Chinese, Mandarin


A language of China

Alternate Names
Beifang Fangyan, Guanhua, Guoyu, Hanyu, Huayu, Mandarin, Northern Chinese, Putonghua, Standard Chinese, Zhongguohua, Zhongwen

840,000,000 in China (2000 census), increasing. 70% of Chinese language users speak a Mandarin dialect as L1. Population total all countries: 847,755,970.


Widespread north of Changjiang river, a belt south of the Changjiang from Qiujiang (Jiangxi) to Zhenjiang (Jiangsu), Hubei Province, except southeast corner, Sichuan, Yunnan, Guizhou provinces, northwest Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region, and northwest corner of Hunan Province. Also in Australia, Brunei, Cambodia, Canada, Hong Kong, Macao, Taiwan, Equatorial Guinea, Indonesia, South Korea, Laos, Libya, Malaysia, Mauritius, Mongolia, Mozambique, Myanmar, Philippines, Russian Federation, Singapore, Thailand, United Kingdom, United States, Viet Nam, Zambia.

Language Status

1 (National). De facto national language.


Huabei Guanhua (Northern Mandarin), Jinghuai Guanhua (Eastern Mandarin, Jiangxia Guanhua, Lower Yangze Mandarin), Xibei Guanhua (Northwestern Mandarin), Xinan Guanhua (Southwestern Mandarin). Speakers of Kokang variety in Myanmar are most similar to the dialect spoken in Yunnan Province, China.


SVO; analytic; aspect; 6 full (concrete meaning) word classes; tonal

Language Use

Vigorous. 178,000,000 L2 speakers. All domains. All ages. Millions of speakers in China are bilingual, in English [eng], Japanese [jpn], Korean [kor], French [fra], Russian [rus], Vietnamese [vie], minority languages.

Language Development
Literacy rate in L2: 91% (2000 census, Han nationality). Official language taught in all schools in mainland China and Taiwan. Taught in secondary schools. Fully developed. Bible: 1874–1983.
Bopomofo script, used in Taiwan as an aid to the pronunciation of the characters. Braille script. Han script, Simplified variant. Han script, Traditional variant. Latin script.
Other Comments

There are Mandarin speakers in all 56 official nationalities of China, but the majority in China are classified under Han, Manchu and Hui nationalities. Traditional religion, Confucianist, Daoist, Buddhist, Muslim (Hui), Jewish, Christian.

Also spoken in:

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