needed. Putonghua is inherently intelligible with the Beijing dialect, and other Mandarin varieties in the northeast. Mandarin varieties in the Lower Plateau in Shaanxi are not readily intelligible with Putonghua. Mandarin varieties of Guilin and Kunming are inherently unintelligible to speakers of Putonghua. Taibei Mandarin and Beijing Mandarin are fully inherently intelligible to each other's speakers. The Hui are non-Turkic, non-Mongolian, Muslims who speak Mandarin as first language. Hui is a separate official nationality. The Hui correspond ethnically to 'Khoton', 'Hoton', or 'Qotong' in Mongolia, 20,000 Muslim Chinese in Taiwan, and the Hui in Thailand. Several hundred Chinese Jews in Kaifeng city, Henan Province are largely assimilated to the Han or Hui Chinese, and speak Mandarin. They are officially recognized. Investigation needed: intelligibility with varieties in Loess Plateau in Shaanxi, varieties in Guillin and Kunming. Official language. Dictionary. Grammar. SVO, SOV. If literate, they read Chinese. A few read Arabic. Chinese characters. Official language taught in all schools in Han China and Taiwan. Hui: agriculturalists (rural), traders (urban). Traditional Chinese religion, Buddhist, Muslim (Hui), Jewish, Christian, secular. Bible 1874-1983.

Also spoken in:

Brunei   
Language name   CHINESE, MANDARIN
Population 15,000 in Brunei, 29.7% of ethnic Chinese (1979).
Comments Bible 1874-1983. See main entry under China.
 
Indonesia (Java and Bali)   
Language name   CHINESE, MANDARIN
Population 460,000 speakers (1982 CCCOWE).
Comments Of the five to six million ethnic Chinese in Indonesia (1979 CCCOWE; 5,500,000 in 1976 or 4% of total population according to United Nations), 65% (3,500,000 to 4,000,000) speak Indonesian in the home, 35% (2,000,000) speak 5 Chinese languages in the home. Bible 1874-1983. See main entry under China.
 
Malaysia (Peninsular)   
Language name   CHINESE, MANDARIN
Population 417,070 in Malaysia (1970 census).
Comments Speakers are primarily urban, in business. Bible 1874-1983. See main entry under China.
 
Mongolia   
Language name   CHINESE, MANDARIN
Population 35,000 in Mongolia (1993 Johnstone), including 2,000 Qotong (1982 estimate).
Alternate names   HOTON, QOTONG, HUI-ZU, HUI, XUI, NORTHERN CHINESE, MANDARIN, HYTAD
Comments Bilingualism in Halh Mongolian. Literacy rate in second language: High in Halh or Mandarin. Those who are traditionally Sunni Muslim in China (Hui) are known as 'Qotong' (Hoton) in Mongolia, 'Dungan' in Kyrgyzstan, 'Hui' in Thailand. The majority of Chinese in Mongolia are not Muslim. Distinct from Khoton (Hoton) of Mongolia. Secular, Maoism, Confucian, Muslim. Bible 1874-1983. See main entry under China.
 
Philippines   
Language name   CHINESE, MANDARIN
Population 500 to 600 or 0.1% of Chinese population, including Chaochow dialect of Min Nam (1982 CCCOWE). All ethnic Chinese are 53,273 (1990 censu), or 1.3% of the population (1993 Johnstone).
Comments Bible 1874-1983. See main entry under China.
 
Singapore   
Language name   CHINESE, MANDARIN
Population 201,000 speakers, 7.9% of population, and 880,000 second language users (literate in Mandarin) in Singapore (1985 estimate).
Alternate names   HUAYU, GUOYU
Comments Increasing use. 44% also use other Chinese varieties at home; 12% use English at home. National language. Taught in schools. Bible 1874-1983. See main entry under China.
 
Taiwan   
Language name   CHINESE, MANDARIN
Population 4,323,000 in Taiwan (1993), 20.1% of the population. Spoken as a second language by over 15,000,000.
Alternate names   KUOYU, MANDARIN, PUTONGHUA, GUOYU
Dialects TAIBEI MANDARIN.
Comments Fully inherently intelligible with Putonghua in China, but intelligible with Benjing dialect with some difficulty. Nearly all mother tongue speakers in Taiwan speak with Min-influenced grammar and various degrees of Min-influenced pronunciation. Many of the educated strive to cultivate standard pronunciation. Grammatical differences of the Taiwan variety often appear in writing. Many of the 30 to 50 year-old generation in Taiwan are also fluent in Taiwan Min. National language. Putonghua taught in all schools. Traditional Chinese, Buddhist, Christian, Secular. Bible 1874-1983. See main entry under China.
 
Thailand   
Language name   CHINESE, MANDARIN
Population 5,880 in Thailand, .1% of the Chinese population in Thailand (1984 estimate).
Dialects HO (HAW, CIN HAW, YUNNANESE, WESTERN MANDARIN, HUI, HUI-TZE, HWEI, PANGHSE, PANTHA, PANTHE, PATHEE).
Comments Chinese folk religion; Hui: Muslim. Bible 1874-1983. See main entry under China.
 

This web edition of the Ethnologue contains all the content of the print edition and may be cited as:
Grimes, Barbara F. (ed.), 2000. Ethnologue: Languages of the World, Fourteenth edition. Dallas, Texas: SIL International. Online version: http://www.ethnologue.com/14.

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