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How many languages are spoken in China?

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How many languages are spoken in China? Are they compatible with each other?

Map_of_sinitic_languages-en In China there are at least eight different linguistic groups, in addition to hundreds of dialects and variations. Most of the times they are not mutually understandable.
The official language is Mandarin Chinese, bases on the dialect of the ethnic group the Han, originally from the North. This language is based on a Mandarin variation spoken during the Manchu dinasty in Beijing. Later, this language was adopted as official langiage for the People’s Republic of China and Taiwan, and it is one of th efour official languages in Singapore. It is also one of the six official languages at the United Nations.

Standard Mandarin is usually called“Han language” Hànyǔ in China, but different names like huáyǔ or Zhōngwén are also used. In thePeople’s Republic of China (PRC) the term pǔtōnghua (meaning “common language”) is frequently used, while in Taiwan it is known as guóyǔ “national language”.

The term “Chinese” normally refers to the standard language, even though the term Mandarin is often used to refer to the standard language when we want to distinguish it from the different dialects.

Beside Mandarin Chinese, spoken by 850 million people, other demographically important languages are: the Wu language (77 millions), the Min language (70 millions) and Cantonese (71 millions all over the world). Standard Cantonese remains one of the official languages of Honk Kong (together with English) and Macao (together with Portuguese). The Min language (60 millions), which belongs to the southern part of the countries and the linguistic group Min, is widely spoken in southern Fujian, Taiwan and South-East Asia.

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